Matt C. Abbott
January 6, 2015
Mario Cuomo's Catholic funeral
By Matt C. Abbott

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is getting a Catholic funeral despite his support of legalized abortion during his political career.

Ted Kennedy got one as well.

So the Church will (rightly) deny a public funeral to notorious gangsters, but notorious supporters of baby-killing in the womb get a pass, so to speak.

Hmm.

I asked Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to comment on this controversy.

Father Pavone's response is as follows:
    The climate in the Church today makes it extremely unlikely that any funeral will be denied to anyone, and especially when it comes to abortion. As my upcoming book Abolishing Abortion will discuss at length, we have a tremendous blind spot both on the part of the Church and the State that abortion is a holocaust of greater proportions than humanity has ever seen. We've abstracted and blunted the urgency of this problem to unprecedented degrees. And therefore the very starting point by which we try to make decisions about dealing with abortion supporters, both in life and in death, is compromised.

    This past September, for the second National Day of Remembrance, I prayed at a gravesite in Los Angeles that contains over 16,000 aborted babies. The cemetery is called 'Odd Fellows'; it's not a Catholic cemetery, because somehow that couldn't be arranged. But in the nearby Catholic cemetery is buried James McMahon, late-term abortionist.

    Mario Cuomo's funeral comes on the same day that members of the 114th Congress are taking their oath of office. The first purpose of government is to protect the right to life, and the government has no authority to exclude any human being from that protection. Perhaps nowhere was this stated more strongly than by Saint John Paul II, who in his 1995 encyclical, The Gospel of Life, states that when a government legalizes abortion, it 'effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism' and 'is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenseless members.' In this case, he said, 'the State is no longer the 'common home' where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality,' but rather, 'the disintegration of the State itself has already begun' (EV, 20).

    That hardly sounds like something that can be easily ignored, dismissed, excused or minimized by Church or State. Similar sentiments were echoed by a preacher just two weeks ago on Christmas day. He said:

    The Child Jesus. My thoughts turn to all those children today who are killed and ill-treated ... infants killed in the womb, deprived of that generous love of their parents and then buried in the egoism of a culture that does not love life .... Even today, their impotent silence cries out under the sword of so many Herods. On their blood stands the shadow of contemporary Herods.

    The preacher was none other than the tolerant and inclusive Pope Francis.

    Public officials and Church officials, take notice.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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