Fr. Fidelis' Homily - Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral
July 2, 2022
When the Lord brought His chosen people out of slavery in Egypt, through the Red Sea, and when the Egyptian army was drowned and swallowed up in the waters the people realized they were free, they broke into song. They sang, “I will sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously. Horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea.” It was a moment of great victory.
Brothers and sisters, we now are in a moment of great victory. It was 10 a.m. June 24, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Feast of St. John the Baptist that Roe v. Wade was finally overturned. And one of the first things I want us to do in this Mass today is to thank Almighty God for the graces of that decision because the cornerstone of the culture of death has been pulverized. That diabolical covenant of death which the Supreme Court made in 1973 has finally been repudiated. We always knew Roe v. Wade was an egregious mistake, that it relied on exceptionally weak reasoning, and that it had very damaging consequences. And now finally the Supreme Court has admitted it also.
When God brought His people out of slavery, the Jewish people still had many battles yet to fight before they finally entered the promised land. And so too for us here—especially in New York. We have many battles yet to fight, but we are going to fight them, and one is waiting for us outside the church as we can hear today. Because we know when it comes to abortion, this state is a stronghold of evil.
What is our next goal now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned? Well, for us here our next goal to which we must devote all of our energy is to ban abortion here in New York and guarantee legal protection for unborn children. In other words, we need to repeal the 2019 Reproductive Health Act. Remember that this act legalizes abortion on demand through nine months of pregnancy, declares abortion to be a fundamental right, and allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
The other day as I was driving, I heard on the radio an advertisement. It was the voice of Governor Kathy Hochul, and she said, “Here in New York abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.” This is false. Abortion is never safe. It always causes the destruction of an innocent human being, and it always gravely harms the psychological and spiritual health of the mother. Abortion is never legal. It is totally contrary to natural and divine law. Not only is it not a constitutional right, but no legislature can ever legally sanction willful murder. And as for accessibility, women in New York do not need access to abortion. What they need is access to loving encouragement and practical support in order to care for and bring to birth the children they have conceived.
Recently the bishops of New York have reaffirmed a pledge first made by John Cardinal O’Conner in the 1980s. They said, “Any woman regardless of the age, religious belief or affiliation, marital status or immigration status, any woman who is pregnant and in need can come to the Catholic Church, and we will give you the services and supports you need to carry your baby to term, regardless of your ability to pay. Furthermore, we will not abandon you and your baby after delivery, but rather we will see to it that you have the resources that you and your child both need and deserve. No one will be turned away from life-affirming care. If you have had an abortion that you regret whether recently or in the distant past, please come to us as well so that we may offer you services to help you to heal.
Now brothers and sisters, we here in this church must be a part of this urgent pastoral effort. Our confidence in all of this is not in ourselves but is in the Lord.
Again, going back to the story of the Jewish people, rescued from slavery, travelling through the desert and then came the time when the Lord wanted them to enter into Canaan and to receive their promised inheritance. Remember the pagans, the Canaanites were living in that land. As part of their religion, they practiced human sacrifice. God wanted to end that and bring His own people into that land. And so, Moses sent out a group of men to gather information about the land to prepare for their next step. They came back and there was a division of opinion. Many of the men in that group said, “No, we can’t conquer this land. Those people are too powerful, too strong. We’re just like grasshoppers before them.” But there was another voice that was raised. Joshua and Caleb contradicted those men and said, “No we certainly can take it.” They had the confidence that the Lord was with them, and that He would fulfill the promise He had made.
Brothers and sisters, our confidence today is in the grace of Jesus Christ. Our confidence is in the power of His Precious Blood and in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
One last word concerning those who will be opposing us today. We can all hear their voices through the walls. At the Last Supper Jesus said to His chosen Apostles, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it has hated you.” Jesus returned love for hatred. We must do the same. Why do they hate us? They hate us because they have believed the big lie. The lie that says abortion is necessary for the equality and the good of women in society. And they are angry because for many, they have been hurt perhaps even through an abortion. So, what do they need? They need our compassion, and they need our prayers. Because if it wasn’t for the grace of God touching our lives and our hearts don’t think for a minute that you couldn’t also be out there shouting at us in here. It’s only God’s goodness and mercy that has brought us together. And His goodness and mercy want to reach through us to them as well. So, I say that because we want to leave the church today in the right spiritual frame of mind.
In this Mass let us continue to pray that Almighty God would fill us with His Holy Spirit, strengthen us to be His witnesses today in the cause of life, and bring conversion and healing to all those who are still trapped in the culture of death. May Jesus Christ the King be praised now and forever.