Wanted: Integrity For Each Of Us

Msgr. Mangan again honors me by letting me post another of his works.


Wanted: Integrity For Each Of Us

Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Recently I read a newspaper account concerning a fundraiser held by a pro-abortion organization that featured a former elected official.

The stated intent of the expensive event ($185 for general admission; $1,000 for a VIP reception) was to garner donations to assist candidates for public office who wish to preserve access to abortion.

The erstwhile public official assured his audience that he has always had an affinity for the organization because they shared similar foes, especially pro-life groups.

A discourse given by a defeated politician probably need not be the subject of an extended meditation. Yet, I could not help but be roundly disappointed when I stumbled across this news item.

I am familiar with the long career of the former official and his multiple attempts to “clarify” just what he believed about the destruction of innocent human life in the womb.

Once when he was running for office, he declared: “As a citizen and lifelong member of the Catholic faith, I will do everything in my power to persuade others that abortion is wrong because I am firmly convinced that persuasion, not legal action, is the only proper and the only effective way to limit abortion.”

In a communiqué during another bid, he asserted that he was “unalterably opposed to abortion on demand.”

Later, after he lost a bruising battle to retain his seat, some anticipated that the official would rethink his unfortunate position. Perhaps, the logic went, the man really was sincere in claiming his repugnance for abortion. Now that he was no longer trying to please both sides of the spectrum, he would ponder carefully his stance, seek to make amends and assent at last to what the Church unequivocally teaches about this grave matter.

Instead, he attended a function that can only be termed a pitiful “celebration” of abortion.

Besides having sympathy for the victims of abortion—especially the babies, mothers and fathers, among others—I also feel for those who were castigated for more than a quarter of a century because they expressed their legitimate skepticism of the myriad protestations made by the official and his supporters that he was indeed pro-life. Those who questioned his continual dodging, not to mention his voting record that was penned in ink for all to see, were ridiculed and slandered for being uncouth, hateful, obstreperous, ignorant, moralistic and fanatical, as well as a plethora of unprintable epithets. Those men and women, boys and girls who raised their voices to challenge the official and his associates were often scorned. Thank God for their heroism and perseverance.

The years have shown—and many surmised this early on—that this politician has not only affiliated himself but also evidently concurs with those who do not blink an eye at snuffing out preborn children.

But imagine if he were to confess his error and embrace the Truth. It is still possible. And we must pray and fast for exactly this intention. God is the Master of surprise. If the former public official is receptive to the intimations of the Holy Spirit, it will happen.

When we will finally agree in our society that any taking of innocent life—an infant before birth, an elderly lady racked with debilitating pain, a noncombatant in war, a mentally handicapped person, a teenage girl caught in the crossfire of a drug deal gone bad—is heinous and an unutterable affront against our Creator?

Meanwhile, we remember that the Lord is watching us, expecting us to do our best to promote, in the stirring words of Pope John Paul II, the Gospel of Life and vanquish the Culture of Death. We and the former official will one day face our merciful but just Savior to answer for our sins of commission and omission. Complacency and arrogance are fatal.

Three decades ago, I heard my Mother periodically recite from memory the following valuable reminder:

Life is short and death is sure,
The hour of death remains obscure.
A soul you have and only one,
If that be lost, all hope is gone.

Waste not time ‘till time shall pass,
Eternity will come at last.
All-seeing God your Judge shall be,
And Heaven or Hell your destiny.

May God have mercy on that former elected official. May God have mercy on us.

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