If any pro-lifer is so bold as to point out the quite obvious parallel between the genocide of a race of people with the genocide of the unborn (which differs only in the fact that the number of victims of abortion is 8x larger in the U.S. alone), count on somebody becoming indignant.
“I ask myself what answer I will give our Lord when He asks me about my many innocent and defenseless brothers and sisters in the womb whose lives have been and are being snuffed out,” Burke wrote.
The parallel was obvious — legalized abortion in the U.S. is an equivalent evil to the systemic murder of Jews by the German government during World War II.In some ways, worse, because the murder of these babies with at least the passive cooperation of their own mothers and/or fathers also is a grave desecration of the sacred bond of family intended by God. Linking abortion and the Holocaust is not unusual in anti-abortion circles. For many Catholics, whose church teaches them that abortion is “intrinsically evil,” abortion has become the single most important issue in any election.
But for the last five successive weeks in his column in the St. Louis Review, the archdiocese’s weekly newspaper, and in homilies, Hermann has pounded home his message that Catholics cannot, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights.And may God bless him now and always for this stand.
According to Catholic moral teaching, Catholics who vote for a candidate supportive of abortion rights because of the candidate’s stand on that issue would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil and unable to receive Communion.
“How can I say that I believe in God and yet vote for candidates who promote the Freedom of Choice Act,” Hermann said Catholics should ask themselves. “Is my relationship to an association or group more important than my relationship to God? … Do I obey the will of a group leader or do I obey the Word of God made flesh, His Church and his vicar on earth?”
“That was Nazism,” he continued. “How are we different if we continue to go down the road of the culture of death that we’re going down today?
In his “Save Our Children” column, Hermann said “many people in Germany supported Hitler for economic reasons even though, as his programs advanced, he put to death millions of Jewish people.”
Hillel Kieval, a professor of Jewish history and thought at Washington University and chairman of the history department, said the parallel between the Holocaust and abortion was a questionable, if powerful, rhetorical tool that “shows a certain poverty of language and poverty of imagination.”
“I don’t think the analogy is apt and it’s designed to inflame,” Kieval said. “This is the worst crime that can be perpetuated against human life and I think most Jews, even those opposed to abortion, would reject the association.”I can’t speak for Jews, but most pro-lifers would not reject the association. I think Kieval’s comments are unfortunate, and show a certain poverty of logic and of common sense, as well as a hypersensitivity to a Catholic Bishop instructing Catholic faithful. Hermann’s message has trickled down to the pews. Last month , the Rev. Noah Waldman told his congregation at Sts. Joachim and Ann parish in St. Charles the story of Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, the archbishop of Munich who protested the Nazis’ treatment of Jews. And God bless him, too, for his stand. “If every diocese in Germany had a man as brave as Cardinal Faulhaber, I do not think the Holocaust could have happened,” Waldman said. “No tyrant, however brutal, can carry out any program without the consent of the governed; the power of a leader is proportionate to people’s willingness to be led.”
Scenes like that show Hermann’s influence in the local church. With a new St. Louis archbishop likely to be named in the coming weeks, the quiet farm kid from Weingarten is using his interim bully pulpit to make his mark nationally, too — on the Catholic vote for the U.S. presidency.Pray for our country and the Church!