In Robert Bolt’s classic drama, A Man for All Seasons, Cromwell, Henry VIII’s prosecutor, is trying to convict Thomas More of treason because he (More) refuses to accept the king’s title of Supreme Head of the Church. But Cromwell is struggling. More, using his great legal mind and choosing his words carefully, stymies the prosecution at every turn. In desperation, Cromwell plays the only card left–find someone who will lie.
That fellow is Richard Rich, a man whom More had befriended years before. Rich fabricates part of a conversation he had with More and, by doing so, dooms More to death.
As Rich is about to leave the room, More declares that he has one question to ask the “witness”: “That’s a chain of office you are wearing. May I see it? What’s this?”
The prosecutor declares, “Sir Richard is appointed Attorney-General for Wales.”
More replies: “For Wales? Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Wales!”
I recount this scene because we have seen it played out over and over again as so-called “Catholic” politicians hold positions that are dramatically opposed to Catholic teaching.
Our latest example is Tim Kaine, who is now the running mate of Hillary Clinton. The media describe Kaine as a “traditional Catholic” who believes in a woman’s right to choose abortion. Kaine now takes his place in the modern pantheon of Catholic quislings, including Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and John Kerry, to name just a few.
In his acceptance speech for the Democrat Vice-Presidency, Kaine said, “I went to a Jesuit boys school–Rockhurst High School. The motto of our school was ‘men for others.’ That’s where my faith became vital, a North Star for orienting my life. And I knew that I wanted to fight for social justice.”
To prove his assertion, he revealed that he took a year out of law school and volunteered with the Jesuits to teach poor Honduran children welding and carpentry. Kaine would later become a civil rights lawyer for seventeen years and then move into politics and eventually become a governor and a US senator. All the while he has apparently been fighting for social justice–but not for everyone. When it comes to the unborn, that North Star faith must have been swallowed by a black hole.
A cursory study of Kaine’s political career will reveal that he went from being personally opposed to abortion in 2008 to pledging never to support legislation to “weaken or subvert the basic holding of Roe v. Wade in 2012.
And today he is Hillary Clinton’s VP choice and supports a party platform that not only supports unlimited abortion rights and repeal of the Hyde Amendment but also the funding of Planned Parenthood, a sleazy organization that makes millions through abortions but also is a baby chop shop. And we are to believe that Mr. Kaine really cares about social justice? Please.
Aside from Kaine’s obvious hypocrisy, there is another disturbing dynamic here. Name one prominent national elected politician in the past thirty years or so who has reputed his support of abortion. Can you think of just one who has declared, “I was wrong about abortion, and I will not rest until it becomes illegal in this nation”? I can’t.
What is it about abortion that steals these people’s souls? Like a drug addiction without a cure, support for abortion seems to harden every individual to such an extent that repudiation and remorse never occur. Oh, sure, a politician early in his career might support some restrictions to abortion, but the longer he is in office, the more these restrictions become unpalatable. Eventually, abortion on demand, funded by the government, becomes his default position.
But how does a Catholic politician arrive at such a position? How many people in his life failed to warn him about the sinful path he was walking? Did his wife shed copious tears as she begged him to adhere to Catholic teaching? As his children grew older, did they ask him why he wanted to kill innocent babies? Did his Catholic friends urge him to reconsider, and did they warn him that his support for abortion would destroy their friendship?
And the first time this politician publicly supported abortion, did his parish priest meet with him immediately, explained the Church’s teaching regarding abortion, and warned him about the consequences of his stance, including the loss of access to the Eucharist? And did his bishop do the same thing? And if the politician continued to ignore the Church, did his bishop publicly condemn and excommunicate him?
Or did all these people celebrate his victories, bask in the glory of their home-town hero, and find him a place of honor at their banquets? All of these people had a chance to perhaps save his soul, and they chose silence.
So, Tim Kaine continued to become more radically anti-life and continued to win elections. And now he is a hero in the party of death.
A note to Mr. Kaine: Why, Timothy, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . But for Hillary?