According to my facebook feed, Bishop Barron introduces a video with this:

Friends, I want to challenge pro-abortion Catholic politicians to take a small step toward authentic dialogue with the Church on this critical matter. If there is no quest for common ground, what are we dialoguing about?

And before we get to the video, I think we have two stumbles right out of the gate.

First, the good bishop has carefully separated the sheep and the goats his friends and the politicians. Why would non-friends have much at all to talk about? Or are we speaking of people engaged by the inviter’s cottage industry of books and films?

Second, one spot where the political pro-life movement fails is to paint the opposition as “pro abortion.” There are not many pro-abortion people, except for those who make money from it, or those who have the power to persuade another to get one? Consider these line-ups in which an abortion has occurred and choose the pro-abortion person in each:

  • priest
  • pregnant woman he has had sex with
  • politician who voted for PP funding


  • mother and/or father
  • pregnant teen daughter
  • next year’s college admissions officer


  • pro-life politician
  • pregnant mistress
  • Democratic colleague in the legislature

When I meet a person named Kathy, I don’t intentionally call her Karen because I dislike her given name. Or even the person herself. I address her–and any other person–in the way they choose and prefer to be addressed. If an acquaintance or friend asks me to use new pronouns, I will comply.

Nearly every politician in that camp Bishop Barron is seeking out self-identifies as “pro-choice.” If a person wants to be taken seriously in a dialogue with them, then one has to show respect and courtesy. If a person is playing to a favorite audience, then by all means, label one’s foils as Karen or as pro-choice or as cotton-headed ninnymugginses. But don’t expect to get very far.

The auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles can and must do better.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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