Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Cardinal Gregory Cancels Youth Rally And Mass For Life - That May Be A Good Thing

Recently Cardinal Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington announced that the Youth Rally and Mass for Life that the archdiocese sponsored for the past 25 years will be canceled.  Many pro-life people are outraged and understandably so.  Me, not so much, and I'll explain why.

Having been friends of a previous director and assistant director of the Archdiocese pro-life office, I have a bit of an insider perspective of these events.  I know that prior to each event, both directors worked for several months non-stop to pull these events together.  Many logistical details had to be worked out.  What that meant is that they didn't have time for other pro-life matters in the archdiocese.  I believe this is one reason why the parish pro-life organizations received no real direction from the chancery.  They were left to flounder.  Now, looking back at some of the prelates involved, I wonder if these rallies were meant to keep the two directors, who are honorable and sincere people, too busy to direct any meaningful and effective pro-life efforts at the grass roots.

The spiritual tenor of these events left much to be desired.  When they first started under Cardinal Hickey, the rally consisted of a few talks that were helpful to varying degrees.  That changed after his retirement when the former "Cardinal" McCarrick took over.  It moved from the DAR Constitution Hall to the MCI Center near Chinatown.  It became much more entertainment-oriented, geared towards the high school kids in attendance.  In other words, save for the Mass, it became quite a dog-and-pony show, taking up much effort and money that could have been spent on real constructive pro-life projects.

I also noticed something else.  When these Masses ended and the attendees went to join the main rally on the Ellipse, the main rally was ending and getting ready to process to the Supreme Court.  Realizing that these thousands of people were not being included in the counts taken by the DC police department, I decided to inquire about that.  I got the opportunity to do so at an event at the Rosensteel Knights of Columbus Hall in early January.  One of DC's auxiliary bishops, who is now deceased, gave an address.  Before he scooted out the door, I presented my concerns to him, suggesting the very thing that Cardinal Gregory is now doing.  First, he opined that the kids needed to be entertained or else they wouldn't accept the pro-life message.  I was appalled at the condescension towards the young people.  He also claimed that Nellie Gray had on the stage some speakers whom the chancery didn't think deserved a Catholic audience.  I found out later that one speaker whom they eschewed was the late Senator Jesse Helms, who I always held to be an honorable man.

After that conversation, I never attended another of those rallies and Masses.  I simply went to Mass elsewhere.  Actually I did attend one or two of them, but only because I had handouts to distribute.  I wanted to be included in the headcount for Nellie Gray's rallies.

I don't know why Cardinal Gregory decided to cancel these events.  Given other actions of his, I've no doubt that his reasons for doing so may well indicate no pro-life convictions.  I would simply suggest that the attendees go to Mass elsewhere at the numerous churches in the near vicinity.  The Catholic schools that once sent their students to the rallies need to redouble their efforts at teaching Catholic morality to their students.  They also need to get themselves to the March for Life rallies - the entire rallies.  Cardinal Gregory might well have done the pro-life movement a great service, even if inadvertently.  He may have communicated the message that young people need to obey God's laws for God's sake, not because they were "entertained" into doing so.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful and courteous to others on this blog. We reserve the right to delete comments that violate courtesy and/or those that promote dissent from the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.