Ava Lalor" />

What to do when the Eucharist is threatened and abortion glorified

Supporters of a legal right to abortion demonstrate outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City before the beginning of the "Prayer Vigil for Life" at the cathedral Jan. 22, 2022. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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Ever since Politico reported on a leaked draft of the majority opinion of the Supreme Court regarding a Mississippi case that has the potential — and appears to be leaning toward — overturning Roe v. Wade and, therefore, legalize abortion at the national level, a quote by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen has kept coming to mind: “There are not 100 people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”

Unsurprisingly, the leaked draft has led to reports of protests — namely, at Catholic churches and pro-life centers. As is usually the case, only Catholic churches were mentioned in online plans for protests; other religions are not a threat to the religion of secular society since none other so blatantly contradicts our culture’s beliefs as does the Catholic Church.

After the draft was leaked, a pro-abortion group under the name of Ruth Sent Us, a reference to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, announced on social media that they were planning to storm Catholic churches on Mother’s Day weekend. This they did. Some cases were peaceful; others were violent, disruptive or destructive. Then things escalated on Twitter, as they usually do.

After another user commented that she would pray for the safety of clergy and Mass-goers, as well as for a “change of heart of the pro-abortion protesters,” the Ruth Sent Us Twitter account upped their threat: “Stuff your rosaries and your weaponized prayer. We will remain outraged after this weekend, so keep praying. We’ll be burning the Eucharist to show our disgust for the abuse Catholic Churches have condoned for centuries.”

Lord, have mercy!

The story may quickly evolve. A tabernacle in Texas was reported stolen over the weekend of May 8, but it is unclear if it was connected or inspired by the pro-abortion group’s threats. But as I wait — and pray! — during these days of unease, again, all I can think of is the Venerable Fulton Sheen quote, because instead of seeing the Church for what it is — the promise of freedom and joy and liberation that these protesters are truly seeking — they scorn it for the lies they have been fed.

A couple Tweets in response to the threat from Ruth Sent Us summed up my thoughts. Journalist David Marcus wrote: “The Catholic Church is the moral foundation of the West. Nowhere in the history of humanity have women achieved more equality than in the West. This isn’t a coincidence.” No, it is not. While the world believes the Church is anti-women, in truth, Christianity was the first society to truly recognize the inherent dignity that women are equal to men. And that continues today in a new, yet still countercultural, way.

Another journalist, Alexandra DeSanctis Marr, tweeted: “This is pure evil, and it’s not surprising from those who treat abortion like a sacrament.” And isn’t that the truth? While about half our country has tossed aside organized religion, including those who still believe in God, they cannot toss aside the fact that we are spiritual beings. So while tradition and moral foundations have been set aside, a new religion has taken it’s place, one defined by cheap comforts and distorted beliefs offered from the hands of our culture, culminating in an idolization of the evil convenience of abortion. Instead of communion, our world has sacramentalized anti-union: the ripping of the child from the womb; the cheapening of our sexuality and the sexual union meant for husband and wife; and in both cases, an exclusion of God from the equation. Again, Lord have mercy!

So, what can we do? Pray. Fast. Repeat. For we cannot change the hearts of these drastically misguided, hurting people. Only the Lord, through his grace, can. And yet, our prayer and fasting is not passive wishing. It is reparation for the evils done; it is pleading with God to give grace to those contemplating and pursuing evil, from politicians enacting horrendous law to our neighbors who simply have been fed the culture’s lies and don’t have a bedrock of truth to fall back on. We must pray and fast. We must. Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

And may Jesus Christ, truly present in the most holy sacrament of the altar, be protected, adored and glorified in every church around the world. Amen.

Ava Lalor is associate editor for Our Sunday Visitor and editor for Radiant magazine.

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