South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 30, No. 2, Ed. 1 Friday, January 27, 1995 Page: 4 of 20
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A fight for the moral high ground
By Patrick Riley. Ph.D.
If you happen to oppose abortion, and the folks at
Planned Parenthood have their way, you won’t be able to
speak your mind about it. No. not even your deepest
convictions, whether they stem from religion or just from
looking facts in the face.
Why not? Because if you say abortion kills babies, you’ re
encouraging the murder of “abortion providers” (to use the
Planned Parenthood has plastered an ad across the coun-
try blaming words such as “baby killers” and “murderers”
for the murders of abortionists and their aides.
Asking “Who is really responsible for the recent deaths
at abortion clinics," Planned Parenthood responds: “Words
of hate helped pull the trigger.” Words uttered by whom?
By “leaders of the extreme religious right,” of course.
There’s the Reverend Pat Robertson. Also Cardinal John
O’Connor, and Cardinal Bernard Law. Planned Parenthood
demands that they "make their rhetoric responsible.” It
turns out that this “rhetoric" is a simple statement of fact,
taught not just by religious leaders but by every serious
medical investigator for the past century and more, that
abortion kills children. Planned Parenthood demands that
we not say this. Even when Cardinal O’Connor of New
York goes on television to warn pro-lifers that they “cannot
prevent killing by killing," Planned Parenthood calls this “a
backhanded apology for the attackers."
Why? Because the cardinal is “labeling abortion provid-
ers as killers."
Yet Planned Parenthood itself has branded abortion
killing. It and its leadership have done this repeatedly. For
example, in a promotional pamphlet for contraception back
in the ’60s Planned Parenthood World Population stated:
An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is
dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile
so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth
control merely postpones the beginning of life.
Nothing that scientists and doctors have discovered since
1963, when Planned Parenthood published this pamphlet,
disproves what Planned Parenthood said then but doesn’t
want anybody to say now, namely that abortion “kills the
life of a baby.” The only relevant change since then is that
Planned Parenthood has become a purveyor of abortion,
the biggest purveyor of abortion in the world.
So when Planned Parenthood asks in 1995, “What can
you do to stop the killing,” nobody is supposed to think
about what it said in 1963, about killing “the life of a baby."
In Planned Parenthood newthink, the only killing involved
in abortion is the murder of personnel. Anybody who says
otherwise is encouraging “anti-choice” zealots to go on
murder sprees at abortion clinics. Readers will note that
I've pul phrases like “anti-choice" and “abortion provid-
ers” in quotation marks, the tongs and rubber gloves of
rhetoric. I distance myself from these neologisms because
they are key elements in the strategy of abortion promoters,
in their campaign to obscure the facts and to alienate the
public from reality. Should I use their language, I become
See "Responsibility," page 20
Published bi-weekly Jan. 1 -Dec. 31; except for the month of July
by the Diocese of Corpus Christ! for $10.00 per year. Office
address: 1200 Lantana St, Corpus Christi, TX 70407-1112,
(512)269-1752. Second class postage paid in Corpus Christi,
Texas POSTMASTER: Send address changes to SOUTH
TEXAS CATHOLIC, 1200 Lantana, Corpus Christi, TX 70407-
Bishop Rene H. Gracida
Father John Vega
Anthony J. Riley
By James Hitchcock
The killing of two women at a Boston abortion clinic has
been denounced by every major pro-life organization.
Despite this, liberal commentators continue to insist that
pro-lifers are responsible for what happened.
On the face of it John Salvi, charged with the Boston
murders, is mentally disturbed. As an employee of a barber-
shop, he is reported to have ripped off a customer’s coat,
then insulted the man when he demanded it back. On
Christmas he disrupted the Mass, ironic in view of attempts
to hold the Catholic Church responsible for his actions. But,
although Salvi may be a pathological personality. Paul Hill,
convicted of an antiabortion killing in Florida, appears to be
sane. Thus pro-lifers must confront the accusation.
The defense is simply that no other militant group is held
to the same standards, and most such groups, including
those history has judged righteous, have included violent
fringe elements. The antislavery movement was not invali-
dated by the maraudings of John Brown.
What is particularly hypocritical about criticism of pro-
lifers is that it usually comes from people who are them-
selves products of that phenomenon in American history
called “the Sixties." Anyone who thinks that moderate
rhetoric, scrupulously legal tactics, and respect for one’s
opponents are essential to civilized life has to repudiate all
that occurred as part of the great social revolution of a
quarter century ago.
Ironically, a few days before Salvi allegedly killed two
women at an abortion clinic, the journalist Mary McGrory
made an emotional appeal for the release of a young woman
currently in prison for participating in a politically moti-
vated robbery in which a guard was killed. The women is
admittedly unrepentant, but McGrory thinks she should be
released because “she is beautiful and brave."
This is the attitude which some people have towards the
terrorism of the left. The approved line, while bombings
and burnings were going on a quarter century ago was,
don’t condone violence, but 1 understand the frustration of
those who use it. The only way to end the violence is
through social change.” The journalist Ellen Goodman
objects because pro-lifers call abortion clinics “death
camps.” But they are not exactly havens for endangered
life, and it is no service to truth or genuine peace to pretend
that they are. They are not engaged i n noble work even apan
from the basic question of abortion itself. In St. Louis a
group of demonstrators spent the Christmas holidays in jail
for trespassing (non-violently) on a clinic run by a doctor
who has lost his medical license because of gross abuses. In
California recently two girls coming to look for their
mother at an abortion clinic saw the proprietor stuffing her
body into the trunk of a car after a botched operation,
These kinds of incidents never get national publicity,
because they are not supposed to be part of anyone’s moral
calculations about the issue.
Some respectable analysts are adept at explaining how
terrorism is simply a word used by those in power to
discredit those who threaten them. I think the reality of
terrorism is clear, and it must be condemned without
equivocation. Paul Hill is a convicted terrorist, and John
Salvi is suspected for excellent reasons. But people like
Ellen Goodman really want pro-lifers to abandon all direct
action, such as sit-ins, and to eviscerate their demands
The issue of civil disobedience as a moral tactic was
settled by 1970. Although some people insist it is always
wrong, “enlightened “opinion holds that it is sometimes
right and even necessary. Most pro-lifers do not practice
civil disobedience. But at this juncture to call off all public
demonstrations, or to pull back from a candid look at what
abortion really involves, is to concede to the pro-abortion-
ists a moral high ground which they do not deserve.
Life in the country
By Rome D. Smyth
All things arc put aright with hindsight. It is interest-
ing to read how conditions in South Texas sapped the
enthusiasms of priests, how they were buoyed by their
faith, and rebounded with renewed energy. The loneli-
ness that priests encountered in isolated postings are
illustrated in a letter that Father Lambert Wolfgang
Schrott wrote in September 1938. Simply put. he’d run
out of ideas on how to hold on to his mission.
Born in Bavaria just before the turn of the 20th
Century, Father Schrott emigrated to America and was
a lay brother in St. Leo Benedictine Abbey in St. Leo,
Florida. He relumed to Bavaria to study for the priest-
hood and later reentered the U.S. to be
ordained a priest in 1930. He
eventually came to the Dio- i
ceseofCorpusChristiandwas ‘ '
assigned to Kingsville to run a
mission church in Bishop, Texas.
Unfortunately, Father Lambert was caught u p
in the ferment of a swiftly growing diocese and was
much concerned that his mission church and his parish-
ioners would not be forgotten. He agonized over his
plight and was at a loss as to how to approach his bishop
for support. He did not want to appear to complain nor
to "kick” as he put it.
Working out of St. Martin’s Church in Kingsville
where he was assistant pastor, he found that he was up
against a real problem. There weren’t enough resources
to do all that was required. He travelled to Bishop twice
a day to say Mass in the morning and then provided
instruction to school children in the afternoons. He
conducted a Rosary late in the day, and as he put it,
attempted to "put some life into the place." On the
surface, this was rather routine. Or was it?
His automobile was taking a real beating. Although
he paid $2.00 each month for a garage in Kingsville, the
place was not open when he headed lor Bishop and was
closed when he came back in the evening. In those days
automobiles did not last long when exposed to the
elements as Father Lambert’s was.
Father Lambert rarely ate more than sandwiches for
his meals. He couldn't afford ordinary meals. He
cleaned his church himself because “those who were
supposed to do it came around with excuses” as to why
they could not. He was considering living in Bishop at
the mission even though there were no shower or bath
facilities, although he was willing to work around that
problem in spite of the horrible dust that plagued the
His salary was $300 a year and from that he paid for
his gas and all his other expenses. Father Lambert was
putting 22,000 miles a year on his car going back and
forth to Kingsville and other outlying missions which
h c also attended. “It cost me many a penny for
gas and I had to pocket the insults."
(Older parishioners will recall that that
part 0f diocese was a
hot bed of Ku Klux Klan
activity in those days.
Priests were routinely
taunted in public—something
rarely mentioned in writing and only whispered
about at the time).
Even as he considered his plight. Father Schrott was
able to say, “I didn't come to Texas to become a
playboy priest.” Because he couldn't afford to spend
what meager amount he saved to live in the rectory in
Kingsville, he decided to move into a shed attached to
the garage in Bishop. He finally found some old furni-
ture in Kingsville, aired out an old mattress, and de-
cided to call his new arrangement, home.
The letter in which he spelled out his dilemma to his
bishop concluded: “I appeal to your fatherly way of
providing if at all possible... though I will continue to
beg as the occasion presents itself." His problems were
short-lived, however, for a short time later he was
reassigned to Taft as a pastor.
Father Lambert Schrott never became a citizen. He
did not return to Germany before WWII began but
stayed on, only to be haunted by federal officials
because of his status as a German national. Four years
later he died of leukemia in July 1942—stateless. The
Semins are with him, always.
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Riley, Anthony J. South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 30, No. 2, Ed. 1 Friday, January 27, 1995, newspaper, January 27, 1995; Corpus Christi, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth856128/m1/4/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .