Monday, May 21, 2007

And just UP the street...

There's been quite a little flap in San Mateo, about ten miles north of here, concerning a Catholic layman named Ross Foti and St. Matthew's Catholic Church. Specifically, it's about the large photos of aborted children he has mounted on his van, which he parks on the stretch of busy El Camino Real near the parish school. The parents of the elementary-age students at St. Matthew's school are furious because they say their kids are traumatized. Foti says he'll park somewhere else if St. Matthew's will agree to at least mention abortion once a month from the pulpit. The pastor of St. Matthew's says that that would be tantamount to giving in to "blackmail."

How do so many people contrive to be so wrong and so right all at the same time?

Mr. Foti is right that people need to be shaken out of their comfortable ignorance of the horrific reality of abortion, but he's wrong to push those images into the sight of children who are too young to understand them (and he's been trying this tactic for twenty years in the area; you'd think he'd wise up by now). The parents are right to object to this tactic, but wrong to object to the display of the pictures per se. The pastor is right that the Church should never bow to pressure, but since when should it take "blackmail" to get a mention of our Church's chief contemporary moral concern once a month?

I sympathize with Mr. Foti's frustration, but he's doing the cause little good with this scattershot tactic. Showing the reality of abortion has a place, presented thoughtfully to adults and teenagers -- especially the latter, who will probably be tempted most strongly to take abortion's deceptively easy way out, someday soon.