Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, is pictured at an organ at the institute in Rome Dec. 6. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)   VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- 'Tis t...

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Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Written by Jack Sheedy
Left, people gather to watch firefighters attack the blaze as it rages near the towers of the cathedral. The roof eventually collapsed after being completely involved in flames. At right, firefighters...

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Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Written by Mary Chalupsky
German Nativity scene by Egon Wolfsgruber is placed inside a barrel with polychrome wood figurines. (Photo courtesy of the Knights of Columbus Museum)  NEW HAVEN – With its ancestral heritage, c...

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Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) – On Wednesday, Pope Francis added world famous director Martin Scorsese to the list of Hollywood stars he has welcomed for a private meeting in the Vatican, following a...

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Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
John Slattery and Nathan Lane in “The Front Page” (Photo by Julieta Cervantes)NEW YORK – Because of Nathan Lane’s presence in the cast,  the revival of “The Front Page” has attracted attention an...

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Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Written by Mary Chalupsky
Nicholas Renouf, director of music at St. Mary Church in New Haven or four decades, accompanies the Schola Cantorum during a noon Sunday Mass at St. Mary recently. (Photo by Mary Chalupsky) NEW HAVEN...

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Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Written by Administrator
Campaign photo for the 2016 Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which will take place Dec. 10-11 in most parishes. (Photo by Jim Judkis) WASHINGTON – The annual Retirement Fund for Religious ...

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Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Hark the herald angels: How sacred music evangelizes, lifts up hearts
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Witnesses recall New Year’s Eve cathedral blaze of 60 years ago
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Museum featuring crèches of Germany
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Pope Francis meets Martin Scorsese, director of 'Silence,' at Vatican
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Theater review: ‘The Front Page’
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Sacred music: a St. Mary tradition
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t
Retirement Fund for Religious helps when communities can’t

Latest Commentary

ARCHBISHOP

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I wish all of you a holy Advent and a Christmas...

LOCAL

HARTFORD – Reverend Ivan Dario Ramirez and Reverend Israel Rivera have been incardinated in the Archdiocese of Hartford by Archbishop...

WORLD

Women religious gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, the day the high court heard oral arguments...

ARTS

Gabrielle Union and Colman Domingo star in a scene from the movie "The Birth of a Nation." (CNS photo/Fox) NEW...

FROM OUR READERS

ENFIELD – John Berube, president of the parish council of St. Bernard Parish, thanks Father John P. Melnick, pastor, for...

YOUTH

BRANFORD – More than 300 people attended the 10th annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast, held at the WoodWinds this year...

Weigel_NEWThe Hebrew Bible is not for the squeamish. And its harshest maledictions are called down upon those who practiced the abomination of child-sacrifice.

Thus the Psalmist:

"They sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons/they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood./Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the harlot in their doings./Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage./… they were rebellious in their purposes, and were brought low because of their iniquity" (Psalm 106:38-40, 43).

And the prophet Ezekiel, delivering the word of the Lord:

"And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?... Behold, therefore, I stretched out my hand against you, and diminished your allotted portion, and delivered you to the greed of your enemies…" (Ezekiel 16:20-21, 27).

Thirty-nine years after Roe v. Wade created an unrestricted abortion license in the United States, and during the time when hundreds of thousands of Americans pray and march for life, all Americans ought to ponder these words – and the kind of country to which Roe v. Wade led.

It was supposed to be a country in which women were liberated; it became a country in which women were ever more the victims of predatory and sexually irresponsible men, left alone with their "rights" to find a technological "fix" to the dilemma of unwanted pregnancy. It was supposed to become a more humane country; it became a country in which morally coarsened pundits can describe as "extreme" and "weird" the faith-filled response of the Santorum family to the loss of a newborn shortly after birth. It was supposed to be a country of greater equality; it became a country in which the fantasies of those who believed that America was for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants only, with emphasis on "white," were realized beyond the wildest imaginings of the most crazed racists and eugenicists of the 1920s.

These hard truths have too often been hidden, especially where abortion is widely prevalent. Thus it is to the immense credit of the New York-based Chiaroscuro Foundation that it has compelled the New York City Department of Health to itemize separately abortion and pregnancy statistics in its annual reports. The 2010 numbers, just released, would make both the Psalmist and Ezekiel blanch:

Of the 208,541 pregnancies in New York City in 2010, 83,750 were terminated by abortion: 4 in 10. Among non-Hispanic blacks, there were 38,574 abortions and 26,635 live births: thus for every 1,000 African-American babies born, 1,448 were aborted. Those numbers were even more chilling among non-Hispanic black teenagers: for every 1,000 African-American babies born to teenagers, 2,630 were aborted. The overall teenage abortion rate was 63 percent in a city where 16 percent of all pregnancies were teen pregnancies.

New York City is not America, of course. And there is encouragement on various fronts in the battle for life. The national abortion rate is down over the past several decades. Science has vindicated the pro-life position. The pro-life/pro-choice opinion balance has tilted, if slightly, in favor of the pro-life cause. Younger people are more likely to be pro-life than aging baby-boomers. Legislated regulation of the abortion industry has driven abortuaries out of business in many places.

Yet the fact remains that America is a country in which almost one in four pregnancies ends in the willful, violent death of the unborn child. And this slaughter of the innocents has been going on, often in higher percentages, for almost four decades.

As the Psalmist and Ezekiel might have told us, feeding the demons inevitably leads to a terrible hardening of sensibilities. The warnings from ancient Israel about where that hardening leads are worth pondering in this election year, and indeed in every year.

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.