Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, had a sobering message for a pro-life gathering the day before the 46th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“If by some miracle, Roe v. Wade – and a miracle is possible – should be overturned in the very near future, that does not end the question; the battle is not over.”
He pointed out that in 2017 Illinois passed HB 40 providing taxpayer funding of abortion and provided that, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will remain legal in Illinois.
Comparing the pro-life battle to the mindset of a goalie in hockey: “A goalie stands up there in front of a net, with people taking shots at them with a hard rubber puck at 80 to 100 mph.”
Bishop Paprocki urged them to be willing to take shots, and fend them off, to not give up, but stay the course.
"Those shots are coming at us hard and fast, but just put your glove up, knock ‘em away, and just stay with the movement."
Two miles away, while Bishop Paprocki spoke, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a symbolic vote on legislation that would have permanently banned taxpayer funding of abortion.
Unusual for a bishop, Bishop Paprocki is not only a man of words. The same day the Illinois Governor signed a 2013 bill legalizing gay pseudo-marriage, he performed “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage” and in 2017 signed a “Decree Regarding Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ and Related pastoral Issues.”
TRANSCRIPT: Bishop Paprocki’s remarks at the Law of Life Summit January 17, 2019
As Patrick mentioned, I am a marathon runner. I am not only the national chaplain of the Life Runners pro-life running group, I am a life runner. I’ve been running for years and have done 24 marathons.
I should tell you also that I got in to running basically to stay in shape to play my favorite sport, which is hockey. And I’m a goalie, and I’m “the Holy Goalie”.
I say that not just because of biographical information but also because, for me anyway, it is very pertinent to my involvement in the pro-life movement.
For one thing, the goalie stands up there in front of the net with people taking shots at them with a rubber puck at 80 to 100 miles an hour. Many people think we goalies are crazy. But basically, that mindset of being willing to stand in front of the opposition and take shots very much informs my involvement in the pro-life movement. Because, I’m sure like many of you, being in the pro-life movement, you take shots from time to time. And so you have to be like a goalie, you have to be able to fend off those shots.
One of my favorite goalies is Carey Price. He plays for the Montreal Canadians. One of the reasons I like him so much is because he's so smooth and nonchalant. The shot is coming at him, he puts up his blocker and just knocks it away. I think that should be our mindset in the pro-life movement. Those shots are coming at us hard and fast, but just put your glove up, get your blocker off, knock ‘em away, and just stay with the movement.
The other thing is, in regard with being a runner, if you’ve ever run a marathon, you know that if you’re running 26.2 miles, you’re in it for the long haul. And this pro-life movement, we definitely have to be in it for the long haul. Because not only have we been fighting this battle since 1973, but even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that battle is not over. And that leads me to my main point here about the landscape after Roe v. Wade.
If by some miracle Roe v. Wade –and a miracle is possible – should be overturned in the very near future, that does not end the question, at least I’ll speak for Illinois. Being a resident of Illinois, I’m also licensed to practice law in Illinois. But the fact was, in Illinois, shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided, in the Illinois legislature, the governor signed a bill that said if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, that abortion would revert to being illegal in the State of Illinois. And that law was on the books...until last year.
Last year, the legislature, which is controlled by the Democrats, passed a bill, HB 40, which not only provided for taxpayer funding of abortion but also provided if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, that abortion would remain legal in Illinois. That bill was passed, put on the governor’s desk, the governor was Republican, ran on the platform saying he really had no position on social issues, promised last spring publicly to Cardinal Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, that he would veto that bill. Then he sat on it for several months and by August he flip-flopped, changed his mind, and he signed the bill. So HB 40 became law, taxpayer funding of abortion is now provided in Illinois and, if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, Illinois will still be a state where abortion is legal.
The consequence of that: Gover Rauner was just up for election, he just lost that election, his successor just replaced him this past Monday, a Democratic governor who is no friend to the pro-life movement. But we pro-life people learned that this Republican governor was no friend of the pro-life movement either. And so, he paid a price for that because he basically lied and backstabbed the pro-life movement and he won the primary by less than 2% of the vote and then he lost the general election because he lost the base of his support. And so, that should be a lesson to those politicians who are perhaps going to give lip service or try to get pro-life people to support them. But we need to make it clear that (the people of Illinois did make it clear) we are not your pawns. You’re not just going to use pro-life people to get elected and then betray us in the end.
My main point to you is to say that, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, we in Illinois at least, and I imagine in a number of other states, you still have a long marathon ahead of you. So, stay the course, don’t give up, and keep running with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
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