Fr. James Martin prayed at yesterday’s final day of the Democratic National Convention and included a call to “open our hearts” to “the unborn child in the womb.”
The Jesuit priest and America Magazine editor-at-large is known for stirring controversy regarding Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality.
He announced plans to lead a DNC convention prayer on Aug. 16. Due to the Democratic party’s position on abortion, contraception, and other moral issues, the priest received mixed responses from pro-life Catholics. However, some Catholics applauded the priest for including the unborn in his prayer.
Here’s his prayer below:
Here’s the text of the prayer:
Open our hearts to those most in need:
The unemployed parent worried about feeding his or her children.
The woman who is underpaid, harassed or abused.
The Black man or woman who fear for their lives.
The immigrant at the border, longing for safety.
The homeless person looking for a meal.
The LGBT teen who is bullied.
The unborn child in the womb.
The inmate on death row.
Help us to be a nation where
every life is sacred,
all people are loved,
and all are welcome.
Here’s a video of Fr. Martin’s prayer:
Dear friends: Here is the Benediction I prayed last night at the @DemConvention: a prayer for a nation where every life is sacred, all people are loved and all are welcome.
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) August 21, 2020
Princeton University professor Robert P. George and Live Action founder Lila Rose both posted reactions to Fr. Martin’s prayer on Twitter. George commended Fr. Martin’s courage to include the unborn in the prayer, while Rose called on Fr. Martin to give the unborn greater priority.
Here’s Robert P. George’s reaction:
George’s first tweet reads, “My friend Fr. James Martin and I differ on important issues. But I was proud of him for standing before a party that’s deeply committed to abortion and praying for protection for the child in the womb. Calling out one’s own tribe (even implicitly) on its injustices takes courage.”
George’s second tweet reads, “Remember, the Democrats are as radically opposed to any meaningful legal protection for the unborn [and] against the lethal violence of abortion as any political party in the world. Even the ‘safe, legal, and rare’ rhetoric was removed from the platform in the Obama years. No limits.”
Here’s Lila Rose’s reaction:
Here’s the text a Rose’s Twitter thread:
“An open thread to @JamesMartinSJ regarding abortion:
“Dear Fr. Martin,
“According to your America Magazine op-ed in January, 2019, you hold that abortion is one issue in a spectrum of issues that people of good will should take steps to address.”
“You say these include immigration, LGBTQ acceptance, access to healthcare [and] refugee crises. As a Catholic human rights activist, I appreciate your encouragement of respect for the lives of ALL human persons. This is absolutely essential to the work of ending human rights abuses.
“Where we diverge in our thinking, Fr. Martin, is in considering the moral priority of ending abortion. Abortion is, without question, the most pressing and egregious human rights violation in our day.
“We can’t conceive of the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent children each year as falling randomly in the spectrum of life issues you enumerate.
“No other violation destroys anywhere near the number of victims; Murder is the most egregious violation of human life.
“‘The deliberate killing of innocent life is a uniquely wicked act. No amount of contextualizing or deflecting our attention to other issues can obscure that.’
“Abortion is a human rights atrocity targeting an entire people group (children in the womb) which is sanctioned by our laws. Americans are even forced to fund it.
“In the face of this government sanction, Church leaders like yourself have a serious duty to call for action.
“[Martin Luther King] was an activist whom I’m sure you admire as much as I do. King succeeded against the most urgent issue of his day through his FOCUS.
“The ravaging of millions of pre-born children deserves unapologetic focus — not to be lost in a spectrum of important but less-urgent causes.
“You acknowledge that many find the pro-life position offensive. Often, this is because they are post-abortive.
“But, rather than teaching your friends Catholic theology of human life, which is rooted in love, you seem to throw your hands up in the face of the faithful’s confusion
“Our Church and world desperately need leaders like you who can elucidate the reasons why our faith is incompatible with the murder of innocent children.
“We are living in a culture that gaslights post-abortive men [and] women, telling them that their grief and guilt are unfounded.
“You seek compassion. But treating abortion as just one in a series of injustices when it has torn us apart isn’t compassion. It’s not compassionate to the child in the womb OR to the culture wounded by the deaths of our countless children, siblings, [and] neighbors in abortion.
“I challenge you to ask yourself how you would respond — and to what standards you would hold political leaders — if 2,363 LGBT individuals were being dismembered and beheaded every day in the US alone.
“Would you be doing more for those victims than you are for the 2,363 children who are being dismembered and beheaded in abortion business every day?
“Would anything be more important to address until the slaughter were ended?
“And if not, why not?”
Catholic Church teaching on abortion
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270)
“Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271)