People don’t change their minds
The simmering Roe Vs Wade controversy is now a rolling boil. The catalyst?
The powerfully written prose with which Archbishop Cordelione explained Speaker Pelosi’s prohibition from the Eucharist. Until she changes her aggressive stand on abortion as a right and good for women.
Nancy Pelosi’s response makes me wonder if she even read Cordelione’s document since she treats the dispute as another family disagreement. Clearly, she considers this as one of a list of policy disputes she has with him, rather than a portent of eternal life or death. “Now our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights, too, in fact, he led the way in some of the initiatives on — an initiative on the ballot in California. So, this decision taking us to privacy and precedent is very dangerous in the lives of so many of the American people.”
In their excellent podcast, “Full Interview,” Gloria Purvis and Archbishop Cordelione reveal more of the whole cloth of the thing. Although it’s long, almost forty minutes, I found their conversation more than warranted my time…finally, that is.
This is true for numerous reasons. Primarily these:
- Purvis cleverly visits the issues of the death penalty and immigration used by Nancy Pelosi in her reply.” Doing so at least three times, Purvis permits Archbishop Cordelione the opportunity to clarify precisely why abortion is grave matter. Why abortion differs from immigration or with the death penalty. And offers practical legislative solutions were Speaker Pelosi open to mitigating her stand.
- In their conversation, the two clarify Canon Law 915. It reads, “Those who… obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
- His comparisons of abortion with lynching and slavery are arresting and compelling.
- “The problem isn’t choice, it’s that there isn’t a choice.” Archbishop Cordelione’s statement reflects the reality of unplanned pregnancies for many, perhaps most of us who make the horrendous decision.
- Purvis concludes with what is evident: Archbishop Cordelione holds no animus toward Speaker Pelosi. If we read his letter to the Speaker, in fact, we can see echoes of the anguish this is costing him.
This is not what I intended to write for the Feast of Pentecost.
After all, it was just last week, that detachment from breaking news was the topic which caught and held my attention. And frankly, I don’t like thinking and writing about abortion. There have been billions of words written on this topic, close to a hundred thousand of them my own.
But this wasn’t my idea.
Not infrequently, my writing is directed. Occasionally, the direction is in the form of an unmistakable locution. Liike with the writing of the first two of the ancient novel series, I, Claudia and My Name is Saul.
“Your next story will be obout Pontius Pilate, told through his wife, Claudia.
“What? Write historical fiction?
“How can I do that? I know nothing about historical fiction!”
Other times it’s subtle nudges. Like those this past week to watch that interview I didn’t want to listen to. Then to read an article I found distasteful. And then the sudden emergence of a longtime “friend” which tied it all together.
The American Scholar and its lead article, The Dinner Party is timely. In the well-written article, the hostess/author decides to address the elephant in the room. She declares her support of Roe vs Wade…with her prolife in-laws. The results are predictable.
The third analagous piece is from a longterm virtual “friend’, Daniel Kahnemann. I “met” Daniel Kahnemann while researching and writing my dissertation on medical decision-making. His quote, “People don’t change their minds.” served as the aha. More accurately, the AHA.
People don’t change their minds, grace does.
While reading “The Dinner Party,” I became painfully aware that the author and her daughter’s were the views I held before my conversion. Including this one:
“You know, I read somewhere that men invented patriarchal religions because they can’t create life on their own. So they came up with a male god who can.”
This gifted woman poignantly relates her experience of pregnancy. Therefore, eminently logically, she believes that other women must be spared the sufferering she endured.
People don’t change their mind, grace does
There’s a reason that Archbishop Cordelione asks for roses, Friday fasting and rosaries for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Let’s start from the main domains where we know people don’t change their minds—politics or religion. When you ask people, why do you believe what you believe? They answer by giving reasons for their beliefs. Subjectively, we experience that reasons are prior to the beliefs that can be deduced from them. But we know that the power of reasons is an illusion. The belief will not change when the reasons are defeated. The causality is reversed. People believe the reasons because they believe in the conclusion.
I’ll wager the Archbishop wouldn’t use Daniel Kahnemann’s words but he knows the truth of it.
And now I see too.
Were it not for the grace of God, I too, would be proclaiming the “right” to abortion from the rooftops.
Just as I once did.
My journey back to the God I walked away from and finding home in the Catholic Church was not achieved through reason or study. It happened because of His jaw dropping, inexplicable, grace and mercy.
It was this I needed to appreciate, be awed by and never forget.
Hence I renew my commitment to fast and pray rosaries for the Speaker of the House and all others still incapable of being led.
If you have another fifteen minutes or so, listen to this: Allowing Ourselves to Be Led by the Friars
Used with permission from Lin Wilder.