Austin’s ‘Mary House’ : From a Real ‘Pro-Life’ Catholic Worker

I fear that the most recent murder of an abortion doctor will inflame the hatred and zeal of these people, who in private and public will try to justify the murders of abortionists.

By Lynn Goodman-Strauss / The Rag Blog / June 2, 2009

My work in the Austin Catholic Worker house of hospitality, Mary House, consumes all of my time. Our work is a scandal in this very rich town, because we are the ONLY free medically supportive housing (versus hospitals and nursing homes, which most sick and dying people do not need). Our guests are homeless adults with terminal or critical illnesses, and about one third of them are middle class people whose illnesses outlasted their benefits, real property, savings and automobiles!

That said, it is clear that this work is as “pro-life” as it comes. Which everyone but the “real” pro-lifers believes! I fear that the most recent murder of an abortion doctor will inflame the hatred and zeal of these people, who in private and public will try to justify the murders of abortionists. This is just as hypocritical and vicious as I can imagine, and so I have written a letter to the Austin Statesman, which they may refuse to publish. I also sent a copy to the local Catholic bishop, Gregory Aymond.

Although we may not agree on whether a fetus is a person, we never will disagree about the evil of murdering any person. I cannot say that about most Catholics, evangelicals, and other “pro-lifers” (read, anti-abortion, NOT pro-life in any sense that would actually enhance the lives of unaborted, unwanted children — you know, stuff like day care, health care, education, prenatal vitamins, etc.) will countenance the most basic of Christian tenets, Love. Love in Action, to be more precise. Sometimes it seems that our work in catholic worker communities consists of evangelizing Christians to their own faith!

Here is the letter I sent:

This is a codicil to those who say that an abortion doctor’s murder is somehow justified. Gandhi said it best: “An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.” Those of us who value life must respect the life of every single human being. That includes criminals on death row and abortion doctors, too. After all, the Jesus we pro-lifers claim to follow forgave his own murderers as he died a cruel and unjust death.

We who call ourselves Christians cannot pick and choose those we deem worthy of life. Shame on misguided souls who rationalize the death of one doctor to “prevent” abortion. Murder is murder! And human life is human life, no matter who the person is or what he does, or how old she is.

Very truly yours,

Lynn Goodman-Strauss
Mary House Catholic Worker
Austin, TX

Go here to learn about Austin’s Mary House.

The Rag Blog

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2 Responses to Austin’s ‘Mary House’ : From a Real ‘Pro-Life’ Catholic Worker

  1. Lynn — well, they ought to publish your letter, even if they don’t, and I’m glad you sent it, along with your other comments, to the Rag Blog! It’s important for everyone to be reminded that there is a continuum of belief within all religious institutions (and among them as well); extremists are almost always just that, extreme within their own group, and not representative of the majority view.

    Unfortunately, Catholicism in particular has come to be associated in recent years with extreme beliefs regarding abortion. I sometimes wonder how much of what we see, in terms of churchyards filled with little crosses representing aborted babies, etc., is based on a genuine belief of parishioners that abortion is always wrong, and how much on peer or pastoral pressure.

    I’ve seen many letters in the Statesman calling on Muslims to denounce the violence of extremists who cloak themselves in Islam. So, I hope that the voice of a well-known Catholic activist denouncing violence will be heard there, and I also hope that it will encourage others to speak out as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    For the 2nd time in just one issue, the Rag Blog shows us examples of people who not only espouse peace and love-of-neighbor but put their words into actions.

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