E:\4x5 Color For Internet_Mackura_0023.jpg  
Profiles in Catholicism
 
An Interview with Denise Mackura


by Gordon Nary





 

Return to Main Page


Gordon:   You are fortunate in being a member of Holy Rosary Church which is on the National Register of Historic Places.  When did your join Holy Rosary Church?
     
Denise:   Mid-2000
     
Gordon;   There are several other Cleveland Churches on the National Register of Historic Places. If someone who was seeking to join a Cleveland parish asked you for a recommendation of which parish to join, what are the special qualities of Holy Rosary that you would mention?
     
Denise:




 
 

The parish of Holy Rosary is truly a loving Catholic community, some members going back generations.  Through various outreach programs to the poor, the elderly, pregnant women and others, the pastor, staff and parish members really get to know each other. For example, there is an annual street festival to celebrate the feast of the Assumption, outdoor community
stations of the cross, and other very visible community activities. 
 

Most important, the sermons and activities reflect our spiritual journey and how that should be lived out day to day.

     
Gordon:   In addition to your career as a leading Cleveland pro-life attorney, you have also had a strong background as a pro-life community and national  leader. Could you provide us with an overview of your pro-life professional career?
     
Denise:   I have been honored to serve as one of the founders of Cleveland Area Students for Life before & after Roe v. Wade, as Legislative Counsel at Americans United for Life (Chicago), Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. and the Thomas More Society (Chicago) as well as Cleveland Right to Life.  I also taught a course in the history of abortion in America at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. I have also served on the boards of the National Lawyers Association and Democrats for Life of America I recently successfully represented a woman who was the victim of a forced abortion in Cleveland. 
     
Gordon:   In the past four decades, how has the national pro-life movement in the United States changed?
     
Denise:   An increasing percentage of young people have become involved at all levels and in all aspects facets – service to pregnant women, political activity, educational efforts, and others.  The movement as a whole, despite predictions to the contrary, has increased in strength, as evidenced by the large quantity of pro-life state legislation throughout the country.
     
Gordon:   You also serve as President of the Human Family Research Center which somewhat extends the traditional focus of the pro-life movement to a much broader series of challenges including Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Bullying. Could you provide us an overview on how all of these issues are interrelated with some of the more traditional challenges such as abortion
     
Denise:   An increasing percentage of young people have become involved at all levels and in all aspects facets – service to pregnant women, political activity, educational efforts, and others.  The movement as a whole, despite predictions to the contrary, has increased in strength, as evidenced by the large quantity of pro-life state legislation throughout the country.
     
Gordon:
 
  Have you noticed any change in the Catholic Church in the US as a leader in the pro-life movement?
Denise:   The Catholic Church was in the forefront of protecting unborn children in the decade prior to Roe v. Wade, when the vast majority of states rejected the efforts of those who were trying to make it legal to end the lives of unborn children.  Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court ignored the will of the people when it decided Roe.  The Catholic Church
has remained faithful to the mission of protecting the human rights of unborn children, supporting parish pro-life groups, pregnancy help centers and other efforts.  Unfortunately there are a few parishes in every city I’ve visited that do not support these efforts, but the vast majority do.
     
Gordon:   In 2014, there was a UN charge about the Vatican's anti-abortion teaching. Could you provide us with an overview of this challenge and how it was addressed?
     
Denise:





 
  The Catholic Church was one of the earliest voices for the belief in the value and dignity of every human being. This belief ve was not always a part of human culture and it brought about a profound change in culture law. Unfortunately, there are still those who deny this basic truth and therefore act as though it is their right to ignore the rights of others if they believe it is in their own best interests. I sincerely believe that you can’t diminish the rights of another human being without diminishing all human rights. They are all interrelated. The Human Family Research Center seeks to help people to realize that we are all part of the same family and should act like it! Of course families have problems, but that doesn’t mean they don’t keep trying to work for individual and the common good. It is particularly interesting that lately news reports have begun to use the term “baby” and “person” when talking about unborn children in the context of accidents where a pregnant woman is involved and miscarriages. That is a powerful reminder that we are, as a society, confused about unborn children. Are they only babies when they are wanted? Human rights should begin when human life begins – which, clearly, is at conception.
     
Gordon:   You have recently taken a position as National Secretary for the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association. Can you tell me about this organization?
     
Denise:



 
 

Yes - It was founded in 1892 by a group of immigrant Slovak women in tough economic times.  Women could not then get insurance, which was desperately  needed in the years before  government programs like OSHA, workman's compensation and disability insurance.  They pooled their pennies (literally) and provided the financial security that was missing.  They started the organization in Cleveland and it grew to a  national organization with members in all 50 states. They are a nonprofit, and use their income for charitable purposes throughout the United States.  They have given substantial sums to Catholic churches and schools as well as many other local projects to help the injured, the sick  - and even suffering animals!  The organization is built on the foundations of our Catholic faith.  They even send buses to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. every year!   I am deeply honored to be part of the FCSLA.

     
Gordon"   I was surprised that there are actually quite a few Catholic fraternals in the United States.
     
Denise:   We are in the process of merging with a Polish group in Chicago.
     
Gordon


 
  My first introduction to your pro-life leadership was through your book American Democracy in the Wake of Roe Prospects for Just and Rational Change which is a recommended resource for many pro-life organizations including the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

Thank you for taking time for this interview and your leadership in the pro-life movement.