|Gordon:||What are crucial elements that Catholic churches must have for twenty-first century Catholics?|
My wife and
I have been members of various parishes throughout our
married life. While each parish has its own identity and
focus, I think that all of them must have the following to
attract and maintain today’s Catholics—young, middle aged,
|Gordon:||You have been a prominent activist with Right to Life. What initially interested you in pro-life challenges and in what form did your initial activism take?|
||I do not think of myself as
a “prominent activist”; never did, and never will.
I knew that I wanted to devote my life to pro-life causes when Sister Eunice at St. Catherine's Elementary School in Cleveland talked about the Supreme Court’s decisions legalizing abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. I was outraged that the Court could be so stupid as to legalize such killing. I won a pro-life essay contest sponsored by the Garfield Heights Knights of Columbus soon after that, and the rest, as they say, is history.
That history is relatively insignificant. I worked with Cleveland Right to Life in leadership positions and loved—absolutely loved—doing the National Right to Life Committee’s Voter Identification Surrey project in the metropolitan Cleveland area. After I lost the presidency of Cleveland Right to Life (by one vote, as I recall), I shifted my energy (and money) to other pro-life groups, such as various right-to-life state and federal political action committees, and to University Faculty for Life.
Now that I’m very, very happily retired, my pro-life work consists of writing academic papers on various aspects of the life issues in literature, posting pro-life messages on social networking services, and (my favorite!) giving money to pro-life groups.
||Your articles on pro-life and other ethical and societal challenges as well as on American writers is somewhat mind-blowing. Your interest in these topic appears to have inspired your book, An Ethical Analysis of the Portrayal of Abortion in American Fiction: Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Brautigan, and Irving. Could you please comment on Hemingway’s references to abortion?|
||I’ll do a Walker Percy here
and say “No.” If anyone is interested in my comments on
Hemingway and abortion, then he or she can read the book or
search for pro-life papers on the Internet.
Instead of focusing on Hemingway, I would encourage students, my colleagues in academia, and interested others to read papers published by my friends on University Faculty for Life’s website. Another excellent source of prolife articles is LifeIssues.net.
Instead of reading anti-life
articles by scholars (so-called) who use their doctorates to
bash the pro-life movement, reading quality articles on
these services will help balance the scholarship and, most
importantly, show that a vibrant academic literature exists
written from a life-affirming perspective.
|Gordon:||You have presented over fifty papers before academic and professional organizations. Please list some of some of the organizations at which you have presented.|
||I am most proud to mention
that I have presented papers every year (with one exception)
before University Faculty or
Life since 1985. Presenting research at a UFL conference
is the highlight of my academic year, and I will enjoy the
opportunity to attend and present at these conferences until
Besides UFL, I have had the honor of presenting papers before the following organizations and universities: American Men's Studies Association; American University of Rome; Annie T. Thornton Women's Leadership Conference, University of Dayton; Association for Canadian Studies in the United States; Ave Maria College; Brigham Young University; Catholic University of America; Citizens for Educational Freedom; College English Association; Conference of Defense Associations Institute, Ottawa; Engineer's Club, Dayton, Ohio; Fordham University; Georgetown University; Harvard University; International Association of Asian Studies, Baton Rouge; John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio; Kent State University, Ashtabula Campus; LifeTech Conference, Dayton, Ohio; Loyola College, Baltimore; Marquette University; McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; Midwest Modern Language Association, Cleveland, Ohio; National Association of African American Studies and the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies, Baton Rouge; New York University; NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development); Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; Ryerson University, Toronto; Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia; Teaching/Learning Conference, Ashland, Kentucky; Trinity International University, Chicago; Universite de Montreal; University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana; University of San Francisco; University of St. Thomas School of Law, Minneapolis; University of Toronto; and Villanova University.
|Gordon:||Could your provide our readers with an overview of the issues that you address at Koloze Consultants?|
||My consultancy is designed
to assist those persons (graduate students and faculty) who
wish to present at academic conferences but are afraid to
identify themselves openly as pro-life academics. As
everyone knows, the academy is virulently anti-life, so a
pro-life professor must hide his or her pro-life beliefs as
long as he or she can until earning tenure, where some
degree of academic freedom occurs. (A second option to reach
academic freedom is the one I took, retirement, which is
Recently, now that I am in a position to do so, the consultancy has redirected its efforts to funnel pro-life dollars to pro-life groups.
|Gordon:||With our new administration’s commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade, what would be some of your suggestions on how to address this challenge?|
||1. Keep donating money to
pro-life political action committees, including the National
Right to Life PAC. We pro-lifers must always—always—give
money to such groups to counter the seemingly endless funds
2. A short term goal must be the targeting of anti-life senators The pro-life majority in the US Senate is slim, and anti-lifers must not be given a chance to change the Senate from pro-life to anti-life in 2018.
3. Keep working. Whether the Second Coming arrives soon or late, we can not just sit back and wait for pro-lifers in DC or elsewhere to enact pro-life laws. Keep holding pro-life bake sales, praying, and posting on social networks. Speaking of which...
4. Respond to anti-lifers’ posts and other social networking messages by turning the rhetorical tables on them. That is, if an anti-lifer posts a sarcastic message about pro-lifers, respond by urging that anti-lifer to protest the killing of the unborn or to donate to pro-life pregnancy support groups. Anti-lifers just want to drag us into their anger. Don’t let them. Fight their anger with a positive pro-life message.
|Gordon:||You work with many students. More and more young people have been leaving the Catholic faith. What, in your opinion, can parishes do to address this challenge?|
I have some ideas, but who cares to hear them? After all, what does a mere English professor have to say that a priest, a bishop, or the pope would listen to?
I can say this, however, from the aforementioned perspective of an English professor: witness to the faith by enunciating Catholic values, which are in stark contrast to the tired secular culture which informs academia. Showing students that you not only talk pro-life, but live it will bring them back not only to their faith, but their Church.
|Gordon:||Thank you for your insights into the some of the challenges that we face in our shared commitment to the infinite value and dignity of human life.|