Father Paddy McCafferty is from Corpus Christi Parish in Belfast. Fr Paddy is no stranger to many Brothers in Northern Ireland and we are all forever grateful for all his wonderful work in defence of the unborn. In support of Father Paddy’s continual fight for the unborn, please read his own personal thoughts below:
Very early, in my priestly ministry, the scandal of “Fr” Brendan Smyth became public and the havoc he wrought in children’s lives. I began to speak out and challenge the Catholic Church on its treatment, outreach and response, to victims of clerical sexual abuse. I was told, even by fellow clergy, that I was a “trouble maker” and that I should “keep my head down” and “shut up”. But I didn’t. I said more and wrote even more.
At the time, when it was taking a terrible personal toll upon me, to give me courage and comfort, one of my parishioners reminded me that Ahab, the cowardly and apostate husband of the evil Queen Jezebel, called the prophet Elijah “O you troubler of Israel” (I Kings 18:17). The mighty servant of God, Elijah, his name means ‘the Lord is my God’ and he was called to minister at a time when Israel had forgotten that the Lord is their God. Elijah who said, “I have been full of zeal for the Lord God of Hosts” (I Kings 19:9-10) was told that he was a “trouble maker”.
Initially, I did not identify myself as a victim of this evil; but I was a victim and I was suffering terribly since childhood. I was abused by a babysitter when I was four, five years old. Later, I was abused by “Fr” James Donaghy when I was a young adult seminarian. I, along with other of his victims, took Donaghy to court, in November 2011. He was found guilty on December 14th and sentenced to 10 years in prison on February 10th, 2012. My point is that I knew I had to stand with the innocent whose power was taken from them when they subjected to horrific violations and when they were subjugated to the vilest horror. I knew their pain. I experienced it.
I have always felt very close to my Saviour when He was stripped naked before they nailed Him to the Cross on Calvary. We recall this in our Catholic Churches in the 10th Station of the Cross, “Jesus is Stripped of His garments”. The Psalmist was shown, by the Holy Spirit , God’s Beloved Son being treated so terribly and it was prophesied, “they divided my clothing among, they cast lots for my robe” (Psalm 22:18).There was no “loincloth” to protect His dignity, which we properly and rightly place upon crucifixes, to honour His Sacred Humanity. Those who crucified Him, showed Him no such honour and respect.
I believe, that when they stripped Him of all His clothes and cast lots for His seamless undergarment (Psalm 22:18, Matthew 27:35, John 19:23), He was sharing our sufferings and humiliations, as victims of rapists, perverts and abusers, whether as children, or later in life. This seamless garment is the robe of a King and a Priest. My Great High Priest and my King was dying for me and became a helpless victim for me. Wounded and humiliated, despised and rejected, degraded and dying for me. We, as victims and survivors of sexual abuse, were rendered powerless by our attackers. There are none so helpless and powerless as the boys and girls in their mothers’ wombs who are rent asunder, torn limb from limb, their skulls crushed, by abortionists and their lobbyists, their industry and supporters. I am most exercised over abortion because it is the worst form of child abuse. It is the brutal destruction of the most vulnerable and helpless of all. Even at four, five years old, I wasn’t totally defenceless because I could at least run away, even though I didn’t know that I should have run away. The child in the womb has no defence against the surgical instruments that will rip him and her apart, that will inject potassium chloride into his and her tiny beating heart.
I have been the object of vicious opprobrium because I am calling on people to vote Pro Life on May 5th. I am not interested in politics and political parties. I am calling people to reject the child abuse and evil that is abortion. To the extremely irate and nasty SDLP supporter, who rang me on Saturday morning to berate and denounce me, who tried to tell me what I should say from the pulpit as a priest, who shouted at me that you are “pro life”, you come and talk to me. You know where I live. But leave your bullying and hubris at the door. SDLP pro life, where were you? How did you allow John Hume’s party, so concerned for human rights, to sink to such depths? That it makes a mockery of real human rights by allowing the evil of abortion, the butchering and murder of the child in the womb, to masquerade as a “human right” and as “compassionate healthcare” for women. Absolutely none of you have been able to answer me on that. Therefore, I call on those in electorate who are truly faithful Catholics, to reject you and not vote for you on May 5th.
I am calling on everyone, who loves Christ, to vote Pro Life on May 5th. I make no apology. This is how I am voting: Gerard Herdman, Aontu number 1. After that those who are pro life, Tony Mallon (independent), DUP and TUV. I am not afraid because I refuse to give in to fear. I hear Jesus saying to me, “Do not be afraid, I know you are afraid, but do it anyway, because I am here beside you”. I have no vested interest in any political party. I only care about the slaughter of little children being advocated and promoted by certain politicians and their parties and the wicked perversity of them calling it “compassionate health care” and a “human right”. Compassionate healthcare is to alleviate human suffering and to heal people who are ill and in pain, not the dismemberment and butchering of children, not the flushing of their remains down the sluice of the hospital or some other death centre. To call abortion a “human right” is an obscene and grotesque mockery of actual human rights. Make this clear on May 5th. Make this an election issue! Vote Pro Life even if it goes against your “political grain”.
I have used this month’s Thought for the Weekend in the Belfast Telegraph, to appeal to all Christians to vote Pro Life on Thursday in the elections.
Thought for the Weekend – April 30th, 2022:
In calling him and entrusting him with a unique mission, the Lord Jesus Christ asked His apostle, Peter, three times, “do you love me? (John 21:15-17). The number three, in Holy Scripture, signifies perfection. Christ seeks from Peter – and from us all – a love that is total and absolute. That is the only kind of love of which our Saviour is worthy. I must love Him with all my heart, above and beyond all else. I normally use this monthly column to reflect on the Scriptures of the following Sunday, upon which I will be preaching to my congregation.
However, because I will hear St Peter say tomorrow, “obedience to God comes before obedience to men” (see Acts 5:27-32, 40-41), this month, I am appealing to my fellow Christians and others of goodwill, to vote Pro Life on May 5th. It is a scientific fact that, at the moment of conception, a unique human being comes into existence. That boy and girl has his and her own separate body and identity, limbs, organs, DNA. He and she is worthy of dignity and has the inalienable right to life. Society does not confer that right to life on the child. He and she already has it, given by his and her Creator. Through the evil of intentional abortion, society denies and suppresses the child’s most basic human right.
The unborn are one with us. They are also the most vulnerable and entirely defenceless of us all. It is an obscene absurdity to talk about “human rights” whilst removing the human rights and the very lives of our weakest sisters and brothers. There are many things wrong with our society. Those who enter politics have a grave obligation to work for the good of all. It is a very sick society that builds itself upon the deliberate killing of infants, in some cases up to birth, if the child is deemed “defective”. The vital issue of unborn life transcends “tribal” politics. I appeal, to all Christians, to vote for those will defend the unborn child, even it goes against your political grain. What is at stake is too great.
I may radically disagree with some of my fellow Christians on theology but, because we love and obey Christ, we can stand together and say “No” to a terrible evil and scourge.
Fr Patrick McCafferty,
Corpus Christi Parish,