By Tim Rohr
Per a recent news story in the Pacific Daily News, the Archdiocese of Agana, specifically its vicar general, Father Romeo Convocar, has called on Vice-Speaker Barnes to place the Guam “Heartbeat Bill” on its session agenda.
Unfortunately, Fr. Convocar’s support of the “Heartbeat Bill” inadvertently implies that killing a child in the womb is okay up until a fetal heartbeat is detected. This is in direct contradiction to universal Catholic teaching which holds that life begins at conception and that the direct killing of an innocent, defenseless human being is always intrinsically evil.
“2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”
Prior to the Dobbs decision overturning Roe, incremental pro-life legislation like the “Heartbeat Bill” was the best that could be hoped for, and advocating for such legislation was even officially encouraged by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae.
“…when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.” – Evangelium Vitae 73 Note: Between 2008 and 2018, the Esperansa Project did precisely this in backing eight pro-life bills into law and functionally shutting down Guam’s abortion clinics in 2018.
However, since the Dobbs decision has opened the door for a full, legal ban on abortion, Fr. Convocar would have better served the church he represents by writing a letter of support to Attorney General-elect, Douglas Moylan, who has stated his intent to dissolve the injunction placed on Guam’s 1990 abortion ban.
Fr. Convocar’s letter to Vice-Speaker Barnes is yet another example of Guam’s Catholic Church leadership continually stepping on itself when it wanders into the public arena – usually after being baited – and without proper counsel. Unfortunately, as recent history has demonstrated, said leadership’s public missteps are not paid for by the Catholics on the altar, but by the Catholics in the pews.
Tim Rohr is the broker for Blue Pacific Realty and a resident of Agat. He pioneered the citizen to Vatican protest and eventual overthrow of the Apuron regime. It was during this time the Archdiocese of Agana’s coverup of the sex abuse scandal came to light. Rohr has been a pro-life advocate for decades, and has pushed for and participated in the creation of legislation and laws that have discouraged abortion on Guam over the years.