“Yes, I can stand with a Catholic,” ( I answered in an interview earlier this year), and though I was staunch in my concern for our differences on the issues of grace and faith, I wholeheartedly said I could join hands and fight alongside the Roman Catholic Church over our concern for the unborn. A hand I once shook, and a great voice in that all important trumpet blast, passed from this life today at the age of 98.
One could not stand in the presence of Archbishop Philip Hannan and not be put at ease by his monumental grin, nor could he miss his infectious vigor for life. Though he had a legacy stretching from the battlefields of World War II, to his friendship with the Kennedys and Camelot (even delivering a eulogy for John Fitzgerald Kennedy), saw the aftermath of hurricanes from Betsy to Katrina, championed the cause of the poor and the neglected, hosted Pope John Paul II in New Orleans, finally saw “his team” win the Super Bowl, and weathered the storm of church scandals – I believe his clearest voice and most important legacy is found in his clarion call for the end of America’s greatest sin. He said, “Abortion is murder, and I don’t care what anyone else calls it,” he clarified, “when there is an operation and before it you have a living baby and after it you have a dead baby, that is what it is.” He even once called it a “sin” to vote for a political candidate who supported abortion (at the time referring to William Jefferson Clinton and Mary Landrieu). He even vocally walked out of an official meeting in 2008 (at the age of 95) when Catholic officials were discussing the support of Barack Obama’s health care reform when the question of supporting abortion clinics came up.
A pair of combat boots is left empty. Who will lace them up and join the march to defend America’s most defenseless citizens? A picture was made on December 2, 1964 at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kennedy Center dubbed, “Profiles in Courage,” and pictured beside President Johnson and Robert Kennedy was Bishop Philip Hannan. He lived up to this title no more so in anyway than in his stone-faced defense of the unborn.
(Hannan is pictured alongside Robert Kennedy in a black hat)
Link to Times-Picayune
article, New Orleans: http://www.nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/09/archbishop_philip_hannan_dies.html