By Gregory N. Weiler

St. Thomas More and California Proposition 1

October 15, 2022
Column: Life, Truth & Justice

I recently attended Orange County’s (OC) Red Mass sponsored by the OC St. Thomas More Society celebrating the County’s Bench and Bar and the start of a new Supreme Court term. Walking in from the parking lot I was gratified to see large “NO ON PROPOSITION 1” banners. Here’s why…

Proposition 1 is a proposed initiative California Constitutional Amendment ostensibly granting a mother the right to abort her unborn child through and beyond full term. Self evidently barbaric and inhumane for anyone with even rudimentary Catholic sensibilities.


“Proposition 1” … would enshrine into the California’s Constitution an unfettered right to an abortion through full-term of pregnancy . Such Proposition is so important to the California Legislature that it is designated number “1” on the 2022 November ballot.*

In short, if vote in California and if you care about protecting unborn infants, vote NO on Prop 1.

California is already a state where any mother can drop off her infant at a public place—a fire station or police station—NO QUESTIONS ASKED.


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At the Red Mass, looking at the congregation with some 30 judges robed in red and hundreds of lawyers celebrating “the Law” and administration of “Justice,” I couldn’t help but to note the contrast between the serene spirit of the Red Mass liturgy and the actual turmoil in state of the Law in 2022 . The same judges processing into the Red Mass and the worshiping Catholic lawyers, would tomorrow, outside the Cathedral doors , face a legal system embedded with positive law antithetical to many fundamental tenets of natural law and its parallel Catholic morality.

These officers of the Court must navigate, must administer, a legal system corrupted by the exercise of super majority legislative power.

“Corrupted”—aren’t we talking democracy ? Come on, if our representatives vote a law into existence, or better still, if the people by initiative vote for a law or constitutional amendment, isn’t such law definitionally good?

History answers such question where governments in other countries adopted and administered laws divorced from the “Natural Law” (or whatever other term you want to call the fundamental laws described in the Declaration of Independence, UN Declaration of Human Rights, Nuremberg tribunals and axiomatic in every human heart of good will).

Ghastly displays of naked human power are all too evident in both ostensible democracies and authoritarian regimes (e.g., we might recall the sterilization and antisemitic laws enacted by German legislature in the 1930s or the Jim Crow of the early 20th Century South).

St. Thomas More and California Proposition 1
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My Red Mass thoughts wondered back again to the banners in front of the Cathedral opposing “Proposition 1” which would enshrine an unfettered right to an abortion through full term in the California’s Constitution. Such Proposition is so important to the California Legislature that it is designated number “1” on the November ballot.*

What are Catholic lawyers and judges to do in such a Proposition 1 legal system , a euthanasia legal system , a legal system imposing on us and our families gender/sexuality policies antithetical to JudeaoChristianity ? These questions are no longer hypothetical.

When I should have been reveling in the Cathedrals organ music ( I hate organ music! ) I wondered what St. Thomas More** would do in 2022 California? Like us now , St. Thomas in the 16th Century was forced to decide between violating his conscience but saving his life/fortune , or defying the sovereign power of the state enforcing unjust law and remaining steadfast in honoring his conscience at the cost of his head. Needless to say St Thomas is not revered today as a great Saint for violating his conscience and capitulating to Henry the VIII’s demands.

St. Thomas More and California Proposition 1
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In his fight against an unjust law St Thomas used his intelligence and the available political and legal systems to defend himself until he was forced to choose whether to compromise his conscience and save his mortal life, or follow his conscience and save his everlasting life. With respect to Proposition 1 I think St Thomas would recommend these virtues to us now. Peacefully oppose Proposition 1 as the greatest of injustices , form your consciences , do not compromise them in the face of a darkened culture and be prepared for the many faces of martyrdom.


* One must wonder about the minds and hearts of legislators, many ostensibly Catholic, who could conceive, sponsor and adopt late term abortion statutes . Reminds me of the scene in a “Man For All Seasons” where St Thomas More confronts his old protégé Richard Rich who perjured himself in the Saints trial in exchange for an appointment as the Attorney General of Wales: ” Why Richard it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for Wales.” We are good to remind ourselves what the consideration is and the other party in a Faustian bargain .

** The patron of hundreds of legal Societies , deemed the greatest lawyer of the second millenium , patron Saint of Statesmen, was Chancellor of England, described by his 16th Century contemporaries as its most brilliant scholar, canonized a martyr Saint four Centuries after his death and the subject Robert Bolts famous play and Academy award winning Best picture film “A Man For All Seasons”.

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St. Thomas More and California Proposition 1

Gregory N. Weiler, Esq. is a founding board member of the St. Thomas More Society in Orange County, CA, a Fourth Degree member of the Knights... MORE »

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