You say you're pro-life because you're Catholic. What if you weren't Catholic? Would you still be pro-life? That's kinda my point. Ok, let's assume that the majority of the people in the pews, who are Catholic are not pro-life. That's kinda what you're alluding to...why are they not? The Church has been clear on life issues since the beginning of the Church. Who do we hold accountable? Do we hold the people in the pews accountable? Yep. They should know better. Ok, let's assume they don't. Then who do we hold accountable? Well, we have to hold the priests and bishops accountable, because they are the pastors of the Church. If they don't catechize properly, then it can be assumed that the faithful don't know better. Getting back to the faithful though, if they do know better and are not being held accountable, then they will gravitate toward the path of least resistance, right? So, then who do we hold accountable for that? Back to the priests and bishops. They are the pastors of the Church. This all revolves around proper catechesis, but it also revolves around culpability. The faithful do know better and those who are pro-choice choose to be so...and it then becomes a matter of catechesis. If the catechesis isn't strong enough to sway them, then the culpability is shared by those who are not being clear enough in their teaching. The Church is clear, the Church is right. The presentation is what is at issue....
You ask what is most immediate for the bishops? Getting people to understand their faith. We have lost that, by and large today. So, it becomes imperative that we know our Faith. For 99% of Catholics, we come to understand our Faith through the Sacraments. If we are to drill it down, we are most exposed to Salvation through the Mass. That is what is most immediate for the bishops. The harsh reality is that since Vatican Council II attendance at Mass has dropped drastically. Why is that? Is it because of a sheer lack of faith? No, I don't think so. I think that it is a lack of catechesis. Again, this falls on the priests and bishops. They are the principal teachers and they are to pastor to us.
However, since the Council, there has been a paradigm shift in the thinking of the leadership of the Church. It has gone from one of being a Sacramentally driven model to one of Social Justice. Being pro-life has become more important than being Eucharistic and Sacramental. Are both important? Yes, but they are not of equal weight. I cannot save my soul by simply being pro-life. I can save my soul by assisting at Mass and participating in the Sacraments. Since Vatican Council II, this shift has seen things which are encompassed as being "social justice" become much more centric than tending to the needs of the Church. What is the better example for a priest to give...marching on DC with Martin Luther King, Jr. or celebrating Holy Mass and preaching the truth? We know where a good portion of priestly identity lied in the 1960s and 1970s. It wasn't in preaching about the truths of the Church, but rather it was about preaching about the injustice given to man. There is a place for that, to be certain. The responsibility of the priest and bishop was not and is not first to preach about man, but to preach about Christ and proclaim His Gospel.
That is what I am getting at.
It is good to be pro-life. It is important, but it isn't what is killing the Church, if we can even rightly say that. What is killing the Church, is a lack of Catholicity within her. Yes, it is on the rebound, but it is being done in spite of an entire generation of priests and bishops. And how sad is it that I have to say that? We have priests and bishops who are fighting tooth and nail to suppress the traditional practices of the Church. They are getting desperate, because they know that they have not won the day. So, the likes of Reese and McBrien; the likes of Mahoney and Clark; and any number of liberal priests are seeing that the next generation isn't buying the social justice-as-definition and they are rebelling. The answer lies in what bishops Bruskewitz and (Arch) Chaput are saying and doing. The answer lies in Bishops Sample and Sirba. The answer is that we must regain our Catholicity. Then things like being pro-life make sense. Otherwise all we are is a secular organ which happens to be pro-life. And being pro-life doesn't grant us salvation. The Church and her Sacraments do.
It is only through Christ and His Church that we attain heaven. The Sacraments are the signs that get us there, the Mass is the vehicle and everything else, including being pro-life is secondary.