Last week in this spot, I published a piece on Andrew Cuomo and other militantly “pro-choice” Democrat governors who fight for life in their states against COVID-19. Beyond Cuomo, this includes the likes of New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer, and Virginia’s Ralph Northam.
As for Cuomo, I noted that few Americans have battled the virus quite like the governor of New York. I noted that I feel for him. I also said that I wish he would fight to stop the loss of innocent life from abortion. He has done just the opposite. In January 2019, a year before COVID-19 swept New York, Gov. Cuomo and a beaming group of New York progressives enacted the most hideous piece of abortion legislation in America, which they jubilantly celebrated by illuminating the state’s monuments in pink.
Now, as Cuomo struggles to save the lives of (born) New Yorkers, I hoped he might gain an altogether new respect for what this former altar boy’s popes have called the sanctity and dignity of human life at all stages, from the womb to the tomb. He betrays the face of a wounded man — whose own brother fought the virus. Could his suffering provide a deeper sense of empathy? Could he now identify with the pain of the unprotected unborn? Might he change? I quoted Pope Francis from Easter Tuesday at the Casa Santa Marta: “You must repent. You must change your life.”
I applied this sentiment to the other “pro-choice” governors as well.
I got a good deal of email on that article, much of it critical for excessive charity to these governors. One person told me I was far too kind to these “rats.” Another called them “creeps.” Yet another referred to them as, well, a word not appropriate for this venerable publication dedicated to standards of basic decency.
I understood entirely. But it was Divine Mercy Sunday, after all, and I figured charity — and, indeed, mercy — was the order of the day. And besides, with Andrew looking like a man bearing the weight of the cross like few others in the Lenten season, I figured I’d extend the olive branch to the self-described “former altar boy” with “Roman Catholic values.”
How naïve I was. Actually, for the record, I really wasn’t naïve at all, but I figured I’d do my Sunday best to extend a hand to my Catholic brother from New York. Was Andrew looking upward with new appreciation and gratitude?
Alas, a writer for the excellent Crisis Magazine flagged a Cuomo statement about God and COVID-19 that hit me square in the gut in light of my column last week. The statement is crass, it is ungrateful, it is awful, it is angry. It’s classic Andrew Cuomo. Lest that sound too harsh. Behold Andrew’s words.
In his April 13 press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, his first with real signs of hopes in New York, coming on the heels of Easter Sunday, Cuomo haughtily asserted, “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”
The week before, on April 7, Cuomo said something similar, this time hoping to reach a plateau in hospitalizations: “It still depends on what we do. And what we do will affect those numbers. This is not an act of God that we’re looking at. It is an act of what society actually does.”
Of these, the April 13 statement is decidedly worse. It strikes me as so outrageously ungrateful. Look again: “God did not do that.”
Cuomo blithely offered that assessment on Easter Monday, right after greeting everyone in the room by acknowledging the past Easter Sunday and Passover, and heralding the good news that New York had at last flattened the curve precisely that weekend: “Here’s the good news: the curve continues to flatten…. We appear to have a plateau.”
But with no thanks to God. Gee, Andrew, could a benevolent God not have had a role? Or, at the least, why directly begrudge God any credit? Why even say that? No reporter had even asked.
Dear Andrew, I ask: How do you know God had no role? You don’t know, I don’t know, only God knows. As a professing Catholic, you do place faith in God, one assumes. Why even assert this? Why go there?
Worse, do you know how many people in New York and around the nation and world have been in prayer, pleading God’s intervention to slow this disease? Do you know how many victims begged God for mercy and believed they were saved by an act of God? Are you aware of all the prayer chains, online Masses, novenas, litanies to saints, and literally only Lord knows what else, from pious Christians praying for people in your state?
Maybe this is too personal and I shouldn’t put it in writing, but I feel compelled to say here that I literally pray every single day, including rosaries and Divine Mercy chaplets, for the people of New York and COVID-19 sufferers everywhere. I often awake at 3:00 in the morning and pray for these complete strangers. My family will attest that we don’t say grace without a plea to end this pandemic. And I’m far from alone. Believers do such things during times of crisis, especially when one feels helpless with little other recourse. During every daily or Sunday Mass, COVID-19 victims are a prayer intention. Turn on EWTN television any morning at 8:00 a.m., Andrew, and watch.
Moreover, I know health-care officials who have gotten through this, Andrew, because of their faith. For many people, it takes a supernatural reach to cope with something like this. Ronald Reagan had a favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln: “I’m often driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”
How many New Yorkers and people around the country were on their knees?
At a yet deeper level, Cuomo’s comments are still more disturbing. Consider: What would possess a man to even pause to say such a thing? That is, such an arrogant, gratuitous, snarky, seemingly almost bitter comment. Why is he not humbled, thankful?
As I’ve always said, Andrew Cuomo is a very unpleasant man. I’m reminded of his gratuitously uncharitable comments in January 2014, snarling that pro-lifers “have no place in the state of New York.”
And yet liberals love this guy (probably for precisely such reasons). Observe the title of a CNN.com piece by a female journalist grateful to Andrew’s handling of the pandemic: “Thank God for Andrew Cuomo.” To which I must caution the journalist: Whoa there, fangirl, don’t say that. Andrew, at least, would object.
You would think this man would have been humbled by this. You would think he would be grateful. Especially, or at least in part, to God. What ingratitude. Andrew Cuomo, an angry man.