I first started blogging because I wanted to give tribute to a saintly doctor, Herbert Ratner, M.D. I now give tribute to a saintly priest, Reverend William C. Smith, who died one year ago today.

Father William C. Smith

Born January 11, 1921

Ordained: December 22, l945

Died: August 28, 2007

Father Bill came twice a week to our local abortion mill but also, in between his various surgeries (including a nephrectomy for cancer), he also went regularly to the mills in Bridgeport and Stamford. There he would stand (STAND!) for hours, in all weather, praying for an end to abortion. So dedicated was he that after his death homilist Fr. Towsley commented that they were unable to find a decent pair of shoes for him to wear in his casket!

Father Smith was Catholic and pro-life to the core. In memoriam, on the first anniversary of his death, I would like to honor him by posting online what he wrote about (1) his Catholic faith and (2) about his pro-life convictions.

Reverend William C. Smith
January 12, 1991

When I was first asked to write an article for the religion page, I wondered what I would write about. I decided I’d write about six subjects that non-Catholics may misunderstand. They are (a) the Bible, (b) Biblical interpretation, (c) Sacred tradition, (d) Papal infallibility, (e) Purgatory, and (f) Mary.

Not all readers will agree with what the church holds but I thought it would be of interest if I briefly stated our position.

We hold that the Catholic Church preserved the 73 books of the Bible and in 397 A.D. the Council of Carthage arranged them into one book – the Bible. Until the invention of the printing press (1445), handwritten copies were made in monasteries by candlelight and on parchment. Often there was only one Bible in a town and it was chained so all could read it, as the telephone company chains phone books so all can read them.

The first Bible printed by Gutenberg in 1445 was the Catholic Bible. By 382 St. Jerome had translated the entire Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin (the “Latin Vulgate”). Translations into various languages followed. About 1226 Cardinal Langton of Canterbury developed the chapter divisions. Portions of the Bible have always been read at Mass and private reading and study have always been encouraged.

In America we encourage folks to read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc., but we do not allow for private interpretation of these documents. Similarly, Catholics are encouraged to read the Bible, but we do not believe in private interpretation. We believe Christ left the task of interpretation to his Church when he commissioned Peter and the apostles to “go teach all nations what I have commanded you” and he promised to send the Holy Spirit to “bring to your minds what I have taught you.”

In a similar way the Supreme Court interprets our documents; private interpretation would lead to anarchy.

In Acts 1:3 we read that Christ appeared to his apostles for 40 days after His resurrection and “spoke of the kingdom of God.” Yet the Bible does not record what he said! John 20:30 reads: “Many other signs also Jesus worked which are not written in this book.” 2 Timothy 1:13 reads: “Hold to the form of sound teaching which you have heard from me.”

Christ himself never wrote, nor did some of his apostles. They were sent out to “teach-preach.” The New Testament was written between 51-100 A.D. The church (33 A.D.) was in full operation for about 18 years before one word of the New Testament was written! Sacred Tradition contains the oral teachings of Christ and is a second source of divine Revelation, according to Catholic teaching.

Regarding papal infallibility: It does not mean that the Holy Father is inspired (as were the Gospel writers) nor that he receives a revelation (divine revelation ceased with the death of John, the Evangelist), nor that he is impeccable (cannot sin). It simply means he is protected from theological error when declaring to the whole Catholic world a teaching in faith or morals already contained in divine revelation (Bible and Sacred Tradition). This protection, we believe, is based on Christ’s command to Peter: “feed my lambs, feed my sheep,” plus Christ’s promise to be with the church till the end of time; plus his words: “he who hears you hears Me,” plus his promise to send the Holy Spirit to guide the church “into the way of truth” and to be the “pillar of truth.”

Catholics, of course, believe in Heaven and Hell. We also believe, however, in a place of cleansing called “Purgatory.” The Bible says (Revelation 21:) “Nothing unclean can enter Heaven.” Matthew 12:32 speaks of sins which cannot be forgiven “neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” This implies some sins can be forgiven after death. We believe venial sins (smaller sins) which are not repented in this world can be expiated (cleansed) in Purgatory. Macabees 12:46 reads: “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins.”

Catholics neither adore nor worship Mary. To do so would be a brazen act of idolatry! We honor her as the mother of Christ. Christ honored her and thus fulfilled His own commandment – “Honor thy father and mother.” He performed his first miracle at her request at Cana. After Joseph’s death he supported her until He was 30 years of age in the home at Nazareth, when He left to begin His three years of public ministry.

If we love and adore Christ, we pay Him respect by honoring His mother. I can never understand people who feel they honor Christ by snubbing his mother, anymore than I honor you (the reader) by snubbing your mother. From the cross he said, “Behold thy mother.” I believe even a church needs a mother! The second Vatican Council has given Mary a new title: “mother of the church.” If Christ is the head of the body, the church, and she is his mother, then she is the mother of the church!–the mother of the head is mother of the members.!


In Genesis 1:27 we hear God saying, “let us make man in our own image and likeness.” This image is the soul, not the body, since God is a divine spirit and the soul a human spirit. At conception, God creates a human soul and joins it to the material provided by mother and father. This great act of creation between God and parents is destroyed by abortion. The fetus, at conception, is a person because personhood is in the soul, not the body. Angels, e.g., are angelic persons, yet have no bodies. The body of the conceived fetus grows, not the soul, unless destroyed by abortion.

Conception is like marriage; body and soul are joined by God, and what God has joined, let no man put asunder, until death parts them. Weddings, like conception, are meant to be joyful. Abortions, like divorce, are always sad.

Every year in the U.S.A. we have many divorces. Every year we have millions of abortions. Doctors in abortion clinics put asunder what God has joined. The tiny, incipient, physical life of babies is snuffed out and the soul is sent prematurely into eternity, for the soul (spiritual and immaterial) cannot be killed. Abortionists, for money, push God aside, push his law aside, and say, in so many words, by their foul, murderous action: “I am God – I decide who lives and who dies – for I am Lord of life and death.”

Are we “one nation under God” or a divided nation under the pro-choice, pro-abortion crowd?


Whenever we parted from Father Smith, either at the abortuary site or at his nursing home, Father would bless us:  Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, + Pater, + et Filius, + et Spiritus Sanctus.
R. Amen….

At our last visit, three days before he died, instead of his usual blessing Father gave us general absolution. I don’t know if that is according to the rubrics or not, but surely general absolution from a holy dying priest must be a good thing!

Well done, good and faithful servant. We who are left behind thank you. Pray for us.


And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18