Soft Tyranny

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate.  That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.  It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.  For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Was there a greater political prophet than Alexis de Tocqueville? I think not. He wrote about American society and government nearly 200 years ago, and his brilliant insights into American culture specifically and political theory more generally are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote, if not more so. It’s as though he possessed a crystal ball and saw the ascension of petty tyrants like Michael Bloomberg.

If Mayor Bloomberg gets his way, and it looks like he will, large sodas and other sugary drinks will be a thing of the past, at least at restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, and stadiums across the five boroughs.

Under the mayor’s proposed plan, drinks at these locations would not be over 16 ounces. If businesses break the rule, they’ll be hit with a $200 fine.

Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, said the measure is a new way to fight obesity. He estimates that over 60 percent of New Yorkers are overweight.

Aside from the bogus statistics – I grew up in New York City, and 60% of the people are overweight only if the ideal weight is “anorexically thin” – this is yet another attempt by Nanny Bloomberg to dictate to the people of New York how to live their lives. You may remember Mayor Mike from such public health efforts as banning smoking pretty much everywhere and banning the evil known as transfats.

Even if one agrees that it is good for people to not smoke and to eat healthy, is there no end in sight to these efforts to control the daily lives of citizens? You know, other then when it comes to those same citizens aborting their children because they’re only girls.

Let’s leave aside the fact that such a ban would be futile as, after all, customers could just order multiple beverages. This is yet another effort to control behavior. Certainly this is not the most egregious assault on personal liberty in this nation’s history, but that’s sort of the point, and that was Tocqueville’s point as well. It’s the little things that get you. In other words, the real danger in democratic governments isn’t large-scale deprivations of liberty (though these are certainly possible as well), but rather the minute, insufferable attempts to manipulate people and treat others as though they were children.

That said, this story is yet another corrective to the old saw that it is social conservatives who want to control every aspect of our daily lives. If Michael Bloomberg is a social conservative, then I’m afraid to know what I’d be labeled.

But have no fear New Yorkers. Even if Mayor Mike takes your giant sodas away, at least he won’t be touching your donuts.

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7 Responses to Soft Tyranny

  • Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    CS Lewis

  • Don’t you mean soft drink tyranny?

    I predict that large size soft drink sales in New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut will sky rocket. And drink prices will rise because the cup manufacturers will have to make up for the lost sales in the elimination of the greater size cups, and will charge more for the smaller sizes.

  • What’s going to stop someone from buying more than one small drink?

    And I’m curious – what constitutes “obese”?

  • I don’t know where it ends either. But I still remember the days of having to smell cigarette smoke when I went out to eat, not having to anymore is very nice.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Bloombery and the soft drink police, this is just plain silly. But on the otherhand I am not sure where the “line drawn to far” is.

  • The extraordinary thing about the nanny state is that alcohol escapes regulation.

    Too much soda. No smoking. Calories must be posted. Report cards must include calculating body mass. However, drinking is OK. Working your employees to death is OK. Smoking marijuana is OK. Low-rise jeans on men is OK. And tarting up your four year old is actually good for you.

    Even if I weren’t Catholic, I’d believe in an afterlife… I just couldn’t believe this mess of a world was it.

  • Not to worry.

    When the progressives destroy the private sector, everyone will be seriously thin.

  • T. Shaw says:

    “”Not to worry.

    When the progressives destroy the private sector, everyone will be seriously thin.”

    I must agree

The Party of Gendercide and the Words of Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

Live Action today released a second video showing that Planned Parenthood, an organization that I have designated  Worse Than Murder, Inc, has no problem with sex selection abortions.  Go here to read my post on the first gendercide video released by Live Action.  Today the House failed to muster the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the  Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act which would have banned this unspeakable evil.  The Obama administration opposed the bill.  Obama has never found any form of abortion he opposes and Planned Parenthood has his complete allegiance.  In the House 276 Republicans voted in favor of the bill, 7 against.   Democrats voted 161 in favor of gendercide and 20 against.

The core of the Democrat party today is abortion.  The vote on gendercide demonstrates just how extreme this allegiance is.  As in the days of slavery, the Democrat party champions the notion that we can, in good conscience, ignore the rights of portions of the human race, and that the unborn, like the slaves of old, are mere property and may be destroyed at the mother’s will and whim.  The words of Lincoln should be our battle cry against this old evil in a new form:

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5 Responses to The Party of Gendercide and the Words of Abraham Lincoln

  • BRAVO! This made me tear up! I am a sidewalk counselor for a pro-life group and everyday the media and the Left just beats us down. Thank you for posting this! God Bless you!

  • Thank you Ashley for being a sidewalk counselor. That is the most difficult, and essential, service in the pro-life cause. I tear up also when I read the words of Lincoln in the above passage.

  • This is so appalling & scary as it reminds me of China.

  • What has always perplexed me is that Catholics and Blacks, as a general rule, have always marched lockstep with democrats! Yes, the left changed the language, rewrote history and owns the rest of the media. That is the reason that most sheeple vote democrat, but how many examples do these people need to convince them that this is the party of death and destruction. These dems are really communists. Oh, and voters DO have a choice – they can always vote for the better choice on the Republican side. Educate yourselves for Goodness Sake!

“Kids” Living With Their Parents Forever Thanks to Obama

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

Just how far in the tank is the Mainstream Media for Obama this election year?  Time gives us an example:

Just how much of a bummer is it to be well past the age of adulthood and  still living under your parent’s roof? As this living arrangement grows  increasingly common, the perception is that it’s not so bad after all. In fact,  living with mom and dad can be pretty sweet. According to a new survey, young  adults who live with their parents are nearly as likely to say they are  satisfied with their housing situation as those who live on their own.

Last fall, a study revealed that the number of young adults living with  their parents had soared. Prior to the recession, 4.7 million Americans ages 25  to 34 lived with their folks. As of last year, though, the number had increased  to 5.9 million, thanks largely to years of widespread high unemployment and  underemployment for young workers—who often simply did not have the money to  move out of their own.

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39 Responses to “Kids” Living With Their Parents Forever Thanks to Obama

  • We can check available statistics from the Census Bureau and other sources, but I think the increase in frequency with which adult children live with their parents antedates this recession by two decades.

    And if the families in question can make it work, why the objection to 3 generation households? There are quite a mass of mutually beneficial exchanges to be had between three generations which are forgone when you have only two.

  • “There are quite a mass of mutually beneficial exchanges to be had between three generations which are forgone when you have only two.”

    Don’t buy it Art. In the overwhelming majority of cases adult “kids” living with their parents is due to a lousy economy rather than some desire to recreate a multigenerational commune circa Ireland 1890. People can live as they choose as far as I am concerned, but rest assured that few parents are all that pleased when the fledlings are fully grown and permanent house guests, although there are always exceptions.

  • In the overwhelming majority of cases adult “kids” living with their parents is due to a lousy economy

    That may be true, but just where did you discover that datum?

    And what of it? It is one thing done to adjust to problems in both labor and housing markets in our time. Do you have a better idea for these families?

    than some desire to recreate a multigenerational commune circa Ireland 1890.

    Well, how about the desire to be 1.) hands on grandparents, 2.) minimize the use of commercial day care, and 3.) provide for infirm parents something which can only be purchased at a severe premium: time and attention.

  • “Do you have a better idea for these families?”

    Yes, don’t vote for idiots like Obama who are death to an economy. (It might also help to consider whether that anthropology degree/women’s studies degree/art history degree was really necessary for asking “Would you like fries with that?”)

    “Well, how about the desire to be 1.) hands on grandparents, 2.) minimize the use of commercial day care, and 3.) provide for infirm parents something which can only be purchased at a severe premium: time and attention.”

    I rather suspect Art that for one of those situations we have five where the daily routine is Mom or Dad going down to the basement to yell at adult offspring to stop playing videogames, get dressed and hit the bricks to look for work.

  • AHAHAHAH! YES! It’s Obama’s fault that the thing that has been happening for the last 20 years is happening.

    Liars or idiots, which are you?

  • “Liars or idiots, which are you?”

    Thank you salvage for giving us a demonstration as to how Obama got elected in 2008. Keep your hope and spare change.

  • Ah, now Salvage has an ip address up in Toronto where the banned Catholic Anarchist is a grad student. I would wager that “Salvage” is yet another pathetic attempt, there have been many others, by the Catholic Anarchist to leave banal acidic comments here. I would suggest that he get a life, but I never suggest that people do the seemingly impossible. Ah well, at least he reads us faithfully, and drives up our hits.

  • Salvage is a frequent commenter at the Curt Jester, where he trolls most of the comment threads with his evangelical atheism. Not sure if it’s the same person as the famed Anarchist. Either way, not worth the time responding to.

  • As for the topic at hand, I unfortunately lived at home for 2 years post college and before graduate school. At first it was to save up to get my own apartment, and then, after realizing I was going to grad school, I just gutted it out until I moved down to DC.

    The typical young adult living at home isn’t doing it for the reasons Art outlined above. Now that might be the case in special circumstances, and I know of people who have had to move back home to take care of a sick parent. But that’s the exception, and not the rule.

  • Art raises some good reasons for families to consider multi-generational living arrangements. I do think that there are many advantages, often under-appreciated. But Paul and Don are right (no I don’t have data, but I do have eyes) that most young adults who live at home are doing so out of perceived financial necessity (i.e., not enough job creation). To what extent it is fair to lay the blame for that on Obama is another question.

  • From the same lickspittles who brought you “Funemployment.”

    I sorta understand it, though. They have little choice but to go all-in with their guy.

  • Living with parents after college can help a catholic young adult live a chaste life, marry well, and have a solid start. It shouldn’t necessarily be demonized. Money wasted on ‘bachelor pad’ rent, is money that never comes back. On the other hand, money spent on household bills builds credit and helps the parents, money that would be spent in addition to rent if the young adult were living on their own.

  • While I was going to college and law school, I lived with my parents during the summers, but I think all of us would have shuddered at the idea that I would have been living with them indefinitely after I graduated. I was ready to be on my own, and my parents were always there to lend a helping hand if needed, although fortunately it was never needed. I don’t fault adult kids who simply can’t find work no matter how hard they try, but I think attempting to put a smiley face on this situation in the vast majority of cases is completely wrongheaded.

  • It’s Obama’s fault.

    He is both ignorant and incompetent.

    The economy is slagging based on his incompetent and hatred of the private sector.

  • Salvage lives with his parents. That’s all you need to know, Art.

  • Yes, don’t vote for idiots like Obama who are death to an economy.

    That is an evasion. Domestic financial dilemmas are a constant. They are worse in economic recessions, but recall that in even the most disagreeable recession that 90% of the workforce remains employed. Obama is not ‘death’ to an economy, merely an advocate of policies which promote deadweight loss through rent-seeking and hedging. That costs you some, but not everything.

    I rather suspect Art that for one of those situations we have five where the daily routine is Mom or Dad going down to the basement to yell at adult offspring to stop playing videogames, get dressed and hit the bricks to look for work.

    We can look it up. I think what you suspect is a function of personal experience, and in my circle of acquaintances, concerns about elder care are king.

    . (It might also help to consider whether that anthropology degree/women’s studies degree/art history degree was really necessary for asking “Would you like fries with that?”)

    About 61% of those enrolled in tertiary studies in this country are pursuing vocational degrees. Some of those studying arts and sciences are following programs in economics or in chemistry. At the liberal arts college down the road from here, my inside man tells me that about 4% are studying art and art history, 6% sociology and anthropology, and <1% women's studies. About 12% get degrees in economics.

    so out of perceived financial necessity

    Cannot help but recall that my mother went to college, and graduated without debts. That was in 1952. My grandfather was not a wealthy man.

  • “That is an evasion. Domestic financial dilemmas are a constant. They are worse in economic recessions, but recall that in even the most disagreeable recession that 90% of the workforce remains employed. ”

    Half of recent college grads Art are unemployed or working in jobs, (Do you want whipped cream on your Cappuccino?), that do not require a college degree, and that is why so many of them are returning to the nest.

    “a function of personal experience”

    No, considering that none of my kids are out of college yet.

    “About 61% of those enrolled in tertiary studies in this country are pursuing vocational degrees”

    We have 8.5 liberal arts students for every engineering major Art. Now I received my undergrad degree in the teaching of social studies so I could take lots of history and political science classes, and I enjoyed them quite a bit, but if I had to rely upon them in the job market, other than to teach, I rather suspect that I would have had a stint in the food service industry myself.

  • We have 8.5 liberal arts students for every engineering major Art

    Engineers are a small minority in just about any economy. Arts and sciences is a catch-all for any subject not preparatory for a specific trade or profession. The country is not lacking for bookkeepers, salesmen, mechanics, and school teachers, most of each do have tertiary degrees or certificates of one sort or another nowadays.

    Half of recent college grads Art are unemployed or working in jobs, (Do you want whipped cream on your Cappuccino?), that do not require a college degree, and that is why so many of them are returning to the nest.

    I think that is more an indicator of bloat in the higher education sector (a problem which well antedates recent macroeconomic problems).

  • I don’t think it particularly Obama’s fault, although there is some fun in saying that.
    ( Not just talking about college grads who live at home, but also all those who can’t find or hold a job, who can’t take care of their children, who need the government to buy them birth control etc etc.)

    I think Obama is not a cause but a result, just as our hapless generation is. A result of all the things that went wrong in the century when the devil prowled throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. May God rebuke him.
    And let’s think what we can do to get back on our feet.

  • It is the economy. It is the curse of taxation too, that children no longer take pride in home ownership and independence. There is safety in numbers. Burglaries are down when there are many people, and lacking siblings, several generations suffice. There is much to share and much to grow. I enjoy solitude and I enjoy my many children. When my children are with me they make sure I behave. They are smarter, more beautiful and more generous…to be continued

  • What ioannes says. I have plenty of friends who are moved out–and plenty who are living at home post-college, including at least one who moved back home after having sharing an apartment with friends for a year or two. Most of the young people I know who are still living with their parents (full disclosure: self included!) are (1) employed full time, (2) paying off student loans or saving up for a car and/or an apartment, (3) paying rent to their parents or paying some of the utility bills, AND (4) helping out with household chores or babysitting their younger siblings. Hardly freeloaders, thank you very much.

    (I might add that, as a young single girl, I find it a very good thing that guys I’ve gone out with have had to drive me HOME to where they see and speak with my brothers and my parents, even if it’s just for a quick hi-and-goodby.)

    There’s nothing (inherently) wrong with a person in their twenties living on his/her own or with friends, and nothing inherently wrong with their living at home either. It’s what you make of the situation that matters.

  • Anzlyne says:
    “I think Obama is not a cause but a result, just as our hapless generation is. A result of all the things that went wrong in the century when the devil prowled throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. May God rebuke him.”

  • Thank you Mary. I have to say that TGWWS is also right in that there is nothing inherently wrong with that– and there are silver linings. Our grown children are all graduates of college and some have needed to come home temp. Fine and dandy, probably because they are capable, they just needed interim help. If they were not capable or motivated then I would wonder!
    Are the economic problems (world-wide) and the general cultural malaise at least in some part a spiritual/sin problem that can’t be hung on any one administration, but on a long term trend?

  • I am 67 and, here in the West of Scotland, I cannot remember a time when about three-quarters of the neighbouring farms did not have three generations on them

    As I was sent to boarding school from the age of eight, I actually spent more time living with my parents after university than I did before.

    My family have lived in the same house since at least 1617, when the Register of Sasines was established and six of our nine maillings or tenandries have been in the same families for the same length of time. The sheiling or shepherd’s house on the common grazings has a carving of the Seymour crest on the lintel, dating from the 14th century.

    It just never entered my mind that I would ever leave.

  • “I don’t think it particularly Obama’s fault,”

    I do. He has been the most feckless steward of the American economy in my lifetime.

    “Arts and sciences is a catch-all”
    for people graduating with degrees that few are interested in hiring in this economy.

    “I think that is more an indicator of bloat in the higher education sector”

    We definitely have too many people getting degrees in subjects that have little economic value, but the current unemployment rate among new college grads is something that we have not witnessed since the Great Depression.

    “And let’s think what we can do to get back on our feet.”

    Vote out Obama and as many members of his party as possible from Congress. Slash governmental spending to balance the budget. Tell people the old hard truth that there is no free lunch and that govenment is not going to take care of people any longer who are quite capable of caring for themselves.

  • Vote out Obama and as many members of his party as possible from Congress. Slash governmental spending to balance the budget. Tell people the old hard truth that there is no free lunch and that govenment is not going to take care of people any longer who are quite capable of caring for themselves.
    and return the Person of God to the Public square.

  • “He has been the most feckless steward of the American economy in my lifetime”

    all too true! He is not blameless. There is plenty more blame to go around too, I say.

    I will vote against Obama and encourage everyone I know to do the same, I guess my vote won’t be as much FOR Romney, as it will be Against Obama.

  • I’m going to turn 30 in a month. I wouldn’t be able to make it without the financial support of parents and in-laws. That’s what seven years of university and a post-graduate degree buy you.

    At least I don’t have to live WITH them. But that’s only been the case for the last two years, and it could well happen again.

  • The author of the article would undoubtably also find cause to celebrate the record number of food stamp recipients.

  • Well, I take my hat off to those of you who live with your parents and seem to enjoy it.

    When I got out of the military I lived with my mother for about 6 months to get adjusted to civilian life and begin college. I love her dearly but I just couldn’t take it. Being a grown adult (all of 22 years) and living with my mother wasn’t working…..

    I transfered school quickly and went off to another area, lived in a crummy 1 bedroom apartment, meet my future wife in that new location and the rest is history…..

    Being much older, wiser and married with some little ones I am glad I made the decision I made. I guess it wasn’t the best move financially but as a person I developed and grew up in ways not possible if I was at home. Plus I met my future wife after moving and we have some wonderful memories of that crummy one bedroom.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • My father died in the room and in the very bed, in which he had been born.

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  • I left home at 17 and so did my brother. We joined the Navy and Army, respectively. Back then military service was almost de riguer if you didn’t go to college. When I got out, at 21, I lived with my mother briefly and then my dad, who had divorced while I was away but only for a few months. By 22 I was back on my own. I suppose if you can’t support yourself and your parents can provide a safety net there’s nothing wrong with living with them until you can find a place of your own. In China and third-world countries, parents and children often lived together for a lifetime. It’s more cultural than political.
    When I had children of my own, I was glad to see them gone in their late teens because I had a sense of pride that they were able to live free and independent lives.

  • Similar story to Joe’s, here, for all three of my siblings. We’ve spent more time since we graduated high school visiting than we have living with my folks.

    With the number of empty rental places, it means something much different than it does in Scotland. I’m actually heading down in a few weeks to meet up with the other descendants of a family that left Scotland 100 years ago– we did not keep some idea that living in the same house after adulthood was OK. Those who are living with parents– or adult children– want a separate house that is very near-by for ease of help. Heck, the house I’m living in now has a different family living in the “mother in law cabin” out back. The only case I can think of where adult children and parents lived together long-term without a protection aspect is where my grandparent-in-laws remodeled their basement into an apartment (with its own entry/exit and parking area) for a mother in law.

    Joe’s hit it on the head– it’s a matter of independence.

    Odd that this happens shortly after a lot of parents mention how their kids don’t want driver’s licenses.

  • Being a grown adult (all of 22 years) and living with my mother wasn’t working…..

    That is going to be a function of what your habits are and how overbearing your mother is. People born prior to about 1938 faced a cultural chasm between themselves and their children. I think that if you looked at it with care, you would find that the chasm was much smaller for subsequent cohorts.

  • My folks are quite a bit younger than that, and I’m 45 years younger than that, and it still didn’t work.

    It’s not a matter of being overbearing, it’s about the changes that happen when you move out and then move back– if you never left, it’s different, but the changes that happen when you do leave don’t translate very well into moving back in.

    There’s the culture problem, the power problem, the personality problem (at least in my case– both my mother and myself have very strong personalities; similar personalities often grind against each other) and…shoot, everything involved in the change between your baby being a grown-up with the added problem of them being back in the situation where they were kids, which will change how both act. I’m just visiting my folks and I still notice I act differently than at home.

  • I am not sure where the idea comes from that it is somehow the right thing to get away from your parents no matter. It seems to me that it makes sense to take care of your parents when they get old. I do think that there are reasons for getting out of the house but leaving your parents in the dirt seems like a bad thing to do.

  • If you say so, Foxfier. Your situation just sounds like…family life.

  • Art- the difference between a 19 year old adult that never moved out and a 19 year old that moved back in is big enough that I notice it. Unless the definition of “family life” is circular, it ain’t the same.

    Valentin -there’s a difference between staying with your parents until you form your own household, moving back in with your parents while both are active adults, and a family member moving in to take care of someone that’s in poor health. The rule of thumb I hear most often is “do you do your own laundry?”

Review of For Greater Glory

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

There is well known to Us, Venerable Brethren – and it is a great cause of consolation for Our paternal heart – your constancy, that of your priests and of the great part of the Mexican faithful, in ardently professing the Catholic Faith and in opposing the impositions of those who, ignoring the divine excellence of the religion of Jesus Christ and knowing it only through the calumnies of its enemies, delude themselves that they are not able to accomplish reforms for the good of the people except by combating the religion of the great majority.


The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my first post on the film and the historical background of the Cristeros War.   I will be seeing the movie with my family on Saturday, and I will have a full review of the film on Sunday or Monday.  In the meantime, reviews are beginning to come in.  I enjoyed this one by Dustin Siggins at Hot Air:

Over the last several years Catholics in America and Europe have experienced what they believe are the stripping of religious rights, and many are concerned the situation could easily turn into a public confrontation with various governments. One example of this is in England, where just this week the federal government has moved to declare wearing crosses in public is not a right. On this side of the water, my church’s parochial vicar Father Robert Lange often quotes His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, who in 2010 said the following: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

Such things were on my mind as I watched “For Greater Glory,” a movie about the Cristeros, or “soldiers for Christ,” who fought against religious persecution by the Mexican government from 1926 to 1929. The movie starts with laws which encroach upon religious freedom relatively benignly, such as not allowing the public wear of religious symbols. The Mexican government then moves to decry foreigners who allegedly control the nation’s citizens, particularly the Vatican, and rounds up all foreign-born bishops and priests to force them to leave the country. Peaceful rallies and protests are responded to with military force, which leads to an economic boycott.

The boycott is the last straw for Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles. Ignoring the counsel of his advisers, he begins invading churches and killing Catholic priests and parishioners. This leads to protests of various forms, from peacefully marching in the streets to violent rebellion. At the heart of the entire movie are a teenage boy who sees his mentor shot before his eyes, an atheist whose wife’s Catholic faith and his own belief in religious freedom cause him to lead the rebellion, a woman whose network of faithful Catholic women is critical to the rebellion’s early formation, a rebel whose legendary fighting skills are matched by his disdain for authority, and a priest whose violent leadership in the rebellion causes a great deal of spiritual uncertainty.

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9 Responses to Review of For Greater Glory

  • Steve doesn’t give it a rating, but my guess is he would give it a B+ or A- on his Decent Films scale.

  • A fourteen year old boy is executed after torture for loving Jesus. Calles is a Mexican Hitler. St. Agnes was only twelve years old when she was butchered. Fourteen year old children are not even executed for capital one murder and Calles was butchering children for loving Jesus. Calles is a Mexican Herod.

  • Why do they (Obama and the Dem party) hate us?

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  • Don: I posted this over on your other blog entry, “They will shoot me on Tuesday” before I saw this area. With your permission, I’ll repost my question here:
    What is known regarding how the Cristero’s ended up? I read in a blog yesterday by Steven Greydanus, the movie critic at the National Catholic Register (the good NCR) [and lauded by you here earlier], that the Mexican government and the Catholic Church eventually came to an agreement whereby the Church stopped fighting the federal forces. As a result, the Cristeros became isolated and cut off from support and more were killed after the agreement than before. I realize the events in Mexico almost a hundred years ago are not the same as the attacks on religious liberty here in the US in 2012 but the ending in Mexico, if correct (and here I rely on you and your readers for help), sounds ominous with the Church leaders cutting a deal and leaving the people to fend for themselves against the State. It just makes me wonder about how current events will unfold…

    God bless you – thanks for this blog!

  • Some of the Cristeros were reluctant to accept the agreement, although most did. Most Cristeros expected that the Mexican government negotiated in bad faith and they were correct. Cristeros were persecuted and their leaders massacred. Many Cristeros fled to the United States where they usually received a warm welcome from Catholics here. The situation became intolerable in Mexico in the thirties and led to a second Cristeros revolt in the mid to late thirties. It should be noted that Pius XI bitterly denounced the Mexican government for reneging on the terms of the agreement With the election of Manuel Ávila Camacho, a believing Catholic, as President of Mexico in 1940, the situation dramatically improved, with the worst attacks on Catholics ended.

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It’s a Girl! And It Doesn’t Matter

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

I don’t like gimmicks. And though I am sure I will offend a few people by saying as much, I believe that the recent focus of pro-life activism on sex-selective abortion has the air of a gimmick, one of the latest in a series of end-run appeals to the public. There is the legislation being pushed by Trent Franks (R-AZ) that would punish abortionists who fail to determine if an abortion is requested for sex-selective reasons. There are also the efforts of Live Action and its leader, Lila Rose, whose methods I have questioned in some cases and outright rejected in others.

Let’s start with my first problem with this focus: say sex-selective abortion is actually outlawed. How will this be enforced? All a pregnant woman has to do is, when asked if her abortion is due solely to the fact that her child is a girl, is say “no.” I guess a few might answer honestly, but then, who is going to make sure that the abortionist is asking the question in the first place? I remain highly skeptical regarding the effectiveness and enforcability of such laws.

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15 Responses to It’s a Girl! And It Doesn’t Matter

  • An argument could be made that half a loaf is better than none.

  • This isn’t half a loaf. It’s a few crumbs at best. And I honestly don’t think it is worth what may be lost.

  • I agree with you in essence but the fight against abortion cannot be won, if it can be won at all, in one fell swoop. It’s an incremental process. By chipping away at the pro-aborts, progress can be made. BTW, the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are unfortunately wrongly framing the issue. It really boils down to “pro-life” and “anti-life.”

  • This article entirely, I mean ENTIRELY, misses the point. The modernist/secularist/humanist view – of which abortion is a component – is irrational and needs to be called out as such. The entire internal logic of abortion is that it “empowers” women to take control of their fertility and allows them to live their lives that limits the “burdens” of childhoods to times and circumstances of their choosing. But if that “choice” involves disproportionally preventing females from being born just because they are females, how can abortion continue to be touted as pro-woman?

    I vote for attacking the enemy at every turn when its logic collapses in on itself. Planned Parenthood and its allies simply MUST maintain their “doctrinal purity” by advocating abortion on demand at any time and for any reason. When the times and the reasons appear strange and nonsensical to the average American, we win.

  • As a matter of abstract principle, it is difficult to argue that one murder is worse than another and, here, Bonchamps is right enough.

    However, when we look at the history of criminal law, that is the investigation and prosecution of murder or other crimes by state officials, in the public interest, rather than at the instance of the injured party or his kindred, we find the rationale has been the amount of alarm and insecurity that it produces in the community. Thus, parricide, from the earliest times, was treated as a particularly heinous public wrong, as striking at the very foundations of social order.

    In the same way, the selective abortion of girls can be viewed as an attack on the foundational social and political value of equality, in the same way as racially-motivated crimes are singled out for special condemnation in most European jurisdictions.

    I would stress, once again, I am talking about murder as a crime, the subject of public prosecution, and not its moral gravity.

  • There are two ways of viewing this issue. One, if some lives are saved, and people are more able to voice their disapproval of some abortions, then ground is gained. Two, if the most subjectively offensive abortions are outlawed, then the remainder become societally acceptable. Bon takes the second view. I can view the issue either way depending on my mood.

    I wish more people realized that by week 6, a fetus has a heart beat and brain waves. I hope that realization discourages people from getting abortions even in the first trimester, and definitely later. But I realize that may just inspire people to be more prompt in getting abortions.

    The morning-after pill makes the problem even worse. It’s like the firing squad shooter who may have blanks. He doesn’t know if he killed anyone, and it allows him to sleep at night. That’s going to be tough to talk people out of.

  • The male child allowed in China’s one child policy is the social security of the parents. The male child, when grown, will care for his parents. A female child may not be able to care for and be the support of her elderly parents. In America, the male child carries on the family name. Female gender abortion proves that feminism has failed, that the feminists could not make the female over into the male. The female gender cannot be made over into the male. Because our laws criminalize discrimination according to gender, the hope is that by using this law more babies may be saved. This same law may be used to save male babies as well, for it is wrong to discrimate according to gender, male AND female.

  • Dear Bonchamps,

    It is not that sex-selective abortion is worse than every other types of abortion. But, the videos shows clearly that one can schedule an abortion using any really stupid reason as because it is a girl.

    Support Lila Rose.


  • What I don’t understand is pro-choice feminist opposition to sex-selective abortion. They’re all about giving the mother choice – unless it’s a choice they don’t like?

  • Kristin

    I suppose they would argue that socially entrenched gender bias produces a false consciousness in the women who choose sex-selective abortions, making them complicit in their own oppression – a sort of Stockholm syndrome

  • Strategy vs tactics? Opposition to all abortion is easy to encompass morally. However, rooting it out in all its insidious forms invoves some specifics.

    Analogy: Since chemical weapons are “banned,” is death by flame-thrower any better? And that’s an honest question, not a challenge wrapped in inquiry.

    Dunno – Is there a point at which something is so reprehensible that degrees of reprehensibility no longer matter? Gonna ponder this one for a while.

  • 1. It is awfully insulting for you to call a baby girl “it” rather than “she”

    2. If abortion is murder why should the leaders of planned parenthood be hung in Nuremberg Deutschland?

  • Joe Green I think we should call to mind the order given to crush the Serpents head rather than slowly trying to cut the end of the tail.

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Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

Thursday, May 31, AD 2012

A few years ago I would have thought the title of my piece was too extreme- I bought into the charisma of Barack Obama- never publicly supported him- but I thought he was someone who could bridge some of the serious difficulties that pro-life Democrats faced within my political party. I read his books, I thought he respected the Catholic Church as much as a secular political liberal could be expected to. Around that time I was trying to work from the inside of the Democratic party- running for Florida State House as a pro-life Democrat, and later serving as Vice President for the Florida Democats for Life organization. This was also the time period where I was invited to become part of a national Catholic Democrats listserve which included such notaries as : Vicki Kennedy, Lisa Sowle Cahill of Boston College, Rev. William D’Antonio and Rev. Anthony Pogorel of the Catholic University of America, Peggy Steinfels of Fordham University, Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown, Vincent Miller of Georgetown/U. of Dayton, Dan Maguire of Marquette, Doug Kmeic of Pepperdine, Suzanne Morse of NCR, Chris Korzen of Catholics United, Alexia Kelly of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Steve Callahan of the AFL-CIO, and others (Eric LeCompte, Nicholas Carfardi, James Salt, Morna Murray, Fred Rotondaro, Kari Lundgren). I never agreed to keep all that passed before my eyes confidential, but I never publicly revealed the basic content until now.

My reason for going public now is due to the recent event where the Worcester Bishop Robert McManus weighed in to prevent Vicki Kennedy from speaking at the Anna Maria College commencement. The press I read portrayed the Bishop as being overly vindictive and Kennedy milked the rejection, playing innocent, as though she is doing nothing to try to upend the Catholic Church as we know it- as a Hierarchical Institution. It was my experience on the Catholic Dem listserve that Vicki Kennedy was essentially my nemesis. I defended the Church as a Hierarchy, and the official teachings on abortion et al, and she took me to task almost every time I wrote pro-orthodox Catholic commentary- with plenty of Amens from her fellow travelers on the listserve. I did receive a few positive private emails from some on the listserve, but on the whole it was a very discouraging experience trying to defend the Church as a convert, who would be at a total loss if the Catholic Church put no stock in the teaching authority of the Pope and the Bishops, and taught that contraceptives, legal abortion, and gay marriage were just fine and dandy things. So Soon after posting this on the listserve-

“It is deeply troubling to me that this Catholic Democrats listserve membership seems more intent on finding reasons to pull some kind of palace coup against the Catholic Church Magisterium and Hierarchy in general, than to address specific issues related to the Catholic interests in American politics. I am a convert to Catholicism, I knew what I was signing up for in becoming a Catholic, I accepted the teachings and authority lines as prescribed by the latest Catechism. I simply cannot understand why those who seem to relish openly trashing the Apostolic successors retain membership in the Church- that is something that I can only address as an appeal to someone else’s good conscience. Most of my family is of the Protestant variety, I understand that thinking and worldview but reject it, but they are acting in good conscience- they don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches about her role, so they don’t invest in the Catholic narrative and authority line. Maybe what I’m finding here at Catholic Democrats are many good protestants but not orthodox Catholics as I understand things?

You can remove me from your rolls if it displeases many here that I don’t conform to the groupthink on display here, otherwise I will continue to offer my two bits to challenge the establishment views of liberal, anti-Catholic Hierarchical voices which parallel the hard Catholic Right- in their wrongheadedness- in my humble opinion anyway. One is certainly free to criticize the clerical/Hierarchical handling of sexual abuse cases over the years- but how this all fits in with being a Democratic Party member is something I can’t fathom. Tim Shipe”

My offer to leave was accepted after Vicki Kennedy wrote a smack-down on me; and shortly thereafter I severed my own Democratic party membership and ended my leadership role with Florida Dems for Life- I took Archbishop Chaput route of becoming a political Independent and remain such today.

To come up to speed- back a couple of years ago- I knew that the most powerful and connected Catholic Democrats in our country were interested in more than just getting more traction on Catholic social justice issues in our American political system- I would describe the agenda/mind-set of Vicki Kennedy et al for the most part as the following:

 1. Obama embodies the Catholic social tradition- he’s a better guide than the out-of-touch Pope/Bishops 2. Democrats for Life leaders were not welcome – despite my own inclusion for a time- Kennedy seemingly successfully squashed the idea of Kristen Day being invited to be part of the listserve 3. The Bishops who were outspoken for advocating the primacy of the right to life for the unborn were demonized, mocked, ridiculed, and at times the idea of trying to bring on an IRS investigation on these type of Bishops was being encouraged by some ( especially if they dared to consider withholding Communion from Pro-choice Dem leaders) 4. Bishops were described as “self-designated custodians of ‘the tradition’”. 5. Catholic Dems could aptly be self-described for the most part as “intra-Catholic warriors” 6. The Clergy Scandals were to be used to help bring the end of the Bishops line of authority- teaching and otherwise 7. This authority should pass to those who know best- the secular-minded Catholic professors and their liberal political activist friends- since there really can’t be such a thing as a Holy Spirit-guided Catholic Church with Popes and Bishops playing a key role- I suppose they could still hold onto ceremonial roles like the Kings in Europe.

I can see clearly now that President Obama has been very conscious of this war for control within the Church- and his choice of Vice President and HHS Secretary- Biden and Sebelius, respectively, was a conspicuous power move to set in place the acceptability of dissenting Catholic leaders and thought into the mainstream of American societal structures and popular imaginations. The fact that Obama “evolved” on Gay Marriage with help from his Catholic buddy Joe Biden, and his determination to mandate contraception as a must-have “medicine” through the offices of Catholic Kathleen Sebelius- all of this plays right into the larger goals of the Catholic Democratic party elite. There has been no such evolution in his comprehension and compassion for the thousands of unborn humans killed every day in abortions, and the threat to religious liberties is finely focused on the authority of Catholic Bishops and the official teachings of the Catholic Magisterium. I believe the Catholic Dems elite would like to re-make American Catholic Bishops in the image of the Anglican church in England- with Obama playing a kind of King Henry VIII role in forcing power transfers ( counting on public/Catholic lay apathy).

My conclusion is this- I am not in disagreement with the Catholic Dems elite on an across-the-board basis- I am not a conservative ideologue any more than I am a liberal one. There are political issues where I go left and others where I go right or down the middle- I make the honest effort to stay as close to the official social doctrine teachings of principles, and even the prudential judgment application of those principles as the Bishops and Vatican officials advise. I find that the same powers-that-be that are given Holy Spirit assistance to teach firm principles, are also pretty darn good at putting forth ideas for applying those principles into the real world of political legislation and the like- but I acknowledge it’s not an exact science with one formula fits all simplicities, however. That’s how I would describe my own efforts in being a wanna-be orthodox, faithful Catholic on matters of social doctrine. Others may disagree- I have no doubt that the Catholic Dem elites I list above are well-intentioned- but I believe they are threatening great harm to many souls and to the future of our Catholic Church as the Hierarchical Institution – founded by Jesus Christ. Reforms should be taken up in a spirit that respects the obedience of Faith. I don’t abide by clergy abuses and incompetent administrative decisions made by Catholic bishops- but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.

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34 Responses to Obama Working Willfully To Undermine Hierarchical Catholic Church

  • Bravo Tim! The Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration in our nation’s history. Now Obama is attempting to play up his supposed ties to the Church:

    The linked to story above requires a strong gag reflex.

  • N.B. The majority (votes democrat) of American Catholic clerics and laity are undermining the Church’s Mission: the salvation of souls.

  • Excellent statement – “…you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- just as you don’t kill babies in the womb to solve the problems of women and their mates.”

  • Tim, this is a really good post. Thank you for writing it. I never understood the “agenda” of the elite Catholic Democrate. I never saw the big picture that you describe so well.

    I guess my main question regarding your post is in the last paragraph you said that liberal Dem Catholics are well-intentioned. It is really hard for me to believe that.
    In my mind good intentions would mean they are trying to positively change the Church for the salvation of souls, and I just don’t see that.

    Could you go into a little more detail that?

  • The unfortunate truth is that the attitudes you encountered and described are not just those of the Catholic Dem elite, but far too many of the Catholic rank and file.

  • C. Matt is right. I daily interface with many fine, upstanding and wonderful people who are everything a Catholic should be, except when it comes to contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage. The dissent is profound, widespread and almost un-eradical. I have written pages and pages of explanation on what the Bible says, what Humanae Vitae says and what the Catechism says. I have had many discussions with these persons. I even in certain cases went back to the real meaning of certain Greek words that St. Paul used in his Epistles in my verbal discussions and writings. Each one to a person fully acknowledged that I know more about Church teaching and what the Bible says than they do. But they insist on contraception as women’s health, abortion as a woman’s right to choose and homosexual marriage as a civil right. Nothing I have said or done makes even the slightest dent in their obstinacy. With such a sweet smile on their faces, they imply that I am the close-minded and intolerant one, though that’s not how they word their objections. Now they are entirely polite and diplomatic and respectful. And they do acknowledge WHAT the Church teaches with regard to these issues. But they won’t ACCEPT that teaching as applicable to themselves or anyone else who “by right of conscience” disagrees. They REFUSE the authority of both the Church and the Bible, and they do so in such a loving and kind and nice and tolerant and non-divisive way that I just want to scream.

  • chris- I do believe what these folks are doing is willful- but I don’t think anyone is motivated by a consciously-evil paradigm- these are intelligent people but I find that even the very intelligent get tripped up over the supposedly easy stuff. One connective tissue seems to be that general difference between converts to Catholicism and “birthright” Catholics- Mark Shea has written about how converts tend to see the doctrines as being absolutely essential to being a good Catholic- while cradle Catholics such as most of the people I encountered in Cath Dems – seemed proud of their rights of ownership as Catholics and fail to see through perhaps pride or habit- that they could be just re-making the Church in their own image- instead of being transformed they try do all the transforming- when they should be obedient reformer saints- they instead go the route of tearing down the authority lines within the Church and thus causing ruptures rather than repairing the damage of poor administration.

    So- I have to give people the benefit of the doubt in their intentions- even when they are flat out wrong in what they determine as beliefs and course of action- and of course you don’t allow people to do whatever they want based on good intentions- you have to put up resistance and try to convince them to reconsider- that is what I tried to do from the inside of the Democratic Party and within the CathDem listserve- but at a certain point you don’t just allow yourself to become a floor mat- you come to a point where you separate and kick the dirt off your sandals and move on..I reached that stage..and now I am hoping to do some damage control by alerting the Faithful of the real dangers to our Church by these Catholic intellectuals and activists who see themselves as great alternatives to the Pope and Bishops in leading the flock in terms of moral theology/social doctrine. What is the saying- the road to hell is paved with good intentions..

  • Very interesting post. Thanks for writing.

    As I look back in history and at current events, I see the Democrat party as anti-Catholic in principle (pro-slavery, anti-women suffrage, anti-civil rights, pro-abortion, anti-First Amendment, etc.) and in demonstration (KKK, HHS mandate, etc.). They are a party of hate and death.

  • In my reading about Cardinal Mindzenty I am learning how in Hungary, committed Communists divided Hungarian society into groups that could be pitted against each other, how a few so-called “progressive” Catholic priests and intelligentsia were duped into misleading their flock, how criminal anti-establishment types were used, how diminishing the unity of the Church weakened it’s resistance against the plans of the atheistic left, how government subsidies and so-called help kept various constituencies in line.
    Mindzenty: “Our psalm is the ‘De Profundis’, our prayer is the ‘Miserere’; our prophet is Jeremiah; our world is the Apocalypse”
    He knew the tactical cunning and deceit of the Communists and the reality that there must be no compromise.
    “The collaboration of leftist Catholics caused trouble immediately.” p 54

  • One more point to Chris- one thing that stood out for me was that vicki kennedy defended her brand of Catholicism when I made the above charge that this was really another form of protestantism- she claimed that she was upholding the manner in which she was brought up at home and in Catholic schools she attended. This would be a typical cause and effect which I have witnessed to in my previous posting on Education- the schools are often bastions for lukewarm and dissenting adult Catholics as administrators and teachers- and orthodox Catholic parents are few and far between- so with so much company in the ranks of the heterodox it is no wonder to me that various ideologies have become the replacement religion for many cradle Catholics. The biggest threat from the Cath Dems elite is that they have real access to real earthly power and they don’t just have some differences of opinion over some key political issues with the Catholic Hierarchy and Social Doctrine- they want to usurp proper authority within the Church and re-direct the moral authority unto themselves- this is what I am warning about and why I am trying to get a more organized response that goes beyond the partisan Republican-conservative v. Democratic-liberal battlelines. The Bishops themselves need to address this through the USCCB and through the parishes and schools- I would love to help since I am not a partisan- and thus tainted by ideological allegiances of my own.

  • Thanks again for the article, it is very informative. I often find myself in agreement with Democrates on most economic issues (current administration excluded) but am solidly Republican because of social issues.

    I will say you are much more charitable than me giving many of these Catholic Dems the benefit of the doubt. Something I need to work on I guess.

    RE Paul- I have written pages and pages of explanation on what the Bible says, what Humanae Vitae says and what the Catechism says

    Would appreciate any information you could pass along. Especially regarding homosexual marriage as this is a topic that comes up often within my sphere of influence

  • Completely messed up that last post, but didn’t mean to have that last sentence italicized. Guess that’s what happens when attempting to write a post as my two year old daughter is pulling on my shirt!

  • @ Chris,

    In answer to your request, here is the six page letter I wrote back in February to one of these “right to choose” Catholics. The person said that she read the first three pages and then stopped. All further conversation of a religious nature between us has likewise stopped at that point. There is nothing to be had in common with a liberal. We live on different worlds. What planet they come from I know not.

    Dear XXXXX,

    The following discusses the subject of the HHS mandate with which the Administration is compelling Catholic institutions to comply, and the background behind the teaching on homosexuality….The opinions expressed herein when Sacred Scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not referenced are my own. There is no obligation for you to agree or disagree with me outside of what Holy Mother Church teaches.

    The Church instructs us that abortion and contraception are intrinsic evils. The reason for this teaching is simple: life begins at conception and man does not have the authority to say when life may begin and when it may end. Three verses of Scripture bear upon this.

    1. First, Genesis 1:28 says, “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’” It does NOT say, “Abort and contracept until you are ready to be fruitful and multiply.”
    2. Second, Jeremiah 1:5 states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This means that even from conception the embryo is a human being.
    3. Third, Deuteronomy 5:17 states, “You shall not kill.” Abortion kills a living being and is contrary to God’s law.

    Genesis chapter 3 records that in the Garden of Eden the serpent tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and both Adam and Eve succumbed. They were then driven out of the Garden of Eden lest they also partake of the Tree of Life and live forever in a state of sin. Today, humankind has decided to partake of that Tree of Life and determine when life begins and when life ends. The Church teaches that this is evil.

    Now Kathleen Sebelius (who describes herself as a Catholic) has issued a regulation that requires Catholic hospitals, schools, universities, colleges, halfway houses, etc., to provide insurance coverage for drugs that act as contraceptives or abortifacients (i.e., drugs which dislodge the embryo from the uterine wall and cause its ejection from the body, which in turn results in the death of the embryo). President Obama offered a so-called compromise to Catholic institutions by saying that they themselves would not under the regulation be paying for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs. But this ignores the fact that Catholic institutions would still have to pay insurance premiums that cover the cost of these drugs, so the compromise is mere sophistry and changes nothing. The regulation forces Catholic institutions to either stop their social service work or to pay for insurance premiums that cover the provision of intrinsic evil.

    What the US Council of Catholic Bishops has to say about the HSS mandate is available at the following web link:

    Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty

    The First Amendment to the Constitution states:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Note that the phrase “freedom of worship” is NOT used. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion and is explicit in stating that Congress shall not make a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That means that the Catholic Church (or any religious community for that matter) cannot be boxed into the walls of its house of worship; rather, religious people are allowed to practice their religion in the public square. In the case of Christians – especially Catholics – this means that its institutions which heal the sick (hospitals), feed the poor (soup kitchens) and teach the young (schools) may refuse to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives without legal penalty. Indeed, the regulation from HHS against the same is blatantly unconstitutional.

    There is another point that bears on this. The normal functioning of a female body is to reproduce. To stop that functioning is unnatural and against the health of the woman. Therefore, to claim that the provision of abortifacients and contraceptives are in behalf of woman’s health is disingenuous at best and mendacious at worst.

    Now some will at this point declare that a woman has the right to determine what happens to her body without interference from any external agency. That is true. Yet we have to remember that it takes two people to cause conception (the Blessed Virgin Mary being the only exception). I must be perfectly plain here. If a man does not want a baby, then he should keep his pants zipped up. And if a woman does not want a baby, then she should keep her legs closed. Abstinence is 100% preventative 100% of the time. There are going to be no second Virgin Mary’s. Once a person has made a decision to engage in sexual intercourse, then that person has acted on the right to choose and a baby results. God created us in His likeness and image, and having given us sentience, He expects us to act like human beings and not like wild animals. That means that we need to exercise self-control and refrain from sexual activity outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman. No one has any right to commit fornication, adultery or homosexual intercourse (a topic which I will deal with later). Too many people nowadays claim to revere science, logic and reason, but when it comes to the titillation of their genitals, they are wholly given over to the lust of the flesh and for them sexual pleasure becomes an addiction no different in essential substance from addiction to heroin or cocaine. St. Paul explains this in Romans 7:15-25:

    15* I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22* For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23* but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24* Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    There is a secondary argument that some people raise to justify abortion. They claim that abortion must always be available in cases such as rape or incest. This is illogical. Since when did committing a second crime right the wrong in the first crime? Why should the resultant baby be the victim of capital punishment for a crime that the father committed? The right solution is to make that father support mother and child for the next 18 years and nine months. Furthermore, the percentage of all cases of unwanted pregnancy being due to rape or incest is less than one per cent. The overwhelming majority of reasons given are similar to the following: “I wasn’t ready to have a baby.” The person making that declaration was, however, entirely ready to have sexual intercourse. Thus has abortion murdered 54 million unborn babies since the Roe v Wade decision by SCOTUS on January 23rd, 1973.

    Now a tertiary argument comes. Some claim that while they are personally opposed to abortion, they will vote for an abortionist politician because he claims that he will serve social justice and the common good. This argument is illogical. A man who will sacrifice an unborn baby’s life on the altar of political expediency for social justice and the common good serves neither social justice nor the common good. If he refuses to save the life of an unborn baby, then he will refuse the lives of the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, and the destitute.

    A fourth argument comes, namely that those who oppose abortion support capital punishment or war. Romans 13:1-4 bears on this:

    1* Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3* For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4* for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.

    God gave the State the power to execute the wrongdoer and to defend the people. Yes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does urge the State to forgo the use of capital punishment (and I agree with that). It also encourages the avoidance of recourse to war (and I agree with that also). But there is no comparison between these and the murder of 54 million innocent babies since 1973. Abortion, contraception, homosexual behavior, euthanasia and human cloning are intrinsic evils. Recourse to capital punishment and war, always to be avoided, are not intrinsic evils.

    One other thing needs to be explained here and that is the warning which Pope Paul VI gave regarding the contraceptive mentality in Humanae Vitae in 1968. The pertinent paragraphs are contained in section 17 of this encyclical and they essentially explain that (1) the contraceptive mentality causes the man to disrespect the women into being a mere sex object, and (2) that same mentality renders unto the State the power to mandate the use of contraceptives contrary to religious conscience. Both of those things are happening today. We see women paraded around as mere sex objects on the television and across the internet, and now our own government is trying to force Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients on the specious pretext of women’s health care. The actual statements made by Pope Paul VI are given below:

    Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

    Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

    Let us now discuss homosexuality. Paragraphs 2357 through 2359 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church best explain this.

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Now 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 is quite clear. Because many modern translations incorrectly translate these verses of Sacred Scripture, I will start with the original Greek:

    9 ? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ????????? ?? ???????????????; ?? ????????: ???? ?????? ???? ???????????? ???? ?????? ???? ??????? ???? ???????????? 10 ???? ??????? ???? ??????????, ?? ???????, ?? ????????, ??? ??????? ????????? ???? ???????????????.

    In typical translations into the English, these verses are rendered as following:

    9 Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? Be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit.

    The word ??????? in the Greek was used to designate the male who acted as receptor in the act of homosexual intercourse, hence its translation as “effeminate.” The word ???????????? in the Greek was used to designate the penetrator in the act of homosexual intercourse, hence its translation as “sodomite.”

    However, knowing what we now know, we see that these verses actually state:

    9 Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? Be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexual receptors, nor homosexual penetrators, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, the reign of God shall inherit.

    We modern people get a sanitized version of what St. Paul was writing to the Church at Corinth, yet what he actually wrote was anything but sanitized. Sacred Scripture is clear with regard to homosexual intercourse. Now yes, one may be a homosexual (that is to say, afflicted with same sex attraction). Such persons are never to be discriminated against merely because of a predisposition. Indeed, I have a predisposition to drinking alcohol alcoholically. Being an alcoholic will not send me to hell. Giving in to my alcoholism will, however, send me to hell. The applicable word that St. Paul uses for people like me in the aforementioned verses is ??????? which means “drunken or intoxicated.” Thus, just as I am to remain abstinent of alcohol because of my disease of alcoholism, so also is the homosexual person to remain abstinent of homosexual intercourse. Sacred Scripture cannot be annulled. Romans 1:18-32 states:

    18* For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20* Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21* for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23* and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. 29 They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

    People at this point may cry that it is unfair that a homosexual person be denied the pleasure of sexual satisfaction. This is a false cry. Homosexuals are subject to the same rules that any heterosexual person is subject to: no sexual intercourse outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman. God does not play favorites. But God does allow us to bear our crosses. In my case, the cross may be alcoholism. In the homosexual’s case, it may be same sex attraction. Romans 8:18 states:

    For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory about to be revealed in us.

    And Colossians 1:24 states:

    I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body…

    We are called, whether single mother or father, alcoholic, homosexual or whatever, to unite our suffering with those of Christ on the Cross. As the old adage goes, no Cross, no Crown. The Gospel is not about social justice and the common good (though those are important). As Jesus in John 6:26-27 told the crowd who followed Him about after the feeding of the 5000 with loaves of bread and fishes:

    …Verily, verily, I say to you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were satisfied; work not for the food that is perishing, but for the food that is remaining to life age-during, which the Son of Man will give to you, for him did the Father seal — [even] God.

    When politicians promise social justice and the common good, we should remember the example of Judas Iscariot in John 12:1-7

    1* Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4* But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii * and given to the poor?” 6* This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7* Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

    Too many politicians are lying thieves in the tradition of Judas Iscariot. When we look to the State to provide what we need, even what we want, then we render unto the State to take away from us everything we have: house, wife, husband, child, mother, and father. It happened under Maximillien Robespierre in France during the 1790s. In the name of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity” he murdered tens of thousands of Catholic clerics and laity using Dr. Guillotine’s “merciful instrument” of euthanasia. Like many in our government today, he was rabidly atheist, and his spiritual descendants today do to unborn babies what he did to the born a little more than two centuries ago. Thus does Jesus declare to Pontius Pilate in John 18:36:

    My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.

    Anyone who thinks (like Robespierre) that he can create a kingdom of Heaven on Earth is guilty of the worst sort of hubris, and that is the exact reason why adultery, fornication and homosexuality run rampant today. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 states:

    If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

    Matthew 6:33 is consistent with this:

    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

    Conversion and repentance come before, not after social justice and the common good. Sadly, Robespierre had to die by his own guillotine because he refused to learn that lesson.

    Again, you are under no obligation to agree with me. And if you have questions on these matters, then you should give this letter to [ your priests ] to ask them to explain the truth. I am only a lay person and I do not speak for the Church. I can only tell you what Sacred Scripture and the Catechism state [and perhaps give a lesson in Koine Greek every once in a while! 😉 ]

  • Thank you for that link Robert Klein Engler. Please, every American Catholic read it.

  • @Robert, The author seems to say the Church has been willing to cooperate with those in power looking to cheat on the field as long as it advances the ball. And now, it has reached a point where it can continue to look the other way and play both parties or take a stand and become martrys. I can agree to a point, but I think some are taking advantage of this situation by going too far in its accussations against the hiearchy.

    An example is Paul’s Richochet article where it accuses the bishops of giving an endorsement of Obamacare. They never did. The lack of pro-life protections was always a road block to endorsement. While they did not endorse it, they also didn’t reject it. I had problems with the latter, but a lack of rejection does not equal an endorsement. I don’t recall a pro-Obamacare campaign by the bishops, which Paul claims.

    American Thinker article does ask an interesting question. How far will the bishops and the flock go to stand by their principles? Got the guts to take it all the way?

  • “An example is Paul’s Richochet article where it accuses the bishops of giving an endorsement of Obamacare. They never did. The lack of pro-life protections was always a road block to endorsement.”

    Though it was almost endorsed. The Bishops wanted conscience protections and coverage for illegal immigrants. If they got that then Obamacare would be fine. Cardinal George was actively lobbying Republicans not to vote against the Stupak Ammendment (in order to spike the Bill). This in the hope that the bill would ultimately pass.

  • Richochet, “A Pact With the Devil” was good grist… I think the Bishops led by Card. Dolan are taking this kind of goad seriously and instead of looking back, are doing their best to make good decisions now. The need is for unity, clarity and shared effort.

  • Thank you Paul, once I get through all of this material know that it will someday go to good use. I do not have to “re-invent” the wheel so to speak and thank you for the readily availible info to use

    RE: Tim

    Regarding Catholic schools, unfortunatly what you say is very true. I am sure some excellent ones exists, but I have several real horror stories myself regarding Catholic schools. It’s one of the reason why I currently struggle with the idea of sending my son to one. I want to give him every opportunity to learn about our faith. Ultimately he learns the faith at home. It’s sad to say but I am worried about more harm than good being done to him.

  • I’ve seen it on the bumpers of cars in the parish parking lot before Mass: the Obama bumper sticker. It astounds me that any faithful Catholic can even consider voting for a Democrat…even a pro-life Democrat, let alone someone as effectively pro-abortion as Obama. And yet, there they are – my fellow parishoners; some of whom I know from personal experience to have a deep love of Our Lord and his Holy Church. Though I guess its wrong, I do envy them their faith being, at least as I can perceive it, deeper than mine.

    Part of it has to be ancestral – my late father didn’t switch his voter registration from Democrat to Republican until 2008, and that was only about a year before he died. But he also warned me – they are coming after the Church. They want to make an “American Catholic Church” to stand in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and bid for the support of American Catholics. Ultimately, there really is only the Church, and Her enemies. And the enemies of the Church know one thing for certain: the only thing on earth which stands in the way of their victory is the Church.

    And there’s the other part of it – people who are willing to remain Democrats while still trying to remain faithful Catholics. The trick can’t be done – no matter how solidly Catholic you are if you are also a Democrat then you are magnifying the power of those who wish to destroy the Church, even if (and especially) if the destroyers have found a Bishop who won’t refuse them communion and who continue to pretend to the Catholic faith.

    I understand, Mr. Shipe – you wanted to be a good liberal and a good Catholic. You look at the GOP and, correctly, see many glaring errors, not least of which is the rote defense of “capitalism” in spite of the clear need for an alternative (Distributive) economic system. You’ve now learned a hard lesson – the only thing liberal leaders will allow you to be is a good liberal and that means mindlessly following whatever the leadership dictates, and if you don’t you’ll find yourself attacked until you either knuckle under or depart.

    I’m not asking anyone to give up their political views – but political allegiances must conform to reality. Any Catholic simply must, for the time being, vote Republican – not because Republicans are all wonderful…but because only Republicans offer the chance for faithful people to affect government policy. We can look for a day – hopefully not too far distant – when wise liberals will break completely with their leaders and form a Christian Democrat party to scoop up all those who are not enamored of the GOP but who cannot be faithful Catholics – or, indeed, Christians or Jews – within the Democrat party. I’m a Republican – have been my whole life; but if ever I see the GOP become a party hostile to my faith, I’ll drop it like a bad habit. If our faith does not drive our political actions then what use is our faith?

  • “Regarding Catholic schools, unfortunatly what you say is very true. I am sure some excellent ones exists, but I have several real horror stories myself regarding Catholic schools. It’s one of the reason why I currently struggle with the idea of sending my son to one.”

    I have some real ones too. This because my wife taught in Catholic schools for years. The level of knowledge and/or practice of the Faith is limited among most teachers. Some co-habitating. Some with Gay “marriage” stickers on their cars. Most actively communicating this very “modern” life to students.

  • There are too many blank spaces in the Obamacare contract where Sebelius can write in a prison term as Hillary Clinton did in Hillarycare, criminalizing and penalizing the very act of healing and the practice of medicine. Hilliarycare criminalized the practice of medicine with a TWO year federal prison sentence for every doctor who treated a patient not in his group.
    Obamacare promises everything a person might need, if one does not mind waiting a year or more for an emergency. The only surgery that will be done is abortion because the baby grows and is born according to the nature of the human being. In Canada, socialized medicine brought many people to the United States for heart surgery because the wait in Canada was over two years. My friend’s brother moved to Texas where he had the heart surgery.
    It would be interesting If Obama was a doctor poised to go to Federal prison for as long as Sebelius sends him, otherwise, the blank contract without informed consent is entrapment of the taxpaying citizens and a violation of civil liberties. Not those civil liberties endowed by the American Civil Liberties Union or Obama, but of those First Amendment Freedoms guaranteed by our founding principles and endowed by God, our God Who has been removed from the public square. How convenient.
    How very convenient. In this instance, Obama is taking advantage of the devil’s evil genius.

  • Evil is as evil does. Intentions pave the road to Hell. It is good that some are crossing over into the light, but forces of Darkness are many. Giving them any credit at all only weakens our defenses and strengthens thier resolve.

    There can be no compromise.

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  • Prior to the 2008 election, many of us had serious problems with Obama’s voting record and his promises for the future. We were ridiculed and called racists and hard-hearted, among among other names not printable here.
    It does now seem like the incubation of time has proven the concerns of 2008 to be real as the plans of this administration move forward.
    Subtle evil is still as evil as openly displayed evil.
    We must not allow this administration to control the bishops – and thus the Catholic Churh – in this country.

  • In my opinion, these heretics have been tolerated for way too long. Everything about them is “un-Catholic.” They have interpreted Vatican II as a license to make up their own Magisterium if they don’t like the Church’s official one. They openly mock the Pope, the Bishops, the Church. To them, it is the “faithful” that determine the Catholic Magisterium, not the Holy Father in conjunction with the heirs of the apostles. They openly declare that the “patriarchal” heirarchy has lost its legitimacy and they see the doctrinal “retrenchment” of Blessed JP II and BXVI as perhaps the greatest tragedy to befall the Church since the Reformation. They believe the Pope and Bishops are dead wrong on abortion, contraception, gay marriage, women’s ordination, etc., etc. and that they are “destroying” the Church by holding fast to their positions on these issues. These heretics should be excommunicated, en masse, immediately. The situation has gotten so dire that, in my humble opinion, every Catholic should be required to pledge an oath of loyalty to the Pope, their local Bishop, and the Magisterium of the Church or face excommunication. The “Catholic” population of the United States would be cut in half almost immediately, but at least those who remained would be true Catholics. This would certainly mean closing many parishes, schools and hospitals. It would mean supposedly Catholic universities formally breaking from the Church. It would mean dramatic loss of political influence. But, it would rid the Barque of Peter of these servants of Satan who are intent on destroying it from within and re-molding it in their own image. We know what happens when the route of accomodation to popular culture that they propose is taken – just look at the rapidly approaching extinction of Mainline Protestantism.

  • Donald, I have to disagree with your statement the “Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration in our nation’s history.” If you look back in our nation’s history, the Masonic influence and the nativist movement of the first half of the 19th Century was clearly more anti-Catholic than the Obama admistration.

  • Disagree Chuck. One of the friendliest of the Founding Fathers to Catholics was George Washington, a mason. The Know Nothing Party prior to the Civil War had some influence, but never succeeded in electing a President. No, when it comes to the White House, the Obama administration is clearly the most anti-Catholic administration by far.

  • Wow! Excellent article.
    Thank you for explaining to me what is really happening.
    It’s all clear now.

  • In the beginning of this article you talk about your piece being important are talking about your gun or was that a typo?

  • From my own experience I can tell you that you shouldn’t hang out with poisonous people especially if you are a convert.

  • valentine- the reference was to the title of the “piece”- not my gun or a typo!

    Maureen- thank you so much- I wrote this for those who have leaned Left or Independent- those who have long been on the Right were already on the attack of anything Obama. I wanted to believe that Catholic Democrats were more faithful, not less. I really tried to make a dent in what I found was an extreme belief that the Magisterium- the Pope and Bishops- really weren’t not the proper teaching authorities for the Church. That role apparently is to go to the majority of Catholics- or perhaps society- with the critical role of authority going to the academic and the politician- the professors and political activists are the ones who know and care the most- more than distant popes and bishops- so the thinking goes. The consequence of this twisting of Christ’s will is that we have Catholics supporting legal abortion, widespread contraception, anything goes marriage definitions, and who dare say that women and active homosexuals can’t be priests, bishops or even the pope?? So- I am one who is sounding the alarm- I think I have credibility because I entered into this debate with an open heart and mind- I really tried to find a way to influence the Dem Catholics- but now I see that they are dead-set on something much more than moving the country a bit to the Left on the economy and environment- they are palace revolutionaries in their willingness to use the powers of state to push through an agenda that goes decidedly against basic and obvious official Catholic teachings. We need to talk about this in circles larger than the die-hard Republican grouping. I want politically-independent orthodox Catholics to get more facts to use for their own understanding and to help move the national discussion/debate on religious liberty

  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The public square, all public places belong to the people in joint and common tenancy. You own it all and I own it all. Government is called upon to keep the peace. Government may not usurp the public square that belongs to the people to be used by the people for any legitimate purpose, public prayer, public politicking, recreation, education, leisure, work, any good thing. To ban the Person of God and to ban the acknowledgement of the Person of God from the public square is unconstitutional. If persons desire to be acknowledged as persons, all persons must be acknowledged, beginning with the Person of our Creator. Now that the Person of God is banned, the people of God are being banned and soon all human life will be indicted as unfit to live.

Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

Wednesday, May 30, AD 2012

SHOCKER: Teens need their mothers. Mothers can help their daughters. Even in crisis.

There’s an article forthcoming in the journal Economic Inquiry by Professors of Economics, Joseph Sabia and Daniel Rees, that shows parental notification or consent laws are associated with a 15 to 25 percent reduction in suicides committed by 15- through 17-year-old women. The researchers analyzed National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data collected from 1987 to 2003 and found results that are consistent with the hypothesis that laws requiring parental involvement increase the “expected cost of having unprotected sex,” and, consequently, protect the well-being of young females. (Hey, they’re economists.)

Here’s the reasoning, taken from this paper by the same authors.

  • Researchers have already found, using state-level data from 1981 through 1998, that parental involvement laws reduced teen gonorrhea rates 12 to 20 percent among teen females. (Klick and Strattman, 2008)
  • Other recent studies provide evidence that female adolescents who become sexually active at an early age are more likely to suffer from the symptoms of depression. (Hallfors et al. 2004; Sabia and Rees 2008)
  • Research has shown that multiple sex partners increased the likelihood of substance abuse. (Howard et al. 2004)
  • It is also been found that adolescent females who had multiple sex partners were 10 times more likely to develop the symptoms of major depression than those who remained abstinent. (Hallfors et al. 2005)
  • There was no evidence of a similar relationship between male multiple partners and adolescent depression. (Hallfors et al. 2005)

So the hypothesis is: If parental involvement laws discourage minors from risky lifestyles that affect their physical health, then they would promote emotional health of teenage females as well. Analyzing suicide rates will give an indication since there have been many studies that link depression and suicide. The national suicide data was analyzed and that’s exactly what they found – a supporting correlation. Parental involvement laws correlate with fewer suicides. Further in support, there was no evidence of a similar relationship among male adolescents, and no correlation between parental involvement laws and suicide for older women because, well, neither group would be affected by those laws.

Makes sense, right? You’re probably thinking, “Did we need to pass those laws, wait and see what happened, and then count suicides?” No, we didn’t, and there’d be at least some justice if the people opposing those laws would take notice.

You’d think someone who really cares about women would be able to take an objective view of this data and consider it as an appeal to our collective conscience. You’d think someone who parrots, “Trust Women!” would be consistent enough to also trust mothers who are raising teens. When the state comes between teens and their parents, it just follows that the adolescents will not be as close to their parents as they ought to be.

This only affirms what we already know. Parents of teen girls can be trusted – should be trusted for the psychological benefit of a daughter in crisis. The abortion advocate community doesn’t seem as concerned about young women, though, as they are about politics and agendas. They instead say that people just want to make it harder for teens to have abortions, and that teens have a “fear of abuse” from unrelenting parents. Oh, and they’ll say something about how correlation doesn’t equal causation, revealing that they either are ignorant of analytical methods or, even worse, knowledgeable of them but dishonest when the results don’t fit their predetermined conclusions. Some will even say that teen women should be trusted to make their own decisions even when the decision for these desperate young women is to end their own lives. Of course, we all know why Planned Parenthood doesn’t want the parents involved. Ac$e$$ to abortion.

So I have a little hypothesis of my own. I predict (but would love to be proven wrong) that not a single abortion advocate will come forward and honestly reassess parental consent laws even though there is no body of data to support their premise. Could they admit that maybe, just maybe, the default condition is not that most parents of teens are abusive. Imagine!

If they trust women, why can’t they trust mothers and fathers? Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway? Perhaps there’s a cost associated with believing that a mother has the right to kill her own child in the womb, and that cost is faith in people to love their children unconditionally at any point in life, even during difficult times.

H/T:  Michael J. New at National Review

Image: Microsoft Powerpoint

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5 Responses to Question: If they trust women, why don’t they trust mothers?

  • Informed sexual consent, legal maturity, begins at emancipation, like voting, driving a car and signing any kind of contract. All persons’ unalienable, endowed civil rights are held in trust for them by God, by their parents and finally by the state, in this order. A minor person becomes a ward of the court if their parents neglect or abuse their civil, unalienable rights. The court acts “in loco parentis” in the best interest of the child. A minor child, without legal informed sexual consent to give becomes pregnant. Because of her pregnancy, the court declares that the legally minor, un-emancipated pregnant child to be emancipated by the very proof that the child is a minor and incapable of making legal decisions for herself, or of giving informed sexual consent, or valid consent to any surgical operation. The court overrides any parental notification by legally kidnapping a minor child by making the minor, pregnant child a ward of the court by declaring the child emancipated by the fact of her pregnancy without proper notification of the child’s parents, who have a naturally vested legal interest in the child. The court does this to a child who may be pregnant and does so to abort the child’s parents’ grandchild.
    Overriding naturally vested parental rights entrusted to parents innocent of any proved wrongdoing is contrary to American jurisprudence and constitutes legal kidnapping by the state, false imprisonment and restraint.

  • A great post.

    “Where does this automatic distrust of parents come from anyway?”

    I think maybe distrust of parents comes along with the strengthening of the “youth culture”. Maybe some of it comes from whole gnerations going to public schools and getting together with their peer posses. When they were educated at home things were a bit different and maybe mom and dad ‘s opinion had a stronger influence.

    Charles is in charge. Two year olds are in charge.
    The two First Children of the POTUS are in charge. What do you decide about gay marriage girls? Ok.

    Children are a target market; recognized at economic deciders in families. TV and movies are more and more juvenile because that is who the customers are.

  • To be fair, there are some appalling parents out there, and many girls who have abortions got into trouble in the first place because they didn’t have trustworthy parents. But.

    But for the pure and simple public health and safety of minors, parental consent needs to be secured for any kind of serious medical event, much less for abortion. If I were pro-choice, I’d want parents to at least have as much control over abortion as over teeth cleaning.

  • I think parents who prove that they can be trusted have children who trust them. I’ve seen people with open and loving relationships and it comes from parents willing to listen instead of lecturing. If you want that kind of relationship with your child that they will come to you, you need to be the kind of person that someone would want to go to for advice. Anyone, not just your child. If you have proven yourself to be judgmental, you cannot blame a child for not going to you for advice, or with their problems. after all, would YOU go to a friend with your problems if you knew rather than listen to you they were going to force their values on you rather than take yours into account?

Live Action Shows US The Real War on Women

Wednesday, May 30, AD 2012



Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  The intrepid Lila Rose and her colleagues at Live Action expose the real war on women waged by Planned Parenthood, I have designated that organization as Worse Than Murder Inc., in regard to sex selection abortions:

AUSTIN, May 29 – Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy. The video is first in a new series titled “Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America,” exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.

“I see that you’re saying that you want to terminate if it’s a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?” a counselor named “Rebecca” offers the woman, who is purportedly still in her first trimester and cannot be certain about the gender. “The abortion covers you up until 23 weeks,” explains Rebecca, “and usually at 5 months is usually (sic) when they detect, you know, whether or not it’s a boy or a girl.” Doctors agree that the later in term a doctor performs an abortion, the greater the risk of complications.

The Planned Parenthood staffer suggests that the woman get on Medicaid in order to pay for an ultrasound to determine the gender of her baby, even though she plans to use the knowledge for an elective abortion. She also tells the woman to “just continue and try again” for the desired gender after aborting a girl, and adds, “Good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy.”

“The search-and-destroy targeting of baby girls through prenatal testing and abortion is a pandemic that is spreading across the globe,” notes Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. “Research proves that sex-selective abortion has now come to America. The abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, is a willing participant.”

Six studies in the past four years indicate that there are thousands of “missing girls” in the U.S., many from sex-selective abortion. The U.K., India, Australia, and other countries ban sex-selective abortion, but the U.S., save for three states, does not. On Wednesday, Congress will debate the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex-selective abortions nationally.

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6 Responses to Coincidence, Timely, or A Hint?

  • I like the Fulton Sheen quote very much.

  • “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen. The U.S. Supreme Court tolerated Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist, but the Court also tolerated the atheist’s principles, imposing a mortal human being over the infinite Supreme Sovereign Being. O’Hair was murdered, proving that she was mortal. We now have a government that has no destiny, no principles and no tolerance of the human person.

  • America’s government and ruining elites not only tolerate it, they greatly reward bad behavior.

    Love (by acting to admonish, counsel, instruct) the sinner. Hate sin like the devil hates Holy Water. With apologies to St. Augustine.

  • ““Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.” Bishop Fulton Sheen. The U.S. Supreme Court tolerated Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist, but the Court also tolerated the atheist’s principles, imposing a mortal human being over the infinite Supreme Sovereign Being.” The U.S. Supreme Court did not tolerate our founding principles, the eternal truths inscribed in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, making its decision un-American, a violation of all human, unalienable civil rights and inhuman.
    The American people struggle under the burden of government tolerated evil principles, anti-human principles of abortion, gay-marriage, euthanasia, and the burden of taxation without representation to support an agenda of principles foreign to our founding principles and the will of the people.

  • Bishop Sheen, my all-time favorite Catholic cleric. Imagine what a fighter for the Church he would be today, but probably couldn’t get a TV sponsor except for EWTN.

  • My dear husband enjoys it when I play Sheen’s stuff on youtube, too. Rather impressive, seeing as how most religious stuff gives him hives…. (Very rational fellow.)

Attempting to advance the ball, the President of the University of Notre Dame drops it…

Tuesday, May 29, AD 2012

Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about:  it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services.  Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives.  As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.

This is part of what the President of the University of Notre Dame (UND), the Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, had to say in a statement explaining his decision that UND would file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.  The lawsuit concerns the so-called “Obamacare mandate” promulgated by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who just happens to be a UND honorary degree recipient.

The explanation, posted to Fr. Jenkins’ page on the official UND website, articulates a position that many Catholics are familiar with and take for granted.  That is, as long as in their consciences Catholics believe that conduct contrary to Church moral teaching is moral, they are free to engage in that immoral conduct because they believe it is moral.


The Motley Monk is no moral theologian or canon lawyer, but he is able to read and is saddened in reading Fr. Jenkins’ comments.


Fr. Jenkins contradicts long-standing, Magisterially defined Catholic moral teaching concerning artificial contraception (cf. 1989 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The moral norm of ‘Humanae Vitae’ and pastoral duty“).  In sum, Catholics do not possess a “right” to conscientiously dissent from defined Catholic moral teaching concerning the use of artificial  contraception.  After all, in the Catholic view, “rights” devolve not from man—bolstered by science, theology, and the social sciences or public opinion—but from God.

For a President of a Catholic university or college—especially one who is an ordained priest—to state otherwise promotes a false impression, ultimately creating or furthering serious confusion and ambiguity among the Catholic faithful, in particular. Rather than upholding the Church’s credibility in teaching matters concerning faith and morals, statements like that of Fr. Jenkins only provide ammunition to those who are opposed to the Church’s teaching.

It would have helped Fr. Jenkins had he grasped, in particular, the meaning of the CDF document’s reiteration of Pope Paul VI’s words to priests:

Worth recalling here are the words which Paul VI addressed to priests: “It is  your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to expound the Church’s teaching with regard to marriage in its entirety and with complete frankness. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the Magisterium of the Church, For, as you know, the Pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the  truth (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 25)” (Humanae Vitae, n. 26).

Priests are called to lead by defending the Church and its moral teaching, calling the faithful to greater fidelity to the truth as defined by the Magisterium.  This is especially true of priests who are appointed to lead Catholic universities and colleges.

While The Motley Monk applauds Fr. Jenkins in his attempt to advance the ball upfield in the U.S. Catholic Church’s current battle with the Obama administration concerning religious liberty, The Motley Monk thinks Fr. Jenkins dropped the ball when it came to his statement explaining his rationale.


And people wonder why the critics contend that U.S. Catholic higher education is “Catholic in Name Only”?



To read Fr. Jenkins’ statement, click on the following link:

To read the CDF document, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

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96 Responses to Attempting to advance the ball, the President of the University of Notre Dame drops it…

  • We must remember, as Bl John Henry Newman wrote “The celebrated school, known as the Salmanticenses, or Carmelites of Salamanca, lays down the broad proposition, that conscience is ever to be obeyed whether it tells truly or erroneously, and that, whether the error is the fault of the person thus erring or not ..”

    Having cited many authorities in support of this proposition, he continues, “Of course, if a man is culpable in being in error, which he might have escaped, had he been more in earnest, for that error he is answerable to God, but still he must act according to that error, while he is in it, because he in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.”

    Do Father Jenkins’s words imply any more than that?

  • Michael,
    I agree that Father Jenkins’ words are pretty much compatible with those of Cardinal Newman. That said, I would make two obervations. First, the level of serious reflection required or a Catholic in order to depart from the Magisterium is considerable, and it is ludicrous to believe that it is satisfied by most or even many dissenting Catholics. Second, there is a difference between (i) departing from Catholic teaching in order to avoid commiting an act that would be in violation of one’s conscience and (ii) departing from Catholic teaching in order to commit an act that is not permitted by the Church and also not required by your conscience.

  • “Required of”, not ‘required or”.

  • Mike Petrik

    Fr Jenkins speaks of “both Catholic and non-Catholic” and non-Catholics are equally obliged to follow their consciences. Thus, Newman cites Fr Busenbaum S.J., a noted moral theologian: “”When men who have been brought up in heresy, are persuaded from boyhood that we impugn and attack the word of God, that we are idolators, pestilent deceivers, and therefore are to be shunned as pests, they cannot, while this persuasion lasts, with a safe conscience, hear us.” This is clearly a very strong case of the duty to obey an erroneous conscience.

  • “But, of course, I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called. When it has the right of opposing the supreme, though not infallible Authority of the Pope, it must be something more than that miserable counterfeit which, as I have said above, now goes by the name. If in a particular case it is to be taken as a sacred and sovereign monitor, its dictate, in order to prevail against the voice of the Pope, must follow upon serious thought, prayer, and all available means of arriving at a right judgment. on the matter in question. And further, obedience to the Pope is what is called “in possession;” that is, the onus probandi of establishing a case against him lies, as in all cases of exception, on the side of conscience. Unless a man is able to say to himself, as in the Presence of God, that he must not, and dare not, act upon the Papal injunction, he is bound to obey it, and would commit a great sin in disobeying it. Prima facie is his bounden duty, even from a sentiment of loyalty, to believe the Pope right and to act accordingly. He must vanquish that mean, ungenerous, selfish, vulgar spirit of his nature, which, at the very first rumour of a command, places itself in opposition to the Superior who gives it, asks itself whether he is not exceeding his right, and rejoices, in a moral and practical matter, to commence with scepticism. He must have no wilful determination to exercise a right of thinking, saying, doing just what he pleases, [-] the question of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, the duty if possible of obedience, the love of speaking as his Head speaks, and of standing in all cases on his Head’s side, being simply discarded. If this necessary rule were observed, collisions between the Popes authority and the authority of conscience would be very rare.”

  • Thanks, Don. The quoted language describes exactly the type of “serious reflection” to which I was referring.

    And Michael, my other point is simply that it is important to distinguish the circumstance where following Church teaching would do violence to one’s conscience from the circumstance where following Church teaching would simply deprive one of an option that is in accord with one’s conscience. Newman’s point more readily applies to the former, and Fr. Busenbaum simply exemplifies that.

    In the context of contraception the distinction would be (i) I must contracept because the failure to do so would violate my conscience versus (ii) I may contracept because doing so does not violate my conscience. Plainly, Fr. Busenbaum was referring to the former situation.

  • Or put another way, Michael, a Catholic who disagrees with Church teaching regarding contraception but who submits anyway typically would not be violating a duty to obey his conscience, erroneous or otherwise.

  • One should not expect more from Father Jenkins than he is capable of giving. Whever Notre Dame stands against the Spirit of the Age–not allowing co-ed dorms, withholding university authorization for a,”gay” student association, so forth and so on–the only public justification offered to the World is that to do otherwise would go against the “teaching of the Church.” There is never s hint th

  • CONTINUED FROM ABOVE, WITH APOLOGIES–I NEED TO GET BETTER CONTROL OF MY FINGERS . . . There is never a hint that the teaching might have some reason or rationale behind it. Nor is there a hint that those enforcing the rule might agree with it. So, with the HHS mandate: It goes against Church teaching, whatever individual Catholics might think about it. Credit where credit is due: In bringing the suit Father Jenkins may well have gone against his inclinations, if.not his conscience.

  • FWIW, I suspect that Fr. Jenkins fully supports the lawsuit, but is trying to be excessively politic with important constituencies that are not sympathetic.

  • Mike Petrik and Donald R McClarey

    I can well imagine a case of someone, especially a non-Catholic, who (1) thought contraception, in some cases morally licit (2) is under a duty to render the marriage debt and (3) believes a pregnancy, at this time, would be harmful to the well-being of the family, believing s/he was under a duty to use contraception. In that case, s/he would be bound to follow an erroneous conscience.

    On the more general point, consider the well-known case of the cardinals who consulted M Emory, then Supérieur of St Sulpice and a noted moral theologian, on the licitness of attending Napoléon’s marriage to the Archduchess of Austria. No one could suggest they were under a moral obligation to attend, so he could simply have advised them to follow the safer opinion and not do so. On the contrary, he told Cardinal della Somaglia, who had already formed the view that he should not attend that, in that case, he should on no account do so. However, he advised Cardinal Fesch that he thought he might do so with a clear conscience. In advising Cardinal Fesch, M Emory was giving his own opinion; in advising Cardinal della Somaglia, he was stressing the duty of following one’s conscience. There was no contradiction here.

  • Michael, I agree that would could “imagine” such a scenario, but it strains reason to suggest that this is what Fr. Jenkins had in mind when he stated:

    “Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives ….”

    Attending a civil wedding that is not recognized by the Church admittedly presents moral issues, but unlike contraception it is not an intrinsically sinful act. Such a decision requires a prudential calculus including consequences. Indeed, there is no way of determining the superior or “safer” decision without such a calculus. The good theologian is best understood as simply making that clear to Cardinal Fesch. Fr. Jenkins was not presented with a comparable moral problem insomuch as the Church teaches that contraception is intrinsically evil.

  • Not “would could,” but “one could.”

  • Mike Petrik

    Cardinal della Somaglia’s objection to attending the wedding was that Napoléon had a wife living, not that it was a civil ceremony. Cardinal Fesch had actually conducted Napoléon’s first wedding and Somaglia regarded the annulment by the Metropolitan Tribunal of Paris as irregular and uncanonical; only the Holy See had jurisdiction over the marriages of sovereign princes.

    Adultery is an intrinsically sinful act, which Somaglia thought he might appear to countenance by his assisting at the celebration. Cardinal Fesch (and M Emory) thought the invalidity of the previous marriage probable, although they thought the contrary view was also probable

  • Michael, I understand that. But while adultery is an intrinsically evil act, attending a wedding is not, even a wedding that presupposes adultery. As you note attending such a wedding is potentially scandalous and therefore must be considered morally problematic, but the such moral problems are resolved by a prudential calculus, not a rule.

    I am not familiar with the intricate history regarding Napoleon’s marriages, but I cannot see how the same person can view the first marriage as “probably” both valid and invalid.

    Finally, I do admit to the possibility that it is morally permissible for a Catholic to commit an act that the Church teaches is morally objectionable if such act is in keeping with the actor’s conscience, even if the omission of the act would not violate his conscience. But even if such an expansive understanding of “primacy of conscience” is correct, it is very dangerous terrain. It is one thing for a person to refuse to violate his conscience even in subordination to Church teaching. It is quite another to subordinate Church teaching to private conscience in cases where Church teaching does no violence to private conscience. The latter inevitably involves considerable hubris, almost always unwarranted.

  • Mike Petrik

    In the judgment of moral theologians, “an opinion is solidly probable which by reason of intrinsic or extrinsic arguments is able to gain the assent of many prudent men” Five or six are usually deemed sufficient and even a single grave doctor, such as St Alphonsus, may suffice.

    In this way, two contrary opinions may each be probable.

  • The only response Father Jenkins deserves to receive is the response from Ezekiel 34:1-10.

    Those who contracept and abort will be held accountability, and to even greater accountability will be held those priests who encourage, aid and abet such evil. St. Paul would know how to deal with Father Jenkins – the same way he dealt with Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20.

    Liberal. Progressive. Democrat. The three dirtiest words in the English language. That’s the dictatorship of relativism. “I get to decide what’s good and evil by my own personal conscience!” Horse manure. That’s the very same lie with which Satan beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden. That’s the way of the serpent, the way of death and destruction. No one’s personal conscience gets to decide anything. Truth, righteousness and holiness are as immutable and ever constant as solid granite rock itself, hence Jesus’ words, “And upon this Rock I shall build my Church and the gates of hell shall NOT prevail.”

  • Interesting, Michael, thanks. That is indeed a most idiosyncratic definition of “probable,” foreign to science, math, logic and common usage. It seems to me that its usage among Catholic theologians is unfortunate in that English supplies us with “plausible.”

    In any case I don’t see how a Catholic understanding of “supremacy of conscience,” properly understood, can honestly explain Fr. Jenkin’s unfortunate statement.

  • What an interesting phrase – “supremacy of conscience.” Genesis 3:1-7:

    1* Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4* But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

  • Paul,
    You are correct that “[t]ruth, righteousness and holiness are as immutable and ever constant as solid granite rock itself.” But we humans are imperfect receivers of the truth, and hence some uncertainty is an inevitable part of the human condition. And although the Church speaks truthfully on matters of faith and morals, it cannot speak perfectly simply because it exists in a fallen world where even the most carefully chosen words impart ideas imperfectly. The Church does in fact teach that one should not violate one’s own conscience, and that is good enough for me. But that teaching cannot be properly understood without taking into account our grave obligation to learn and understand Church moral teaching. And the Church’s regard for individual conscience, however real, may not be employed as a license to ignore Her precepts in favor of private preferences. I agree with Michael that it is conceivable that some Catholics have truly and faithfully grappled with Church teaching and have nonetheless decided to contracept for reasons they deem serious and grave, even to the point of believing a failure to contracept would be a moral wrong. In such cases I concede that these Catholics may be innocent of moral culpability or fault; but I believe these cases to be exceedingly rare. Indeed, the number of contracepting Catholics who have even read Human Vitae, let alone struggled to understand it, is almost certainly quite modest.

  • Yes, Mike P., I agree 100% – “…it is conceivable that some Catholics have truly and faithfully grappled with Church teaching and have nonetheless decided to contracept for reasons they deem serious and grave, even to the point of believing a failure to contracept would be a moral wrong. In such cases I concede that these Catholics may be innocent of moral culpability or fault…”

    This happens because bishops, priests and deacons are failing to teach the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth so help them God.

    When was the last time we heard a cleric speak unambiguously about Humanae Vitae from the pulpit at Sunday morning Mass, or failing that, even about the first sin in the Garden of Eden?

    Yes, again you’re 100% right – “Indeed, the number of contracepting Catholics who have even read Human Vitae, let alone struggled to understand it, is almost certainly quite modest.”

    This is the fault of Roman Catholic clerics in these United States, and of us in the laity who know better for not praying for them that the Holy Spirit strengthens them and gives them wisdom. And God will hold them accountable for failing to preach and teach the truth just as He will hold us accountable for not lifting them up in prayer to the Throne of Grace.

    Sorry if I get so vociferous. I am not known for being delicate. 🙁

  • Speaking as a psychologist, I an say that since the late 19th Century, we know about how the mind works. It is capable of rationalizing anything.

    Speaking as a layman, I can say that the mind can fool the conscience.

    Terrorists, dictators, politicians, business people, students, pastors, anyone, can fool himself into believing he is acting in conformity with his conscience.

    Only God can judge!

    But we all know what sin is objectively if we are honest with ourselves.

  • Paul W Primavera

    I quoted Newman earlier as saying “Of course, if a man is culpable in being in error, which he might have escaped, had he been more in earnest, for that error he is answerable to God, but still he must act according to that error, while he is in it, because he in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.”

    Similarly, “invincible ignorance,” excuses, whilst supine ignorance does not and affected ignorance is the prevarication of an unquiet conscience.

    Am I alone in finding an eerie similarity between the “Truce of 1968,” as George Weigal calls it, when the Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitae and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy?

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document was issued that was intended to be definitive.

    In both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten and argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question. In the Jansenist case, peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least, from the pulpit.

    The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was enormous resistance, with bishops and priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Mike Petrik

    As in many other cases, Catholic theologians are using an English word in its Latin sense. Now prob?bilis = likely, credible, plausible (it can also mean commendable, admirable or justifiable)

    It comes from Latin proba = proof or evidence, which, in turn, comes from probare = to approve , esteem, commend; let; show to be real, true.

    Lawyers are doing the same, when they speak of “the balance of probabilities,” as meaning more likely than not.

    It is a “term of art,” a bit like anatomists talking of the “mental nerve,” which is in the chin (Latin mentum) and has nothing to do with the mind (mens)

  • Yup. Authority. That is the sticking point I think.

    We stray into protestant thinking when we think we can be our own authority and still call ourselves Catholic. Father Jenkins states Catholics and non Catholics conscientiously go against church teaching “ both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives”.

    Once you decide against the teaching Authority of the Church, promised by Jesus through the Holy Spirit, you are not wholly in communion are you. When you start to throw out this or that issue, you are no longer united to the Church in all she teaches and requires for our belief.
    Authority and Freedom. Does docility to Church authority as our Mother and Teacher mean that we are not intellectually free? No. We employ our conscience in order to discern the objective moral law; we don’t interpret the Truth ourselves but rely on our three legged stool of Magistereum, Tradition and Scripture.
    Unfortunately today we are skeptical that there is an objective Truth. JPII :
    “ How should we define this crisis of moral culture? We can glimpse its first phase in what Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk: ?”In this century [conscience] has been superseded by a counterfeit, which the 18 centuries prior to it never heard of, and could not have mistaken for it, if they had. It is the right of self-will”. ?What was true in Newman’s 19th century is even truer today. Culturally powerful forces insist that the rights of conscience are violated by the very idea that there exists a moral law inscribed in our humanity, which we can come to know by reflecting on our nature and our actions, and which lays certain obligations upon us because we recognize them as universally true and binding. This, it is frequently said, is an abrogation of freedom. But what is the concept of “freedom” at work here? Is freedom merely an assertion of my will — “I should be permitted to do this because I choose to do it”? Or is freedom the right to do what I ought to do, to adhere freely to what is good and true ? (Baltimore, October 8, 1995)?

    The doctor said the mind can fool the conscience.. as I think Eve’s and Adam’s did. “Did Eve make a mistake? or did she sin? She had been taught the truth, but her mind wanted to justify her desire.

    Perhaps people see conscience as an instrument for positing truth, instead if thinking it to be more like an ear trumpet to the mouth of God.
    We form our conscience when we are listening to what God is saying to us.
    When John Henry Newman wrote “Lead Kindly Light” he did not mean a light he had lit in His conscience– but the true eternal unchanging light of God. We form our conscience to follow that Light.

  • Michael, thanks for the explanation — very interesting. FWIW, I am a lawyer and can assure you that in law the term “probable” means more likely than not, unless qualified such as “30% probable.”

  • Dr. Kenny,
    While I’m generally sympathetic with your point of view, I do think the truth is a bit messier than we might wish. As an example: May a soldier in combat intentionally kill his comrade who is dying in agony and begging to be mercifully killed? Church teaching plainly says no — murder is always wrong no matter the motive or consequences. Yet, I don’t think most offenders of this teaching under these circumstances can be presumed to having knowingly sinned, no matter how objectively they may evaluate the situation. Same with torture in the context of the proverbial ticking time bomb. While moral laws are imprinted on the hearts of men, such laws are not all equally accessible. Some are written so gently they are in need of “greater light” to be seen. This is one reason Christ left us his Church. And it is also a reason we should (i) be diligent in seeking to understand Her teachings and (ii) be cautious about subordinating such teachings to our conscience except when necessary to avoid its violation.

  • Culpability is lessened by the duress of the situation. Agreed. We cannot presume anything about the sin of another person; only God knows the whole story about the person who acts under pressure. We leave the judgment to God Who has all knowledge of the factors that go into the sins of despair and mercy killing.
    If we seek Him we will find Him; there is some responsibility on our part to stay close to
    Him and get to know HIs voice.
    There is no moment in time when we can say we are a better judge than God of when or how a person (even ourselves) should die.
    Even if the “conscientious” Catholics and non Catholics referenced by Father Jenkins justify birth control or abortifacients because of the extreme dire nature of their situation they are still only justifying a revolt against the Authority of the Author of Life.

    About God’s laws …some written faint and some written bold. That almost makes it seem He has hidden the knowledge we would need to make good use of our intellect and will. ??? While King David did think we could have unknown faults (psalm 19) because perhaps our subjective perception may be more or less clouded, nonetheless the truth is accessible to us, if not in our own thinking, in the revelation of God in Scripture and Tradition and the Teaching of Church.
    Objective truth is all of a piece and is coherent. One teaching that is True can not contradict another teaching that is True. It is mortally sinful for us to take another person’s life, in the nursing home or hospital or at Planned Parenthood. Mercifully, our culpability is measured by God.

  • If men loved God as much as God loves men, life would be livable.

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  • Everyone is under a duty to inform their conscience. However, most moral theologians argue that, in the case of the laity, this duty does not normally extend beyond seeking the direction of their confessor or spiritual director.

    Now, following the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, many pastors, tended to minimise its authority, by teaching that it was not infallible, that many theologians questioned its teaching and so on and suggested that it was up to the individual to follow his own judgement in the matter. Now, doubtful laws are certainly not binding and the fact that advice is welcome does not mean that it is not accepted in good faith.

    Many bishops, too, were equivocal on the matter and Rome quashed the censures imposed by Cardinal O’Boyle on those pastors who had publicly dissented from Humanae Vitae. Even those who supported the encyclical’s teaching inclined to the view that those who did not were to be “left in good faith” (a phrase with a venerable history, but only as applicable to errors of fact, not of law)

    It is a little strong to suggest that those were wilfully dissenting from Church teaching, who followed the spiritual direction of the pastors appointed for them by the Church.

  • Dr Charles Kenny

    Well said.

    As Lord Macaulay said, “We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical.”


    “About God’s laws …some written faint and some written bold. That almost makes it seem He has hidden the knowledge we would need to make good use of our intellect and will. ???”

    And, yet Isaiah says “Truly, you are a hidden God” [Is. 45:15.] and Our Lord teaches “”Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”[Matt. 11:27] As St Augustine explains, “There is sufficient clearness to enlighten the elect, and sufficient obscurity to humble them. There is sufficient obscurity to blind the reprobate, and sufficient clearness to condemn them and make them inexcusable.”

    Those who teach that it is possible to demonstrate the validity of supreme values by means of reason alone, leaving aside the proclamation of the faith are not speaking the language of Scripture or Tradition.

  • Michael PS,
    Excellent posts. With converts and reverts being a large prescence on the blogs, you provide theological data they are unaware of. Germain Grisez, moral theologian and recently used by the Vatican on a marriage debate at Theological Studies, over here in the US in an interview (he argued that the issue was settled in the universal ordinary magisterium infallibly) said that the laity disagreeing with him on infallibility was perfectly understandable given the silence of Bishops on the issue. I’d add that the abscence of any Pope censuring both Bernard Haring and Karl Rahner for public dissent sent the same message. Arguably John Paul II’s youth when he entered the papacy was ideal if any Pope were going to move the matter out of the ordinary magisterium into the extraordinary magisterium. He did not and this Pope is interested in NT writing. In Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II moved three issues of morals to extraordinary level by polling the world’s Bishops by mail etc. thus abortion, euthanasia, and killing the innocent are now infallibly condemned clearly in language based on the ex cathedra wording of the IC. I suspect he polled them on birth control but did not get the unanimity require to circumvent ex cathedra.

  • That whole ‘follow your conscience’ thing when it comes to accepting immoral behaviour is a cop-out. We have a duty to have a well-formed conscience and that means in accord with the teachings of the church and not jsut what we think or want something to be. I have known cases where “God wants me to be happy” when couples lived together outside of marriage or entered into an invaid marriage. And they say their conscience is fine with it.

    My conscience was ‘fine’ with a lot of things in the years I had in between confessions. Did not hurt a bit when I missed Mass or committed sin. That is because, not being in a state of grace, it was dead.

    It is a very serious matter when someone in a place of authority or power-say the head of a university or a politician–says that something immoral can be a ‘matter of conscience. It can’t. And they have the duty to speak and teach the truth and not to do so is sin by at least omission but more likely commission.

  • Yes. Thank you so much Michael for responding to me.
    JPII called the conscience a “herald”. When I think of that, I think “I don’t form a herald, I hear a herald” with the senses that God gave me for that purpose. My conscience is formed not just by my will and intellect, but in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
    My conscience is formed in my personal cooperation with grace, receiving and accepting.
    Jeremiah 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD…”

    You and Augustine and Isaiah are certainly right. They (and you and I) were and are also right to keep up the effort, the search. We will only know Him completely when we are face to Face.
    You are generous and I think Christ-like, when you say that people can’t be faulted if they truly follow their spiritual advisor. At the same time,in love we can encourage people that we are responsible for what we do know, even though we may wish we didn’t have even that inkling of Truth.
    In the 70’s, when we went to our hippie priest asking to be married in the Church he asked why we didn’t just live together.
    In all the millions who have been taught by Mother Church, many do know that the Church teaches that mercy killing is a sin, that artificial birth control is a sin, that having sex outside the sacrament of marriage is a sin, etc. but sometimes we latch on to what is easier to believe, and to claim confusion because of errant priests.

    He is hidden but the search is not fruitless. We are called to seek Him and He doesn’t set an impossible task for us… Perhaps we are granted insights and grace and knowledge of Him and His laws relative to our capacity in the same way that Therese taught us about being little thimbles but being full; so whether you are a barrel or a thimble you can be filled to the full..
    The catechism called us to KNOW love and serve Him in this life. We have responsibility to incline our ears, and harden not our hearts; esp. when we are “forming “ our conscience.
    We can pray with Paul as in Ephesians 1:17 …” the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.”

  • Magdalene,
        But the concept of a sincere erroneous conscience is valid far outside this one issue…otherwise Christian history is permeated with intrinsically evil acts if we accept the list of them in section 80 of “Splendor of the Truth”.  Popes from 1253 A.D. until 1816 cooperated with torture in both ecclesiastical courts (light torture) and in secular courts; recently a Pope wrote that torture is an intrinsic evil and far prior to 1253 A.D., Pope Nicholas I had condemned torture to extract a confession as “against divine and human law” in a local bull to the Bulgarians.  Who’s correct?  
    Did the Popes from 1253 til 1816 sin based on doing the opposite of Nicholas I.
    St. Alphonsus di Ligouri in his “Moral Theology” noted that even saints have disagreed on the less clear areas of the natural law. He could have been thinking of the Dominicans denouncing the Franciscans for usury in the late 15th century on the way the Franciscans ran their pawn shops by charging interest to cover expenses… with the Fifth Lateran Council subsequently siding with the Franciscans. You have Popes Nicholas V, Calixtus III, Sixtus IV, and Leo X believing in chattel slavery and Vatican II saying it’s “shameful” and John Paul calling it an intrinsic evil.  If it were an intrinsic evil, it would be wrong regardless of century.  You had Jesuits in China accepting Chinese ancestral rights with Franciscans and Dominicans objecting that it was evil with subsequent Popes siding with both opposing groups.
    All of this is why the charism of infallibility should be used more in the extraordinary mode as to morals so there is no doubt.  Abortion is now clearly infallibly condemned for that reason and so a person preaching abortion as a good could now be prosecuted in a Vatican ecclesiastical court for doing so in line with canon law 749-3 …” No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.”
         On contraception Germain Grisez and a Fr. Ford argued it was evidently infallible in the universal ordinary magisterium but other theologians of repute argued it was not…Karl Rahner and Bernard Haring…and Rahner had edited the Enchiridion Symbolorum for years (the tome that keeps track of dogmaticbauthority levels on issues).
         On torture, I side with it’s being acceptable ( Popes from 1253 til 1816) but unlike them, acceptable rarely e.g. to extract from a criminal the whereabouts of a slowly dying hostage that he has left in a basement.  I think John Paul was incorrect to call it an intrinsic evil based on scripture: ” Evil is driven out with bloody lashes and a scourging to the inmost being” Proverbs 20:30.  And his calling chattel slavery an intrinsic evil is refuted by Leviticus 25:44-46.  It is necessary in primitive contexts in which there are no prisons…e.g. the uncontacted tribes of Peru and Brazil where theoretically wouldreduce executions, the alternative for even petty thieves where there are no prisons.

  • also, “the issue was settled in the universal ordinary magisterium infallibly”
    Generous for Grisez to say people’s confusion is understandable because of the silence of the bishops, but I think that could be letting people off the hook. People understand that there are bishops who might or might not speak on this but the ex cathedra is all they need to know. Am I wrong?

  • Anzlyne
    Ex cathedra was not used on birth control but it’s kindred infallible venue ( bishops unanimously agreeing with a Pope) was used on abortion in section 62 of Evangelium Vitae. The youngish generation of Humanae Vitae saw an ex cathedra encyclical ( Pope speaking solemnly alone wih particular wording) when they were in grade school…the Assumption encyclical (1950)…18 years before Humanae Vitae (1968). Then imagine that generation growing up and having heard many times that ex cathedra was the cats meow as to being clearly infallible beyond dispute…in Catholic school as to the Assumption. Then Monseignor Lambrushini at the Humanae
    Vitae press conference twice stated that HV was not infallible. That meant to the Assumption generation that it was disputably true. Then theologians went public against it. Then dissenters of that generation influenced their children as a recent NY Times piece by Maureen Dowd showed in her case.

  • Thank you Bill.
    … about all the controversy with the infallibility of HV..
    Because a teaching about a particular act has not been deemed infallible by the extraordinary magisterium does not mean it is fallible.

    There was tremendous pressure on pope the 6th concerning this issue as you know, People waited and wondered what he would say, and some, disappointed, have tried ever since to find ways around it. He felt that repeating and reinforcing the consistent teaching of the Church was the way to go.

    The teaching about contraception has been taught consistently from the beginning (Genesis 38) The sin of Onan.
    Also Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children, 195 AD,)
    and of course Augustine had something to say too: . …”Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility” (Marriage and Concupiscence)
    and protestants even followed this teaching until Margaret Sanger and her birth control movement began to hold sway early 1900’s ..the Anglicans were led away from this teaching at their 1930 Lambeth conference.

    It is a long term highly respected teaching.

    Primacy of conscience is being stressed today when so many people WANT to dissent, but the teachings of our Holy Church is our glue. If people want to go against the consistent teaching of the Church and quibble about types of infallibility – that seems too dodgy for me.

    Searching for truth, Holy spirit guided. Development of doctrine from the roots to the tip of the vine There is organic growth in our development of doctrine, Yay!

  • Great discussion. But I am confused. Are not the issues:
    1. Should Rev. Jenkins have said “Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives. As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.”?
    2. Does one’s decisions of conscience have consequences?

    As to the first issue, isn’t Rev. Jenkins a Catholic priest speaking in a public forum as the President of a Catholic University? Thus, shouldn’t he uphold his Church’s teachings by denouncing the use of contraceptives as both a violation of natural law and the teachings of his Church? If not, why not? If he does not believe his Church’s teachings, shouldn’t he resign? If he does believe, why didn’t he say so with certainty? Politics is not an excuse.

    Second, for the sake of argument, let’s assume one’s conscience can rationalize the use of contraceptives. Doesn’t that use explicitly contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church? Let’s assume that person doesn’t live on an asteroid in deep space. As such, that person, if a Catholic, has removed them self from communion with the Catholic Church, ie. excommunicated them self ? They may be proven right in the next life, but in this life shouldn’t the Catholic Church accept their self excommunication, unless and until they repent. To do otherwise, would be to create confusion and scandal in the Church. And we all know what that can do to a Church. If the Church believes really in what it teaches, it should go forth and preach it. Otherwise, change its position as so many would like it to do. It is either right, wrong or not sure! I believe the Church has chosen?

  • Anzlyne
    You are talking about infallibility in the universal ordinary magisterium. Some very great theologians though would have differed with you as to this topic….and they knew your references
    and more. Not every theologian throughout the centuries who opposed contraception agreed with Augustine on Onan. They were against birth control without mentioning Onan. Look at the NAB.
    Onan did this repeatedly (“whenever”). Thus God’s killing Onan was not about the act but about the series of acts that precluded any child whatsoever being born. Why is this critical? It’s critical because Christ was to be descended from the house of Judah…which was four men: Judah and his sons…Er, Onan, Shelah. In other words Onan was trying to have no children whatsoever with Tamar. Onan was risking the non descent of Christ from the house of Judah…a sacrilege. Throughout the Bible, God kills for sacrilege not for sex or gluttony or slander etc. God kills Uzzah for touching the ark; Achan for stealing precious metal dedicated to God; Dathan and Abiram for attempting to dethrone Moses; the sons of Aaron for using unauthorized incense; Herod in Acts 12 for accepting the name “god” from the crowd; Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 for lying to the Holy Spirit. It was sacrilege for Onan to risk Christ not coming from his little family…the house of Judah. Apocalypse 5:5…”One of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David,* has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.”. Augustine missed the sacrilege involved and saw only sex….his past in fact. But Tamar and Judah sin sexually in the same story and God does not kill either one of them…because it was about sacrilege…about risking Christ not coming from the House of Judah…one of four men.

  • ps…the sexual sin of Judah and Tamar produces Phares, the ancestor of Christ.

  • Good discussion by Bill Bannon. I need to save this text for future uses.

  • very interesting.. about Onan– I think Jewish (and Christian) tradition was that contraception was the reason that Onan was killed. I don’t think your exegesis is a widespread conclusion.. I could write up some of the arguments about it but

    but what we were getting back to is whether Fr. Jenkins statement that there are conscientious Catholics teaching and on staff or studying at Notre Dame who dissent against accepted Catholic teaching. and that that is respected.

    That puts everything Cardinal Dolan has been saying in a poor light doesn’t it? Does the Church teach against contraception or not? Is it important? If the individual conscience can trump the accepted consistent teaching of the Church in the case of teaching staff at the Catholic university why should the Bishops be trying to fight the mandate?
    Jenkins references “conscientious decisions” and says ” we respect their right to follow their conscience.
    We do respect people’s right to follow their conscience. My point is that there is a certain tension between authoritative teachings and the primacy of conscience. The widespread cries among liberal Catholics that HV may not be an infallible pronouncement, begs a question of the authority of long time honored teaching of the Church.
    It seems disingenuous to claim in any way that the Church has not always taught against contraception and that the Bishops are hollering then about nothing, because everyone can just decide for themselves. Sound Protestant? Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we Catholics have to be responsible to our Faith. we have to count on the Teaching Authority and not make Church teaching morally relative.

    I don’t like the NAB, do you? those footnotes are killers. ..when I was in post graduate I had to put up with a lot of Raymond Brown etal.

  • Paul,
    Thanks. You’ll notice that if God did not kill Onan, Tamar could not move on to the next brother in order to have a child. So killing Onan was for sacrilege but the killing also was necessary to undo the sacrilege by producing a child. But the next brother, Shelah seems to have feared Tamar due to his two brothers dying ( in Tobias, the devil Asmodeus kills any man who marries Sarah). Tamar then disguises herself as a harlot and seduces the father. Thus Tamar and Judah materially sin sexually but live on because they produced the next ancestor of Christ.

  • Anzlyne,
    I threw out Raymond Brown’s “Birth of the Messiah” as a dangerous book to leave to others when I’m gone. But I kept his late life “Introduction to the New Testament” which is actually good in the main as is “Community of the Beloved Disciple”. In “Birth of the Messiah” I think he was performing for Protestant scholars in showing how much he could disbelieve. The last two Popes in varying capacities allowed him on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. They in biblical matters are not as traditional as people think especially when it comes to God ordered violence within the Bible. Read section 40 of Evangelium Vitae by JPII and section 42 of Verbum Domini by Benedict. Both men are insinuating that God did not order death penalties (the first reference) nor the dooms (the second reference). No thanks. Thus Raymond Brown was more innocent to them than to you and I.

  • thanks – I must be turning into a crackpot– I prob wouldn’t have given him the nihil obstat! : )

    I don’t mean to be a smart alec about such a well educated man, but he was a skeptic and he spread it around… Some of my teachers knew him personally and assured me he was a loving gentle man; no horns.

    I threw out my Intro to the New Testament ’cause I couldn’t in conscience give it to Goodwill. Lots of good stuff there, but just enough skepticism to infect someone who wasn’t tenacious in their faith.
    He and Rahner Hellwig and others made me so earnest about teaching adults the Catechism– Brown more than the others because he reaches down to beginning bible readers and throws them off right at they are getting started..

    as far as the pope and biblical interp, I am sure you have read B16 Erasmus Lecture 1998… so the fact that he wasn’t really outright censured doesn’t mean his ideas are necessarily accepted..

  • Westphilo

    By my reading, Fr Jenkins did affirm the church’s teaching, when he said “As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.” In other words, “we” do not agree with those who “have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives.” What more do you want?

    Bill Bannon

    In examining the Tradition, we look to the Fathers, not as theologians, but as witnesses to the apostolic tradition, handed down in the churches. What we find is a universal condemnation of any interference with or manipulation of the life-giving process. This is their explicit teaching. Coupled with this, we find various explanations offered, as to why this should be so. These are examples of theological reasoning and, as such, form no part of the Deposit of Faith; they stand or fall on their own merits. That is why the evidence of the Didache, of Clement of Alexandria, of Origen, even of Tertullian (who later became a Montanist heretic) are more important than the exegesis of St Augustine. They stand much closer in time to the Apostles and they give the evidence of the Tradition held in the different churches.


    Asserting the duty (hence the right) to follow an erroneous conscience is not to concede the teaching is doubtful. It is merely to acknowledge that human beings can be sincere in their false beliefs.

  • It seems to The Motley Monk that there’s a bit of confusion concerning the “primacy of conscience” in some of the comments to his post as well as in the minds of U.S. Catholics’ as well.

    Here is the confusion, at least as it was discussed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as best as The Motley Monk recalls that discussion. “Conscience” is not similar to “a breakwater stopping the Church’s teaching from reaching the shore.” In defined, papal magisterial teaching the conscience must yield to the Church’s teaching.

    Sounds harsh, no?

    As this relates to the use of artificial means of birth control, a married couple might, yes, in conscience, believe it moral to contracept. But, according to Ratzinger, that does not mean they can contracept morally and doctrinally speaking. It means that they must sumbit to the Churchh’s defined, papal magisterial teaching.

    That’s even more harsh, no?

    Definitely not!

    This brings up an entirely different but related discussion that The Motley Monk intends to bring up at some point in the future when there’s a good case application that riles everyone up. That is, the Sacrament of Penance exists for sinners to confess their sins—for example, the inability to follow defined, papal magisterial teaching—and to overcome those sins, in part, through the instruction provided as part of the Sacrament. The Sacrament affords Christ—through the Holy Spirit present in the Church and its ministers—the opportunity to form a defective conscience as well as the grace to live in conformity with defined, papal magisterial teaching.

    Perhaps many of those who confessed contracepting in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s were not provided the instruction they needed to strengthen them in their resolve to conform their lives with defined, papal magisterial teaching. Might it have been that confessors “winked and nodded” when spouses confessed contracepting? Then, too, listening to public opinion polls of U.S. Catholics, perhaps those who would otherwise have confessed contracepting stopped presenting themselves for the Sacrament of Penance. After all, the reasoning may have gone, “If everybody’s doing it, God can’t send them all to Hell.” Top all of that off with the “magisterium of U.S. Catholic theologians”—whose infallibility is defined by their unanimity—who spoke against defined, papal magisterial teaching. It’s quite understandable why so many Catholic aren’t confused but conforming their lives with the things of this world rather than other-worldly things, as St. Paul wrote.

    One important tool for overcoming this lack of understanding about conscience, in particular, is more catechesis based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • To reiterate, perhaps more clearly:

    The question here is whether artificial contraception is or is not morally permissible. The Church teaches no. An individual Catholic may want to dissent from that teaching, either in his own case, or in general. So the moral question becomes “does my conscience trump Church teaching?”. The answer is that the consciences of individuals must be formed in accordance with Church teachings, not over against them. Conscience does not need to be convinced by Church teaching, it is obligated to be formed by it and to yield to it.

    Now in case the conscience, after having been properly informed of Church teaching, still dissents from it, the morally just behavior, after using artificial contraception, is to confess the sin of contraception and to pray for the grace of a truly divinely illumined conscience.

    But the bias is always in favor of the Church’s teaching. And the conscience must always be formed in accordance with that teaching.

  • Motley Monk,
        Cardinal Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict is a bad example.  Section 80 of “Splendor of the Truth” teaches that deportation (unqualified…deportation in se) is an intrinsic evil.  In May of 2010 Benedict allowed Italy to deport two Muslim students who had planned to kill Benedict.  So Benedict’s conscience overrode a major encyclical of the Pope previous to him…against the catechism but in line with tradition within Catholic moral theology tomes whose definition of conscience includes dissent toward the not clearly infallible.
         Your piece is pure catechism as to conscience which I find in converts and in Catholics who do not access moral theology tomes.  Germain Grisez is a moral theologian who is against birth control and further thinks it infallibly condemned in the universal ordinary magisterium and he was recently supported by the Vatican in a debate on marriage in a Jesuit periodical where he was opposing laxism on the topic.  In short his credentials are questioned by no one.  But he disagrees with you and allows unlike the catechism circular conscience trail you espouse….he allows for dissent to the non infallible which Benedict just used in 2010 against JPII’s position on deportation.  Check Grisez’s “Christian Moral Principles” page 854 and thereabouts.  On abortion a Catholic who dissents is going against the clearly infallible per section 62 of Evangelium Vitae.  That’s different.  He or she should then leave the Church if their conscience actually motivates them.  But even then you do not know if they are in mortal sin in God’s eyes.  The Church can only say they have committed a mortal sin materially but not formally which only God knows.  The catechism in its circular description of conscience constantly returning to Church documents is not adult because it means that when Pope Leo X supported burning heretics in Exsurge Domine in 1520, you Motley Monk would have gone right along with him and his document despite Christ twice praising the Samaritans who heretically rejected the Hebrew canon after the Pentateuch….because your concept of conscience is circular and always leads back to Church documentation.  Start reading moral theology which Benedict followed instead of the catechism circular conscience model…when he recently dissented on deportation….and it saved his life.
    In the catechism conscience is always bound to return to documents in obedience. In Catholic moral theology that is not so. The catechism concept led to hundreds of years of Catholics burning heretics in obedience to Exsurge Domine….31,000 by the count of an Inquisitor writing in 1800…6,000 by the count of Will Durant. Either way, that flies in the face of Christ praising Samaritan actions.

  • The Motley Monk

    “The question here is whether artificial contraception is or is not morally permissible. The Church teaches no”

    This raises the question of the status of that teaching. Does the Church teach this, as a matter of divine and catholic faith? Is it a magisterial teaching, to be received with submission of intellect and will? Is the teaching “definitive” and so on.

    Do the opinions of those theologians who regard it as a non-infallible teaching or who hold that the scope of the Church’s infallibility is restricted to revealed truth constitute a “probable opinion,” as that term is understood by moral theologians?

    Does a lay Catholic sufficiently inform his conscience, by submitting the question to his/her pastor and accepting his ruling?

    Personally, I believe it to be a teaching of the ordinary universal magisterium; the same authority on which I believe in the infallibility of general councils and, hence, in the infallibility of the pope. That is a far cry from holding that no one can conclude otherwise, in good faith, especially if they are following their spiritual director’s advice.

  • Nice try, Mr. Bannon, but your post is premised upon at least one absurdity and imprecision.

    For example, you stated “In May of 2010 Benedict allowed Italy to deport two Muslim students who had planned to kill Benedict.”

    Surely you know that Pope Benedict XVI can’t/doesn’t order the Italian state to do anything. He can cajole, debate, recommend, etc. But, the Italian state is required to follow Italian law not the dictates of the Pope, whomever he may be.

    Then, too, the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is accorded higher value in the moral decision-making process than the opinion of moral theologians because the CCC represents the official and universal teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The speculations of moral theologians are just that—speculations—which you seem to believe are official interpretations of Church teaching.

    That incorrect interpretation has things “upside down” and “inside out” because it is not unusual for Catholics who dissent from defined, papal magisterial teaching to select moral theologians whose speculations they happen to agree with. That is not how Catholics “inform” their consciences. That is how Catholics justify what they already belive in dissent form Church teaching.

    What I stated in my two previous responses is what it means to be a Roman Catholic…hard as that may be for people today.

  • Bad try, Motley Monk. Benedict could have publically protested the deportation as an intrinsically evil act in the Vatican newspaper, on Vatican radio and to the Italian press and CNN. He could have said, ” Just as a woman’s life cannot be saved by abortion, I must not be saved by deportation”.
    The reason he didn’t was because he knew JPII’s position on deportation was incorrect by reason of a failure to qualify his terms. He dissented.

    On Grisez, you’re obviously unaware that he was the highest profile theologian in the US against
    birth control.

    On burning people, you skipped it because the catechism description of conscience leads retroactively to obeying Pope Leo X on burning heretics…heretics who now fix our cars, take care of our children’s health as Doctors, and serve us pancakes at IHOP.

  • Thanks Anzlyne.
    I believe you made an important point. Hasn’t the Catholic Church consistently taught that artificial contraceptive is wrong?
    If so, how can Rev. Jenkins sue on behalf of a Catholic institution to protect its 1st Amendment Right to freely practice its faith/religion by not being forced to supply contraceptives, but in the same thought/paragraph explicitly state that persons of the same faith can disagree as a matter of conscience? “Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives. As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.” He can’t. They can’t. The two positions, as it relates to being a faithful Catholic, are irreconcilable.
    As you said, if consciences can faithfully disagree on this point, why should he sue or any Catholic sue?
    Notwithstanding infallibility, can a faithful Catholic in good conscience believe Jesus was a good man, a prophet, but not God? Or that the Eucharist is not the body of Christ? Or that abortion is alright? Of course not. Reject these concepts and you reject Catholicism.
    Further, one’s “right to be wrong”, doesn’t mean you are right. You are still wrong! So why didn’t Rev. Jenkins say so. He went out of his way to be obtuse, in its best light, or to create a “moral equivalence” argument for his dissenting faculty. In either case he has shown to be neither a teacher or a leader.
    As an aside, I used to watch Coming Home, a religious program, hosted by a man called Marcus, a former Protestant Preacher. He hosted many Protestant Preachers who , like Marcus, gave up their calling as Protestant Ministers to become Catholic. Not only did they seem very religious, but very learned in the Bible. It was uncanny how many became Catholic because they came to believe that the Bible and their good consciences were inadequate to preach the Word and save souls. They needed a higher authority which they universally came to believe was the Catholic Church, its tradition and its teachings. The point is that to be Catholic is to accept its teaching . In this case Rev. Jenkins has not, instead he equivocates.
    Where am I wrong?

  • Westphilo

    “The two positions, as it relates to being a faithful Catholic, are irreconcilable”

    No, they are not. A person is bound to follow his or her conscience, even if erroneous – “”over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else” [Joseph Ratzinger, “Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II,” ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, part 1,chapter 1]

    Abp Ratzinger, as he then was, is repeating the teaching of St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, Cajetan, Vasquez, Durandus, Navarrus, Corduba, Layman and Escobar. They “must act according to that error, while they are in it, because they in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.”

    Antonius Cordubensis (Antonio de Córdoba, 1485-1578), a Spanish Franciscan, whose Summa Casuum Conscientiae [Summary of Cases of Conscience] was a popular manual for confessors, states the doctrine with still more point, because he makes mention of Superiors. “In no manner is it lawful to act against conscience, even though a Law, or a Superior commands it.”—De Conscient., p. 138.

    No one on this whole thread has cited one theologian who is of a contrary opinion, nor is this surprising. “The Divine Law,” says Cardinal Gousset, Archbishop of Rheims, “is the supreme rule of actions; our thoughts, desires, words, acts, all that man is, is subject to the domain of the law of God; and this law is the rule of our conduct by means of our conscience. Hence it is never lawful to go against our conscience; as the fourth Lateran Council says, ‘Quidquid fit contra conscientiam, ædificat ad gehennam.'” [Gousset, Theol. Moral., t. i. pp. 24, &c.] His “Théologie morale a l’usage des curés et des confesseurs” (1844) [Moral Theology for the use of Curates and Confessors] ran into many editions. If Gousset is right in his interpretation of the fourth Lateran council, then the rule is de fide.

  • Thanks for your reply Michael.

    I stated my qualifier, i.e. “as it relates to being a faithful Catholic”, poorly.
    I’ll try again. Given your premise that a person’s conscience is controlling, does that assumption divest one’s actions based upon his conscience from its consequences?

    For example, if one believes abortion is alright and acts upon that belief, has that person committed a wrong? Has that person voluntarily removed them self from communion with and in the Catholic Church? And does that person continue to be a faithful Catholic?
    As you can see I’m not as versed as you in Church history or law, but regardless one can still reason. And if one’s reason/conscience takes them away from the Catholic Church’s teachings – does that decision not also take them away from the Church. No one forces one to believe? Wasn’t that the Protestant revolution? At least they stood up for their decisions and recognized they were no longer faithful to or a part of the Church?
    What do you think?

  • Westphilo

    As I have said more than once, quoting Bl John Henry Newman, “ Of course, if a man is culpable in being in error, which he might have escaped, had he been more in earnest, for that error he is answerable to God, but still he must act according to that error, while he is in it, because he in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.” That is the teaching of all moral theologians.

    It is a Protestant error to define Christians by examining their tenets, or the Church by its teaching. As Mgr Ronald Knox put it, “The Faithful, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome. No doubt, in the long run, this means the people who are so orthodox that Rome has seen no reason to excommunicate them, so that unity and orthodoxy still react upon one another. There can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other.”

    This process can take a long time. In the case of the Jansenists, Jansens’s work, the Augustinus, was censured by the Holy Office in 1641; it was only after 77 years and eight papal documents, dealing with their various evasions, that, in 1718, the Jansenists were effectively expelled from the Church. As late as 1756, the pope had to issue yet another apostolic constitution dealing with notorious resistance and the Viaticum.

    As far as Humanae Vitae is concerned, we have not even seen the first stages of that process – the formal condemnation of specific errors, the requirement of subscription by the clergy, the deprivation of those who refuse, declaratory sentences of excommunication against recalcitrant individuals &c, &c. These were the measures taken against the Jansenists and, more recently against the Modernists by Lamentabili and Pascendi and the imposition of the Anti-Modernist Oath.

    Rome moves slowly.

  • This is precisely the kind of sophistry that Catholic teaching suffers at the hands of people who do not understand “faith seeking understanding.” They put understanding before faith.

    Yes, in The Motley Monk’s personal opinion, this is precisely what the Protestant “reformation” was all about. Conscience before Tradition.

  • Thanks again Michael.

    Its very frustrating.

    Mgr. R. Knox’s quote that ” The Faithful … are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”, makes sense. Would not the opposite be true? That those in public opposition to the see of Rome/its teachings are not faithful Catholics?

    Further, does “Rome moves slowly” serve a function? Or is it just a fact?

    In our jet age, people and communication fly faster than the speed of sound. That was not the case 400 years ago. Additionally, damage to the Church and its flock can occur just as fast. Looks what has happened to the Church and its followers since 1960, a mere 50 years ago. There is an old legal adage that states “justice delayed is justice denied”. Shouldn’t it apply to what is happening to the Church and its faithful followers?

    Also, must the Church’s problems be only handled on a macro level? As a heresy or schism? What about a micro level approach as to specific cases. For example Rev. Jenkins? Should not he be called upon to explicitly promote the teachings of the Catholic Church or step aside and let someone who believes in and will promote those teachings? Yes, I know I’m addressing consequences/responsibility again.

    A while ago, just after VII, I made a bet with a friend that the Church would change its position on contraceptives? Even though I hoped I would be wrong, I saw the writing on the wall. I haven’t won my bet, but its even money now. Look how many Catholic entities have not joined the current lawsuit! Unless the Church acts, I’m afraid I will win my bet. And either way, the Church will be a small, shadow of its once great self and more importantly, less able to fulfill its mission to save souls.

    Great to hear a response.

  • To Motley Monk.

    How does one who does not have faith – seek understanding?

    Isn’t faith/grace a gift from God? It is not earned? Or learned?

    But what about a person who falsely believes he possesses grace/faith or denies its necessity? Can that person properly form a conscience ? Much less find the truth with such a conscience?

  • I am learning so much and loving this. It is wonderful that so many good people are able to “sit by the eastern wall” !
    I answer my own question: did Eve sin or did she make a mistake? this way. She sinned. She was told, she had personal experience with the Lord. Sins are always a mistake; but a mistake is not always a sin.
    It is not a sin to sincerely follow an erring conscience. The best hedge is to follow Church teaching. If I think the Church is wrong on a matter of morals, I am probably wrong. My conscience has not had the promise of infallibility.
    What we believe to be true is not necessarily true. If we doubt God, He still exists. If we believe abortion to be good, it is still evil. I can be sincere and be sincerely wrong, so if in doubt, I follow the Church.
    Maybe one of the hardest parts of forming my conscience, or coming to an understanding of what IS truth, is that when I am tempted, and especially when I have caved in , I have lost any impartial objective judgment. I tend to believe what I want to believe.

  • Westphilo

    The beauty of Mgr Ronald Knox’s test is that it avoids the question of belief altogether. Communion can be terminated on either side: a person can withdraw from communion with the pope or bishops in communion with him, or they can be excommunicated by their bishop (in which case, they will probably appeal) or by the Holy See. This is all clear and public; there is no room for doubt on either side.

    Allow me to quote Knox again: “I had always assumed at the back of my mind that when my handbooks talked about ” Arian ” and ” Catholic ” bishops they knew what they were talking about ; it never occurred to me that the Arians also regarded themselves as Catholics and wanted to know why they should be thought otherwise. “ Ah! But,” says my Church historian, “the Church came to think otherwise, and thus they found themselves de-Catholicized in the long run.” But what Church? Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines? I had used this argument against the attitude of the Greek Orthodox Church when it broke away from unity, but it had never occurred to me before that what we mean when we talk of the Catholic party is the party in which the Bishop of Rome was, and nothing else: that the handbooks had simply taken over the word without thinking or arguing about it, as if it explained itself; but it didn’t.”

    You ask “For example Rev. Jenkins? Should not he be called upon to explicitly promote the teachings of the Catholic Church or step aside and let someone who believes in and will promote those teachings?”

    In the Washington case, the Congregation of the Clergy required the dissenting priests, who had been disciplined by Cardinal O’Boyle, to subscribe a declaration that “the Church’s teaching on the objective evil of contraception was ‘an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.’” Has Rev Jenkins said anything to suggest that he rejects this?

  • Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum veritatis (1990), n. 38:

    Finally, argumentation appealing to the obligation to follow one’s own conscience cannot legitimate dissent. This is true, first of all, because conscience illumines the practical judgment about a decision to make, while here we are concerned with the truth of a doctrinal pronouncement. This is furthermore the case because while the theologian, like every believer, must follow his conscience, he is also obliged to form it. Conscience is not an independent and infallible faculty. It is an act of moral judgement regarding a responsible choice. A right conscience is one duly illumined by faith and by the objective moral law and it presupposes, as well, the uprightness of the will in the pursuit of the true good.

    The right conscience of the Catholic theologian presumes not only faith in the Word of God whose riches he must explore, but also love for the Church from whom he receives his mission, and respect for her divinely assisted Magisterium. Setting up a supreme magisterium of conscience in opposition to the magisterium of the Church means adopting a principle of free examination incompatible with the economy of Revelation and its transmission in the Church and thus also with a correct understanding of theology and the role of the theologian. The propositions of faith are not the product of mere individual research and free criticism of the Word of God but constitute an ecclesial heritage. If there occur a separation from the Bishops who watch over and keep the apostolic tradition alive, it is the bond with Christ which is irreparably compromised.

    Blessed John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, n. 31

    Certainly people today have a particularly strong sense of freedom. As the Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae had already observed, “the dignity of the human person is a concern of which people of our time are becoming increasingly more aware”. Hence the insistent demand that people be permitted to “enjoy the use of their own responsible judgment and freedom, and decide on their actions on grounds of duty and conscience, without external pressure or coercion”. In particular, the right to religious freedom and to respect for conscience on its journey towards the truth is increasingly perceived as the foundation of the cumulative rights of the person.

    This heightened sense of the dignity of the human person and of his or her uniqueness, and of the respect due to the journey of conscience, certainly represents one of the positive achievements of modern culture. This perception, authentic as it is, has been expressed in a number of more or less adequate ways, some of which however diverge from the truth about man as a creature and the image of God, and thus need to be corrected and purified in the light of faith.

    32. Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values. This is the direction taken by doctrines which have lost the sense of the transcendent or which are explicitly atheist. The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one’s conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one’s moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and “being at peace with oneself”, so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment.

  • Westphilo:

    How does one who does not have faith – seek understanding?

    The answer: This person is a scientist and uses the scientific method. That’s the basis of science…using human means to know the truth. Theology, in contrast, accepts the Truth and seeks to undestand what that means. For example, a scientist does not accept the Virgin birth and, hence, abandons the search for this Truth. The believer, however, accepts this divinely revealed Truth and, in doing so is able to seek what it means for humanity. Historically, this has been framed as the “science vs. religion” debate but, in reality, a person of faith uses scientific findings to imform faith. For example, the heliocentric universe challenged theologians to inform their pursuit of the Truth.

    Isn’t faith/grace a gift from God? It is not earned? Or learned?

    Answer: All is grace, starting with life itself. Anything following that is “grace upon grace.” That was definitively settled by St. Augustine of Hippo.

    But what about a person who falsely believes he possesses grace/faith or denies its necessity? Can that person properly form a conscience ? Much less find the truth with such a conscience?

    Answer: No that person cannot and needs someone who can assist that person in forming a proper conscience. For example, a serial murderer who sincerely believes that the crimes committed are for the cause of some good needs to “see the light” and, through the process of conversion, form a proper conscience. Of course, The Motley Monk here is referring to St. Paul.

  • Following up on Veritatis Splendor for those who keep quoting Blessed John Henry Newman (who, by the way, is one of The Motley Monk’s faves, so this is not to cast any aspersions on him):

    Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others. Taken to its extreme consequences, this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature.

    34. “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”. The question of morality, to which Christ provides the answer, cannot prescind from the issue of freedom. Indeed, it considers that issue central, for there can be no morality without freedom: “It is only in freedom that man can turn to what is good”. But what sort of freedom? The Council, considering our contemporaries who “highly regard” freedom and “assiduously pursue” it, but who “often cultivate it in wrong ways as a licence to do anything they please, even evil”, speaks of “genuine” freedom: “Genuine freedom is an outstanding manifestation of the divine image in man. For God willed to leave man “in the power of his own counsel” (cf. Sir 15:14), so that he would seek his Creator of his own accord and would freely arrive at full and blessed perfection by cleaving to God”.

    Although each individual has a right to be respected in his own journey in search of the truth, there exists a prior moral obligation, and a grave one at that, to seek the truth and to adhere to it once it is known. As Cardinal John Henry Newman, that outstanding defender of the rights of conscience, forcefully put it: “Conscience has rights because it has duties”.

    52. It is right and just, always and for everyone, to serve God, to render him the worship which is his due and to honour one’s parents as they deserve. Positive precepts such as these, which order us to perform certain actions and to cultivate certain dispositions, are universally binding; they are “unchanging”. They unite in the same common good all people of every period of history, created for “the same divine calling and destiny”. These universal and permanent laws correspond to things known by the practical reason and are applied to particular acts through the judgment of conscience. The acting subject personally assimilates the truth contained in the law. He appropriates this truth of his being and makes it his own by his acts and the corresponding virtues. The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception, because the choice of this kind of behaviour is in no case compatible with the goodness of the will of the acting person, with his vocation to life with God and to communion with his neighbour. It is prohibited — to everyone and in every case — to violate these precepts. They oblige everyone, regardless of the cost, never to offend in anyone, beginning with oneself, the personal dignity common to all.

    In regard to the above quotation, The Motley Monknotes, bear in mind that the Catholic Magisterium’s teaching concerning the prohibition of artificial contraception expresses a negative precept of the natural law.

    Ratzinger on Conscience / Ratzinger on Newman’s views about Conscience:

    Ratzinger quoted in the above-cited text: “What I was only dimly aware of in this conversation became glaringly clear a little later in a dispute among colleagues about the justifying power of the erroneous conscience. Objecting to this thesis, someone countered that if this were so then the Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven since they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience. Another responded with utmost assurance that of course this was indeed the case. There is no doubting the fact that Hitler and his accomplices who were deeply convinced of their cause, could not have acted otherwise. Therefore, the objective terribleness of their deeds notwithstanding, they acted morally, subjectively speaking. Since they followed their albeit mistaken consciences, one would have to recognize their conduct as moral and, as a result, should not doubt their eternal salvation. Since that conversation, I knew with complete certainty that something was wrong with the theory of justifying power of the subjective conscience, that, in other words, a concept of conscience which leads to such conclusions must be false.

  • Thanks Michael for your response. I’ll try to answer your question about Rev. Jenkins.

    If the use of contraceptives is morally wrong? And if the Church teaches this truth? Shouldn’t Catholics, especially a public Catholic Priest who is the leader of a famous Catholic Institution, explicitly preach this truth?

    How does someone defend Rev. Jenkins’ statement that – “Many of our faculty, staff and students—both Catholic and non-Catholic—have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives. As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs.” ?

    Where is the statement that the use of contraceptives is morally wrong? Against the teachings of the Catholic Church? Or even against natural law? And more importantly where are his actions to support those Church’s teachings?

    A de minimis statement respecting every ones’ conscience is not only incomplete (does not state the wrong, its seriousness, or its rational), but it is also false as it relates to Catholics who ” made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives”. These Catholics have voluntarily rejected Catholic teachings and as you quoted, removed themselves from the their Church. As such they are no longer Catholic and shouldn’t be address as such.

    Harsh? I don’t think so. These “Catholics” have made a voluntary choice. On the other hand, the Church and its faithful followers who continue to follow the Church and believe in its teachings, are marginalized and are told by Rev. Jenkins and the ‘learned” by their actions and in actions that their Church and their beliefs are no better or worse than those “Catholics” who use contraceptives – a moral equivalency.

    Am I the only one who sees this?

  • westphilo,
    You are excommunicating Catholics for birth control. The problem with that is that no Pope out of the 265 Popes except Sixtus V has done that ( the bull, Effraenatum) and his immediate successor repealed his judgement. He cleaned up Italy though…executing thousands of criminals
    ( not a big anti death penalty Pope).

  • Motley Monk.

    Thanks for answering my questions. I appreciate your being concise and to the point.

    “How does one who does not have faith – seek understanding?”
    Your science vs religion makes sense. But doesn’t your answer as to religion, beg the question? Without faith one cannot reach understanding, truth or a properly formed conscience. Where can one obtain faith if not from understanding? When I think of understanding, I think of wisdom. I believe wisdom is succinctly defined as intelligence plus experience. What do you think?

    “Isn’t faith/grace a gift from God? It is not earned? Or learned?”
    I used faith and grace interchangeably. As to only faith, does you answer stay the same? How does one obtain faith?

    “But what about a person who falsely believes he possesses grace/faith or denies its necessity? Can that person properly form a conscience ? Much less find the truth with such a conscience?”
    You seem to say a “serial murderer” can find faith if he sees ““… the light” and, through the process of conversion, form a proper conscience.”. Again doesn’t this answer beg the question? You can’t find faith needed to form a proper conscience until you “see the light” or find a conversion?

    If Faith is a gift from God, you either receive it or you don’t. You may be able to help yourself, by your search for the truth, but ultimately it is a gift – not earned or learned.

    On the other hand if a person humbly searches for and is open to the truth, will they not realize that there is a greater law, a natural law, that includes mysteries beyond their comprehension. Wouldn’t that person, after a thorough search, seek assistance, not from another person, but from an organization created for that purpose. Shouldn’t that person then place its faith in the teachings of that organization? And are the two premises, gift vs journey, mutually exclusive? Can the mystery of the virgin birth be accepted as a gift, just believing in it? Or as I believe G. K. Chesterton surmised – after a journey to the Church and accepting its teachings? Or can it be both – the journey to the Church and its teachings enables one to accept the gift of faith? Some just have faith, others wrestle continuously. For those who wrestle, I believe humility and pubic acceptance of the Church’s teachings is a prerequisite of faith. That is why Rev. Jenkins’ statement is so disconcerting.

    A response is appreciated.

  • Hi Bill.

    Aren’t they voluntarily removing themselves from the Church?
    We are not talking just about a Catholic who sins and repents or wants to repent, we are talking about a “Catholic” who publicly denies it is a sin, denies the need for repentance and by their words and actions promotes that activity – as well as publicly defies the Catholic Church.

    What is your solution? Accepting the premise that to be a faithful Catholic you can believe and do whatever your conscience tell you to do – regardless of what the Church teaches. Oh, I’m not talking about trivial matters.

    Do you believe that the use of contraceptives is serious, morally wrong?
    Do you believe that the Church teaches that the use of contraceptives is serious, morally wrong?
    If so, what should the Church do to publicly promote its teachings and discipline those who publicly deny its teachings?
    If not, how do you define what is a faithful Catholic? And are there any Catholic beliefs that are not optional?
    Awaiting your reply.

  • westphilo,
    I think the matter is unique in that Popes since 1968 have done nothing penal to famous reputed theologians who dissented from Humanae Vitae AND no Pope has moved to the logical solution..defining the matter infallibly in ex cathedra form. Infallibilty in the universal ordinary magisterium…Tradition with a capital T… is not convincing in contentious issues. And it is not convincing to reputed theologians for reasons I give in the below long post to M M.
    You’ll notice no Catholics doubt the Immaculate Conception nor the Assumption because ex cathedra was used therein. When it wasn’t used on Humanae Vitae in 1968 as it was to that laity in 1950 on the Assumption, the dissent was massive and involved laity using the rythmn method of that time who hd petitioned the papal commission in the thousands by letter. NFP and its accuracy are brand new in Catholic history….post 1968.
    Read the below post to MM on why I think no Pope is acting on this with the result that you and MM seem more interested in this issue than Benedict seems.

  • Motley Monk,
       You quote Ratzinger:
         ” I knew with complete certainty that something was wrong with the theory of justifying power of the subjective conscience, that, in other words, a concept of conscience which leads to such conclusions must be false.”

        But Michael PS quotes him very differently in another post:
         ” over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else” [Joseph Ratzinger, “Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II,” ed. Vorgrimler, 1968, on Gaudium et spes, part 1,chapter 1]

         So we have a case of “which Jefferson do you quote.”  

         Quoting an endless supply of non infallible 20th century Vatican sources doesn’t work on a contentious issue.
          An ex cathedra encyclical by a Pope to settle a contentious, debated area would solve it.  Who is working on one?  No one.  John Paul II did other things like travel 17% of his time to public appearnces.  Benedict has written three bestsellers on the gospels.  No Pope has worked on changing the questionable infallibility of “is it really Tradition” of the “universal ordinary magisterium maybe”… to the “no doubt in the world” infallibility of ex cathedra.  For one thing it’s months of work to do that.  And both these past two Popes are very well read and know there are problems like ascribing birth control to the word “magic” in the Didache…or  Clement of Alexandria saying: “To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.” In “The Instructor of Children” 2:10:95:3 (A.D. 191)….an idea Stoic in origin which is rejected now that the use of the infertile periods are affirmed ( Jerome stated that exact Stoic idea and gave the source, Seneca, a Stoic born near the year of Christ’s birth.”
          Here’s stoicism again in an early source which conflicts with NFP’s use of the infertile times:
         “God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital [’generating’] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring.” Lactantius, Divine 6:23:18 (A.D. 307).  His position contradicts the use of the infertile times in NFP.
          Here is that early father contradicting I Corinthians 7:5 about not separating physically except for prayer lest the devil enter in:
          ” Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife.” Lactantius, Divine Institutes 6:20 (A.D. 307).”
         Sweet of him to contradict the Holy Spirit.  Can you see how a Karl Rahner who edited the Enchiridion Symbolorum and a Bernard Haring would find fault with the argument from antiquity when one finds the Stoic position which contradicts the NFP position…over and over.  Bottom line the issue needs not another non infallible document from the CDF.  It needs ex cathedra badly but Popes since 1968 are not working on that and have never censured ecclesiastically dissenting theologians.  You of the lower clergy have far more interest in the issue because you are on the front lines as to laity.  Pope Benedict is not so he’s writing about the gospel Christ.

         Later Augustine announces another view that is contradicted by the NFP use of the infertile times…that asking for the marriage debt is venial sin unless you intend children and 700 years later, Aquinas copies the now rejected position exactly:
        Augustine:  ” The Good of Marriage” sect6…
    ” but to pay the due of marriage is no crime, but to demand it beyond the necessity of begetting is a venial fault.”
        Aquinas: Summa T., Supplement…question 49 art 5 “I answer that”: 
      “Consequently there are only two ways in which married persons can come together without any sin at all, namely in order to have offspring, and in order to pay the debt, otherwise it is always at least a venial sin.”
         The asker for the debt sins; the payer does not if children not intended.  This is rejected by the 20th century Popes because venial sin is dispositive towards moratl sin…OT…” he that contemneth little things shall fall little by little”.
         That’s the Stoic position ( sex is only moral in procreation ) with a twist…the person sins venially for not intending it.

          Can you see why a Pope thinking of ex cathedra herein has a mountain of work to filter through, asking as he reads if at minimum, the first 1300 years were really apostolic or were they very tinctured with the Stoic position.  Here’s
    Jerome prasing his source, Seneca in “Against Jovinianus”:
         ” Bk.I,sect.  49. “Aristotle and Plutarch and OUR SENECA have written treatises on matrimony, out of which we have already made some extracts and now add a few more…”. Result: Jerome saw sex as only for procreation….rejected by the NFP position….ibid sect.20     “Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?”
         Can you see hiw Rahner and Haring would not sign on to seeing the issue as universal ordinary magisterium.  It’s when you actually quote the early sources and see Stoicism…that legitimate questions arise.

  • Westphilo

    “These Catholics have voluntarily rejected Catholic teachings and as you quoted, removed themselves from the their Church”

    No, they have not. This would require that they refuse “communio in sacris,” by refusing to share in worship with the pope or bishops in communion with him, or that the Church excommunicates them.

    Thus, although so notable a dissenter as Fr Hans Küng was deprived of his licence to teach theology (missio canonica), neither his bishop, the Bishop of Basle, nor the Holy See have revoked his priestly faculties. Accordingly, he remains in visible communion with the see of Rome.

  • Michael PS
    Kung was dechaired for rejecting infallibility of the Pope in general…correct?

  • Thanks Bill.
    But you didn’t answer answer my questions.

    “What is your solution? Accepting the premise that to be a faithful Catholic you can believe and do whatever your conscience tell you to do – regardless of what the Church teaches. Oh, I’m not talking about trivial matters.”
    You seem to say this is so. So long as the Church has not defined “the matter infallibly in ex cathedra form. ”

    “Do you believe that the use of contraceptives is serious, morally wrong?
    Do you believe that the Church teaches that the use of contraceptives is serious, morally wrong?”
    You didn’t answer my questions. Why?

    “If so, what should the Church do to publicly promote its teachings and discipline those who publicly deny its teachings?”
    You seem to say this is too contentious of an issue. Then why does the Church teach it? Before it is thought through? Before a overwhelming consensus is formed?

    “If not, how do you define what is a faithful Catholic? And are there any Catholic beliefs that are not optional? ”
    Again you seem to say unless the Church defines “the matter infallibly in ex cathedra form. “, every other teaching is optional, subject only to ones’ conscience.

    Am I correct?

  • Michael, thanks for the reply.

    What does it mean to “refuse “communio in sacris,” by refusing to share in worship with the pope or bishops in communion with him”?
    Does publicly defying the Church and publicly refusing to follow its teachings mean one is in communion with the Pope or Bishops?
    And if the Bishop requires compliance, is a person who publicly refuses, still in communion with the Church?
    If your answer to the above questions is yes, heaven help the American Catholic Church because who else can?

  • Westphilo,
    You have many questions. I don’t get paid enough to answer that many…:) which pay is zero. I make money by shorting the S&P and going long treasuries lately. I think the matter is in doubt even in light of papal refusal to censure theologians and that is totally untrue of abortion and euthanasia which are clearly infallibly condemned in the extraordinary magisterium.
    But your whole emphasis is on who is in the Church and who is not. Why is that your orientation? Mind your own soul and maybe that’s enough. The Church only excommunicates for those things about which there is no doubt….hence canon 749-3 which is saying that for ecclesiastical court, the issue must have manifestly evident infallibility. There is a website by Ed Peters with a history of those excommunicated…it’s never for birth control. Read it year by year…on second thought, don’t. You are way too interested in what happens to other people. You’re actually very Amish. They have almost total obedience of their whole community on
    sexual matters without a Pope and they make terrific potato salad because they chop up sweet
    pickles and put them in. Goodbye. I think you are way too interested in the souls of others. What if a person spent their life wishing for the excommunication of others then died and found they were in hell for gluttony because Aquinas said that eating fast was a form of gluttony and that person ate fast their whole life. That would be ironic.

  • I hope people don’t think that Blessed John Henry Newman thought that women had a right to kill their child. This seems ridiculous to assert that because of someones conscience they somehow are allowed to kill their child. This is like a worse version of the people who worshiped the god Baal by burning their children alive, those people by the way lived in Carthage which is one of the reasons as to why the Romans sacked that city.

  • Bill I hope you don’t do things just for money otherwise you would be no more than a hireling.

  • Valentin
    How fast do you eat?

  • What kind of a question is that? If you are implying that I am fat than you are wrong I am tall and somewhat skinny.

  • I usually fast on Fridays and Wednesdays.

  • Bill what are you trying to do here? Are you looking for truth? Or are you looking to make fun of the Church?

  • Bill I probably should work on how fast I eat ice cream other than that I don’t think I eat to fast.

  • Bill I think that something which might help with your issue is this joke:

    A anglican woman converts to the Catholic Church and the first time she goes to mass she leaves her umbrella in a corner of the room before the Church and after the mass she can’t see her umbrella and so she figures that it was just in the way and forgets to ask the priest about it. The next Sunday she brings a different umbrella and can’t find that afterwards and so asks the priest where her umbrellas went and the priest tells her “The Church is a place for sinners to go to.”

  • Westphilo

    What does it mean to “refuse “communio in sacris,” by refusing to share in worship with the pope or bishops in communion with him”?

    An example would be the Sede Vacantists, who deny that Pope Benedict is bishop of Rome and refuse to join in Catholic worship.

    By contrast, Fr Hans Küng, despite dissenting from many Church teachings, remains a priest in the diocese of Basle. He celebrates mass (which is the sacrament of unity), during which he prays for the pope and his bishop in the diptychs. He is in visible communion with the Apostolic See.

    Being a Catholic is not like being a Marxist, which is a question of personal belief. Rather, it is like being a member of the Communist Party: one’s membership can only be terminated by resignation or expulsion.

  • Westphilo:

    My thoughts in response to your questions…

    “How does one who does not have faith – seek understanding?”
    Your science vs religion makes sense. But doesn’t your answer as to religion, beg the question? Without faith one cannot reach understanding, truth or a properly formed conscience. Where can one obtain faith if not from understanding? When I think of understanding, I think of wisdom. I believe wisdom is succinctly defined as intelligence plus experience. What do you think?

    TMM: Perhaps the confusion is using the terms “faith” and “belief” synonymously. An “act of faith” is a commitment to what a community of people believe, for example, the Nicene Creed or the infallibility of the Pope. Many people tend to view “faith” as objective “facts,” like scientific facts that are verified through the rigorous process of the scientific method. For these people, the “deposit of faith” is like a bank vault, located perhaps in Rome, where all of the answers to all of they mysteries are in safety deposit boxes.

    It would have been better had I written “belief seeking understanding” so as to avoid that confusion in translating from the Latin (fides quarens intellectans). One does not obtain “faith” from understanding. The claims of faith are mysteries that are explained as people who believe seek understanding. For example, one believes there is One True God and, from the belief, seeks to understand what that reveals to humanity about God, creation, and human existence.

    “Isn’t faith/grace a gift from God? It is not earned? Or learned?”

    TMM: Faith (fides) is not grace (gratia, as in “gift”) but a grace, namely, the impulse to seek understanding that is rooted in belief. For this reason, it is argued by theologians that much sin is misdirected faith, for example, using artificial means of birth control for various economic, social, and personal reasons. Those who commit this sin are seeking a good—to provide children a better “quality” of life, for example—but are not doing so rooted in what Catholic belief teaches. In many cases, they actually reject (which is stronger than “dissent from”) Church teaching because some knowledgeable bishop, theologian, pastor, or priest has winked, nodded, or published his thoughts…take Charles Curran, for example, who happens to be a priest in good standing of the Diocese of Rochester (NY) but is no longer a Catholic theologian and the same applies to Hans Kung…not able to call himself a “Catholic” theologian.

    By the way, aligning oneself with a bishop, pastor, priest, or theologian is not to inform one’s conscience. Just because someone says or has written “X is fine for the purposes you stated” doesn’t make X fine. It means that an individual (or even, a group of individuals) has provided reasons to justify dissent. If one’s predispostion was to dissent, that does not constitute the objective search for truth. For some reason, people don’t what to get that.

    For Catholics, faith is the commitment (yes, a courageous commitment, but one that’s equally confident because it’s rooted in something beyond humanity, namely, Christ’s promise to the Church) to seek understanding (i.e., truth, the flower of which is wisdom, as you note) based upon what the Church teaches.

    Thus, when there’s doubt—and there is doubt about whether or not Humanae Vitae is infallibile—the Catholic Church teaches to side with Church teaching…not theologian’s opinions…because in this particular instance, no one is being harmed by following Humanae Vitae, but many may be harmed by doing the opposite…consider what the birth control mentality has spawned.

    I used faith and grace interchangeably. As to only faith, does you answer stay the same? How does one obtain faith?

    TMM: Noting the confusion above by using belief and faith synonymously, I think it’s clearer to say that belief is a grace (some people believe and persist in believing, some people believe and cease believing, and some people do not believe at all). Faith is a grace, too, namely, “belief seeking understanding” (fides quarens intellectans) in a community of believers. My personal opinion, rooted in Augustine’s de Gratia is that all humanity has been graced with belief. Some people freely will to respond to it, others do not. There are many virtuous people who are agnostics and atheists but, like Aristotle and Plato, are not moving in the direction they are being offered.

    “But what about a person who falsely believes he possesses grace/faith or denies its necessity? Can that person properly form a conscience ? Much less find the truth with such a conscience?”

    TMM: Note above, Catholics defer to the Magisterium when there is doubt.

    The whole argument about papal infallibility only serves to confuse matters, The Motley Monk thinks, in order to justify dissent. So does quoting one’s “pet” theologians from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries or from the 19th and 20th centuries, for whom The Motley Monk has great respect. As several commentators have noted, even Joseph Ratzinger has changed his tune from his days as a theologian, then as Prefect of the CDF, and now as Pope. Truth does not reside in men but is found in God as that is revealed, for Catholics, in both Scripture and Tradition. Humanae Vitae is defined ordinary magisterium and, based upon what Paul VI foresaw the “birth control mentality” could spawn, seems to be prophetic, if not infallible.

    You seem to say a “serial murderer” can find faith if he sees ““… the light” and, through the process of conversion, form a proper conscience.”. Again doesn’t this answer beg the question? You can’t find faith needed to form a proper conscience until you “see the light” or find a conversion?

    TMM: Again, no one “finds” faith. It is a grace. Perhaps it would be better stated “faith finds a person,” but that doesn’t work because nature must cooperate with grace. So, yes, through one’s sincere and open search for truth, it is possible to “experience” (not “find”) a conversion begotten by God’s grace. Why? It all begins with God’s gracious activity on behalf of humanity. One either believes that or doesn’t believe that. The “I earned this and God has subsequently blessed me for making the correct choice” mentality figures prominently in much evangelical talk today and can be traced back to Pelagius and his argument that God adopted Jesus as His son because Jesus willed perfectly to live as God’s son. That’s heresy.

    If Faith is a gift from God, you either receive it or you don’t. You may be able to help yourself, by your search for the truth, but ultimately it is a gift – not earned or learned.

    TMM: Correct. Human beings are free to reject God’s gracious initiatives knowingly and unknowingly.

    On the other hand if a person humbly searches for and is open to the truth, will they not realize that there is a greater law, a natural law, that includes mysteries beyond their comprehension. Wouldn’t that person, after a thorough search, seek assistance, not from another person, but from an organization created for that purpose. Shouldn’t that person then place its faith in the teachings of that organization? And are the two premises, gift vs journey, mutually exclusive? Can the mystery of the virgin birth be accepted as a gift, just believing in it? Or as I believe G. K. Chesterton surmised – after a journey to the Church and accepting its teachings? Or can it be both – the journey to the Church and its teachings enables one to accept the gift of faith? Some just have faith, others wrestle continuously. For those who wrestle, I believe humility and pubic acceptance of the Church’s teachings is a prerequisite of faith. That is why Rev. Jenkins’ statement is so disconcerting.

    TMM: Precisely. It’s not just that Fr. Jenkins was ordained by the Church to fulfill the Church’s mission which means to proclaim what it teaches as well as to celebrate its sacraments with the community of faith. More important, as President of a Catholic institution of higher education, Fr. Jenkins is entrusted with the responsiblity of leading that institution to become a more perfect Catholic university, one that “integrates faith and reason in the pursuit of truth” and provides its students an “integral formation” within a supportive Catholic community of faith. It seems that Fr. Jenkins’ idea of “Catholic” is more Anglican or Presbyterian in nature.

    Likening UND’s President’s role to that of a bishop (and The Motley Monk is fully aware that this analogy is flawed, as the former is not a sacrament), one is not “free” to glibly state one’s personal beliefs on moral and ecclesiological matters. Instead, one is duty-bound to provide the Catholic moral and spiritual leadership that will further the University’s purpose as Catholic.

    For example, what Fr. Jenkins said in his statement is, in part, an obvious fact (yes, many do use artificial means of birth control). But, in large part, he fails to state “sadly, many in the Catholic community—even one like that of Notre Dame University—do not appreciate the beauty and value of the lifestyle the Church proposes in Humanae Vitae—blah, blah, blah….”

    For The Motley Monk, it’s ironic how many Catholic institutions of higher education have lustily embraced the “gospel of sustainability” that’s rooted in natural law theory but aren’t much interested in the “gospel of life” that’s also rooted in natural law.

    Likewise, with “organic.” How could any woman who professes the importance of “eating natural” and not polluting the body with pesticides and homones swallow birth control pills?

    But The Motley Monk digresses.

  • Bill.

    Glad to hear you are doing well by “shorting the S&P”.
    I like your “sense” of humor. And I do eat too fast – I blame it, in part, on my voracious siblings while growing up.
    Motley Monk{“MM”} is probably right. You take a Protestant view toward salvation?

    Getting back to the point, the issue which was first raised by MM was Rev. Jenkins’ public statement which failed to explicitly enunciate Catholic teaching on the use of contraceptives.
    Rev. Jenkins was not speaking as an individual, nor could he as a Catholic Priest and President of a Catholic University. Additionally he was speaking publicly. And as MM implied, others of his stature have failed similarly. These Public Leaders, including Rev. Jenkins, speak for Catholic institutions. Thus as I see it, the issues are:
    1. Do public Leaders of the Catholic Church have a duty to promote and act upon its teachings?
    2. If the answer to the first issue is yes, what should be done about violations of this duty?
    If one accepts your premise “Mind your own soul..” , aren’t you rejecting parts of the Bible which ask that you be your brother’s keeper – look out for them, help them? Or that the Catholic Church was instituted by God to assist in the salvation of souls. As such, isn’t the well being of the Church a concern to all of us, individually and collectively. Surely, you see the troubles of the Church.
    And I am not Amish and I have nothing against the Amish. Nor do I suggest total obedience as to every trivial matter. But can any organization continue to exist in such disunity over major issues?
    I believe, that the Catholic Church is needed for the salvation souls, mine as well as yours. I believe you think you can do it alone?

    As to your gluttony story, what about this one? I know it is flawed, but here goes. What happened to all the souls who were supposedly punished (Do you believe hell or purgatory exists?} for committing the sin of eating meat on Friday? A simple answer might be – well that’s ridiculous. God would never do this. But what about the “intentional” violation of a Church’s teaching? Granted if the teaching was to do an intrinsically evil act – there could no be punishment. But what about “meat on Friday”? Should the intention violation of a Church’s teaching be punished?

    I know you might say – what is the point. Well, the point is that all organization must maintain order for the good of each individuals, not just the whole. Even voluntary religious organizations must do this. For example, would anyone defend a soldier for intentionally rejecting an order with the defense that the soldier had a better idea on how to do it. I don’t think so. Do you?
    Again, since Rev. Jenkins is a Catholic Priest, President of a famous Catholic Institution and a Public Catholic Leader he should have proclaimed and defended the Church’s teaching. He did neither.

  • Michael

    Thanks for your answer. Though your comparison between the Communist Party and the Catholic Church leaves a lot to be desired. The Communist Party had and used more severe methods to remove dissenting members. I’m not suggesting those methods.

    But it seems that if someone, like Rev. Jenkins, by their public statement, actions or clear omissions denies or even confuses, explicitly or implicitly, the Church’s teaching, some response should be made. If not by the Pope, how about the Bishops, the Religious and the Laity. MM has done his part. But what about the rest of us – you and me. Call out Rev. Jenkins’ for what he says and just as importantly, what he didn’t say. Require Rev. Jenkins to be supportive of Church teachings or let someone else do it.

  • Motley Monk.

    Thanks for your original blog which caused me to become involved.
    I’m afraid I can’t cite verses as you and your fellow bloggers/travelers.

    Your answers have been helpful, especially you last response. Some of it I don’t fully understand, parts of it I can quibble with, but overall it makes great sense to me.

    Though I’ve strayed from the premise of your blog, as others have, I believe Rev. Jenkins’ statement is a symptomatic of the problem. A rebellious, dominant culture which which unquestionably glorifies the individual, is consumed with the “now” and as such rejects all tradition institutions, including the Catholic Church. This has resulted in poor Catechesis ( including myself), reluctant/timid Leaders and a Church in disarray. Without Heavens help, the Anglican Church could be the future.
    If Rev. Jenkins will not promote Catholic teachings, who will?

  • I don’t “get it.”

    Are they justifying mortal sins by invoking their presumed moral superiority?

    I am quite uneducated in these matter. The First Joyful Mystery meditation I use is “I desire the love of humility.”

  • Bill the point I was making is that the Church is the place for sinners to be saved and that some people entering the Church have venial sins to work on.

  • Westphilo:

    In 1989, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a note RE: Humanae Vitae.

    The entire statement is worth reading but two paragraphs hit the nail on the head:

    RE: Spouses

    One cannot assess personal responsibility without referring to the conscience of the subject. In keeping with its own very nature and purpose, conscience must be “clear” (2 Tim 1:3), called as it is to an “open statement of the truth” (2 Cor 4:2). Moreover, the moral conscience of the Christian, that of a member of the Church, has a deep inner ecclesial orientation, which makes it open to hearing the teaching of the Magisterium of the Church. The Second Vatican Council addresses spouses thus: “Married people should realize that in their behaviour they may not simply follow their own fancy but must be ruled by conscience – and conscience ought to be conformed to the law of God in the light of the teaching authority of the Church, which is the authentic interpreter of divine law in the light of the gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 50).

    RE: Priests

    To everyone, but especially to priests who are pastors of souls, is entrusted the task of accompanying couples with a patient and courageous love of helping them to form a conscience which judges according to the truth and of developing an ever more intense spiritual life as is needed to understand the law of God and meet its demands, within a social and cultural context which often provides little or no support. Moral theologians, then, if they do not wish to contradict the professional obligations of one who studies and teaches the moral doctrine of the Church, should not create obstacles for the moral conscience of spouses in the journey towards the truth of their love. This occurs especially when doubts are provoked and confusion created by public challenges to constantly repeated teachings of the Magisterium.

    The issue that many people find difficult, if not disturbing, is that “primacy of conscience” does not make the individual the final arbiter. That would be subjectivism. For Catholics, the final arbiter is Scripture and Tradition, especially in matters that are unsettled.

    Looking at what happened following Humanae Vitae, many jumped on the bandwagon touting that because it was not proclaimed infallibly that ipso facto meant they could do whatever they pleased concerning those matters. And there were numerous priests who formed the consciences of couples while riding on that bandwagon.

  • Thanks again MM:

    I am being redundant, but I am trying to understand why some Catholics do not accept, promote and defend Church teachings, especially Priests. I can understand one who accepts those teachings, but fails to comply. We are all sinners.

    Your references seem so relevant.

    Married people, in fact, all people “must be ruled by conscience”. Does any one dispute this?

    How does one form that conscience? And your reference answers this question, to wit: “… conscience ought to be conformed to the law of God in the light of the teaching authority of the Church, which is the authentic interpreter of divine law in the light of the gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 50).”

    Does any Christian disputes that there is a Law of God/Law of nature? And through “grace”, this Law resides in each of us? And each of us should comply with this Law? Even though each us possesses the free will to accept or reject complying with this Law?

    How does one discover the Law?

    The Protestant view seems to be that the individual with a Bible can find that Law and thus, form one’s conscience? As you say “primacy of conscience”.

    While the Catholic view seems to be that one seeks the Law through the tradition and the teaching authority of the Catholic Church which incorporates the Bible, reason and other sources?

    Am I simplistic? Where is the problem? Unless one defines Catholic teaching as only those declared infallible (how many are there?), Rev. Jenkins should be promoting and defending the Catholic teaching against contraceptives.

New Video Clips From For Greater Glory

Tuesday, May 29, AD 2012

 We wish to pay a special tribute of praise to those members of the clergy, secular and regular, and of the Catholic laity, who, moved by burning zeal for religion and maintaining themselves in close obedience to this Apostolic See, have written glorious pages in the recent history of the Church in Mexico.

Pius XI, Acerba animi


The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my first post on the film and the historical background of the Cristeros War.  I have found some new video clips online from the film.  The video at the beginning of the post shows Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, portrayed by Andy Garcia, and his family being turned away from a Church closed by the Mexican government.    Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, not a believing Catholic at the start of the struggle, would eventually become the leader of the Cristeros.

In the above clip Father Christopher, portrayed by Peter O’Toole, rejects the counsel to flee from government troops by Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, portrayed by Mauricio Kuri.  Captured by government soldiers during the Cristeros War,  Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio refused a command to renounce his Catholic faith by shouting out “Death to Christ the King” and was murdered by his captors.  He shouted Viva Cristo Rey before he died and, according to an eyewitness, drew a cross on the ground with his blood and kissed it before he died.  He was 14 years old.  He was beatified by Pope Benedict on November 20, 2005.

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4 Responses to New Video Clips From For Greater Glory

  • Pingback: TUESDAY EVENING EDITION | The Pulpit
  • I hope this will give American Catholics the courage to stand up for their faith, to practice with fervor, to cease fomenting internal dissent over small matters in order to stand united against the bigger threat of a total secularization, led by the Obama administration, that would entirely privatize religion and keep it from influencing the moral tenor of the public square. The new dogma that there is no dogma is making a terrible mess of American society, infusing it with lewd behavior, rage, lawlessness, violence. For sure, the Church is made up of people and people all bear the burden of original sine and are capable of bad, even disgusting, behavior. But the temptation to leave the Church in disgust is the work of the Devil. The Church was founded by Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. A bumper sticker reads: “The game is fixed. The Lamb will win. Be there.” Be faithful, be true, be there.

  • I like Susan’s quote, “The game is fixed. The Lamb will win. Be there.”

  • “Who are you if you don’t stand up for what you believe?”

Babbling Incoherency

Monday, May 28, AD 2012

Chris Hayes has gotten more attention in the past 24 hours than he has throughout his run at MSNBC. Hayes decided to share his thoughts on the Memorial Day holiday.  Here’s the video:

Here’s an exact transcript of the above.

Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow.  Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke, who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible].  Um, I, I, ah, [Steve] Beck, sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”?  I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.

I’ve chosen this because it underlines what I wanted to write about. Sure the substance is awful enough, but the manner in which it is delivered is so pathetic that it just cries out for mockery. 

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11 Responses to Babbling Incoherency

  • “Finally, and I recognize that a few of you will tsk tsk at me saying this, but it has to be asked. Why do so many young male progressives sound like valley girls?”

    I think that John Stuart Mill summed it up long ago: ” A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

  • “If you have an opinion, just express it. The passive-aggressive style impresses nobody.”

    Indeed. Although to take courage from your convictions, you actually have to possess convictions and not opinions that you can discard like used kleenex when the heat is on.

  • He has apologized:

    MSNBC is a leftist bubble, and this guy, judging from his bio, has lived in a leftist bubble his entire life. Contempt for the US military is an axiom of the modern left in this country. What he was mouthing would have been considered a harmless platitude in his circles. The firestorm that fell down on him probably shocked and alarmed him. Few political movements have been so completely out of touch with most of the population of their country as the contemporary left in the US.

  • This is a style of argumentation that drives me bonkers, and I see it on blogs (especially Catholic blogs) all the time. It’s a passive-aggressive style in which the writer – or in this case speaker – cannot make his point of view known in a straightforward manner.

    I think it is legitimate to offer tentative opinions. He does not do it well, but that is another matter.

    Contempt for the US military is an axiom of the modern left in this country.

    For the bulk of the academic and journalistic subcultures, no doubt. Electoral politicians not so much. There are also a broad swath of exceptions. I do not think the editorial line of Dissent or The Atlantic is hostile to the military per se.

    The palaeo set make use of a different array of forensic tricks, but their attitude is not much better.

  • American soldiers are volunteers. Any who serve in a battle zone are heroes and deserve our gratitude and the care it takes to make them whole again after they return. Sending these heroes into jeopardy should only be done as a last resort. The cost of killed and wounded soldiers in the middle east has been very high. Protecting America’s vital interests are one thing but trying to spread Democracy in places that regard us as infidels doesn’t make sense to me. May God Bless the American military.

  • The really sad part of it is that Hayes is one of the best people on the channel. From my limited viewing of him, he’s decent, but uncritically accepts the nostrums of the left as fundamental. But he does so in an unfanged way that seems genuine, and he isn’t afraid to have real conservatives on the set.

    In short, I think he could be reasoned with productively, as opposed to the genuinely malevolent voices at the network.

  • The “man” is a panty-waist who most likely can’t even spell “military service”. It is astounding to me how many people do not know about or appreciate what it takes to give years of your life to go to a foreign land and try to do the best job you can, even if it kills you. Our country is quickly slipping into an abyss because of people like Hayes. The majority has little or no voice anymore. Why? We have given up our faith in God to a belief in the sins of “self”. Peace and God bless.

  • It didn’t seem like wiggle room to me. I’d rather have people say “I could be wrong” more often.

    In fact, it was a perfect thing for him to say. He has the impression that our talk of heroism leads us to glorify war. I think he’s wrong. But he shouldn’t apologize for thinking that way, or saying it. Anyone who’s served will tell you about the dangers of glorifying war.

  • Never heard of Chris Hayes until this flap arose.
    Fr. Vincent Ferrer Bagan at dominicanablogcom writes that St. Thomas Aquinas indirectly tells us we practice the virtue of justice by giving what is due to them when we honor and pray for those who died in war. “We do this because the sacrifices they made have contributed to the freedom and stability of this country…We can never fully repay them.”
    Personally, I’ll go with that.

  • “Rush Limbaugh has called this set the “new castrati,” and I happen to think it’s a good fit. “

    I think its a great fit. And hilarious too. 😆

    I get annoyed when these morons say that memorialising our war dead and heroes , “are glorifying war.”
    That is shear stupidity, and a rallying cry of the pacifist gutless crowd.
    Its not glorifying war at all – its glorifying the heroic sacrifice that these men and women make: “A greater love no man has, that he lays down his life for his friend.”
    – and for the freedom of others.

  • Well said Don! The argument of Hays was the equivalent of saying that by celebrating police or firemen we are pro-criminal or pro-fire.

Uncle Bill and Memorial Day

Monday, May 28, AD 2012

 When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today

 Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Infantry Division at Kohima.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

John Stuart Mill, 1862


One of my earliest memories is being called a “Dirty Yank”.  My Dad met my Mom while he was in the Air Force in Newfoundland.  After his enlistment ended he was unable to find work in Saint John’s, my Mom’s home town, so the young couple traveled to my Dad’s home town in Paris, Illinois.  I made my appearance shortly thereafter.  My Mom, who was all of 21 at the time, grew homesick, so she and my Dad, an elderly 24, pulled up stakes again and moved back to Saint John’s.  Family tranquility was forever destroyed when my little brother arrived a year and a half later, as he and I quickly put our heads together for campaigns of mischief and nefarious activities which enlivened my childhood.  The family stayed in Saint John’s until I was four, jobs were still scarce on the ground there, alas, before the family moved back permanently to Paris in the summer of 1961.

During our stay in Saint John’s I met all of my maternal relatives on a frequent basis, and other than my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather, my favorite was no doubt my great Uncle Bill Barry.  Whenever he would come over he would yell out, “There’s that Dirty Yank!”  I would lisp out in return, “There’s that Dirty Newf”!

Bill Barry was a truly wonderful man.  An Irishman with a laughing, sunny disposition, he was also a fighter.  A boxer in his young manhood, he lived up to Chesterton’s famous observation about the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle:

 For the great Gaels of Ireland 

 Are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry,

And all their songs are sad.

He loved to brawl when he was a young man, but there was always a smile on his face when he was doing so, albeit the police who had to bust up some of the fights he got involved in didn’t always share the joke.  It was to be expected that such a man would join up with the Royal Army immediately when war was declared on Germany in 1939.  When he was asked why he did, he said, “Well, someone has to teach the Limies how to fight!”  Fight he did, taking part in the D-Day invasion, and fighting on through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany until the thousand year Reich became the twelve year Reich.  He rose from private to sergeant, receiving a field promotion for the courage and leadership he displayed in taking a village.  He had a short spell as a noncom.  After the Lieutenant left him and a squad in charge of the village, Uncle Bill led his men to an abandoned wine cellar and then, as all the best military leaders do, led by example.  “Men, do as I do!” he shouted as he began to chug a bottle of wine.  Inspired by this oration his men followed him, and by the time the Lieutenant arrived back, Uncle Bill and his command were dancing in the streets.  The Lieutenant promptly, and correctly, tore the stripes off Uncle Bill’s tunic and he spent the rest of the war as a private.  That was fine with Uncle Bill, since he had signed up to fight and not to make the Army a career.  A fighter Uncle Bill definitely was, but not a soldier!

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6 Responses to Uncle Bill and Memorial Day

  • God Bless the American Volunteer Servicemen without whom Europe would now be under the yoke of a Satanic Donineering invader, chris.

  • Well said Don.

    With the passing years, and the attempts by some to amend history to their own nefarious ends, I am reminded of Jesus’ words, ” When I return, will I find any Faith here?”

    That is why it is most important to keep these Memorials alive.

  • Donald, I’ve a question I hope you can answer. I was reading your post about the Spanish Civil War and see you’ve done quite a bit of reading on the subject. Therefore, maybe you know the answer to this question: Is there any proof that any of the Abrahama Lincoln/George Washington Brigade soldiers participated in any of the Catholic martyrdoms?

    In Christ,

  • Oh, also, sorry to posting this question here, but the comments for the post itself were closed. Thanks.

  • The Memorial Day weekend is being touted as a three day picnic, beach, or get away time. Last week, I heard weather and news people talking (in the newish rapid fire babble keeping time with flipping computer screens) about this time as such – with dismay.
    Seems like the lack of sober recognition of our history equals the growth of thoughtlessness. So, thank you for the reminders.

  • Not as far as I know Brian. Most of the martyrdoms occurred at the start of the War, and the American volunteers who made up the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Battalions didn’t start arriving until 1937. Additionally, many of the Americans were not trusted by their Communist higher-ups and were not used in internal security operations. Although most of the volunteers were Communists, they were still Americans, and more than a few of them took a dim view of what they witnessed in Spain of the brutal methods used by the Communists. This made the Americans politically suspect by the high command of the International Brigades. An excellent study of the volunteers is Cecil D. Eby’s Comrades and Commissars (2006).

The Thuggery Continues

Sunday, May 27, AD 2012

On Friday I linked to the blogger Patterico’s recounting of his horrific experience of being “SWATted.”  Tonight Erick Erickson at Red State was the latest to fall victim to this kind of malicious attack.

Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Someone called 911 from my address claiming there had been an accidental shooting.

It wasn’t nearly the trauma that Patterico suffered, but I guess the Erickson household is on somebody’s radar.

Luckily it was two sheriffs deputies who knew me and I had already, last week, advised the Sheriff’s Department to be on the look out for something like this.

 This goes well beyond harassment.  At some point somebody is going to be killed because of this.
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9 Responses to The Thuggery Continues

  • It might not be done by the same people; once the story got on to national radio, I expected some copy-cats– in this case, it sounds like they wanted to be annoying, not deliberately get him killed. (Accidental vs homicide.)

    Still, you’re quite right that someone is going to die as a direct result.

  • Count-down to false CPS complaints?

  • Erickson has an unlisted number, so it would have to be someone who really wanted to get him and who also had a decent grasp of how to perpetrate such an event. Possibly not the same people, but relatively sophisticated pranksters nonetheless.

  • I’d correct you to “assailants” and otherwise agree. Pretty sure faking a phone number to call in a false 911 alert is illegal.

    Pretty sure unlisted numbers can still be found if someone’s willing to buy an ID service, which there are a depressing number of trolls who will. (Part of why I don’t use my name!)

  • Anybody ever read any accounts of Spanish politics and society in the half-decade before the Civil War?

  • Anybody ever read any accounts of Spanish politics and society in the half-decade before the Civil War?

    Yep. Hugh Thomas’ 1st edition of the Spanish Civil War has accounts of Spanish politics during the years running from 1930 to 1936. The disposition of Manuel Azana toward the political opposition as accounted therein (“it is a matter of public health”) has a distressingly contemporary feel. Political violence was pretty chronic from about 1934 onward.

  • In Ian Fleming’s James Bond, one of the characters in killed with curare poison tipped arrows. “Curare – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster … of CURARE: a dried aqueous extract especially of a vine (as Strychnos toxifera of the family Loganiaceae or Chondodendron tomentosum of the family …” The drug leaves no traceable residue making a homicide look like natural death.

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  • Smells like terroristic activity to me.

Fortnight For Freedom

Sunday, May 27, AD 2012




The fight over the HHS Mandate is about to come to a boil.  In June the Bishops are going to have this document inserted in Mass bulletins throughout the nation which mentions the necessity of disobeying immoral laws in certain situations.

Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified.  Every effort must be made to repeal them.  When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.

I am almost thankful to President Obama.  Due to his blind hubris, his willingness to ride roughshod over American liberties for cheap perceived political advantage, he has awakened the Church in this country from her slumber, and reminded Catholics that they are part of the Church Militant here on Earth. 

Beginning for two weeks, up to Independence Day, the Bishops are having a Fortnight For Freedom:

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9 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom

  • Donald,

    “I am almost thankful to President Obama.”

    I have thought the same thing many times, God’s timing is not our timing, his presidency was a much needed wake-up call for many lukewarm people. But OH! I’d vote for a ham sandwich before I’d vote for Obama.

    And I love how you tip-toe’d around your point in the next sentence — NOT! 😀


    Uplifting and renewing as Easter season closes and Ordinary Time returns.

    Your ‘Elijah on Mount Carmel Year’ has to be reality, after the Rip Van Winkle one.

  • “God’s timing is not our timing”

    Or in the words of Richard Hovey, greatest poet of Illinois,( sorry Mr. Sandburgh!):

    Unmanifest Destiny

    To what new fates, my country, far
    And unforeseen of foe or friend,
    Beneath what unexpected star
    Compelled to what unchosen end.

    Across the sea that knows no beach,
    The Admiral of Nations guides
    Thy blind obedient keels to reach
    The harbor where thy future rides!

    The guns that spoke at Lexington
    Knew not that God was planning then
    The trumpet word of Jefferson
    To bugle forth the rights of men.

    To them that wept and cursed Bull Run,
    What was it but despair and shame?
    Who saw behind the cloud the sun?
    Who knew that God was in the flame?

    Had not defeat upon defeat,
    Disaster on disaster come,
    The slave’s emancipated feet
    Had never marched behind the drum.

    There is a Hand that bends our deeds
    To mightier issues than we planned;
    Each son that triumphs, each that bleeds,
    My country, serves It’s dark command.

    I do not know beneath what sky
    Nor on what seas shall be thy fate;
    I only know it shall he high,
    I only know it shall be great.

    Richard Hovey

  • What is the response of that pseudo-group, Catholics United? Will their liberal members have the hubris to balk about balking?


  • Religious freedom has been under attack for some time, though the attackers claim that this is not their aim.

    People need to wake up and speak out about what is going on. I hope everyone will get the courage to speak out, through blog posts or Facebook shares, every day up to and including July Fourth.

  • It appears as though the liberal agenda, in the name of evolving society, is attempting to slide their Europeanizing mindset into place under the many smokescreen guises, all the while abolishing our GREAT CONSTITUTION

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Saint Augustine on Pentecost

Sunday, May 27, AD 2012

I. The Coming of the Holy Ghost with the Gift of Tongues foretells the Unity of the Church throughout all peoples.

This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost; the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection, seven days multiplied by seven. But multiplying seven by seven we have forty-nine. One is then added: that we may be reminded of unity.

What is the meaning of the Coming of the Holy Ghost? What did it accomplish? How did He tell us of His Presence; reveal It to us? By the fact that all spoke in the tongues of every nation. There were a hundred and twenty people gathered in one room; ten times twelve. The sacred number of the Apostles was multiplied ten times. What then, did each one upon whom the Holy Spirit descended speak in one of the tongues of each of the nations: to this man one language, to this man another, dividing as it were among themselves the tongues of all the nations? No, it was not so: but each man, singly, spoke in the tongue of every nation. One and the same man spoke the tongue of every nation: the unity of the Church amid the tongues of all the nations. See here how the unity of the Catholic Church spread throughout all nations is set before us.
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One Response to Saint Augustine on Pentecost

  • Simply beautiful. Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of the Faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your Love. Send for Your Spirit and they shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth. AMEN

For Greater Glory: God’s Timing

Sunday, May 27, AD 2012


The film, For Greater Glory, the heroic story of the Cristeros who fought for the Church and religious liberty in the twenties of the last century in Mexico, is opening on June 1.  Go here  to read my post on the film.  The National Catholic Register’s Tim Drake has an interview with the producer of the film, Pablo Jose Barroso.  Note what the producer says about the timing of the film in regard to the struggle for religious liberty the Church is waging today in our country:

Tell me about the film.

It’s a great experience because it takes you to that period and beautiful  country, with its art and settings. It’s a story of hope, of freedom and of  heroism. The film tells the story of the pacifist movement, a group of people  who were trying to change things in Congress peacefully, as well as the story of  a former general who is recruited to organize the Cristeros into an army. You  also see several of the martyrs, including Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio. In the  end, it’s about people standing up against oppression and dying for Christ. My  hope is that it will give viewers great hope.

What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

I think that, culturally, we’re not being congruent with our religious  beliefs. We are not standing up for our faith. We’ve been tolerating things that  are wrong. It seems as if it’s easier for people to be against God than to claim  him as their Creator. In this Year of Faith [to begin in October], the Holy  Spirit can help people to be more faithful. If only one person who doesn’t  believe in God sees this film and reflects on him, that is my best hope.

Given the current fight for religious freedom going on in the U.S., do  you see the release of the film as God’s timing?

Yes, it was frustrating and difficult not to have the film released when I  wanted it, but the Lord’s time is not our time. The movie is about conscience.  No one ever wins when religion is oppressed. As believers we need to band  together. This is the perfect time for this film. Hopefully, it will help wake  people up to the things that are taking us from God. In the end, this will harm  us. We have to be faithful.

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2 Responses to For Greater Glory: God’s Timing

  • I have met Mexican Catholics who never heard of this event. It’s not taught in their schools. When I took History of Latin America in college, the class had a Marxist bent, and the nature of this war was misrepresented and downplayed. I didn’t know about it until much later. When one abandons the truth, it’s still there, and so it must be hidden lest it become a reminder of the falsehood one has embraced.