Gosnell’s Pro-Life Last Choice

Tuesday, May 14, AD 2013

I remember watching the movie Glory, a story from the American Civil War based on the personal letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who was the commanding officer of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formal unit of the US Army to be made up entirely of African American men.

Shaw insisted that the men were worthy of being deployed for combat, and volunteered the 54th infantry to lead an assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. He led the men in an initial, noble charge upon the fort. Facing certain death he rallied the men onward.

Colonel Shaw was killed, along with 29 of his men; 24 more later died of wounds; 15 were captured; 52 were missing in action and never accounted for; and 149 were wounded. Although Union forces failed to take and hold the fort, the 54th became known for its courage during battle, encouraging further enlistment of African-American troops. President Abraham Lincoln noted that the bravery of these men helped secure the final victory.

They gave their lives. But for what? At the end of the movie all you see are dead men being thrown in a grave like garbage. It seems so senseless, so vain, so unnecessary. But it did change things.

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5 Responses to Gosnell’s Pro-Life Last Choice

  • Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the anti-Gosnell:

    “We bide our chance,

    Unhappy, and make terms with Fate

    A little more to let us wait;

    He leads for aye the advance,

    Hope’s forlorn-hopes that plant the desperate good

    For nobler Earths and days of manlier mood;

    Our wall of circumstance

    Cleared at a bound, he flashes o’er the fight,

    A saintly shape of fame, to cheer the right

    And steel each wavering glance.”


  • Prior to the butcher entering into his dead womb for life, the morning program The View should be shamed into welcoming Kerm on the show.
    The media bias is almost as dark as the monsters handiwork.

    Maybe Michael Moore could step in and expose the “death business” and the Govt. support thereof.

    Yeah right.
    I can dream. Dream of the day when men are honorable and women are brave.

  • Merely postponing the day . . .

    “And, I’ll meet ‘him later on
    In the place where ‘e ‘as gone.
    Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.
    ‘e’ll be squattin’ on the coals
    Givin’ drink to poor damned souls.
    But, ‘e’ll not get a swig in ‘ell from Gunga Din.”

    “None for you, Kermite-sa’b.”

  • God bless you, Mac; and all herein.

Who Laughed During the Roe v Wade Arguments?

Tuesday, January 22, AD 2013

Sarah_Weddington.jpgIt is a little known fact that there was laughter in the United States Supreme Court 40 years ago during the Roe v. Wade hearings. Thought to be the youngest person ever to win a Supreme Court case, then 26 year old Sarah Weddington, the attorney for “Roe”, briefly lost her composure in a choked bout of chuckles before the court. She laughed alone that day, however, and every single citizen in our nation ought to hear what was said, particularly in light of this month’s Alabama Supreme Court ruling that “unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law.”

When Justice Harry A. Blackmun asked whether Mrs. Weddington felt there is any “inconsistency” in Court decisions against the “death penalty with respect to convicted murderers and rapists at one end of lifespan, and [her] position in this case at the other end of lifespan,” she replied that it has “never been established that the fetus is a person or that it’s entitled to the Fourteenth Amendment rights or the protection of the constitution.” It was clear to the court, even back then, that the case depended on the “fetus” having “constitutional rights.”

Justice Potter Stewart pressed further, “Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?” Mrs. Weddington replied, “I would have a very difficult case.” And then she laughed nervously. Justice Stewart, not laughing at all, continued that this is akin to ruling that if a “mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.” Mrs. Weddington said, “That’s correct,” and declined any further response.

Our laws still, chillingly, reflect this inconsistency. On the one hand, we have the almost decade long 2004 Unborn Victims of Violence Act which federally recognizes a “child in utero” as a legal “victim” if he or she is injured or killed by crimes of violence, and laws such as the one decided in Alabama this month that recognize “unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law.” On the other hand, we have abortion for all nine months of pregnancy and impunity for the ones that kill those children, children who are not even guaranteed the protections given to convicted murderers and rapists in some states. It was not funny 40 years ago, and it is still no laughing matter. These are children being killed. Aren’t children people too?

Have you ever listened to the Roe vs. Wade arguments?

Click the play button, it will start at ~20:00 minutes into Mrs. Weddington’s arguments (the attorney for Roe). The clip is only ~4 minutes, but be sure to listen from 23:30 – 24:30. The whole recording is found here. It is a piece of history, a tragic one. This is how it was argued that a mother has a right to kill her own child 40 years ago. 

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23 Responses to Who Laughed During the Roe v Wade Arguments?

  • The case was a complete fabrication from start to finish. I have heard from the lips of Norma McCorvey herself, Jane Roe in the case, that she fabricated the allegation that she had been raped, she gave birth to the child that is the supposed subject matter of the litigation, and that Sarah Weddington was out to overturn the abortion laws and make a name for herself and had absolutely no concern for her client, McCorvey being merely a means to Weddington’s end of legalizing abortion. McCorvey has since embraced the Faith and is a firm pro-lifer.

  • Sarah Weddington will not chuckle or smile when she finds out what happens to someone responsible for the deliberately killing of over 59 million children. She is in a class of definitve contempt all by herself

  • The Mother is considered the victim in abortion, because the Mother is destroyed. Only the woman is left. The woman would have to turn states’ evidence against herself. In any case, the woman would be granted immunity from prosecution for states’ evidence. That our Creator creates motherhood out of womanhood out of wifehood, fatherhood out of manhood out of husbandhood, ought to have indicated that our Creator endows unalienable rights to life to the newly conceived, morally and legally innocent human being, the standard of Justice for our nation, the compelling interest of the state in preserving the virgin.
    There are two victims of rape, the woman and the child. The child may not be put to death for the sins of his father. If God wants the child to live, the child will live. The woman has suffered violence. Ought she surrender her motherhood as well?
    Why is the abortionist charged with destroying human life in abortion a lesser charge than homicide?
    The benefit of a doubt and discovery were not implemented. Something so important as the life of a sovereign person in the womb was dealt with by the court with cavalier indifference, almost as though their decision, or non decision brought about reality. What this, in fact, only says is that the court does not endow sovereign personhood. The foetus could not be a sovereign person because no one said that it was a sovereign person except the state of Texas. All were waiting for the Supreme Court to say that the sovereign person in the womb is a person and protected under our constitution as “our posterity” all future generations of sovereign persons. Our Creator endows sovereign personhood.
    Once Roe v. Wade came to court, the infant child in the womb became a ward of the court. The question was asked near the end about the father’s rights to his child and the question was left unanswered. I almost heard: “Who cares” but it was not spoken. The child was abandoned to abortion.
    The infant cannot speak to God or write to God. The infant in the womb is peaceably assembling for God, praising and worshipping his Creator, thinking about God from the very first moment of his existence. Brain waves are measurable at 40 days but only because there are no instruments for better measuring. His heart beats at 18 days. DNA proves he is another person. The only thing he lacks is his mother’s love.
    The human soul of the newly begotten child in the womb was not acknowledged. His human soul was denied because the Supreme Sovereign Being was removed from the public square. The God of Life gives us His Name: “I AM”
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights.
    The Hippocratic Oath has been removed from medical graduates.
    Hitler adopted our eugenics program for his concentration camps.

  • The oral arguments have some historical value, but it is the opinion, not what is said at oral arguments, that matters. The opinion itself, as well as the subsequent opinions, do not support the claim that “the case depended on the “fetus” having “constitutional rights.” As Weddington acknowledged, that might have made deciding that particular case a little different, but the opinion itself did not turn on whether the unborn child has constitutional rights, is a legal person, or whether the state recognizes the unborn child as a human life. The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.

  • “The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.”

    The basis of the opinion is that Harry Blackmun made up a right to abortion out of thin air.

    Justice White hit the nail on the head in his dissent:

    “With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

    The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries. Whether or not I might agree with that marshaling of values, I can in no event join the Court’s judgment because I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States. In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs.”

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  • Any chance of a constitutional amendment to bring the unborn within the remit of the 14th Amendment?

  • None. Such an amendment would require two-thirds votes in both the Senate and the House and the votes are not there in either chamber. A Constitutional Convention called by two-thirds of the State is equally unlikely.

  • Donald and Fr. Levi-

    Pardon me. None?
    None at this time.
    Friday you will see future House Reps. and future Congressmen walking the National Mall in support of the unborn. This is not hyperbole. Call it prophecy.
    Our future statesmen and women will turn the table on Roe v. Wade.
    We must believe and Pray it.

  • Do they count 2/3 of the states as 33? how many “red states” are there? about 30 I think– maybe not so far off in the future

  • “Friday you will see future House Reps. and future Congressmen walking the National Mall in support of the unborn. This is not hyperbole. Call it prophecy.”

    Oh it will come Philip. I may not live to see it, but my children will!

  • “I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. Justice Byron White.
    The state, government, Constitution, does not create human life. The state, government, Constitution cannot authorize the power to exterminate human life. In capital punishment, the executioner represents the sovereignty of the murderer, the power of attorney to act in the murderer’s behalf, to put an end to the crime and bring the murderer to Justice. The sovereignty of the newly begotten constitutes the Constitution. With no need for correction, the executioner with power of attorney in the infant’s behalf is to protect human life.

  • @ctd: “The basis of the decision is that the “privacy” prenumbra gave a right to abortion, even if the unborn child was given some constitutional rights.”

    The unborn child becomes a citizen at birth. That is why partial birth abortion was invented, to prevent citizenship. The child, not a citizen, ought to have been treated as a sovereign person with immunities, as are foreign dignitaries. Roe v. Wade was a prosecution of the unborn sovereign person, seeking his demise. How does one defend the innocent when the plaintiff portrays herself as victim violated by the innocent’s unalienable right to Life?

  • Not a citizen, the child in utero cannot be prosecuted until after he is born into citizenship.

  • Mary De Voe,

    Your first comment was poetic, poignant, and so sad. Thank you for it. Thank you for what you said about their souls. That is what makes them people.

  • Stacy Trasancos: Thank you for your kind words. The Supreme Sovereign Being, WHO exists and WHO is existence breathed our souls into us. No one exists except at the will of God. Roe v. Wade was set about to deny the existence of God in man, or the living soul of the newly begotten child of God would have been respected, cherish and loved.
    I, too, enjoy your posts.

  • I’m no attorney, but I could have made a better argument than Flowers against abortion. There was plenty of scientific research and evidence in 1973 to inform the court as to when life begins. I didn’t know that Texas legalized abortion in 1854. Thank you for providing this recording. I hope that the Pro-Life activists will use a better representative than one like Mr. Flowers.

  • according to the 14th amendment to the constitution, personhood precedes birth as it says “persons born”. a person is born. that is the law of the usa.

    according to the 14th amendment, citizenship is granted to those persons born in the usa.

    while it may be a subject of intellectual debate as to when a human being becomes a “person”.

    there is no debate as to when a human being begins his or her life. the moment that a human being begins its life is an established and accepted scientific fact.

    personhood is a philosophical construct. a human being is a material reality.

  • It certainly is funny how a woman can have her child killed and yet we send murderers to prison. Is really sad to think that the ones in prison have certain rights but yet an unborn child does not. Is a very sad situation. Might as well just have all those murderers set free.

  • May God Bless you and fortify you for the tribulation we will soon face, Mary De Voe. Your words are beautiful and inspirational.

  • eddie too says:
    “according to the 14th amendment to the constitution, personhood precedes birth as it says “persons born”. a person is born. that is the law of the usa.

    according to the 14th amendment, citizenship is granted to those persons born in the usa.

    while it may be a subject of intellectual debate as to when a human being becomes a “person”.

    there is no debate as to when a human being begins his or her life. the moment that a human being begins its life is an established and accepted scientific fact.

    personhood is a philosophical construct. a human being is a material reality.”

    When the immortal soul leaves the human body, death occurs. When God creates and ensouls the human body at fertilization, when two become one (Genesis) life begins in a whole new individual with scientific DNA, in sovereign personhood and unalienable right to LIFE. How could the Right to Life be not-unalienable as endowed by our Creator, when the Creator is Existence Himself? Or better still, How could the individual human being in existence not have the sovereign personhood of the Sovereign Person of God, his Creator? Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights… from Thomas Aquinas.
    Again, If God has created an individual in His image and likeness with free will and intellect, God has endowed the individual with unalienable right to lIfe and sovereign personhood. Personhood comes from God. Citizenship comes from the state, the servant of the people. Rightfully so, “…a person is born” Can you be a living human being and not be a person? A person is immutable. If the person is alive, the person is a person. The human being is a person from conception to eternal life. The human being is composed of body and soul, whereto God has endowed unalienable rights to the person. (Not so with animals) Roe v. Wade redefined the human being, you and me, and our posterity, as at some point, the sovereign person is subject to creation or redefinition by the state. If nothing else, legally, Roe ought to have given the unborn person the benefit of the doubt or asked for discovery and acknowledged the fatherhood of God. The Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Virgin is conceived without sin, sovereign virginity and personhood from conception, and she is our Mother. Who are we but sovereign persons conceived into the sins of our first parents.

    Curtis: “May God Bless you and fortify you for the tribulation we will soon face, Mary De Voe. Your words are beautiful and inspirational.”
    My words are from (the Person of) God. I pray for courage to face the tribulation and the strength to overcome. The rosary.

  • I have to add after reading again the words of Justice Potter Stewart: ”mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed.” Weddington: “That’s correct.” Sovereign personhood is infused with the human soul at the conception of life and is immutable. What happens as the child grows is his personality.

  • And more:My five children were raised and taught “On Becoming a Person” the Carl Rogers’ heresy that a human being becomes a person rather than being created in sovereignty with an immortal and rational personhood in his created and endowed human soul. This heresy denies that the human being is composed of body and soul, but must grow into personhood rather than having the personhood of his immortal soul breathing forth his personality. This is the heresy that Jesus Christ did not know that He is Divine and the Son of the Living God. This is the heresy that Jesus “grew” into wisdom and grace, virtues that were not His as a sovereign Person. This is the heresy that underpins Roe v. Wade, the denial of the human soul and its sovereign personhood from the beginning of human life. This is the heresy that enabled the atheist to remove the sovereign Person of God from the public square and allowed the demons to prey on us, ourselves and our posterity.

Why I Think You’ll Like Jennifer Fulwiler’s ‘Minor Revisions’

Thursday, December 13, AD 2012

Sooo…Jen has a reality show that debuts tonight. It’s called Minor Revisions.

While Jen found it a little bit awkward to tell you about this new mini-series of hers, I’m tickled pink to tell you why I think you’ll love the series. She gave me a little sneak preview since we both engage with atheists and we both are converts. We have other things in common: We both are fascinated by science, we both have a lot of little kids, and we both have a fondness for Texas. She lives there, I grew up there. She hates the scorpions that invade her house; I hate the spiders that compete for mine.

Anyway, here are three things (in true Jennifer Fulwiler bullet point style) that I think you’ll like — no love! — about her mini-series ‘Minor Revisions.’ These are things that I did not expect, pleasant surprises.

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10 Responses to Why I Think You’ll Like Jennifer Fulwiler’s ‘Minor Revisions’

St. Christina the Astonishing and the Holiday Stinkiness

Friday, November 23, AD 2012

Alright, let’s face it. Is this the time of year, just after Thanksgiving, when you start dreading the impending “Holiday (Don’t call it Christmas) Season?” You know, the season of nightly news stories about how schools won’t allow the display of Christian symbols, the already beginning onslaught of commercialism and advertising, the atheist sloganeering that degrades an event so sacred, and all the politically correct puffery about how to speak of the Holy Celebration of The Birthday – Christ’s Mass – without actually saying it.

It’s almost intolerable and almost ruinous, like the odor of the hydro-treated petroleum distillates of Goo Gone® invading a warm and apple-cinnamony glowing kitchen. Pee-yew!

How to rise above it all? Well, there’s a unique, if not peculiar, saint who would probably react the way I’d like to react in the middle of holiday nonsense, St. Christina of Liége, also more appropriately named, St. Christina the Astonishing. She frequently tried to escape, well, worldly stinkiness.

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18 Responses to St. Christina the Astonishing and the Holiday Stinkiness

  • Hilarious! Too funny.

    As for the whole “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” war…I always thought it was kind of a joke on those who wanted to get rid of the religious aspect of the greeting. Why? Because the word “holiday” comes from the phrase “holy day”. So, next time someone says, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, make sure you tell them “…and a Happy Holy Day to you also”. Maybe that’ll put a smile on their politically correct face.

  • Thanks for the post. It is nice to hear about someone hitting the ceiling over sin, even if it was 9 centuries ago.

  • ‘Thinking rationally about secession’ from parts of the season?

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  • My family cuts our trees together and then we go back and watch George C. Scott’s version of A Christmas Carol.

    Charles Dickens articulates the same irritations through Scrooge’s statements about Christmas being an “humbug” and “a false and commercial” time of year “for the buying of things for which you have no need, no money”.

    It is comforting to think that the same irritations plagued them as us. So, on those rare occasions where the bad behavior of others intrudes on my increasingly good mood – and my mood improves every day of Advent – I think “how Scrooge of you” and then wish a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come on them.

    So, Happy Holidays TAC! May you all find peace and joy in the company of those you love.

  • Bob, Happy Holy Day! Perfect, I did not know that, but certainly will remember it. Thank you!

    DMinor, Hitting the ceiling over sin! Good one. This little saint always makes me smile, as does the artist’s depiction of her. 🙂

    PM, succession! I succeed from shopping malls.

    G-Veg, Happy Holidays to you too. Yes, it would be good to watch that movie.

    Hope you all are having a great weekend.

  • I like this article, XMASS crossing out Christ’s mass is one that is the most blasphemous,

  • More annoying is the “no one knows when Jesus was really born. You, know they chose December 25th because it was a pagan holiday.”

    Yep. I do know that. Thank you ever so much for sharing your knowledge with me. Merry Christmas, on whatever day you ecide to celebrate it.

  • I believe the X in X mass is fom the Greek alphabet. and represents the letter Chi,
    the first letter of Christos. Perhaps not as blasphemous as you think since X or Chi has been used for hundreds of years in religious writings even to the extent of Xtians as an abreviation of Christians.

    Happy Holy Day!!

  • I like to say ‘Have a happy and meaning full Advent’, ‘Have a blessed and joy filled Christmas’ and a ‘have a happy and healthy new year’.
    I see Advent as an opportunity to renew the spiritual journey inward following Mary and Joseph as they travel to Bethlehem where as we travel we empty our hearts to be filled by Him.

  • Oh my goodness! How absolutely refreshing to see an open acknowledgment of the “stinkiness” of craven commercialism in and even before the Holy Season of Anticipation, Advent. I for one do my Christmas buying only in the last 2-3 days before Christmas. The time before that is for soul-searching, preparing for a New Beginning in Christ. The joy of waiting. The peace of fasting in anticipation of the Feast. Living with Mary our Mother and her most chaste spouse St. Joseph in their humble faith and obedience…

  • Interestingly enough, St. Christina was never officially canonized. Fascinating figure though, and a good post. 🙂

  • Some fun urban or guerrilla art might improve the appearance of “Xmas”: carefully draw or paint a “P” atop the “X” to make the Chi-Rho. No vandalism advocated. . . Just sayin’, bro. . . 🙂

  • Proving once again the truth of what C.S. Lewis wrote in 1957:

    “Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians, but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here. The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn’t go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business to have a ‘view’ on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone’s business….

    We are told that the whole dreary business must go on because it is good for trade. It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don’t know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I’d sooner give them money for nothing and write it off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance.”

    Several paragraphs are omitted, and I wasn’t able to find them on short notice, but I know one of them describes how a family who seriously tries to “keep Christmas” in the third or commercial aspect — by making a serious effort to find all the “right” gifts for everyone they know — is in “no trim for merrymaking” by Dec. 25 but rather looks as if there “had been a long illness in the house.”

  • Jason, I remember reading that too. There was some question, I think, about her heroic virtue.

    Leslie, thanks!

    Elaine, that’s great from C.S. Lewis, thank you.

    For the record, I did ALL of my Christmas shopping in less than an hour on the day before Thanksgiving. That’s right, one hour! I used to be like the people C.S. Lewis describes though. So glad to have left that behind. Our small children simply don’t expect much because we’ve never showered them with gifts even at birthdays.

  • Going to hell and seeing friends there and then to purgatory and seeing more friends would make me want to flee from sin also. Society becomes immune to the stench of sin and allows more and more outrageous behavior. This decline of morality has happened before and it took a great shaking from God to correct it.

  • wow – I love stories of the saints BUT THIS ONE WAS THE BEST!!
    Wonder where can I read more on her ? Ill google her she is Great.

  • Ren,

    She makes me smile!

    Here’s a translation Mark Reynold’s worked on of Thomas de Cantimpre’s Life of Christina.


Why is the Church Political?

Tuesday, November 20, AD 2012

Why? To guard freedom.

This is the third and final in a series taken from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s essay, “Theology and Church Politics” published in a 1987 book Church Ecumenism and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology. In it he explains what theology is, what the relation of theology is to the Church, and what the relation of the Church is to education and politics.

The first article dealt with the fundamental claim to reason itself, why the atheistic view does not work and the Christian view must. The second article dealt with the ordered relationship of the Church and the University, how the Church must guide the search for truth. These are important concepts in our times. Some have asked whether the Church is partisan and what role she should play in the politics of civil society. Cardinal Ratzinger answered. Knowing how to explain this is a powerful tool for evangelization.

First, Church and Theology

Politics, rightly understood, is the practice of government or administration, so there is a political relationship between the Church and theology. The Church governs theology, but it is not a relationship concerned with Ecclesial powers which would be an “outright contradiction of the Church’s true nature.” The Church is not the “party headquarters where party ideology is reviewed in terms of a strategy for gaining power.”

The Church is the environment where reason seeks meaning. The Magisterium’s governing action is to warn theology against paths that lead to abstraction even as she respects the individual’s responsibility to inquire within the environment of faith. There is a duality, a productive functional relationship, a legitimate freedom.

Can this Freedom Fail?

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8 Responses to Why is the Church Political?

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  • Both truth and true freedom require church Authority to ensure morality.

  • Very beautiful post, Stacy. My thoughts: Israel was a theocracy, ruled by a people blessed with knowledge of the Triune God, the God of FREEDOM.
    “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” tells the people that Caesar belongs to God. Sovereign people constitute a sovereign nation. Sovereign personhood is endowed by our Creator. Christians were put to death because Caesar appointed himself God and the Christians accepted only Jesus Christ as God. To worship Caesar as our God would have spared a person martyrdom.
    The chief work of the church is to offer worship to God, the Supreme Sovereign Being, and saving souls. Saving the souls of citizens brings the truth of the church into the political sphere. The principle of separation of church and state dictates that the state may not interfere with the church in offering worship to God and with the church’s mission to save souls. It is important to realize that the sovereign person’s soul as conformed to truth constitutes the state. The First Amendment states: “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    Capital punishment is the temporal punishment for capital one homicide.
    Atheism forbids belief in the rational, immortal human soul wherein is endowed all of our unalienable human rights. The human soul is the creation that separates man from animals and brings to man his reason and the possibility of eternal reward.

  • Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority.

  • I know of few people who really think that truth is determined by the majority. Liberals are riding fairly high now after their victories in the Senate and on the presidential level, but I do not recall them celebrating the will of the majority in 2002, 2004 and 2010.

  • The words in my last post are taken directly from Pope John Paul II’s letter, Centesimus Annus. I strongly disagree with that statement. I put it there to see what response I get. Biblically, the truth has always been held by a minority, look at the broad road and the steep narrow road. Also, it was the majority who cried crucify Him! Crucify Him! I believe the vast majority of the Christian world do not know the truth about the character of God, and wrong impression lead to wrong ideas and practices.

  • Marco: Jesus Christ is the Revelation of God, constant, infallible Truth. Jesus Christ died for each one of us as the Son of Man, the majority of ONE. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for man cannot change. Why would anyone exchange TRUTH for a relative maybe or a definite change? Belief by consensus is a house built on sand, constantly shifting sand. Hold fast to the TRUTH. The TRUTH will set you free. Cast your cares upon HIM.

The Natural Order of Church and University

Monday, November 19, AD 2012

University of Bologna, Oldest University 1088

This is the second in a series taken from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger’s essay, “Theology and Church Politics” published in a 1987 book Church Ecumenism and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology. In it he explains what theology is, what the relation of theology is to the Church, and what the relation of the Church is to education and politics. The first article dealt with the fundamental claim to reason itself, from an atheistic view and the Christian view.

The Christian position is not based on “In the beginning was irrationality…” but on the opposite. The Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.” God, the Creator who made everything out of nothing, is Reason Itself, and since we are made in the likeness and image of God, our ability to reason came from Reason Itself, revealed to us by Christ, the Word or Logos. The foundation of rationality cannot be irrationality; reason cannot spring from the unreasonable. This article moves into the relationship, then, between the Church and the University.

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8 Responses to The Natural Order of Church and University

Explaining Reason: Atheism or Christianity?

Wednesday, November 14, AD 2012

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, devoted much writing and attention to questions such as this, not in isolation, but as they relate to academics and civil societies. In an essay, “Theology and Church Politics” published in a 1987 book Church Ecumenism and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology, he explains what theology is, what the relation of theology is to the Church, and what the relation of the Church is to education and politics. He explains why such culturally shocking assertions, such as the subordination of the University and the State to the Church, are naturally and rationally ordered relationships for the common good, and it all begins with an explanation about reason.

The University and the State should be subordinate to the Church? Atheism would not agree with this, of course, and it sounds like an outlandish claim in the world today. If you have ever wondered how to respond to the insistence that faith should play no part in academic instruction or public policy, you will find Cardinal Ratzinger’s explanation illuminating. This will take a few essays to cover, so this is the first in the series and it deals with the fundamental claim to reason itself.

Can Atheism Explain Reason?

The word “reason” is repeated a lot today, but without an understanding of what it really is. Atheists lay claim to it, assuming that it is the opposite of faith. The word has its root in classical Latin, ratio, and it means intellectual power, the capacity for rational thought.

A tenet of atheism is that reason is a product of human evolution, just another step along the pathway that began with the Big Bang, a “random byproduct of the ocean of irrationality from which everything actually sprang.” But how can this be? If reason is real, then it is as inconceivable that the Big Bang is the primordial beginning of the universe as it is inconceivable that a circle can be squared. That is — it is impossible. The foundation of rationality cannot be irrationality; reason cannot spring from the unreasonable. No, atheism has no explanation for the existence of reason.

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6 Responses to Explaining Reason: Atheism or Christianity?

A Mother’s Promise to the Nation

Wednesday, November 7, AD 2012

I know I speak for many, many other mothers out there this morning and I know they would say the same thing I am about to say.

The United States has just elected Barack Obama to a second term as President. News reports tell us that the narrow victory may have hinged on the women’s vote. It appears that the “lady parts” rhetoric about how women’s rights depend on contraception and abortion resonated with enough American women that it affected the election.

They didn’t want to “do it with just anybody.” No, it had to be with a “really great guy.” The one who will give them free contraception and abortion.

But America, I promise you that not all of us mothers raise our daughters to think this way. I promise you that there are plenty of us mothers and fathers out here teaching our daughters, and our sons, that real freedom comes from something beyond themselves, something greater than themselves.

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21 Responses to A Mother’s Promise to the Nation

  • Stacy-
    God bless you and the strong families you describe. I know them. I love them. I share in their sorrows and joys…in their birthday celebrations and at their funerals.
    Some mothers home school five or more other families children and with excellent results.
    This is the resurgence of Holy Spirit filled children of God and NO disfunctional society will trump it! You and like minded mothers are filling your lamps with oil. The lamps of your children and teaching neighbors how to fill their lamps also. This is who you are.
    The bridegroom will come and you dear Stacy will have prepared well your tribe.
    Onward into the night.

  • Good for you. I for one am tempted to renounce my citizenship in an effort to teach my son that life actually matters.

  • Stacy, you are inspiring to us all! I’m not a mother yet, but you and the mothers you describe – that’s the kind of mom I want to be.

  • The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

  • Stacy, I had the same discussion with my 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter this morning. They had to watch me cry last night when Obama won a second term. I told them my tears were sadness for this country, for the pathetic reasons so many voted him in again. For the rights of the unborn that will, once again, be denied at a government level in lieu of a woman’s right to kill her own child. But I also told them that in times like these, God is urging us to be better people, to be examples of what we want to see in our country’s leadership. I also told them that we live in the greatest country on earth. And that now, more than ever, we need to pray for our country’s leadership…and for the United States.

  • Stacy – Don’t worry. We’re not going to blame you. I’ve read a lot of analysis suggesting that the gender gap is mostly a race gap – that is, more black women than black men vote, and so the higher percentage of blacks among women voters increases the percentage of Democratic votes among women. I don’t know if that holds true for this year, though.

    Anyway, you’re girls, and you’re cuter than us, so we’ll always forgive you.

  • I am ashamed of my gender today.

  • Excellent post Stacy, my wife shares your frustration. As we watched the returns come in last night, I reiterated to my wife that this was a long time coming, 50+years of the far left’s indoctrination. We have free will and this is what can happen. However, prayer can change many things and we do have many great Catholic parents and many young priests and sisters, along with seminarians and novices who will show us a better example than they were given.

  • And that is where this is going, to remove women and men who have traditional values from being able to either have children or to be allowed to raise them. This is so clear.

  • I blame the Church’s lack of effective catechesis for where we are today. While we as parents do all we can at home to raise faith-filled children, Church leadership is not helping us in our effort. Pastors are too afraid to speak the truth – to call a sin a sin. When is the last time you’ve even heard a priest use that word in a homily?

    I teach 7th grade “religious ed” (hate that phrase) and the lesson plans my parish gives me are a joke – all circuses, no bread. I end up spending hours each week trying to craft a meaningful lesson plan that actually teaches our faith, not some touchy-feely, no judgment nonsense. I fear for the future of our Church if our leaders refuse to see what’s happening in their parishes.

  • Stacy-
    This past year I worked for Eric Scheidler and Stand Up for Religious Freedom grass movt.
    His father Joseph is the founder of Pro Life Action League.

    Just moments ago I received an E-mail from them. I would like to make it available for anyone who might be interested.
    Thank you.

    http://prolifeaction.org/election 2012

    Joe and his family know disappointment. He has been at this for 39 years and 10 months.

  • I am so happy to see a true Catholic mother, who is teaching her children according to God’s will. Unfortunately, not all pastors are teaching their parishioners in the same way. A few weeks ago, I attended Mass at a parish where the pastor threatened (from the altar), to personally remove any pro life material distributed in the parking lot. When I said to him after Mass that abortion was not a political but a moral issue, he told me to go to Mass somewhere else.

  • Thank you for writing “never shut up” ~ I don’t plan to as far as raising my children is concerned, but I thought I might forget about speaking up and pushing back with my computer keys. Maybe not. Maybe I won’t shut up.

  • That was beautiful! You have taken my thoughts and put them in an article with out even meeting me. Thank you!!!!!!

  • Karl speaks the truth: “And that is where this is going, to remove women and men who have traditional values from being able to either have children or to be allowed to raise them. This is so clear.”

    Karl, i feel your pain. People did not believe me, even though it is all available (this administration did not lie re the “transparency” statement) but people are too uninformed and/or too lazy to do the research.

    You would think that after 4 years of this (well 3 at the time) people would have learned you look at what they are NOT saying. There was nothing to be gained by the Contraception Mandate against the Church, nothing. But the majority of our ‘elite’ academics (mostly men) and almost all the Bishops and Cardinals (one of which i despise, and i truly believe he knew all along) fell for what was meant to be a diversion, and a wildly successful diversion it was. While they were all wringing their hands over the Mandate, they failed to see the ‘laws’ the IOM was implementing.

    Chief among them that should be of great interest to ALL women, not just Catholic women, is that they have now codified that the “intergestational” or “interconception” period that is best for “maternal and child health” is 2 years from the last pregnancy to the start of a new one. There will “home vists” by “public healthcare workers” to ensure that women are adhering to this new law that is “for their health and that of the child they have” — which adds the subtle threat that you are putting your current child at risk (and THIS new state we live in I am sure will make the child removal process a lot more expeditious than it currently is).

    And just to top it all off, there are new levels of inquiry’s that the “public health care workers” must make at their lil social visit to your home – “is there ANYONE in your life that is teaching you that it is not in your and your child’s best interest to contracept? (their preferred method is IUD at the 2-week checkup after delivery) If someone is telling you such rubbish (not to contracept) LIKE YOUR PRIEST, that is “interpersonal violence” and will not stand.

    True Priests (God Bless you), buckle up, it is going to a hell of a drive.

    (Oh, and may i add that all this “research” was paid for via the “stimulus” plan!?)

  • I am at a loss for words about the outcome. I like the great article you wrote. I cannot feel kindness right now in my heart. I have grown children and grandchildren and some old enough to make me a great grandmother…but it looks bleak out there to me at this time. We have to look to folks like you to see any hope and also spend a lot of time on our knees. This country has lost all respect for woman and womanhood…..When a pill or an abortion is the answer…I feel as tho I could weep, but I,as I started, am at a loss for words. Blessed Mother Mary keep us close to you…and ask you Son to help us rise in His Light.

  • I say God bless you women with faith and conviction.
    You women who have given your life to your husbands and children, gone through childbirth, cooked and cleaned, dried the tears and bound our wounds all the while praying to God to guide and protect us have the natural gift of eternal love and survival for those around you. Men may be physically stronger but we tend to be short sighted looking only at what is affecting us at the moment and what to do about it. We are the first to mope about when things go wrong instead of accepting life as it comes to us knowing nothing good comes with out some pain or discomfort. It is in the nature God gave you to be the heart and soul of what we call humanity. Neither Man nor earth was complete until woman came upon the scene and made life fruitful and abundant. Don’t let anyone try to deny this truth.
    And the woman God made especially for Himself, our Mother Mary Queen of heaven, also naturally with her heart of eternal love wants to gather all of Gods children under her maternal care and lead them through Christ to the Father. Like you women she has taken it as her duty and commitment as His bride to care for the children of God. Bless you!!

  • @Mia, I did not know that..*awesome*
    Bill Sr. Thank you for your kind words.

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Will the Elections be Delayed?

Thursday, November 1, AD 2012

Many people are wondering whether the devastation of Hurricane Sandy will cause the national elections next week to be delayed. The short answer is that it’s possible, but it’s not really so simple. The decision to delay elections is made by the states. The Blaze has a summary of some of the state laws, it’s more straightforward in some states than others. Governors and state election boards are permitted to change the election day if a state of emergency is declared.

The Telegraph reported a few days ago that Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has made a statement to this effect. “We are anticipating that, based on the storm, there could be impacts that would linger into next week and have impacts on the federal election.”

The storm has already affected early voting, and it remains to be determined whether any states will delay the elections. If any states do delay the elections, expect there to be debates about the effect such a decision will have on the elections over all. Is it fair for one state to give voters more time to vote than the voters in another state? What if one state does more to help voters get to the polls? If a state delays the election to help those without power, why couldn’t it delay the election to help those in the military who are unable to vote on time? Will FEMA be accused of preferential treatment in choosing how much to help each state?

The President, however, has no authority to delay the elections. There was some concern when Politico’s Roger Simon asked Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, whether President Obama does have this authority and he replied, “I don’t know.” As have many other media sources, the Wall Street Journal gives the correct answer. The correct answer is no. In 2004 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) examined this question of delaying elections, acknowledging that states can do so if there are emergencies or disputes, but the CRS was clear about the authority of the executive branch. “There is no current constitutional authority residing in the President of the United States, nor the executive branch of Government, to postpone, cancel, or reschedule elections for federal office in the various States.” (From the WSJ) Only Congress can make such a change, as stated in Article 1 – The Legislative Branch, Section 4 – Elections, Meetings.

“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.”

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12 Responses to Will the Elections be Delayed?

  • The only way the president could get around Congress and the Constitutional law that you mentined above is for him to do what he has done before to get around them, do it by presidential mandate, but if he were to do that I think you would hear the whole country go into a uproar. If there is a will for the people to get out and vote on election day, November 6, they will find a way to get there.

  • Well, realistically, the only states that have been hit hard enough to consider this are NJ and NY, and neither one is going to affect the presidency or the Senate.

    New York City was supposed to have its mayoral primary on 9/11/01. It was postponed for two weeks. I remember from the Florida 2008 recount stuff that states have to certify their results by a specific date. I wonder if a state in a state of emergency could put off an election without consequences, as long as it completed the process by the certification date. I don’t know about its legality, but it seems like a practical solution.

  • Glad you are showing concern for the people who have lost so much. Let’s continue to make this about the election and not prayers for the suffering.

  • I’m sorry Bob, in no way did I mean to imply that the suffering of people was insignificant or secondary. There are also good reasons for serious concern about this election.

  • Stacy, no fair-minded person (with reasoning skills) could read your post as implying any lack of concern for the well-being of those hurt by the storm.

  • As one whose knees sometimes jerk without reasoned restraint, I can attest to the usefulness of reading an entire piece before firing off chastisements or criticisms. To wit, Bob, the last sentence of the post:

    “Let’s offer a prayer for those who are suffering from the devastation of the storm, and for guidance in the coming week as our country elects new leaders.”


  • There was some concern when Politico’s Roger Simon asked Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, whether President Obama does have this authority and he replied, “I don’t know.”

    We know the President is a Constitutional scholar, of course (if not practitioner), but would it kill his staff (and others in public service) to read it once in a while if only to save themselves embarrassment.

    As for delaying the election in NY, it wouldn’t be unreasonable. I’m sure many people will still be displaced next week and many polling places destroyed.

  • Without apology, no, no, no, and no again!

    It IS unreasonable to delay the election because what seems justified today will be the beginning of another area of our Republic’s slide towards tyranny.

    It isn ‘t the meanness that drags a people towards tyranny, it is the well-meaning, seemingly justified. You open the door a crack and you prove that it can be done and that people will consent to it. Only there is no end to the seemingly just causes.

    So, no! Absolutely not! As tragic and difficult as the circumstances are, hold the election on time, everywhere!

  • G-Veg has some good points.

  • G-Veg,

    Those are good points. To change the elections would set a dangerous precedent.

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Why are Catholics Praising the Nobel Prize Stem Cell Technology?

Monday, October 15, AD 2012

Source: “Shinya Yamanaka – Biographical”. Nobelprize.org. Creative Commons Attr. 2.0 Generic license

It’s been all over the news lately, particularly in the Catholic and conservative spheres, how Dr. Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in medicine for reprogramming adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). People praised this research for creating new pluripotent stem cell lines to study without creating or destroying embryos. They claimed that the process doesn’t require any morally tainted source cells. They announced the feat as an achievement of great ethical significance, a beautiful and ethical science. They pointed out that the process does not pose ethical issues because embryos are not manipulated, and that embryonic stem cell research will soon be largely put out of business. What a moral victory!

However, digging into and decoding the scientific methodological explanations reveals that what is being praised is definitely not so praiseworthy. It reveals something quite significant, and it mostly hinges on one word — reprogramming. Did anyone notice that in all the cheering, little was explained about the method itself?

How is this reprogramming done? How did they “turn back the clock” on adult stem cells? How does a mature cell become immature again? Well, it’s not magic. The adult stem cell gets introduced to genetic material from other young cells — very young cells. Specifically, Dr. Yamanaka’s group used cells grown from the kidney of an electively aborted healthy child in the Netherlands.

The cells used are named HEK-293 (human embryo kidney), and often referred to without the HEK part as PLAT-A, PLAT-E, and 293FT cells. This Yamanaka paper in Cell journal explains how these cells were used in the methods section, Lentivirus Production and Infection, and elsewhere.

293FT cells (Invitrogen) were plated at 6 × 106 cells per 100 mm dish and incubated overnight…

They are purchased from Invitrogen.

The 293FT Cell Line is a fast-growing, highly transfectable clonal isolate derived from human embryonal kidney cells…

So, where did these 293FT cells come from again? It is instructive to read the troubling words of the doctor who collected them. In this transcript from 2001, the doctor explained their origin to the FDA because the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines has long been controversial for moral and safety reasons. See page 81 of the FDA document, beginning on line 14:

“The kidney of the fetus was, with an unknown family history, was obtained in 1972 probably. The precise date is not known anymore. The fetus, as far as I can remember was completely normal. Nothing was wrong. The reasons for the abortion were unknown to me. I probably knew it at that time, but it got lost, all this information. The kidneys of the fetus were then isolated and the kidney cells were isolated in the so-called still air cabinet. There were no laminar flow hoods at that time, and this, is simply a still air cabinet that was also used all over for tissue culture and worked quite well. There was UV lights in it just to sterilize it, and that was all.


“So as we did also for the rat kidney cells, the surrounding membranes were removed as completely as possible, and the kidneys were then minced with scissors, trypsinized, and the cells that were recovered after removing the trypsin were cultured in medium containing bovine serum, calf serum. That is what we know.” (Report to FDA, 2001, p. 81, line 14)

How’s that for moral sources? Read on, there were all kinds of questions about contamination from DNA, viruses, and mutant material, a problem that still plaques the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines because it is unknown how the contaminants affect small infants. You may also remember these fetal cell lines from the PepsiCo boycott when it was discovered they were used to develop flavor-enhancers. Same cells.

Still find this Nobel Prize winning technique praiseworthy? Yes, some still shrug at even this. They say that the use of the morally illicit materials doesn’t matter because the cures could improve so many lives. In other words, they say the ends justify the means.

What about parents who use vaccines grown in aborted fetal cell lines? Some are of the opinion that since the aborted child was killed so long ago and the researcher did not cooperate in the abortion directly, that he is justified in using these cells to try to find life-saving cures for people today.

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58 Responses to Why are Catholics Praising the Nobel Prize Stem Cell Technology?

  • Which vaccines contains cells from aborted children? Where can parents find more info on this?

  • I’m reasonably certain I’ve read about iPSC methods that don’t use the immoral fetal tissue; granted this could be wrong. Do you know if the information here pertains to all iPSC? Is there more than one method?

  • Martha,

    When I was first introduced to this, we spent so much time agonizing over it. This is the best summary I’ve found.


    Also, I found the letter from the Pontifical Academy very helpful too.


    Please let me know if you would like any more info.

  • Donald can probably speak to this better than I can, but I recall a criminal law concept that evidence obtained from information gathered illegally taints the entire related body of evidence. For example, information from an illegal wire tap that leads to evidence which, but for the wire-tap, would have been admissible, renders the evidence derived therefrom inadmissible. Often referred to as the “fruit from the poisoned tree.” It seems the same or similar reasoning should apply in this case regarding the morality of the methods employed.

  • Smiter the Archdeacon,

    To my understanding, they all do, but I’m looking into it to be sure. I will get back.

  • “but I recall a criminal law concept that evidence obtained from information gathered illegally taints the entire related body of evidence.”

    Correct cmatt. There are ways around the fruit of the poisonous tree but courts are normally sceptical once the illegality of the initial gathering of evidence has been established.

  • Martha – the list of vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines can be found on our website at: http://www.cogforlife.org/vaccineListOrigFormat.pdf

  • cmatt and Donald,

    That is an excellent analogy, something anyone can understand. Will be sharing and attributing. There are Catholics who praised this research, and even knowing the illicit materials used, still find it praiseworthy. Rather than criticize them, I’d rather have great explanations like the one you gave to explain it and hopefully, change their minds.

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  • Thank you, Debi, for that wonderful website with concise information about ethical vaccines available. I have sent it to my daughter. Thank you for giving us this info.

  • http://www.yahspeople.com/uploads/4/9/0/5/4905603/ethics_hek_293_credit_line.pdf

    Catholic moral teaching is much more nuanced and sophisticated than the legal “fruit from the poisonous tree” evidentiary rule, though carefully-reasoned article linked above reaches the same ultimate conclusion. It is worth reading. That said, I would caution readers to not assume that this article is the last word on the subject from the standpoint of Catholic teaching. The principles at play hear are quite sophisticated and it is conceivable that a well-reasoned position exists to the contrary.

  • Yes Mike, some Catholics may come up with opposing viewpoints but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the last word – and they authored Dignitas Personae, quoted in the article: “…there is a duty to refuse to use such ‘biological material’ even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the…abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centers in which the artificial fertilization took place. This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.” (section 35)
    While some may disagree with the Holy See, in reality there is no legitimate reasoning, especially when these scientists could have used moral cell lines to accomplish the reprogramming of adult cells. They chose not to.

  • Thanks, Debi.
    May one safely infer from the quoted language that the CDF considers it objectively sinful for a parent to allow her child to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, and Rubella? Is it certain that a parent wishing to innoculate a child from disease stands in the same moral posture as a “researcher” with the options you describe?

  • If you look at this website, the name says it all.


  • Thank you for this article, because I didn’t know this and thought this was a positive prize. It is sickening how the whole world is just pursuing these technologies without any ethical concern at all. Most of the news articles about embryonic stem cell research just take it as a given, without even mentioning the ethical dilemmas. Recently a local magazine in New England named two female stem cell researchers as female heroes or role models and didn’t make one peep about any ethical dilemmas about the research. What? Killing embryos is evil, and so is using the poor bodies, no matter how small, of embryos someone else killed.

    The absolute moral principle which can never be violated is this: It is never licit to do evil that good may result. And I’m sorry, but purchasing aborted fetal parts is evil, because you are supporting and helping to perpetuate an evil industry. I don’t care what anyone says about direct or indirect support. Would you buy Jewish body parts that came from Nazi concentration camps, so you could use the material for medical research? I rest my case. The whole business is disgusting. The excuse of helping to cure other people doesn’t cut it.

  • Mike – no. Both the PAFL and Dignitas stated that parents could use the vaccines because, as the PAFL noted, “the duty to avoid this type of cooperation is not obligatory.” They said it was right to abstain if it could be done without significant risk – and they made it clear that parents and physicians have a duty to put pressure on the pharm industry to bring about changes. The document is on our website at http://www.cogforlife.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/vaticanresponse1.pdf

  • They claimed that the process doesn’t require any morally tainted source cells.
    I think this statement can still be considered true, and I think that is the upside of this research. Look, I agree that the use of the cell lines derived from abortions is morally repugnant. But the technique in question does not depend on or require such cells. They were used because they present certain favorable properties for research purposes. In fact, I think the whole point is that such cells would not be used in actual treatments, in favor of instead using the patient’s own cells, in order to decrease the chances of the patient’s body rejecting them.

    So while this research is itself tainted by less-than-moral methods, I think the overall take-away is that there is a way to induce these types of stem cells without needing to resort to embryo-destructive means. And that is indeed good news.

  • I would suggest reading Rebecca Taylor’s blog at Catholic Lane, which addresses a number of the issues raised in the above post.
    Answereing Pro-Life objections to induced pluripotent stem cell research

  • Donald – the above article was a direct response to Ms Taylor’s false assertion that this is morally acceptable. We addressed it as well on a point by point rebuttal of her article: http://www.cogforlife.org/2012/10/11/reprogramming-pro-lifers-minds-part-ii/
    Mike – the point of this article and others is opposition to awarding the Nobel prize to scientists who in fact, did their research immorally. Its nothing for prolife folks to cheer about when scientists not only deliberately choose immoral actions but when they also mislead the public about what they are doing.

  • Smiter the Archdeacon,

    I got you an answer.

    All (still, to my more researched knowledge) of the techniques published have used morally tainted materials, i.e. cells grown from aborted fetal tissue.

    However, the researchers COULD chose other cells grown from other sources such as these, HeLa, COS, and CHO cells.


  • Donald,

    I’m an editor at Catholic Lane, and I still do not agree with some of Rebecca’s statements, although I’ve emailed her privately with the hopes of friendly understanding in good faith. I do not for one minute think she is trying to mislead people. I’ve long been a fan of hers.

    Here are my two concerns in general:

    1) When I realized that the praised technique used aborted fetal cell lines and still used hESCs, I felt duped by Catholic journalists. None of the ones I read even mentioned the immoral aspect. They only praised a process, ambiguously. That’s why I even started reading the scientific papers. I wanted to understand the **process** I was being asked to praise. When I realized what it involved, I wanted to make sure others knew too.

    2) She said parents with no other choice and researchers with other choices are the same. The Holy See has said otherwise. That is not true.

    “Moreover, in organizations where cell lines of illicit origin are being utilized, the responsibility of those who make the decision to use them is not the same as that of those who have no voice in such a decision.” (section 35 of Dignitas personae)

  • Donald…one really needs to read all of Dignitas Personae because that is a little out of context when you read what they said just prior to all of this.
    Dignitas Personae 35:
    “Therefore, it needs to be stated that there is a duty to refuse to use such “biological material” even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilization or the abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centers in which the artificial fertilization took place. This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.”

    In addition, Donum Vitae, Evangelium Vitae and the PAFL also stated:

    Evangelium Vitae 63:
    “[T]he use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person”.54 These forms of experimentation always constitute a grave moral disorder.55

    Donum Vitae PAFL I:4:
    “The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings. In particular, they cannot be subjected to mutilation or to autopsies if their death has not yet been verified and without the consent of the parents or of the mother. Furthermore, the moral requirements must be safeguarded that there be no complicity in deliberate abortion and that the risk of scandal be avoided”

    PAFL 2005: Pg 7
    “As regards the preparation, distribution and marketing of vaccines produced as a result of the use of biological material whose origin is connected with cells coming from foetuses voluntarily aborted, such a process is stated, as a matter of principle, morally illicit, because it could contribute in encouraging the performance of other voluntary abortions, with the purpose of the production of such vaccines.”

  • Debi,
    Thanks for your lucid and straightforward response.

  • Admittedly, this is outside my area of expertise. I do NIH funded work on chromatin remodeling proteins. My comment/question is this:
    Swapping the genetic material from one cell type and introduced into a second cell type from which th genetic material has been excised can have variable effect. I suspect the specific effect desired..the ability to reactivity silenced genes post-differentiation was only possible in a cellular environment that was, in fact, pluripotent…or restated per-differentiated. The proteins and RNAs present, differ between these types of cells. That may be critical.

    What I am getting at is this. Putting the genetic material in ANY other cell type may not have this reprogramming effect. It’s difficult to say, wht would happen. Maybe it is known…not by me. But I suspect only hESC would permit this effect to the degree they claim success. I further suspect…that’s why they used it. We select cell types for specific effects. Not to be disingenuous, but to examine specific functions or control for the numerous variations in cells.

  • I thought I had read sometime ago that the Holy See was collaborating (not sure of the specific kind of collaboration) with a research firm in Europe or the US on adult
    stem cell research. Is it possible that there are other methods being researched?

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  • For years, many have known that adult stem cells are fertile sources of whatever medical benefits may be “in the offing.”

    Evil liberals (I repeat myself again) insist on farming humans.

  • Thanks for this post, Stacy. I’m one of those Catholic bloggers who’ve been praising the work, so I’ve grateful for your detailed digging here, and have linked to this post.

    One thing that does stand out for me still as a pro-life aspect of the work is the motivation: Dr Yamanaka has spoken explicitly about his desire not to use (more) embryos in his work. That’s not a justification for the immoral aspects you’re talking about above, but it is a reminder that even someone who can’t be regarded as straightforwardly pro-life can recognize some of the horror in a process (experimenting on embryos) that many would encourage us to believe is ethically neutral.

  • Thank you Lazarus. I agree with your last paragraph, that is definitely reason to see something good.

  • To Proteios1 – According to Genecure who describes the reprogramming using a lentivirus – they admit it works using moral sources: ” Because lentiviruses permanently integrate into the target cell’s genome, lentiviral vectors allow for stable long-term expression of the gene. Numerous reports demonstrate stable expression of reporter genes for greater than nine months. Additionally, unlike commonly used onco-retroviral vectors, where transcriptional silencing of the gene has been observed in numerous reports, no transcriptional silencing has been observed with lentiviral vectors. Thus, use of lentiviral vectors may overcome the challenges hindering current gene transfer technologies. Lentiviral-based gene transfer technology can be used to efficient deliver the DNA of interest into embryonic stems cells of virtually any cell type including mammalian and non-mammalian cells.” Does that help?

  • Awwww, poor katolicks….

    Welcome to the 21st Century. We who have cast off superstitions have evolved to a better place.
    We understand that any “rights” or privileges are granted by those in power, not a sky thingy. Might DOES make right. Ends DO justify means. Political power DOES flow out of the barrel of a gun. “Turn the other cheek” just gets you 2 slapped cheeks.

    Those in power grant rights to sentient beings, not just living cells. (i.e. kidney cells are alive, but they will never be sentient.) An embryo, a fetus, a newborn is alive, but not yet fully sentient.
    Definition: Sentient: an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation. Ability to feel, communicate, and act independently of others.
    The population of Europe has rejected your ethics and the American society has too.
    Give it up.

  • Hope that better place you’ve evolved too isn’t too hot for you1

  • “We understand that any “rights” or privileges are granted by those in power, not a sky thingy. Might DOES make right. Ends DO justify means. Political power DOES flow out of the barrel of a gun. “Turn the other cheek” just gets you 2 slapped cheeks.”

    It sounds more Wagnerian in the original German.

  • According to the leading biography on Pasteur:

    Absolute faith in God and in Eternity, and a conviction that the power for good given to us in this world will be continued beyond it, were feelings which pervaded his whole life; the virtues of the gospel had ever been present to him. Full of respect for the form of religion which had been that of his forefathers, he came simply to it and naturally for spiritual help in these last weeks of his life.

    The troll should change his handle to Mengele.

  • “We who have cast off superstitions have evolved to a better place.”

    “National Socialist and Christian concepts are incompatible. The Christian Churches build upon the ignorance of men and strive to keep large portions of the people in ignorance because only in this way can the Christian Churches maintain their power. On the other hand, National Socialism is based on scientific foundations. Christianity’s immutable principles, which were laid down almost two thousand years ago, have increasingly stiffened into life-alien dogmas. National Socialism, however, if it wants to fulfill its task further, must always guide itself according to the newest data of scientific researches.”

    Martin Bormann, Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery, 1942

  • I’m quite dense. I thought Dr. Pasteur was being sacrcastic.

    “Those in power grant rights to sentient beings . . .”

    Those in power (that think thusly) deny rights to sentient beings, too.

  • T,
    You may be right, and I hope you are — but I fear otherwise.

  • There is an excellent book out called Promises of New Biotechnologies,

    Authored by Edith Breburda
    Preface by William E. May

    In today’s world, the creation of genetically engineered plants, the cloning of animals,
    and the introduction of new reproductive
    technologies are being promoted as keys
    to a bright future.
    “Promises of New Biotechnologies” serves
    as a comprehensive and well-referenced
    introduction to important technologies
    with worldwide consequences. The book
    presents a wide range of opinions in the current
    debate about genetically modified food sources
    (crops and animals), and humans. The author
    has extensive experience and broad knowledge
    in these topics. This book provides excellent
    information and discusses ethical issues in
    the context of new biotechnologies.
    The purpose of the book is to help non-scientists
    to understand the developments in genetic
    engineering and in reproductive technology.
    It is a well-written, easy-to-read, major resource
    for an international perspective on the issues
    surrounding biotechnology and genetic engineering.

    Publication Date:
    Sep 29 2011
    0615548288 / 9780615548289
    Page Count:
    Binding Type:
    US Trade Paper
    Trim Size:
    6″ x 9″
    Black and White
    Related Categories:
    Science / Life Sciences / General

  • To “Dr. P.,” In the United States of America, our Declaration of Independence states that we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights, not by government. You are correct, we are not Europe–our forefathers came here to escape tyranny and persecution and practice freedom of religion. You have the right to practice no religion, too, and our Constitution protects you in that, as well, unless you enfringe on others’ rights: such as the barbaric satanic form of bloodletting in child sacrifice. One day, this country will realize, as did the late, brilliant Dr. Bernard Nathanson, M.D. who founded NARAL, that the unborn are sentient beings who flee from the abortionist’s instruments as seen in ultrasound. We will see and repent as he did or we will be destroyed, for, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. We reap what we sow. That is Natural Law and it will ultimately prevail, so help us God, for we need the Hand of Divine Providence now to turn us from our evil ways through the hands of modern day child sacrificers. May we turn to Him now before it is too late. I pray for you, as I pray for us all. God have mercy on us!

  • I fully agree with the aspect that it is wrong to create induced pluripotent stem cells using material from intentionally aborted fetuses. However, I’m at a loss to understand why the proteins being introduced into the adult stem cells to create the ipscs need to be taken from cell lines derived from aborted fetuses. Is it simply that those are the “handy sources” available (let’s face it, many researchers in this area lack the moral development to see the sanctity in all human life so they are not likely to be concerned about the source)? Does the process not work with proteins derived from other sources? I personally cannot determine the answer from browsing through the published stem cell literature in journals as I have no background in this area. However, it would appear that this is the question that needs to be answered.

  • Donald absolutely NOT necessary – you hit the nail on the head – aborted fetal material is plentiful and easy. As I posted earlier to Proteios1 – they admit it works using moral sources: “Lentiviral-based gene transfer technology can be used to efficient deliver the DNA of interest into embryonic stems cells of virtually any cell type including mammalian and non-mammalian cells.” Does that help?

  • Hey guys, a quick clarification. A couple of the commenters above have talked about this technique involving “adult stem cells.” Adult stem cells do NOT come from embryos–and they aren’t adult cells that get turned into induced pluripotent stem cells using materials derived from embryos, either. See the NIH: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics4.asp Adults have them naturally; they’re what gets used in bone marrow transplants. It’s confusing because they’re named stem cells too, but if you hear about work on “adult stem cells”, it’s a different thing than what we’re discussing here.

    As far as I can tell from the paper in Cell that won the Nobel, the embryo-derived cells were just used to grow viruses in, because viruses invade cells. Then they infected the adult skin cells with the viruses, which carried genes into the adult skin cells that made them act like embryonic stem cells. I am not enough of a scientist to know whether you can get decent numbers of virus out of other cell types, or if there’s another way to get the genes into the cells (electroporation?) But I certainly hope so. After all, it has been years since this paper came out; lots of stuff may have happened since then.

    We need an expert here. Proteios1, do you know much about transfection?

  • As a cell biologist, I’m familiar with transfection – the short answer is that HEK-293 cells are easy to grow and transfect. That, combined with the fact that they are a longstanding and well-characterized cell line has led to their being very widely used. One particular use is as a packaging cell line for adenoviruses, which are used to transfect genes of interest into cultured cells.

    These viruses would normally inject their DNA into a cell, which would essentially reprogram the cell’s machinery to manufacture more viruses, which eventually burst free and go on to infect other cells. The viruses commonly used in research labs have been modified so that they can deliver the DNA, but are lacking crucial genes which are involved in their ability to generate new viruses. This makes them safer to work with, but they still have to be propagated somehow. Therefore, a population of HEK-293 cells was modified to include the viral propagation genes missing in the viruses themselves. This way, a batch of viruses expressing your gene of interest can be grown up using the packaging cell line, then used to transfect other cells without being able to propagate further. The upside of this is that it makes working with these viruses safer for lab workers. The downside is that the packaging cell line comes from an aborted human.

    A lot of the issues here come back to industry standards: if researchers have something that works, they are reluctant to spend resources on replacing it with something else. I believe that the Nobel Prize to Dr. Yamanaka is a positive thing for precisely this reason: it has the potential to influence future standards (and funding) away from human embryonic stem cells and toward alternatives that will not require the loss of additional lives.

    In the meantime, the reality is that a large percentage of labs which work with cultured cells have HEK-293 cells or derivatives of them in their stocks, or at the very least, use reagents such as adenoviruses that were propagated using that packaging system. While I encourage the development and use of alternatives, I think it’s worth pointing out that the specific instances of HEK-293 cell use that have been brought to the public’s attention as an ethical issue are only the tip of a very large iceberg when it comes to biomedical research. Avoiding any residual contact with them as a researcher is a bit like trying to ensure that not one cent of your money goes toward an entity which supports abortion in any way, the key difference being that in the latter instance, future lives are at stake.

  • Chelsea – please see previous comments. It is not at all necessary to use aborted fetal cell lines – and Rebecca – as stated in our response – they have gone way beyond just HEK cells to Detroit 551, MRC-5, MEL-h1 and fresh aborted fetal liver and lungs from 18-22 week gestation aborted babies. There are several moral cell lines that work just as well – ie, COS, CHO, BHK – well established and readily available!

  • Re: Stacy’s comment on October 15, 2012 A.D. at 7:06pm: “2) She said parents with no other choice and researchers with other choices are the same. The Holy See has said otherwise. That is not true.”

    She has clarified: http://catholiclane.com/clarification-on-pro-life-objections-to-ipsc-technology/

  • Thank you Chelsea for posting a link to my clarification. I will put an excerpt here:

    “Some readers have taken [my analogy] to mean that the researchers are not morally responsible for using HEK 293. That is not at all what I meant. I was arguing from the pro-lifer’s prospective, not from the scientists’ perspective. What I meant was that while we pro-lifers find vaccines a moral good, we object to the use of cell lines of illicit origin in their production. I should have been more clear that I meant that while many pro-lifers believe that iPSC technology is a moral good, we object to the use of cell lines of illicit origin to produce viruses used in the process.

    I apologize for any confusion I have caused. Researchers are responsible for finding alternatives to cell line of illicit origin in their research. Period.”

    Thank-you Debi for pointing out there are alternatives to cell lines of illicit origin.

    On any posts I plan on invesitgating to the best of my ability which cell lines were used in the reprogramming process and if they are objectionable, then I will point that out.

    But again I think it is critical for pro-lifers to be very precise about what we are objecting to lest we be misunderstood. In this case it is the use cell lines of illicit origin and not the iPSC technology itself which can proceed without that particular moral stain if researchers choose to use alternatives. It is, of course, our job to keep asking them to do so.

  • Debi, thanks for the comment. I hope you won’t mind if f I push you a little with a pretty technical question. 🙂 Rebecca, feel free to jump in too. You see, I’m a college senior in the middle of applying to biomedical engineering Ph.D. programs, and in the areas I’m interested in it’s very likely I could be asked to work with some sort of embryo-derived cell line. This article honestly shook me up. I’m trying hard to figure out up front which research activities do and don’t work require you with them so I don’t end up having to tell my lab no, I won’t do this thing you all want to do that would get us all published…although maybe that’s impossible if you’re going to work with human cells.

    From my neophyte’s knowledge of the situation, I can guess at two potential disadvantages of the cell lines Debi named versus the embryonic-derived HEK cells. First is that all Debi’s cell lines are derived from animals. Sometimes viruses that infect animals cannot infect people and vice versa. Can you grow retroviruses for human transfection applications in non-human cell lines? Second, Rebecca mentioned that the reason researchers like HEK293s is that they’ve been genetically engineered so that the viruses can reproduce in them. Are there other, non-embryonic cell lines that have been modified in the same way, or is it feasible to do that yourself in-house?

  • Chelsea…no – there is not a problem using the animal cell lines. The retrovirus use in reprogramming works in virtually “all mammalian and non-mammalian cell lines” according to the scientists do the research. You are going to be in a difficult position in the labs most likely – and you may want to contact Dr Theresa Deisher a Catholic adult stem cell scientist and founder of Sound Choice Pharmaceutical to discuss the programs they have for graduate and under-graduates in their labs. They use NO immoral cell lines in research. See their website at http://www.soundchoice.org

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  • Chelsea (Zimmerman) and Rebecca (Taylor),

    Thank you for the clarification!


    Thank you for all the information.

    I encourage everyone to read Debi’s links and research at her website on this issue thoroughly, as she has been following it for many years and has repeatedly explained why we need to keep demanding ethical materials and ethical research.


  • There is a question here that is emerging. Surely it’s nothing new to people who have followed this issue for a long time, but it’s just becoming clear to me.

    There’s a distinction between the 1) technique itself of reprogramming cells, and 2) how the technique is done and what materials are used.

    When I first read about this Nobel Prize, it seemed that the way the technique IS DONE defines the technique ITSELF. It is done with immorally obtained materials; therefore, the technique is not morally praiseworthy.

    But I see that some people separate the two, so the question becomes:

    IF the procedure could be done using morally licit materials, IS the procedure itself moral?

    I can see that it might be moral if it were only used to find cures. However, why should we believe it will end there? Is it reasonable to expect that it will even find cures for any diseases? Or could it be that this is just what we are being told so they can really get closer to the un-holy grail of research – cloning designer babies? Gamete-less reproduction?

    Sharing an article Debi shared with me.
    “The Moral Frontiers of Stem Cell Research”

  • Stacy – you nailed the problem squarely on the head! Read the latest news out of the UK: Gay men can use iPS cells to produce eggs and sperm…wonderful. The next step is the artificial womb. God help us!

  • wow.

    “Let us not forget same sex couples. This discovery could also lead to gay men in same sex relationships having the ability to create an offspring completely from just the 2 donors DNA. Skin cells from one of the men can be used to create the egg, and sperm, or sperm created from the skin cells of the other man can be used to fertilize the egg in-vitro, only leaving the surrogate uterus for implantation question on the table.

    If Scientists ever discover a way to create a viable womb that eliminates the need for a women’s uterus, it would be a shocking discovery, one that may lead us down a path of no return.

    As with all things, this discovery is not a question of if, only when.”

    There’s a parallel here. A long time ago when I was debating with a “pro-choice” person, she asked me if I would support artificial wombs since that would mean that no babies ever needed to be aborted again.

    I had to think about it for a while.

    But, I said, “No, I don’t support research for artificial wombs.”

    Why? Because developing such things requires babies to be used as research materials, knowing some would be killed. Ends don’t justify the means.

    Isn’t iPSC technology the same thing? The only way they got there was to first have studied embryonic stem cells. If we could go back to the time before any research ever began on ESCs and someone would have asked me if I thought we should develop iPSC someday, I’d have said no for the same reason I rejected research on artificial wombs.

    We can’t go back in time… but still. It is troubling that we only have the iPSC technology because there was first ESCs research.

  • I actually have a biomedical background and followed the work of Dr. Yamanaka. It was truly a (biologically) interesting feat. Now, here is my question. What if iPSC research can be continued in the absence of using illicitly obtained material? I have read papers where the authors wanted to reprogram one cell type to another cell type (a skin cell to a heart cell) and successfully performed that. Due to the nature of the studies, they did NOT require control hESC cells. In the at-large stem cell field (wherein researchers are actively studying stem cells, their biology etc), the field relies on such controls as hESCs. However, Dr. Yamanaka’s work far extends beyond ESC studies, one can reprogram one benign cell type to another (I guess the term would be directed reprogramming). Is this morally licit? One of the big issues raised in the article are that hESCs were used to verify the “stemness” of a cell, however, some lines of research can still benefit without having to go down the slippery slope to verify stemness. Also, there are multiple ways of delivering the four factors to a cell without the need of using illicitly obtained biological material, and theoretically safe methods at that.

  • I am a scientist by training and I’ve read both Dr. Gurdon and Dr. Yamanaka’s papers that won the noble prize. While this aspect may be disturbing, we should not dismiss iPS cells entirely. There are multiple methods of deriving them. Such methods don’t necessarily employ the use of genetic material as described on the American Catholic blog post. In fact some methods may involve the use of small molecules (small, non-DNA, non-protein compounds) that can induce expression of pluripotency genes. So don’t dismiss iPS cells in their entirety. There are licit means to derive them and they present the best hope for stem cell therapies because we can produce tissues from a patients own cells and reduce the risk of immunologic rejection.

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  • Just a comment,
    In the bottom line section you mentioned ” uses cells grown from electively aborted children”. It would be more accurate to say child like you did in the second paragraph, but 273 is a reminder that 272 abortions preceded him/her.

    Thank you for creating awareness and promoting dignity and respect for 273 babies.

  • I mean 293, sorry.

New Study Says Free Contraception Causes Abortion to Spiral

Wednesday, October 10, AD 2012

The results of a new study have just been released, and the researchers conclude that when women are allowed to chose any version of contraception they want for free, the abortion rate decreases. Spirals even.

Specifically, more than 9,000 women in St. Louis area, ages 14 to 45, were given free contraception for three years, and the abortion rate dropped lower than the national rate to 4.4 – 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women compared to 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women nationwide.

The implications? According to The New York Times, the study is evidence that the HHS Mandate should be enforced, although CNN understands that is controversial for religious groups. NBC says these findings will have many implications for society although “the Catholic Church is unlikely to be moved.”

Damn right.

The comment of a 26 year old graduate student named Ashley at Washington University is revealing. She participated in the project and opted to forego her $90 a month birth control pills for the free intrauterine implant. She said the implant gives her better peace of mind.

“No one had ever presented all the options equally,” she said. “It’s not telling you what to do. It’s giving you a choice unhindered by money.”

Liberal progressives argue for this kind of care because they want women to believe the government cares for them. Government caring for you is a tenet of liberalism. The problem is, governments cannot care for people. People care for people. Governments are big, nameless, faceless institutions that, if allowed, seek to sustain themselves by growing in power. But how do you communicate this to someone? You bring it down to the personal level they think it is.

Suppose you are the government and Ashley is your daughter. Is her statement really the kind of statement that makes you proud of your parenting skills? Do you want her to go to college making choices about anything — especially her choices about who she lets have sex with her — unhindered by money? That just teaches her poor discipline and puts her in danger.

The study also found a drastic reduction in teen births. Among teen girls ages 15 to 19 the annual birth rate was 6.3 per 1,000 girls compared to the national rate of 34.3 per 1,000 for teen girls. Is this the solution for teens? Have sex unhindered by money? Say that out loud a few times.

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19 Responses to New Study Says Free Contraception Causes Abortion to Spiral

  • Well said, Stacy!

    “…if… it’s not really about taking care of your daughter for you, then what is to stop them from requiring your daughter at some point to be sterilized like an animal? Stuffing foreign objects and carcinogenic chemicals into her body because she can’t be expected to control herself is only one step away from what we do to animals – sterilize and get them fixed.”

    This is the culmination of the atheistic evolutionary ideology: have people behave like mindless baboons rutting in heat with complete abandon, and the government will regulated the consequences. Sex becomes an addiction just like alcoholism or heroin addiction, and people become the very animals that atheistic evolution says they are.

    Sex addiction was also a disease among the ancient Canaanites which the children of Israel and Judah adopted much to their everlasting shame. God had a remedy for that, but the remedy involved King Sennecharib of Assyria and King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon. We need to remember that God never changes, nor do His remedies. He always does the right thing in the right way every time.

  • Two big problems:
    there was a local drop in total abortions that could not have been accounted for by the test, which points to the big problem: they didn’t have a control group.

    It’s well known that the biggest cause of failure in birth control is doing something wrong; I’m not familiar enough with the arm-implanted ones to know what interferes with them.

    It’s also well known that STDs can cause infertility…which makes me wonder if that is why there was a city-wide drop in abortions, since they mention record rates of STDs.

    Incidentally… already hear folks calling for sterilizations. Always of women, for some reason; if they were being rational, sterilizing the male is cheaper and easier to reverse.

  • Love how they keep comparing it to national (estimated) rates, too. -.-

  • Good points, Foxfier. Michael New points out the problems with this study, including the lack of a control group.

  • Good points. Thanks for that National Review article. He shows that this is yet again the kind of study people with a *predetermined conclusion for an agenda* produce. They aren’t interested in the truth, they are only interested in getting their way.

    The MSM is using this study to say, “See, we’re right!” so they can force Catholics to pay for contraception. Isn’t the timing of the publication convenient?

  • Even if the study was right, immoral means are not justified. When confronted with these “but it works” arguments, I point out that slaughtering the poor also eliminates poverty.

  • Amen to that, c matt

  • See Michael New’s critique of this “study” in National Review Online

  • Incidentally… already hear folks calling for sterilizations. Always of women, for some reason; if they were being rational, sterilizing the male is cheaper and easier to reverse.

    You may object that their ends aren’t rational but their means certainly are. It’s babies being popped out that they’re trying to prevent, not sperm.

    Try this experiment on your local feral feline population. Sterilize all the males you can catch, but none of the females. See if the population declines next season.

  • I’ve got it!

    Let’s give free whiskey to alcoholics. [sarcasm off]

  • Exactly the correct analogy, T. Shaw!

  • You may object that their ends aren’t rational but their means certainly are. It’s babies being popped out that they’re trying to prevent, not sperm.

    Try this experiment on your local feral feline population. Sterilize all the males you can catch, but none of the females. See if the population declines next season.

    False assumption; tom cat’s won’t volunteer for an assurance they can have all the sex they want without needing to pay for babies. Not all, but a significant number. Shocker: humans aren’t cats. Who knew? (Going more in depth, a cat will have kittens by multiple toms in a single litter. Extremely rare in humans.)

    You also aren’t accounting for the way that right now a smallish number of men are responsible for a large number of pregnancies. (makes sense, since a human pregnancy takes almost a year before even the most fertile can be pregnant again, and usually more around a year and a half) What makes more sense, when thinking of people as objects, someone that might make up to five children– or one that might make dozens?

    The possibly exaggerated cure for STDs in China would be most effective, of course.
    They had people come in, and tested them. If they had STDs, they were killed. Wow, major STD rate drop! (I say exaggerated rather than legendary because I’ve had multiple non-rumor sources mention it as why the Chinese aren’t too hot on “real” doctors.)

  • Wow, Stacy, quite right! Thankfully, neither my shrink nor my priest two an a half decades ago went for such nonsense. But sadly shrinks these days are different. Paid for alcohol and drugs. Paid for sex. What’s the difference? Just another way to get high, which is exactly what my priest told me when my mind had finally cleared of the intoxicants. He gave me a resentment, and then he said, “Blessed are those who give…” It was the only thing free that I got. But I stayed sober and chaste because I couldn’t live with the consequences any longer.

  • This is my third draft and this time I am sending it. If someone gets mad at me, oh well!

    The point of how selfish the abortive and contraceptive life style is cannot be over-emphasized. Many years ago I was told to read from the bottom of page 68 through and including page 70 here:


    I was told to note the words and phrases selfish, dishonest, inconsiderate, jealousy, suspicion and bitterness. Then I was told to note the words and phrases God, helping others and personal inventory. I really think our sex addicted society could use a 12 step program. Oh, I forgot. There is one:


  • Another factor may be defining terms. Some people place the beginning of life at implantation (therefore an abortion is post-implantation to them). Whereas embryology defines life’s beginning at conception which happens prior to implantation.

    If “She participated in the project and opted to forego her $90 a month birth control pills for the free intrauterine implant.” means she took a hormonal or copper IUD, then it acts as both a contraceptive AND abortifacient by thinning the uterus so that implantation of the human person cannot occur.

  • They’re using abortion in the “paying to specifically end a pregnancy” form; since they’ve shifted “pregnancy” to start at implantation… ugh. You’re right about the special definition, but it is a fairly common one.

    Life always starts at conception. That’s just biology. Good luck getting a lot of pro-aborts to agree to even that, no matter the proof, but that’s basic biology.

  • The comment of a 26 year old graduate student named Ashley at Washington University is revealing. She participated in the project and opted to forego her $90 a month birth control pills for the free intrauterine implant. She said the implant gives her better peace of mind.

    “No one had ever presented all the options equally,” she said. “It’s not telling you what to do. It’s giving you a choice unhindered by money.”

    Suppose you are the government and Ashley is your daughter. Is her statement really the kind of statement that makes you proud of your parenting skills? Do you want her to go to college making choices about anything — especially her choices about who she lets have sex with her — unhindered by money? That just teaches her poor discipline and puts her in danger.

    I don’t think financial skills are Ashley’s strong suit. $90/month for birth control pills??? If she paid for the IUD on a credit card, she’d still come out ahead.

    The study is about women choosing more effective methods of contraception over less effective methods of contraception. The Catholic Church does not take sides in that battle.

    Oh, and by the way, guess what method of family planning has been shown to lead to an abortion rate only 1/7 the rate of the “highly effective” IUD–in China, no less? The Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning.


    So, what would the abortion rate be if we taught these young women how their bodies worked instead of bombarding them with chemicals and devices?

The Ladies of TAC Comment on the Debate

Thursday, October 4, AD 2012

Hello TAC Readers,

The ladies of TAC decided to weigh in briefly with our thoughts about the first presidential debate, so if you’re interested in the practical thoughts of some Catholic female American patriots who are otherwise busy running their lively households, read on. And please add your thoughts as well.

Thank You,

The Ladies of TAC

From Elaine:

listened to the debate while doing other stuff — didn’t watch it — so I had to concentrate solely on what was said.

No doubt about it  — Romney did great. He stayed on point, never seemed flustered, unlike Obama at times. Obama seemed to be stumbling even through his closing statement, which is supposed to be the “clincher” that sums up his entire message.

Romney kept coming back to the trillions of dollars of national debt and how unfair it is to burden future generations with that. Obama never really came up with a satisfactory rebuttal to that issue — the best he could do was lamely declare that he inherited a big chunk of that debt from Bush.

Obama didn’t even land a glove on him when it came to Romneycare and its similarity to Obamacare (which was one of Romney’s biggest vulnerabilities). Romney pointed out that his Massachusetts plan was a truly bipartisan effort while Obama rammed his through without a single GOP vote.

Also, loved Romney’s subtle but clear (to those who care about the issue) acknowledgment of the importance of religious freedom.

Hard to pick a best line of the night, but I’ll go with Romney’s yardstick for determining the worth of federal programs: Is it worth borrowing money from China to pay for?

Trivia note: After the 1960 JFK-Nixon debate, people who watched the debate on TV said Kennedy won while those who listened on radio said Nixon won. Doesn’t look like there’s any split decision this time.

From Rebecca:

I tuned into the debate last night expecting a night of mini-speeches. I thought it was going to be five minute segments of “let me tell you what I think” and then “the other guy gets to tell you what he thinks” and then we move on. It wasn’t! The new format of “we each state our position and then duke it out” was a pleasant surprise. It worked well for Romney, not so much for Mr. Obama.

For the first time since he declared for the Presidency in 2007, someone actually questioned the President on what he was saying. For a man used to the easy softball questions usually lobbed at him by the esteemed journalists on The View, last night was a very rude awakening. While Romney came across as a candidate securely in command of both the facts and his own position, Mr. Obama looked like a little boy getting scolded by his dad.

He furrowed his brown, pursed his lips, and feebly fought back. I kept waiting for him to whine at Jim Lehrer “No fair…” It was not a masterful persona. He didn’t look like the leader of anything, and may explain why our enemies aren’t afraid to attack our embassies or walk all over us in trade deals. No one is afraid of the “No Fair” kid. He’s annoying and weak from having been coddled all of his political life.

From Stacy:

I’m not a undecided voter. Long ago I had already decided that if a ham sandwich ran against President Obama, I’d vote for him. What I’ve hoped for is that someone would run against him and demand that he answer for the decisions he’s made over the last four years.

Romney did that. He was articulate, clear, detailed, passionate, and grand. He was trustworthy. Beyond the words that either man spoke, the thing that was most deeply revealing was the eye contact.

Mitt Romney looked directly at Barack Obama, spoke directly to him, smiling confidently but not arrogantly. When Obama spoke to him, Romney continued to make eye contact, and to listen. He was engaged. The ability to look directly at your opponent is a sign of courage.

On the contrary, Obama spent way too much time looking down and avoiding eye contact, even when Romney was staring right at him. His facial expressions were full of smirks, defensiveness, irritation, and confusion. The way he kept shooting pleading eyes at the moderator to beg for his turn to speak was childlike. This is the behavior of a weak opponent. Whether people realize it or admit it, it’s certain no one missed this quality in the debate.

At the end of his closing comments when Obama said, “I promise to fight every single day for you,” I got the distinct feeling that I was listening to a speech given by someone running for senior class president, not President of the United States. It’s time for a grown-up in the White House.

From Foxfier:

I kind of killed our TV reception while winterizing the house… all we have are three strange self-help channels, the Spanish religious channel, a Korean shopping network and a couple of flavors of PBS, so I’ll have to pass. [She may chime in later…]

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10 Responses to The Ladies of TAC Comment on the Debate

  • “Long ago I had already decided that if a ham sandwich ran against President Obama, I’d vote for him.”

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!


  • My husband says that he was very impressed with Romney taking notes during the time Obama was talking. Outstanding, even if he wasn’t using them– it gave him something to do, and that always looks better than standing there with your arms on the podium, trying to figure out what expression to have.

  • From my facebook page, Mitt took it cleanly. The Romney supporters were hyped about the debate, and the Obama supporters were…. linking Huffington Post and insisting Obama was already re-elected.

  • Also, lots of “he gave no details!” pronouncements.

  • Simply put, that was the REAL Romney and that was the REAL Obama. Not the myth, the hoax created by his communist handlers and the lying media. If somehow Obama still pulls this out, then the American people have completely lost their minds.

  • I am just happy that Romney won the debate. I saw the liberal blogger, Rod Adams, at Atomic Insights was so upset that neither candidate spoke about the need to pursue nuclear energy. While I myself work in the nuclear industry and “believe” in nuclear power, there are other significantly more important issues, including freedom of religion which Obama opposes. I was also amused that that liberal blogger called Romney the Establishment candidate. Apparently he doesn’t acknowledge that the establishment – Academia, News Media, Hollywood Entertainment, Washington DC – are one and all liberal, not to mention CEOs like GE’s Jeff Immelt being on Obama’s team. But twisting facts is always the hallmark of liberalism. Fortunately, from what I understand, Romney allowed neither the liberal moderator nor his opponent to do so.

  • “Is it worth borrowing money from China to pay for?”

    That was the winning line of the night!

  • “Is it worth borrowing money from China to pay for?”

  • The winning line:
    “You can have you r own plane, and you can have your own house, Mr. President, but you can’t have your own facts.”

    A local Kiwi blogger said that, “The Obamassiah was so bad, he turned wine into water.” 🙂

  • Thank you ladies. You truly have the future of our nation in mind. This election is a call to arms for what could be the final battle in our nation between good and evil. between Christianity and Socialism/Islam. If Obama is reelected Islam and Socialism will win. In the 85 years I have been here, this is the first time our nation has been in danger of abject failure. Only an American traitor could vote for Obama. I am a little concerned about a population that has been conditioned for socialism ever since a Communist John Dewey began the drive about three years after I started School in 1933 to remove God from our public schools, and after he lost the election in 1936 Norman Thomas said socialists would take over our nation without firing a shot. The election of Obama made him a prophet.

Solidarity Health Share: Discussion Starter

Friday, September 28, AD 2012

Yesterday The Motley Monk wrote and excellent article informing us about the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s (NCBC) advice, “Dropping All Insurance Coverage…” Speaking as a concerned Catholic, mother and citizen, I would love to see a lot more discussions like this about our options. Catholics have an opportunity, possibly, to lead the way in our nation.

Some commenters suggested an “offer and ignore” approach, and I’ve noticed some other Catholics talking about that approach as well, though only in early stages. More on that toward the end. It’s something dear hubby and I have discussed extensively in the kitchen. Our motivation? We have a large, young family, and since he’s made his career in the insurance business, he’s aware of better possible options. Admittedly, it’s the auto insurance business, but the fundamental purpose of insurance is still the same. A conscientious insurance businessman seeks to:

1) Offer a product that truly adds value to the customer’s life.

2) Build a business that employs people oriented around that principle too.

As a quick aside, the people who see insurance as some big, greedy, capitalist monster have to base that premise (in this country anyway) on the assumption that customers are unable to chose wisely when it comes to the planning of their family’s future. The Trasancos family, obviously, rejects that premise. We don’t need the government to tell us what is good for us. Thank you, but no thanks, Obama et al.

As another quicker aside, it is common knowledge in the insurance industry that the more government regulation there is in any state, the more costs increase in a general linear fashion. Some regulation is necessary. Too much regulation only employs government workers and adds cost to customers. If oppressive regulation is enforced at the federal level, the government is basically ruling us and treating us like idiots.

Consider this question. Feedback or input, including correction, is welcome. It’s a good conversation to have.

How much do you already pay for health insurance? If you get health insurance through your employer (the situation for many Americans), you most likely pay more than you realize for it. Why? Most employee benefit plans pay 75-80% of the cost of coverage, and the employee pays the rest.

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8 Responses to Solidarity Health Share: Discussion Starter

  • 2) Cost-sharing co-ops at a local level. The Knights of Columbus were started by Father McGivney to assist in just such a situation: to help the strugling families with healthcare. The Knights of Columbus predate Obamacare by a century and thus are grandfathered into the culture and administration. If Obamacare tries to force citizens out of their innate civil liberties, especially the Knights of Columbus, Obama will fall.

  • I have something of a one-note response to this. I’ve said the same thing on multiple threads. There shouldn’t be insurance for anything other than catastrophic events. Risk pooling only makes sense if the chances of something are low and the costs of it would be high. I’m sure your husband doesn’t offer oil change insurance. It’d cost $80 per year, and everyone who bought it would spend $80 dollars on it instead of $80 on oil changes. That’s not insurance. There’s no benefit to it. Likewise, we shouldn’t have insurance pay for annual checkups or even the occasional broken arm.

  • Thanks Mary. I didn’t think about the Knights of Columbus!

    Pinky, Great point. Adding a layer of complexity to getting oil changes would even make the price go up, because not only would you have to pay $80 per year for the same service, you’d also have to pay for the insurance company that takes, manages and redistributes the $80 back to you.

    Auto insurance companies can’t get away with that because people know that they can get the oil changed themselves.

    Think how much a Motrin tablet costs on the itemized bill for a hospital stay. When one of our babies were born, I tried to use my own vitamins from home. Nope! Had to have the pills from the hospital for some crazy price to our insurance company.

  • Stacy: Great post. Perhaps Chris Faddis cold run the Major Medical as Pinky suggests. It is more than necessary, it is an absolute.

    Should Sebelius decide to write into Obamacare that the bishops will go to Federal prison for two or three years for violating the HHS Mandate, there is nothing to stop it. The Supreme Court has already told us that we are on our own. Biden has already expressed people in chains. Obamacare is not a healthcare policy, Obamacare is a dictatorship.

  • “The Knights of Columbus were started by Father McGivney to assist in just such a situation: to help the struggling families with healthcare.”

    Prior to about 1920, health insurance as we know it today didn’t really exist. What people bought in the 19th century when the K of C was founded was not designed to pay doctor or hospital bills — those were not terribly expensive since medical care was pretty crude compared to today — but to replace income lost to the family from the breadwinner not being able to work. It was more properly called disability insurance.

  • I work for a health insurance company. I have worked for my present employer for over 17 years. I worked for my previous employer, another health insurance company, for over five years.

    I could go on and on and on about the problems with health care in general and the health insurance industry in detail, but I am not going to bore everyone with that now.

    Obamacare is designed to run us out of business. Their allies in the media are gleeful accomplices. Remember the anti-HMO media spin in the mid 1990s? There were weekly “horror stories” on 60 Minutes and other TV newsmagazines. My dad was covered by an HMO. He had congestive heart failure and a terrible case of emphysema. By the time he went to a doctor his lungs were nearly gone. His HMO covered just about everything, including a transplant (he was too far gone to get one).

    My own insurance used to be great, when I was single and did not need it. After my wife’s two pregnancies and two miscarriages my own health insurance seemed to shove off on me as much as it covered.

    I turn 49 today. I am not happy. I am scared. I have had a job through this recession, but like most people, my money pays for less and less. Deductibles and copayments have increased as well as what gets deducted from my paycheck, and my employer could be out of business in a decade or less if this obamacare garbage stands.

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  • Dr John Oertle is Chris’ business partner, and was just presenting SHS at the Catholic Medical Association meeting. You can find him here:


Counseled to Abort in a Catholic Hospital

Monday, September 17, AD 2012

Also published at Catholic Lane.

“What’s going on?” asked the therapist.

“I told my doctor that I am having issues with anxiety. I’ve had three babies in the last four years and just found I’m pregnant again, and no matter how hard I try, I keep having panic attacks. I feel out of control. I’m ready to admit I need help. I have some past issues I need to face, but I don’t know what to do. My doctor said I could talk to you because you have experience helping pregnant women.” It all finally came out, stuttered, yet punctuated, a first plea for professional help.

“Why do you feel anxious?”

“I want to do everything perfectly, I want to do it right, I’ve made some bad decisions in my past, but I want to do better. Now I get so confused and overwhelmed. When I give up, I feel ashamed, sometimes I harm myself because the emotional pain is so great. I know I need help. I’m pregnant!”

The therapist replied with a knowing grin, “You don’t have to be perfect, you know. Don’t you see? You are beating yourself up trying to be perfect. Slow down. Right now you need to take care of yourself. You have living children and they need their mother. They need their mother to be healthy. Have you thought about abortion? You know, it’s alright to abort this pregnancy so you can take care of yourself right now.”

“What? I’m Catholic, that’s why I came to a Catholic hospital, well, I mean, I’m a recent convert and I’m learning about the teaching of the Church, and this…”

The confused mother stared past the licensed mental health professional out the window of her obstetrician’s office, where she was meeting with this therapist. In this hospital that bears the name of a saint and a crucifix in every room, the mother was more confused than ever. She tried not to let the vortex starting to swirl in her mind show. Abortion? She trusted these people under this roof, but abortion? Catholics are not supposed to have abortions. She could barely speak.

“…this isn’t right.”

“Well,” chuckled the mental health therapist sitting under a Catholic roof, “Catholics don’t really believe that today, that’s an old idea. Women are not expected to tear up their bodies giving birth to baby after baby, and besides, most Catholics have small families. If that’s what Catholics really believed there’d be many, many more large Catholic families, wouldn’t there? Look, I’ve travelled in Europe where there is a large Catholic population, and they all have one or two children. You don’t have to have lots of kids to be a good Catholic. Perhaps you’re just trying to have a lot of children to be a perfect Catholic.”

Later, they got around to the big question.

“Do you ever have thoughts of suicide?”

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37 Responses to Counseled to Abort in a Catholic Hospital

  • Thus we have today’s women’s rights – a movement that denies them of their sacred vocation as wives and mothers, and instead denigrates all that true womanhood is. I hate, despise and loath liberalism, progressivism and Democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner (in this case, the bloody corpses of 53 million unborn babies since Roe v Wade in 1973).

    BTW, this is but one more problem with the tearing asunder of that seamless garment which was to be the Roman Church in America. Pray for our Pope, our Bishops, our Priests, our Doctors and our Nurses. Most of all, pray for the protection of all babies, unborn and born. God have mercy on us all!

  • PS, forgot to say thank you, Stacy! Good post! Keep up the good work!

  • What was the end of the story? Did the complaint to the Bishop work to get this so-called “therapist” out of the office?

  • Thank you Paul. I feel the same way about the “women’s rights” movement. It’s a war on motherhood. I detest the lies that are told.

  • Ted,

    For us, it was a long learning experience. At first I just wanted to demand that X, Y, and Z change, or else I was going to make this a big media story, oh, and I almost did.

    But the truth is, I’ve received care from a number of Catholic hospitals, and they all promote contraception and talk about abortion (genetic testing). I’ve heard so many similar stories. Plus, non-Catholics are employed so although they are, in theory, supposed to follow the USCCB directives, there’s no way to enforce it behind closed doors, as evidenced in this story.

    That’s why I decided that encouraging Catholic patients to speak up – directly to clergy – was a good solution to pursue. They can change things, and they need our support and encouragement.

    On doing that with this situation, I also learned that the particular diocese had no obligation to inform us of the details of their actions either. I understand this need for confidentiality, and my husband and I respected it, taking our frustrations to prayer. I never went back to that counselor so I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t bring myself to go back. Maybe I should have…I’ll always wonder. I didn’t envision it going well.

    This is a nation-wide, if not world-wide, problem. We have non-Catholics working in Catholic hospitals. We have non-practicing Catholics working in Catholic hospitals. I’ve decided to open my big mouth directly to the doctors any time I encounter something that isn’t right, but it wears a person down — to the point that I dread even setting foot in Catholic hospitals now. I know there are some good ones, but I fear that is the exception. I’ve even found out that pediatric offices give kids over 15 (or a certain age) contraception without consulting parents, if they want it. Flew into a frenzy over that one.

    I’m interested in what other think can be done by laity. Speak up to priests? Speak up to doctors? Pray, of course. What else?

  • Speak to fellow Catholics. And speak with your wallet to the charities you choose to support or not support.

    Great article and great cause.

  • There is a sequel of books titled Fatherless, Motherless, and Childless by Brian J Gail. They are about the infiltration of contraception and abortion into the American Catholic mindset and the Catholic health system. I’d call them fiction but they are prophetic. They are based on Blesses John Paul’s warnings as well as current science. It’s like reading about the future as it is happening.

    Lord, have mercy on your people as we place out trust in You.

  • “I’ve even found out that pediatric offices give kids over 15 (or a certain age) contraception without consulting parents, if they want it.” Sue for your parental rights. Informed consent, minor children do not have to give. The parents are responsible for their children when they contract HIV/aids and herpes and all the rest. It might be good for the child, when he grows to emancipation to engage a malpractice lawsuit over his being ill-advised to suffer a health risk. The law is the only thing they will understand

  • This, I am sure, could help many:

    The thing about living in a capitalist nation, is that all businesses, including health care businesses, need customers. Voting with your dollars would help greatly.

  • I had good luck with going to Crisis Pregnancy centers and asking for their list of doctors. Sadly, more effective than looking for the local Franciscan health system. 🙁

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  • I was afraid of the exact situation described when I had a crisis pregnancy 32 years ago. I was so upset and distracted that I was afraid if a counselor acted as that one did, I might just cave in and get the abortion. I hung on to Christ and ran “He Shall Feed His Flock” from the Messiah over and over in my head, refusing to talk to anyone who might possibly try to persuade me to end my child’s life. I told myself that I would probably live long enough to be grateful I let him live, and I am. He’s a great guy.

  • I’m so glad this Mother turned to God, and was able to get true help. A few years ago, I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. I had been going to a “therapist” for several months and taking antidepressants. During this time, my husband and I turned to the Church and fully embraced “being Catholic” including NFP. The change in my condition was rapid and profound. When I told my “therapist” about how much better I was feeling and how my entire outlook had changed when I chose Christ over myself, she actually tried to talk me out of it! How silly it was for a woman to find peace in the Sacraments and No Contraception! It was like she couldn’t believe that the advice I received from my Pastor, and the peace I found in prayer could possible be better for me than the “therapy sessions” I endured with her. These sessions focused mainly on my abusive childhood and hardly anything at all as far as helping me in the present. I would leave “therapy” feeling much more depressed then I did going in, and it would take several days to recover! Needless to say that was my last visit to her. I did continue with the medication for several years, but have been off of it for over a year now and doing well! I have decided if I ever relapse, I will find a good Catholic therapist who recognizes the strong link between spiritual health and mental health!

  • There is no substitute for knowing your faith and Church teaching, and inssiting on following that. The idea that a Catholic hospital or staffer would never offer anything considered unacceptable under the E&R directives is no longer true, as the above story illustrates perfectly. I wish it were the exception but it isn’t.

  • This story highlights an incredible moment of powerlessness and unmanagability. In those moments, God is very close, very willing, and very able to help those who ask for His help in those moments.

    Powelessness and unmanagebility are also the starting point for 12-Step programs, which offer a practical aid to recovery and growth in the spiritual life, usually in the context of a particular issue. The steps are non-denominational and can be very helpful to Catholics (or anyone) to grow closer to the God of their understanding as a supplement to (not a replacement for) a sacramental life. That’s been my experience, at least.

  • Relative to Matt’s comment on the 12 Steps, the Biblical basis thereof can be found here:


    Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith based the AA Program on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 through 7, St. Paul’s discourse on love in 1st Corinthians 13, and St. James exposition on faith without works being dead in his epistle.

    Every Christian should read from the Preface through Chapter 11 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, whether alcoholic or not:


    This is the practicality of how to put Christian principles into action.

  • Every Catholic needs to have their own copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to refer to when questions arise so they can tell correct answers to their questions and situations. You can’t necessarily trust anyone’s replies anymore with even clergy and religious answering based on their own particular bias.

  • There are some great suggestions here, much wisdom. I worry about unsuspecting patients who don’t know, but you are absolutely right — if you’re Catholic, you have no excuse for not knowing. Amen to that.

  • Stacey wrote, “If you’re a Catholic, you have no excuse for not knowing.”

    Can we have a chorus of Amens, Hallelujahs, and Glory Bes for that?

    No excuse. None. Zero point nihil.

  • I’ve got to disagree that there’s no reason for a Catholic not to know– they may have never been taught that there was a Catechism.

    I wasn’t. Found out on my own. Jimmy Akin’s place, if I remember right.

    As best I can tell, every level either assumed we’d already covered it or that we were too young for it. Or that it was outdated. Or that it didn’t fit with what they wanted to teach. Had lots of teachers who wanted the authority of teaching, but not the work, and I’m still wondering what geninus let a man-hunting divorcee be in charge of “continuing education.” (I was a teenager, as was the rest of the group. She had us cutting out shapes to glue on things, and I seem to remember coloring books.)

    Never underestimate the damage bad teachers can do, especially if they’re defensive about their “authority” and don’t want parents “interfering.”

  • Stacy I am so happy that you continued to listen to that still small voice and were so much trying to find out God’s counsel. Teachers and therapists, priests and nuns, men and women around us have offered us a world view that does not admit the Truth.
    We have a personal responsibility to keep listening and trying. I cried reading your story–I and many others have been there in some ways. but I rejoiced when I saw the photo of your beautiful daughter, and then read her beautiful meaningful name. I rejoice at you efforts to do right.

  • Foxfier,

    I understand the point that catechesis in the post Vatican II environment has been abominable, and that a great many – even a majority – of Roman Catholics are ignorant of both Scripture and what the Catechism teach. The Shepherds – that is to say, the Bishops and Priests – who not only allowed, but in large measure caused this to happen will be responsible to the Lord God Almighty exactly as Ezekiel 34:1-10 describes.

    Nevertheless, with today’s internet access to information, there is no reason for any Christian – Roman, Orthodox Anglican, Eastern or Russian Orthodox, or Evangelical or Pentecostal – to any longer be ignorant of Scripture, and since Romans pride themselves on being “THE” Church, they are particularly without excuse. Papal Encyclicals are readily available at the Vatican’s web site. The Catechism and the Bible are both available at the USCCB web site. There are now a plethora of orthodox Roman bloggers like Father Z., Jimmy Akin, Father Longenecker, etc. And there is the availability of orthodox teaching via EWTN and various Catholic radio stations of the Roman persuasion.

    Members of my immediate family – all of whom are Assemblies of God Pentecostals – know that abortion and homosexual behavior are intrinsically evil. They have always known that without moral behavior there can be no social justice, and they have NO Catechism to tell them that. Thus, there is NO excuse for Romans to complain, “But I wasn’t taught, so it’s not my fault.” That may be the reason for having been raised in ignorance, but it isn’t an excuse to fail to read and study the Bible and the Catechism. When people in other jurisdictions do what is right and Romans don’t but claim their jurisdiction is “THE” Church, then their claim fails hallow. They should remember St. Paul’s analogy of the branches of the olive tree in Romans chapter 11 – Christ will cut off unfruitful limbs and graft in those who will produce fruit.

  • Again, you cannot study what you do not know exists, and do not forget that some of those entrusted with teaching have TAUGHT FALSEHOOD. That is why those in authority must make sure their delegated authority goes to fitting people.

    My mom stopped teaching CCD when the priest walked in and told her teenagers that it was OK to have sex outside of marriage so long as you “really loved” the other person. This is not isolated, as the abortion nuns demonstrate.

    I’m sure we’ve all met “Spirit of Vatican II” AKA Fr. O’Leary in Japan? The English speaking priest that isn’t too sure that Jesus was even divine, among other…”odd” beliefs? If it’s against Church teaching, he’s probably promoted it. There are a lot of bad priests floating around, you get to meet a lot of them in satellite parishes. (Some just can’t speak very well, some are a menace to all but the most stubborn of believers.)

    We can’t stand around and growl that there’s “no excuse” for someone who has been told a lie to not realize it, we have to tell people. It’s not comfortable. REALLY not comfortable when it comes to family. We have to tell them about all the incredible resources, explain why they should trust them over what Ms. Smith told them in confirmation class.
    We also need to do our best to hold our local parish’s feet to the fire when it comes to offering decent information.

    We’re not supposed to figure this stuff out on our own, we’re supposed to learn it. Like any other important job, if the guys on either side are slacking or failing, you pitch in to get their work done.

  • Bizarre teaching from moral theologians is nothing new, as anyone who has read Pascal’s « Les Provinciales » will know only too well.

    A decree of the Holy Office of 4 March 1679, issued with the approval of Pope Innocent XI condemned the following two propositions, extracted from the works of notable theologians: –

    “ 34. It is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the foetus, lest the girl found pregnant be killed or defamed.

    35. It seems probable that every foetus (as long as it is in the womb) lacks a rational soul and begins to have the same at the time that it is born; and consequently it will have to be said that no homicide is committed in any abortion.”

    Others include

    “ 30. It is right for an honourable man to kill an attacker who tries to inflict calumny upon him, if this ignominy cannot be avoided otherwise; the same also must be said if anyone slaps him with his hand or strikes with a club and runs away after the slap of the hand or the blow of the club.”

    And (two of my favourites)

    “ 37. Male and female domestic servants can secretly steal from their masters to gain compensation for their work which they judge of greater worth than the salary which they receive.

    38. No one is bound under the pain of mortal sin to restore what has been taken away by small thefts, however great the sum total may be.”

    The condemnation is as laconic as it is restrained, “All condemned and prohibited, as they are here expressed, at least as scandalous and in practice pernicious.”

  • Foxfier,

    Part of me agrees with you on this. But part of me feels that people should take charge of their own learning instead of waiting to be spoon fed. I know that’s not what you’re saying. And I know that through no fault of their own, many people in the Roman jurisdiction (and in others) have been lied to. But Rome’s insistence on preeminence in Christendom places a special responsibility on itself. If Rome can’t ensure that the Truth is consistently and accurately preached, taught and otherwise disseminated, then who can?

    Pray for our Bishops and Priests. Pray for the Pope. And don’t wait for someone to teach you. Teach yourself. (I speak in the global sense, not as directed to Foxfier.) The resources are there.

  • But part of me feels that people should take charge of their own learning instead of waiting to be spoon fed.

    And we are part of that Church– the “it’s not my job to teach you, it’s your job to learn” mindset is a betrayal of that special responsibility. It’s not just “Rome”– we need to do it, not growl about how “if you don’t know it’s your own fault.” The pathetic mess that I was given as education, both in the Church and in civil life, is a result of that mindset.

    Sure, you can’t make a horse drink– but you should lead him to water when he’s thirsty, and offer good water when you see him nuzzling into a fetid mud puddle.

  • Yes, Foxfier, with your last comment I have to agree. We are all responsible to help our brothers and sisters learn. I had that opportunity about six or eight months ago when the Bishops came out against the HHS mandate and a Roman person at work asked me what I thought. She admitted that I was very knowledgeable in the Catechism and in Scripture. So I gave her a 6 page essay on whole issue. I waited a few days and went back to find out what she thought. She said that she read the first few pages and stopped, and that she has a different opinion regarding a woman’s right to choose and regarding gay marriage and the other moral issues that face us. She is a 60+ year old educated in the spirit of Vatican II. It didn’t matter that I could quote from the Greek New Testament or the Didache or from St. Ignatius’ letters. It didn’t matter how many Papal Encyclicals I cited, or anything like that. Social justice and freedom to choose trumped everything else. Yet to this day she says she knows no one who knows as much about Scripture and the Catechism as I do (and truthfully, I feel abysmally ignorant when I read what Donald M., Paul Z., Bonchamps and others write here at TAC).

    The ignorance that the spirit of V II has founded has resulted in an almost invincible and purposeful ignorance. These people ask for the truth and when it doesn’t agree with their liberal progressive Democrat mindset, they reject it. You can’t teach them. And yes, they have ZERO excuse.

  • Heidi,

    I can relate to your story so much. The Sacraments! The saving grace. I have a friend who works in this area, and is a faithful, practicing Catholic. He wrote this about mental illness, how our soul is not the same thing as our physical brain. He would agree with you that therapists need to consider more than chemical imbalances or disturbances, and also treat damaged souls. I’m linking his essay here because I think you’ll like it. He works with children too. This brought a lot into perspective for me.


  • I’ve been reading the comments and learning from them. You know, I’ve actually avoided going to doctors for some time now because I got so fed up with how hard it is to find Catholic doctors. Now, because of some discussion between Paul, Foxfire and others, I think I’ll stop fearing that, and use any doctor visit as a learning opportunity — for the doctor! I’ll speak up more, complain less. Teach, even if I’m a patient.

    I have been a little distracted, too, with some news (not to change the topic, but): http://www.acceptingabundance.com/pregnant-at-43-tautologies-fulfilled/

    Looks like I’m going to get a chance to face the doctors again very soon…Just found out we’re pregnant again!

    LOL! What timing, huh?

  • Congrats, Stacy!

    I’ll echo some of the earlier discussion. As I’ve mentioned before, I attended a Jesuit high school, and boy some of the things I was taught (and not taught). It wasn’t until I started grad school at a real Catholic university and was surrounded by excellent books in the Basilica’s bookstore that I was able to basically self-catechize. And per a discussion had in our men’s group last night, we’re constantly learning and “converting” so to speak, as our faith grows deeper and we gain in knowledge.

  • Congradulations to Stacey on the baby now conceived.

    As far as educating doctors goes, Stacey’s attitude is most commendable. Now I know some people are going to say I can’t discuss the following lest I violate the 11th Tradition in 12 Step Programs, but I don’t know any other way of emphasizing Stacey’s point effectively. Of course, this isn’t related to religion, but it confirms the need to educate your doctor.

    As many readers may recall, I recently injured my left leg, tearing quadriceps from knee joint. Needless to say, drilling of the knee cap, inserting of Kevlar thread and all that happened in subsequent surgery. Of course pain medication is required and OxyContin was prescribed. I told the doctor, “Are you crazy? I am in recovery from ### and that’s like putting gasoline on a fire.” He said that I would have to have it so that I could withstand the pain enough and do therapy. He was right. But after 3 weeks, I am now down to 2 pills a day from an initial 5.

    I had a conversation yesterday with an Alanon guy I know, and after that conversation I got scared. So I called my doctor and asked to be taken off OxyContin and onto a less addictive medication. The Doctor agreed and was actually happy that I was staying on top of the issue instead of waiting for him. Well, fear of being back in the gutter is a strong incentive. The point in all this is that no one is responsible for my education or my health but me. I have to take responsibility and ownership. I can’t rely on a doctor or a priest to always know the ins and outs of my faith or my addictions (whatever those may be).

    So I applaud Stacey, and if anyone wants to slam me because of the 11th Tradition, then so be it. I am an example of nothing except how to do things the wrong way. I can’t even recover from arterial heart disease and diabetes without screwing up my quad! And I have no lock on either sobriety or spirituality. I am just lucky and blessed one day at a time.

  • Looks like I’m going to get a chance to face the doctors again very soon…Just found out we’re pregnant again


    I admit, I’ve done a little bit of evangelism at our daughters’ doctor’s office– happened to have a nurse come in to ask about fetal grown vaccines, since the nurse had never heard of such a thing. I did my chirpy short version– it’s hard to get mad at someone who is chirpy, at least to their face– and the next time I came in, I brought some papers on what vaccines have alternatives, and a letter from the USCCB on when it’s morally licit to use immorally produced vaccines. (Which is when I found out that the old scifi favorite of “do you let the Space Nazi doctor treat you, even though he learned how to save your life by killing people in the Background War that they lost?” would be much shorter if the characters weren’t such goobers.)

  • Congratulations, Stacey! Praying all goes well with the new baby.

    One thing many people (including, for a long time, myself) fail to realize is that medical advice is just that — ADVICE. It is not a command from on high; it is information provided to you by a hired professional to assist you in making a decision. No rational adult is legally or morally obligated to follow a doctor’s advice. If a doctor’s advice is not helpful to you for any reason, you are perfectly free to disregard it, or seek help elsewhere (though if one has an HMO or PPO type insurance plan one’s choice of doctors may practically be limited to within the network).

  • Gerard Majella pray for Stacy.

    What I find not adequately addressed is Holy Scripture, read daily and at Sunday Mass, the books of the Catholic Bible being approved of by the Catholic Church. There is LIFE in that Book. It breaks my heart to see the children hauled away to cut and glue in the classroom while the Sacred Scripture is read at Mass. The children have a right to the TRUTH. In my case, being at Mass as often as possible brought my children into a metaphysical understanding, and they were able to imagine and visualize the parables. Later, the abstract thinking enabled the children to secure good jobs. I, now, encourage mothers to bring their children to Mass and visits to the Real Presence as often as possible even while the children remain unborn. I believe that my generation was the last generation of children to receive proper Catholic training taught by the good nuns before Vatican II. I have witnessed the good nuns’ lives work miracles in the community. The hardest part, I find, is to not be able to verbalize the questions in my mind. Jesus is always there. Go ask HIM. Another way I find to answer questioning and stubborn friends and acquaintances is to say: “God is leading you”. and trust in the Lord.

  • This is a most beautiful post and comments.

Tribute in Light – A Picture From a Reader

Tuesday, September 11, AD 2012

A reader sent me this shot of a test run of the Tribute in Lights. As he and a friend finished dinner and walked out of the Fraunces Tavern at the corner of Broad Street and Pearl Street last night, they noticed the lights were on for a moment, jumped into the car, and drove over to West Street to get this shot. It is taken from the sun roof of the car, paused at a lightd right next to the Battery Garage where the lights are set up.

Courtesy of Mr. Steve Tirone, Senior Business Analyst at TIAA-CREF. Thank you Steve!

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Obama Picked Up: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Monday, September 10, AD 2012

(Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

The story goes like this (emphasis not mine):

In Florida for his bus tour on Sunday, President Barack Obama made an unannounced stop at Big Apple Pizza and Pasta in Ft. Pierce. There, the shop’s owner, Scott Van Duzer, lifted the president off the ground”

Obama entered the shop saying, “Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I’ve ever seen,” according to a White House pool report.

Van Duzer, 46, is a big guy: He is 6′ 3″ tall and weighs 260 pounds.

After Obama was lifted up, he said “Look at that!” Man are you a powerlifter or what?”

He continued, according to the pool, talking about Van Duzer’s big muscles.

“Everybody look at these guns,” he said. “If I eat your pizza will I look like that?”

Van Duzer, by the way, is a registered Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and says he will do so again in November.

“I don’t vote party line, I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him,” he told the press pool.

Usually I don’t write about just politics, but as a matter of principle, I found this incident deeply disturbing. It’s dishonest; it’s propaganda, and propaganda can be dangerous. I may not be a specialist in matters of security, but any average citizen can see that this is totally staged.

When the President is in public, the Secret Service agents wear him like cologne (sorry, my husband’s descriptor). This is standard procedure, not just for Obama, but for any president, especially since the assassination of President Kennedy. Do you see a Secret Service agent anywhere in the shot? Nope.

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16 Responses to Obama Picked Up: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

  • Well Obama has picked up in the polls too. Wall Street sold off health management as a result.
    Humana, Wellpoint, and United Health care are all down over 2% right now as a result.

  • Obama is experiencing a fairly typical post covention bounce. Walter Mondale got a sixteen point bounce in 1984 and was ahead of Reagan by two points in a Newsweek poll post convention. In 2008 McCain enjoyed a post convention bounce and led Obama by five points for about a week.

    The bear hug picture flummoxes me. I can’t see how it is a good image for Obama to be picked up as if he is a toy, but obviously it is the image that his campaign wanted taken. The bear hugger had previously been a guest at the White House, so this was no random event, unlike Biden and the bikers.

  • This is also part of a strategy to portray Obama as a supporter of small business. In reality, a recent Rasmussen poll shows business owners favor Romney 56% to 36%, and a Manta poll has small business owners favoring Romney 61% to 26%. People need to understand this is not a contest between the Koch Brothers and Obama the Champion of the Little Guy. Business owners, with good reason, don’t have any faith in Obama.

  • I have seen this picture and that one of Joe with the biker chick on his lap. Just like the presicent, the V.P. has secret service all round him. were both photos staged? I’d say yes. When we look at the picture of Joe Biden and the two ‘bikers’ on each side of him, it might of only been the presence of the Secret Service just outside the picture image that kept him from getting ‘biked’. I did some searching and can find nothing about Joe Biden being or ever been a bike rider but does seem to have a fancy for them. As for the photo of the president in the bear-hug, his ‘cologne’ is most likely a arms length away and the ‘hugger’ had probably been checked out as read one note that he had visited the White House – but need fact check on that.

  • Donald,
    Based on what you said, there’s probably a trade not investment in Humana in these days. Wall Street is short term emotions especially with low volume lately which causes unusual swings. Another reaction from Wall St. is that Smith and Wesson firearms is up over 3.8% just today. If you care to check wall street tells on Obama on any day, just go to yahoo finance and put in the symbol for Smith and Wesson… SWHC or Humana…HUM. Guns go up and health care managers go down if there’s good news for Obama. It will simply tell you whether to check the news further than usual for anything new like a poll report.

  • If the Biker Biden event wasn’t staged, that is defintely a failure on the part of the Secret Service because they are tasked to wear the VP “like cologne” as well.

  • Looks like reverse snobbery and fawning for votes from ‘types’.

    For the psychological effect of admiration for how they relate to the little guy in America.

    Totally transparent, cheap, and demeaning for all involved. ‘Friends’ in need.

    Do they not have work to do? Campaigning and troublemaking for four years while bankrupting the country is doing no good for their new friends when the bubble bursts.

    (The people who would normally be kept at a distance were they to even want to make body contact with the two leaders of the world stage.)

  • I read somewhere this morning that this was utterly staged, asand that the Pizza guy has visited the Whitehouse- supposedly this year. I would imagine then that they set it up to look random, but as Stacy and others have mentioned, they’d never let an act like this take place without security. It IS propaganda. As is most of his campaign.

  • Do we really have to pick everything apart? The trip was not planned, they had not met before, and yes he ask before he picked him up. He is mingling with voters. I am not an Obama fan, however I really dislike when people pick everything that happens apart. I have friends that have worked in high profile government positions and you are correct no one can just pick him up, however not everything is staged, and this made the day of the man mentioned as well as several other Ft. Pierce residents. I have a friend who was present and they all where touched by how down to earth and friendly he was. Just realize as Christians and Americans, if we over think and over justify everything that happens and over dramatize it, we will all be miserable. So relax, and write about the bigger issues, and not the small stuff.

  • “The trip was not planned, they had not met before, and yes he ask before he picked him up.”

    Actually the man had ridden by bike to the White House in support of his blood transfusion charity over the summer. There was nothing random about this, although I doubt if the White House thought the image would make Obama appear as weak as it does. The bear hugger is facing a boycott of his pizza business from clients that do not share his enthusiasm for Obama.


  • Ann, Staged events are common fare on the campaign trail. All indications are that this was yet another. I’m not offended by the staging. Politics is at least in part theater. I am offended by the insistance that the public swallow such nonsense. Acknowledge that a campaign advance team had him on the list, interviewed him, thought up this stunt, ran it by the Secret Service, and then move on.

    Don, A boycott is a mean and stupid thing to do. He is a businessman who hoped to get some free advertising by having a staged meeting with the President. Restaurants in Philly often have signed photographs of celebrities who have eaten there. This means no more than that.

    I wonder though how the President squares advertising a pizza parlor while the First Lady actively pursues a health food revolution. Given how thin the President has become, maybe he snuck an extra slice or two off camera: “no Michelle, I just got thrown around like a rag doll and left. Honest! Ask the Secret Service! Hey Bob, tell the First Lady I never touch the stuff. See? Aw, come on baby, you know I’d never eat something you said I shouldn’t. Now lets go down to the kitchen and see if the White House chef can rustle us up some celery sticks an salt substitute.”

  • “A boycott is a mean and stupid thing to do. He is a businessman who hoped to get some free advertising by having a staged meeting with the President.”

    Actually G-Veg he announced that he is a Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and who is going to do so again this year. He is the one who brought his politics front and center. When one does that in the business world one has to be ready for the consequences.

  • Enthusiasm for the President perplexes me.

  • You know, Ann, I was thinking about what you said, and this seemingly little antic tells me much more than a speech does. It reveals something really flawed in his character, at a fundamental level. For him, it’s not about our country, it’s all about him. And like Don said, I don’t want to see our President basically looking like like someone’s toy. Showing the public that people are comfortable with you is one thing (and, for a president, not a very important thing), but this is borderline narcissism.

    We need a leader, not an action figure.

  • Yes, he thinks we’re that stupid. And he went up in the polls. We are that stupid. He’s right.

  • His post convention bounce is already fading Bruce and even with polls that are stacked in favor of Obama in regard to Democrat samples the race is statistically a dead heat, which is very bad news for Obama less than a week after his convention.

Timely New Report on Catholic Women and Contraception

Friday, September 7, AD 2012

After a good long tirade around the kitchen last night during Caroline Kennedy’s “as a Catholic woman” speech, I tried to think of what will come next in the following weeks and months. There’s a report I’ve been promoting this week, and the timing is undoubtedly providential.

One thing I’ve noticed about controversy: It’s a process by which things can change. People are listening now, it’s our turn to take the stage.

Mary Rice Hasson, J.D., a woman I am proud to call a friend, is a Fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington D.C. She is also the director of the Women, Faith, and Culture project together with Michele M. Hill who has been active in apostolates within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. These ladies have issued a preliminary report, What Catholic Women Think About Faith, Conscience, and Contraception, in which 824 Church-going Catholic women ages 18-54 were surveyed. (*Be sure to note how that is defined in the report.)

While the data indicates that most Catholic women do not fully support the Church’s teachings on contraception, the results also do not show the sweeping rejection of Church teaching the media portrays either. The picture is more nuanced. From the website, Women, Faith and Culture: Exploring What Catholic Women Think:

Catholic Women and Faith
90% say faith is important to daily life
72% rely on homilies to learn the faith
28% have gone to Confession within the year

Catholic Women and Contraception
33% think the Church says “yes” to contraception
13% say “yes” to Church teaching
37% say “no” to Church teaching
44% say “no, but maybe …” to Church teaching

The report shows that about one-third of Church-going Catholic women incorrectly believe that couples have the right to decide for themselves the moral acceptability of contraception – regardless of Church teaching. When Church teaching was explained, 44% were receptive to learning more. These results suggest the problem is in part catechetical, and that women want more instruction.

Church-going Catholic women fall into three groups, the researchers found: 1) “the faithful” who say “yes” to Church teaching, 2) “the dissenters” who say “no” to it, and 3) the “soft middle” who are reluctant, but receptive to more information.

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27 Responses to Timely New Report on Catholic Women and Contraception

  • It is consoling to know women are “receptive” to learning Church teachings. There is no doubt, if we obtain our catechesis from Sunday sermons we are left wanting. Personally only recall two homilies touching on the topic in the past ten years. Aside from the spiritual implications the lack of information given women regarding the physical effects is equally disturbing. I think of the California smelt controversy and ask myself where the outrage is regarding chemical contraception.

    Oral Contraceptives have been classified by the World Health Organization as Class 1 Carcinogens. This is the same class as asbestos after dozens of studies found they are linked to breast and cervical cancer. Frequently oral contraceptives contain high doses of ethinyloestradiol linked to prostate cancer and the sexual reprogramming in wild fish.

    The effects on the soul, body, and environment are recognized and documented–why the silence?

  • The thing that frustrates me about the “soft middle” is the lack of intellectual curiousity. I grew up knowing the Catholic Church’s position on birth control was the reason the world suffered from overpopulation and economic ruin. (I grew up in a basically agnostic household with a few trappings of the Episcopal Church here and there at Christmas time.)

    And when it looked like joining the Church was a real possibility, the first thing I did was start looking for the reasons why the Church was so down on what was so obviously a great advance for mankind. While I didn’t have to look too hard (the proper junk mail advertising Scott Hahn’s cassette tape on the series magically appeared in my mail box), that was before Google. I had to pay for the tapes and wait snail mail.

    Yes, I know people are living very busy, very hectic lives, and I don’t run Google searches on every little thing either myself. On the other hand, the bishops don’t declare a Fortnight of Prayer for XYZ cause very often or get excited about things in quite the same way as they have with HHS mandate. I would think the “soft middle” might doing some of their own research on the issue.

    Am I being too harsh here?

  • I am a Catholic woman 63 years old. I was catechized in the 50’s and I am still waiting for the church to address the role of husbands and men in the contraception/abortion problem. I was threatened by abandonment after the birth of my daughter, at age 23, by my husband. He wanted to be sterilized and I felt I had no choice in the matter. Nice little, complacent wife, obedient to my spouse. What about men who beg their wives to have sex knowing that they will become pregnant, and why will the church NOT catechize the men who do this. How about the abusive spouse? The ones who force their wives. Why is it always the woman who is responsible for the contraception, Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, when she could have been killed by men, it is only recently that the church claims that the man who she was with was there among the abusers.

  • Rita, DJ, and Silvia,

    First, DJ, no you are not being too harsh.

    This is a good place to talk it out and share experiences and ideas. The women surveyed told us what they think, so what can we do?

    I think it is very important to get this report into the hands of priests. I can image it’s hard to talk about reproductive issues from the pulpit, but if they knew how much people wanted them to address those issues, maybe they’d be more confident to do so.

    Thank you for your responses!

  • Sylvia: I hear you! That is another area I think the bishops could do a bit better on. I remember reading an article, I think it was in a Christian magazine, not specifically Catholic, and the fellow writing it was looking back on his life (the author was in his 60’s maybe?) and he mentioned about hanging out with the “loose women” not the ones he would choose for a spouse. Wow. Hyprocracy in action. On a somewhat more encouraging note, when I subscribed to a “traditionist Catholic newspaper” this one noted “Trad” had extremely harsh words for the type of man you describe. Wish I had kept the article. He pulled no punches.

  • I have a bit of a different perspective. I was a badly catechized Catholic when I married. My wife was Protestant. In our marriage prep class, the priest basically said it was okay to fornicate prior to marriage. My mother had been told by a priest that she SHOULD use artificial birth control after the eighth child. A friend told me he had been told by a priest it was okay to contracept.

    Then came the internet, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Now I could find resources that had never been revealed to me by anyone responsible for my catechesis as a youth, or by priests who should have known better in my young adulthood. By this time, my wife and I had four children, all while using artificial birth control that failed to work. I became convinced it was wrong after reading Humanae Vitae. Then my wife converted. She became convinced of the truth of Catholic teaching in this manner. Now we have eight children, and are a bit mournful of the fact that we likely won’t have any more.

    I blame poor catechesis, which contributed to my falling away from the Church as well as failing to follow Church teachings. I can tell you from my own experience that what the study labels as a “faithful Catholics” are not. It may also not be their fault that they are not. If you are faithful, you go to Mass every Sunday (unless you have a grave reason), and follow Church teaching. If you’re not faithful, you lapse on either or both of those. I was not a faithful Catholic when I was younger, although I was convinced that I was, and others were convinced that I was. The study is flawed in its methodology in that it uses self-description rather than objective measures for who is a faithful Catholic. If you include people who both attend Mass every Sunday (unless they have a grave reason for missing it), and people who accept Church teaching, you will have far different results.

    The Church needs to focus on catechesis. Effective, passionate, strong catechesis. The world is giving a message that is opposed to Church teaching, and we need to be louder and more persistent than the world if we want to change things.

  • I heartily second everything A.S. said above. I went through 12 years of Catholic schooling – 8 in grammar school and then a Jesuit High School. Not once during that time do I ever recall being taught about the Church’s teachings on contraception, and if it was mentioned it was probably questioned. Rarely is it ever discussed during homilies, though they are more willing to tackle the topic at my current parish than anywhere else I’ve been.

    The statistics sadden me, but that lumpy middle is just begging for some good catechism.

  • “I think of the California smelt controversy and ask myself where the outrage is regarding chemical contraception.”

    There are some people who embrace and even teach natural family planning or “fertility awareness”, NOT for religious or moral reasons, but for the very reason that it is natural and does not require the use of artificial hormones, chemicals or devices to “fix” a bodily function that is not “broken.” I am surprised there are not more of them, but, I suppose it’s kind of nice to know they exist at all. It seems to me that if the ecology/back to nature crowd really practiced what they preached, they would be very receptive to the concept of NFP.

    “I am still waiting for the church to address the role of husbands and men in the contraception/abortion problem.”

    In my experience, when the issues of contraception and abortion are addressed from the pulpit (it doesn’t happen very often, but I have to say that of late, it IS happening with some regularity) neither men nor women are singled out; it is aimed at everyone. The issue of what to do when spouses adamantly disagree about the issue — one spouse desires to follow Church teaching and the other refuses, leaving what appears to be an intractable choice of either cooperating in evil or breaking up the marriage — also needs to be addressed, but more likely than not it is usually done privately in confession or spiritual direction and not from the pulpit.

  • Elaine Krewer: “I am still waiting for the church to address the role of husbands and men in the contraception/abortion problem.”

    Husbands do not use contraception, men do. Maybe, I ought to call then males or such. When a man services his lust, enlarges his sex addiction and uses another person, which is what contraception is, it is not so much joy, it is misery incorporated. If someone does not love you enough to want more of you, your relationship is not love. “My husband uses contraception, not I”, often heard in the confessional; then it would appear that the male is off the hook with “My wife takes birth control pills, not I.” These two did not become one. Can there be a marriage, if they do not become one?

    Abortion? “My girlfriend has a abortion, not I.” The father’s DNA is thrown into the garbage with his genes and seed and offspring and our posterity, and the court says it is OK, so, the idiot (servicing only his id) says it must be OK.

  • Science has determined, (can’t provide link) that when a woman carries a child, some of the child’s cells enter the woman’s body and reside there. Now, the woman carries the child’s DNA along with the father’s DNA. The two literally become one according to the laws of nature and nature’s God. Subsequent children, too, will have a place in their mother’s body. “Unconditional love”

  • “I think of the California smelt controversy and ask myself where the outrage is regarding chemical contraception.” and the five legged amphibians, and the emasculation of every water drinking Amercan man. The culmination of militant feminism: the eradication of testosterone.

  • Mary,

    I’ve heard that too. I think it’s beautiful, and it means for women who lost children before birth, that they are part of her even still because they existed.

    Also I learned not too long ago that the word “zygote” comes from the Greek word meaning “yoked” as in “joined together.”

    “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-9)

    I think some women are afraid what it will mean if they accept Church teaching fully, and they are afraid to face their past sins. (Speaking from experience.)

  • Thank you, Stacy, for your admirable work and words. “I think some women are afraid what it will mean if they accept Church teaching fully, and they are afraid to face their past sins. (Speaking from experience.)

    (You speak for me too, Stacy)

  • Pingback: What do Catholic women think about contraception? You might be surprised
  • You can spin this anyway you want, however, only 13% say “YES” to Church teaching. I find that extremely disturbing, what other Church teachings about faith and morals do they reject? Abortion? Women Priests? Homosexual Marriage? I would’ve also asked those questions and the most important question, do you believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist-Body,Blood, Soul and Divinity? I think you would’ve seen some similarity between those who accept Church teaching and those who believe in the Real Presence.
    90% say living there daily faith is important, yet only 28% have been to confession once in a year-what faith are these women talking about? It most certainly isn’t the Catholic faith.
    The Bishops have spent the past 50 years teaching everything BUT what’s important, The Bishops have failed and should hang there collective heads in shame.

  • The large majority of the Vatican Birth Control commission in 1968 said the pill was OK. This commission was appointed by Paul VI and consisted of Cardinals, bishops, theologians and married couples. [it included JPII who stayed in Poland].
    Humanae Vitae was issued instead of the vast majority advise.
    Homilies are to be about the Sundays reading. What scripture do you see about birth control?

  • I was one of those catholic women. grew up in a catholic home, went to mass every sunday. never never heard anything growing up on NFP, or the WHY artificial contraception was wrong. at somepoint yes did hear it was ( not from my parents who were more concerned with whether my oldersister would be able to finish college before the babies would start coming when she got married- ) that was the message we got- dont have babies too soon, else you wont be able to work outside the home and pay for that house we had bought right before we got married. We did start out using NFP as newlyweds but did not understand the whole- open to life- thing. we looked at it more as ‘catholic” birthcontrol. birthcontrol that failed- or more actually it was us who cheated the rules and sure enough I was pregnant 4 months after our wedding. well as we had just bought a house that took both our incomes, and mine was the only job with health benefits, i went back to work and on the pill. at our Engaged encounter in 1990 we had maybe 5 min of NFP at most and then were given a letter from the US CATHOLIC bishops stating that one could ‘pray about it, and make up ones concience in the matter of using artificial contraception or not.” and of course we had all the right reasons not to have another child right away. looking back I can see that once you make that excuse, you can justify any reason. neither my husband or I ever took the time to read humane vitae, or anything else on this issue. we thought ourselves ‘faithful catholics”. we went to mass every sunday. our children went to the local catholic school. we even prayed.
    but just as Pope Pius warned, it destroyed things between us.
    selfishness set in. I felt used.
    now too late I do understand why the church in its wisdom teaches what it does.
    i took the time now to read all those things I should have read as an engaged woman.
    instead of shopping for wedding stuff. Now I grieve the children we could have and should have brought into the world.
    i went to confession but still I cannot undo this mistake.
    I think it is an opportunity for the clergy, the bishops to teach church teaching in a way that was not done during the late 60s, 70s,80s. they need to unappologetically preach this from the pulpit. my new parish does. Yet my prior catholic parish I attended for 25 years and NEVER heard the word contraception.
    so many women of those times have told me that this priest or that told them it was ok to use the pill ” in their circumstance”.
    these priests let us down.
    of course we bear the full brunt of responsibility becuase we could have and should have gone to the source itself to learn the truth.

  • I went to CCD classes then a catholic all girls high school. all we learned was a feminist version of watered down catholicsm. definetely never heard about contraception being wrong.
    students in catholic high schools should not graduate without having read the encyclicals on human life, on marriage. understanding NFP. Reading Pope Pius warnings of what will happen- and has happened once the contraception is accepted.

  • Feisco Eddie,

    Yes, it was the opinion of most, but NOT the Holy Father, contraception was permissible. As you point out Paul VI answer was Humanae Vitae. I don’t know your perspective but in this document I see the working of the Holy Spirit as promised in Jn 16:13.

    Birth Control and Scripture. I am certain you know the Christ’s Church does not rely totally on scripture for Her teaching but was given the authority to bind and loose in Mt 18:19. Personally, I have never doubted contraception is addressed beginning in the first book of Genesis. God‘s command was increase and multiply, but that is not the verse that made a lasting impression…that would have been the fate of poor little old Onan further on in Genesis 38. His punishment for what we call coitus interruptus was DEATH. Somehow it struck me perhaps birth control was displeasing to the Lord.

    As an aside.. the people I know who have had practiced NFP are still married 30, 40, 50 years later. Coincidence??

  • Rita: Thank you it bears repeating:

    “God‘s command was increase and multiply, but that is not the verse that made a lasting impression…that would have been the fate of poor little old Onan further on in Genesis 38. His punishment for what we call coitus interruptus was DEATH. Somehow it struck me perhaps birth control was displeasing to the Lord.

    Bringing children, others persons, into the world by doing the will of God, not the will of man, only, and exclusively doing the will of God, gets us to heaven.

  • Frisco Eddie, the Virgin Mary said “Let it be done unto me according to Thy word.”, not “Let it be done unto me according to my word.” Joseph was inclined to “put her away quietly”, but told by an angel that he should not. This is the example we should follow. This is where scripture addresses the proper attitude to marriage and children. If you’re looking for St. Paul to tell the Corinthians not to use a rubber, or Moses bringing down the ten commandments, and engraved in stone is an admonition against a tubal ligation or vasectomy, you’re going to be disappointed because artificial birth control is a new development.

  • If you really want to know what Catholic women think, a good place to start would be with women who have actually walked the walk and talked the talk by practicing NFP for many years. Having grown up in a very orthodox Catholic family situation and then attended what is considered one of the most orthodox Catholic liberal arts colleges in the country, all the people I grew up with and all my college friends have used NFP. We were all determined to live out HV in our lives.

    Twenty years later, many of the marriages are in shambles, and most couples are hanging onto NFP mostly because of fear of burning in hell.

    Look, I’m not saying this to be obnoxious; I’m really serious about this. It’s time to address the elephant in the room: many couples who DO practice NFP are, 20 years later, exhausted, broke, overwhelmed with their large families, and hardly a shining light to the contraceptors surrounding them in the pews.

    The Church needs to find a way to convince people that using contraceptives actually hurts Jesus Christ. I’m a well-read Catholic, I’ve read HV, and I know the Church’s teachings. I also know what stressors have resulted in many marriages (including my own) due to following those teachings. Until the Church can find a way to convince people that taking on those stressors is worth it somehow, it’s going to keep failing to convince the masses that NFP use for 2-3 decades is the way to go for the majority of couples. I know a lot of Catholic couples who have been married for decades; I know very few–if any–of them who would say that NFP use has been a bonding experience. Most of them are holding on only because they figure the stressors of practicing it are better than burning in hell.

    I’m afraid that this is not an argument that is going to persuade the up-and-coming generation of young Catholic women, who likely will have a hard time believing that using a condom with their husband is going to consign to the same eternity of hellfire that will be populated by child molester, serial killers, and rapists.

    When I was young and totally on fire for the Church’s teachings about marriage and NFP, I honestly believed the previous generationsof women that had declared “no, thanks” to it were just more ignorant than I. Decades later, I am realizing it is more likely that they saw what their mothers and grandmothers had lived through when following the teachings and didn’t want the same for themselves.

    I actually love the crunchy aspect of NFP. But crunchiness only goes so far (I love the crunchiness of eating all organic, too–but I can’t afford it), and when the price gets too high, you will likely find that even women who want to believe in the Church’s teachings will end up making choices not in accord with them, just to survive and get by in this life. Most couples cannot handle large families well (I’ve seen enough behind the scenes to know of what I speak), and most women I know, despite having taking classes in CCL, Creighton, etc, just don’t have consistent enough signs over the long-term of many decades to avoid having surprise pregnancies while using NFP.

    Until the real experiences of many of us who have walked the walk are understood and explored, I’m afraid that finding out “what women think” isn’t going to make a whole lot of a difference. There is so much inauthenticity in the circles I have grown up in because these couples WANT to be good examples to the rest of the world so they pretend all is rosy with their NFP families. The reality is far different much of the time, but unless you’ve know these faithful Catholic women for years and have their trust, you are not likely to get the real story.

    I hear enough of the real stories of those Catholics really trying to live HV to know that all the talk of TOB in the world isn’t likely to change the minds or hearts of the masses on contraception any time too soon. Find a way to convince people that Jesus Christ is hurt by contraceptive use but thrilled by NFP use, and perhaps you can make some headway. I’ve read all the books and still find myself unconvinced of that, to be honest. In some ways, I think the Church had a better chance when they were more consistent with what they taught in all the centuries before: that NFP was only to be used in very serious circumstances rather than being the best thing since sliced bread. It might have been a hard teaching, but I think that now that NFP is touted as the be-all for Catholic marriage, it’s going to be much harder to convince people that contraceptives are problematic. At least back then there seemed to be more room for acknowledgment that NFP can be less than fantastic for marriages. Now you’re considered to have something wrong with you as a couple if you don’t find it just the most wonderful thing ever. It’s really no wonder so many people who find NFP use has been a huge strain on their marriages over the decades keep their mouths shut about it.

  • “There is so much inauthenticity in the circles I have grown up in because these couples WANT to be good examples to the rest of the world so they pretend all is rosy with their NFP families…. It might have been a hard teaching, but I think that now that NFP is touted as the be-all for Catholic marriage, it’s going to be much harder to convince people that contraceptives are problematic. At least back then there seemed to be more room for acknowledgment that NFP can be less than fantastic for marriages.”

    Marie, you might be onto something there. I see (at least on the internet) similar attitudes with regard to homeschooling and attendance at Traditional Latin Masses — if you try them and don’t come away thinking they are absolutely the most wonderful things ever, you get the impression there must be something wrong with you.

    I guess the bottom line is that there is never going to be a magic fix that guarantees that you marriage will always be happy, that your children will grow up to be saints and/or genuises, that you our your spouse will never be tempted to throw in the towel and look for greener pastures with someone else, etc. Trying to “sell” NFP, homeschooling, Latin Mass, TOB, or anything else as such a “fix” is bound to fail.

  • “the people I know who have had practiced NFP are still married 30, 40, 50 years later. Coincidence??”

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence, but, it might be a chicken and egg kind of situation (pardon the pun) — did these couples stay married because they practiced NFP, or did they practice NFP because they were morally conscientious people who would have stayed married anyway?

  • Alphatron Shinyskullus:

    ” or Moses bringing down the ten commandments, and engraved in stone is an admonition against a tubal ligation or vasectomy,” Actually, there is engraved in stone in the Fifth Commandment an admonition that prohibits unecessary surgery.

  • 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?

  • Not all women get pregnant readily. I was an exception. I have eleven children–needless to say we did not use contraception. We took things as they came. Now at 94 years old, I have eleven children who care about me and see that I have everything i need, My husband has been gone for six years and we all still miss him. Because I had two pair of twins, the Dr. thought I ovulated twice a month–they were fraternal, so using the rhythm method was not successful. We managed and all our children were well fed, learned to work, and all of them who wanted to were able to extend their education. With Jack and I, artificial birth control was not an optiion.

    I would not change my life for any one else I know.