Fr. Frank Pavone Defends John Carr of the USCCB

Saturday, February 6, AD 2010

Here is the text:

I received some inquiries recently regarding John Carr, who serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The inquiries, stemming from controversies over the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Center for Community Change, essentially asked if John is pro-life and committed to the goal of securing protection for the lives of unborn children.

Because I am in a position to answer that question, and because of the fact that hurting people’s reputations never serves our cause, let me state for the record that the answer to that question is “Yes.”

I have had many opportunities to talk to and listen to John over the years, in public and in private, to read his articles, and to discuss our common goal of seeing social justice and peace applied to our neighbors in the womb. His record is clear, and unlike some others, when he talks about justice and peace and human development, he does not fail to include the unborn.

I share with you below his own comments, as well as those of Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities of the US Bishops’ Conference. As we work together to resolve the problems that do exist in our Church and in our culture, let’s do so with great caution to preserve the good reputation to which all of our colleagues have a right.

Fr. Frank Pavone

The statements referenced in the letter can be found here.

Update: Additionally, Catholic News Service reports that many bishops have come forward to defend Mr. Carr.

Update 2: Tom Peters has a level-headed take on the matter here. In particular, I think his observations regarding “RealCatholicTV” are worthy of consideration:

The situation has not been helped, either, by the sensationalist reporting at RealCatholicTV.com, which in a recent report claimed that the allegations of misconduct at the CCHD was what Pope Paul VI was referring to when he warned that the “smoke of Satan has found its way into the Church” … seriously? I don’t follow RCTV directly but the American Catholic does.

As I’ve said before, I agree with Mr. Peters (and many of our commenters) regarding RCTV. I do not doubt that the folks at RCTV are well-intentioned. Similarly, I do not doubt that there are some problems with CCHD and the USCCB. I simply think the RCTV coverage of this scandal has been too sensationalistic, and that their reporting should not be relied upon without independent verification.

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82 Responses to Fr. Frank Pavone Defends John Carr of the USCCB

  • Let’s keep the issues straight here!! Nobody is questioning John Carr’s personal beliefs. What is in question is how he can work for, support, and promote organizations directly opposed to authentic Church teaching.

  • What I find sad is this: what exactly is charity? People are saying “defend CCHD” and “just start giving to other Catholic charities.” Ok, but does that mean the other Catholic charities will not be giving money to people which end up giving material support for evil? Obviously all charity has that potential; give money to the homeless beggar on the street, and they might buy crack with it. Does it mean we should not try to help him? Some might say “give him food.”

    Fine, but then that means he can afford buying the crack the next time someone gives him money!

    Using the logic being given, that means you are still promoting crack!

    That’s the problem with this argument. It ignores that all charity as charity is going to give opportunity for evil.

    Jesus gave charity to a centurion of all people. And samaritans to boot. Imagine what 1st century Jewish bloggers would have done with that! “Is there no end to the evil this Jesus fellow won’t support? He helps Roman occupation! The soldiers are given support!” etc.

  • defend CCHD should have been defund

  • I wonder if this “guilt by association” thing isn’t getting a bit out of hand. By the logic being applied here, any Catholic who works or has ever worked for the state or federal governments (like me) “supports” a “pro abortion” organization (even if their job has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, same sex marriage, etc.) and is a source of “scandal” who has no business participating in any parish or diocesan endeavor or in any apostolate. Maybe I should quit this blog before Real Catholic TV decides that I’m a source of scandal to readers?

  • Henry,

    You are a liberal, left wing Marxist. Period. To your kind, there is only one gospel, the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price.

    But in reality (where you obviously don’t live) there is only one true Justice: God’s Justice, and if we continue to tolerate abortion, gay filth and all manner of putrid, sinful refuse, then we can and should expect the full measure of God’s justice.

    CCHD has funded pro-abortion, pro-gay rights groups. Period. And USCCB defends it. How horrible! Don’t you understand anything? You don’t get social justice, the common good, and peace without repentance and conversion first. Read 2nd Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 6:33. Righteousness, holiness and virtue must come first, and have to come first before all these social and economic problems we have can possibly get fixed.

    I have zero tolerance for any of you liberals. You never discuss turning away from sin as THE prerequisite. What did Jesus say in conclusion to the woman caught in adultery? GO AND SIN NO MORE.

    Do you get it, liberal? Do you?

  • This is not to deny, of course, that there are some big problems with CCHD, but simply to emphasize what Fr. Pavone said, that it doesn’t give us license to play the guilt by association card against everyone that works there.

  • On Father Pavone’s blog, there is this comment which I believe is pertinent:

    “Benedicta says:
    February 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm
    The question of whether or not John Carr is pro-life is a straw dog. That’s not the problem the Reform CCHD coalition has been pointing to. They are saying that despite his attitudes towards abortion, he was in a leadership position with an organization (CCC) many of who’s member organizations (and most likely it’s stated mission, too?) had very “progessive” positions on gay and reproductive rights. Many of these groups were and still are funded by CCHD.

    This was sort of inevitable because CCHD’s mission forces them into such coalitions. They don’t do direct charity. They are commissioned to work with community organizing groups battling the causes of poverty. These types of groups are traditionally leftist and the left eschews the human rights of the unborn. I should know, I was one of them. To prove the point – is CCHD funding any chastity or anti-abortion grassroots groups? If there are such groups to fund, why bother to fund those that compromise church teaching? The connections are there between promiscuity, availability of abortion, as a backup to it, and poverty if you don’t abort after being brainwashed into promiscuity. Read Wilcox et al.

    People have recognized CCHD’s strong connections with Alinsky-style and/or founded organizations for years. No ones’s questioning Carr’s pro-life position. Only how he (read USCCB) carries it out politically. We at the grassroots – who struggle every day with Culture of Death’s brainwashing of our neighbors and friends – are waiting for the bishops (John Carr’s bosses) to take the bull by the horns. Perhaps these entanglements with “the dark side” are part of what’s keeping their hands tied.”

    As I have indicate before, rather than huffing and puffing at critics, the USCCB should be explaining certain things, among them:

    They should explain why they were shoveling money into an organization that one of their staffers served as the head of. Can they even spell “conflict of interest”? Rather than attacking the people who are bringing this to light they should be ramping up their own investigation. They might also wish to explain why Carr omitted noting his involvement with the CCC from his USCCB bio. They might also explain why Tom Chabolla, associate director of CCHD programs until 2008, and who worked under Carr, took Carr’s place on the CCC board after Carr left, during a time period when the CCC became involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and whether Chabolla and Carr maintained contacts about the CCC. Chabolla since leaving the CCHD is now assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union. Finally, perhaps they can explain why, when this all came to light, the first reaction from the CCHD was to scrub their website of all mention of ties with the CCC.

    In regard to the CCHD, Tom Chabolla concerns me far more than John Carr. Chabolla’s involvement with the CCC and the CCHD while the CCC was becoming involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and his subsequent attempts to convince Catholics to vote for Obama, notwithstanding Obama’s strident pro-abortion stance, leads me to wonder how many CCHD staffers share the Church’s opposition to abortion, and how this plays out in regard to the groups that are funded.

    http://onelacatholic.blogspot.com/2008/11/ex-mahony-official-touts-obama-in.html

    Time for the USCCB to stop shooting the messengers and to conduct internal investigations and clean house.

  • Paul, do not personally attack fellow commenters. That is not helpful. I share your concerns to the full regarding CCHD, but you can express them without attacking Karlson personally.

  • “Henry,

    You are a liberal, left wing Marxist. Period. To your kind, there is only one gospel, the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price.”

    Paul.

    First of all, I’m not a liberal. Second, I’m not a Marxist. Third, Catholic Social Teaching is a part of the Catholic Church and its teaching. False Gospel? No. Christ calls us to charity. That’s the truth. Justice is God’s — right indeed. But that is truth in charity. God’s justice doesn’t demand us to ignore the needs of people just because they sin. The common good is indeed why Christ died. And peace at any price — Christ gave the ultimate price.

  • Elaine Krewer

    That’s exactly the kind of point I’ve been trying to make. This is mere guilt by association which is fallacious; and if one follows through with this, anyone who does any work with anyone can be found to be associated with sinners and doing things which ultimately helps people to sin in one way or another. Of course, Voris would do well to remember the principle of double effect.

  • I agree with you John Henry that Thomas Peters has a level headed take on the situation. I agree with his recommendation that the CCHD needs to be defunded.

    “Here’s my take: I think there are real problems with how the CCHD allocates its money. I must seriously question why the USCCB even needs to have such a department. There are, after all, so many excellent Catholic charities that disburse money, so I see no reason why Catholics ought to continue giving money to an organization that has now repeatedly been shown to have misused funds in the past (ACORN, for instance). And remember – these are funds that come from the pockets of Catholics in the pews.

    My personal hope, at this time, is to see the CCHD not reformed, but defunded, even though I highly doubt this will happen.”

    Time for the Bishops to find another mechanism to help the poor, and this time through Catholic organizations loyal to the Magisterium.

  • I am glad Fr. Pavone spoke up in defense of John Carr; Pavone is a straight shooter, and it’s not the first time I have known him to rise to the defense of people attacked as insufficiently Catholic for our self-styled guardians of orthodoxy. But I also find it ironic that Fr. Pavone is regarded as more of an authority on authentic Catholic teaching than our own bishops are. The Church teaches us very clearly where we should look for guidance on faith and morals. The “guru shopping” in which our religious right-wing so often engage is just another form of the cafeteria Catholicism they claim to deplore.

  • It seems to me that the CCHD has outlived its moment. The impetus behind its creation is gone, and the problems with some of the charities associated with it demonstrate that there are major problems with CCHD that have not been addressed. Perhaps the people in charge of it really can’t address the problems, because their method of carrying out the aims of Catholic Social Teaching doesn’t allow them to address these new or formerly less significant problems — the things the sort of organization CCHD funds do today have shifted from what they did 30 years ago.

    Some of the charities CCHD fund in our Archdiocese do excellent things — others, not so much. Should the good ones lose their funding because of the problematic ones? That is what defunding CCHD would mean. But unless the bishops and their offices do their investigations, those of us who see what is wrong with the problematic ones are left with only two choices: donate or don’t donate. Especially because our contributions don’t go only to our own dioceses, but are pooled and distributed throughout the country, it’s important for us to discern the best use of our “talents and treasures,” as the social justice people like to say.

    Giving money to or volunteering with charities who further the aims of Catholic Social Teaching is required of us as Catholics. Giving money to a particular charity recommended by the bishops is not.

  • The last I looked, CCHD proceeds were usually divided 75 percent to the national organization and 25 percent kept in the diocese where collected for local organizations. Why not just drop the national collection and make it all local? Some dioceses may still fund questionable projects that way but at least the more orthodox ones won’t have to.

  • If this is “guilt by association,” then could someone please explain to me what business people like Paul Booth, Fr. Thomas Reese, or Dr. Diana Hayes have at a USCCB-sponsored event?

    http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_28931.php

  • “I do not doubt that the folks at RCTV are well-intentioned.”

    A fascinating choice of words. Good intentions are the close bedfellows of the skulls of bishops, so prominently mentioned in these reports.

    Heck, gossipmongers have good intentions, too. That doesn’t make them moral or even accurate in their reporting.

    The fact is that many bloggers and countless Catholic commentators have been duped by this issue. You’ve been led deeply into the sin of calumny, and isn’t it a good thing Lent is close to arrival? No concern about getting dates, facts, and people straight. And even an otherwise-reliable organ like OSV had to do considerable backtracking. Why any sensible person would rely on internet video gossip masquerading as television for reliable information is beyond me. Regular tv journalism isn’t real news these days, so I can’t imagine folks with no pretense of journalism would count for anything more.

    The movement to defund the CCHD is just frowny-faced Catholic Republicans simmering that they never had the good idea of addressing the systemic problems that lead too many unfortunate individuals into needing charity. I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. Heck, you may even end up as poster children if you played your cards right.

    Meanwhile, thanks a whole lot for painting pro-lifers as mindless, insensitive, and sinful detractors. You’ve just set the movement back another several months. Who cares about the money? You haven’t given to the CCHD in years, if ever. You’ve just been cooperating with evil to snipe at your own, and tossed another few hundred thousand of the unborn into the trash heap.

    What about an investigation of RealCatholicTV? How do we know thesefolks aren’t on the PP or NARAL payroll?

  • Nice attempt to avoid discussing any of the relevant issues Todd.

  • Todd,

    Attack the messenger.

    Old bag of tricks for liberals.

  • “Many bishops” comes in the guise of three left-wing bishops.

    Yes, we’ll see what other bishops steps forward to defend a compromised executive such as John Carr.

    John Henry,

    You failed to point out that it is not the stance of John Carr, but his conflict of interest that is in question.

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  • Unfortunately for the Cause, Donald, Tito, the issue was made to be John Carr. And now that that line of attack has shown itself to be pretty impotent, I think it’s quite correct to shine some light on gossipmongers. If that makes it uncomfy for you, I’m not sympathetic. Usually when people do sinful things, there are consequences–and I don’t mean in the afterlife.

    But if you want to stick to the original post, since when do good intentions make up for sin?

  • Todd,

    That is amazing commentary from a guy who is an open dissident Catholic and voted for President Obama, the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States of America.

    If being called a gossip-monger is to report the conflict of interest of John Carr with CCC then we’ll let you live in bizarro world.

    You being unsympathetic shows again that you are a Catholic in name only.

  • Tito, it’s a classic strategy of human (not liberal) denial to attack the messenger. You do need a history lesson since I would count at least two presidents as more pro-abortion than Mr Obama: Mr Nixon, because it was largely his SCOTUS, and Mr Clinton who was a tad more enthusiastic than the current president.

    I know it stings to get taken to task on morals by a liberal, but there you have it …

  • Tito, no interest in addressing the moral relevancy of “well-intentioned” sinners, eh? I don’t mind straying off topic, if you don’t.

  • Todd,

    This isn’t my post.

    It’s my esteemed colleague John Henry’s post.

    As for “well-intentioned sinners”, what do you mean and to what reference?

  • Nixon was pro-abortion because it was “his” Supreme Court that decided Roe? That’s a bit of a stretch.

    Let’s see, of the 7 justices who decided in favor of Roe only 3 (Burger, Blackmun, and Powell) were Nixon appointees. Marshall was appointed by LBJ; Stewart and Brennan were Eisenhower appointees; and Douglas’ appointment went all the way back to FDR. Dissenters Rehnquist and White were appointed, respectively, by Nixon and JFK.

  • Also, don’t forget that SCOTUS justices have minds of their own and often disappoint the presidents who appoint them assuming they will be reliable “conservative” or “liberal” votes. Earl Warren did that to Ike, and Sandra Day O’Connor did the same to Reagan.

    As for Clinton, yes, he did indeed push for FOCA and for repeal of the Mexico City Policy, and for a national healthcare plan — I unfortunately don’t recall whether it was supposed to include abortion coverage or not — but what else did he do that made him “more enthusiastic” a pro-abort than Obama?

  • “I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. ”

    They have. It’s called letting people keep the money they earn (instead of giving it to the government through taxation) so that they can better support their families, spend more on housing and other goods, and so that those who are inclined can start businesses and projects that create jobs, which in turn, lift more people out of poverty. A prominent conservative who “addressed the root causes of poverty” very well was the late Jack Kemp.

    Another very prominent small-guv or no-guv idea for addressing the root causes of poverty is the notion that people should get married BEFORE having sex and thereby having children (which can happen regardless of whether they have access to contraception or not; no method is 100 percent foolproof, other than abstinence). Single parenthood is one of the major “root causes” of poverty.

    I’m not a hard core anti-government or “all taxes are evil” libertarian by any means, but liberal programs and ideas aren’t the only ones that benefit the poor.

  • Todd, your statement that Nixon was more pro-abortion than Obama is laughable and demonstrates the lengths to which you will go to rationalize your positions. And on balance the notion that Clinton was a bigger pro-abort than Obama does not wash either.

  • I’ve decided to withhold my weekly parish offering until the Bishops get their act together on this issue of funding groups that promote murder-in-the-womb and pro-homosexual lifestyles because, even if I withhold donations from CCHD specific collections, how can I trust that the bishops aren’t giving money to these groups from their general funds or some other fund that my donations have gone to?

    Instead, I’ll give targeted funds for parish-specific collections such as energy, building fund etc. but also to worthy, faithful, and transparent pro-life and lay religious groups – in reparation for some of the damage that is being done. I will no longer allow my money (God’s money) to be funneled to the culture of death. I’ve lost trust for now.

    American Life League: http://www.all.org
    Human Lifer International: http://www.hli.org

  • “There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/us/politics/24nixon.html

    That promotes the use of abortion, not just leaves it as a choice. Seems to be more pro-abortion than Obama’s “leave it be as a choice.” He wanted inter-racial babies killed. That’s pro-abortion and not just pro-choice.

  • Spelling correction:

    Human Life International: http://www.hli.org

  • “Unfortunately for the Cause, Donald, Tito, the issue was made to be John Carr.”

    Nice try Todd. The issue was always USCCB funding of groups like the CCC. The groups bringing this to light took pains to note that they were not attacking John Carr’s personal bona fides:

    “Once again, please keep in mind that in no way are we stating or implying that any bishop or staff member of the USCCB holds pro-abortion views. We have conversed and exchanged correspondence on a number of occasions with USCCB staff and have nothing but the highest regard for the strength of their convictions. However, we cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the USCCB and organizations that do not share the same fundamental vision of human dignity as the Catholic Church.”

    http://bellarmineveritasministry.org/

  • Nixon indeed said years after he had left office that he had no problem with abortion being legal, but that the government should not pay for it. That is a far cry from Obama’s position that the government should always pick up the tab when women cannot afford the hit fees on their offspring.

    This was the stand that Nixon took publicly on abortion while he was president on April 3, 1971:

    “HISTORICALLY, laws regulating abortion in the United States have been the province of States, not the Federal Government. That remains the situation today, as one State after another takes up this question, debates it, and decides it. That is where the decisions should be made.

    Partly for that reason, I have directed that the policy on abortions at American military bases in the United States be made to correspond with the laws of the States where those bases are located. If the laws in a particular State restrict abortions, the rules at the military base hospitals are to correspond to that law.

    The effect of this directive is to reverse service regulations issued last summer, which had liberalized the rules on abortions at military hospitals. The new ruling supersedes this–and has been put into effect by the Secretary of Defense.

    But while this matter is being debated in State capitals and weighed by various courts, the country has a right to know my personal views.

    From personal and religious beliefs I consider abortion an unacceptable form of population control. Further, unrestricted abortion policies, or abortion on demand, I cannot square with my personal belief in the sanctity of human life–including the life of the yet unborn. For, surely, the unborn have rights also, recognized in law, recognized even in principles expounded by the United Nations.

    Ours is a nation with a Judeo-Christian heritage. It is also a nation with serious social problems–problems of malnutrition, of broken homes, of poverty, and of delinquency. But none of these problems justifies such a solution.

    A good and generous people will not opt, in my view, for this kind of alternative to its social dilemmas. Rather, it will open its hearts and homes to the unwanted children of its own, as it has done for the unwanted millions of other lands.”

  • “Once again, please keep in mind that in no way are we stating or implying that any bishop or staff member of the USCCB holds pro-abortion views. We have conversed and exchanged correspondence on a number of occasions with USCCB staff and have nothing but the highest regard for the strength of their convictions. However, we cannot avoid the conclusion that there is a disturbing pattern of cooperation between the USCCB and organizations that do not share the same fundamental vision of human dignity as the Catholic Church.”

    And who are they to make this decision? As I pointed out, will they judge Jesus guilty of supporting Roman occupation in Jerusalem? Of the Samaritans for his promotion of the good Samaritan? Will they tell people who pay sinners the money they are owed for working, because they pay sinners, they are cooperating with evil and should rather not pay until the sinner stops sinning? That’s the issue. People who get charity will often be sinners; giving them charity is not the promotion of sin. Otherwise God is the biggest sinner of them all.

  • Nixon said abortion is necessary for inter-racial couples. And you say he isn’t pro-abortion? Who cares who pays for it! It’s not the paying of it but the demanding of it as necessary which indicates someone far more pro-abortion than someone who doesn’t demand any abortions!

  • So I take TAC is now guilty of being pro-aborts and Catholics in name only because some people on here are now defending Nixon!

    See how this works?

  • Henry, it seems to me that what Nixon was expressing was the reverse of the “personally opposed, but” stance you often see today. Apparently, Nixon was “personally in favor, but” for what he considered “hard cases.” But in the same taped conversation, he expressed concern that legalized abortion on demand would lead to “permissiveness” and to a breakdown of the family.

    In any event that remark, distasteful as it is, comes from a private conversation with an aide that was never made public until long after his death. In his PUBLIC statements and policy moves Nixon never endorsed legalized abortion on demand, as far as I know, whereas Clinton and now Obama have.

  • I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant.

    If I am not mistaken, Milton Friedman’s first article on the negative income tax hit the presses in 1962; I doubt the Catholic Campaign for Human Development ever noticed.

  • Don, thanks for the clarification.

    Apparently Nixon was more amenable to legalized abortion than I realized (I was only 10 years old when he left office and wasn’t paying attention to his abortion views at the time), but still, his stance is a far cry from what Obama is pushing today. Also, there is no evidence that Nixon ever sought as a matter of public policy to “demand” that interracial couples abort their children; that was merely his own personal preference.

    I’m not “defending” Nixon or his point of view, by the way, just pointing out that it can’t justly be compared to what Obama is doing via the healthcare plan, removal of conscience protections, revocation of Mexico City Policy, and expressed support of FOCA or something similar.

  • Elaine in his public stance as President, and in his actions as President, Nixon always acted against abortion. This is a far cry from Obama who is publicly and privately in favor of abortion. Karlson, of course, as usual, is carrying water for the Left and Obama in attempting to obscure this point.

  • So, it’s ok for him to say it is necessary for people to have abortions and he ends up not being pro-abortion? Very odd indeed. But I expect it. The same people who talk the talk end up bowing before the GOP before it is over.

  • If it were Obama who had said it and not Nixon, or if it were John Carr instead of Nixon, you can be assured both would be used by the people who defend him now. It is more important to point out the defense of Nixon’s “it is necessary to kill them” speech puts the people doing so not only in cooperation with evil but in its promotion!

  • Karlson, I am sure you are not so obtuse as to fail to understand the difference between a private opinion revealed more than a decade after Nixon’s death and his public statements and policies as President. Nice try however in attempting to run interference for the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history.

  • Like I said, Nixon was “personally in favor, but” when it came to abortion. He didn’t feel he could “impose his personal views” FAVORING abortion on the nation or on individual state governments that weren’t ready to accept them.

  • The most pro-abortion president? Pretty sure that would be Nixon. Let’s keep in mind that the original drive to decriminalize abortion came from Republicans lobbied by the medical establishment.

    Lies about John Carr. Misguided errors about CCHD. Not tracking important dates like the establishment of the CCHD in 1970. The real question is: why do we even bother with conservatives these days? Completely unreliable.

  • Todd, still trying to salve your conscience for your vote for Obama, the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history? Your attempt to rewrite history is as misguided as your vote. The move to legalize abortion was overwhelmingly from the radical feminists, the group that still owns body and soul your party on the issue of abortion.

  • “Let’s keep in mind that the original drive to decriminalize abortion came from Republicans lobbied by the medical establishment.”

    The Republicans in question were probably the more liberal leaning ones like Nelson Rockefeller, not Nixon, who relied heavily on a conservative “Southern strategy” to get elected.

  • As I said, the defense for President Nixon here and his stand on abortion and his belief it was necessary to kill interracial children says enough. It really does. It’s all it takes to do an expose. Ask Voris.

  • I guess you truly are much more obtuse than I thought Karlson.

  • Henry,

    You seem to reserve a special level of irrationality and intentional obtuseness for moments when you think you have some “gotcha” against conservatives. It would probably be a good idea if, when you have this feeling of “Ha! Now I have them saying something truly ludicrous,” you went off and did something else for a while, because these exercises never do you much credit.

    But to address the substance:

    No one here has defended the Nixon quote or claimed that Nixon is a role model on the abortion issue — what people have objected to is Todd rather strange claim that Nixon was a more pro-abortion president than Obama. (And come to that, that Clinton was — by just about any measure other than the wishes of his more deceived supporters, one would have to see Obama as more pro-abortion than Clinton. If you want a figure more pro-abortion than Obama, you’re going to have to go for someone like Barbara Boxer.)

    Your interpretation of Nixon’s comment (a comment which, as I said, is reprehensible) seems selective and intentionally obtuse. On the face of it, it would seem pretty clear that Nixon was listing of situations in which he thought that people might justifiably demand access to abortion because they considered it “necessary”. That interracial children was the first example that came to his mind certainly does him no credit, but one can hardly argue that Obama’s views are substantively different on issues of abortion being “necessary”. Think of the implication: Does Obama think that abortion is (as he claims) a regrettable and unfortunate thing, but insist that it should be allowed even though he believes it it’s never actually necessary (as in the only right thing to do) for someone to have one? In other words, he thinks that abortion is bad, but he insists that it be available at all times despite it’s being, at any given point, entirely optional? Surely not. If he insists that abortion be available he clearly thinks that in some cases people will find it necessary to have one. Indeed, if he thinks that it’s entirely optional as a medical and personal procedure (like what? teeth whitening? breast augmentation?) and yet nevertheless insists on its absolute availability over the moral concerns that he’s expressed, that actually puts him in a far worse light than if one accepts that he thinks it is at times a “necessary evil”.

    Goodness, what do they teach them in school these days?

  • DH,

    I’ve decided to withhold my weekly parish offering until the Bishops get their act together on this issue of funding groups that promote murder-in-the-womb and pro-homosexual lifestyles because, even if I withhold donations from CCHD specific collections, how can I trust that the bishops aren’t giving money to these groups from their general funds or some other fund that my donations have gone to?

    Weekly collections go primarily to the local parish, with roughly 10% usually going to your local diocese. They do not go to the USCCB or to other national programs. I would strongly recommend against refusing to support your parish because of a fairly minor USCCB program.

  • I think Obama’s statement that babies conceived of unplanned pregnanacies are a burden is quite contrary to Catholic Social Teaching also. We know he jokes about the Special Olympics in public. Who knows what he says in private.

    Bottom line about CCHD, just like we should not reward researchers who aborted babies with stem cell funding we should not reward organizations that fund anti-life, anti-family policies.

  • Todd, still trying to salve your conscience for your vote for Obama,

    I will wager it goes deeper than that.

  • Todd,

    The movement to defund the CCHD is just frowny-faced Catholic Republicans simmering that they never had the good idea of addressing the systemic problems that lead too many unfortunate individuals into needing charity. I’m sure if conservatives ever bothered to come up with a small-guv plan to address the root problems of poverty, they would get a CCHD grant. Heck, you may even end up as poster children if you played your cards right.

    This is just a dumb attack. (Sheesh, why is it that you’ve become so much more politically bitter since your guy won? It’s supposed to work the other way around.) Conservatives are widely supportive of small businesses, which is where most new jobs in the country show up. (While the more regulatory approach pushed by progressives normally helps large corporations keep small businesses from playing — though progressives often don’t seem to realize this.)

    The beef that a lot of conservatives have with the CCHD is twofold. First, they tend to fund some programs which run by organizations which also have programs which are directly contrary to Catholic teaching. Second, conservatives are not always as optimistic that funding groups which often just “raise awareness” or help people petition the government for things actually do all that much to “break the cycle of poverty” as compared to directly helping them with immediate necessities so they can get back on their feet or support themselves, or helping get businesses off the ground which actually provide people with employment. The former of these is a pretty good target for charitable work, the latter often doesn’t work out so well. (If you give people grants to start a business, because they don’t have investors and can’t get a small business loan, it often turns out the reason they couldn’t get a small business loan or investors is that their business plan wasn’t all that viable in the first place.)

  • DC

    When someone says “but still, his stance is a far cry from what Obama is pushing today,” and using that to make Obama is worse — yes, they are positing a defense of Nixon in relation to Obama. The problem is one said abortion is a choice, the other, necessity. And the people who are acting like “abortion is a necessity” is no big deal in comparison to someone saying “choice” show again the politics. This is not “gotcha.” This is just applying the standards in these threads. Wasn’t it the Peters piece which said “cooperation with evil” is evil? Cooperation with Nixon, who thinks killing innocent children is a necessity, falls under this, no?

    Of course many people see through this. What you call irrationality is the whole point. This whole “scandal” and the means by which it gathers evidence is irrational.

    This has nothing to do with “conservative” or “liberal,” because again, the so-called conservatives here are quite liberal (small government) indeed!

  • “onservatives are widely supportive of small businesses” even when they give cooperation for abortion (see health care insurance).

  • Henry,

    This is precisely where you intentionally being obtuse: It takes a massive stretch to argue that the Nixon quote meant “necessary” in the sense of “we must force this person to have an abortion whether they like it or not, because it’s an absolute necessity for society”. Whereas if one accepts the quote to mean that there are situations in which people will feel abortion to be their only option — then he means exactly the same as what Obama says.

    And what the heck are you talking about with “cooperation with Nixon”? The guy is dead, has long been politically irrelevant, and no one is taking him as a guide for modern conservative policy.

    I’ve not no interest in defending Nixon or his ideas about abortion, but claiming that he is “more pro-abortion” than Obama makes no sense when Nixon’s policies were far more anti-abortion than Obama’s and even this utterly reprehensible quote says nothing that Obama wouldn’t say himself (other than the underlying racism.)

    “onservatives are widely supportive of small businesses” even when they give cooperation for abortion (see health care insurance).

    Again, your “gotchas” are invariably foolish. Are you saying that conservatives would do better to only support small businesses which refuse to provide health insurance? Or are you claiming that being in favor or an economic environment which makes it easy for small businesses to establish and thrive somehow encourages them to elect to cover abortions in their insurance policies? I suppose the test case would be: Ask yourself, would conservatives prefer a small business which provided health insurance to its workers which excluded abortion, or a small business which provided health insurance to its workers that included abortion. If you answer the latter, you have a case.

  • One person says abortion is necessary; the other says it is up to the people, and the one who says it is necessary is less pro-abortion. I get it!

    What I learn on here.

    Yes. I’m obtuse! Teach me more!

  • DC

    “Again, your “gotchas” are invariably foolish. Are you saying that conservatives would do better to only support small businesses which refuse to provide health insurance?”

    Let’s take this one by one. STOP USING THE WORD CONSERVATIVE. False word. Next, I am saying the “scandal” with the USCCB is valid, than this applies across board. And sorry to point out, all the people supporting companies which have health insurance that gives abortion is “cooperation with evil” and “funding abortion.” What is difficult to see in this? Why is it that the same people who always speak about political point of views never do anything with the real promoters of abortion — the insurance companies? Why no laws to stop this? Why the constant funding of it? Why?

  • You people just slay me: tie yourselves up in knots to justify your relativism. Personally, I have no problem with my vote for Mr Obama. There was no real pro-life distinction coming from Mr McCain, especially on matters in government hands like ESCR and torture. So I voted for the Illinois senator. So what? Lots of independents voted for him. He was a bit too conservative for my tastes, but there wasn’t a real third party choice, in my view.

    Getting back to Fr Pavone’s defense of Mr Carr, let’s face it: the anti-CCHD crowd had no compunction about throwing a fellow pro-lifer under the bus, and trying to justify the lies and exaggerations to get it done. And you can ask yourselves: how many unborn people did it save? How many converts did you make for the cause? All because you’ve redefined “scandal” to mean something that bothers you.

    Jeez, with conservatives like you, I have no reason at all to be angry or bitter. All I have to do is visit here every week or so, point out your moral errors, get under your skins, and I have my entertainment.

    Take the last word, gents. You’ve worked hard enough in the trenches of relativism to earn it. Give us another justification or two, then watch the religious event of the day.

  • Translation Todd: you do not give a damn about abortion.

    “Take the last word gents.”

    You inevitably say that Todd, and you inevitably come back to comment on this blog.

  • Karlson is unable to distinguish between a President who makes a private pro-abortion statement and who makes public statements and policies against abortion, and the current incumbent who makes private and public statements in favor of abortion and who is dedicated to pro-abortion policies. Grad students have sadly declined in reasoning capacity.

  • Actually the latest turn in this thread is quite funny when you think about it. People are sincerely debating who is worse, Obama or Nixon and it was the Obama supporters who introduced that extremely low bar.

    I’m no fan of either, but clearly Nixon’s despicable “necessary” term wasn’t calling for a mandate and is more in keeping with Obama’s line about not wanting his kids punished with an unwanted child. It’s the same mentality of feeling the need to sacrifice the unborn for to avoid a consequence or perceived loss of good.

  • “Take the last word gents.”

    You also convieniently forget about the one “lady” blog member among these “gents” who completely agreed with the initial premise of this thread — that the attacks on John Carr and his past affiliation were not really valid criticisms of CCHD. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are still lots of OTHER reasons to be critical of CCHD.

  • Elaine, I am sure that the implication that Todd is a sexist will pierce his conscience to the quick, and I mean that sincerely!

  • Also, I question the wisdom of voting for an Illinois senator for any office above dogcatcher 🙂

  • One person says abortion is necessary; the other says it is up to the people, and the one who says it is necessary is less pro-abortion

    One of the great things about the internet is that you’re never quite sure where a comment thread will go. I have to say, I didn’t expect the topic of Nixon, Obama, and abortion to dominate this thread. But since it has, I’ll just say I think Henry’s argument is based on an exceptionally weird reading of the word ‘necessary’. It’s obvious that Nixon means ‘in some circumstances abortion has to be available,’ rather than something like ‘abortion is necessary in all such cases.’ He was talking about how abortion laws should be structured, not opining about when people need to get abortions (my assumption is that not even Nixon would tell a woman who had been raped that she had to get an abortion). I can’t imagine how Henry could understand it otherwise. As to Obama, he certainly has the most extreme public record on abortion of any U.S. President, although on the plus side of the ledger, he is probably not a racist (like Nixon).

  • Getting back to Fr Pavone’s defense of Mr Carr, let’s face it: the anti-CCHD crowd had no compunction about throwing a fellow pro-lifer under the bus, and trying to justify the lies and exaggerations to get it done. And you can ask yourselves: how many unborn people did it save? How many converts did you make for the cause? All because you’ve redefined “scandal” to mean something that bothers you.

    You know, reading this last comment of Todd’s I’m getting the impression that he thinks that John Henry was attacking Fr. Pavone in writing this post. Which, if true, is certainly amusing.

  • Which, if true, is certainly amusing.

    Yeah, I had to laugh, when Todd told me above that I had “been led deeply into the sin of calumny, and isn’t it a good thing Lent is close to arrival?”

    This, for posting Fr. Pavone’s defense of John Carr and saying not a negative word about anyone other than the RCTV folks. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that my post is primarily a defense of John Carr of the USCCB, and a response to some of the USCCB’s less disciplined critics. Oh well, I guess Todd wanted to upbraid somebody and my post caught his eye.

  • that not even Nixon would tell a woman who had been raped that she

    Mr. Nixon was rather vindictive about the opposition and was willing to countenance unprofessional behavior and violations of the law to get at them. Regrettably, he was in a position to see that such things were done: Morton Halperin’s phone was tapped and the pornographer who produced Tricia’s Wedding got his tax returns audited. It could have been worse.

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-860866.html

    Mr. Nixon’s mundane life was, however, free of severe blemishes. Most of us are not in a position to have someone raked over the coals by the U.S. Attorney, and its a good thing too.

  • The most frustrating part, John Henry, is that your response will be met with silence.

    I wish it were not so.

  • I’m a bit late to this discussion, but nevertheless it takes an appalling lack of judgement to suggest that Obama is not the most radical, pro-abort, “Party of Death” candidate ever to step foot in the Oval Office

    It is an unfortunate fact but no one in the history of the POTUS has uttered these words except for one man, who is Barack H. Obama:

    “But if they [my daughters] make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby”

    http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/ObamaBaby.jpg

    His position is so far outside of the mainstream that as an IL Senator he voted against the Infant Born Alive Protection Act. Let it be known that this man despises life and has actively used his political power in a way directly in conflict with Church Teaching on Natural & Moral Law.

  • If you recall, Nixon was close to being impeached by the House of Representatives for several counts of abuse of power. He resigned because he thought that, even if he could get (1/3 + 1) of the Senate to vote for acquital, the efforts focused on the trial would leave the nation weakened against foreign opponents for an extended period.
    By the time W. Clinton was impeached, the possible threat from other nations had receded to the point that the nation could endure a couple of months of distraction with little or no harm in foreign affairs.
    The reaction of the Senate at the time of Clinton’s impeachment in effect was “Lying about sex? Everybody does it, so the fact that Pres. Clinton did it is no big deal.”
    If bloggers who favor Pres. Obama’s policies want to compare him with Pres. Nixon, I see no problem with that.
    TeaPot562

  • Here’s something to remember, John: there is a thread of conversation in here, and you should look to one of your co-bloggers and how they entered into it. Then you might appreciate Todd’s responses. He didn’t say you did anything; there was a conversation and he was responding to that.

  • John Henry is surely reading all the comments. He’s a sharp guy and has gotten me to rethink some of my decisions.

    He’s just being prudent.

  • Well, Teapot562, there are disputes between authorities over the severity of Clinton’s offences per the positive law. The tainted Lawrence Walsh said Kenneth Starr’s line of inquiry was outlandish and Richard Posner said that prosecutorial discretion would not have saved Clinton had he been an ordinary citizen and that the federal sentancing prescribed 30 to 37 months in prison for the sort of offences of which he was guilty. Please note also that Clinton was disbarred, that Susan McDougal spent 18 months in jail rather than testify at grand jury proceedings, and that James McDougal died before his testimony could be offered to a petty jury.

    Please note also that Clinton has retained throughout a degree of respect in certain circles that Nixon never re-acquired.

  • Well the bottom line remains, the CCHD remains a major source of scandal today regardless of what Nixon said forty years ago.

  • I’m with Phillip on this still.

  • 1. I admire Fr. Pavone, but he has plenty of his own issues (saying it’s OK to vote for a pro-choice Republican over a pro-life Democrat, supporting the NRLC’s “keep abortion legal as long as possible” agenda with its numerous compromises, supporting the do-nothing “partial birth abortion ban”, etc.) In other words, I admire Fr. Pavone for what he himself says and does. I’m not a fan of the organizations he chooses to support, especially when his career was springboarded by Judie Brown to begin with.
    2. I think it’s *very* important to distinguish between “the bishops” and “the USCCB,” which is a useless bureaucracy in DC that, in the end, has very little to do with “the bishops.” The merger of the old “NCCB” with the old “USCC” (where all these problematic associations occur) is the real problem, IMO.
    3. There is a big difference between charity, social justice and political activism. Charity is a personal choice. The merit in charity is in one person’s free will decision to perform an act of love for another person. Jesus acted in charity to centurions and Samaritans, but He did so in love for them as indiviuals, to help them as people. He did not support them qua being centurions or Samaritans.

    Social justice is the remediation of economic ills the way criminal justice is the remediation of interpersonal ills.

    Much of this funding question has to do with neither. It has to do with the bishops giving money to activist organizations when they should be giving that money directly to people who need it. I would have just as much problem with the USCCB funding NRLC as ACORN.

    When we give our money to the Church, our expectation is that that money will go to actually help people or build up the Church. I’d rather tthe USCCB fund crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies than fund ALL or NRLC. If they want to support the poor, send the money directly to shelters and food pantries. Better yet, give the money back to Catholic religious orders that engage in these ministries.

    Imagine if this money were just paid back to Catholic schools, hospitals and ministries, instead of paid to secular organizations.

    4. Yes, “Guilt by association” is a bit overdone. But much of this goes beyond “guilt by association.” We’re talking about organizations that actively support agendas contrary to the faith, and officials at USCCB who have either worked for those organizations or served on their boards of directors, etc.

  • Re: John Carr: “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you what you are.” Fr. Pavone is a good priest but a very naive one. Or perhaps he fears the power of the USCCB.

  • Mike,

    There is no need for that type of demonization of the USCCB. Although I don’t agree with the direction they’re heading, I don’t find it necessary to degrade it.

5 Responses to USCCB Promoting Anti-Catholic Speaker This Weekend

  • Not a comment–a question:

    Does anyone ever call up the USCCB and just ask them what they have to say about this (or any of the other idiocies they inflict on us)?

  • Carol,

    They don’t return phone calls.

  • I know the USCCB isn’t open to the public but I emailed Cardinal George a very civil letter asking him basically “whassup with this?” Speaking of doing a yoeman’s job, he is & I have nothing but admiration for him & most of our bishops. What I cannot understand is why they don’t dissolve the USCCB & just start over. Do these people have tenure or what?

  • gb,

    I’m not sure why they don’t do a complete overhaul of the place.

    But it’s human nature to resist saying “I was wrong”. Pride then kicks in when the pressure mounts.

    In my opinion, nothing will be done.

    Just look at the pedophilia scandal.

    Nothing was done about that. Only when the media pressure became overbearing did “individual” bishops act.

    No bishop likes to be told what to do, especially from us plebians.

  • Cardinal Newman quoting St. Basil writing to the Western bishops on the onslaught of the Arian bishops:
    “The dogmas of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set to naught; the discoverers of innovations hold sway in the churches. Men have learned to be speculators instead of theologians… The aged sorrow, comparing what is with what was; more pitiable the young, as not knowing what they are deprived of”. [Ep. 90]

Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat just released a statement denouncing the defeat of the Pro-Life Nelson Amendment.  In addition the USCCB will not support any health care bills that diminishes the Stupak Amendment that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Here is their released statement in its entirety:

December 9, 2009

Bishops Call Vote a Grave Mistake and Serious Blow to Genuine Reform

Say the Senate Should Not Support Bill in its Current Form

Hope That House Provisions on Abortion Funding Prevail

BISHOPS DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED BY SENATE VOTE

TO TABLE NELSON-HATCH-CASEY AMENDMENT

WASHINGTON—“The Senate vote to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey amendment is a grave mistake and a serious blow to genuine health care reform,” said Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The Senate is ignoring the promise made by President Obama and the will of the American people in failing to incorporate longstanding prohibitions on federal funding for abortion and plans that include abortion.”

Bishop William Murphy, Chair of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said: “Congress needs to retain existing abortion funding restrictions and safeguard conscience protections because the nation urgently needs health care reform that protects the life, dignity, conscience and health of all. We will continue to work with Senators, Representatives and the Administration to achieve reform which meets these criteria. We hope the Senate will address the legislation’s fundamental flaw on abortion and remedy its serious problems related to conscience rights, affordability and treatment of immigrants.”

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67 Responses to Bishops Disappointed by Senate Vote to Kill Pro-Life Amendment

  • Personally, I think it is dangerous for the Bishops to weigh in on most prudential matters. Of course, they should oppose any legislation that would advance abortion, just as they should weigh in on all matters of grave morality. But while appropriate access to health care may have a moral component, whether a particular approach would be effective or most effective is well outside the charism of bishops. I’m far more interested in what health care economists say, as well as insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, and medical organizations. Big and small pharma too. And big city hospitals that serve the poor. All are stakeholders and have knowledge. But the Bishops and their staff don’t know any more than you or me. They just have impulsive policy preferences based on political bias just like you and me.

  • I think the bishops are fully invested in the process since they seem to be wedded to “universal coverage” in health care. Though I disagree on their method of implementing God’s Kingdom here on earth, at least they found “a” voice somewhere.

    Hopefully they’ll be more unified in the next election cycle when it comes to protecting the unborn among us.

  • Amazing that this ammendment was defeated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Maybe the Bishops could take note of that also.

  • Phillip,

    Good catch.

    It may be an omen that the bill will be defeated in order to protect the most vulnerable among us.

    Or it could mean something else.

  • Tito – I thought you didn’t recognize the authority of the USCCB. Only when they agree with you I guess?

  • Michael I.,

    The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    So I choose what I like from the USCCB.

    I only adhere to Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition.

    Unlike you that adheres to Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx, and Bono.

  • The bishops conference is not an authority of Catholic teaching.

    This is not true, Tito, for the millionth time.

    And I’m not a fan of Bono.

  • I dunno … some of Bono’s earlier music is ok.

  • How exactly is the USCCB an authority of Catholic teaching?

  • Notice that Michael I. didn’t deny his adherence to Karl Marx.

  • Tito, I noticed and wasn’t at all surprised. No big scandal in my mind, since I have several misguided Marxist friends. We avoid politics and economics and just drink. I don’t see how Marxism can be squared with Catholicism though. But perhaps the USCCB has an authoritative teaching on how to do that. 😉

  • Although I would not call myself a Marxist, I’ve learned from Marx. As has the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the human race.

    Mike – Um, because the USCCB are nothing but the bishops (you know, the successors of the Apostles!) in the united states.

  • Perhaps you and Tito would like to have a conversation about Marx, and about which of his ideas I agree with and don’t agree with, and whether or not the ideas I agree with are in opposition to Church teaching or whether the Church herself acknowledges said ideas?

    Or maybe you both can throw around the name “Marx” and the term “Marxism” without actually getting specific?

    Or maybe Tito will simply delete my comments when I ask him to actually get specific and show us how much he actually knows about Karl Marx?

    What about Chomsky, Tito? Can you explain to me what elements of Chomsky’s work are in opposition to Church teaching? Perhaps u.s. foreign policy is sacred and unable to be criticized?

  • The magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop. I think the document Apostolos Suos addresses this question. See here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/motu_proprio/documents/hf_jp-ii_motu-proprio_22071998_apostolos-suos_en.html

  • Michael I.,

    With the answer you provided so vague, vacuous, and open-ended, I’m surprised you haven’t found common cause with Mein Kampf or that writer.

  • It seems Michael is trolling.

  • Phillip – If you actually read Apostolos Suos and the relevant ecclesial documents, you will find that the issue is much more complex than your claim that “[t]he magisterial authority of a Bishops Conference is about that of an individual bishop.”

    Tito – You’re not making any sense. Could you rephrase for me? What was that about Hitler?

  • Michael I.,

    Garbage in, garbage out.

  • Of course its much more complicated than that. But of course, when one reads Apostolos Suos, one sees that a single dissenting vote by a bishop on a doctrinal matter ends the authority of the Conference and the matter must be referred to Rome. An individual bishop has that degree of authority in that he can stop the entire conference.

  • It is important to read the relevant ecclesial documents as well, including theological discussion on these matters. AS makes some interesting (non-infallible) claims about the authority of bishops conferences which are indeed in tension with, say, significant portions of Vatican II (which carry more weight than AS). AS strikes me as awfully mathematical, as if one rogue wacko bishop could threaten the authority of the teaching of the rest. Does not strike me as a very Catholic approach to authority.

    So yes, AS is important, but other documents are important too. And it’s important to read AS in its entirety and in context.

  • Of course AS can be read as a development of doctrine (non-infallible perhaps) though with greater magisterial teaching than theologians. As the theologian Cardianl Dulles noted, AS is the effort of the Church (read magisterial authority) to place the authority of conferences in its proper context (a limited one) which is only a reflection of individual bishops authority. This is the proper context.

  • Of course that would presuppose that much of what the USCCB does is pronouce on doctrinal matter. Actually most, such as its support of current health care legislation with three provisions, is doctrinal. It is of course not. It is prudential. Thus laymen can licitly disagree with their position in regards to the legislation in general.
    What is doctrinal is the USCCB’s defense of traditional Catholic teaching that abortion is an intrinsic evil. Thus Tito is on good ground in his position.

  • Funny, the way folks use the word “doctrinal” to draw artificial lines around certain ethical issues.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

  • Guys. Marx was generally good about diagnosing a lot of the problems of capitalism-particularly its tendency towards self-destruction due to the need for expansive greed.

    Now, his other ideas about history and individualism and God and pretty much everything else he wrote? utter garbage. But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Oh, and bishops are important, You should generally listen to them. (Darn it, I just agreed mostly with Michael I. I may get banned from this blog if I keep this up!)

  • Michael R. Denton,

    But those that disagree with us often have a kernel of truth in them.

    Karl Marx was born human.

    Michael I. was born human.

    I guess I found the kernel of truth in both of them.

  • I agree Michael D, though I can’t say Marx’s ideas about history were totally wrong – certain classes do gravitate to certain ideas. The casual relationship might be out of tune, but the correlation is there.

    The irony is that so much revolutionary nonsense, especially when it railed the hardest against Christianity, is really born out of a sort of childlike disappointment that humanity did not live up to the true standards of Christianity.

    I see much of revolutionary socialism stemming from what Moses Hess said to Marx – that the whole point was to “bring heaven down to Earth.”

    If we lived as Christians ought to live, consistently, fully, these people would disappear. In a sense I see the revolutionary scourge as, if not a punishment, an inevitable symptom of a society that has fallen off the right track. That is how Leo XIII and especially Pius XI saw it.

  • Michael,

    Yes, the bishops are important in matters of faith and morals. In matters of application of faith and morals to the political domain, that’s the role of the laity. The bishops may chime in with their prudential judgment. And I will assess their prudential judgment and use mine as is proper to the vocation of the Catholic layman.

  • Only if one does not understand the distinction between intrinsic evils and prudential application of moral principles where licit differences apply.

    I understand the distinction well, but that distinction is not a matter of doctrine vs. not-doctrine.

  • Ah yes. But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion). One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

  • But one can never commit an intrinsic evil (abortion).

    Obviously.

    One can disagree quite substantially on the way to provide health care to the population in general.

    True. But Catholic teaching demands that health care actually be provided to the population in general. Most folks who “respectfully disagree” with the bishops on the health care issue have no desire to see health care extended to those who have no coverage, preferring free-market “you gotta earn yer health care” approaches. Basically what Catholic teaching allows is substantial disagreement on how universal health care is to be provided.

  • Tito – Do you not want to have a discussion about Marxism anymore?

  • Of course your present a false picture Michael. And what universal health care includes is not defined by the church. In my experience, America does in fact provide universal health care for children through S-CHIP. For the elderly with Medicare and with almost all poor with Medicare/Medicaid. Your point again is limited to a very false impression of what the government already does with health care in America.

  • Phillip – Show me where I am false, don’t simply claim what I have said is false.

    Millions of people are not covered in the united states. Millions of lives are ruined by this health care system. You cannot say with any seriousness that the u.s. provides universal health care.

    Another contradiction of the right: claiming on the one hand that the u.s. DOES provide universal health care, and then on the other hand in another argumentative context insisting that the u.s. should NOT provide universal health care.

  • Show that Obama’s plan will make it better.

  • Why? I’m not in favor of Obama’s plan. I’m in favor of the single-payer option.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.) To claim otherwise is to not be based in the facts.

  • Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer. Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

  • Having said that, yes in fact S-CHIP and Medicare/Medicaid will cover almost everyone (S-CHIP will cover all children.)

    All children = almost everyone? What?

    Nothing in Catholic Social teaching says there must be a single payer.

    I never said CST requires single payer. I said I am in favor of it. But CST requires that every person receive health care regardless of their ability to pay, i.e. universal health care.

    Also nothing that says that such coverage must be equal across the board. These are licit areas of disagreement.

    What exactly are you looking to get out of? Which persons do not deserve what? Please be specific since you seem to have something in mind.

  • S-Chip will cover all children. That takes care of that segment of the population. Medicaid and Medicare covers most others. That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage. A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST. Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

  • Medicaid and Medicare covers most others.

    Most?

    That leaves a small number of people who do not have coverage.

    A “small number” is awfully imprecise. Are you saying that statistics reported and used by the USCCB are false? Is 40 million or whatever the statistic is a “small number”?

    A basic plan that does not necessarily cover everything that a plan that others have would be consistent with CST.

    The way you have phrased this indicates a “what can we get away with” approach to ethics

    Basic health screenings, basic medications, basic procedures and emergency care – yes. Coronary bypass, more sophisticated medical care, more cutting edge medications – no.

    Why should poor people NOT be able to have coronoary bypass surgeries? Why should they be denied “cutting edge medications”? Why are you intending to set up a class structure?

  • Actually the 40 million includes a large number of 18-39 year old who choose not to buy health insurance. A calculated risk but for most it is a wise economic choice. 11 million who qualify for Medicaid/S-CHIP are not enrolled. That would cover most of that 40 million number.
    CST does not require equality of outcome. A right in CST is that that would allow basic human flourishing. Vaccines and basic medications will. More elaborate plans are not required by CST. That’s been the teaching since Rerum Novarum

  • If you need bypass surgery or else you will die, then bypass surgery is basic to human flourishing.

  • Everyone will die. Even the rich will run out of options. Even with ordinary policies there is denial of care (transplants, experimental procedures.) The question is how much health care is a right.

  • I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

  • Not only that, but when he is older, deny a fair bit of care that he would get with ordinary, private policies in the U.S.

  • Everyone will die.

    Ah, here is your position. Crystal clear.

    I’m sure if Michael I. needed emergency surgery he would be crossing the border from Canada to the U.S. because he knows full well that the socialized health care in Canada would put him on a waiting list.

    1) I don’t live in Canada anymore. 2) I never had provincial health insurance while living in Canada because I am not Canadian. International students, until very recently, had to purchase private insurance. It was very inexpensive compared to the u.s. 3) In three years in Canada I did not meet a single Canadian who was unhappy with Canadian health care. Not one. I sought them out. They’re few and far between. 4) I am currently without health insurance.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

  • Its not my position, it is God’s. Even Marx couldn’t overcome that.

  • You still didn’t answer the question.

    If you needed emergency surgery would you wait 3-6 months or would you jump back to the greatest nation in the history of the world, America?

    You never ASKED me a question. You said “Iafrate would probably do such and such.”

    But since you asked me directly this time…

    Presumably you are asking me assuming I still lived in Canada. Considering I had no U.S. health care at all when I lived in Canada I would obviously wait it out because “the greatest nation in the history of the world” would be of absolutely no help.

  • Phillip – What makes you hate poor people?

  • Tito, you are under the mis-apprehension that the US healthcare system is superior to that of other advanced economies. It is not.

    I am one of the lucky ones – I have insurance, decent by American standards. But in other countries I am familiar with, I can see doctors faster, I can get similar treatment, and I don’t have to deal with byzantine insurance bureacracies.

  • Michael I.,

    Are you going to scrub your fingertips until you scrape the skin off because they typed out the greatest nation in the history of the world?

    LOL

  • MM,

    Exchanging byzantine insurance bureaucracies for byzantine government bureaucracies is a step down in most people’s opinion.

    You may be able to get basic medical care at a lower price, but you will have to wait for most surgeries and other sophisticated medical procedures due to the lack of highly trained physicians being priced out of the market and to heavy regulation making it impossible to make a living in those fields.

  • Michael I.,

    i cut and pasted it.

    That was an awesome comeback!

    Niiice!

    🙂

  • But we are back to the point where we were before. The bishops have made a prudential judgment. Some laymen agree. Some disagree for different reasons. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. Obama’s health care plan is a prudential judgment. Elimination of class distinctions is not a component of CST. Rationing of some sort will happen as it does currently. Death is an inevitability. Not all health care that is available needs be present in a health plan to be moral.

  • The prudential judgment of the bishops is one thing, but their insistence that health coverage should be universal is not a prudential judgment.

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil.

    What does this have to do with it and why did you just throw it in the middle of this paragraph? Are you one of those “everything is really about abortion” types?

  • Just that the Senate plan just passed includes abortion coverage and the bishops have noted that one cannot support the current plan as a Catholic.

    Yes basic coverage for all is a Catholic principle. The problem with the bishops’ statement is that if abortion payment, as well as conscience provisions, were provided in the legislation, they would support it as being consistent with Catholic principles. This is their prudential judgment. Mine is that it does not. That’s the prudential judgment part.

  • I don’t see how universal “coverage” is anything but prudential. Universal access to basic health care may be a Catholic principle, but “coverage” suggests insurance, and the role of insurance is prudential. To the extent a society can afford it, no one should be denied access to basic health care. The extent to which that is actually happening in the US today is debatable, as is how improvements can be made. With proper protections against abortion, I have absolutely no problem with Catholics supporting a variant of the current legislation; I also have no problems with Catholics opposing it. To suggest that Catholics are required to support or oppose in such a case is just mistaken. Phillip is correct.

  • Thanks. Better said then my efforts.

  • Mike Petrik – But Catholics cannot support the standard republican line on health care. Period.

  • Michael,
    Discourse is not served by throwing our vagueries like “standard Republican line on health care.” Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    http://www.gop.gov/solutions/healthcare

  • Moreover, there is nothing in the GOP healthcare platform that is inimical to Catholic teaching. Period.

    If you ignore all the lies in the platform, as represented in that link, maybe you statement would be true.

  • I rest my case.

  • Of course you do. Rest assured, too, in your “what can I get away with” ethic.

  • Michael,

    How can you on the one hand insist that only those who are ideologically sympathetic to you have an accurate understanding of what socialists/anarchists advocate, and yet on the other hand insist that only those who are _not_ Republican (indeed, only those who dislike them) have an accurate understanding of what Republicans advocate?

Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

Election fever is catching everybody these days, even bishops, and since it’s so fashionable to issue clarifying statements about the 30+ page Faithful Citizenship document, Cardinal Justin Rigali (chairman of the USCCB* Committee on Pro-Life Activities) and Bishop William Murphy (chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development) have issued a clarification about clarifications of Faithful Citizenship.

Though my tone in stating this is flip, there’s some very good material in the two page letter:

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Bishops Call For Both/And Approach to Life

  • Darwin,

    I’m getting around to a post about universal healthcare, what I think are many common misconceptions about it, and particularly what is wrong with the American health care “system” and try to get a general consensus of what we can all rally around.

    In my research of healthcare, I have found that not all models or notions of universal healthcare mandate that the government actually run hospitals nor be the delivery system of healthcare. Rather it’s creative ways — some good, others bad — of how we can cover everyone, or at least have the possibility there. The best version of a universal healthcare I have seen (and of which I agree) is put forth by the group “Republicans for Single-Payer,” which is a group that posits a single-payer universal healthcare system (not government-run) while maintaining their committment to a free-market economy.

    In regard to the statement itself, I think the Bishops may being acknowledging charges made at groups like Catholic Answers who advocate applying a litmus test on candidates. You take two candidates: candidate A and candidate B and you look at their views on abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and gay marriage. If candidate A, supports abortion, then you’re morally obligated to vote for candidate B. If both candidates support abortion, then you look at the other four, and if they support all, then you’re allowed to look at other issues and make your decision from there.

    In essence, while I do sympathize with that view, I do think that such a rigid litmus test is not what the Bishops recommend. Though, I’m not at all defending for voting for pro-abortion candidates. In essence, what I’m thinking is this, Republicans are often charged with legally restricting abortion, but not supporting “progressive” policies that would lead women to choose abortion. While there is much folly to that proposition, there is some truth. SCHIP — the child healthcare program — that provides healthcare to socio-economically disadvantaged children allows many families to have their children covered with basic healthcare, while the parents cannot afford it. Republicans (and some pro-life Democrats) have fought tooth and nail to get unborn children covered in this program so that pregnant women feel they have an option. Republicans also routinely vote against expanding coverage, or redirecting funds toward something else, which seems to me a contradiction of their own principles. Why cover unborn children, if you’re going to redirect the funds to something else, thus limiting the recepients and thus limiting the number of unborn babies potentially saved?

    I think that’s what they’re getting at. Then again, I could be wrong.

  • haha…I meant “lead women to NOT choose abortions”

  • I figured that was basically it — but it still strikes me as something of a straw man dichotomy, though perhaps a necessary one in order to get both sides to listen to your critique.

    I’ll be curious to read a piece by your about health care. I would certainly agree that we need some outside the box thinking about it. A while back I did a somewhat unrealistic thought experiment on it focusing heavily on subsidiarity. And I’d be interesting to brainstorm some more realistic ideas.

    In this particular election, I don’t think McCain’s health care plan is all that great — though I don’t like Obama’s either.

  • Health care… what an interesting topic. Personally, I’ve been employed by companies with stellar benefits for the most part. The exception being a temp position at a major firm that Darwin surely remembers. 🙂 Currently, my employer offers several medical packages, one of which is a zero contribution plan (i.e. no payroll deductions, for the whole family). With this, I am truly blessed.

    My sister, on the other hand, is employed by a school district somewhere in north Texas and the medical benefits do not even come close. Her coverage is less than $100 per month. When adding her husband to the plan, the employee contribution jumps to over $500. My brother-in-law recently jumped onto his employer’s plan. In effect, it’s a $400 “raise” a month for them. Others aren’t so lucky.

    Another friend from back in TX is in a similar predicament with insurance. Covering his family is just too expensive, so they pay for some other insurance.

    Looking forward to your piece, Eric.

  • Please consider posting this video and passing it along, it’s amazing. It’s great at showing the distinction between MaCain and Obama in regards to the abortion issue. Please pass this along to everyone you know. We have to get McCain elected… E

    http://americaschoicenow.com/

    Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.
    Ronald Reagan