Topic A

Monday, November 3, AD 2008

Mystery writer, apologist, and Dante scholar Dorothy Sayers once said of her fictional creation Lord Peter Wimsey something along the lines of, “Peter is not really Christian. He would have considered it impolite to hold such strong beliefs.” (If someone knows of the exact quotation — I believe it was from one of Sayers’ published letters — I’d be terribly grateful.)

It is, I think, one of the great temptations of people with an intellectual bent to feel apologetic over holding opinions which are too strong. And it is, I fear, because of a cowardice somewhat akin to this that I have felt slightly embarrassed each day as I check the American Catholic webpage and see that in the tag cloud in the right hand column the term “Abortion” is growing larger and larger. I have been no small contributor to this myself. I hesitate to go count, but I think over half my own posts have listed “abortion” as a topic.

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12 Responses to Topic A

  • “And we would refuse to vote for him because we would think the less of ourselves for doing anything to benefit someone with such pernicious views. It is for this same reason that we should, as Catholics, simply refuse to vote for any pro-abortion-rights candidate.”

    I agree that a person’s support for abortion, particularly the extreme resistance to any restrictions embodied by Senator Obama’s record, is indicative of a deeply flawed understanding of the human person and a deeply disturbing callousness towards human beings. At the same time, I think that wife-beating/racial lynchings are imperfect analogies in an important respect. Cultural context matters in evaluating moral actions. A person who supported wife-beating or racial-lynching in ‘modern America,’ rebuked by nearly everyone else in the society, would be a moral monster.

    Anti-Semitism provides a useful illustration, I think. There certainly is a strain, albeit mild, of anti-Semitism in some of Chesterton’s writings. While he was quick to denounce the virulent form that began to develop in Germany shortly before his death, it is not unfair to characterize some of his writings as mildly anti-semitic. In this respect, he was not particularly unique for his cultural circumstance, and it was certainly not a prominent feature of this writing. Now, someone who wrote the type of things he did today would be considered morally odious. Some might refuse to read him on these grounds. Nevertheless, I think that it would be a mistake to refuse to read Chesterton now, because of a flaw that was endemic in his culture. There was nothing particularly distinctive about his mild anti-semitism, except perhaps that it was much milder than many of his contemporaries.

    Similarly, Obama has been raised in a cultural milieu in which support for ‘abortion rights’ is a cherished value, and a litmus test for respectability. Columbia, Harvard Law, the Democratic party, these are all places in which support for abortion rights is utterly unremarkable – that’s what the culture wars are about. To me, Obama’s support for abortion rights is rendered more understandable and less odious placed in this context – a context which does not exist for wife-beating or racial lynching in modern America. A similar point could be made about slavery – the Church implicitly supported it at various points in its history as Dr. Curp discussed in an essay several years ago. Not to put too fine a point on it, but is St. Paul repugnant for accepting slavery as part of the social order?

    I am making the point rather more strongly than I would wish, and of course abortion is a worse evil than mild anti-semitism or slavery. Analogies are difficult, and always fail in one respect or another. Nevertheless, I think Obama’s support for abortion rights is somewhere between Chesterton/anti-semitism, the Church/slavery situation, and the wife-beating, racial lynching analogy. Voting for Obama is not quite like voting for a person who supports wife-beating or racial lynching in modern America; his views, while extreme, are not outside the mainstream of modern political discourse.

    One of the reasons I cannot support the Democratic party in any respect is that it is dedicated to the propagation of an ‘abortion rights’ culture that requires its politicians (see, e.g. Kennedy/Kerry/Biden) to vote for abortion rights as a precondition for national office. I think the post draws attention to an important consideration, but perhaps overstates the case.

  • As Lincoln said about slavery in letter to A.G. Hodges on April 4, 1864, “If slavery isn’t wrong, nothing is wrong.” Abortion is an evil of such a vast magnitude, the deliberate destruction of the most innocent among us, that it makes a mockery of any pretense that our society has to observing a moral code. In a society where abortion is celebrated as a constitutional right, there is no evil that cannot, and will not, be embraced as a good depending upon passing intellectual fashions and popular prejudices. For Christians not to fight against abortion makes a sham of the faith that we say we have in an all-loving God who shed His blood for our salvation.

  • Hey, Vox Nova guys, I got this one covered for you:

    So wait. You’re telling me that a whole bunch of bloated government programs isn’t enough to cover up the systematic slaughter of children?

    A free government colonoscopy here or there definitely cancels out the aforementioned slaughter. As such, Obama is the candidate that more truly reflects Catholic social teachings. Plus, being an omnipotent being of light, he will go back in time and uninvade Iraq.

    For all this, a million or two dead babies a year is a small price to pay.

  • fus01,

    I think you make some solid points, and I’d meant to draw this out a little more in the post, but here, I think, is the key point: Moral evils are often not obviousl for what they are at the time. As you say, mild anti-semitism may not have seemed a distinctive quality in 1900.

    And yet, how is it that we develop the kind of total unacceptability of a moral evil that wife-beating or racial lynching have today? By directing moral opprobium at them even before there is anything resembling a consensus.

    In 1700, it would not have been seen as at all out of the ordinary in many parts of the Western World, for a man to beat his wife regularly. And yet, I would hope that if I lived then I would think much less of a man I knew to beat his wife — even if the overwhelming consensus of society was that this was not big deal.

    Similarly, I would say that a morally decent person should have been able to know in 1920 that racial lynchings were a hideously wrong act, and should have treated people who joked that apples and black men both looked good hanging on a tree appropriately.

    So while I wouldn’t say that Obama is a wicked person (actually, I don’t think that category exists to nearly the extent that people give it credit to — people do wicked things, but it’s not because they are wicked) I do think that he should be treated as if he is a wicked person unless he changes his position on this issue. The only way we can put things totally beyond the bounds of sociall acceptability is by treating them as if they already are — and then winning out in the cultural arena in the long run.

  • Darwin,

    Your point about whether Obama is wicked is an interesting one. However, as I understand these things, we as Christians believe that evil is not something that has an ontological exististance, but that it is merely the absence of good. In that case, Obama has more than demonstrated an absence of good. Wouldn’t that make him, by definition, an evil man?

    /Not trying to flame…this is an honest question.

  • Good post, Darwin. For many of us abortion is the primary issue because it is the most fundamental and glaring injustice of our state. The abortion issue is about the right to life, the fundamental reason for and justification of a state. It’s about being our brother’s keeper, caring for the poor and the least of these, and it’s about caring for the well being of women. Someone who can tolerate or call abortion a good or a right is someone who can go horribly wrong on any issue, if they’re right on another issue now, they’re only right by accident and it can change – for if it’s good to kill an innocent child in the womb because he is inconvenient, how much easier it is to kill handicapped, the infirm, or foreign populations.

    Unfortunately the victims of abortion are concealed from us. We hear not the screams, we see not the destruction of their bodies, we don’t get to give them a burial, we don’t see the destruction of the mother’s soul, of her body, of her psyche. I think this plays a role in how many Americans, including some Catholics, can be comfortable with the status quo or consider it a lesser of many issues.

    If all Catholics in this country, about a quarter of the voters, refused to vote for a pro-abortion politician, we’d be able to convert one party or both from the inside out, not just on the abortion issue, but all other life issues. But as it stands, as a body, we’re quite divided – torn between partisan politics and putting economic issues first. If I’m right, that as an unified bloc, us Catholics could easily transform this country on abortion, other right to life issues, and a host of justice and quality of life issues, it seems a great moral failure of the Church in America.

  • Heh, there were no comments when I started my reply. I’m sorry for having echoed a number of earlier points.

  • Darwin makes a great point: If you’re really against abortion (as some pro-Obama Catholics claim to be), it makes no sense to say, “There is currently no consensus against abortion, and therefore we should give up ever trying to form a consensus against abortion.” The latter half is a complete non sequitur. If you really think something is evil, and if you realize that society isn’t in agreement, then you should be working all the harder to bring society to a consensus.

  • It is not a matter of politics or divisiveness or “wedge issues”. It is simply a matter of moral decency.

    There is something else behind the life issues that makes this much more than single issue voting or wedge politics. Bill Clinton said it about abortion, but what the Democratic Party really wants is that religion be safe (that is, tamed), legal (not overturning the First Amendment any time soon, but…), and rare (let’s be more like Europeans and keep the churches as museum pieces, can’t we?).

    If you don’t believe this, then it’s probably because you’re not living in a place or running in the circles where this thought movement is taking shape. Obama and his allies aren’t saying this stuff in Ohio and Pennsylvania where they know it won’t play, but as the “clinging to religion and guns” soundbite captured, this kind of thing is playing well in NY, LA, and SF–in other words, in the circles of power where the platform of the Democratic Party is built.

    I live in Los Angeles. I also went to an “elite” university in the Bay Area. So I know all too well what is going on inside the belly of the beast. I see the electoral maps turning blue in “heartland” places like OH and PA, and all I can think is, “They have no idea.” All of those well-intentioned, working-class people (probably of a religious bent to some degree) voting Democratic because they think the Dems are for the little guy… All the while unaware that there is a latent agenda to wipe out religious practice as we know it in this country. Never forget just how much like Europe the Left wants us to become… That includes the dismal church attendance figures, too.

    It’s not going to happen overnight. It probably won’t happen in four years of an Obama administration, either. The groundwork is being laid, though. The life and family issues are the vanguard of the policy; first is the establishment of the “right” to abortion or gay marriage. Then there is the enforcement of these “rights” against religious conscience.

    Unless some of those well-intentioned religious people in the flyover states wake up and realize what the Left is all about in this country, we’re going to get the government we deserve.

  • “The only way we can put things totally beyond the bounds of social acceptability is by treating them as if they already are — and then winning out in the cultural arena in the long run.”

    I agree with the larger point, but it is a two-pronged effort. Pro-lifers need to:

    1) Emphasize that abortion is morally repugnant so that in the long-term this view predominates.
    2) Work with people in the mushy middle currently to enact whatever abortion restrictions are feasible in today’s political climate (that would be a much broader array of restrictions if Roe was overturned).

    I think that these goals are in tension to a certain extent. One cannot vehemently denounce people who support abortion only in cases of rape or incest, for example, then expect such people to enthusiastically join you in advancing the pro-life agenda. I guess this is as appropriate a forum as any to be making the strongest case, since it is a Catholic blog, but I think comparing Obama to someone in the modern U.S. who supports lynching is not entirely fair given the cultural context.

    That said, perhaps a stronger denunciation is necessary, given the apparent indifference of bloggers like Morning’s Minion to the fact that a vote for the Democratic party provides support to the strongest force for the legalization and normalization of abortion in American society.

  • Steve,

    Let me leave aside the question of whether evil is a deprivation (we agree on that, but I think it’s an irrelevant point to your question) for a second.

    I think one of the great modern errors is to classify persons as “good people” and “bad people” and then make assertions like, “No sane, well educated and good person would support X” as if “good people” is some sort of category. There’s some sort of an assumed underlying dualism of good vs. bad people which is then used to make “this must be basically okay because ‘good people’ support it” judgement.

    So my point was basically, I won’t want to attempt to classify Obama as a “bad person” in this modern parlance — I simply want to make it clear that he has endorsed bad positions and thus we should not vote for him.


    but I think comparing Obama to someone in the modern U.S. who supports lynching is not entirely fair given the cultural context.

    It’s perhaps a small distinction, but it is, I believe, and important one: I wouldn’t compare Obama to someone who supported lynching or wife-beating in modern America. I think there’s a big culpability gap there since, as you point out, he inhabits a culture where abortion is assumed to be a good.

    However, I think that we should, as Catholics, be no more willing to vote for him than for someone who supported lynching or wife-beating.

    That said, clearly you’re right that we need to work with those who partly agree with us. And in that sense, I’m quite open to voting for the “lesser of two evils” a fair amount of the time. (Lincoln was not, after all, an abolitionist — he just wanted to whittle away at slavery.)

  • Good point – I thought about mentioning Lincoln in the prior comment. The border states like KY were not included under the Emancipation Proclamation (“I hope to have God on my side, but I must have KY”). In any case, thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Catholics Continue Trending Toward McCain

Thursday, October 30, AD 2008

The latest poll* that came out today, the Fox News Poll, show’s that Catholics are still trending away from Senator Obama and towards Senator McCain.  The poll today show’s whiteCatholics are now evenly split, 46-46%, between Senator Obama and Senator McCain.  Previously in the Fox News Poll it showed Senator Obama with an 11 point lead among white Catholic voters over Senator McCain (emphasis mine).

The race has tightened in part because of changes in a couple of important swing voting groups. Independents back Obama by 5 percentage points today, down from a 9-point edge last week. Similarly, among white Catholics, Obama held an 11-point edge over McCain last week and today they split 46-46.


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2 Responses to Catholics Continue Trending Toward McCain

  • I heard an interesting theory today regarding the polls. Currently, the media actively supports Senator Obama. Many Americans don’t want to appear to be against him, so either indicate they are undecided, or perhaps that they support him. Historically, the polls have over counted democrats, both in pre vote polling and in exit polling. It will be curious to see how the actual voting goes this time. Pray for pro-life positions.

  • I heard the same theory except the caveat is that these are democrats that are still upset with Hilary not getting the nod, but tell all their liberal friends and pollsters they’re going to vote for Obama so they won’t get ostracized. But come election day they’re pulling the lever for McCain.

Let Those Who Have Eyes See

Friday, October 24, AD 2008

Doubtless many have seen this already, but if you haven’t, you should.  Cardinal Egan of New York published an impassioned plea with a simple message:

But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a “human being” is, what a “person” is, what it means to be “living,” and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us “Roe v. Wade” address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining “human being,” defining “person,” defining “living,” and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who “chooses” to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.

Read the whole thing.

H/T: Pro Ecclesia and Cranky Conservative

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Bishop Joseph Martino: "No Social Issue Has Caused The Death Of 50 million People"

Wednesday, October 22, AD 2008

27 Responses to Bishop Joseph Martino: "No Social Issue Has Caused The Death Of 50 million People"

  • Do I detect a double standard?

    For some people, the Catholic Church and its Bishops are just a convenient tool to be used in support of their pre-existing political ideology.

  • It’s interesting that the USCCB had near universal approval, but many (61) bishops have come out to ‘clarify’ the document in their own dioceses. Do the bishops actually read what they approve?

    What is a particular issue with me is that sometimes the USCCB is treated as an alternate or parallel national ‘magisterium’. Nowhere in canon law, tradition, scripture, et al do we have a need or a proscription of an alternate magisterium.

    Is the USCCB a way that some (spine-deficient) bishops use as cover to not use their teaching position to express secularly touchy issues? I think it is used in this way by some.

  • Botean’s statement on Iraq was in continuity with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB, and he did not speak against the USCCB. As I said in the quote of mine you cited, what Botean did was to give pastoral weight to the view of the USCCB. Martino’s statement, on the other hand, is simply an explicit rejection of the USCCB. It’s hardly a double-standard. The two situations are entirely different.

    The real double-standard is the one I pointed to in my post on Martino.

  • What is a particular issue with me is that sometimes the USCCB is treated as an alternate or parallel national ‘magisterium’. Nowhere in canon law, tradition, scripture, et al do we have a need or a proscription of an alternate magisterium.

    The USCCB is not an “alternative” magisterium, but it is indeed part of the magisterium because it is comprised of bishops:

    “22. In dealing with new questions and in acting so that the message of Christ enlightens and guides people’s consciences in resolving new problems arising from changes in society, the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference and jointly exercizing their teaching office are well aware of the limits of their pronouncements. While being official and authentic and in communion with the Apostolic See, these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium. For this reason the Bishops are to be careful to avoid interfering with the doctrinal work of the Bishops of other territories, bearing in mind the wider, even world-wide, resonance which the means of social communication give to the events of a particular region.

    Taking into account that the authentic magisterium of the Bishops, namely what they teach insofar as they are invested with the authority of Christ, must always be in communion with the Head of the College and its members,(83) when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops.”

  • Michael I.,

    First of all congratulations on your newborn child. This has got to be a wonderful and momentous time in your life.

    Second of all, don’t you think you’re clouding the issue with your double-speak (double-standard). Clearly Botean went beyond the USCCB letter. He put his own opinion and conflated with Church teaching to push his particular agenda. He has every right to do so, but it is just the same still a double standard.

  • Oh man, my bad. I wasn’t paying close enough attention and thought this was another website (American Papist). Had I known it was American Catholic I would not have replied to this post. Do accept my apologies. Won’t happen again.

  • Michael I.,

    By saying that “it is PART of the Magisterium” is to lend it the same teaching authority of the Magisterium.

    If you read Pope JP2’s motu proprio carefully it says, “these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium”.

    So any teaching document that comes out or approved by the USCCB is not part of the magisterium.

  • Second of all, don’t you think you’re clouding the issue with your double-speak (double-standard). Clearly Botean went beyond the USCCB letter. He put his own opinion and conflated with Church teaching to push his particular agenda.

    Yes, he went beyond it, but in continuity with it. What he did was to give specific pastoral guidance to his diocese based on 1) just war teaching and 2) the common view of the Vatican and the USCCB on the specifics of the Iraq War. His pastoral guidance was given in communion with the judgment of the Church. What Martino did was the direct opposite.

  • Good . . . your ideological pre-commitments often prevent any contribution to helpful or honest debate.

  • Michael I.,

    Thank you for your kind comments in comparison to American Papist.

  • By saying that “it is PART of the Magisterium” is to lend it the same teaching authority of the Magisterium.

    If you read Pope JP2’s motu proprio carefully it says, “these pronouncements do not have the characteristics of a universal magisterium”.

    So any teaching document that comes out or approved by the USCCB is not part of the magisterium.

    Tito, to say that the USCCB does not enjoy the authority of the “universal magisterium” means that its teaching is not applicable to the Church as a whole, but only to the Church in the region under discussion. This is obvious, because that is the entire purpose of bishops’ conferences, to teach authoritatively in a particular context. Not every USCCB teaching has the same weight, but USCCB teaching IS magisterial teaching in the context of the united states and “the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops.” Amazing that you can read the same words I copied there and still say that the USCCB is “not part of the magisterium.”

  • Michael I.,

    I agree that Botean’s letter is within Catholic teaching, but so did Bishop Martino’s extended comments on his particular letter did as well.

    I guess we just disagree on the semantics and/or rhetoric that was attached to the respective pronouncements.

  • Michael I.,

    Likewise. We both read the same motu proprio but come away with different understandings of the late Pope’s document.

    I think we just disagree on what the definition and the utility of what Magisterium is.

  • I agree that Botean’s letter is within Catholic teaching, but so did Bishop Martino’s extended comments on his particular letter did as well.

    Martino EXPLICITLY REJECTED the USCCB document in his comments at a parish session on Faithful Citizenship. Perhaps you missed that part.

    We both read the same motu proprio but come away with different understandings of the late Pope’s document.

    The motu proprio explicitly says that bishops’ conferences are part of the “authentic magisterium.”

    I think we just disagree on what the definition and the utility of what Magisterium is.

    I suggest you do further study on this. The magisterium is the teaching authority of the bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome. The definition is straightforward. It could even be said to be “non-negotiable,” to use language that you could understand.

  • I was just wondering. Are they going to show this video in Churches between now and November 4th?

    I stumbled upon this video it by accident and I doubt if most Catholics have seen it. Also, will there be a final “push” by priests in their homilies to vote for the “Culture of Life”?

  • Don’t have much time to discuss further, but I do believe Botean — as Michael Iafrate recognized in his original praise — went above and beyond the USCCB with respect to his statement on the war.

    Cardinal McCarrick, March 25 2003:

    Q: One-third of the U.S. soldiers are Catholic. For them, this war represents a moral dilemma.

    Cardinal McCarrick: Certainly. Because of this, as an episcopal conference we have been very careful not to classify their participation in the conflict as immoral, both because we are not up-to-date on all the facts that have led to the conflict, as well as because these young people do not have decision-making power.

    For Botean this was a clear certainty, and it follows — from his perspective — that the episcopal conference’s reluctance to declare participation on the part of US Catholics in the armed forces immoral was wrong.

    Botean didn’t explicitly challenge the USCCB’s statement, but he did go further.

  • I think it’s also important to be clear on Martino’s comments: Read in context (you approve of reading in context, do you not, Michael) he does not say that the USCCB document is wrong, but rather said forcefully that the USCCB document could not be used in order to undermine what he had said clearly and forcefully in his letter.

    I guess one can quibble with the way in which he chose to say that the USCCB document should not be used to undermine his teaching, but saying that he explicitly reject the document is wrong.

  • Michael I.,

    What Brendan/Darwin & Christopher said.

    Again, we can agree to disagree.

  • Cathy,

    We did post the video here on American Catholic.

    Go here:

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • We may be seeing the beginning of the end of the USCCB. Both as a formal organization and as a means of our shepherds to speak with one voice. The events of this year are pulling it apart- the presidential election, the likelihood of a radical pro-abortion advocate to the presidency, Pope Benedict’s lectureat their gathering, the babblings of Senator Biden and Speaker Pelosi. If 61 bishops have felt it necessary to make their own statements about abortion, citizenship and the like; if certain stellar prelates like Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Martino have been much bolder than their peers, the usual okey-doke collegiality may now be a thing of the past. Good riddance. The USCCB format may not work in an atmosphere where there will be- not might, will be- direct opposition by Obama Administration officials against the U.S. Church on Issue Number One. Different wars call for different weapons. The usual nuanced USCCB statement might be a popgun when bigger, more powerful weapons are needed.

  • I am not particularly a fan of the USCCB. It has ‘some’ useful functions, but in my opinion it has been a joke for quite awhile.

    It will be interesting how much tap-dancing the USCCB will be displaying if an Obama presidency materializes. How much certain bishops will speak up for Obama and not against his anti-life policies.

    The USCCB needs to reform or face futher scrutiny. A post may be forthcoming.

  • I guess one can quibble with the way in which he chose to say that the USCCB document should not be used to undermine his teaching, but saying that he explicitly reject the document is wrong.

    Indeed I am a fan of reading things in context. The “context” was a meeting about Faithful Citizenship in which a variety of views on who to vote for were expressed. Martino said that the USCCB document is “irrelevant.” I don’t see how you can say that this is not an explicit rejection of FS. You seem to be abusing the idea of reading “in context.”

    Tito and Gerard, the USCCB is not going anywhere. Paul VI proclaimed the importance of bishops conferences and JPII affirmed it.

  • Michael I.,

    I agree with you. I just want the USCCB to clear and coherent on Church teaching. Not muddy the water and drive over 60 bishops to issue ‘clarifications’ on documents.

  • Michael,

    Context means looking at more than one word. That he used the word “irrelevant” does not mean that he was rejecting Faithful Citizenship as a document. He has presented it as his judgement that there are currently no proportional reasons for voting for a pro-choice candidate — and has done so in a way which is certainly not contradictory to the structure of reasoning laid out by Faithful Citizenship. (I would disagree with some of the commenters above that there is anything wrong with FC as a document — other than being a bit discursive as a result of being committee written.)

    But I can certainly understand his frustration with people trying to use the document which he himself had a part in writing and approving against what he considers to be the obviousl conclusion to draw from it. (Just as you’ve been known to get a little hot under the collar when those who disagree with you about the Iraq War explain their reasoning via just war doctrine.) And I don’t think his words were in appropriate in that context.

    On the question of the USCCB which some of brought up above — I certainly don’t see reason to expect some sort of “crack up” for it in the coming years. Though the centuries, local hierarchies have always been pulled into the political and cultural turmoils of the day, and I don’t think its surprising that we see similar turmoils in the USCCB as they grapple with how to bring the US back towards something more resembling a culture of life.

  • But I can certainly understand his frustration with people trying to use the document which he himself had a part in writing and approving against what he considers to be the obviousl conclusion to draw from it.

    Actually, from what I understand, Martino decided not to attend the meeting at which FS was voted on.

  • Moral issues and Voting issues do not mix.
    To argue Morality, then to cleanly slip into Politics is an enormous and wrenching step that the Bishop wants us to believe is simple and easy.

    To vote pro-life is no guarantee that the candidate actually believes in the religious and moral import of the notion, nor that he has any intention of acting according to his beliefs.
    The Bishop seems to think that the label of pro-life being attached to a candidate is enough for the voter.
    An entire life does not render a voter capable of comprehending the complexities of God’s world; not to know why evil exists, not to know why we suffer; just dumb brutes pulling voting machine levers.

    Not to vote if a sufficiently adequate pro life candidate is not in the race means running the risk of allowing worse policies to become law under the leadership of elected officials with no input from voters who reflect on moral law.

    The Bishop’s letter is the product of a wondeful mind, which yet is simple to the point of dangerously allowing candidates under the label of pro life to be elected and to quite possibly foster pernicious policies against the general welfare.

13 Responses to Culture of Life

  • Thanks for a good post on Palin. For what it’s worth, I seem to have been banned by Henry over at Vox Nova, because I dared to say that he had no evidence for his claims that Alaskans “realize they had been had with [Palin]; when looking for a way out of corruption, they got someone WORSE.” Oh well, it’s all for the best; commenting there is like trying to wrestle with a pig.

  • You are more than welcome to comment here SB.

  • Don Mac- ad multos annos to you and your homies. When I sniffed out at Dale’s blog that you were part of this dance party, I rejoiced. Your wisdom and uncompromising nature on All Matters Life-Oriented have always been of great admiration by me. May you and the boys continue to cry aloud and spare not. 48.5 million lost souls are counting on us.

  • High words of praise Gerard for which I thank you. I have always stood in awe of your skill in whipping mere words into elegant creatures of your will in comboxes! We will win the struggle for the unborn no matter how long the road or how uphill the fight.

  • Dear Donald,

    Please don’t t think ill of me for saying this, but Sarah hasn’t always been a friend to the “special needs” community.

    Shortly after she took office, she slashed the SN budget by 60%.

    Perhaps, blessing her with a special needs child of her own was God’s way of making her see that our children really do matter.

    Based on her change of heart, I’d say that His plan is working beautifully.


    Adonya Wong

    Author/Autism Warrior
    “In My Mind: The World through the Eyes of Autism” (Tate Publishing, 2008)

  • Actually Ms. Wong she didn’t. Here is the truth of the matter:

  • Humorous post.

    My wife and I just had a kid yesterday under the Canadian system. Feel free to email me for details on what a “culture of life” really looks like. I’m willing to share.

  • Congrats on the new birth, Michael! Meant to say something at VN, but this works, too.

  • Congratulations on the child Catholic Anarchist! Kids, in my humble opinion, really do put so much zest in life! I know mine do, and I can say that even after my daughter, and youngest, tied with me in a “bowling for babies” event yesterday to raise funds for the crisis pregnancy center in my county. I figure that next year when she is 14 she will complete my humiliation on the bowling lanes!

  • What kind of sick mind dismisses this post as “humorous”?

  • Come on SB, give the Catholic Anarchist some slack. Anyone who can attempt to mix Catholicism and Anarchism with a straight face obviously is engaged in some sort of comedy enterprise that we in this frame of reality find difficult to comprehend.

  • What kind of sick mind dismisses this post as “humorous”?

    The humorous part is the insinuation that Sarah Palin is pro-life.

  • To insinuate that Palin is pro-life is not inherently any more humorous than insinuating that you are pro-life, Michael.

    You are in no lesser need (indeed, given the pride your studies give you — perhaps somewhat more) than far right wing pro-lifers of recalling that the definition of pro-life is not “agrees with me on every conceivable issue”.

Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

Monday, October 13, AD 2008

“Catholic Answers: Two books for voters who take their faith seriously”– Doug Kmiec, who has lately become something of a poster-boy and spokesman for ‘Catholics for Obama’, reviews Archbishop Chaput’s Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008) and A Nation for All How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division , by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley.

As to be expected, Kmiec finds a sympathetic ear in Korzen & Kelley, given their assertion that Catholics have become ‘preoccupied’ with abortion to the subordination of peace, the environment and welfare:

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5 Responses to Kmiec on Korzen, Kelly and Chaput – A Matter of Priorities

  • I cannot help but believe that these guys simply have no interest in abortion as an issue. I don’t believe their insistence that they are somehow pro-life, nor can I believe that they honestly think that Barack Obama will cure war and poverty in the same way that they criticize Republicans for not having ended abortion.

    At best, these guys may think that they’ll be pro-life later, when there ain’t-a gonna be no war no more, and when the poor are no longer with us. But I can’t help my suspicion that, even if they could achieve these things, they’d still want to uphold the “right” to an abortion.

    Their refusal to be taught by the bishops and the Holy Father on this issue is most telling. They are desperate to justify their vote for Obama and the new ardently pro-abortion regime he promises. Maybe they can sleep at night after spending their days giving such scandal, but I couldn’t.

  • I believe it is utter rationalization to vote for Democrats, who champion the culture of death in all its forms, because the Republicans haven’t eliminated abortion themselves. Congress operates on coalitions, and, Bush has only been able to get two Supremes through…both pro-life.

    Simply put, it is the ONLY issue this year…everything else pales next to the sacred duty of all Christians to uphold “personhood!” The Natural Law, upholds the dignity of each human life, but, for Christians, it is the Holy Trinity, ie., “three Divine Persons in communion,” which bestows ultimate dignity on human personhood. “Personhood” is the ultimate victim in every abortion.”

  • “Of course, voting for a “prolife” candidate does not guarantee that he will appoint Supreme Court justices who accept the church’s natural-law arguments against abortion. Nor does it mean that anti-Roe appointees will be approved by what is sure to be a Democratic Congress.”

    Is Kmiec trying to say that only “natural law” jurists will be anti-Roe?

    One of Kmiec’s arguments that really concerns me holds that we’ve been counting anti-Roe justices wrong.

    First, because the GOP is unwilling to make openly the case for overturning Roe, we have to judge anti-Roe justices by circumstantial evidence, like whether his wife is a strong pro-life woman.

    Even if a justice is putatively anti-Roe, he or she might not completely overturn Roe but only make minor piecemeal changes. The justice might be more committed to stare decisis or schools of jurisprudence that would mitigate his or her desire to fully overturn the decision.

    As for FOCA, I’d like to know if it has a realistic chance of passing even under a predominantly Democratic Congress.

  • But why is the GOP unwilling to openly make the case for overturning Roe?

    I think it is because this type of campaigning is easily misunderstood; people may misunderstand the Constitution and the law. It also might not be a very winning issue politically.

    I don’t think this is a good excuse, but it’s probably why they’re not doing it.

  • Kevin – FOCA has been attempted in the past. However, there is more support for it from members of Congress than ever more. The current legislation was introduced April 19, 2007. Planned Parenthood is actively campaigning for the bill. See:

    Given our country’s political climate at this time in history, it would be imprudent for Catholics to assume the FOCA is too radical to ever be passed.

    The house bill has already more than 107 cosponsors (106 Democrats, one Republican). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click here for the current list:

    The senate version introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.), had more than 19 Democratic cosponsors, including presidential candidate Barack Obama (IL) plus Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), and independent Joseph Lieberman (Ct.). To view an always-current list of co-sponsors, arranged by state, click

    This bill is so dangerious that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Secretariat has urged clear, vigilant, and persistent advocacy against the “Freedom of Choice Act” (or FOCA). The Pro-Life Secretariat has expressed grave concern to state Catholic conferences that FOCA would, if enacted and signed into law, sweep away hundreds of pro-life laws and policies at the state and federal levels! Check out the USCCB-approved alert released September 24, 2008:

    For a careful legal analysis of FOCA by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel, see:

    Cardinal Rigali recently warned “if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket.” See the September 30, 2008 press release from USCCB about FOCA:

Palin On Abortion In Johnstown, Pennsylvania-October 11

Saturday, October 11, AD 2008

For years pro-lifers have dreamed about a national candidate who is not only pro-life, but who actually talks about it, and not just to pro-life groups.  We have such a candidate in Sarah Palin.  Here is the text of the relevant portion of her remarks at a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania today:

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13 Responses to Palin On Abortion In Johnstown, Pennsylvania-October 11

  • One of my favorite quotes from Governor Palin:

    “as defenders of the culture of life”.

    One of the most despicable quotes I’ve heard from Senator Obama:

    “punished with a baby”

    This is the far left position that Senator holds that can be summed up nicely by the late “Senator Moynihan, a Democrat, described partial-birth abortion as “too close to infanticide.” Barack Obama thinks it’s a constitutional right, but he is wrong.”

    For a full disclosure, I’m voting for the McCain/Palin ticket.

    With that, I believe this rally today is the turning point of the election right now for the Pro-Life ticket to pull ahead of the Pro-Abortion ticket for the POTUS.

  • If McCain wins, and in the teeth of adverse polls I believe he still has a decent chance, it will be because he was dragged across the finish line by Sarah Palin.

  • Donald,

    I have no delusions of the predicament that the McCain/Palin ticket find themselves in. I agree, if McCain wins, it’s because Palin dragged him across the finish line.

    Regardless of the outcome, we need to remember not to make the mistake of nominating McCain (of course if we can nominate the Democrat, we would try, but it isn’t happening because of the party’s embrace of the culture of death). We should definitely follow up with Palin as a nominee. And ram it through the primaries in 2012.

  • I’m really glad to see some solid words out of Palin on this topic. Goodness knows, if there is someone who has the standing to say them, it is she. And I hope they win — though if the stock market doesn’t stabilize fast I don’t see how it’ll happen.

    But I’ve got to admit that I’m not clear yet how Palin would be as presidential material. We’ll have to see how she develops on the national stage over the next four or eight years — win or lose.

    Certainly, we’re desperately short of solid conservative talent on the national scene right now, but right now she strikes me more as a potentially solid number two than top of ticket material.

  • What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this? And if still chosen, how roasted would she have been? A pro-life Catholic candidate would not be allowed…..? As far as ever being #1, who’s in support would be the deal maker or breaker.

  • -What if…..Palin were Catholic? Would she have been in this?-

    That is an interesting question. I think the answer is absolutely not. There is no way any candidate would have picked a pro-life Catholic to run with him. Palin’s selection was surprising enough, but a pro-life Catholic would suggest the “bowing to Rome”, which would drive away liberals as well as conservatives.

  • Actually two pro-life Catholics were seriously considered for Veep: Governor Jindal of Louisiana and Senator Brownback of Kansas. Jindal is quite impressive, only 37, and I think he will ultimately be not only the GOP
    nominee for President, but will one day hold that office. A Palin-Jindal or Jindal-Palin ticket would be my idea of political heaven!

  • Criticism of Senator Obama’s record on abortion is needed, but we also need pro-life leaders who can effectively negotiate the twists and turns of politics in their representation of the unborn and who will make building a culture of life a top priority. We need pro-life leaders who will give the life issues the kind of attention that President Bush has given to terrorism and the Iraq War. How precisely would a McCain/Palin administration defend the unborn when faced with a Democratic controlled congress and a culture that largely celebrates choice? What priority would they give to ending abortion?

  • Donald,

    That would be the strongest ticket ever! I pray for that day!

  • This is one of the many reason this woman rocks!!!!!!!!!