Now This Is An Archbishop!

Friday, January 30, AD 2009

archbishop-burke

Hattip to our commenter Phillip.  When Raymond Burke was Archbishop of Saint Louis he was a tireless advocate of the unborn and also tireless in taking to task those who supported abortion.  His elevation to be head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in Rome has not diminshed his zeal for the pro-life cause.  In an interview in October of last year he stated that the Democrat party risked transforming itself into the party of death.

Continue reading...

36 Responses to Now This Is An Archbishop!

  • Huzzahs to Archbishop Burke!

    We really need to rid ourselves of such documents like Faithful Citizenship and the Seamless Garment. They do nothing for particular bishops that choose to hide themselves behind official-looking USCCB documents and not stand up for the Truth. They want to remain popular amongst their worldly friends. Other bishops simply disdain the pro-life position altogether because it doesn’t sync up with their favorite party, ie, the Democratic Party (or as Archbishop Burke calls them, the future party of death).

    Too many times has the USCCB and many of their documents been used as a parallel magesterium to justify their liberal agenda’s. It’s gotten to the point where the word “pastoral” is turning a dirty word. A code word for, “the hell am I going to tow the line of the teachings of Jesus, I have compassion! I dare not teach the Truth!”

    In the end, the bishops of each diocese need(s) to step up to the bat and get away from the USCCB.

  • The USCCB- now an inefficient entity in the manner of GM, Citi, too many city and state governments. GIGO here- garbage in, garbage out. Years of blah blah blah statements by the entity clearly contributed to the Catholic majority who voted for the Presidential candidate with the clear, unyielding pro-abortion bias. USCCB was useful during the post-JFK years- the ascending of ethnic Catholics into Americano Mainstream. It incorporated the Don’t Make Waves sentiment of most Americano Catlicks- get along go along don’t be too bold about speaking out. Thus the blah many of our priests deliver posing as Sunday homilies. Thus a culture deprived of the clear, solid teaching that the Church provides on these and other matters. Thus the rhetorical dancing of Cardinal McCarrick, retired D.C. archbishop, surrounding Liveshot Kerry’s fitness to receive Holy Communion. Nuanced beyond anyone’s ability to deduce, as it turns out. The conference is largely a welfare state of career laypeople moving the bishops into moderate-lib standings. I work for the welfare state in PA. I cannot tell you clearly if my position will be intact six months hence. Perhaps we should provide this kind of not so gentle persuasion to the USCCB and its support team. In tough economic times, the USCCB may be a luxury that the Church in the U.S. of A. cannot afford.

  • Gerard E.,

    Amen brother. Amen.

  • Gerard E.,

    How about puting up a pic on your ID. You comment enough to decorate our sidebar.

    Maybe a saint.

  • T- can I use the template for Huckleberry Hound, my childhood idol?

  • Gerard E.,

    You can use whatever you want, just as long as small kids can view it.

  • “But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.””

    Some guy in another thread asked my opinion on Archbishop Burke’s statement on Faithful Citizenship. As a Catholic who wholeheartedly agrees with the Seamless Garment vision of what “pro-life” means, I actually agree with the basic idea that Burke expresses. He is right: not all “social justice” issues are of equal weight. He is right that the killing of innocent and defenseless human life is a unique category. The problem comes in when he and other Catholics assume that the unborn are the only innocent and defenseless persons being killed in the world today. Some would extend that to the elderly and the dying, of course. When Burke excludes, for example, “the war in Iraq,” does it not occur to him that 1) innocent and defenseless people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war and 2) if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war. Even economic matters involve the killing of innocent people; not, perhaps, in the direct, fast way that abortion or bombings do, but the slow death of hunger and poverty. These persons, too, are innocent and defenseless.

    So I agree with Burke, but only to the extent that his argument is not used to exclude painfully obvious cases of the killing of innocent persons for which american Catholics are responsible.

    We really need to rid ourselves of such documents like Faithful Citizenship and the Seamless Garment.

    You obviously have already done the individualist Catholic thing and have rid yourself of those documents, because you have repeatedly expressed your hatred of them. Respectfully, please leave the rest of us who take seriously the Church’s teaching on these matters alone.

    Too many times has the USCCB and many of their documents been used as a parallel magesterium to justify their liberal agenda’s. (sic)

    As I have pointed out to you before, the statements of the USCCB are part of the teaching exercise of the Church, and are thus part of the Magisterium, albeit with a particular kind of authority. You cannot simply dismiss them by charging that they are used as a “parallel Magisterium.”

    You can use whatever you want, just as long as small kids can view it.

    God forbid children read this blog!

  • Michael I.,

    The USCCB is not a parallel magisterium and nowhere do we as Catholics have to be adherents. Only to Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium are Catholics obliged to taking instruction from, not some episcopal national conference.

    God forbid children read this blog!

    You read this blog don’t you? 😉

  • Michael,

    He is right that the killing of innocent and defenseless human life is a unique category. The problem comes in when he and other Catholics assume that the unborn are the only innocent and defenseless persons being killed in the world today. Some would extend that to the elderly and the dying, of course. When Burke excludes, for example, “the war in Iraq,” does it not occur to him that 1) innocent and defenseless people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war and 2) if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war. Even economic matters involve the killing of innocent people; not, perhaps, in the direct, fast way that abortion or bombings do, but the slow death of hunger and poverty. These persons, too, are innocent and defenseless.

    This is were you and the rest of your social justice liberal friends are off base, and being misled by a false notion of the “Seamless Garment”. Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    Matt 5:19 He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.

  • The USCCB is not a parallel magisterium and nowhere do we as Catholics have to be adherents.

    Of course they are not a parallel magisterium. They are part of the Magisterium. I set you straight on this some time ago, citing JPII on the matter. Did JPII not sink in? Is JPII a parallel magisterium too? Have you “rid yourself” of everything JPII said that you don’t like?

  • Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    The Church does not limit the deliberate killing of innocent human life to abortion and euthanasia alone.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    I know the documents well and I do not reject anything about them.

  • Michael I.,

    I highly doubt that the USCCB is part of the Magisterium and the way you interpret I don’t find that wording anywhere.

  • Did you read what I posted some time ago in our discussion on this very blog on this topic?

  • Michael I.,

    If I did I forgot about it.

    Post me the link to your comments or just tell me the document that you are referencing by JP2. Or just post it here in its entirety.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

    Matt: Abp. Burke, and the Church are very clear that it is “deliberate” killing of innocent life which is intrinsically evil and can never be defended, and that it is especially heinous in the case of abortion and euthanasia.

    The Church does not limit the deliberate killing of innocent human life to abortion and euthanasia alone.

    Ummm… why are you throwing out red herrings? I said it was especially heinous.

    YOU know that the documents bear this out, yet you continue, to obstinately reject these teachings and repeat disseminate your error among the faithful.

    I know the documents well and I do not reject anything about them.

    SO you acknowledge that:
    1. The deliberate killing of innocent life is intrinsically evil, however the unintentional killing, or policies which may result indirectly in loss of life is not.

    2. Abortion and euthanasia are the most serious forms of killing because they attack they target the most innocent and defenseless?

    3. Economics and other prudential matters as to how best to deal with poverty, hunger, maintaining peace, are subject to a variety of opinion as to how best to deal with them.

    If you do, please stop disregarding these teachings in order to try and further your personal inclinations.

    Finally the USCCB is not endowed with doctrinal authority in matters of faith and morals, so it is not magisterial as such. The college of bishops in communion with the Holy See constitute the magisterium.

    This document may help you to conform your understanding of the place of the national councils of bishops in the Church.

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

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

  • I believe I posted excerpts from Apostolos Suos. You, and others, are absolutely right to recognize the limited nature of the authority of statements by Episcopal Conferences. But you are wrong to imply that we should “rid ourselves” of them. The authority of a particular document varies depending on a number of criteria. If the document expresses the position of the universal magisterium (as opposed to a local expression of the magisterium) then its authority obviously has more weight. From the passages below, it seems that the acknowledgment of the “limited” nature of the authority of local magisterial teaching is not meant to give the faithful in that area an “out,” so to speak, but to prevent one local church’s teaching from simply being transferred to another, i.e. from saying that the teaching of the u.s. bishops has authority for the church in France, for example.

    It is important to distinguish between different parts and levels of magisterial teaching, and I don’t think you are doing so. It sounds to me like you are using “magisterium” to refer only to papal teaching, when in fact 1) “magisterium” refers to the teaching office of the pope and the bishops 2) there is “universal” magisterial teaching as well as localized expressions of magisterial teaching.

    As far as Faithful Citizenship goes, if you are intending to “rid yourself” of its teaching authority, it seems to me the burden of proof is on YOU to show how its exercise of the teaching office (magisterium) is in disharmony with that of the universal magisterium.

    Some relevant passages:

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

    21. The joint exercise of the episcopal ministry also involves the teaching office. The Code of Canon Law establishes the fundamental norm in this regard: “Although they do not enjoy infallible teaching authority, the Bishops in communion with the head and members of the college, whether as individuals or gathered in Conferences of Bishops or in particular councils, are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the faithful entrusted to their care; the faithful must adhere to the authentic teaching of their own Bishops with a sense of religious respect (religioso animi obsequio)”.(79) Apart from this general norm the Code also establishes, more concretely, some areas of doctrinal competence of the Conferences of Bishops, such as providing “that catechisms are issued for its own territory if such seems useful, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See”,(80) and the approval of editions of the books of Sacred Scripture and their translations.(81)

    The concerted voice of the Bishops of a determined territory, when, in communion with the Roman Pontiff, they jointly proclaim the catholic truth in matters of faith and morals, can reach their people more effectively and can make it easier for their faithful to adhere to the magisterium with a sense of religious respect. In faithfully exercising their teaching office, the Bishops serve the word of God, to which their teaching is subject, they listen to it devoutly, guard it scrupulously and explain it faithfully in such a way that the faithful receive it in the best manner possible.(82) Since the doctrine of the faith is a common good of the whole Church and a bond of her communion, the Bishops, assembled in Episcopal Conference, must take special care to follow the magisterium of the universal Church and to communicate it opportunely to the people entrusted to them.

    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. However, if this unanimity is lacking, a majority alone of the Bishops of a Conference cannot issue a declaration as authentic teaching of the Conference to which all the faithful of the territory would have to adhere, unless it obtains the recognitio of the Apostolic See, which will not give it if the majority requesting it is not substantial. The intervention of the Apostolic See is analogous to that required by the law in order for the Episcopal Conference to issue general decrees.(84) The recognitio of the Holy See serves furthermore to guarantee that, in dealing with new questions posed by the accelerated social and cultural changes characteristic of present times, the doctrinal response will favour communion and not harm it, and will rather prepare an eventual intervention of the universal magisterium.

  • Michael I.,

    The national episcopal conferences are disciplinary organizations and not defined doctrinally or dogmatically.

    I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

  • Michael I,

    You, and others, are absolutely right to recognize the limited nature of the authority of statements by Episcopal Conferences. But you are wrong to imply that we should “rid ourselves” of them.

    We are completely within our rights as Catholics to judge that the USCCB is not a good organization, and it’s fruits have shown this. There is no doctrine or dogma that prevents us from opposing it’s continued existence.

  • SO you acknowledge that:
    1. The deliberate killing of innocent life is intrinsically evil, however the unintentional killing, or policies which may result indirectly in loss of life is not.

    Yes, I agree with this, but you are talking about two abstract categories. It is far from clear where to draw the line in many cases. Of course abortion is deliberate. Accidentally hitting someone with your car when you slide on ice is unintentional. The massive amounts of “collateral damage” involved in the u.s. bombing of Iraq involves both intentional and unintentional killing. Even those cases where the killing is claimed to be “unintentional” by the u.s. govt’ is often bogus because care is not taken to prevent preventable killing from occurring, and in such cases responsibility is greater. If I have a gun in my home and I am careless with how I handle the gun and recklessly use it without regard for who will be hurt, I am responsible even if I could somehow claim that shooting someone was “unintentional.”

    In short, the intentional/unintentional distinction is sometimes obvious. Most of the time it is not obvious.

    2. Abortion and euthanasia are the most serious forms of killing because they attack they target the most innocent and defenseless?

    Abortion is certainly a special category and is in some sense the most grave form of killing, absolutely. I’m not sure about the categories “most innocent” and “most defenseless.” When it comes to killing, the Church thinks about “innocence” in terms of whether or not there is some justification for killing the person (i.e. self-defense), not in terms of the person’s general moral state. Bombing an entire city, for example, IS killing innocent people in the sense of killing people when there is no justification for doing so, not in the sense that everyone in the city is sinless. It sounds to me like you are using “innocent” in the latter sense.

    3. Economics and other prudential matters as to how best to deal with poverty, hunger, maintaining peace, are subject to a variety of opinion as to how best to deal with them.

    Of course I agree with this.

    If you do, please stop disregarding these teachings in order to try and further your personal inclinations.

    I’m not disregarding any of it. The seriousness with which the Church takes the killing of human beings is deep and complex. It is much deeper and more complex than you are willing to admit.

  • I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.

  • I’m completely entitled to my opinion that they should be severely limited in scope, not part of the Magisterium, and possibly even eliminated.

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.,

    While JPII and Paul VI, at least publicly have not called for the elimination of or severe limitation on the episcopal conferences…. they most definitely have suggested that to believe such is contrary to the teaching of the Church.

  • “not suggested” that is.

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

    I sincerely enjoyed the conversation and you certainly got me thinking (hard). Unfortunately I need to leave for confessions and Mass at the beautiful Holy Rosary Church (5:15pm on 3617 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002 — for those that are near and want to receive Jesus).

    Have a great weekend!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • May I point out the use of the word “unanimous” with reference to the statements of such as USCCB. There is no single authority – no pope – in the USCCB.

    And I have heard-tell that many of the statements are drawn up by the employees of the conference. They are a kind of committee agreement. [NB: the committee color is mud].

    The teaching authority of the bishops – of each bishop – is limited to his diocese.

  • And I have heard-tell that many of the statements are drawn up by the employees of the conference.

    This is the same with many papal statements.

  • But papal statements must be approved by one authoritative person: the pope.

  • Mr. Iafrate, you wrote:
    if the war is unjust, as the Church declared over and over, then the killing involved necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war.

    Uh, no. As the CCC n.2309 notes, after explaining the conditions for a just war: “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.” In other words, while the conditions are absolute, there is some leeway in their application, which moreover is the task of those in government. IOW, the Church doesn’t get to make the call.

    Also, you claim people are dying by the hundreds of thousands in the war

    Iraq Body Count lists just under 100,000 civilian deaths for the nearly 6-year period of the war, working out to approx 17,000 per year. Even assuming that all these were deliberate — certainly not true — more infants are murdered by abortionists, in the US alone, in a single week than the civilians killed in the Iraq war in a year.

    And that’s not taking into account the particular conditions that Pope John Paul says makes abortion especially grave.

    The reversal of the Mexico City Policy means that US Aid money will be funneled into abortion-promoting organizations, with the certain result that more babies than ever will be killed abroad.

  • In other words, while the conditions are absolute, there is some leeway in their application, which moreover is the task of those in government. IOW, the Church doesn’t get to make the call.

    The Church reserves the right to “make the call” on EVERYTHING. We do NOT give that kind of authority to the state.

    Funny, how in another thread you were saying to leave certain things to the Church and not the state because the state shouldn’t have that power. Here you are arguing just the opposite.

    Christ and his Church are the only authority for Catholics. Not the state.

    Even assuming that all these were deliberate — certainly not true — more infants are murdered by abortionists, in the US alone, in a single week than the civilians killed in the Iraq war in a year.

    So what? Does this make the deaths of human beings due to an UNJUST WAR less serious? Of course not.

  • Michael,

    necessarily involves “innocent persons,” persons who are innocent of whatever the claims are that lead to the war.

    this is not true at all. An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    The Church reserves the right to “make the call” on EVERYTHING. We do NOT give that kind of authority to the state.

    This may be true, but she did not take this step in this case, the comments by the Holy Father and various bishops are not in any way given as absolute and definitive. They would never do so without knowing what the president knows.

    Funny, how in another thread you were saying to leave certain things to the Church and not the state because the state shouldn’t have that power. Here you are arguing just the opposite.

    Now you’re arguing with the Church??
    “The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.”

  • Michael,

    one more thing, a question. Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    The reason I ask, is that every time the subject of abortion comes up, you bring up the Iraq war… every time.

  • An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    You are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    Killing “enemy” soldiers in a war that does not meet just war requirements is still MURDER even if it is justified by the state as a “means of neutralizing them as a threat.” What part of the Church’s authoritative just war teaching do you not understand, or rather, REJECT?

    Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    I agree with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB (and the rest of the worldwide Catholic communion, apart from nationalistic american Catholics) that the Iraq War did not meet just war requirements. Thus, the killing taking place in that war is unjustified and, thus, murder. I believe that the killing involved in the holocaust of abortion is also, obviously unjustified, and thus, murder. So yes, because I stand with the Church’s judgment on the Iraq War, I think they are equivalent in the sense that they are both murder. They are not equivalent in a technical sense because they involve different types of killing and different types of political options which contribute to them.

    The reason I ask, is that every time the subject of abortion comes up, you bring up the Iraq war… every time.

    I didn’t bring it up. Burke did. I was referring to his statement.

  • Michael J. Iafrate,
    An unjust war could involve only the killing of men involved with serious evil, their deaths may be unjust, but that doesn’t make them innocent. The justness of a war does not prevent innocent’s from being killed at all. Even enemy soldiers may be innocent of any sin, and yet they are justly killed if that is the only possible means of neutralizing them as a threat.

    You are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    Killing “enemy” soldiers in a war that does not meet just war requirements is still MURDER even if it is justified by the state as a “means of neutralizing them as a threat.” What part of the Church’s authoritative just war teaching do you not understand, or rather, REJECT?

    Nothing in your response contradicts what I said, nor does anything in my statement contradict Church teaching. It was your original statement that the justness of a war affects the innocence of any particular casualties, which it does not.

    Do you believe that the Iraq war is a moral equivalent to the holocaust of abortion?

    I agree with the judgment of the Vatican and the USCCB (and the rest of the worldwide Catholic communion, apart from nationalistic american Catholics) that the Iraq War did not meet just war requirements. Thus, the killing taking place in that war is unjustified and, thus, murder. I believe that the killing involved in the holocaust of abortion is also, obviously unjustified, and thus, murder. So yes, because I stand with the Church’s judgment on the Iraq War, I think they are equivalent in the sense that they are both murder. They are not equivalent in a technical sense because they involve different types of killing and different types of political options which contribute to them.

    Ok, I’m sorry if you didn’t understand the question. Let me define what I mean by “moral equivalence”. I don’t mean that they are the same thing in a technical sense, it is that they are the morally equivalent, meaning neither is more or less morally evil. Let me use an example that might help. 6 million jews were killed in the shoah, merely for the fact they were jewish. I believe that is far worse than say, when North Korea invaded South Korea, where hundreds of thousands died, it is less evil in that it’s intentions where not sppecifically to cause those deaths, that most of the deaths were armed military personnel, and the easiest one, it was a small percentage of those who were killed in the shoah. I believe it would be morally repugnant to minimize the shoah by comparing it to a relatively lesser evil.

    So, do you consider the holocaust of abortion (40 Million worldwide annually) to be morally equivalent to the Iraq war (WHICH IS BY THE WAY…. OVER)?

  • Again, you are completely missing my point regarding what it means when the Church talks about killing innocent persons.

    I don’t mean that they are the same thing in a technical sense, it is that they are the morally equivalent, meaning neither is more or less morally evil.

    So, do you consider the holocaust of abortion (40 Million worldwide annually) to be morally equivalent to the Iraq war (WHICH IS BY THE WAY…. OVER)?

    Yes, they are morally equivalent. Numbers do not enter into it on the level of moral equivalence. Perhaps it might on the level of practical political action, but that is another question. I would also point out that the Shoah is also over, so even if the Iraq War were “over” (and it’s obviously not — what the hell are you smoking?) I’m not sure what the point is. When something is “over,” that means we should take it less seriously? Obviously not, or you would not invoke the Shoah as part of your argument.

  • Michael,

    Yes, they are morally equivalent.

    That’s what I figured you’d say.

    Iraq War were “over” (and it’s obviously not — what the hell are you smoking?)

    What have YOU been smoking? It’s over. Iraq has had several election cycles, they are largely responsible for security, the US has started to withdraw to bases in order to complete the transition and leave the country.

    When something is “over,” that means we should take it less seriously?

    No, but those babies are still being murdered daily, and we ought to take it more urgently (even if you believe it’s somehow no more heinous than the Iraq war, in contradiction to the words of Abp. Burke and the Holy Father).

Counting Bishops

Friday, October 31, AD 2008

Last week I linked to a Deal Hudson article on Inside Catholic where he threw out the claim that 61 bishops had thus far issued “clarifications” of Faithful Citizenship in which they emphasized the preeminance of the abortion issue in this upcoming election. 

Michael Iafrate of Vox Nova responded with a post entitled “Misleading numbers, misleading claims” in which he remarked with characteristic restraint:

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Counting Bishops

  • What is this “Catholic barfosphere”? Would it be safe to say that the “Catholic barfosphere” would be comprised of Mogs rather than people? I have yet to find this loose association of which you speak.

  • Michael’s meaning in using the phrase (unless it’s simply meant to be slightly derisive towards all other Catholic bloggers) is obscure to me.

    Of course, there is always the little known Gnostic sect of Barfarians who held tenaciously to an alternate reading of Genesis in which “God breathed upon the waters” was rendered “God hurled upon the waters”. Their other favorite line was of course about the lukewarm being “spewed forth” by God — leading to their statement of faith, “By out lukewarmess we shall be known, and God shall spew us into a new creation.”

    I shudder to think that Michael would have become mixed up with such people, but I suppose it is always possible.

    😉

  • Let us pray that Michael has not become mixed up with such people.

A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

The most accurate poll from the 2004 presidential election, the Investors Business Daily (IDB) poll, shows a phenomenal 20 point switch towards Senator McCain among Catholic voters .  In the previous IDB tracking poll Senator Obama once held a commanding 11 point advantage among Catholic voters.  In the latest tracking poll Senator McCain now has a nine (9) point lead among Catholic voters over Senator Obama.  Senator McCain leads Senator Obama among Catholic voters 48% to 39%.

Continue reading...

15 Responses to A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

  • I wouldn’t trust IBD too much. Further down that first screenshot you can see that they have McCain ahead 74-22% among 18-24 year olds. Yeah right. Besides, any time you see a 20 point swing in any demographic it’s got to be exaggerated by polling error.

  • I agree with you. I noted that at the bottom of the my post.

    The point that I was trying to make that there is some sort of shift towards Senator McCain among Catholic voters.

  • When I was driving home today, Huge Hewitt was saying the same thing… about the 20 point shift in the Catholic Vote. He was on CNN with Wolfe Bitlzer and he said what you were saying, and when they left; the CNN commentators were laughing at him.

  • There is a note that says that the 18-24 subsection is not reliable due to the small sample size taken, presumably because most don’t vote, they don’t poll many.

  • A couple of points, the IBD poll is the poll that most insiders closely watch. The young vote for McCain, as noted by Jeremy, receives an asterisk because there weren’t enough young people surveyed. However, keep in mind that despite the mainstream media telling you that every young person is going to vote Obama-Biden, many young people aren’t in the tank for Senator Obama. Finally, check out the 1972 election. Senator McGovern had huge crowds and lots of young people at them. Yet, Senator McGovern lost 49 states and the 18-30 vote.

  • I am so glad to see this trend. Sometimes, I think to myself, ‘What’s wrong with us Catholics?’ Then I see this trend and I see we are voting more and more pro-life. Thank goodness!

    You know, every day, we get bombarded with the MSM telling us that “it’s over” and Obama will win. It can be very depressing, but I believe we must not give up and we must continue to fight for life. I really think McCain has a shot and we cannot give up! I pray the rosary every day and ask God to help this country elect the leader that follows in His ways.

  • My personal opinion is that Senator Obama has a 3-4 point lead. But the undecided’s are leaning towards Senator McCain but still trying to figure out if they see something in Senator Obama that the mainstream media continues to spew out worth voting for.

    It’s going to be a nail-biter and it could go either way. In no way do I believe that Senator Obama is going to win or win in a landslide. If he does win, it’ll be something similar to the 2000 election. Except there won’t be recounts, it’s that the contests in so many states, especially Pennsylvania and Ohio, are going to be so close that the networks won’t announce a winner until the wee hours of the morning of November 5.

  • This is great news; and I agree, the bishops deserve the credit.

  • I can not believe that catholics are swinging for McCain. The republicans have used this issue to get votes from conservative christians. I am against abortion but voting Republican is not going to get rid of it. There are 5 catholic supreme court justices right now and we still have abortion. Abortion is not going to to away and voting for McCain is not going to help it. You have to look at all the issues and see what each candidate going to do but basing your vote on the abortion issue is voting for something that is not going to happen.

  • If Catholics go for McCain, but McCain loses anyway, what will happen to all those media stories about how critical the Catholic vote is?

    It’s common filler for news stories to note how Catholics have gone with the presidential winner in the past X elections. Will the filler change, or will the news stories just stop running?

  • Patrick,

    The Pro-Life movement is fighting an uphill battle. Just because there ‘may’ be 4-5 SCOTUS justices that ‘may’ potentially turn over Roe v. Wade doesn’t mean that it happens automatically. This takes time, but unfortunately we live in a culture where people expect instant gratification.

    That is why prayer and fasting is so critical. This disciplines us in our fortitude for the right to life as well as helps us adjust to changing circumstances, especially if Senator Obama wins, to better cope with.

    Your argument is a straw man. Though your concern is legitimate.

  • I can not believe that catholics are swinging for McCain.

    Yes, I have seen reports saying the exact opposite.

    It’s common filler for news stories to note how Catholics have gone with the presidential winner in the past X elections.

    And really, it’s only filler, considering the almost 50-50 split we had during the last election. Catholics “went with the winner” but by what, 2% or something?

  • 0bama’s stay at the hate church that makes all of Christianity look loony is another item to consider. The swing to McCain should be much larger.

  • Daledog,

    Let’s pray and fast that’s true.

  • Pingback: Catholics Continue Trending Toward McCain « The American Catholic

Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

The dotCommonweal blog links to a Vox Nova post by Mornings Minion reacting to the clarifications which various bishops have issued to their dioceses on the USCCB document Faithful Citizenship and its application in the coming election. However, there are clearly some serious problems with MM’s analysis, and I think it’s worth looking at them in order to try to understand what our bishops are saying during this election season. MM opens provocatively:

In recent weeks, we are seeing something of a backlash against the USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship document– the most articulate and theologically sophisticated treatise of these issues by the US bishops ever– mainly by the usual suspects, but also by a small but vocal minority of bishops.

More than sixty bishops have thus far issued letters or statements in which they have provided further guidance on how Catholics should apply their judgement to the principles articulated in Faithful Citizenship — mostly with a mind to emphasizing the important of “life issues”. The Faithful Citizenship document was approved by 250 of the bishops in session, so clearly, the document as it stands represents a wide consensus of the Catholic bishops in the United States. And yet, with more than sixty bishops issuing their own explanatory documents, there is clearly some sort of disagreement going on.

Continue reading...

50 Responses to Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

  • Bravo!!!

  • I believe the Bishop of Scranton is correct. It is my understanding that the USCCB as an entity, while a “fraternal” organization, has no teaching authority within the hierarchy of the Church and its statements, while certainly something to be looked to for guidance, are not official doctrinal statements of the Church.

  • Spot on, as always. Their is clearly a backlash going on, but it’s not against Faithful Citizenship. The backlash we’re seeing is against Doug Kmiec, Nicolas Cafardi, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and yes, Morning’s Minion and all their ilk.

    What a shame that they so refuse to be taught by our bishops.

  • It is my understanding that the USCCB as an entity, while a “fraternal” organization, has no teaching authority within the hierarchy of the Church and its statements, while certainly something to be looked to for guidance, are not official doctrinal statements of the Church.

    You are wrong. The USCCB is part of the authentic magisterium but it has limited teaching authority:

    “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.”

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

  • I agree with you, Michael, that people should not minimize the importance of the national bishops’ conferences.

    I do find myself a bit curious, though, from the Apostolos Suos quote, whether a document released by the USCCB as a whole is necessarily more authoritative than one issued by a single bishop or by a smaller group of bishops — assuming, of course, that both are fully in communion with pope and the wider Church.

    All,

    Ironically, not five minutes after posting this I received in my inbox yet another email from Catholic Democrats, in which they cited the USCCB letter which I posted about yesterday and then claimed that this made Obama a perfect fit for Catholics since he advocated both restricting abortion and services for mothers in crisis pregnancies. This is darkly ironic, as Obama has yet to explicitly endorse anywhere in his policy positions on his website any restrictions on abortion — and indeed oversaw a revision of the Democratic Party Platform which removed any language suggesting that abortion was something which should be avoided. Nor has he presented many concrete proposals to help women in crisis pregnancies.

    The bishops in their letter rightly called for a both and approach — which is something which those who truly value life on all sides of the political spectrum should be able to cooperate on. But using this both/and approach to advocate for a candidate who takes a neither/nor position is not only dishonest, but morally revolting.

    It is this kind of blatant mis-use of the bishops’ statements which is, quite frankly, getting rather hard to take this year.

  • Obama fever is hitting its peak

  • Pingback: Misleading numbers, misleading claims « Vox Nova
  • Pingback: catholicanarchy.org™ » Misleading numbers, misleading claims
  • Thank you Darwin. I have been appalled by how eager some Vn contributors, Morning Minion especially, have been to attack the bishops. I read Faithful Citizenship and the position that abortion is the dominant issue is consistent with the document. It would have gone a long way to establish their credibility if more VN people had held true to the integrity of the bishops that they have so long used as a bludgeon against their opponents.

    P.S. You’ve gone a great job on here, Darwin. Keep it up!

  • Denton,

    Who are “the” bishops that MM are “attacking”? He has criticized the handful — literally a handful! — of bishops who are interpreting FS in a narrow way. The vast majority of “the” bishops are not making these outrageous claims and do not fall under MM’s criticisms.

  • Michael I. and Darwin,

    Bishops Conferences are certainly useful, in numerous ways. But Darwin, you are correct: a theological document issued by the bishops has no more authority in any particular diocese than does a statement from that diocese’s bishop.

    In fact, as history shows, numerous local gatherings of bishops have taught error on occasion; I don’t think we should take that fact *too* far (i.e. to constantly employ a hermeneutic of suspicion with regard to the USCCB), but it does mean that we do not give the kind of assent to conference documents that we do to something from the papal or universal magisterium.

  • Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.

  • Pingback: A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain « American Catholic
  • Michael,

    Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.

    Though I’m sure that Chris is quite capable of defending himself on the merits (which I shall leave him to do) I will point out as a bystander that which it might sound a bit prideful of Christ to point out himself: That he already possesses a PhD in theology.

    Degrees most certainly are not everything, but if you do not see fit to say anything other than “you don’t know what you’re talking about” to him, I am more likely to take that as a proof or your ignorance than his.

  • Michael & DC,

    First, I have to confess… I don’t have a PhD in theology; no, I’m one of those lucky guys who gets to say that he had to go to Rome, and it took him five years, but by golly, he got his STD! 😉 (That’s Sacred Theology Doctorate… pontifical degrees have “canonical” status.)

    *Anyway*, as DC rightly notes, degrees are not everything, and I’m not going to pontificate (pun intended) from on high. But I would request, Michael, that you show me something from Lumen Gentium, Apostolos Suos or some other relevant text which indicates that episcopal conferences have more Magisterial authority in Diocese X than does Bishop N of Diocese X. Although it has been a few years since I looked into this in great depth, my recollection of the relevant texts indicates otherwise.

  • “Chris, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are so many problems with the assertions in your last comment, I don’t know where to start.”

    It would be nice to hear some specifics, rather than bald assertions. But since you “don’t know where to begin”, I don’t suppose any specific refutations of Chris (with his Sacred Theology Doctorate) will be forthcoming.

    My own Bishop (who also is something of an expert in theology) has offered his own clarifications of Faithful Citizenship on at least 2 occasions. In both instances, it was to provide more specificity on the Bishops’ teaching regarding the primacy of life issues, especially abortion. I value his authoritative teaching on the matter, especially considering his role as chief catechist for his diocese.

  • To side briefly with Michael (in reparation for being pedantically rude — though if one is going to be rude I always advise that people do so pedantically since it’s more fun that way): I wouldn’t argue that any of these bishops are issuing theological statements which are in contradiction to Faithful Citizenship. Rather, they are clearly issuing their own judgments as to the gravity of the abortion issue in considering this election, and sharing those judgments with their flocks.

    Now, I think that’s entirely appropriate. Goodness knows, the bishops are in a good position to understand the gravity of the abortion issue. (And given that nearly all modern dioceses are non profits with operating budgets in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars — they’re probably also in a good position to understand how much proposed government programs will realistically change the plight of the most vulnerable.) But what they’re doing is sharing their judgments, not overturning the theology of Faithful Citizenship.

    So in that sense, it isn’t an issue of which statement is more authoritative — though so far as I know Chris is fully correct that were they both theological statements, USCCB statements would not hold any more magisterial gravity than that of an individual bishop.

  • “But what they’re doing is sharing their judgments, not overturning the theology of Faithful Citizenship.”

    Good point, Darwin. In fact, my Bishop specifically relies on Faithful Citizenship in the (at least) two clarification statements he has issued. He is a HUGE proponent of the document (as am I).

    Nevertheless, he obviously felt the need to clarify the document’s contents for some reason. In one case, it was because a prominent “Catholic Studies” scholar at the University of Toledo had misrepresented the Church’s teaching on abortion in the pages of The Toledo Blade.

  • I wonder what the Holy Father told Cld. George that was not appropriate to state publicly? I guess we’ll find out in November.

  • I agree with Darwin, and that’s why, frankly, I’m somewhat hesitate to point out the *lack* of additional magisterial authority due a conference document, i.e. precisely because some people (like myself, c. 1995 or so) will be inclined to dismiss conferences completely, something which is not merited in our case. FC 2008 is a solid document, perhaps the best version of FC we’ve ever seen, and as DC notes, these bishops aren’t expressing *disagreement* with FC, but are rendering their own judgments on one particular set of issues.

  • It’s amazing how the usual suspects cling onto a clearly fringe interpretation of the document in question.

    BTW, an individual bishop’s teaching charism does not guarantee that his own pronouncements are without error.

  • Mark,

    Works the same both ways. Especially when the USCCB is NOT the magisterium.

  • Well, I agree, Mark.

    But let’s not be too hard on MM and Michael. They believe what they believe…

    😉

  • Especially when the USCCB is NOT the magisterium.

    How can you continue to say this when I quoted a JPII document which explicitly says that episcopal conferences are PART OF THE MAGISTERIUM? Their authority does not extend to the entire Church, thus we say that it their statements are not part of the universal magisterium. This is quite obvious. A USCCB statement has no authority in France because of differing contexts. A CELAM document is not for Catholics in Australia. That doesn’t mean that insights and principles are not translatable, but that specifics cannot be translated. The USCCB’s teaching on voting in the US is meaningless in Cuba. This is what it means to say that the USCCB’s teachings are not part of the universal magisterium. But the USCCB is indeed part of the magisterium.

    It would be nice to hear some specifics, rather than bald assertions.

    Well, to get specific, Chris is throwing around very general terms like “document” and “statement,” both on the conference level and the level of Rome, carelessly when these terms can refer to all sorts of documents and various magisterial teaching with differing levels of authority. A USCCB “statement” on Iraq, for example, would have a different sort of authority than, say, a more significant pastoral letter like The Challenge of Peace. He generalizes about the relative authority of episcopal conference documents vs. documents from Rome, when the latter includes all sorts of documents, from CDF statements, minor notifications, all the way up to encyclicals, council documents, infallible formulas regarding dogma, etc. On the level of episcopal documents, he says that USCCB documents have no more authority than “statements” from the local bishop, which is nonsense because bishops can issue “statements” of all kinds, both individually and collectively, at various levels of teaching authority. It is even conceivable that a national bishop’s conference document (such as the silencing of a theologian on a national level) could have more authority than a minor notification or opinion from Rome on this or that topic, for example.

    My point is that Chris is being careless in throwing terms around, and thinking in very binary categories of local vs. Rome when discussing levels of authority, when this is simply not the case. At each level of the Magisterium, whether local or universal, there are many many levels of authority. We can’t just say that USCCB statements have no more weight than statements from individual bishops, because often they do, not because of where they come from but because of the type of documents that they are. Same goes when comparing “statements” from the universal magisterium vs. documents from more specific church bodies. It’s important to consider the type of document in question, not just where it comes from.

  • Chris B,

    You probably know many of my ex-classmates-friends who were in training for diocesan priesthood in the erly to mid 90s, in the Pittsburgh diocese, as many of them went on to NAC, (after I left seminary).

  • But since you “don’t know where to begin”, I don’t suppose any specific refutations of Chris (with his Sacred Theology Doctorate) will be forthcoming.

    Nice! Bludgeoning me with someone else’s degree! Thankfully Chris is a bit more modest about his own (well deserved) accomplishments than Jay is of Chris’s accomplishments!

  • I was referring to Chris’s Sacred Theology Doctorate, and the fact that, yes, he probably DOES “know what [he’s] talking about”.

  • Michael,

    The heart of my comment which sparked this is:

    a theological document issued by the bishops has no more authority in any particular diocese than does a statement from that diocese’s bishop.

    If you insert “-n equivalent theological” right before statement, I think your concern about a lack of precision will be met. I certainly agree that not *every* document issued by ecclesiastical authority is equivalent, but this is a conversation about one *particular* sort of document (FC), and I was writing with that in context, not in an absolute sense.

    So, to be concrete: if Bishop N. issued a statement of the same type and level of teaching as FC, FC itself would bear no greater authority in his diocese than does his own statement.

    Agreed?

  • Mark,

    It’s possible… I was in Rome from ’97-’00, and got to know quite a few guys at the NAC, even though most of them went to the dreaded Greg for their theology.

  • Michael,

    Clarification: Unless I totally missed it (and so did my browser’s find function just now) I don’t think that Chris said anything about the relative authority of “documents” or “statements” from Rome or from a national conference. The question was more about the relative authority of individual bishops’ documents vs. national conference documents — and whether it was thus inappropriate at some level for individual bishops to be issuing interpretations of Faithful Citizenship which contradict what some people want it to say.

    In contradiction to what someone said above (and in affirmation of what Michael said) the USCCB does participate in the magisterium when it teaches faith and morals in union with the universal Church. But then, so do individual bishops.

    Now, to echo Chris — I think one of the reasons it’s not a great idea to go into the relative authority question in some circles it that it tempts some people to simply ignore everything the USCCB says which would not be a good idea.

    Subject to the correction of theologians on the thread: It strikes me that the importance of national bishops conferences is not that they provide a more authoritative voice than individual bishops, but that they serve to provide guidance on issues (especially issues relating to local conditions within the Church) which for whatever reason one might not get from one’s local bishop. Thus, if one’s own bishop was not inclined or able to speak on a particular topic, one would know it was appropriate to consult any guidance put out by the national bishops conference on the issue — rather than getting into picking and choosing between other individual bishops within the region.

  • Fortunately, some of us are blessed to live in a diocese where the Bishop is truly Catholic – I’m in the Harrisburg Diocese, where Bishop Rhoades is a stalwart defender of LIFE.

    The PA Bishops state thusly:

    “We wish to reiterate that the intentional destruction of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia, is not just one issue among many.”

    I’m sure there are some bishops out there who wouldn’t be caught dead issuing such a statement. They, and their supporters like MM and VN and Catholic Democrats would rather we just looked at LIFE as another “issue”.
    This is why people groan sometimes at what emanates from the USCCB, because so often what they issue just seems to fog up the mirror.

  • First off, the numbers are even starker than my “guesstimate”: 291 bishops voted for the document, and 4 voted against. That seems to be a pretty firm indication that the vast majority of the American episcopate support the document. And you are not paying due heed to Michael Iafrate’s debunking of Deal Hudson’s claim (by the way, if you think I am partisan, and so not to be trusted, then how do you categorize Hudson?)

    Second, yes I support Obama, just like most of the “usual suspects” at this site seem to support McCain, some eagerly, some reluctantly. I think you are profoundly wrong, and you return the feelings. And that’s fine. The Faithful Citizenship document, with is emphasis on prudence, can accomodate both sets of arguments. It was issued precisely because arguments in previous years had failed to make the necessary distinctions between formal and material cooperation in evil. It is not stricly a “voting guide” but a framework for making moral judgments pertaining to peforming one’s duties in the public sphere.

    Third, my particular problem with the Farrell-Vann letter was that they appealed to Faithful Citizenship, but then distorted some of its analysis.

  • Two more points: the Faithful Citizenship document is not new. It is a summary of orthodox moral theology on this subject. It is a description of the underlying principles involved. As such, it is faithful to the magisterium and thus owed religious submission.

    “What a shame that they so refuse to be taught by our bishops.” How ironic coming from a guy who has a habit of denouncing bishops for being pro-abortion.

  • MM,

    Thanks for dropping by. A couple things:

    -You’ll get no argument from me that Faithful Citizenship is a valid document, widely supported by the bishops, which is worthy of respect. Indeed, not only did I not dispute that — but contrary to your reading Deal Hudson didn’t either. To my knowledge, no one involved in this post or the ones linked to by it is claiming that Faithful Citizenship is a bad document that bishops are or should be repudiating. But I do think that some groups are attempting (inaccurately) to claim that Faithful Citizenship conclusively backs up their own political judgment. And I think a number of the bishops are rightly frustrated by this.

    -I don’t think that you shouldn’t be trusted because you’re partisan. Not really sure where you got that impression. But I do think that nearly all of your political opinions are wrong (some of them dangerously so) and since you mostly write about politics that’s why we don’t see eye to eye very often. However, there’s certainly nothing inherently untrustworthy about being politically opinionated.

    -If you think you showed that Bishop Farrell and Bishop Vann distorted Faithful Citizenship’s analysis — it seems to me that can only because your understanding of Faithful Citizenship is too tinged by your opinions.

    -I have never heard Paul denounce a bishop as being pro-abortion.

  • So, to be concrete: if Bishop N. issued a statement of the same type and level of teaching as FC, FC itself would bear no greater authority in his diocese than does his own statement.

    Agreed?

    Yes, of course. The important question here, though, is whether that is taking place with regard to FC and its “clarifications.”

  • On Paul’s inflammatary rhetoric:

    “You know, as nice as it is to see Cardinal Egan’s comments, I wonder if it doesn’t just cause more harm in the long run if the effect will be to show in even sharper the relief the acquiescence to abortion of prelates like Archbishop Wuerl.”
    (http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2008/04/deal-hudson-asks-will-archbishop-wuerl.html)
    ———-

    You know, it’s one thing to respectfully disagree with a certain bishop’s reasoning, but to accuse him of acquiescing or cooperating with evil is beyond the pale.

  • MM,

    There is a big difference between criticizing a bishop for not denouncing pro-abortion politicians clearly enough — which is what Paul clearly says in that quote — and “denouncing bishops for being pro-abortion”. If Paul has ever accused a bishop of being “pro-abortion” that quote is certainly not an example of it.

    I can understand that you disagree with Paul, but you should not lie about him. I would hope that as Catholics and writers we could all hold ourselves to a higher standard than that. Words have meanings.

  • It’s interesting that Wuerl is criticized for “acquiescing” yet he is invoked in Hudson’s list of 61 to support his argument.

  • The link that MM provides is from April of this year.

    The post discusses when Cardinal Egan rebuked Giuliani for receiving communion at the papal mass despite Egan having directed him not to receive until he regularized both his marriage and his stance on life. And it asks whether Wuerl will follow suit in regards to various DC pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

  • Thanks to all for the discussion on the role of the USCCB. I am now more informed and will go look at the documents everyone mentioned.

  • MM:

    ‘You know, it’s one thing to respectfully disagree with a certain bishop’s reasoning, but to accuse him of acquiescing or cooperating with evil is beyond the pale.’

    That’s funny; I seem to remember you accusing Archbishop Chaput of doing just that in respect to letting abortion go to the states.

  • Denton – That’s certainly what you accused MM and I of doing, but that’s not what we, in fact, did. I exposed that lie of yours on your blog. Remember?

  • “exposed?” You said “that’s not what I said.” Hardly an “exposure.”

    Furthermore, you objected to me saying that you thought Chaput wasn’t really pro-life. What you cannot deny is that you said this:

    “At worst, he’s simply parroting the Republican platform. Either way, his “leave it up to the states” approach undermines authentic Catholic teaching on killing innocent life.”

    Sounds like you accused a bishop of cooperating with evil. Any more exposing you’d like to do?

  • Pingback: Counting Bishops « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Cardinal Egan’s Excuses For His Failures « The American Catholic

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

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.”

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

  • 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?

    http://www.catholicvote.com/

    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:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/10/11/american-catholic-2008/

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • 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.

11 Responses to The Lion of Pennsylvania