Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Tuesday, June 27, AD 2017

 

18. In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently – who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment – they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.

Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Leave a Reply

Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel

Thursday, September 29, AD 2016

 

 

(I originally posted this in 2010.  I think I will begin posting it on each September 29, the feast of the Archangels.)

In 1947 Father Domenico Pechenino related what he had witnessed over six decades before.

“I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

Cardinal Giovanni Batista Nassalli Rocca di Corneiliano wrote in his Pastoral Letters on Lent“the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

The Prayer written by the Pope is of course the famous prayer to Saint Michael:

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Amen.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Pope Leo and Saint Michael the Archangel

  • Has the suppression of this prayer led to an increase in the predations of Satan? – I certainly think so. I say the prayer daily and after each rosary. This prayer should be re-introduced after every Mass, as it was recited when I was a youth, up till the time I was 22 years old.

  • Yes, they should recite this. I think it would do much good. I was reading that St Raphael, though not as well known as St Micheal and St Gabriel, can be counted on to help marriages against Asmodias, so perhaps something could be, should be written for him. As St Gabriel is the one who supposedly spoke to Muhammad (but could not have), maybe we should invoke him against Islam and for the conversion of Muslims.

  • The prayer to St. Michael is prayed after every daily Mass and early Sunday Mass at our country mission. I have attended daily Masses at a Northern Virginian parish where the prayer is recited for religious freedom. I don’t know if this is throughout the Diocese of Arlington, VA. Today I attended a Latin Mass at another Mission. It’s scheduled only on Thursdays. The priest did not face the faithful. We did not answer the priest or recite any prayer aloud except for the Our Father. Communion was received on the tongue while kneeling. Afterwards the St. Michael prayer was recited and his chaplet.

  • We have two priests out of five in our parish who conclude their Masses with the Prayer of St Michael. This should be done at every Mass, everywhere, by every Priest. Pope Francis should command it.

  • CAM.

    The same goes for our parish.
    TLM and the Ordo., we finish all our Mass’s with St. Michael.

    @Don the Kiwi.
    I believe your right to assume so.
    I just read that the number of trained exorcists has quadrupled in the States, to a total of fifty.
    A good start in my opinion.

  • If we do not ask we might not get.

  • A powerful prayer…Saint Michael is the patron saint of law enforcement and I recite this prayer often as I go about my daily duties in policing

  • Thank you Don although I say the prayer to St Michael each day I never thought to say it after my Rosary. Good idea
    In my parish we say The Saint Michael prayer.

  • Mary De Voe, you are so right. About 14 years ago I organized an old fashioned ice cream social at the mission church on Sunday, the 29th to honor St. Michael. In preparation for it I asked the priest if we could recite the Prayer to St. Michael after Sunday Mass (we had only one Mass per week because we did not have a resident priest in those days.) He agreed. Now with an overworked resident priest at our mission there are four weekend Masses and four daily with three Holy Hours with rosary, and we pray the St. Michael Prayer after Masses unless there is a hymn. Indeed, It never hurts to ask.

  • Michael, It’s get more dangerous for our police every day. May St. Michael keep you safe.

  • Thank you for this, Mr. McClarey! It has ministered to me, & I have prayed this prayer this morning.

Potty War: Let’s Pretend

Wednesday, June 8, AD 2016

lysenko

 

David Solway at PJ Media gets to the heart of not only Potty War but what ails the West in general:  a pernicious, wholly political, game of let’s pretend:

 

It is as if the Soviet pseudo-scientist Trofim Lysenko has risen from the grave and, by a mordant historical irony, infected not the burgeoning Russian empire but a weak and decadent West that has succumbed to a sterile and perilous sort of intellectual vernalization—a term glibly misused by Lysenko to describe the process, mistakenly thought heritable, of forcing winter cereals to behave like spring cereals. As plant biologist Richard Amasino writes, Lysenko’s belief that vernalized transformations could be inherited “fit the Marxist ideology that…a Marxist society could produce heritable changes in attitude, and, thus, if the proper environment was provided, future generations would consist of improved citizens. Lysenko’s efforts,” he continues, “to obtain or fabricate results that supported a political ideology…had disastrous consequences for Russian genetics.” Where the speculative and the real are in flagrant contradiction, the results are almost always catastrophic.

The West is now busy at work across the entire field of social, cultural and political life promoting its own version of Lysenkoism, a misconceived exercise of supposedly vernalizing reality by transforming fact into fantasy and truth into lie for the purpose of creating the perfect society and the redeemed human being, transferable across the generations. Its assumptions about the world are guided not by common sense or genuine science but by the precepts of ideology and political desire.

Examples abound of the ubiquitous tendency to replace ontology with myth, the determinate with the fluid and the objective with the delusionary. A modest inventory of such noxious miscontruals would include:

  • Biological sexual differentiation must yield to voluntary gender identity.
  • A cooling climate is obviously warming.
  • The demonstrable failure of socialism wherever it has been tried is proof that it has not been properly implemented.
  • Democratic Israel is an apartheid state.
  • Islam with its record of unstinting bloodshed is a religion of peace.
  • Illegal immigrants are undocumented workers.
  • Terrorism is workplace violence.
  • A child in the womb is a mass of insensible protoplasm.
  • The killing of the old and the ill is merciful, even when the recipient of such tender concern is not consulted.
  • There is no such thing as truth, an axiom regarded as true.
  • Green energy is a social and economic good irrespective of crony profiteering, exorbitant cost, wildlife devastation, and unworkability in its present state.
  • Storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis and mortality itself are natural phenomena, but Nature, which cares nothing for human life, is nonetheless sacred, vulnerable and at the mercy of human indifference.
  • Women are disadvantaged in the workforce, academia and society at large despite the fact that high-end hiring practices, legal judgments, custody protocols and university appointments, as well as student enrollment, wholly favor women to the detriment of men.
  • An enemy is a friend.
  • Criminality is innocence.
  • Losing is winning.
  • Prosperity is avarice.
  • Redistributing wealth, i.e., robbing the affluent and productive, is a form of compassion and basic justice.
  • Those who claim victim status are always credible.
  • Accumulating debt is an economic stimulus.
  • Big government is a boon to mankind.
  • War is passé (so 19th century).
  • Diplomacy and talk—the higher Twitter—will prevail over barbarism.
  • The most gynocentric society ever created is a rape culture.
  • Palestine is a historically legitimate nation.
  • Uniformity of thought and action equals cultural diversity.
  • An exploded lie merely confirms what it lies about (e.g., Rigoberta Menchu).
  • Morality is relative.
  • Merit is an unearned distinction.

Or in other words, what is, is not, and what is not, is.

Continue reading...

30 Responses to Potty War: Let’s Pretend

  • George Orwell was a prophet.

  • Native Americans are native to America?

  • Excellent post!

  • How to beat Hillary who portrays herself as the first woman candidate for President but is little more and a lot less. Following upon Obama’s ridiculous transgender gambit, have Sanders or Trump simply self-identify as a woman. There it is. No need to vote for Hillary.

  • “Those who claim victim status are always credible”.
    .
    — Except if giving credence to the claim inconveniences the left. For
    example, Bill Clinton has had claims of sexual assault made against him
    since his college days. Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broadderick
    and Gennifer Flowers etc. etc. have all claimed to be the victims of his
    sexual aggression. The left’s response has always been to circle the wagons
    around Bill and attack the women’s reputations. Ted Kennedy was also
    a beneficiary of the left’s selective willingness to listen to the claims of victims
    of sexual assault.

  • #NEVERHILLARY
    .
    Universal deceit. Blacks, gays, illegals, muslims, transgenders, et al must always come first – you have no right. Their rights trump all of your rights. Anyone who disagrees is a racist and must be punished.
    .
    The aristocracy (Hillary, Obama, et al) call speaking the Truth, “hate speech.”
    .
    George Orwell: “in times of universal deceit (‘political correctness)’, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act (‘hate speech’).”
    .

  • Cardinal Sarah said ‘God or Nothing’. To be without God is to be without reason and thus nothing. The above litany of irrational formulations are perfect examples. Until the world returns to God we will continue to descend into chaos, into nothingness. And the reason the descent has accelerated is because the Catholic Church has appropriated the wisdom of the secular world and lost conscientiousness of it’s God given mission. With Pope Francis this “achievement” is now even being celebrated. Conclusion: Only divine intervention will be effective now.

  • While this post covers many more topics than the public restroom debate, on that matter, I propose that a far more simple solution than “let people who are transgender use either restroom” (which is how the changes have been phrased in everything I’ve seen on the matter). Simply declare all public restrooms gender neutral (Put me on the “we should at least not do nothing” side, for the dangers of physical attack that individuals who are transgender face are very real. And to say “well they should not display their difference then” is to justify violence. To say “they deserved it”).

    This might seem like its basically the same thing. However, there is a crucial difference. This way does not get into the discussion of gender identity/what we are born as vs. consider ourselves at all.

    As far as “propriety”? End the use of urinals. What is more, it is not like we don’t have gender neutral restrooms anyway. That is essentially what all of our restrooms at home are. And the lines are already allowed to be blurred. Parents will take little kids into restroom of their own gender.

    Essentially, there is something for everyone.

  • @7789

    “And to say, well they should not display their difference then, is to justify violence. To say, they deserved it.”

    I do not condone violence towards mentally challenged individuals.

    I also do not believe in creating dangerous environments for child molesters to prey on the innocent.

    The influence of one Muslim President to recommend that public schools allow confused children to use either bathroom OR the school system face financial blowback from Federal government assistance is criminal. As the governor of Texas said;”President Obama can keep his thirty pieces of silver.”

    What’s worse?
    If a transgender person is attacked in their respective bathroom or a teenage girl is raped because a paedophile legally is allowed into a woman’s bathroom?

    The safety of both is important, however Obama has placed the innocent children in danger so a very small segment of society can feel better about themselves. A segment that refuses to accept their natural gender and in essence, demands society to accept and provide money to change their plumbing.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/05/30/sex-change-now-courtesy-of-the-american-taxpayer/

    Please read the DR’s comment pertaining to his field of psychiatry and the “madness” in caving into the sex change craze. He is right.
    They are to help them with their mental illness, not advance it and call it good medicine to spend $20,000 to buy a vagina and think all will be right from now on.

    Obama’s decision has hindered the mentality ill. He has placed wolves inside the chicken coop. The blurring of Obama’s recommendations will be focused clearly and plainly when assaults increase in restrooms. When young girls are raped and terrorized because a mentally ill individual would feel better to use a bathroom of his/her choosing, then will you understand the great injustice this Muslim has created by opening all doors to predators.

  • 1. “mentally ill” There is a WORLD of difference between being transgender and being schizophrenic, various forms of autism, needing special education or in home care, etc.

    2. the stats tend to suggest the whole of some sort of explosion of violence idea is a myth,

    3. Make all restrooms gender neutral and eliminate the use of urinals, and the above hypothetical isn’t a problem anyway. The “danger” is no greater than anywhere else in public.

  • “1. “mentally ill” There is a WORLD of difference between being transgender and being schizophrenic, various forms of autism, needing special education or in home care, etc.”

    Thinking you should be the opposite sex is on par with thinking you should be a dog or a tree. It is clearly a mental illness and so would be recognized if not for the politics surrounding this matter.

    “2. the stats tend to suggest the whole of some sort of explosion of violence idea is a myth.”

    Wrong.

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/5190/5-times-transgender-men-abused-women-and-children-amanda-prestigiacomo

    “3. Make all restrooms gender neutral and eliminate the use of urinals, and the above hypothetical isn’t a problem anyway. The “danger” is no greater than anywhere else in public.”

    Here is a thought. Males use male restrooms and females use female restrooms. A miniscule number of mentally ill people should not be allowed to alter an arrangement that serves well the vast majority of the population. Catering to the fantasies of the mentally ill does them no good.

  • Donald.
    Your link provides 5 cases.
    How many more since that article?
    5, 25?

    The common sense that prevailed years ago is now an uncommon occurrence. The “leftovers” are infesting the populace. Political correctness is the name of this virus.

    As always…. prayers and courage.

    Courage to always stand up for Truth when popular fashion has been promoted to remove Truth from the minds and hearts of men and women. Paganism will perish.

  • 1. i contend they are no where close to being the same. What is more, being transgender does not impact the quality of ones perception of the world around them or ability to follow the rules of society.

    2. a few cases does not make an epidemic.

  • J.S. Person 1 stated; “2. A few cases does not make an epidemic.”

    If you are speaking of the 5 cases presented then I would consider the frustration you might feel if one of the “cases” involved your mom, wife or daughter. You might not feel that an epidemic is at hand, however you may well feel the angst of a parent who lives under absurd rules that place your loved one in harm’s way.

    Abortion wasn’t considered an epidemic in 1973. Nearly sixty million deaths since then might just qualify legalized abortion as an epidemic of great proportion.

    btw…..do you have any adolescent daughters?

  • “1. I contend they are no where close to being the same. What is more, being transgender does not impact the quality of ones perception of the world around them or ability to follow the rules of society.”

    It involves the same refusal to face reality and an embracing of a complete fantasy instead. The mentally ill people called transgenders, at least the activists among them, not only refuse to follow the rules of society they seek to alter the rules to cater to their madness.

    “2. a few cases does not make an epidemic.”

    Oh come off it! What do you think is going to happen when you give license to men to go into female restrooms by claiming to be transgender? This isn’t rocket science.

  • make all restrooms gender neutral rather than keeping the binary and letting people choose, and there is no greater danger than there is anywhere else.

  • “make all restrooms gender neutral rather than keeping the binary and letting people choose, and there is no greater danger than there is anywhere else.”

    No need to do that if we simply do not cater to a small fragment of the population that is mentally ill. Additionally the idea that we should go through the expense of modifying the public bathrooms throughout the nation to accomodate people who disbelieve their DNA is loony tunes.

  • There may be very few cases of sexual confusion but there will likely be numerous cases of abuse of women and girls in restrooms, even shower rooms by dangerous or depraved persons who will take advantage of the utter nonsense coming from the current President. A sane citizenry would question the sanity of this man.

  • while one would have to go through expense to remove old urinals, in situations where this might be too much for a time, one doesnt actually have to go through much expense. more or less just declare bathrooms gender neutral.

  • “while one would have to go through expense to remove old urinals, in situations where this might be too much for a time, one doesnt actually have to go through much expense. more or less just declare bathrooms gender neutral.”

    Well getting rid of urinals would certainly inconvenience all males in the country and add vastly to lines at male public rest rooms. Additionally that does not solve the problem of multi-stall restrooms which both males and females under your plan would be using together. This is completely nuts.

  • Its the near future. There are public restrooms without urinals. All that is in these restrooms are sinks and stalls.

    What is so nuts about this future?

  • “There are public restrooms without urinals.”

    In almost all male public restrooms I have been in there are urinals. It is nuts to go through all this simply to cater to a small group of mentally ill people.

  • So now we have to change billions of dollars of plumbing to satisfy a handful of disordered people who are confused about their own “plumbing”. That is crazy.

  • William P.Walsh.

    The future!

    I dare not guess what the future progressive will come up with 20 years down the road.
    Ok….one guess. By then the liberal thinking..yes thinking..(going out on a limb since thought seems to be sewage material for many,) will be how to accommodate the animal he or she is wed to.
    After all..the pony Sally married will have “rights” to choose to go to the mall with her if she wishes. Then comes the restroom use.
    Re-plumb for Billy the pony, Sally’s mate.
    Absurd?

    Just look around.

    “Lets make all public bathrooms gender neutral.”

    Here’s one better.

    A porta potty will be available for all transgender individuals everywhere around the country, for their exclusive use. We will save the taxpayer millions from having to change public restrooms, and give the transgender community a private room…all to themselves.

    No risks from paedophile’s going into the wrong public restrooms to harm our children.
    Surely Obama could compromise, and leave the boys room for boys, and likewise for the girl folk.

  • Transgender as a political issue. Found on the internet:

    FYI-FTR: The transgender school bathroom issue as a cultural Marxist divide, polarize and ruin wedge issue.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/atheism/fyi-ftr-the-transgender-school-bathroom-issue-as-a-cultural-marxist-divide-polarise-and-ruinwedge/

  • First, tell Obama, The Man Who Would be King, that he is not. And then remind him that where Title IX says “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded” , it does not mean on the basis of a mental disorder, that sex is scientifically simply sex and not some subjective distortion of reality. And then let us consider the abolition of the US Department of Education as an unnecessary and rather toxic formula concocted by our second worst President James E. Carter. Finally, never – never – never – Hillary.

  • Reagan June 1982, “Tear down this wall.”
    .
    Obama June 2016, “Tear down this stall.”
    .
    Mr. Dowd, Truth. All this socio-psycho garbage is meant to destroy our faith, our families, and our way of life. The liberals are circling for the kill. Resist as best you can.
    .
    PS: The magnificence of Hillary’s (and Trump Derangement Syndrome/establishment GOP) “dream economy” is Venezuela, where they do their food shopping in dumpsters. Be prepared.

  • Michael Dowd.

    Good link at uncommon descent.
    Spot on.

  • Somebody wrote; “Hell is the impossibility of reason.” Charlie Sheen’s character in Platoon.

    To me…this obscure quote fits perfectly with the subject matter.

Breve Neminem Fugit

Sunday, December 27, AD 2015

Holy Family

When God in his mercy determined to accomplish the work of man’s renewal, which same had so many long ages awaited, he appointed and ordained this work on such wise that its very beginning might shew to the world the august spectacle of a Family which was known to be divinely constituted; that therein all men might behold a perfect model, as well of domestic life as of every virtue and pattern of holiness: for such indeed was the Holy Family of Nazareth. There in secret dwelt the Sun of Righteousness, until the time when he should shine out in full splendour in the sight of all nations. There Christ, our God and Saviour, lived with his Virgin Mother, and with that most holy man Joseph, who held to him the place of father. No one can doubt that in this Holy Family was displayed every virtue which can be called forth by an ordinary home life, with its mutual services of charity, its holy intercourse, and its practices of godly piety, since the Holy Family was destined to be a pattern to all others. For that very reason was it established by the merciful designs of Providence, namely, that every Christian, in every walk of life and in every place, might easily, if he would but give heed to it, have before him a motive and a pattern for the good life.

To all fathers of families, Joseph is verily the best model of paternal vigilance and care. In the most holy Virgin Mother of God, mothers may find an excellent example of love, modesty, resignation of spirit, and the perfecting of faith. And in Jesus, who was subject to his parents, the children of the family have a divine pattern of obedience which they can admire, reverence, and imitate. Those who are of noble birth may learn, from this Family of royal blood, how to live simply in times of prosperity, and how to retain their dignity in times of distress. The rich may learn that moral worth is to be more highly esteemed than wealth. Artisans, and all such as are bitterly grieved by the narrow and slender means of their families, if they would but consider the sublime holiness of the members of this domestic fellowship, cannot fail to find some cause for rejoicing in their lot, rather than for being merely dissatisfied with it. In common with the Holy Family, they have to work, and to provide for the daily wants of life. Joseph had to engage in trade, in order to live; even the divine hands laboured at an artisan’s calling. It is not to be wondered at, that the wealthiest men, if truly wise, have been willing to cast away their riches, and to embrace a life of poverty with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

From Breve Neminem Fugit, June 14, 1892, in which Pope Leo XIII instituted the feast of the Holy Family

Continue reading...

One Response to Breve Neminem Fugit

  • If all men and women could appreciate the highest honor given them, the greatest honor, motherhood-fatherhood. This is the trick of Satan, to fool men and women by substituting the high honor of parenthood with the lure of distinguished living. Placing material things and the drive to attain more things v raising children in Christian homes. Balance.

    When it’s out of balance… well…just look around.

    Good post Donald.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII

Sunday, July 19, AD 2015

4 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII

  • 1n the same year, 1890, with encouragement from Pope Leo XIII, Cardinal Lavigerie made a famous, not to say notorious, speech in Algeria, in which he said, “When the will of a people as to the form of its government has been clearly affirmed, and when, to snatch a people from the abysses which threatens it, unreserved adhesion to this political form is necessary, then the moment has come to declare the test completed, and it only remains to make all those sacrifices which conscience and honour permit us, and command us to make for the good of our country.”

    The Secretary of State, Cardinal Rampolla also wrote to the Bishop of Saint- Flour, urging Catholics to take part in public affairs. He drew a distinction between the form of government, which should be accepted and the laws, which should be improved.

    The reaction of the Catholic press was one of outrage; La Croix accused the pope, in calling on Catholics to “rally to the Republic,” of “kissing the feet of our executioners.”

    The spiritual mission of the Church was gravely hampered, during the period from 1870 to 1940, by the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic, epitomised by their contemptuous reference to it, symbolized by Marianne, as « la gueuse » [The beggar woman/Slut]. This hostility was neatly matched the anti-clericalism of the bouffeurs de curé, the one fuelling the other. Indeed, old attitudes lingered on until 1959, when General de Gaulle and the Fifth Republic began to heal the divisions.
    The state of the Church in France today owes much to this bitter legacy of turning faith into faction.

  • The spiritual mission of the Church was gravely hampered, during the period from 1870 to 1940, by the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic,

    Hypercentralization, provincial and local government which deliberately neglected France’s historical particularisms, a political class shot through with freemasons in Grand-Orient lodges, effective suppression of regional languages, contrived efforts to suppress religious education, a madcap party system and constitutional practice which had ministries circulating in and out of office at 12 month intervals (and the effective migration of political authority to the civil service faux de mieux), and sinking resources into cheap campaigns for overseas dependencies of very limited utility (French West Africa), and interminable and costly campaigns for somewhat more utile territories (the Maghreb, much to the injury of the locals). I cannot imagine why anyone would have complaints about the 3d republic.

  • Petain, who did not attend Mass much at that stage of his life, responded circa 1905 to an order to report all officers who attended Mass in his regiment, that he was unable to comply since he was always in the front pew at Mass and therefore was not aware of the other officers who attended.

  • Art Deco wrote, “I cannot imagine why anyone would have complaints about the 3d republic.”

    Which is recisely what Cardinal Rampolla meant, when he drew a distinction between “the form of government, which should be accepted and the laws, which should be improved.”

    The prevailing attitude of Catholics resulted in the “Catholic Atheism” of Charles Maurras, the leader of the fascist l’ Action Française, whose thugs, the Camelots du Roi, found their spiritual home in the Milice of Vichy

    The religion of the Throne and Altar Conservatives was best described by Maurice Blondel: “A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes [aristocratique et tranquillisant, pour les privilégiés, berçant ou menaçant pour les inferieurs]—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII

Tuesday, June 16, AD 2015

ice-age-1970s

 

The unshrinking defence of the Holy Scripture, however, does not require that we should equally uphold all the opinions which each of the Fathers or the more recent interpreters have put forth in explaining it; for it may be that, in commenting on passages where physical matters occur, they have sometimes expressed the ideas of their own times, and thus made statements which in these days have been abandoned as incorrect. Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith-what they are unanimous in. For “in those things which do not come under the obligation of faith, the Saints were at liberty to hold divergent opinions, just as we ourselves are,”(55) according to the saying of St. Thomas. And in another place he says most admirably: “When philosophers are agreed upon a point, and it is not contrary to our faith, it is safer, in my opinion, neither to lay down such a point as a dogma of faith, even though it is perhaps so presented by the philosophers, nor to reject it as against faith, lest we thus give to the wise of this world an occasion of despising our faith.”(56) The Catholic interpreter, although he should show that those facts of natural science which investigators affirm to be now quite certain are not contrary to the Scripture rightly explained, must nevertheless always bear in mind, that much which has been held and proved as certain has afterwards been called in question and rejected.

Leo XIII, PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Leo XIII

  • One has only to consider for how long Euclid’s fifth postulate (the parallel postulate) was received as a self-evident truth; in fact, for two millennia, until 1823, when Janos Bolyai and Nicolai Lobachevsky independently realized that entirely self-consistent “non-Euclidean geometries” could be created in which the parallel postulate did not hold. It is worth noting that Girolamo Saccheri SJ had already shown this in his 1733 work, entitled, ironically enough, “Euclides ab Omni Naevo Vindicatus” [Euclid vindicated against every blemish], but he appears not to have realised the implications of his own theorems. Saccheri may have been wise; Lobachevsky not only lost his chair, but ended up briefly in an asylum. The more fortunate Bolyai was an army officer, who dabbled in maths as a hobby; even if suspected, madness was no disqualification from garrison duty in the Austrian service.
    The much briefer history of classical Newtonian mechanics furnishes another example, which began to unravel with the discovery of the difference between the theoretical and observed precession of the perihelion of Mercury.
    More contentiously, perhaps, we have the breezy assumption of Aristotle and his successors that the structure of reality could be deduced from the grammar of description – a quite staggering piece of linguistic realism which few philosophers would defend today.

  • :”… Hence, in their interpretations, we must carefully note what they lay down as belonging to faith, or as intimately connected with faith – what they are unanimous in. …”

    Providentissimus Deus is a powerful title.

  • Donald— divinely clever contrast. PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS–required reading…..for popes.

Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Thursday, October 30, AD 2014

Rerum Novarum

 

Those who rule the commonwealths should avail themselves of the laws and institutions of the country; masters and wealthy owners must be mindful of their duty; the working class, whose interests are at stake, should make every lawful and proper effort; and since religion alone, as We said at the beginning, can avail to destroy the evil at its root, all men should rest persuaded that main thing needful is to re-establish Christian morals, apart from which all the plans and devices of the wisest will prove of little avail.

Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum-Paragraph 62

 

 

 

 

The problem with papal encyclicals when they delve into economic and political issues is that they tend to be long and fairly complex. They are also bound by the historical events surrounding them at the time when they are promulgated. People with axes to grind will usually pick and choose rather than reading the entire encyclical in its historical context.

 

Rerum Novarum was written in 1891 at a time of huge worker unrest and when both anarchism and communism were beginning to take root. The living conditions of workers were often appalling. Pope Leo, while making a full throated defense of property, also wanted to indicate sympathy for the workers and their often legitimate complaints.

 

In regard to paragraph 36 of Rerum Novarum Pope Leo in his final sentence indicates a concern that the State not take more action than is necessary to remedy an evil: “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Quotes Suitable For Framing: Pope Leo XIII

  • “Those who rule the commonwealths should avail themselves of the laws and institutions of the country;”
    .
    Politicians must avail themselves of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the law of the land.

  • Let us not forget Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of socialism in Quod Apostoloci Muneris:
    .
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_28121878_quod-apostolici-muneris_en.html

  • “the rights of workers to form unions was often denied”

    In England, they were prosecuted as conspiracies in restraint of trade. In Scotland, however, this was held not to be a point of dittay, although a charge of “Conspiring to raise wages, or to concuss workmen, or to effect any similar object by violent and forcible means, or by criminal threats” was held relevent to infer the pains of law. [In Scots, “to concuss” = to coerce – ” Where there has been such a degree of force used to concuss a person to grant a deed…”]

    During the Revolution, the Le Chapelier Law (Law of 14 June 1791) provided, “It is contrary to the principles of liberty and the Constitution for citizens with the same professions, arts, or trades to deliberate or make agreements among themselves designed to set prices for their industry or their labour. .”
    Had it been seen as a way of protecting the rich against the poor, or the propertied against the property-less, it would have met with strenuous opposition by one of the Assembly’s defenders of the poor. But the law was passed without opposition because it seemed evidence to the entire National Assembly that the reconstitution of corporations in any form was a fundamental threat to the nation and its free constitution. The law made it clear that no intermediary body could stand between the individual – now armed with his natural rights – and the nation – now the guarantor of those rights.”

  • Such brilliant, fecund and saint Pope, why are you not yet sanctified by the Church, while Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI are?

    Let’s pray for that.

  • Great point Pedro Erik!

  • I feel the same way Pedro and Anzlyne. I have a news clipping here from 1994 with an interview of now Cardinal Burke on the “plight” of the nations dairy famers. He has a lot of Pope Leo in him. He was a champion of family farmers in our Diocese of Lacrosse. Somehow what he preached did not in the least seem to be liberal but a true friend and a true understanding of what Leo XIII was getting at.

Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

Wednesday, June 25, AD 2014

Fortnight For Freedom 2014

 

 

Nor, perchance did the fact which We now recall take place without some design of divine Providence. Precisely at the epoch when the American colonies, having, with Catholic aid, achieved liberty and independence, coalesced into a constitutional Republic the ecclesiastical hierarchy was happily established amongst you; and at the very time when the popular suffrage placed the great Washington at the helm of the Republic, the first bishop was set by apostolic authority over the American Church. The well-known friendship and familiar intercourse which subsisted between these two men seems to be an evidence that the United States ought to be conjoined in concord and amity with the Catholic Church. And not without cause; for without morality the State cannot endure-a truth which that illustrious citizen of yours, whom We have just mentioned, with a keenness of insight worthy of his genius and statesmanship perceived and proclaimed. But the best and strongest support of morality is religion.

Pope Leo XIII

From the foundation of this nation, Catholics have fought and died in defense of American liberties.  American Catholics, a very small percentage of the population of the 13 colonies, 1.6 percent, were overwhelmingly patriots and played a role in the American Revolution out of all proportion to the small fragment of the American people they represented.  Among the Catholics who assumed leadership roles in the fight for our liberty were:

General Stephen Moylan  a noted cavalry commander and the first Muster Master-General of the Continental Army.

Captains Joshua Barney and John Barry,  two of the most successful naval commanders in the American Revolution.

Colonel John Fitzgerald was a trusted aide and private secretary to General George Washington.

Father Pierre Gibault, Vicar General of Illinois, whose aid was instrumental in the conquest of the Northwest for America by George Rogers Clark.

Thomas Fitzsimons served as a Pennsylvania militia company commander during the Trenton campaign.  Later in the War he helped found the Pennsylvania state navy.  After the War he was one of the two Catholic signers of the U.S. Constitution in 1787

Colonel Thomas Moore led a Philadelphia regiment in the War.

Major John Doyle led a group of elite riflemen during the War.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Fortnight For Freedom: Catholics in the American Revolution

  • Spain sent her Navy to battle her ancient British enemy in defense of the fledgling American republic as well. The anti-Catholics among us have no idea how much assistance was provided by Catholics,both American and from friendly countries, in the War for Independence. Victory would not have been achieved without it.

  • Yep.
    “France serving as our ally in the American Revolution not only helped us win our freedom but also began to dispel the anti-Catholic prejudice held by most Americans prior to the Revolution. After the alliance the British attempted to use anti-Catholicism to convince Americans to abandon the fight. Here is a portion of a proclamation by the American traitor Benedict Arnold after he had turned his coat:

    “What is America now but a land of widows, orphans, and beggars?–and should the parent nation cease her exertions to deliver you, what security remains to you even for the enjoyment of the consolations of that religion for which your fathers braved the ocean, the heathen, and the wilderness? Do you know that the eye which guides this pen lately saw your mean and profligate Congress at mass for the soul of a Roman Catholic in Purgatory, and participating in the rites of a Church, against whose antichristian corruptions your pious ancestors would have witnessed with their blood.”

    The effort proved futile. Except for the Tory minority, Americans saw that the French were fighting to assist them and not to impose either French rule or the Catholic church upon them. On July 4, 1779, at the invitation of the French minister Gerard, members of the Continental Congress attended Mass at St. Mary’s in Philadelphia for a Te Deum for American independence.”

    https://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/our-oldest-ally/

  • We too easily forget the disabilities to which Catholics were still subject in Great Britain and Ireland as late as 1776.

    In Scotland, the Penal Laws were not enforced, but they remained on the statute book. The prosecution of Bishop Hugh MacDonald of Morar, titular bishop of Diana and Apostolic Visitor to the Highland District in 1756 under the act against “Jesuits, seminaries, mass priests and trafficking papists” and the deportation of those priests who were “out” in the ’45 had shown these laws could still be exploited against political opponents. Bishop Hugh’s real offence in the eyes of government had been his blessing the Prince’s standard at the Gathering at Glenfinnan on 19 August 1745.

    However, the civil disabilities resulting from the Test Acts effectively excluded Catholics from all public employment, civil or military, from the universities and the learned professions and from sitting in either house of parliament.

    In England, the limited relief offered by the Act of 1778 led to the Gordon Riots of 1780 and showed how easily the anti-Catholic sentiments of the mob could be exploited by demagogues. In Ireland, the Ascendency, as backward as the boyars of Russia and quite untouched by the Enlightenment, continued to enforce the Penal Laws in their full rigour, until the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791 was adopted by the Irish Parliament in 1792-3, the London government having provided a fund for “rounding up the boys.” This largesse was inspired by a dread of Jacobin sentiments spreading from France. The ’98 Rising showed the fear was well-founded.

  • Mr. Paterson-Seymour,

    I am aware of the hostility in England and Scotland towards Catholics that went on for centuries. Great Britain was especially hypocritical in its treatment to Catholics. Great Britain took Quebec from France in the 1760s. The terms of surrender included the religious freedom of Quebec Catholics. However, in the 13 colonies, only Pennsylvania had any real religious freedom. Maryland was established as a safe haven for English Catholics, but that was wiped out in less than 100 years. As a result, many Maryland Catholics moved west to the Pennsylvania frontiers, establishing themselves in several places, among them present day Cambria County (Johnstown). Father Demetrius Gallitzin, a Russian noble and a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, converted to the Catholic church as a result of his time in France (before the French Revolution), became a priest, and served the fledgling Catholic population in present day West Central Pennsylvania in the years subsequent to the War for Independence.

    Most American Catholics are aware of the plight of the Irish. Countless Irish emigrated to these shores as a result of persecution, oppression and starvation by the English – even after the Acts of 1829 that allowed the Catholic Church to reestablish itself in England.

    The Americans of Irish descent were never in a rush to help Great Britain in either World War as a result of these evil deeds.

    Another English “sin” was the Black Legend. England cranked up the propaganda machine accusing Spain of countless horrors related to the Inquisition and the Spanish Empire in the New World. Meanwhile, England thought nothing of stealing Spanish gold, sinking Spanish shipping, invading Spanish colonies and torturing and killing Catholics in the UK. Henry Tudor and his bastard daughter Elizabeth killed more people – mostly Catholics – than the Inquisition and it isn’t even close.

    England bestowed upon us in the US its tradition of common law and an elected legislature. She gave us slavery and anti Catholicism too.

  • Pingback: Religious Liberty - BigPulpit.com
  • Penguins Fan wrote, “England bestowed upon us in the US its tradition of common law…”
    Except in Louisiana. When the governor had attempted to promulgate common law in the new territory, the legislature protested, complaining about the “frightful chaos of the common law.” Thus, in 1808, a Kentucky lawyer, James Brown and the Paris-trained Louis Moreau Lislet (a refugee from the slave revolt of 1791 in Saint-Domingue) drew up the new Civil Code, with the French Code Civil of 1804 (Code Napoléon) at their elbow.

    Scotland, too, preserves its legacy of Roman Law, despite the Act of Union in 1707

  • Louisiana was, of course, part of the Louisiana Purchase made by Thomas Jefferson from Napoleon, after Haiti achieved its independence from France (at a frightful cost). Napoleon had no need of the land he (took from Spain) sold. Louisiana, being a Catholic outpost and previously settled, had its own legal code in place.

    The “free associated state” of Puerto Rico, which has a population larger than several US states, also uses Napoleonic law in its own Commonwealth legal code.

    I should mention that there is a cause for canonization underway for Father Demetrius Gallitzin. No doubt it would annoy the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy, who is still annoyed at the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

    Another foreign born Catholic – a Pole – who volunteered for the American cause was Tadeusz Kościuszko. He was a colonel in the Continental Army for seven years.

  • Penguins Fan

    Tadeusz Kościuszko was a very great man, who long fought for the freedom of Poland. Having met him, the astonished Talleyrand remarked, “The search of Diogenes is ended: we have found an honest man.”
    By the Décret de 26 août 1792, the French Legislative Assembly awarded Kościuszko honorary citizenship of France in honour of his fight for the freedom of his fatherland, as well as of the United States and for the ideas of equality and liberty. The decree, conferred the same honour on William Wilberforce, the English anti-slavery campaigner and Kościuszko himself left his American estate for the freeing and education of African-American slaves.
    He famously called Napoléon, “the undertaker of the French Republic.”

  • Great post and comments. The quote from Benedict Arnold chills me.

    Bishop Carroll:
    “They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men, in recommending and promoting that government, from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order and civil and religious liberty.”
    .

    Wouldn’t it be great if that could be said of us today!

Touching Up The Ol’ Hermeneutic: A Reply To Gabriel Sanchez

Tuesday, May 6, AD 2014

Gabriel Sanchez, a Catholic author I know and respect, has written a critique of my – as he calls it – selective “hermeneutic” of libertarian Catholicism at Ethika Politica. Specifically he is critiquing my critique of Mark Shea’s indictment of libertarianism as heresy at Crisis magazine. It seems he at least agrees with my point that libertarianism is not heresy, but that may be where the agreement ends There are some broad points of his critique I want to address.

First there is Sanchez’s claim that my argument regarding the limits Leo places on the state with respect to taxation and charity is “strange.” The part of paragraph 22 that Sanchez says I “overlook” is irrelevant; in context, it is clear that Leo does not believe that the state has a duty to expropriate and confiscate wealth in the name of charity. I could have quoted more of that paragraph to support my point, such as “[n]o one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life, “for no one ought to live other than becomingly.”” After this, the part I did quote:

“But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one’s standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. “Of that which remaineth, give alms.”(14) It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity – a duty not enforced by human law.”

Maybe we live in two different semantic universes, but in mine, when someone says “no one is commanded”, “not of justice”, “not enforced by human law”, the meaning is clear: the state has no obligation to confiscate the private property of citizens and distribute it to whomever it deems worthy. Whether to give and how much to give is a matter for each individual to decide. I suppose it is arguable that the state could do these things with the consent of the people, but it is not required to do so and the libertarian argument against them would remain quite valid.

Continue reading...

21 Responses to Touching Up The Ol’ Hermeneutic: A Reply To Gabriel Sanchez

  • Sanchez must be an pinhead from academia. Thanks, Mr. McClarey for standing your ground. Your argument seems to be reason and logic based. The pinhead seems to be living on an alternate universe.

  • Thank you Ray, but this is Bonchamps’ post.

  • Debating or arguing Mark Shea is less productive than soaking one’s head in a can of paint.

  • I apologize. For some reason I thought Bonchamps was a nom de plume for you. Sorry.

  • I have read both articles and I must say it is one of the most polite exchanges I have read on the topic. After reading the comments between Mr Sanchez and others on the original article I am led to conclude that perhaps you and the original author are closer in agreement on the nature of state involvement then the normal confrontation between libertarians and there opponents in the Catholic world.

    “Libertarianism “exists” whenever people conduct their affairs freely without the intervention of busy-bodies, social engineers and moralists who have armed agents at their disposal to impose their will.”

    I would be curious as to how you would define a moralist.

  • “I have read both articles and I must say it is one of the most polite exchanges I have read on the topic.”
    .
    After hundreds of nasty exchanges on this topic, I’m glad I’m evolving a bit. I agree, though, it’s usually brutal.
    .
    As for moralists, I mean people who think that their moral positions override evidence, reason, logic, etc. When someone says “we must do x, regardless of the consequences”, for instance. Consequences matter. I wouldn’t argue that they’re always the most important thing, but even when they aren’t, they can’t be treated as if they don’t exist. A lot of proposals for intervention into the economy begin with a moral idea, and they overlook the hidden costs and consequences. And to me, that itself is a moral failing, it is a reckless disregard for how one’s ideas and actions affect other people.

  • St. Gregory the Great has a fair amount to say on the topic of those who give alms from what they have seized from others. Check Book 3 of Pastoral Rule, aka in your Old English literature class as the Book of Pastoral Care.

  • Pingback: Should the Church Refuse Court-Mandated Abuse Settlements - Big Pulpit
  • Bonchamps

    I should appreciate your take on Pope Pius XI’s observations in Casti Connubii. Please excuse the rather lengthy citation:
    “120. If, however, for this purpose, private resources do not suffice, it is the duty of the public authority to supply for the insufficient forces of individual effort, particularly in a matter which is of such importance to the common weal, touching as it does the maintenance of the family and married people. If families, particularly those in which there are many children, have not suitable dwellings; if the husband cannot find employment and means of livelihood; if the necessities of life cannot be purchased except at exorbitant prices; if even the mother of the family to the great harm of the home, is compelled to go forth and seek a living by her own labour; if she, too, in the ordinary or even extraordinary labours of childbirth, is deprived of proper food, medicine, and the assistance of a skilled physician, it is patent to all to what an extent married people may lose heart, and how home life and the observance of God’s commands are rendered difficult for them; indeed it is obvious how great a peril can arise to the public security and to the welfare and very life of civil society itself when such men are reduced to that condition of desperation that, having nothing which they fear to lose, they are emboldened to hope for chance advantage from the upheaval of the state and of established order.
    121. Wherefore, those who have the care of the State and of the public good cannot neglect the needs of married people and their families, without bringing great harm upon the State and on the common welfare. Hence, in making the laws and in disposing of public funds they must do their utmost to relieve the needs of the poor, considering such a task as one of the most important of their administrative duties.”
    Surely, “the public security” and the protection of “established order” is one of the primary obligations of the state, on any view of it?

  • After reading the comments between Mr Sanchez and others on the original article I am led to conclude that perhaps you and the original author are closer in agreement on the nature of state involvement then the normal confrontation between libertarians and there opponents in the Catholic world.

    When you say, “original author” you mean Mark Shea? That’s… interesting since one his new tags for articles is:

    “Libertarianism is a Heresy for People with No Children”

    Given that and some other posts, it doesn’t seem that Shea has an issue with the role of government as a principle, but just that the people he wants are not in charge.

  • “Libertarianism is a Heresy for People with No Children”

    I am no Libertarain but I think those with no children actually want bigger government:

    http://l.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/the-life-of-julia/

  • Social Justice is giving to the needy what they need to sustain life, not to fulfill their desires. (the needy ought to desire from another only what he truly needs to sustain life or the description “needy” would be a fraud.).
    .
    The economy must be based on the virtue of charity. (giving a child a pound of candy is NOT charity. I know. I’ve done it. The child survived after a couple of days.) You give me a dress I need, (not want) and I give you the means to replace the dress for another. This is an exercise of the virtue of charity. It is also the exercise of freedom in free will and consent, absolutely necessary to contract.
    .
    For the government to strongarm its citizens to fulfill some form of giving it has devised is tyranny and extortion and plain taking without compensation; unconstitutional, according to the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment.
    .
    For the government to despise our freedom and present itself as the “just compensation” called for in the Fifth Amendment is ludicrous if it weren’t so monstrous.

  • MPS,

    The specific list of problems Pius XI lists can be addressed by free markets. Competition is what lowers the costs of everyday goods and services that people need. Meanwhile rent and price controls have the effect of causing shortages, disincentivizing investments and improvements, and causing unemployment. I would argue that “the poor” as he conceives them and “the poor” as they exist in the America of 2014 are also two very different groups. Poverty is relative, and in America it is temporary. And that’s part of the problem with Papal economics; it assumes that there is a fixed group of people who are in poverty. That might have been true 100 years ago, and it may still be true today in some countries, but it isn’t true in the US or in any other place where the balance between markets and interventionism tilts towards markets. On the other hand massive interventions have the effect of actually creating a permanently poor class of people, the closest to which we have in the US are the urban blacks who have been the recipients of the most “aid.”

  • @Nate Winchester

    No I meant the article written by Mr Gabriel Sanchez when I said original article. I did not read the article by Mark Shea.

  • Bonchamps

    No doubt, in the long run, free markets do raise living standards. However, a generation after the repeal of the Corn Laws,Disraeli famously twitted the Liberals of the Manchester School with proclaiming peace and plenty amid a starving people and a world in arms.

    In the meantime, Pius XI’s concern about public order can be genuine enough. We have only to recall the June Days of 1848, following the closure of the National Workshops. Then, the Liberals secured a victory over the Radical Republicans, but at the cost of 1,500 dead in the streets of Paris and thousands of summary executions of prisoners. The Assembly, one recalls, welcomed the surrender of the last barricade with cries of “Long Live the Republic!” What they got, inevitably, was Napoleon III.

  • @Noah M

    Ah I gotcha. When you have several layers of replies and back and forths like this, things can get confusing.

  • There can be no free market as long as the government monopolizes the money supply

    Well, someone has drunk the Austro-Kool-Aid.

  • You left off the coordinating clause Art.

    But then I’ve been known to tipple with the Austrians myself.

  • Art Deco

    Monetary theory is a closed book to me, but I once encountered it in a practical form.
    I had to draw the indictment of some men who had robbed a branch of the Clydesdale Bank and part of their haul consisted of the bank’s own banknotes. What was the value of those notes?

    On their face, they are a promise by the bank to pay the bearer on demand £x. To any other holder, they are worth £x, but what are those held by the bank worth to the bank? The bank cannot owe money to itself. My researches showed that in their balance sheet “Notes in the Banking dept” appear as a deduction from “Notes in circulation” (a liability) Stocks of unissued notes are shown at cost (the printer’s charges) under “Consumables” (an asset)

    Having asked a number of colleagues, as puzzled as myself, I resorted to “x pieces or thereby of printed paper, bearing to be banknotes of the said bank and having a face value of £y or thereby, the value of the said pieces of paper being otherwise to the prosecutor unknown, the property or in the lawful possession of the said bank.”

    Does anyone have any better idea?

  • Pingback: Libertarianism & CST: The Debate Continues | The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Catholic Libertarianism: A Debate | Opus Publicum

Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

Tuesday, January 21, AD 2014

Hello again TAC! It has been nearly a year since I posted here, and it is good to be back. I have a long one for you this time, but I think you will find it interesting and my hope is that it will contribute to an ongoing discussion about an important topic.

In December of last year John Zmirak, a Catholic author I know and respect, wrote a piece for Aleteia.org titled “Illiberal Catholicism.” In it, Zmirak takes to task a growing tendency among both Catholic traditionalists (bear in mind I consider myself a traditionalist) and various leftists to denigrate liberalism in general and America’s classical liberal heritage in particular. The piece rubbed quite a few people the wrong way, as several hundred Facebook posts I skimmed would attest. There were lengthier responses from some corners of the Catholic blogosphere as well. If I had to offer the thesis statement of the piece, it would be this:

 [T]here is something very serious going on in Catholic intellectual and educational circles, which — if it goes on unchecked — will threaten the pro-life cause, the Church’s influence in society, and the safety and freedom of individual Catholics in America.  The growth of illiberal Catholicism will strengthen the power of the intolerant secular left, revive (and fully justify) the old anti-Catholicism that long pervaded America, and make Catholics in the United States as laughably marginal as they now are in countries like Spain and France…

From there, Zmirak provides us with an overview of the lack of tolerance in Church history that was bound to rankle traditionalists, as well as an endorsement of political and economic liberty that anti-capitalist traditionalists and leftists could not but despise. He also explicitly identified with “Tea Party” Catholicism – what could be more philistine for the enlightened anti-capitalist crowd, traddie or leftie?

Continue reading...

81 Responses to Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?

  • I have always felt this way, but I am conflicted partially. I mean, force and the threat of force when it comes to religious convictions seem to be woefully inadequate just in terms of human nature; there is a big difference between “I believe God is real” and “I believe if I say that I believe in God, this will keep me from getting whacked, or could get me a nice government job.”

    So, I wonder, is religious liberty always and everywhere going to be the best option, even though it (in and of itself) is no more than a concession to human nature rather than something to be sought for its own goodness?

    A lot of the popes I have read on this seem to suggest that the ideal state has no religious tolerance, but I wonder whether the ideal state could exist, and whether this belief falls within the parameters of their statements taken holistically.

  • Pingback: Right-Liberal Alarmism | Ita Scripta Est
  • At the same time we cannot reject religious liberty in practice, unless we are prepared to be denied the right to publicly exist and profess as authentic Catholics. We must know and profess that our religion is true, and yes, that other religions are in fact false, while simultaneously defending their right to be false.

    Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.
    But some religions do not play well with others; I’m thinking of Islam and Leftism, each of which is built to exclude all other ways of finding God (or the Good). To defend religious liberty is necessary but not sufficient when professing Christians cannot profess and still earn a living baking cakes.
    As to the separation of Church and State, I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot. And no, simply repeating the phrase “human flourishing” over and over again does not correct the characterization.
    Eugene Volokh had a recent blog post addressing this problem with how arguments are framed: Your side tries to impose your beliefs; my side seeks justice. Any Catholics of whatever stripe who assist the Left in framing arguments this way are scoring an own goal. Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.

  • Pingback: Best Translation of St. Augustine’s ‘Confessions’ - Big Pulpit.com
  • Here, here!!

  • “Religious Liberty is a mirage until everybody comes clean about having a system of beliefs.” Excellent statement of truth, tamsin.
    Films, movies, books, the media, and every politician have agendas. Jesus Christ came to serve God and man. Religious Liberty is about the freedom to come to know, to love and to serve God in thought, speech, press and peaceable assembly.

  • “Which Judaism and Christianity can do, adhering to the common belief that man is made in the image and likeness of God, and so has free will to choose Him.”

    I do not believe that Catholic policy in the age of Christendom denied man his free will. The Church never recognized forced conversions as valid. The Church has always held that a baptism is not valid for a person of the age of reason who does not consent to that baptism. What the Church did do, however, was forbid the public expression of religions such as Islam within Christian lands. I would not recommend this practice today, but can I condemn it as an intrinsic evil in violation of a basic human right? I won’t.

    “I get awfully frustrated when we argue with Leftists over laws, and we accept the Left’s characterization of themselves as rationally guided towards the Good, and ourselves as irrationally driven by God and making everybody miserable to boot.”

    Did I do that somewhere? For my part, I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. It is a civilization-destroying ideology.

  • In order to speak in a complete way about “religious liberty” one must first come to grips with the Tradition concerning “Church and State”.

    Christ Jesus introduced a distinction between state and religion for the first time in human history. Since all governments, and families for that matter, saw a profound unity between ‘authority’ and ‘the divine’, leaders of governments and ‘fathers of families’ were raised to new heights. In most cases, being divinized, becoming ‘gods’ or having ‘god-like’ authority. Even ancient Israel when it finally established their monarchy endowed the king with divine authority-just take a look at Psalm 2 (read in the context of the ancient monarchy). Also recognize the very close association in the Jewish mind of the authority in families with God, in the relationship of the fourth commandment immediately following the first three all of which have to do with the Lord God.

    When Jesus was speaking, both Rome and Jerusalem saw no real separation of religion and state, yet Jesus said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. It might seem that this statement was a coy avoidance of a dispute over giving taxes to Caesar, but the whole question about the coin, and whose image was on the coin-Caesar’s has a deeper meaning. Caesar himself, as a human being is created in the image of God. Thus, the ‘state’ has only certain rights and expectations while the Original-God has the right to all or love with out whole being etc.

    If there were a question about this, then the Lord’s response to Pilate during His trial cinches it. There in John 18, Jesus says that His Kingdom does not belong to this world. Jesus is indeed a king, but not a political king. He reminded Pilate that his authority did not come from Caesar but God Himself yet that power and authority is not absolute. It is both under God and bounded by “truth”: the truth about God and the truth about ‘man’

    The Church Fathers were very clear about this ‘distinction’ [I call it a distinction because I do not want to confuse it in anyway with the supposed principle of the “Separation of Church and State” as it is understood today. This distinction however is closer to the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment.] In the Letter of Diognetus, there is a wonderful pithy remark which sums it up: “we pray for the emperor, we do not worship him”

    In the Arian crisis, there was a profound political implication at work as well in the heresy. If indeed Jesus Christ was not the consubstantial Son of the Father, then all bets were off who represented God’s authority on earth. If the Arians were right, then the Emperor represented God’s authority [there was more than conviction at work with so many emperors fighting the nicene bishops]. However, if Jesus Christ is indeed homoousion [consubstantial] with the Father then He first of all images the authority of the Father and after him, the bishop, most especially the bishop of Rome. The Fathers of the Council understood this implication. That is why they put a permanent reminder into the Creed: “He suffered under Pontius Pilate” They were reminding people for all time that “Caesar” is not God but very much a frail, sinful man.

    Pope Gelasius would further this tradition in his ‘two swords”: the political sword (authority) and the religious sword-with the understanding that there was a separation of the two powers.

    In all of this there was never a hint of equivocation of watering down the ‘true religion’ whether in terms of the Church’s relations with the pagans or the ultimate heretics, the Arians. In the early Councils, the Church (on al sides of the disputes) found the machinations and scheming of the “Christian emperors” problematic to say the least. Their scheming led to the exaltation of the bishop of Byzantium into becoming the Patriarch of Constantinople, second only to the pope (but for political reasons!). In later councils both Nestorians and Monophysites broke with the Church more for the interventions of the Emperor than for the doctrinal language and questions at hand.. More than one Pope was pressured by the Emperor to soften his stand or abide by a decision etc, even one being abducted from Rome and brought to Constantinople in chains. The Church, especially the Church in Rome saw very specific distinctions between the two powers. it would be only later that things got confused and even mushy

    It was Augustine, the great Church Father who really brought in confusion. In order to quell the reactionary schism of the Donatists, Augustine, in exasperation, wrote to the local Roman authority to intervene and to squash the reactionaries. In his letter he gave all sorts of high sounding reasons to do so, and in this way paved the way for the Church from that time forward to use the arm of the political authority to deal with the Church’s ‘problems’. From this heretics were burned, witch hunts took place and pogroms of the Jews found ‘succor’

    So which is really the more traditional?

  • Liberty is God-given.

    A government that infringes on a God-given, human right is illegitimate: organized brigandage. They can take your life and property. They cannot take your liberty or your soul.

    Fear not that which can only destroy your physical life but cannot kill the soul. Fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. See Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:2-7.

  • “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” God created Caesar and Caesar’s state through the sovereignty of personhood. Personhood comes before citizenship in order. Caesar belongs to God. Christ was put to death for blasphemy. Separation of church and state will forbid state punishment for sins. The church forgives sins, the state prosecutes crime. As Thomas More said: “then let God arrest him.”
    Atheism undermines the sovereign state, denies unalienable civil rights and the Divine image in man. “Religious Liberty: Necessity or Virtue?” Both, as church virtue and state necessity. Only by admitting to church and state can there be separation in principle of each.

  • Botolph,

    I appreciate your overview of the ancient Christian conception of “church and state.” It certainly isn’t the first issue that St. Augustine may have mucked up either. But I don’t believe that the Medieval/Early Modern view of church and state that prevailed – at least officially – up until Vatican II was in any sense a contradiction of the “two swords” doctrine. Popes from Boniface VIII to Leo XIII reaffirmed this doctrine and always understood the demarcating line between secular and ecclesiastical authority. The question of religious liberty is related but ultimately distinct. Church and State may have different functions, which is what the two swords refers to, but States still have positive duties, among which is the recognition of the true religion.

    I don’t believe that this recognition necessarily entails the sort of repression that Augustine requested. The ideal Catholic statesmen would have discretion regarding the implementation of the doctrine. Religious toleration is compatible with an established religion, in which case the established religion would simply receive preferential treatment while all others would more or less be on their own, to sink or swim according to their merits.

    To put it simply, there’s a difference between the idea and its implementation.

  • Bonchamps,

    You are correct that the Medieval and early modern Church is not ruptured from the earlier ‘two swords’ of the early and Patristic Church. My point was to show that the ‘two swords’ and the accompanying way the Church dealt with its problems [persuading and if necessary calling a Council: basicallly putting into practice Matthew 18] was very different than the way the medieval/early Modern Church dealt with such issues: call in the govt, the troops and the use of force.

    See my point is to put a mirror up for us to see ourselves in a very distinct/different light. A light we used to be, but over the centuries became frustrated with dissent, error etc and began to rely more and more on the other sword to enforce our issues. Until the American experiment prevented it for their own reasons [not theological ones], we believed that this second way of doing things was the only way to deal with our problems. The American experiment ‘shocked’ us into looking at our whole history and soon we discovered this older truer way.

    We still hold that the Catholic Church is the true Church etc but we can deal with our difficulties with our own tools, ‘our own ‘sword”, and not turn to the State to enforce our doctrines etc.

    There are moral issues that are very much in the vanguard in our own day. Let’s take for example Life issues. Is it enough for us to work to change laws and criminal codes in order to end such atrocities as abortion etc. Yes, they are important but the real work is to raise consciousnesses, begin to illuminate clouded and even ignorant minds, melt hardened hearts and seek the conversion-but not forced conversion-of our neighbors. It is then and only then that America will truly be pro-life.

    Error does not have rights. People who are in error have the rights

  • I would distinguish between whether or not it is prudent for the Church to demand the use of force to further some aim on the one hand, and whether or not the Church ought to proclaim a positive obligation on the part of governments to acknowledge the one true faith, or – if dealing with non-Catholic governments – the obligation of Catholics to support, when practicable, the establishment of such a government.

    I make the distinction as well between the minimal and maximum demands of an establishment of religion. Religious toleration is entirely compatible with the minimum demands, which are public recognition of the true faith, legislators who profess the true faith, and preferential tax support (I don’t like the idea of subsidies, but exemptions are fine). Nothing about this arrangement necessarily entails the violent repression of those who adhere to other religions.

    This minimal establishment would be in accordance with what Pope Leo XIII prescribed, in my view.

  • Hello Bonchamps,
    I apologize for the confusion — I think we are in close agreement as regards free will, and reason. My complaints were not directed at you. Your discussion of religious liberty got me started thinking about the larger problem: define religion.
    .
    I wonder if we would be better off defending “conscience” rights rather than “religious” liberty, because the word “religion” is poorly understood, or has been mis-defined, to our detriment in the game of writing laws in this country. Per my link to Volokh.
    .
    I view the left as irrationally driven by radical egalitarianism. Agreed. It is a tenet of their religion.
    .
    Thank you for the excerpts from Pope Leo’s writings. Very helpful!

  • If I may, (do not let my appearances of humility fool you, as I will any how.) Faith is a gift from God to which man responds in thought, word, and deed, in a relationship with God, our Creator. This acknowledgement of God cannot be prohibited by any entity, not man, nor beast, nor demon. “…or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”, a constitutional relationship that may not be prohibited.
    In thought, in prayers and petition in meditation and contemplation. In word, speech and free press. In peaceable assembly, community, church, in the forming human being in the womb. Man and his God are inseparable. The atheist denies his Creator and his immortal soul which is perjury in a court of law. The human person is endowed with unalienable, that is, infinite civil rights by his infinite Supreme Sovereign Being.

  • There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    The real threat to religious freedom from the liberal state was well summarised by Lord Acton: “Civil and religious liberty are so commonly associated in people’s mouths, and are so rare in fact, that their definition is evidently as little understood as the principle of their connection. The point at which they unite, the common root from which they derive their sustenance, is the right of self-government. The modern theory, which has swept away every authority except that of the State, and has made the sovereign power irresistible by multiplying those who share it, is the enemy of that common freedom in which religious freedom is included. It condemns, as a State within the State, every inner group and community, class or corporation, administering its own affairs; and, by proclaiming the abolition of privileges, it emancipates the subjects of every such authority in order to transfer them exclusively to its own. It recognises liberty only in the individual, because it is only in the individual that liberty can be separated from authority, and the right of conditional obedience deprived of the security of a limited command. Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

  • “There is not a word in Dignitatis Humanae that prohibits the recognition and establishment of religion by the state. What it forbids is coercion by the state in matters of religion, whilst fully recognising those limitations that may be imposed in the interests of “just public order.”

    And yet, MPS, there was a time during which the Church did insist upon coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls, and not public order. The implication of DH remains: the Church supposedly ignored or denied a fundamental human right for nearly two thousand years, an utterly preposterous conclusion. Moreover, DH does regard as right and good that which Pope Leo XIII and other pontiffs had designated as an evil that at most was to be tolerated. That line of thinking is an insult to the entire history of Christendom. DH goes too far. Pope Leo XIII found the right spot, acknowledging that the Church may have to conform to the times, but still insisting on the fundamental distinction between right and wrong – as opposed to changing it!

    There is another problem. It’s a thin semantic line, but there are likely many people who would regard the official recognition of a religion by a state to be an act of coercion if it is to go beyond mere words and extend into a minimal policy of a religious test for public officials and tax exemptions and/or subsides. It may be impossible to practically separate establishment from coercion.

  • Bonchamps,

    I will certainly let MPS speak for himself. He is extremely capable. However, I might point out that you have a gap in your own logic.

    You state that indeed the Church did use coercion in matters of religion for the sake of souls and not for the sake of public order. We are agreed. That stems back in the West to Augustine’s ‘request’ that the Roman authorities suppress the recalcitrant reactionary Donatists who were creating havoc for the Church in North Africa. We already established this in another post.

    Yet, what is faith? Is not faith a gift which cannot be prevented from being exercised? Is not faith while fundamentally graced nonetheless be a free human act. How could or can the Church possibly hope to gain unity of faith when the unity is nothing more than coerced conformity? Is faith free or not?

  • Botolph,

    As I previously established, the objective of the Church’s coercion, at least in the Middle Ages and beyond, was to prevent the public expression of non-Catholic religions. The point was not to change a person’s religion by force, but to prevent those of other religions from proselytizing or exerting other influences upon the Christian community. I do not claim that this practice is something that ought to be done in all times and places, but I do reject DH’s necessary implication that it was an intrinsically evil act.

    The Papacy had specifically outlawed forced conversions and would not recognize them. So the question, “is faith free or not”, is not relevant to this discussion. What happens in a man’s head and heart is more or less free, ontologically and morally.

  • Bonchamps,

    If I understand you correctly you are saying that ghettoizing the Jews both physically as in Rome or Warsaw or preventing them from owning property as farmers etc thus ghettoizing them into the financial trades (irony of ironies we did that!) not only was ok but still is IF we had the opportunity?

  • Botolph,

    Is “ghettoizing” the same exact thing as “preventing the public expression of non-Catholic religions”? The answer is quite obviously no. The most prominent example I had mind did not pertain to Jews, but rather to Muslims living in Spain. The Papacy insisted that Catholic rulers forbid the call to prayer and other public expressions of Islam in Christian lands, not for “public order”, which I presume John Courtney Murray would be ok with, but for the sake of souls.

    Distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate here.

  • Bonchamps,

    I agree distinctions and semantics are indeed at least 90% of the debate here.

    My first comment concerning the pope’s insistance concerning the Moslems of reconquered Spain, is that he probably did not have to insist too hard. The Spanish and Portuguese Catholics had been repressed for centuries and, on the human level, it was payback time.

    You make an interesting point however. The pope insisted that Catholic rulers….. Are you interpreting a pope’s insistence, or even a ‘ruling’ to be Church teaching? [As you say distinctions and semantics are 90% of the debate]. You see I would maintain that what appeared to be ‘set policy etc’ based on tradition (notice the small “t” not the capital “T”) is the same as Magisterial teaching. They are not the same.

  • Botolph,

    I would think that a directive issued through one of the official councils of the Church, in this case the Council of Vienne, would count as Magisterial. Here is the entire paragraph, #25, followed by a link to the text:

    “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place, in the hearing of both Christians and Saracens and there make public declarations in his honour. There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. A great number of Saracens flock there quite openly from far and near. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated any further without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on catholic princes, one and all, who hold sovereignty over the said Saracens and in whose territory these practices occur, and we lay on them a pressing obligation under the divine judgment that, as true Catholics and zealous for the Christian faith, they give consideration to the disgrace heaped on both them and other Christians. They are to remove this offence altogether from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet. They shall also forbid anyone in their dominions to attempt in future the said pilgrimage or in any way give countenance to it. Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.”

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/vienne.htm

    That and DH occupy two different moral universes, do they not?

  • Bonchamps,

    I do not accept that the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council are in two different moral universes. I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.

    If you take another look at what the Council states (in your own quote above) you can ask yourself this question. Is the Council addressing a doctrinal, moral or disciplinary issue. Now it is absolutely true that the three are not totally independent, yet, like each Person of the Most Blessed Trinity they are distinct and have their own mission. I believe we both agree that the ‘statement’ is not doctrinal-no doctrine is in question (except of course the preservation of the Catholic Church and faith) But no specific doctrine is being debated etc.
    I will grant that there is a fine line of distinction between the moral and the disciplinary. In fact for many they seem to be the same, however they are not. Moral teaching fundamentally is the Apostolic Moral Tradition that has been passed down through the centuries etc, needs to be passed on, preserved, protected [for example the Church’s teaching on abortion, marriage, birth control]. The Council of Vienne is not passing on Apostolic Moral Tradition here. Instead, what we have is a very important part of Church life called “discipline’. Canon law is very much rooted in this. It has to do with how Catholic life is or ought to be lived out at that time. Unlike doctrine or moral teachings however, disciplines, canon law while organic nevertheless changes.

    As to the authority of ‘canons’ of Ecumenical Councils, they are of varying levels of authority and in fact some are not even accepted at all. I presume you kneel during the Canon of the Mass [Eucharistic Prayer], yet the canons of Nicea I call for the faithful to stand. There are canons from the Council of Constantinople I (381) that the Catholic Church refuses to accept-placing the Patriarch of Constantinople second in rank among the Patriarchs because he is the bishop of the New Rome while the pope is the Bishop of old Rome [notice nothing to do with Peter etc]

    Councils and all Church documents, like Sacred Scripture need to be exegeted Bonchamps. In a letter to Fr Feeney S.J. in the late 1940’s, the official communique stated that no one should interpret a Church teaching, statement etc except with the understanding of the Church.

  • “I do agree they are facing very different issues and problems and arrived at their positions accordingly.”

    Is that so? I don’t know how you can agree, when I would not hold that the issues they face are so different. They are not. The same issue is before both councils, at least in general if not in the specifics, and they came to two different conclusions.

    I never made the claim that it was a doctrinal statement. What I do claim, because it is quite simply true, is that what the Church called for at the council is in direct contradiction to what Vatican II calls for with respect to religious liberty. Now you can say that this is merely a “disciplinary” matter, but frankly I think that what Pope Leo XIII wrote was more aligned with a shift in Church discipline. Vatican II, as opposed to Pope Leo, distinct from Pope Leo, proclaims a fundamental human right, a God-given right. This goes beyond discipline. I do not say it extends all the way to dogma.

    I also don’t see how it is relevant to invoke disputed canons of ancient councils to question the authority of a canon of a council that is not in the least disputed by Catholics.

  • Bonchamps

    One very important point about the mediaeval practice is that the Church courts always claimed exclusive jurisdiction over cases of heresy and apostasy. The temporal courts could only punish those relaxed to the secular arm. In other words, the jurisdiction of the state over religious opinions was consistently denied.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, such cases were extremely rare. In the year 1222, Archbishop Stephen Langton held at Oxford a provincial council, where a deacon who had turned Jew for the love of a Jewess was relaxed and burned. That is the first instance in English history of someone being handed over to the secular arm and burnt. The next recorded case is the burning of Sawtry the Lollard in 1400, also relaxed by a provincial council as a relapsed heretic, having some years before abjured the same heresies before the bishop of Lincoln. He was a priest and his bishop did not even suspend him after his abjuration.

    Two executions in the 800 years, from St Augustine’s mission in 597 to the Statute De Hæretico Comburendo – I leave open the question of whether Sawtry was burned at common law or under that statute; the sources are unclear. Bracton who begins the series of English law reports, on the basis of the 1222 case, says it is the penalty for apostasy; he does not mention heresy.

    In Scotland, the first person burned for heresy was John Resby, an English Lollard, in 1407. He taught that no one not in a state of grace could exercise any authority, ecclesiastical or civil – Heady stuff. In 1433, Paul Craw or Crawer, [Pavel Kravař] a Bohemian physician and a Hussite, was burned.

    It is only when we come to the Reformation period, nearly a century later that we find a spate of burnings: Patrick Hamilton, a Lutheran, was burned in 1527; in 1517, at the age of 13, he had been appointed titular abbot of Fearn, from which he drew the revenues, but never visited. Henry Forrest was burned in 1533, David Straiton, excommunicated for resisting payment of teind in 1534, Thomas Forrest and Duncan Simson, also John Kyllour and John Beveridge, Dominicans and Jerome Russell, a Franciscan, all in 1539, The St John’s Toun Martyrs of 1543 were; Robert Lamb, William Anderson, James Hunter, James Raveleson, James Finalson and Helen Stirke. George Wishart, a disciple of Calvin and Zwingli, in 1546 and Walter Milne [alias Myln or Mill] in 1558.

    Again, the requirements of public order were very different in societies in which the ecclesiastical and civil orders were closely intertwined and where religious dissent went hand in hand with defiance of the established government. The French King, for example ruled by the grace of God as roi très-chrétien, anointed by the Church with the oil of Clovis and to attack the Church was to dispute his title.

  • Bonchamps,

    I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry. While I would say that no one is calling for a rejection of this particular disciplinary statement of the Council of Vienne, (therefore not in dispute) it is hardly being called to mind in any way to be revived, renewed etc. It simply was/is a time-bounded discipline.

    Tell me Bonchamps, how do these principles break with Catholic Church teaching?

    “The Sacred Council begins by proclaiming that God Himself has made known to the human race how people by serving Him can be saved and reach happiness in Christ. We believe that this one true religion exists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord entrusted the task of spreading it among all peoples……All are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and the Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it.

    The Sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind peoples’ consciences. Truth can impose itself on the human mind by the force of its own truth, which wins over the human mind by gentleness and power. So while the religious freedom which human beings demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral obligation of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ…..DH 1

    “The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Freedom of this kind means that everyone should be immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, no men and women are forced to act against their convictions nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others. The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom is based on the very dignity of the human person as known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. The right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civil right.

    It is in accordance with their dignity that all human beings, because they are persons, that is beings endowed with reason and free will, and therefore bearing personal responsibility, are both impelled by their nature and bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth once they come to know it and to direct their whole lives in accordance with the demands of truth. But human beings cannot satisfy this obligation in a way that is in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy both psychological freedom and immunity from eternal coercion. Therefore the right to religious freedom is based not on subjective attitude but on the very nature of the individual person. For this reason, the right to such imunity continues to exist even in those who do not live p to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it. The exercise of this right cannot be interfered with as long as the just requirements of public order are observed. DH2

  • immunity from eternal coercion

    I think you mean external?

  • c matt

    Yes, the ‘x” got dropped. The word is ‘external coercion”

    Thanks

  • immune from coercion by individuals, social groups, and every human power so that, within due limits, … nor are any persons to be restrained from acting in accordance with their convictions in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others.

    Seems this would prohibit the banning of a public Saracen call to prayer as was done by the Council of Vienne.

  • c. matt

    A key phrase of DH is “within due limits”. This is speaking about objective law based on natural law: for example if a religion practiced human sacrifice, or Islamicist terrorist bombing etc.

    Given that, yes, DH would not allow or call for the silencing of the Islamic call to prayer-just as it would state categorically that Islamic countries cannot forbid Catholics practicing their faith etc

  • c. matt,

    You did not explicitly say so, however are you concerned about what seems to be a contradiction between two Ecumencial Councils?

  • Botolph,

    “I thought you would get my point about the disciplines/canons of the Church not being universal, absolute etc I was wrong you did not pick up on that. Sorry.”

    This really isn’t called for. I most certainly understand the general point. I did not argue, at any point, that canon 25 of the Council of Vienne was a binding dogmatic statement. However, I did think obvious that such a directive could only issue from a Church that manifestly did NOT share the view of religious liberty expressed in DH, namely that “the human person has a right to religious freedom.” The Saracens were human persons. The Church did not recognize their right to such a freedom.

  • It is also obvious that the Council of Vienne was NOT concerned with the “due limits” of public order, but rather sought to prohibit the public expression of Islam for entirely spiritual and cultural reasons. It is deemed an insult to God, a scandal, for this practice to continue. No explicit threat to public order is ever mentioned.

  • My problem with DH is that it proclaims as a right what the Church was only ever obliged to recognize as an expedient privilege. It elevates an arguable necessity, given the way the world had changed, into a positive virtue. I believe that goes “too far”, and, as I stated as clearly as I could, Leo XIII’s position represents the ideal point along that spectrum.

  • It is trite learning that Councils are not infallible in the reasons by which they are led, or on which they rely, in making their definition, nor in their legislation nor in their policies.

    As Bl John Henry Newman points out, “Nor is a Council infallible, even in the prefaces and introductions to its definitions. There are theologians of name, as Tournely and Amor, who contend that even those most instructive capitula passed in the Tridentine Council, from which the Canons with anathemas are drawn up, are not portions of the Church’s infallible teaching” and he notes that “in the Third Council, a passage of an heretical author was quoted in defence of the doctrine defined, under the belief he was Pope Julius, and narratives, not trustworthy, are introduced into the Seventh.”

    Following the 1870 decree on papal infallibility, the Swiss bishops declared, “”The Pope is not infallible as a man, or a theologian, or a priest, or a bishop, or a temporal prince, or a judge, or a legislator, or in his political views, or even in his government of the Church”; the same holds for an ecumenical council. What we have from Vienne is a piece of legislation, pure and simple.

  • Bonchamps,

    This did not come up on the agenda of the Council of Vienne, but the Church of that time did not have a major problem at all with human slavery. In fact, as Thomas Aquinas would argue, it a ‘good’ if and when comparing it to the execution of all prisoners etc. However, over time, thanks be to God, the Church began to recognize that slavery was an evil contrary to the human dignity of each and every person created in the image of God. There is something similar going on here. It is a development, not a contradiction or a break in the Moral Tradition of the Church.

    Does this make sense?

  • Botolph,

    In the sense that what you propose is coherent, yes, it “makes sense.” That does not mean I am obliged to agree with it. I disagree with the idea of “moral progress” and all of its Hegelian implications. History is not a process of God coming to understand himself, nor is it the process of the institution that God entrusted with the promulgation of the Gospel coming to understand itself – as has been implicitly and explicitly suggested by the post-conciliar popes, particularly Paul VI and JP II.

    What of slavery? Historically there were different kinds. I think the Christian attitude towards slavery was always practical and humane, as it was towards all social situations it encountered: it established definite moral rules and guidelines that people in positions of power and of subservience had to obey. It made the absolute best out of a situation that was brought about through both barbaric customs as well as the iron laws of scarcity and economic necessity. The abolition of slavery, and we can add serfdom as well, only became a widespread notion when technology had so improved the productivity of human labor that it became counterproductive to rely on masses of raw human labor power to produce goods.

    All of that said, the Church was far ahead of the historical curve in prohibiting the sort of chattel slavery that came to dominate in the early modern period. The Church prohibited the enslavement of indigenous peoples under threat of excommunication. It continued to allow the enslavement of those who were in a state of war with Christendom, such as the Muslim pirates that would take Christian ships and towns and enslave those whom they did not kill. Such was the norm in the world at the time.

    The conditions under which men live, change. The Church, in her wisdom, adapts to these changes. She did not continue to insist that Christian rulers could take Islamic aggressors as slaves, and I don’t believe she continued to insist that Muslim prayers be silenced. Vatican II’s pronouncements were not required for this. It was never necessary to declare that slavery is an absolute moral evil, nor was it necessary to declare, at least by implication, the prohibition of public displays of non-Catholic religions as moral evils. They are simply practices which no longer serve a useful and prudent purpose, and may therefore be set aside in favor of policies that are.

    So you see, I completely agree with you. These are, in the end, policies. It is not me, but Vatican II, that elevates the discourse beyond a mere policy dispute into an absolute moral discussion.

  • Bonchamps

    Vincent of St Lérins (died c 445) – he of the famous “Quod ubique, quod simper, quod ab omnibus – says in his Commonitórium Primum, “Thus even the dogma of the Christian religion must proceed from these laws. It progresses, solidifying with years, growing over time, deepening with age.” It is no great stretch to argue that the same holds true of the moral demands of the Gospel.

    You are right to point to the social conditions which led to tolerance of the practice of slavery (and you could equally have pointed to the question of usury) In societies where religion was central to social cohesion and to the legitimacy of the ruler, individual rights would tend to be marginalised. It is no accident that, as recently as 1745, in the Scottish Highlands, people were Catholic, Episcopalian or Presbyterian by clans. Even now, in Glasgow, the common term of abuse for Catholics is “Fenian B*****s” In an age when religious dissent was closely associated with political disloyalty, the claims of religious freedom were unlikely to be respected..

    This does not mean that the teaching of Dignitatis Humanae does not articulate the demands of the Gospel

  • There is quite a difference, MPS, between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the word “progress” and what people living in a post-Enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolshevik world may mean by that word.

  • Bonchamps,

    Actually I am pleased. You are developing what is known as a ‘historical consciousness’ for you wrote,
    “There is quite a difference between what a 5th century saint may have meant by the woird ‘progress’ and what people living in a post-enlightenment, post-Jacobin, post-Bolsehvik world may mean by the word”

    Now that’s progress ! 🙂 Of course now that same sense of differences due to historical context applies to everything-including the Ecumenical Council of Vienne and the Ecumenical Second Vatican Council.

    However, for a more recent witness, how about what Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote in his opus magnus “On the Development of Doctrine”?

  • I didn’t think you had a quality that could exceed your pedantry, but you have proven me wrong with your condescension.

    I have had a “historical consciousness” since I have been conscious.

    At no point before Vatican II did the Church ever imply or declare that her practices were at one point intrinsically evil. The pre-conciliar Pontiffs defended the legacy of the Church. They didn’t apologize for it. That’s the difference between “development” and rupture. One of them at least.

  • And your response is not sarcastic etc?

    Point is this. You do not like/ or even reject Vatican II. What you are doing is attempting to justify that stance. If that is the real issue then we can end this here, because this will go on endlessly. I accept Vatican II as both an authentic Ecumenical Council of the Church and authoritative for the faith of the Church. That acceptance is indeed an act of faith, freely made under the grace of the Spirit.

  • Botolph,

    There has been no sarcasm in my response. I have no need of it, or any other rhetorical aggression.

    You are right: I don’t like Vatican II. But I am not engaging in a pointless Vatican II-bash. The point of my post was to highlight a reasonable course between both the rigid reactionary position of some traditionalists and the Vatican II position on religious liberty.

  • Bonchamps

    Ok fair enough. We obviously do not agree on our approach to Vatican II, I both like andaccept it. However, let me say this to you-something I have said repeatedly in here. I do not subscribe in any shape or form to ‘the spirit of Vatican II’. Although a very amorphous phrase etc., there are those who use it (grant you not all) who actually have not simply misinterpreted VII but corrupted it to the point of destroying it. They have done great harm in the Church. They have given support to a supposed style of being Catholic in which one can pick and choose the doctrines etc one likes about Catholicism. At the same time they have so corrupted and betrayed VII that more traditional Catholics are ‘turned off’ or even ‘scadalized’ by what they believe is VII but is really the ‘spirit of VII”‘s interpretation.

    As to the Declaration on Religious Freedom, it needs to be placed in the context not only of the Catholic tradition but within Vatican II itself. For example, Vatican I and Vatican II cannot be divorced as frequently happens by both ideological sides. Vatican I dealt fundamentally with the ab intra of the Church, giving a solid foundation to an understanding of the Church in which the pope is over the whole Church without interference etc of governments etc and the bishop is over the diocese without interference of govt etc. However, the relationship of the Church ab extra-the relation of the Church with the external world was not described etc and as the Bishops entered into the first session of Vatican II it was understood by all that this relationship of the Church with the world outside it needed to be put forward.

    Therefore we have the four fundamental Constitutions: on Divine Revelation, on the Liturgy, on the Church and on the Church in the Modern World. These are the key to VII, everything else revolve around them. Of course they need to be read in continuity and not discontinuity with the Catholic tradition that preceded them. Like Scripture itself, anything quoted out of context etc will give a very different meaning than when it is read in context etc.

    Thus the Declaration (not a Constitution) on Religious Freedom is to be read in the context especially of Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes. It cannot be read or understood without them. It is rooted in the deep Thomistic contemplation found in Gaudium et Spes which has as its focus and base the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. If one is caught up in the Incarnation one begins to recognize that in a mysterious way, the Incarnate Son of God identified Himself with each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. This does not mean they are “Christians” nor does it mean they are ‘automatically saved”. It does mean that The Incarnate Son has revealed the dignity of each and every human being, a dignity which is not fulfilled by merely giving or gaining certain rights, but that each person from the moment of conception is called to communion, to participate in the Life of the Blessed Trinity in and through the Paschal Mystery of Christ.

    It is only in this light, not some secularist view of man, that the religious freedom of all people can be seen-because it is in this freedom that they are obliged ultimately to seek the Way the Truth and the Life

  • Botolph,

    I do not share your assessment of Vatican II, though I certainly understand why conservative Catholics feel obliged to hold it. I will say upfront that I do agree with the basic idea that leftists and extreme liberals have run wild with statements from Vatican II. I can agree to the basic proposition that they go beyond perhaps what was intended.

    However, the dense, complicated rhetoric of Vatican II lends itself quite easily to misinterpretation. The fact that so many people have misunderstood what these documents supposedly mean is the first indication that they are riddled with flaws. Ambiguity can be the result of a genuine failure in clear communication; it can also be the result of deliberate design, the ultimate aim being to construct a document that can simultaneously uphold and deny certain controversial positions and ideas.
    You speak of the context of DH. I happen to know that it was authored by John Courtney Murray, that it was barely ratified by the council having met with stiff resistance from men such as Cardinal Ottaviani, and that Murray explicitly and repeatedly relied on Enlightenment thought and viewed it as a significant advance over Medieval thought on these questions. This was not the view of the pre-conciliar popes, as the bulls/encyclicals of Leo XII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, and so on amply demonstrate. It is quite obvious to me that there is a historical context that is just as if not more important than the context of the council itself; for over a century and a half the Papacy waged an unapologetic and unremitting war against ideals that Vatican II would – to put it nicely – adapt itself to or even positively declare. You may say that Vatican I & II somehow shared a unity of purpose, but this would require that you ignore a century of staunch and unapologetic encyclicals by some of the aforementioned popes that, again to put it lightly, in no way support the central themes of Vatican II. Religious liberty is only one of these fronts. Pius IX, remember, declared Papal infallibility in defiance of the entire world; Vatican I was cut short because invading armies caused him to flee into exile.
    I don’t even want to touch the idea that Christ united himself with every man through the Incarnation. That’s way off the topic and would take way too long to address. Suffice to say that I am familiar with the issues and controversies surrounding Vatican II, and that I take the positions that I do for definite reasons. It is difficult for me to regard the proposition that one must begin with continuity as a premise as anything other than an ideological assertion. Continuity is something that must be proven and demonstrated, not assumed at the outset. If you being by deciding that there is continuity, then you will quite naturally overlook everything and anything that could prove otherwise. In what moral universe is this an honest way to read?

  • Bonchamps,

    Ok but I would say the discontinuity is just as ideological a hermeneutic. Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity? Not to sound sarcastic but that makes strange bed fellows.

    VII needs to be read not simply in a hermeneutic of continuity but that the type of literature which it takes up is ‘exhortation’. It expresses the ideal toward which the Fathers of the Council desired the whole Church to move. What those (on both sides) who read the documents in discontinuity fail to recognize is that the documents very frequently state a very balanced approach to a subject in order to point the way to the future. Its manner of communication will say: a then on the otherhand b. Why? because both are needed. Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”. Reading the documents in discontinuity leads one to take a or b but not both together and in context.

    I too know that John Courtney Murray was greatly responsible for the Declaration on Freedom of Religion. I also know that it was the most debated of the documents. I know as well that Cardinal Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre were not in favor of the final document. However, that is the history of all Conciliar documents down through the centuries. There has always been a minority against any one of the documents of Ecumenical Councils and or against the Councils as a whole. The problem comes with what that minority seeks to do when the majority have ratified the Council etc.

    I want to be clear here. You took up the conversation with me concerning DH. I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not. I can say that some very vigorous conversations and debates have taken place. I basically choose not to argue for the sake of arguing. Some like to do that, I find it a waste of time, although having been on a debating team in my youth.
    If on this and other subjects pertaining to VII you want to carry on a conversation etc about what this document means etc fine. If you are seeking better understanding, fine, I am up for it. However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time. Just let me know what you want to do and how you want to proceed or not proceed with me.

  • Botolph,

    “Don’t you find it curious that the spirit of VII people begin with the very same premise as ‘ultratraditionalists’: a hermeneutic of discontinuity?”

    Not really, not anymore odd than extreme reactionaries and Marxists beginning with the same premise of anti-capitalism. It’s the whole “beginning” part that I don’t like. I don’t mean to boast, but I feel it necessary to establish that I have read almost every relevant encyclical of the 19th and 20th centuries in addition to the documents of the council. My aim was to discover whether there was continuity or rupture. My conclusion is that it is not the least bit easy to determine what the situation is with respect to doctrine/dogma – I think only a much larger context can tell us in that case and I’ll leave it alone for the moment – but that it is rather obvious that there is a sharp rupture when it comes to overall attitude and orientation. From roughly the French Revolution to Vatican II, perhaps a few years earlier with the beginning of John 23’s reign, the Church was waging war with the hostile powers of the world. At Vatican II, the war was declared to be over, explicitly, by Paul VI himself in his closing address. It may not be a doctrinal rupture, but it is a significant break with the past all the same.

    “Catholic seldom means ‘either/or’ and very frequently means ‘both/and”.”

    Wisdom means knowing when it means one or the other.

    “You took up the conversation with me concerning DH.”

    My blog post mentions DH. You decided to comment, so, I decided to respond.

    “I am not sure if you are new to this blog or not.”

    I am not. I’ve been posting off-and-on for roughly four years.

    “However, if you want to just debate, that’s not for me, I find I have much better things to do with my time.”

    I respond to almost all posts that are addressed to me. I am willing and happy to share my thoughts on Church history and documents. It seems you really want me to see Vatican II the way you see it, though, and I don’t think that likely. So, its up to you. I doubt I’ll change your mind about Vatican II, but if you want to know why I think the way I do, by all means, ask away. I’d rather have a discussion than a debate. In fact I hate formal debates. Ego-driven nonsense.

  • ROFL Ok you have me. I didn’t pick up on the fact that you were the original author. With that in mind, I did in fact take up the response to your original post.

    You are correct. By the end of VII, the ‘war with the modern world’ came to an end from the Church’s point of view. It was not a ‘surrender” but a new tact, one attempting to find what is good, true etc in what the world is saying and then building on that. That is a decisively Thomist position. It is incarnational. There are those who accept VII etc yet believe that this approach (not the teaching) was too optimistic. That I believe is debatable. I too believe that many aspects which the Fathers of the Council built upon was a very optimistic (perhaps too optimistic) approach to ‘the modern world’, ‘with Islam’, and even other religions (yes there is in all religions the manifestation of the religious impulse however, if they are worshiping false gods they are worshiping false gods. I totally agree that the Church must enter into dialogue rather than wage war on all parties. However in taking up that dialogue we have to be realistic and honest recognizing that all ‘men’ are seriously flawed due to original sin.

    In terms of DH, I believe what it teaches, however, it was really ‘pushed’ by the American bishops who lived in post WWII America and everything was very much in the Church’s favor [as opposed to the laicism of France and Europe]. Now however, America has changed. We no longer live in that country in many ways. Now we live in a culture that is similar to what the Church has been experiencing in Europe for two centuries. I don’t believe the answer is to take up the ‘war’ again, but have a vigorous, virtuuous, holy response which is realistic and not simply idealistic

  • It’s one thing to build on what is good in the pre-revolutionary world. It is a different thing to make that attempt in the post-revolutionary world. I would not deny that the Church had to change her orientation to a certain extent, for she was totally overwhelmed by hostile powers. I maintain that Vatican II went too far – from necessity, to virtue.

    When St. Thomas picked up Aristotle, Aristotle had been dead for roughly 1500 years, and the world had hardly changed. When Vatican II baptized liberalism and humanism, and worst of all, egalitarianism, the liberals and the humanists and the egalitarians were still, and are still to this day, waging their war against the Church. No matter how much the hierarchy gives into their demands, still the world demands more, and more. It remains to be seen how much more will be given.

    As for other religions, again, don’t get me started. Do you want to know what I think was the real impetus behind off-the-rails ecumenism and syncretism? It was Rousseau’s overt threat to the Church, in the closing lines of his Social Contract: anyone who says “outside the Church, there is no salvation” ought to be driven from the state, unless the Church is the state. And since, of course, the Church was not the state or ever would be, well – you get the idea. The original, exclusive, and I believe authentic understanding of EENS was seen by the revolutionary world as one of the greatest obstacles to its supremacy. Rousseau held that no man could be civil and peaceful with those he believed were going to hell. The French Revolution and everything that followed developed this idea greatly, and it eventually infested the Church hierarchy as well. It didn’t affect the Papacy, however, until Vatican II. It didn’t become Church policy to basically twist EENS beyond all measure to the point of gibberish without actually renouncing it until Vatican II. And I believe it did so mostly under duress, though as I have said, they elevated what they once saw as a necessity under the gun into a positive virtue that they were happy to shout from the rooftops.

  • I realize my views aren’t popular on these topics. They’re just personal observations based on my studies, that’s all. I think the Church is suffering and I’m willing to suffer with it. I think its leadership is deeply disoriented and flawed, and I’m willing to accept it – critically, though.

  • Bonchamps,

    I have heard in the past those who believe that Vatican II basically took up the three-fold call of the French Revolution “Liberte, egalite, Fraternite: liberty, equality and fraternity” as the basis and hermeneutic by which one could understand VII. I can see that that would be a major concern for someone like Archbishop Lefebvre, born in France, and seeing the results of the revolution on the Church in France. Yet, the Church is more than France and the French Church. it simply does not make sense that a bishop from another nation, especially not from Europe, and there were many, would even have the French Revolution’s call on their radar screen. What this understanding of VII is is a hermeneutic, A political one at that. I do not believe that one can really come to know the Church or the Church’s decisions and teachings from a secular perspective, a political one at that.

    I understand the ‘fear’ involved on the part of those who see VII in that manner, but not the substance.

  • Bonchamps,

    I am not sure there has ever been a period of time in the Church’s history in which the leadership of the Church has not been deeply disoriented and flawed. As I keep telling my friends, remember it has taken the Church two thousand years to get to where we are today! We are all extremely slow learners, stiff necked, sluggard of heart!

    It is not on the leadership that we base our faith, but on the Holy Spirit continuing to maintain, guide and teach in the Church. The difference is this: the Holy Spirit works in and through the successors of Peter and the bishops in communion with the successors of Peter-not how matter how flawed and disoriented they are themselves. The Pope and those bishops in communion with Him are the apostolic college. There is no other. There is no other place to go.

  • Botolph,

    I can’t say I entirely agree. I think the 19th and early 20th century popes were quite strong and courageous. I think they were true and effective leaders, for the most part.

    On the other hand, in the past, popes have been criticized, publicly accused of heresy, driven out of Rome, etc. The post-Trent centuries gave us a very long succession of exemplary popes. But I am not afraid to say what I think ought to be said about the direction of the post Vat-II Church.

    Also, the fact is that the French Revolution changed the world. Jacobinism set the stage for Marxism and Masonic anti-clerical nationalism, i.e. Italy, Mexico, Portugal, etc.

  • Bonchamps,

    I was not limiting my comments about disoriented and flawed to the popes, pre or post VII popes. I do not share you view of the Pope VII popes, although Pope Paul VI has been roundly criticized from many quarters concerning how he allowed the post-VII Church get out of control. He apparently did not have the personal gifts and or skills needed for that aspect of his ministry. I certainly stand with him in his upholding of Catholic teaching concerning birth control although I myself am not sure that his presentation and arguments were the best.

    Blessed Pope John Paul II was an amazing man IMHO, my guess is that we disagree on him. He certainly had his faults, we all do. However, he was God’s gift to the Church in bringing her out of the chaos unleashed by those running with ‘the spirit of VII’. It is unfortunate that he did not allow the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated to the same extent as Pope Benedict did, but that is Monday morning quarterbacking. His calling for the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 was ‘inspired’ (not full meaning of that term). The assembled bishops gave the six principles by which VII was to be interpreted-principles the Church uses today. JPII’s weakness was that he was a macromanager/leader and not a micro-manager/leader. He did not bring the Curia under sufficient ‘oversight’, and with that certain bishops (only some not all) ‘got through the process’ were ordained etc and well history proves they were not the best etc. However, in his encyclicals, ppost-synodal exhortations, apostolic letters, Blessed John Paulgave us great guidance as we prepared for the turn of the millenium. The promulgation of the Code of Canon Law 1983 and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are not only great riches in their own right but sure and solid interpreters of VII as well.

    Pope Benedict was a much maligned figure by pseudo-progressives in the Church. I really I loved and cherished Benedict. He really firmed up the hermeneutic of continuity in interpreting the Council (there will be no more hesitancy etc in the Church about this) but also re set the whole of the Church based on Divine Revelation, the Word of God and the Liturgy of the Church (spirit of adoration and thanks).
    He was not up for the challenge of the intrigue within the Curia that was both savaging him and undermining his own petrine ministry. He had the courage to step down so that another more capable could finally set that house in order.

    I am generally favorable toward Pope Francis-no much maligned by more traditional sources He had stepped on some landmines in the first weeks of his petrine ministry but seemed to have learned from that. I am generally very favorable about the tact which he is taking up-however, number one, he is not without his faults, and secondly it is really too early to come down with a definitive verdict on him

    For the rest, Bonchamps, I would agree that the French Revolution certainly prepared the way for many other revolutions etc especially te Bolshevist one in Russia, however, I do not see the French Revolution having lasting effect. The Enlightenment, while related is not the same thing, and I do see the lasting effects of that. We are actually at a point in time that while it seems that the Enlightenment is just about at its apex I believe it is actually in its last gasps. We are entering a totally new era of history, one that cannot be easily described or understood, but it is already here in some form. That will be our next challenge.

  • Yes, on birth control I think Pius XI’s Casti Connubii was more to the point. As for JP II, I will leave it at yes, we disagree. There are aspects of his theology that are extremely troubling. However I am at least grateful that he allowed the formation of the FSSP, whose Latin Masses I usually attend. I have great respect for the intellect and learning of Joseph Ratzinger. I have virtually none for that of Francis. His statements on everything from morality to proselytizing to economics have been nothing but irritating and/or myopic. If ever there was a pope to stir my inner rad-trad to fury, it would be him.

    On John 23, Paul VI, and JP II, you may want to research the translated critical biographies of Fr. Luigi Villa. For starters.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    .
    Thank you for an interesting discussion. I am interested in your opinions regarding “The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita” and its effect, if any, on the current age.

  • Bonchamps

    To put VII in context, the church had been in turmoil for at least 60 years before the Council, possibly for a century.

    It was in 1904 that Maurice Blondel wrote, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”

    We have only to consider the rival Catholic supporters of Action Française and Le Sillon, who fought each other in the streets, to see the truth of that at a political level, but with deep theological undertones (Both movements were ultimately condemned by the Holy See).

    Responding to a national survey in 1907, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: “[U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” [for the spirit of faith does not die], nor even an “evolution” [for the spirit of faith does not change], it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth.”

    This is a view that was shared by the leading theologians of the 20th century: Brémond, the Oratorians Bouyer and Laberthonnière, the Dominicans, Chenu and Cardinal Congar and the Jesuits, Cardinal Lubac, Cardinal Daniélou, Maréchal and Mondésert.

    Blondel diagnosed the root of the crisis: “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.” Hence, anything “that would hinder this spirit of domination, everything that would recall the role of this interior hearing (auditus interior) of which St. Thomas did not fear to speak, would be pitilessly blasted (foudroyé).”

    It was because of this that Cardinal Henri de Lubac said of Blondel that “he is the one who launched the decisive attack on the dualist theory that was destroying Christian thought.”

    The primary task of the Council was to heal this division and why I would venture to suggest that Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium were its most important achievements.

  • Slainte,

    I have not been ignoring you or your question. I just came back online. Now to your question.

    “Alta Vendita” is a genuine document arising in the 19th century from Masonic circles. It stated that there was a plan to infiltrate the Vatican and take it over. It was hailed by both Pope Pius IX and Leo XIII as genuine and they wanted it to be widely published to show the real danger of Masonry.

    Those are facts that are indisputable. However, with every true story there is a background, history etc. Up until 1870 a relatively large swath of land across the middle of Italy existed which was known as “the Papal States”. The pope was literally a ruler of a sizable portion of land and numbers of people. He had a standing army to defend it, etc. While the actual size of the lands swelled and shrunk according to the historical and political forces of the particular age, they remained in place from the Dark Ages until 1870.

    While the origins of the lands arises from actually many sources, basically as barbarian overlords came to peace with the Church during the Dark Ages they donated tracks of their lands to the popes in thanksgiving for both the Catholic Faith and peace finally achieved. Chief among these were the Lombards, a Germanic peoples who settled down the spine of Italy. A region of Italy is still named after them, Lombardy.

    Over time, what a legend rose which stated that it was the Roman Emperor Constantine who donated the land, thus it became known as Constantine’s Donation. it was a legend which had/has no basis in history. Constantine was generous with plots of land for churches etc but a Constantine would never have dreamed of giving away the unity of his Roman Empire, not even to the Church. However the legend grew and began to believed [this is very important to keep in mind for the specific topic]. In the 800’s a forged document came to be written supposedly a copy of the deed Constantine had given to Pope Saint Sylvester I (the pope at the time of Constantine). That became ‘proof’ of the right of the pope to have what was then known as the Papal States.

    Now there is a real issue at work here. If the pope was subject to any foreign power, which has happened at various points in history, how could he really be independent enough to minister as the successor of St Peter and not be some king’s stooge [See here the development of the distinction between Church and State-even if its form is ‘different’] The popes saw the defense of the papal states to be essential not only as keeping what had supposedly given them but also as the primary means for them to remain independent [You can catch the flavor of this in the Movie The Agony and the Ecstasy: the story of Pope Julius II, the warrior pope and Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel]

    Now to the point Slainte. In the 1800’s there was a movement to reunite all of Italy and Sicily, While popular etc., it was led by Italian Masons who already as Masons had no love for the Church. The leader of the Italian unification movement was the Italian Mason, Garabaldi. The only thing finally in their way to Italian reunification were the Papal States. They waged war in every way they possibly could-including planning on infiltrating the Vatican-via the Curia. It was the Garabaldi forces who invaded Rome precisely was the First Vatican Council was in session in 1870. The Council disbanded and never ended until the very first act of the Second Vatican Council. Italy was reunited. The papal Palace and residence in Rome, the Quirinal Palace was taken over as the residence of the King of Italy (at the time) It is now the official residence and work place of the Italian President. On a hill overlooking the Vatican is a statue of an Italian revolutionary pointing a gun at the Vatican. It is the statue of Garibaldi, the masonic revolutionary.

    Although Pope Pius IX wanted the First Vatican Council to back his temporal role as well as his spiritual and to state that any statement he made was infallible, the Council wisely ‘staked’ out the real claim and power of the Church: faith and morals. Vatican I unified the Church and her mission ab intra (on the inside) [the relationship with the world ab extra still needed to be staked out-which happened in Vatican II] Neither Pius I nor Leo XIII nor any of the popes until Pope Pius XI agreed to the seizure of the Papal States, Rome or so much property in Rome which belonged to the Church. That would all be sorted out during the ministry of Pope Pius XI with Mussolini of all people. With Mussolini the Church was given a very great amount of money in payment for the lost lands property etc. The Vatican City State was established (thankfully) to ensure Papal independence of foreign powers [which would happen very soon with the German Nazi occupation of Rome]. With Pius XI and then Pius XII the Church was able to begin laying the groundwork of how best to ‘work with Italy and the wider world [I would especially point out Pope Pius XII radio addresses on the subject of the Church and State]

    So what of the Alta Vendita? The reason for wanting to infiltrate the Vatican were no longer pressing after 1870. As a group, the Masons do indeed remain inimical to the Church. That needs to be kept in mind. They are not “Protestant Knights of Columbus’. However, there are so many conspiracy theories about them that they give Dan Brown the novelist great material for his novels. Since 1870 the Nazis had plans to infiltrate the Vatican as well as the Soviet Union. Were there ever Masons in the Curia? I would be nuts to say there were not-see that is the nature of a secret organization-but enough to take over the Vatican and the Church? ROFL ! I am sure there were some fascist/nazi sympathizers in the Vatican during those terrible years. I am also sure there were communist spies in the Vatican as well-but again, enough to take over the Church?

    The bigger question is this. Would the Holy Spirit allow such a widespread apostasy of the Church so that popes, councils, bishops etc deliberately set out to subvert, substantially change [for example say: the Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of Christ] the teaching of the Church in faith and morals? There are those who fully expect the anti-christ to be a pope? Can that be? NO! Not unless the whole thing is one big lie/hoax. See Slainte, people really do not think their positions, their conspiracy theories through. If what they say is true then the Holy Spirit is not guiding the Church, Christ is not faithful to His promise, is not the Son of God, and frankly then, there is no god. I believe it was Cardinal Newman who said, take one strand of the truth of the Church out and the whole thing falls to pieces (this is what Pope Francis was referring to in an interview but it was not communicated well)

    In the meantime, and I will end with this. Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Notre Dame in Paris and announced to the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris that he would take over the Church in a month. Now the previous archbishop of Paris had apostasized and went over with the revolutionaries. Knowing this full well the Cardinal Archbishop laughed in Napoleon’s face and said. “Your excellency, if the popes and bishops of the Church have not done this in 1800 years you are not going to do it in a month!” Don’t get caught up with a sense that Christ Jesus is not Lord and Head of His Church. He is. And HIs Promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church built on Peter is very real and true.

  • Thank you Botolph for explaining the historical context of the document regarding the Alta Vendita. Freemasonry is often discounted as the stuff of conspiracy theories, yet not one but several popes took its promises very seriously including Pope Leo XIII who urged that the mask of freemasonry should be ripped off. It is not just the goals but the ideas of masonry that was of concern to the popes.
    .
    The French Revolution is generally understood to have been a masonic enterprise which directly targeted the Church, causing blood to run in the streets, and eventually resulted in the insinstallation of the goddess of reason on the high altar of Notre Dame. From this revolution came the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen” of August 26, 1789 which encompassed many principles we would associate with masonry and the Enlightenment.
    .
    Isn’t “religious liberty’ fundamentally a masonic principle, and if so, how does Catholicism and the Council at VII reconcile this with the traditional faith and the warnings of several popes?

  • Slainte,

    Botolph already established what he calls – and I would concur – the “indisputable facts.” The document is a real thing, popes recognized it as a real thing, and so it would be wise to take it seriously. Between MPS and Botolph, you have already read a tome, so I will try to make my own remarks relatively short.

    Where I differ with Botolph is here: the Masonic conspiracy did not end in 1870, the documents of the Carbonari, that is, Italian Freemasonry, did not limit their intentions to the overthrow of the Papal States, that it was not simply their desire to crack the temporal power of the Papacy, but to transform the Church into a Unitarian clearing house for all religions. Abolishing the Papal States didn’t abolish the Papacy, after all. It was still there, stubborn as ever, insisting on the exclusivity of the one true faith. Completely unacceptable to the powers and principalities.

    Botolph asks if the Holy Spirit would allow the Church to be consumed by a Masonic conspiracy. My answer would be to read about what God allowed to happen to the Jews in the Old Testament. Yes, I do believe God could, would, and perhaps has allowed the Church to be viciously scourged by the hostile forces of the world for a number of reasons.

    What I can’t say is whether or not the possibility of Masonic popes = loss of office = sedevacantism = the whole thing is over and is either a lie, or, the end times are immanent and we’ll be seeing Enoch and Elijah. There are sedes who believe they ARE Enoch and Elijah, and I’ve met some of them. It is the ONLY position a sede can take. The end is here and now. Otherwise Botolph would be right; you would have to conclude that the Church is a false institution.

    I think it more likely that the hierarchy is proclaiming bold and strange new doctrines that have not been formally defined as heresies, though they could well be and certainly have the odor of them. I think this ambiguous state of affairs does not easily lend itself to simple and definite conclusions, as so many on both sides of the question would have it. Anti-sedes make a lot of presumptions about what God would and wouldn’t do and what His promises mean and don’t mean; the sedes themselves make a lot of presumptions about what heresy is, whether it applies, what it means about loss of office, etc. All of this presumption, I seek to avoid. I don’t know if we are in the last days, but it seems obvious to me that we are in a time of chastisement, and that we have many wolves posing as shepherds.

    However, if you want some interesting facts, I recommend the critical biographies of John 23, Paul VI and JP II by Fr. Luigi Villa. It seems almost certain that John 23 was a Freemason. At the very least, it is a fact that he was admired by Freemasons.

  • Slainte,

    If as you say that the French Revolution was a masonic enterprise and if as you say that freedom of religion is a masonic principle [I would give a qualitative agreement with the first statement and a negative assessment of the second] how is it that the Catholic Church was persecuted in the French revolution?

    Slainte, we have spoken over a great deal of time. Just step back and think for a second. Is it not in the least a bit suspicious that everything being said against Vatican II etc is related back to the French Revolution as if the Church were merely just one more sociological given which can only run according to socio-political forces. The very fact that secular political terms such as ‘left’/’right’ and ‘liberal/conservative’ are used by those on both sides who read Vatican II as a break in the tradition should give you pause at least.

    Christ has established the new and eternal Covenant in His Blood and promised to be with the Church until the end of the world. He has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church built on Peter. He promised His Spirit to continue to remind the Church of all that Christ has revealed. As terrible and nasty as the French revolution was and as problematic to say the least that the Masons were and still remain-do you really think Christ would abandon His Church, break His faithfulness to His Bride [Israel was not the Bride], and allow revolutionaries and a secret society take His Church away from Him? That Church either remains the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church or everything we confess in the Creed is rubbish. It is that clear, that important!

  • Bonchamps,

    I actually feel very badly that your own spiritual journey has taken you to this point. I am not being sarcastic nor am I giving you ‘false pity’ [just want to make this perfectly clear] I genuinely am saddened by what you are saying. I feel in a situation as if we were two astronauts and that the tether line you are attached to is fraying and you are drifting more and more into deep space. I want to reach out to you brother, I really do.

    I obviously do not agree with much that you wrote. Let me say this. Ancient Israel and the Church are in two very different eras of Salvation History, established by two very distinct and different Covenants, mediated by two very different Mediators. Christ established a new and eternal Covenant in His Blood, establishing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as its center and founding that Covenant Community, the Church on the Apostolic College, headed by Peter. We are not looking for a newer covenant, nor another Church etc. Now I can say outright that there has never been a golden age of the Church-that is perhaps the oldest legend, myth even heresy. If anyone wants to dispute this take a close look at Acts or any of the Letters of Paul, or even the seven Letters found at the beginning of the Book of Revelations. The Church has been attacked on the outside by religious and political forces seeking to either exterminate her or control her. The Church has been attacked on the inside by two [not just one] enemies: heresy (the stubborn refusal to accept in faith/teach what the Catholic Church teaches: the great sin against Truth) and schism (the great sin against charity). Sadly with almost every Ecumenical Council of the Church there has been a minority who have rejected what the Church taught or refused to go in the direction the Church was taking-and went there own way. Some into schism others into both schism and heresy. And where is the Church? The Church is that community that remains with Peter and those bishops in communion with him. It is that Church that is One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic and frankly there is no other (although other churches share in a great deal of this they do not share in its fullness).

    There can be no room for nor reason for either presumption or triumphalism among Catholics. To be Catholic is far more than accepting x amount of teachings as true [athough that indeed is important] It is to answer the call of Christ daily to be a disciple in a community of disciples, growing stronger in being witnesses before the world. It means answering the call of Christ to an ongoing and never ending lifelong conversion of life in Christ’s call to us to be holy. It means to grow more and more in communion with the Church in faith, in the sacramental life and in the unity of community under and with the bishops and pope. There is no room for boasting since none of us has ‘arrived” in the Kingdom. I could go on but will stop here.

    However I need to make one more point. Your reading source from Italy states Pope John XXIII was a mason. In fact that would mean John XXIII did not believe in and consciously rejected the Blessed Trinity, the Divinity of Christ salvation in and through His Paschal Mystery etc (I could go on). Yet in a few months time he will be canonized a saint. Every canonization is an act of papal infallibility, declaring without equivocation that the blessed is living in the Beatific Vision etc. So what is about to take place is an absolutely guaranteed declaration of the most solemn teaching of a pope as defined by Vatican I that an apostate rebel is a saint-according to what your source says and you repeated. Do you realize again what this means? If this actually were true the whole thing-the whole thing=and not just for what you are fighting for is absolute rubbish-can you see that?

  • Botolph,
    .
    I am not questioning the holiness of the Church, the integrity or legitimacy of the popes, or that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and will ensure that the gates of hell will not prevail against her. I affirm and believe all of the foregoing. to be true. I reject sedevacantism as incompatible with the faith and an insult to Truth I do, however, seek to understand how the Church has been attacked historically; the methodologies and ideologies utilized, and whether the same is ongoing today.
    .
    I tend to agree with Bonchamps that God will permit incursions to occur, yet I also agree with Michael Paterson-Seymour that the Church cannot err in matters of faith because of her saving faith, but that she can hold erroneous positions in matters unrelated to the faith, which she eventually will purge and spit out. (MPS please correct me if I have mis-stated your view).

    .
    Do you view “religious liberty” as a matter of “faith” which is infallible or is it a principle which serves some other useful function?

  • Botolph,

    You ask if I realize what it means, if John 23 were in fact a Freemason. I can only reply that I am grateful that I will never know if he was. As for his canonization, believe me, that’s the least of it. It’s the impending canonization of JP II that has many traditionalists on the verge of declaring themselves sedevacantists.

    But if it were true, it would not necessarily make the whole thing rubbish. As I said, the other option is that the end times are here and now, that we are actually living in the Apocalypse.

    I can’t unknow what I know. But I can take comfort in the fact that I don’t know enough to have a definite idea of what the situation really is, nor can I. If I were really convinced of the sedevacantist/end-times narrative, I wouldn’t be getting ready to head out to an approved Latin Mass performed by the Norbertines. I see possibilities and probabilities, that is all. They weigh on me, but they haven’t crushed me.

  • Bonchamps,

    Then my brother in Christ, While we differ over many issue I offer you my hand in communion. I do not believe we are living in the End Times etc. I am not sure how best to proceed in conversation with you but I will not do anything to ‘break’ the communion we still share together.

  • Slainte,

    I think DHs position on religious liberty scandalizes the Church with its implications, but I don’t think it was heretical.

  • Slainte,

    The Church can and has held all sorts of erroneous things over the centuries that are not matter of faith and morals. If anything the Church in more recent years has been more open to admitting this. These are policies, presumptions, contemporary world-views and assumptions (for example the Greek Ptolemaic world view that the sun revolves around the earth). Over time these needed to be and were indeed purged, the gold and silver separated from the alloys-and still is today.

    No new (key word here) ‘doctrine’ or dogma was proclaimed in The Declaration on Human Freedom or the whole of the Second Vatican Council for that matter. However, just because no new doctrine etc was proclaimed does not mean it can be reduced to non-importance etc. In DH [Dignitatis Humanae: Declaration on Religious Freedom] the doctrinal principles are set out in the first two ‘paragraphs’ [1 and 2], in turn they are based on The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World [Gaudium et Spes] which states “The mystery of man becomes clear only in the mystery of the incarnate Word….For the Son of God by His Incarnation did in a fashion unite Himself with every man.” [Gaudium et Spes 22]

    It is in this light coming from the Face of the Incarnate Word of God in which we begin to see the human dignity of each and every person from the moment of conception until natural death. That is the doctrinal foundation etc of GS [Gaudium et Spes] an DH. Putting it simply, the rest of the document is that doctrine applied in various areas of the question of religious freedom.

    The whole of Vatican II was a profound conversion of the Church to the further and deeper implications of the Mystery of the Incarnation and to the truth that the Church as communion is the sacrament of salvation for the world. Jesus Christ is the Light of the Nations and the Church is the means by which that light reaches the nations of the world for the sake of their salvation.

    I see “religious freedom’ as a principle that arises from a deep and penetrating contemplation of the Incarnation of Christ Jesus and what that means in terms of each person’s dignity.

  • Botolph,

    I don’t intend on spending a great deal of time discussing the various “ologies” of the Church – ecclesiology, theology, eschatology, soteriology, and so on. My area of study and expertise is politics. So 90% of future posts will be on topics that I think we can all agree on, as a traditionalist who doesn’t hate America.
    However, if those kinds of discussions interest you, I will always be happy to oblige. I don’t know if we are in the end-times or not. We could be. What I do know is that I need the Mass. I can’t let theories about what may be keep me from it.

  • Botolph and Bonchamps,
    .
    Thank you for your perspectives.
    .
    As France has often been the epicenter of tumultuos events in Church history, I will defer to your responding to MPS’ earlier comment regarding the state of the Church in France pre-Vatican II.
    .
    By the way Botolph, every time I begin to write a comment to you, I pause for just a moment fearful that I might give you a heart attack! : ) Thanks for being a good sport and responding so generously. : )

  • Botolph

    On the question of the Temporal Power, I would only note that, from the Congress of Vienna in 1815, so far from preserving the independence of the Pope, it did much to compromise it, for subversion, rebellion and sheer anarchy in his dominions made him wholly dependent on French or Austrian troops for his protection.

    “For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations…. Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted [after the Roman Republic of 1849 under Giuseppe Mazzini], nor, being reconstituted, would have endured.” (Raffaele de Cesare)

    For centuries, the Papal States had involved the Holy See in questionable alliances, during the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines and when the Habsburg-Valois rivalry was fought out in Italy.

    All in all, a very mixed blessing and I cannot but feel a certain sympathy for the Abbé Arduini, when he called the Temporal Power, “an historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality.”

  • Slainte,

    LOL Nah I have a strong heart. However, this might give you a little insight into who I am, or rather what I am like. I took a religious personality test years ago. THe test asked certain questions, how you would respond etc to certain issues etc. There were many biblical personalities such as David, Peter, John, Paul. I came out a perfect Paul-minus the saint part of course. This is not a theological boast etc I can pick up Paul’s Letters etc and know what he is getting at very quickly etc. If you have read Paul you know he could be feisty, pointed in his arguments and sometimes well even crude (I don’t go there thanks be to God).

    Of course I recently took a similar test based on Star Wars personalities and I came out a perfect Yoda ROFL Now what does that tell you lol?

  • Slainté wrote, “As France has often been the epicentre of tumultuous events in Church history …”

    There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”

  • I suspect Botolph that you just might be an abbe or a pere or a padre or a frere… : )

  • MPS writes, There is an old adage, “The Church is governed from Rome, but does her thinking in France.”
    .
    But her Heart, my dear MPS, is in Ireland and within the Irish people wherever they may be in the world. : )

  • MPS,

    Thank you for that further clarification. I was attempting to catch the kernel of truth at the center of the Papal States etc. I would concur with your evaluation on the necessary compromises etc that the temporal power imposed on the papacy. While the scene is from a movie, it correlates with reality: I can still see Pope Julius II in all his soldier/knight garb sloping around in the mud amid the carnage of the battles in which he was engaged with the papal armies

    I believe that 1870 was a complete blessing for the Church. At one and the same time She was stripped of temporal concerns (Papal States) with which She had no mission nor business Yet Vatican I staked out her real claim: the realm of doctrine and moral teaching. In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints: St Pius X, Blessed John XXIII Blessed John Paul II (and I believe soon: Pius XII) (I know some will dispute the latter ones but I definitely include them)

  • Slainte

    Ahhhh the mysteries of the internet lol

  • The mysteries of the Internet are not always so mysterious.
    .
    I really am laughing out loud! : )

  • you are funny lol

  • Botolph wrote, “In the process the papacy went from rather mediocre successors of Peter to-beginning with Pius IX and on, some very great spiritual leaders, even saints.”

    The change has been truly remarkable. From Sixtus V, who died in 1590, to Leo XIII, who was elected in 1878, we had a virtually unbroken succession of popes, who had risen through the ranks of the Vatican bureaucracy and who were, by habit, taste and training, administrators.

    It is not unfair to describe the result as one of assiduous mediocrity. Even in Catholic countries, they had the same impact and the same popular appeal, as the average Secretary-General of the United Nations or President of the World Bank. Pio Nono was popular because he was pitied.

    Thirty popes and not a Leo or a Gregory, a Hildebrand or an Innocent III amongst them; the very suggestion seems absurd. Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini) can fairly be ranked with Innocent IV as a canonist and with Leo X and Clement VII for his learning and he appears as a giant in that age of pygmies.

    Meanwhile, the Church was riven by the Thirty Years War, the Quietist controversy, the Jansenist heresy, the Gallican controversy, Josephism, the suppression of the Jesuits, the French Revolution and its aftermath, and the Risorgimento, in none of which can the Holy See be said to have distinguished itself.

Mary and Us

Sunday, October 13, AD 2013

It has always been the habit of Catholics  in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary.

Pope Leo XIII

 

Pope Francis at noon CST today will be consecrating the world today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Non-Catholics I think have a hard time understanding what Mary means to us.  Chesterton,  a Catholic convert, comes close I think to conveying some of what Mary means to us in The Ballad of the White Horse:

And when the last arrow
          Was fitted and was flown,
          When the broken shield hung on the breast,
          And the hopeless lance was laid in rest,
          And the hopeless horn blown,

          The King looked up, and what he saw
          Was a great light like death,
          For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
          As lonely and as innocent
          As when between white walls she went
          And the lilies of Nazareth.

          One instant in a still light
          He saw Our Lady then,
          Her dress was soft as western sky,
          And she was a queen most womanly—
          But she was a queen of men.

          Over the iron forest
          He saw Our Lady stand,
          Her eyes were sad withouten art,
          And seven swords were in her heart—
          But one was in her hand.

Continue reading...

One Response to Mary and Us

Corpus Christi: Mirae Caritatis

Sunday, June 2, AD 2013

Nothing is more fitting for the feast of Corpus Christi than the great encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on the Eucharist, Mirae Caritatis.  My bride and I taught our kids to say to themselves at the times of consecration, “First it’s bread, now it’s Jesus.” and “First it’s wine, now it’s Jesus.”  This is the first Corpus Christi that I will have since his death when I will be unable to hear my son Larry repeat those words quietly to himself at the consecration, but I know he will be repeating the words in Heaven:

MIRAE CARITATIS  

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST

 

To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries, having Peace and Communion with the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

To examine into the nature and to promote the effects of those manifestations of His wondrous love which, like rays of light, stream forth from Jesus Christ – this, as befits Our sacred office, has ever been, and this, with His help, to the last breath of Our life will ever be Our earnest aim and endeavour. For, whereas Our lot has been cast in an age that is bitterly hostile to justice and truth, we have not failed, as you have been reminded by the Apostolic letter which we recently addressed to you, to do what in us lay, by Our instructions and admonitions, and by such practical measures as seemed best suited for their purpose, to dissipate the contagion of error in its many shapes, and to strengthen the sinews of the Christian life. Among these efforts of Ours there are two in particular, of recent memory, closely related to each other, from the recollection whereof we gather some fruit of comfort, the more seasonable by reason of the many causes of sorrow that weigh us down. One of these is the occasion on which We directed, as a thing most desirable, that the entire human race should be consecrated by a special act to the Sacred Heart of Christ our Redeemer; the other that on which We so urgently exhorted all those who bear the name Christian to cling loyally to Him Who, by divine ordinance, is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” not for individuals alone bur for every rightly constituted society. And now that same apostolic charity, ever watchful over the vicissitudes of the Church, moves and in a manner compels Us to add one thing more, in order to fill up the measure of what We have already conceived and carried out. This is, to commend to all Christians, more earnestly than heretofore, the all – holy Eucharist, forasmuch as it is a divine gift proceeding from the very Heart of the Redeemer, Who “with desire desireth” this singular mode of union with men, a gift most admirably adapted to be the means whereby the salutary fruits of His redemption may be distributed. Indeed We have not failed in the past, more than once, to use Our authority and to exercise Our zeal in this behalf. It gives Us much pleasure to recall to mind that We have officially approved, and enriched with canonical privileges, not a few institutions and confraternities having for their object the perpetual adoration of the Sacred Host; that We have encouraged the holding of Eucharistic Congresses, the results of which have been as profitable as the attendance at them has been numerous and distinguished; that We have designated as the heavenly patron of these and similar undertakings St. Paschal Baylon, whose devotion to the mystery of the Eucharist was so extraordinary.

Continue reading...

One Response to Corpus Christi: Mirae Caritatis

  • I always rather liked the French name for Corpus Christi. They call it « le Fête-Dieu » – the festival of God.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Tuesday, March 26, AD 2013

Christians are born for combat.

Pope Leo XIII

 

 

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.”(13) Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.

SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE

Pope Leo XIII

 

Continue reading...

14 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

Sunday, November 25, AD 2012

From Annum Sacrum:

3. This world-wide and solemn testimony of allegiance and piety is especially appropriate to Jesus Christ, who is the Head and Supreme Lord of the race. His empire extends not only over Catholic nations and those who, having been duly washed in the waters of holy baptism, belong of right to the Church, although erroneous opinions keep them astray, or dissent from her teaching cuts them off from her care; it comprises also all those who are deprived of the Christian faith, so that the whole human race is most truly under the power of Jesus Christ. For He who is the Only-begotten Son of God the Father, having the same substance with Him and being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance (Hebrews i., 3) necessarily has everything in common with the Father, and therefore sovereign power over all things. This is why the Son of God thus speaks of Himself through the Prophet: “But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain. . . The Lord said to me, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm, ii.). By these words He declares that He has power from God over the whole Church, which is signified by Mount Sion, and also over the rest of the world to its uttermost ends. On what foundation this sovereign power rests is made sufficiently plain by the words, “Thou art My Son.” For by the very fact that He is the Son of the King of all, He is also the heir of all His Father’s power: hence the words-“I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance,” which are similar to those used by Paul the Apostle, “whom he bath appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews i., 2).

Continue reading...

4 Responses to Pope Leo XIII on Christ the King

  • Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King, the final Sunday before Advent…according to the calendar used by the Novus Ordo. Christ the King was observed in October according to the Tridentine Mass.

    Despite my sinfulness, or perhaps because of it, I have long been drawn to the Latin Mass. I experience no piano playing – as if in a hotel lounge – during the Latin Mass. At any rate, the calendar for the Mass of Paul VI and the TLM should be made uniform. The Latin Mass and the Byzantine Catholic church measure time according to the Sundays after Pentecost. Ordinary time sounds so dull.

  • Hey, Penguins you must be very young. This 74-year old Crandle Catholic was weaned and nurtured with the Latin High Mass solemnly celebrated with the accompaniment of the Church Organ’s Melodies of the Gregorian Mass. The most revered Hymn I remember is the Te Deum and Die Sirae of the Funeral Holy Mass – no longer played or remembered. The Easter Hymns were truly Spirit-filled. Yet, I have no quarrel with the Vatican II Holy Mass except where they distorted the Ancient Catholic Prayers of the Holy Mass and especially the Prayer of the Consecration where Jesus said that His Blood will be poured out “for many” and NOT FOR ALL. Providentially, that has been restored by the New Lectionary. But I suffer silently the noisy Casino-like Modern Music of Guitars, Drums and all manner of noise-making instruments. We are, after all – in the Catholic Church, before the King of Kings – in the Tabernacle, and on the Altar after Consecration, in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Some mode of decorum is certainly needed here and more quiet Prayers and listening to Him. Instead, we have people acting as if they are on the Dance Floor. But hey, let God be the judge of what and how He wants to be worshipped!!!!!!

  • Notice to moderators: I am about to begin some thread drift.

    Hi, Mary,

    I have reached a point where I can not tolerate silliness at Mass any more. The Novus Ordo is fine with me when I go to Daily Mass. Sundays are another story. The priest does not need five or six women to climb up the altar steps and receive chalices to give Communion. Marty Haugen gives me nausea. The aforementioned piano player at my parish does not know when to quit. Don’t get me started on my mother’s parish.

    The liturgical calendar for the Novus Ordo scrapped many observances found in the TLM calendar. If, as Pope Benedict says, that there is one Mass and two forms of it then they should be on the same calendar.

    End thread drift.

    Jesus Christ is King of the Universe, but not this world. If He were King of this world, then all would be His subjects. Christ wants people to choose Him but does not chase after those who do not, because their deeds and words are the seeds they sow and they will reap the fruits of their labors.

  • Penguins, just offer all these frustrations to Jesus, especially when you go for Adoration before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Believe me, He will use them to pardon the punishment of some forgotten soul in Purgatory who has no one to pray for them. And not only those about our Holy Mass – but all frustrations, , especially when you do not deserve it. Emulate Him by accepting the unacceptables with humility and offer them all to Him. That is what He taught Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, His Secretary of Message of Divine Mercy. And I have taught myself – not without much resistance from my puny ego – to emulate what He teaches as an Eucharistic Apostle of the Divine Mercy, where He has called me to serve Him in my twilight years.

Cardinal Gibbons and the Knights of Labor

Monday, September 3, AD 2012

 

 

This Labor Day I recall an episode in both the history of labor in the United States and in the history of the Catholic Church in America.  The last half of the nineteenth century was a time of labor strife, as businesses grew larger, the fruit of the ongoing Industrial Revolution, and workers fought for improvement of working conditions that by any standard were frequently abysmal.  Prior to the Civil War apologists for slavery often argued that the average slave in the South was better fed, better housed and better clothed than the average industrial worker in the North.  This of course overlooked the entire question of liberty, but there were enough terrible examples of wretched working conditions in the North to give the argument facile support.

Unions sprang up to represent workers.  One of the largest in its day was the Knights of Labor founded in 1868.  Successful in several large strikes, by 1886 the membership totaled 700,000, perhaps a majority of whom were Catholic.  In 1886 the Archbishop of Quebec condemned the Knights in Canada based upon the secrecy that attended the meetings of the organization and forbade Catholics to join it.

The American hierarchy voted 10 to 2 against condemning the Knights.  Archbishop James Gibbons was going to Rome in 1887 to receive his red hat as Pope Leo XIII had made him a Cardinal.  While there he took the opportunity to submit a lengthy letter in support of the Knights.  Although the letter bears the name of Gibbons, it was probably written by his friend Bishop John Ireland of Saint Paul, who had long been active in support of the rights of workers.  The letter did the trick and the Vatican announced that the Knights were not to be condemned.  The arguments made in the letter had an impact on Pope Leo XIII and helped lay the groundwork for his historic encyclical  Rerum Novarum (1891) in which he defended the rights of workers to organize to seek better working conditions.  Ironically the subject matter of the letter, the Knights of Labor, was in decline, too many of its strikes having involved violence which the leadership of the Knights condemned, but which tarnished the Knights in the eyes of the public.  The Knights would cease to operate as a labor union in 1900, newer unions taking the place of this pioneering organization.

The letter of Cardinal Gibbons stressed that Catholic workers in America who belonged to labor organizations were not hostile to the Church as often occurred in Europe where Unions were organized by Leftist and Anarchist groups.  In America most Americans supported the workers in their struggle to improve their lot, with both major political parties vying to pass legislation aiding workers.  In short, the letter explained American labor and political conditions to the Vatican and how these differed substantially from those existing in Europe.  The letter and the decision of the Vatican were good examples of effective communication between American ecclesiastics and Rome.  Here is the text of the letter:

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Cardinal Gibbons and the Knights of Labor

  • History lessons such as these illustrate how Catholic Social Teaching by the Bishop of Rome and European bishops needed to be interpreted for and by US pastors. Same went for “separation of Church-State,” democracy, conscience freedom and such. Ironically, they are all back on the front burner with the new atheism and hostility to Natural Law

  • By one of those ironies of history, in the mid-19th century, one finds deeply conservative Monarchist bishops and clergy in France supporting workers’ rights, inspired by their inveterate hatred of the French Revolution and all its works, including, of course, the Allarde Decree of 17 March 1791 and the Le Chapelier Law of 14 June 1791.

    It was not until the law of 25 May 1864, under Napoléon III that workers regained the right to associate and to strike.

    Père Henri-Dominique Lacordaire OP, who restored the Dominican order in France in 1850 and who was the most celebrated preacher of his day was an early champion of the rights of labour. An admirer of Lord Shaftsbury’s Factories Acts in the UK, he famously remarked, “Between the weak and the strong, between the rich and the poor, between the master and the servant, it is freedom which oppresses and the law which sets free.”

  • Donald,

    Thanks for posting this article and letter. The late 19th Century (bleeding into the early 20th Century) was one of the most outstanding times in human history for technological growth, and the improvement of the lives of all people. But, it was not without some pain, especially felt among the workers who became little more than “wage slaves”.

    Ultimately, work places were made safe and salaries rose. While there certainly was violence and blood, what is amazing is that the antagonism, and anarchy, that marked European labor movements did not take hold as deeply nor as long here in the US. This was due (IMHO) to the influence and true interest of Catholic Church leadership here, as compared to the European model.

  • JP 11 championed the sacred dignity of the worker, who made labour sacred, and thus stole the Commie thunder. Leo X111 started with the FACTORY OWNER etc and asked for trickle down as it were, whereas JP11 reversed that and showed where the HUMAN’s SACRED VALUE entered in. That kind of moral evolution is crucial and is the kind of revolution that the late Cdl MARTINI called for in updating the Church being 200 years out of date. Clericalism, bishops addressed and some/many living as lords and Kings with almost untrammeled power. Clericalism needs to be stripped so Servant Leaders take over after 2i00 years as JESUS demanded

  • Pingback: LABOR DAY EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • Rerum Novarum is actually quite positive about Trade Unions, and was influenced by the ideas of Henry, Cardinal Manning (Archbishop of Westminster) whose intervention in the London dock strike of 1889 made him a hero in the eyes of working men. Unions were given full legal recognition in the 1870s, and Margaret Thatcher actually removed some of the rights which had been granted by her Conservative predecessor Benjamin Disraeli over a century before.

    The anarcho-syndicalism prevalent on the Continent was indeed largely absent in Britain and America. This is due less to the influence of the Church than to a tradition of effective representative government which militated against revolution.

  • John, Cardinal Gibbons considered his victory re: the Knights of Labor to be greatly helped by Manning. Gibbons wrote to him: “I cannot sufficiently express to you how much I have felt strengthened in my position by being able to refer in the document to your utterances on the claims of the working man to our sympathy and support.” Gibbons in later years recalled with amusement a cartoon which had Manning on one side of Pope Leo, and Gibbons on the other, with Pope Leo exclaiming that he must watch himself between two such foxes!

  • John,

    Thanks very much for the information. This is one of the reasons I love TAC so much; unlike many other blogs, the correspondents here (excepting myself) have so much knowledge that the comboxes are actually a great continuation of the excellent posts.

  • John Nolan

    Anarcho-syndicalism, in the tradition of Sorel and Proudhon, has deep roots in the Latin distrust of government, as such. Its main appeal was always in Italy, Spain and France south of the Loire, places in which the political class is held in deep and, often, well-merited contempt.

    In Britain, trade unionism and the Labour party had strong roots in the Nonconformist tradition, especially Methodism in England & Wales and the Covenanter legacy in Scotland.

  • Cardinal Manning was a very great man, but his indignation at wrongdoing sometimes betrayed him into remarks more acerbic than was becoming in a clergyman, as when he said of Lord Palmerston (the Prime Minister) that his character was below his talents.

  • Pingback: First Links — 9.4.12 » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

16 Responses to The Conquest of Poverty

  • The late great Henry Hazlitt. Now that’s a name that rarely is mentioned and when he is, his works never disappoint.

  • Obama, bless his heart, doesn’t foster equal opportunity, he forces equal outcomes. That has failed adding to poverty.

  • “The key idea here, though, is that charitable giving is not a duty of justice or a duty enforced by human law. The state has no obligation to confiscate and redistribute wealth in order to “help the poor” (assuming that this is what the aim really is).

    Nor do Catholics have an obligation to advocate for policies that would do as much, let alone castigate and anathematize other Catholics who object to the prudence and morality of such policies.”

    ‘Tolerance’ is a two way street and, when in balance, allows the higher virtue of charity to flourish.

    .”(13) But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one’s standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. “Of that which remaineth, give alms.”(14) It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity – a duty not enforced by human law. – Rerum Novarum, 22

    “This not only appears to go against what the most radical anti-Ryanites insist upon, but it really describes the way most of us already think and live anyway.”

    Charity has been a traditional function of both religious and civic groups traditionally, fostering unity and civility.

    Very few of the agitated middle-class leftists, Democrats, liberals, et. al. are living in rags because they have given the majority of their wealth to “the poor.” Something tells me that Chris Matthews, E.J. Dionne, and others on that side of the political divide are enjoying all of the perks and pleasures that an upper-middle class American lifestyle makes possible.”

    – not fostering unity and civility either.

  • You don’t conquer poverty by giving man his clothing, food, and shelter. You defeat poverty by teaching (fix failed public education) him the skills to earn them; and by removing the obstacles (class hate, demagoguery, green boondoggles, enviro-nazi hindrances to low cost energy, costly regulations, high taxes, etc.) to economic development and job growth.

    Conquer poverty
    Vote Romney/Ryan

  • Populorum Progressio is part of Catholic Social teaching, too.

    “Now if the earth truly was created to provide man with the necessities of life and the tools for his own progress, it follows that every man has the right to glean what he needs from the earth. The recent Council reiterated this truth: “God intended the earth and everything in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should flow fairly to all.” (20)

    All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle. They should in no way hinder it; in fact, they should actively facilitate its implementation. Redirecting these rights back to their original purpose must be regarded as an important and urgent social duty.”

    Paul VI also cites St Ambrose “”You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.”

    St Gregory, too, says, “”When we give the poor what is necessary to them, we are not so much bestowing on them what is our property as rendering to them what is their own; and it may be said to be an act of justice rather than a work of mercy.”

    On the balance between the rôle of the state and private initiative, Paul VI teaches, “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work.”

  • Created goods do indeed flow fairly to all when markets are free. Glad we agree on that one.

    But I really have to disagree with the good saints, whose statements are not authoritative, on the question of property ownership. Rerum Novarum, which is authoritative, establishes the natural, individual right to acquire private property through one’s labor – and makes a pretty clear distinction between what is one’s own, and what one must give to others. You can dance around it all you like, but it will still be there when you are done. Theologians and saints can craft lofty phrases, but popes are in the business of governing.

    As for the last statement, it is simply a fact that planned economies don’t work. These comments were made in the 60s, when planned economies still seemed viable, when the Soviet experiment was still in full swing and social democracy was established in Europe. Subsequent events have demonstrated that “the public authorities” are absolutely incompetent when it comes to economic planning.

    Since it cannot be the Church’s intention to harm the common good by prescribing disastrous economic policies, I think we can safely ignore this prescription.

  • Rerum Novarum does, indeed, establish the right to private property; Populorum Progressio says that “All other rights, whatever they may be, including the rights of property and free trade, are to be subordinated to this principle. ”

    There is no contradiction here, simply a development of doctrine.

  • There is a contradiction between respecting private property rights and calling for a planned economy. In an economy in which private property rights are respected, private property owners make economic decisions, not government agencies.

  • “private property owners make economic decisions, not government agencies.”

    Of course, but within the constraints established by public policy; that is why Populorum Progressio insists that public authorities see to it that “private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights. ”

    Again, there is no conflict here.

  • The Popes’ assumed that man would be virtuous.

    It is not so.

    Socialists, progressives, liberals, democrats don’t care about the poor. If they did they wouldn’t have spent 80 years pushing the same old failed garbage. They care about political power.

  • Pingback: Foot Washing Disobedience Poverty Catholic Church | Big Pulpit
  • My son has autism spectrum disorder. He can speak, and he can work, but his condition requires a job coach to help him stay on task and moderate his behavior, which unaided will become self-injurious.

    Is he the “extreme need exception”? How will this be temporary? What WILL be temporary will be my life and my ability to provide for him financially and protect him from financial or personal abuse. He does not have the social capability to protect himself.

    One does not have to be a “socialist” to understand that a just society protects those that are weakest and cannot fend for themselves. I don’t expect my son’s “exception” to assume the “rule,” but it is a vast oversimplification of life that “extreme need is a temporary and relative phenomenon.

    Don’t get me wrong, America has gone too far on the path of socialism. But it is vastly unrealistic to assume that a safety net can be temporary, or that enough money can be produced by private charity or local governments, in all cases where basic human compassion (forget Christian morality, which presumably the author believes in) would require more.

  • Michael,

    I was obviously talking about the absence of a permanently impoverished caste in modern industrial societies. People with illnesses are a different story.

    I don’t think it is unrealistic at all to expect private charity, personal income, family support, and local community to help people with extreme needs. This is how the human race survived for thousands of years. The existence of the nation-state doesn’t automatically entitle you to everything that a nation-state can theoretically provide – especially when its fiscal disorders are so severe that it can barely afford to deliver what it has already promised.

  • Conquer poverty.

    Vote Romney/Ryan.

NOBama 2012: A Catholic Case for Romney

Wednesday, August 15, AD 2012

Fellow Catholics,

We are approaching the most important U.S. Presidential election for us – by “us” I mean theologically orthodox, politically conservative Catholics – possibly since 1960, when the election of the first Catholic president seemed so possible and actually occurred. I’m grateful to be a contributing member of The American Catholic during this election season, which is one of the most widely-read Catholic blogs in the country. This certainly won’t be the last thing I have to say about the presidential race, but rather the first.

When the GOP primary was getting underway, I was a firm Ron Paul supporter. I knew he would not and could not win, but I supported him anyway because I agree with him on most issues, particularly on the role of our government both domestically and abroad. To support Ron Paul was to support the drastic reduction of the federal government, to reject the arrogant assumptions of technocratic management of economic and social issues from the top-down, and to place a vote of confidence in individuals, families, and local governments to solve social and moral problems. I also believe that this is the fundamental political truth of our time: a state governed by militant secularists cannot possibly effect the common good as it is understood by Christians, people of other faiths, or even those secularists who recognize the value of the natural law tradition that has informed the politics of Western civilization since the time of Plato and Aristotle. And yet if we are destined to have secularists in power, we can at least work to limit their power by limiting government as much as possible.

The corollary of the political truth stated above is that one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force. Who exactly will be deciding issues that affect your life and mine? Who will have coercive power over you and yours?

More important than what happens to me or my family, though, is how the Church will be affected by those who rule. Even in her most humiliated and rejected state, which the sex scandals have arguably wrought, the Church is still the light of civilization. If her light is extinguished, driven underground, or forced to hide in the shadows, then it is not simply we Catholics who will suffer (though there is certainly nothing wrong with suffering for the faith), but all of society. The Church can and has survived hideous persecution, but it is not clear that society can survive what it will inevitably become without the Church, as well as all of the other religious organizations that will be affected by federal policies, actively involved in public life. Finally, whether society recognizes its debt to the Church or not is irrelevant.

It may be that God has ordained this as a time of cleansing, a time during which the Church must be forced underground and reduced to a smaller size so that she can be tempered and purified. But we cannot know such things with any certainty. What we can know with at least a little more clarity, on the other hand, is what our duties are as Catholic citizens. It is my view that our first priority is to protect the right of the Church to publicly exist. Usually this doesn’t come up because usually the U.S. government does not enact policies that threaten this public existence. But the status quo has changed, and we now face the prospect of an open, vicious anti-Catholic regime in a lame duck Obama presidency. For this reason, I feel obliged as a Catholic to work for the defeat of Obama-Biden in 2012. In practical terms, this means supporting Romeny-Ryan for the Presidency.

Continue reading...

111 Responses to NOBama 2012: A Catholic Case for Romney

  • ….one cannot simply discuss “the role of government” in the abstract, without considering who will actually run the state and what values and assumptions they take with them as they create and execute policies with coercive force.

    Exactly, well said.

    This post says it all. However, I have to admit I threw up in my mouth a little when I read you were a Ron Paul Supporter….

    Every time I ran into a Ron Paul supporter downtown (usually they were standing at a crosswalk holding a sign trying to get everyone to sign some sort of petition) something always seemed a little “off”.

  • Well, there are “only Ron Paul is acceptable” Ron Paul supporters, and there are people like me, who agree with Paul’s ideals and support Paul as much as they do, but are willing to acknowledge the reality that he can’t win, that he won’t win, that he doesn’t even seem to want to win that badly, and so will eventually have to settle on someone else to support in a concrete, practical sense.

  • The crux of the matter is that “winning matters;” it isn’t everything but it matters.

    We are down by 2, it is a 46 yard attempt, and there are 15 seconds on the clock. Ryan had better be the guy.

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • “We are down by 2, it is a 46 yard attempt, and there are 15 seconds on the clock. Ryan had better be the guy.”

    Ryan is just the holder, and I’m sure he’ll get the snap down and the laces out. But Romney has to be the one to kick it through and I am not sure I trust his leg.

  • If God, in his wisdom, decides to punish us with four more years of Obama, I will see the good in it.

    One good being he should not be able to run again (consecutively), should the US survive him.

    Anything can happen in two months and change, but I am a little encouraged hearing from a few past O supporters that they are going Romney this time around. Not that it matters much in the Lone Star State, but its something.

    As for Ron Paul’s failure to win not mattering, I don’t know. I doubt Texas would have Ted Cruz on the GOP ticket if not for Paul’s influence.

  • c matt says:
    If God, in his wisdom, decides to punish us with four more years of Obama, I will see the good in it.

    One good being he should not be able to run again (consecutively), should the US survive him.

    If Obama wins a second term people will not have to vote any more as Obama’s HOPE AND CHANGE will make Obama Emperor. Obama has instructed the Department of Justice to enforce his 923 new Executive Orders. The Department of Justice has been constituted to judge Executive Orders and not to enforce them at the whim of the Executive. The Affordable Healthcare Act is, in reality, an Executive Order, without informed consent for the people. Chief Justice Roberts found that it is OK to ignore the people who pay for it and make them pay for it, giving Obama access to every senior citizen’s social security. Make Obama say: FREEDOM to the people.

  • Amen! I do not think there is any doubt about the candidate faithful Catholics must support this year. We must support Romney, because Obama clearly is an enemy of the Church.

    If Obama is reelected, he will have gotten away with an unprecedented attack on the Church. Thus emboldened, he will begin new attacks on the Church. And large numbers of Democratic voters and donors, who despise traditional Christianity, will cheer him on, as will the anti-Catholic major media.

  • Pingback: Bonchamps Offers a Very Respectable Catholic Case…
  • Romney won me at his Ryan selection. Quoting Jimmy Akin here :the solution to the global poverty problem–to the extent we can achieve it–involves a mixture of providing work as the foremost solution, providing handouts as the backup solution – Romney/Ryan’splan does that exactly!!! Then there is that little bit of the pro-life factor. The R7R ticket is significanlty more pro-life than the O&B ticket, for sure. R&R for the win!!!

  • I am glad that people are familiar with natural law and the scope of such arguments for Catholics on politics. However, it is important to remember that the Church has long argued that there are several principles for assessing candidates. This writer has provided one: freedom of conscience. Another is supplementarity for the purpose of the Common Good. According to this principle the State helps local organizations to provide for the poor.

    Your main argument against Obama is the violation of individual conscience on the HHS mandate. Putting aside the arguments on contraception, the mandate would allow for individuals who are or are not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception. They would then go to their insurance companies to get “free” access to contraception. This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception. And, you the individual are not paying for contraception for anyone else. Because the government does not provide contraception for people. It is provided through insurance plans. In fact, the attempt to stop this is the one violating conscience since it is telling individuals what to think about contraception. And, there is an added bonus to doing this. It will help with curbing the number of abortions. We are not utilitarians in the Church. But under Natural Law we do have to be informed by the consequences of our actions. And, limiting abortions through a policy that does not violate life is a good.

    However, there is an added reason to vote for Obama. Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate. This would put the elderly in more jeopardy. And, it would put harder burdens on middle class families who would have to spend more on health care as their wages are decreasing. This violates the Natural Law principle of supplementarity. So, under Natural Law, there are actually much clearer reasons to vote for Obama.

  • “This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception.”

    Except that most Catholic institutions are self-funded and so they are paying for it.

    “Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate.”

    Though in order to pay for ACA the Obama administration has cut 700 billion from Medicare effective now. That impacts seniors much more than any Ryan plan. Especially since the Ryan plan exempts from cuts anyone 55 or over today and the caps won’t take place for ten years.

  • James Zucker: “[individuals] not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception.”

    When all is said and done: Put it on the ballot so that all citizens might have a choice and get to choose what their taxes are going to buy. If you are going to impose Obama’s freedom on me, I do not want it. The Affordable Healthcare Act is an Executive Order which gives Obama access to all social security. The premiums are to rise to $240 for Medicare by 2014, leaving most citizens with only one half of their grant. The free contraception is only the bait.

  • Z: Why are wages declining under the Obama-essiah?

    Why is median family income nose-diving?

    Why are there 23,000,000 people either unemployed or under-employed? […]

    The regime is at war with the Church.

    The casus belli isn’t artificial contraception or gay marriage. They merely are the latest ambushes.

    The Church must be defeated because its teachings on faith, moral and Objective Truth compete for the minds of the serfs against Obama and the collectivists.

    That is the reason, as Mr. Bonchamps stated in a comment elsewhere, the regime is out “to criminalize religious institutions.”

  • Philip and Mary:

    Good points that need a response.

    So, lets start with Philip’s points. It is true that some Catholic institutions, not all, are self funded and so would have to provide these plans. However, two points on this. First, the Obama administration did show some signs so compromise with these institutions so that they would not have to comply. Second, these institutions would be purchasing these plans with such options. This means that the individuals would chose to use these plans. The Catholic institutions would not be purchasing the contraception. They would be purchasing plans that allow for non Catholics and Catholics who use contraception to make that choice. Third, this already exists in 28 states and 8 of these states have no exceptions. Catholic institutions have already found ways to do this.

    Second, as to the points on the executive order. I don’t know where you are getting this from. It is true that Obama is allowed to have the HHS to do certain mandates. However, the ACA is not an executive order. Most of its elements were part of the overall law that was passed by Congress.

    Third, Mary argued that these elements should be placed up to a general vote. Why? Are all rights and actions done by the country put up to a vote. And, since there is no referendum at the national level, this would be impossible.

    Fourth, Philip argued that the Ryan bill is similar to Obama in that Obama cut 700 billion from Medicare. This is just not true. Actually, Conservatives have manipulated what actually happened under the ACA. The actual thing that ACA does is reduce the growth rates of Medicare. The overall growth continues throughout the next 10 years. However, the Ryan plan intentionally caps the amount of money sent to the elderly. So, it cannot keep up with the inflation rate for health care.

    So, what are the reasons why you ought to vote for Obama as a Catholic. First, his plans, as supported by the American bishops, help the poor and fulfill the preferential option for the poor under Catholic Social teaching. His plans do reform Medicare without endangering the elderly. He provides access to contraception for those who individually choose to want it by bypassing the employer and purchasing plans from their insurance. And, this has a track record of reducing the number of abortions in the country. And, Obama is following the need of the state to supplement the works of local organizations. Paul Ryan, a Conservative Catholic, advocates the moral philosophy of Ayn Rand who promotes that individuals should follow their own ego in order to satisfy their individual self interest first. This is not an attack on Ryan as an individual. I am sure that he is a good Catholic. But his overriding social philosophy is not in line with Catholic social teachings.

  • Mr. Zucker, The President is violating the Constitution of the United States in aggressive and singular ways. His violation of the 1st Amendment through the HHS Mandate is the one closes to the hearts of Catholics and as well it should be. His amnesty program for unlawfully present aliens is another. His divisive and dismissive tone is significant to many of us who “cling to our guns and religion.” His support for same sex marriage shouldn’t be ignored. But most of all… most of all… His unmitigated support for abortion.

    Perhaps you need some of the more Christian Left objections though:

    Guantanamo Bay – Closed? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.
    Afghanistan Pull Back – Accomplished? Even Started? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.
    Immigration Overhaul – Accomplished? Started? Nope. Specific promise broken, that.

    Maybe you are a pragmatist though:

    Job Growth – Not even close… Well, in India, but not here.
    Deficit Reduction – Quite the opposite.
    Foreign Relations Improved – Quite the opposite, things are no better with the Russians, the Chinese, the Venezuelans, or the Iranians. Europe is in the midst of a downhill slide and believe that the US is not relevant to their prosperity. Eastern Europe figures they are on their own, Georgia knows they are, Turkey has moved from ally to marginal opponent, and Mexico continues to favor unlawful immigration into the US while fighting a stalemate conflict with narco terrorists.

    Where, pray tell, has this administration succeeded?

    If you are going to explain why we are wrong to oppose President Obama, you had better come armed with more than sophistry.

  • “First, the Obama administration did show some signs so compromise with these institutions so that they would not have to comply.”

    “So, what are the reasons why you ought to vote for Obama as a Catholic. First, his plans, as supported by the American bishops…”

    Though the Bishops have rejected the compromise you refer to. Thus according to other statement you should agree with the Bishops and reject Obama and his false compromise.

    “The actual thing that ACA does is reduce the growth rates of Medicare. The overall growth continues throughout the next 10 years. However, the Ryan plan intentionally caps the amount of money sent to the elderly. So, it cannot keep up with the inflation rate for health care.”

    Not true. Read the link I provided.

  • Obamacare raises insurance costs across the board hurting those most in need, does nothing to address the reason for escalating medical price increases and spends not one page to enact tort reform in 2700 pages of the largest piece of federal legislation in history. It has already forced Catholic schools to drop health insurance for students because of its lack of a conscience clause.

    Now you are either ignorant of these things or are a willing accomplice with evil. Which is it?

  • “Third, this already exists in 28 states and 8 of these states have no exceptions. Catholic institutions have already found ways to do this.”

    Note in this article that the way to get out is closed by Federal rules:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/different-states-contraceptive-rules-leave-employers-room-to-maneuver/2012/02/15/gIQAN3tsNR_story.html

  • Okay, so lots of issues to respond to from both posts.

    Lets start with G Veg:

    The first major point you have made is that the President is violating the Constitution. You provided two major examples. The HHS mandate assumes that the President’s compromise violates either individual freedom to worship or establishes his own religion as national. Neither is the case. In fact, under the compromise, individuals who are either Catholic or not get to make their own choice on contraception and go directly to their insurance company. As for establishing his own national faith, there is of course no basis for this. So, there is no violation of the First Amendment.

    Your second example is on immigration. Actually, the president is fully within his executive office to instruct the justice department to not go after these immigrants. And, he has provided a path for children who did not choose to come here but have shown a desire to become good citizens to remain here. What is the alternative. Would you want to deport 20-30 year olds who did not come here under their own will but now are showing an effort to become responsible citizens? If you say no, then you are suggesting they should simply live in the shadows.

    As for most of the other promises that you claim Obama broke, there are issues there with Republicans who have used the filibuster in the Senate more than all Congresses since the 1960s combined. I am happy to go further but this would take some time to explain. Just tell me if you want to get into that debate.

    But the Ryan issue is central. And, this gets to Phillip. Phillip, you are correct that the link points out that cutting the growth rate will have an impact on future spending for providers. The spending that was cut was from Medicare Advantage. This was passed under Bush. Most medical experts argued that the benefits under this program were largely luxury and could be cut without affecting seniors’ health. This is where the cuts in growth were targeted.

    However, under the Ryan plan, real cuts would take place. This is due to the desire to change the structure of the plan into a voucher based system in which seniors would get a fixed amount of money. This amount does not keep up with health care inflation. So, the damage is much greater.

    The point is that Ryan’s plan does not fulfill the principle of subsidiary. This is why the Catholic Bishops in America came out against the plan.

  • In addition to the inaccuracies in his account of the HHS Mandate and Medicare cuts, Mr. Zucker repeats a line often repeated by many proponents of the HHS mandate, specifically, that it “provides access to contraception.” All one has to do is walk through one’s local CVS and it becomes readily apparent that access to contraception is something no mobile person in the United States lacks. It is a mystery as to why there is any urgency to providing free contraception to people when these products cost just a little bit more per month than a Netflix subscription. Furthermore,

    And, this has a track record of reducing the number of abortions in the country.

    Is an assertion made without evidence (a growing trend). Also, the Church’s opposition to contraception is as absolute as its opposition to abortion, so it peculiar that someone writing under the Catholic banner would be using this as a point in Obama’s favor.

    Paul Ryan, a Conservative Catholic, advocates the moral philosophy of Ayn Rand

    I would suggest reading a few of the other posts and comments written here recently and learn why this statement is nonsense. Then again, if you are one who likes assertions made without evidence, that is perhaps the wrong advice.

    But his overriding social philosophy is not in line with Catholic social teachings.

    His Bishop begs to differ.

  • Sorry to post so soon again. But there were a couple more responses as I was making my arguments.

    First on the self insurance issue. The Obama administration did express a willingness to discuss this issue with Catholics and others who also looked for this exception. The problem has been an unwillingness on Catholic leaders to work through these problems with the administration. However, either way, the individual would have the option to make this choice on purchasing the option.

    Second, on the issue of the ACA itself. The argument has been made that there are no provisions for controlling costs. This is simply not true. The ACA creates regional cross state exchange markets to increase competition. It also forces all people to purchase some form of insurance. This gets rid of the free rider problem, a solution that conservatives like Newt Gingrich advocated until 2008. And, it also spreads out the costs by including more healthy and young people in the risk pool nationally. This means that there is more money in the pool and less sick people. But the sick gain more coverage.

    Plus remember the plan covers all people including especially adults and children with pre-existing conditions. This fulfills the Catholic principles of both subsidiarity and the Common Good.

  • “Phillip, you are correct that the link points out that cutting the growth rate will have an impact on future spending for providers. The spending that was cut was from Medicare Advantage.”

    Actually per the article, both Obama and Ryan limit growth in Medicare. Ryan through market mechanisms and Obama through planning commissions. But I suspect we will provide our competing studies to show this.

    “The point is that Ryan’s plan does not fulfill the principle of subsidiary. This is why the Catholic Bishops in America came out against the plan.”

    I suspect you mean in the interest of solidarity one working group of the USCCB came out against the Ryan plan.

  • The HHS mandate assumes that the President’s compromise violates either individual freedom to worship or establishes his own religion as national. Neither is the case. I

    The HHS mandate forces Catholic institutions to provide coverage for contraception, thereby violating their freedom to practice religion as they choose. So yes, it is a violation of the first amendment.

    ctually, the president is fully within his executive office to instruct the justice department to not go after these immigrants. And, he has provided a path for children who did not choose to come here but have shown a desire to become good citizens to remain here.

    There’s this pesky little document called the U.S. Constitution. It provides for, among other things, checks and balances and separation of powers. Presidents cannot simply make laws on their own authority without consent of Congress. Whether you agree with the executive order is moot.

    As for most of the other promises that you claim Obama broke, there are issues there with Republicans who have used the filibuster in the Senate more than all Congresses since the 1960s combined.

    From April 2009-January 2010 there were 60 Democrats (including Joe Liberman) in the U.S. Senate, a filibuster-proof total. During that same time Democrats had a solid majority in the House. Among the Republicans in the U.S. Senate during the first two years of Obama’s presidency were John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and later Scott Brown. To cry about Republican obstructionism is simply risible.

  • he Obama administration did express a willingness to discuss this issue with Catholics and others who also looked for this exception. The problem has been an unwillingness on Catholic leaders to work through these problems with the administration.

    Yes, it’s truly a pity that Catholic leaders aren’t interested in negotiating away some of their basic freedoms.

  • More about the USCCB not being formally against the Ryan plan:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=14639

  • August 14, 2012, Washington Post: “Romney’s right: Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion.”

    Second, overall law . . . including the death panels . . .

    Third, you should say “the regime” not “the country.” Not only is there no national referendum in the Constit., there is no rule by executive whim, either.

    And fourth, over the next ten years the medicare beneficiaries’ payments will rise because the numbers of citizens over 65 y.o. will rise. That is not inflation. Obama cut those dollars.

    And, if ACA isn’t repealed, medicine will go the same way as colleges and the housing market. Government interference in higher education funding results in college tuition inflation rates two- to four-times higher than the overall inflation rate. Similarly, FHA, FRB, FNMA, FHLMC, HUD, etc. provideed massive infusions of dollars which caused the housing bubble and worsened the devestating great recession.

    Anyhow, I have been paying Medicare contributions for 40+ years. Obama is taking it away. Also, for nearly 50 years, I paid for medicaid with my taxes. I will never see a penny of it; but every arsonist, dope pusher, fornicator, hater, murderer, prostitute, rapist, thief, illegal invader will get health care and will suck dry the health care system.

    There is no justice. Jon Corzine will not be charged. Yet, Bernie Madoff is in jail for four lifetimes? Apparently, Bernie wasn’t a large cash bundler.

  • As to the HHS Mandate, even IF the follow-up compromises reached a point that WAS constitutional, doesn’t it bother you that he began with a policy that was unconstitutional? Surely the recognition that he was comfortable violating the 1st Amendment matters.

    As to Deferred Action, the President does, indeed, have the authority to bar the Executive Branch from removing classes of aliens. However, the President does not have the authority to grant affirmative benefits outside of law. He has granted employment authorization and permission to reenter the US and those areas are governed by statute. These acts are unconstitutional.

    Please get into the other areas… I would LOVE to hear how Senate filibusters and GOP refusal to cooperate is responsible for the President’s failures.

    As best I can tell, the decision to close Guantanamo was entirely within the President’s authority. So too, the decision to continue to war in Afghanistan. But maybe you mean that he “couldn’t” in the sense that it wasn’t politically expedient to keep his promises. That would be a rich definition of moral governance.

    The foreign policy mistakes are legion and I’m guessing you won’t be trying to blame that on the GOP. That leaves us with legislative failures as the point at which GOP meanness is to blame, not the President’s inability to “reach across the aisle” as he said so often before he was elected. The thing is though that the President had control – overwhelming control – of both houses of Congress. That he elected to expend all of his political capital on healthcare reform rather than keeping his promises to immigrants isn’t the GOP’s fault, it is a cold, calculated act of a Chicago politician.

    Again, you had better come to this fight armed with better than vague generalities and soft logic. I’m one of the least qualified people to wage this fight. God help you if you bring some of The American Catholic’s heavy hitters up to bat.

  • Paul:

    Okay, good arguments. Lets go through them.

    It is true that CVS and others provide basic contraception at a cheap price for women. However, many of these forms of birth control do not work for a percentage of the population. This means that many women are not able to use this form of contraception.

    Second, you argued that I have provided no evidence about the link of contraception and fewer abortions. Fair enough. The Guttmacher Institute has done a study showing that out of all the births in America, about 3 million are unwanted. And, out of these 1.5 end in abortions. What happend to the other 1.5 million. The people who did not opt for abortion tended to show a higher rate of using contraception.

    You also argued that the Church would not consider this because of its strict policy against contraception. i would agree that we ought not be utilitarian in this discussion. And, this does get us into a contraception, natural law, and proprotionality debate. i will say that contraception is not dogma. It is doctrine. And, it does have the potential for change. In fact, the advisers to the Pope in the 1960s did call for a change in this doctrine. Either way, the point is that there is an advantage to natural law to provide for people to choose to access contraception and lower the abortion rate.

    Lastly, as to Ryan’s acceptance of Rand’s philosophy, he gave an interview in which he claimed she was the most important contemporary philosopher on politics. And, he requires his staffers to read her regularly.

    The point is that her philosophy stresses moral egoism. And, this shows in his revision of Medicare. He focuses on market mechanisms that would cap the ability of seniors to afford care and service.

  • However, many of these forms of birth control do not work for a percentage of the population. This means that many women are not able to use this form of contraception.

    So that means we ought to violate the U.S. Constitution in order to serve this tiny percentage of the population? Also, what unusual medical conditions preclude condom usage?

    The Guttmacher Institute has done a study

    Okay I stopped reading the paragraph there.

    i would agree that we ought not be utilitarian in this discussion.

    I just finished reading (for the fourth time) C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength. The plot revolves around the sinister agency, the National Institute for Co-Ordinated Experiments, the N.I.C.E. The Deputy Director of the N.I.C.E. is a man named Wither. Wither speaks in an incredibly vague and passive manner, often as a means of avoiding having to directly address objections to his plans.

    That sentence right there just made me flash back to Wither.

    Lastly, as to Ryan’s acceptance of Rand’s philosophy, he gave an interview in which he claimed she was the most important contemporary philosopher on politics. And, he requires his staffers to read her regularly.

    Again, that is at best an exaggeration. Ryan has praised Rand, but he has absolutely denied that she is that important. Seriously, read the other links on this site.

  • Sure, I am happy to debate anyone on the merits of these cases. I hope that you don’t consider all my arguments as vague generalities. So, lets look at the issues.

    First, the major complaint here has been that Obama violated the constitution through these mandates and executive orders. But you have not provided evidence that this is the case. Obama has ordered through the HHS that individuals can go to their insurance companies to purchase contraception out of their own free choice. There was a problem in implementation so he was willing to work with Catholic institutions to provide compromises in implementation. In both cases, he has not violated the first amendment. He has actually fulfilled its mandate by allowing the individual to make their own choice.

    Also, you have argued that the executive order on the immigrant issue is a violation of the constitution because they allow for affirmative steps. Obama has ordered the Justice Department not to go after certain illegal aliens for 2 years. And, he established clear criteria for this. The reason for doing so has to do with the filibuster issue. The Republicans clearly supported the Dream Act up until 2008. Once Obama did so, they filibustered the issue in the Congress. And, they would not support any reforms to immigration. So, after 3 years, Obama has passed an executive order using the same Republican ideas that forestalls deporting 30 year olds who came here through no choice of their own. And, they have to show that they are in school or have served. This is not granting amnesty. So, this order is fully within his purview.

    Second, the argument that Obama was not stifled by the filibuster is simply inaccurate. Yes, it is true that Obama had a 60 Democrat majority. However, some like Lieberman and Nelson did not agree with him on most issues. So, the Republicans were able to use this. Even Mitch McConnell admitted that his first priority was to stop Obama from winning a second term. This led to their uniting and voting as a block each time to stop discussion on issues. When Ted Kennedy left the Senate due to illness, this allowed the filibuster to have more power. And, then Scott Brown became Senator. Throughout this time, the Republicans have used the filibuster more than all of the Congresses since the 1960s combined. This has made making legislation incredibly difficult.

    The foreign policy mistakes need to be better laid out. You cannot simply make a claim that he has made failures and then stop there. He has been able to establish policy that led to the capture and kill of Osama bin Laden. He has led a NATO effort that ousted Qaddafi. And, in the effort, we lost not one person and spent only 1 billion unlike previous ventures under George Bush that lost 1 -3 trillion and 10,000 troops. He has found a way to get us out of Iraq. He has worked with the Russians and Chinese to put more pressure on Syria. His policies are hardly the failure that you point out.

    Finally, you are welcome to argue against my positions. But, I don’t see how they are simply vague and lacking in evidence given the evidence that I have provided.

  • Paul:

    First, you ask for evidence. Then, when I provide it, you dismiss it without argument. I am sure there is some bias that you would want to point out from the Guttmacher Institute. But this does not prove their logic as wrong.

    Second, you accuse of vague generalities. Then, you quote CS Lewis and his metaphorical arguments about the state as if you have made a direct connection with Obama’s administration. Again, you are assuming what you have not proven. You claim Obama violated the first amendment. Lets agree to a rule here. We have to show what has been violated under the Constitution. You argue it is the first amendment. Obama’s HHS mandate allows individuals to purchase plans for contraception. This does not violate an individual’s beliefs. It allows for them to make free choices.

    Paul Ryan has outrightly praised Ayn Rand and has his staffers read her. That is fine. In fact, I am not against considering Rand’s philosophy. But it is important to note that she does not believe in the Common Good. And, this is a primary principle of Catholic Social Teaching.

  • I’m taking the kids to the park – far more important than this argument I assure you. I’ll take a swing by your soap box later. If you are still up on it, I’ll give you as fair an ear as I can.

  • I raised the issue of addressing medical costs which you conflated with insurance costs. Insurance premiums are not a driver of medical costs.

    Mr.Zucker the problem is you are not a serious man. These are serious issues which impact millions of people’s lives. Politics ought not be the sandbox for frivolous ideas to be tested on people like guinea pigs for social experiments.

    The only thing more morally disgusting than your utter disregard for serious economic and political discourse is your blithe disregard for real world consequences your imprudence would have on your fellow man.

  • Paul:

    First, let me address your serious and fair argument. You are right that I was not addressing the issue of medical costs. I was addressing premium costs. At this point, this is the primary issue that everyone is addressing including both Democrats and Republicans. Medical costs are going up due to increasing life spans, new technologies and a growth in the rate of seniors. This is a non unique problem for either the Ryan or the Obama plans. However, both due to try to manage those costs through differing competing visions of how to spread out the overall costs. I would be happy to argue the merits of Obama’s vision. However, let it be said that nothing in his plan leads to immoral actions or to the high costs that you are claiming.

    Second, I am sorry to hear that you think of me in such a poor manner. Throughout these posts, I have never been uncivil or used ad hominems to attack you or the other people whom I am answering. I have had to respond to several different people since I am the only “liberal” here on the site. I made this choice. So, I am not whining. However, my arguments have been backed up and supported by reasons and evidence. You are welcome to disagree with my points. But, I would challenge you to point out where I was uncivil, lacked support, did not explain myself through multiple reasons, or provided crazed conspiracy type arguments. Please point these out specifically. Otherwise, I have to assume you are attacking me instead of the arguments because you are lacking reasons to defend your positions.

    I do enjoy debating. So, I hope we continue this in a serious and fair manner.

  • Philip, If you mainstream abortion, thus making drastic cuts to healthcare for infants through early childhood, and you then make elder-care over age 70 at the behest of your own appointed 15 person panel, you have made dramatic savings in health insurance on the backs of those who presently require the costliest care. If you see that as an ideal to strive for then, yes, Obama is your man.

  • Eileen,

    I don’t think I was making that argument.

  • James,

    You write:

    “it is important to remember that the Church has long argued that there are several principles for assessing candidates.”

    No one has forgotten it.

    “This writer has provided one: freedom of conscience.”

    That is one aspect of what I wrote about. But I am also clear that I am speaking about the rights of the Church as an institution. I suppose you could call it collective freedom of conscience, or institutional freedom of conscience, but we ought to be clear that it is not a question of this or that individual, but rather an entire organization comprised of millions of members. The Church itself has rights, at all times and in all places.

    “Another is supplementarity for the purpose of the Common Good. According to this principle the State helps local organizations to provide for the poor.”

    To provide what, exactly, is the question. Sometimes the best solution is for the state to do nothing, especially when it can be empirically demonstrated that its involvement has hurt the people it alleges to want to help.

    “Your main argument against Obama is the violation of individual conscience on the HHS mandate.”

    A violation of the Church’s right to exist. You want to put me in a box of “individual conscience.” I do consider that important but I also consider the Church’s rights to be more important than those of any one individual. I want to be clear on that.

    “Putting aside the arguments on contraception, the mandate would allow for individuals who are or are not Catholic working at a Catholic institution to make their own decisions on contraception.”

    They already can and do. Any claim that they currently do not or have not would be a bald-faced lie.

    “They would then go to their insurance companies to get “free” access to contraception. This means that Catholic institutions will not be providing contraception.”

    Being forced to pay for something is the equivalent of being forced to provide it. This is a distinction without a meaningful difference. There would be no need for a “mandate” if the government wasn’t trying to force religious institutions to do that which they would not do without the mandate.

    “And, you the individual are not paying for contraception for anyone else. Because the government does not provide contraception for people. It is provided through insurance plans.”

    All employers with over 50 employees will be forced to buy health insurance plans by 2014 or face penalties that could put them out of business entirely. Plans that do not cover abortion/contraception/sterilization will not be legally available. So all of the individuals who own such businesses, many of which may be companies with thousands or millions of shareholders, will be participating in this wickedness unless they break the law.

    “In fact, the attempt to stop this is the one violating conscience since it is telling individuals what to think about contraception.”

    Well, this is a demented statement, completely at odds with reality. There is no HHS mandate now, and individuals are free to think whatever they want about contraception and to purchase it with their own money. If you define this situation as somehow unjust, then you are simply out of your mind. We cannot have a rational discussion.

    I’m not even saying that you can’t have a rational argument for state-mandated contraception coverage. I can see the argument that the Church is an outdated, obscurantist institution whose rights ought to be curtailed and suppressed for the glory of progressive ideals. That is at least a consistent argument, a logical and clear argument. But this insanity, where you try to present the status quo as one in which the Church is actually preventing people from accessing contraception when this is manifestly not the case, earns you nothing but my derision, contempt, and unrelenting resistance. You cannot lie your way into victory, not here, not with me. So just give it up.

    “And, there is an added bonus to doing this. It will help with curbing the number of abortions.”

    Irrelevant. The ends do not justify the means. This is Catholicism 101. If you fail this test, you have no credibility to speak about Catholic teaching on any other subject.

    “We are not utilitarians in the Church. But under Natural Law we do have to be informed by the consequences of our actions. And, limiting abortions through a policy that does not violate life is a good.”

    I can’t believe you missed the part about never doing evil, even if good will come of it, in your catechesis.

    “However, there is an added reason to vote for Obama. Currently the Paul Ryan budget would change the health care insurance for the elderly to a capped system that does not keep up with the health care inflation rate. This would put the elderly in more jeopardy. And, it would put harder burdens on middle class families who would have to spend more on health care as their wages are decreasing. This violates the Natural Law principle of supplementarity. So, under Natural Law, there are actually much clearer reasons to vote for Obama.”

    Well, it isn’t clear to me that you have an accurate or honest view of reality, so I’m going to reserve judgment on the Ryan health plan until I read the details for myself.

  • Correction: there IS an HHS mandate now, and it is being challenged in court. So we’ll see how it turns out. The point stands, though. The situation without the mandate is NOT one in which people are not free to think and act on their preference for contraception, and any suggestion that it is, is a lie unworthy of serious consideration.

  • i will say that contraception is not dogma. It is doctrine. And, it does have the potential for change.

    Sorry, cannot let that stand. Completely and totally wrong, and you should retract that statement for the good of your soul. I sincerely mean that. Contraception is intrinsically evil, period.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

    CCC 2399 Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).

    CCC 2370 “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.

    Humanae Vitae

    Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Paul VI condemned artificial contraception

    John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio

    Only natural family planning provides the only moral basis for a planned family depending on the married couple’s individual circumstances and with guidance from a spiritual adviser. NFP enables husband and wife to always be open to the gift of life.

    No wiggle room on this.

  • Okay, so there are two entirely separate arguments being made here. One is about the rights of religious organizations, in this case the Catholic Church. And, second, there is the theological debate on the status of contraception. I will take Bonchamps argument here. And, I will post again on the theology of contraception in just a minute.

    I do want to make one rule that hopefully we, and I do include myself, can follow. Can we all agree that we have differing versions of what we believe to be true? This is not to make a relativist argument. I firmly believe that we ought to show why our view is correct or incorrect and be evaluated based upon the support we provide. But, can we at least agree that we should not rule out valid forms of arguments on either side simply because we obviously disagree. And, I would ask that there be a level of civility on both sides even though we disagree. Based upon this, I promise to remain within the boundaries of the arguments provided.

    It seems to me that Bonchamps has clarified his argument by arguing the following points:

    1. Obama is attacking the right of the Catholic church and the integrity of its positions to exist violating the constitution and the institution’s liberty of conscience.
    2. Without the mandate, people still have the right to make whatever choice they want and the church is not stopping them so there is no violation of individual conscience.
    3. We cannot evaluate these issues using other types of philosophies like utilitarianism since Catholic natural law thinking is separate from such frameworks.

    Now let me be clear. I put these in this order because they depend upon one another. If the Church’s integrity and freedoms are being violated, then #3 really does not matter. The Church’s protection as an institution and its integrity of beliefs in paramount. This is true both Constitutionally and as a matter of our faith. Also, #2 is important since the Church cannot violate an individual’s conscience in their choices. However, the Church does not have to participate materially in the evil of a choice by any individual.

    Okay, having set that up, lets look at the issues. In order for Obama to have violated the Church’s integrity, he would either have to be #1 forcing them to purchase contraception directly. Or #2 forcing them to give contraception to all of its employees including Catholics. Or #3 forcing to purchase plans with contraception against their will. Obama is not doing #1. He has allowing for Catholics and non-Catholics to bypass the employer and go straight to the employer to purchase plans that include or do not include the option of contraception. He is not doing #2 because he has made an exemption that only institutions with a majority of workers who are not the faith of the institution must have these options in the plans. The only one that he comes close to violating is #3 due to self insurance by certain Catholic institutions. But he has already expressed a willingness to work with Catholic institutions on this issue to make sure that they will not have to violate their conscience on this issue. So, there is no violation of the Constitutionality of the protection of freedom of religion. And, the Catholic Church as an institution is not being attacked. Rather, Obama is attempting to establish a policy that will help to serve people in general who wish on an individual level, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to use contraception.

    This gets us to the second issue that you raised. It is true that the Church is not attempting to stop individuals from accessing contraception. And, legally, even if the Church wins on the mandate issue, they do not have the power nor the will to stop individuals from accessing contraception at 7 eleven or any other convenience store. However, that is not my argument. My argument is that the individual’s conscience must be protected. Under this plan, the individual would be able to make a choice to get and use contraception. While the Church may disagree with this, it cannot stop the individual from doing so. And, the Church is doing that to its employees if it says that they will not even provide insurance plans that open up that option. My point is that your argument about the violation of the Church’s conscience works both ways. In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.

    This then leads to your last point on the issue of utilitarianism. You are right to argue that consequences do not determine our moral decision making. That is strict utilitarianism. But basic Catholic Natural Law teaching tells us to assess every moral decision based upon the intention, the act, and the consequences. In this case, the intent is to provide people with the free choice on how to manage and prepare for their families while also maintaining strong sexual intimacy within their committed relationships. The act itself is not to provide contraception. But, rather it is to provide people with the choice on that issue. And, the positive consequences is that it helps to limit the number of abortions.

    My point was never that the limitation of abortions should determine our moral reasoning. My point is that this is a part of the overall reason why many Catholics do support Obama’s position because it aims for the Common Good without violating basic rights.

    This then brings me to my point on Ryan’s plan. You are welcome to ignore it. However, it raises my initial point that you agreed to in your response. We both agree that Catholic social teaching includes multiple principles: protection of individual conscience, susidiarity, the Common Good, solidarity and preferential option for the poor. My point is that Obama’s overall plans and actions have fulfilled much more of these principles than what Republicans have offered.

    You pointed out that the government is not always needed and this is the point of subsidiarity. True. But that does not mean that the government is not needed in this circumstance. We are currently living in an era of increasing inequality. The richest 20% currently hold 80% of the wealth. Median family income for the middle class has falled by $4000 since 2000. And, 2% of the richest people in America received 97% of the share of income in the country last year.

    This is not an argument for socialism or communism. This is a criticism of the concentration of wealth and income that even Pope John Paul II pointed out in his encyclicals. The point is that local churches and community service groups cannot provide for all of the help needed by the middle class and the poor. Costs are going up while salaries are going down or remaining stagnant. In this environment, Obama’s policies have provided for basic unemployment services for the unemployed, increased food stamps for those in poverty, provided for health care coverage for people who cannot get it through no fault of their own, and has provided for basic coverage for the elderly. In contrast, Ryan’s plan would cap the amount to seniors below the inflation rate for health care and lower taxes on the richest amongst us. We can definitely disagree on the merits of these plans. But, your argument ignoring the points on Ryan’s plans does not show why most of the Catholic principles are not being upheld by Republican ideas.

    Of course, I respectfully look forward to your reply.

  • Chris:

    I was worried about getting into this debate. It is not that I am not prepared for it. I just did not want to get away from the scope of the political issues. And, I know that my response to you has the possibility of creating a firestorm. But, since you did make this argument, I don’t want it to appear that I have no basis to my argument.

    Dogma does not work the way that you are describing. Yes, it is Church doctrine and teaching that contraception is immoral and evil. However, the Pope could have raised Huamane Vitae to the level of dogma. He chose not to. And, he did this because there is considerable debate on whether or not the basis to Huamane Vitae is correct.

    I read Humane Vitae a long time ago. So, I apologize if I miss some of its main points.

    It argued against contraception based upon :

    1. The general definition of sex as procreative, unitive and a sacrament.
    2. Sex must be open to life at all times.
    3. The fear that procreation would lead to a culture of abortion, death and the utilization of women as tools for male pleasure.

    Okay, lets take a look at these issues.

    Lets group 1 and 2 together. Biologically, most times during a woman’s cycle, she cannot conceive a child. Yet, a couple can have sexual intercourse during any of these times of the month. If life were meant by nature to always be connected to sex, one would expect the opposite. And, it is not the case. However, lets even assume that it was. This is a physicalist case against contraception in which we are determined by nature because God created it. However, in so many cases, we don’t argue that nature should determine our destiny (flying, diseases, space exploration, etc). So why in this case? The main argument in favor of why is because we are producing a life, that is Good. But we allow for natural family planning in order to prevent and frustrate life from being produced. So, the real difference here is artificial versus natural means in preventing life to enter in at all times. What is the real problem with this?

    Well there are two possibilities. Humane Vitae first points to the nature of sex itself as procreative and unitive. However, as we just showed, not all sex acts are procreative in nature. So, this could not be the case.

    The second possibility is #3. And, that is due to the negative impacts on women. And, lets be clear, it is obvious that our culture has devolved to this level. We see constant attacks on women sexually through magazines, increased rates of abortion, rape, date rape, etc. However, the problem with this reasoning is a full scale generalization to all people under this. There are plenty of religious Protestants, Catholics, and secularists who use contraception to plan out their families without resorting to any of these negative impacts.

    In fact, 97% of Catholic women use contraception. Why? This is not to justify their actions. But most women do because the stress on the body of having multiple children under a quick period of time is hurtful to health, both physical and mental. Some use of contraception, whether natural family planning or artificial, is used by families in order to provide for the financial means necessary to raise a family, provide for emotional connections, provide for an intimate relationship between husband and wife, and to protect women from multiple different health stresses including ovarine cancer.

    It is true in the end that the current Catholic doctrine under Humane Vitae argues that contraception is evil and not allowed. And, I would agree that the Church has not changed this position nor is it attempting to change this position. But historically it is not dogma. And, the reasoning behind the decision is, in my opinion, not sound.

    But, I could be wrong. Please point out where I am.

  • None of these points are serious arguments from Mr.Zucker. They do amount to mental masturbation however.

    Take for example his thesis that prices are rising in medicine due to increasing age and technology. Life spans and technology have been increasing for 100 years yet is only in the last 30-40 that we have seen costs rise dramatically. The correlation is not just tenuous but is the text book example of “post hoc ergo propter hoc” or the fallacy of correlation not causation.

    This is symptomatic of a larger disease and it is one for which no medicine on earth can cure.

  • Paul:

    True enough except for two significant differences.

    1. The life expectancies of individuals have gone up much more in the recent past due to the increased technologies of the last 30-40 years. Also, the medical profession has since post WWII received a much higher status due to new medicines like pencillin and the move away from fluid theory to germ theory in medicine. So, the medical field has become professionalized in a way that it was not a century ago.
    2. And, far more important, the baby boom created a massive older population for today that is looming in the next 10 years. That group which will live longer, a goal that all Catholics want to see due to our commitment to life, will demand higher costs.

    Again, can we actually deal with the arguments and stay away from personal attacks?

  • “So, the real difference here is artificial versus natural means in preventing life to enter in at all times. What is the real problem with this?”

    The distinction would be in what is a normally infertile period – part of human biology vs. an artificially imposed, non-natural process. The first can be ordered to the Human good as part of God’s ordering of the Human person, the latter not.

    “Well there are two possibilities. Humane Vitae first points to the nature of sex itself as procreative and unitive. However, as we just showed, not all sex acts are procreative in nature. So, this could not be the case.”

    Clearly there are plenty of cases where nature is not fulfilled, this does not deny the nature of the thing. So the fact that most sex acts do not result in procreation does not deny the fact that this is part of the nature of the sexual act.

    “The second possibility is #3. And, that is due to the negative impacts on women. And, lets be clear, it is obvious that our culture has devolved to this level. We see constant attacks on women sexually through magazines, increased rates of abortion, rape, date rape, etc. However, the problem with this reasoning is a full scale generalization to all people under this. There are plenty of religious Protestants, Catholics, and secularists who use contraception to plan out their families without resorting to any of these negative impacts.”

    Though it is becoming more and more clear that while some may use contraception without problems, society as a whole is being negatively impacted. Just as some families deal well with divorce, but in general society is suffering from its effects.

    Though I might ask at this point, why are you so concerned with Catholic social teaching and adherance to it, while you disregard established teaching on contraception. One can equally argue according to standards that the preferential option for the poor ( a phrase which is actually not in magisterial texts) and other aspects of CST are equally subject to change. And since most social programs are now unsustainable, it is fine to cut them.

  • Zookster, buddy:

    What has any of that got to do with giving Obama four more years for massive failures and to complete the devastation?

  • Paul:

    Great points. So, lets go through them.

    The biggest problem with your argument is that you argue that certain things may not be so. But you don’t provide reasons why they ought to be so.

    Let me demonstrate. It is true that just because conception is not possible in every sex act, that this does not rule out procreation as important. But your argument does not show that procreation is essential in all sex acts. And, this is my point on the nature argument. In order for this part of the theological premise to hold, it would have to show that conception is essential to the nature of sex. The Church tried to do this through a physicalist approach. However, sex does not lead to conception in most cases. So, there is no essential nature to the case.

    However, you could argue that the reasoning is more about the good of producing life. Therefore all sex acts should contain conception as possible since it leads to fulfilling this good. But now this would mean that we should not use natural family planning either since we would be frustrating life. You could argue that natural family planning follows the nature God gave us. But this runs us right back into the problems of the first issue that I raised.

    So, we now get to the overall argument about the goods of contraception and sex. Yes, society takes good things and makes them into bad things. This does not make the original thing bad. For example, we have cures for diseases. Some evil people have used this and the scientific process to create biological weapons. So, we create a moral rule excluding the mal practice of science and biological elements, not science itself.

    The reason why I support social teachings of the church is because I believe the rationales are sound. For example, from intuition, do you agree that the good should be pursued and the evil avoided. Well, of course. Is poverty a negative and possibly evil condition that some people live under? Well, I think we would both agree on this as well. And, do you agree on an intuitive level, that we ought to help our neighbor to avoid extreme suffering? Again, we probably both agree. And, for good reason. It is intuitive and morally common sense. And, it is the teaching of the Church.

    Now, we just need to determine which agent is best: communities, individuals, churches, the State, or a combination. This is an argument of sociology, economics, and political science. But I agree with Church teachings on social teachings because we can easily determine its truth.

    In the case of contraception, I don’t see the authorities being sound in their reasoning.

  • “In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.”

    Except as pointed out above, the Church is the one funding the insurance so it is the Church, and those of link-minded conscience, who are forced to pay for what is readily and inexpensively available.

    Again, which is why the bishops continue to resist the efforts of the Obama mandate.

  • Paul:

    Again, that depends.

    The church would not be providing the insurance in the case of businesses who purchase an insurance plan for their employees. The employees than buy the plans. So, the Church is providing the overall insurance. But the employee chooses and buys the plans and the services.

    You are correct in the case of church institutions that self insure. And, the Obama administration has made it clear that they are open for compromise on that one.

    Either way, there is no clear violation of the freedom of worship. This is opening up choices for employees of Catholic Church institutions. And, by the way, many Catholic Church institutions already allow for this due to that choice like Georgetown.

  • I think you are referring to me.

    “The Church tried to do this through a physicalist approach. However, sex does not lead to conception in most cases. So, there is no essential nature to the case.”

    No, it is not a physicalist approach. It never has been considered so. In fact Martin Rhonheimer, who vigorously argues against any physicalist arguments points out that Humanae Vitae is quite non-physicalist in its argument. That is, natural law, in all that means in reason, sees the value of every sexual act being open to, if not resulting in, conception.

    “The reason why I support social teachings of the church is because I believe the rationales are sound. For example, from intuition, do you agree that the good should be pursued and the evil avoided. Well, of course. Is poverty a negative and possibly evil condition that some people live under? Well, I think we would both agree on this as well. And, do you agree on an intuitive level, that we ought to help our neighbor to avoid extreme suffering?”

    Of course those “rationales” are the same basis for arguing against contraception. Again from the first principle of natural law, the good is to be pursued and evil avoided. The good of sexula intimacy is the gift of self in marriage. This gift logically (rationally) includes the gift of new life. This of course can be modified to include the resort to naturally infertile periods in expressing the unitive aspect which are not violations of the good. But that includes the gift of self-restraint to those periods which further logically (rationally) includes a deepening of virtue of the person and respect for one’s spouse. Such is logically (rationally) not present in artificial contraception which reduces the other to an object of pleasure for the self instead of self-giving open to life.

    Of course we also seek to restrain extreme poverty and meet basic human needs. Of course CST includes the concepts that such programs logically (rationally) must be sustainable and must actually help those it seeks to help without fostering dependency on the govt. The actual implementation of policies and legitimate differences as to these policies actually helping and being sustainable are logically (rationally) subject to debate among Catholics of good conscience. This is also part of the rationale of CST – that Catholics may licitly disagree among policies.

  • James,

    You wrote,

    “He [Obama] has allowing for Catholics and non-Catholics to bypass the employer and go straight to the employer [I assume you meant insurance company] to purchase plans that include or do not include the option of contraception.”

    Again, this is a distinction without a difference:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577215150068215494.html

    One way or another, religious institutions will be forced to pay for contraception under the mandate.

    “But he has already expressed a willingness to work with Catholic institutions on this issue to make sure that they will not have to violate their conscience on this issue.”

    The law is what it is, and no one must or should take such a condescending “willingness” to toss their opponents a few crumbs from the table as anything other than the gesture of contempt that it is.

    “Obama is attempting to establish a policy that will help to serve people in general who wish on an individual level, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to use contraception.”

    I don’t care. He doesn’t have the legitimate authority to do what he is doing. He is abusing his authority and pursuing a tyrannical course. People who wish “on an individual level” to use contraception can individually pay for it with their own money.

    “It is true that the Church is not attempting to stop individuals from accessing contraception. And, legally, even if the Church wins on the mandate issue, they do not have the power nor the will to stop individuals from accessing contraception at 7 eleven or any other convenience store. However, that is not my argument. ”

    But it is the only truth that matters in this debate.

    “Under this plan, the individual would be able to make a choice to get and use contraception.”

    They already have the choice. They just can’t get it for FREE, i.e., force someone else to pay for it.

    “While the Church may disagree with this, it cannot stop the individual from doing so. And, the Church is doing that to its employees if it says that they will not even provide insurance plans that open up that option. ”

    Well, this is simply false. If you know it is false, it is a lie. If you don’t know it is false, it is an error. Now you know. If you keep repeating it, you’re a liar. The Church cannot stop, and does not wish to stop, any individual from buying contraception. The Church does not go around with press gangs and force people off the street to work in its institutions. No one has to work for a Catholic institution. It is a choice. The fact that some people may have to choose between working for a Catholic college or hospital and having their contraceptives/abortions/sterilization procedures covered is not a violation of conscience, it is evidence that religious institutions still get to have theirs.

    ” My point is that your argument about the violation of the Church’s conscience works both ways. In this case, the Church is removing the ability of the individual to go to their insurer and make their own decision.”

    The Church has set conditions for employment at its institutions that anyone is free to review and reject in favor of employment somewhere else. “The individual” can work wherever he is qualified to work. No ability has been removed. If an individual at a Catholic institution can’t get contraception coverage, it is because he voluntarily agreed to that condition, having considered that this good is of a lower priority than employment at a Catholic institution.

    The argument does not “work both ways”, because when it works the way you want it to, the Church’s conscience is violated. When it works the way I want it to EVERYONE IS STILL FREE TO DO WHAT THEY WANT – with their OWN money.

    ” In this case, the intent is to provide people with the free choice on how to manage and prepare for their families while also maintaining strong sexual intimacy within their committed relationships. The act itself is not to provide contraception. But, rather it is to provide people with the choice on that issue. And, the positive consequences is that it helps to limit the number of abortions.”

    Even if I believed that were the intent (and I don’t), it wouldn’t matter. I am not arguing that the Obama regime is trying to force people to buy contraception, that it is trying to force-provide people with these things. Rather, it is forcing institutions to cover the costs of these things, which is a violation of their inherent right to exist.

    And it is still premised on the lie that people don’t have “the choice on that issue.” As long as you believe that people who have nearly unlimited access to birth control without the mandate need the mandate to have “choice on that issue”, you inhabit a fundamentally different reality than I do and we cannot rationally communicate.

    “My point was never that the limitation of abortions should determine our moral reasoning. My point is that this is a part of the overall reason why many Catholics do support Obama’s position because it aims for the Common Good without violating basic rights.”

    Fine. My point stands that basic rights are violated, as well as basic logic and rational thought.

    ” We are currently living in an era of increasing inequality. The richest 20% currently hold 80% of the wealth.”

    I don’t care. Inequality is not injustice when those on the bottom are wealthier than at least half of the planet, if not far more. The American “poor” have a higher standard of living than the middle classes of most of the nations that have ever existed or exist today. We are not talking about Biblical poverty in the United States. If you want to talk global inequalities, then you may have a stronger case for some level of redistribution. But not on a national scale.

    Inequality is only a problem, in this context, for the envious who believe they are entitled to a level of comfort that others have to work hard for.

    “The point is that local churches and community service groups cannot provide for all of the help needed by the middle class and the poor. ”

    Well, I disagree, and there’s no way you can demonstrate such a thing. It is arguable that the primary thing that people need are jobs and business opportunities. I reject the automatic assumption that “help” necessarily = bureaucratic welfare state financed through confiscation and redistribution of private wealth.

    Finally, I’m not “ignoring” Ryan’s plan. I haven’t studied it yet, so I don’t want to comment on it yet. It’s that simple.

  • James Zucker: The Catholic Church needs to hire only Catholic workers to be eligible for an exemption? The Court in Hosanna-Tabor said that 9-0 the state did not have the right to determine who the religious organizations hired but now the Catholic Church will be forced to hire only Catholic people to be eligible for an exemption. The First Amendment says that Obama may not “prohibit the free exercise thereof.” You have spent much ink telling us how much you are giving us freedom, defining conscience and redefining the human being and eternal truths and I tell you that freedom is granted by God, “their Creator”.

    James. Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress? Obama violated the contract, by usurping and using an unauthorized Congressional power.

    And please explain why Obama has given an unauthorized power to Sebelius to write anything Obama tells her to, whenever Obama tells Sebelius to, into the ACA. Obama removed the Mexico City Policy the first day in office as POTUS. A contract with the people and the Catholic church that only one side can change is no contract at all, it is simply bondage. Contraception is the bait. The real game is to overturn the Catholic Church and absorb all that the Catholic Church holds in trust for our posterity, all generations to come.

  • “You are correct in the case of church institutions that self insure. And, the Obama administration has made it clear that they are open for compromise on that one.

    Except the it is actually the majority of Church institutions that are self-funded. It is so problematic that even the Catholic Hospital Association, which supported the Health Care Law, finds there is no room for compromise:

    “The Catholic Health Association was a key ally in Obama’s health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress. But the group said Friday it does not believe church-affiliated employers should have to provide birth control as a free preventive service, as the law now requires.

    The hospital group’s decision calls into question a compromise offered by the president himself only months ago, under which the cost of providing birth control would be covered by insurance companies and not religious employers. While churches and other places of worship are exempt from the birth control mandate, nonprofits affiliated with a religion, such as hospitals, are not.

    In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be “a good first step” but that examination of the details proved disappointing. The plan would be “unduly cumbersome” to carry out and “unlikely to adequately meet.”

    “Either way, there is no clear violation of the freedom of worship. This is opening up choices for employees of Catholic Church institutions. And, by the way, many Catholic Church institutions already allow for this due to that choice like Georgetown.”

    Again, it does not follow given that the majority in the Church (even those that supported the law) find it untenable as noted above. There may be some institutions that do not have a problem with contraception (and perhaps abortifacients as these are also mandated.) But this does not deny the reality that the Bishops and many other organizations find it oppressive. As such, it is not only a restriction on freedom of worship, it is a immoral restriction on freedom of religion.

  • Paul:

    Okay, two separate points on this one.

    1. Contraception falls under the same basic Catholic intuition that I expressed in support of CST.
    2. We can disagree over the implementation of CST.

    First, on contraception. I don’t think the Church has ever explicitly argued that natural law is dependent on nature. However, the reasoning in Humane Vitae fell into that problem. The reason is expressed in your own argument. You argued that sex can occur throughout the month during periods of natural infertility. But we cannot use artificial means to stop conception because life is a good that should never be frustrated. However, under Catholic teaching, we do frustrate the possibility of life by planning through natural means to stop having sex at points when life would be created. Why would we do this if life is a good that we do not avoid wanting to create. The reason is because we understand families must be able to have some planning abilities on having children. But, then why not artificial means. Because artificial means would frustrate the natural process. But if physicalist arguments are not what we are aiming at then there is no basis to claim that sex always has a procreative element to it.

    Your other argument is that by abstaining, we create a virtue of self restraint and a lack of selfishness. This may be true. But if the act itself is not immoral, then these side effects are simply possible benefits from abstaining, not necessary elements of determining if the act is moral.

    In fact, couples who use artificial contraception often talk about the ability to create more loving and intimate relationship to the partner whom they are committed. And, that their intimacy expresses a lack of selfishness and a communication of love through this intimacy.

    The problem with your argument again is that you are expressing why something may not be the case. You are not providing for reasons why it is.

    My reasons are the following:

    1. Sex does not have a physicalist or a spiritual reason for tying procreation to all acts of sex.
    2. Artificial birth control is the same as natural family planning unless you are trying to argue that all of God’s natural means are the basis to morality.
    3. Artificial birth control allows for families to plan out their care for children while remaining loving and committed to one another.

  • “First, on contraception. I don’t think the Church has ever explicitly argued that natural law is dependent on nature. However, the reasoning in Humane Vitae fell into that problem.”

    True, but I am not arguing that either. And neither did Humane Vitae. Read Rhonheimer.

    “The reason is expressed in your own argument. You argued that sex can occur throughout the month during periods of natural infertility.”

    That’s only if one thinks I am arguing from physical nature rather that the totality of what is invovled in natural law – the ultimate discernment of which comes through reason. This reason includes taking into account the physical nature of the act, its nature and ends, and the intention in acting.

    “But we cannot use artificial means to stop conception because life is a good that should never be frustrated. However, under Catholic teaching, we do frustrate the possibility of life by planning through natural means to stop having sex at points when life would be created.”

    But only because reason discerns these infertile periods as part of nature and, through reason, we use these naturally infertile periods for legitimate ends (ie the health of the mother, financial resources etc.) Through restraint founded in reason, we reaffirm the meaning of sexuality even if new life is not created. This as opposed to chosing to have sex at any time based upon our control of fertility through artificial contraception.

    “You are not providing for reasons why it is.”

    But I have. Perhaps an assertion without evidence on your part.

  • Okay there are a lot of issues to address here since there are three people giving me different arguments. Don’t get me wrong. I am not whining about this. I am happy to answer the points in all of the arguments. But I am trying to do this in a timely manner. So, I hope that I don’t miss any of the major points.

    All three of you seem to be arguing the following in common points.

    1. Obama violated rights by forcing all institutions including Catholic ones to provide for contraception to their employees.
    2. Individuals have a right to work wherever they want so there really is no right to them to be able to force insurers into providing this “free” care.
    3. Bonchamps made the point that the extreme inequalities don’t matter and this is really just the point of envious people.

    Okay, so first off, in order for Obama to have violated religious liberties, we have all agreed that he had to have forced Catholic institutions to materially support an evil action. But in order to do this, these institutions would have to be either paying for or passing out contraception. They are doing neither. The individual worker is going straight to their insurance provider. So, the employer is by passed. And, the church is not paying for the service or the good. The continuous argument that you or anyone else is paying for this is simply incorrect. The insurance company provides the plan that provides the coverage.

    You are correct that this would be a problem for self insured institutions. However, the Obama administration has argued that it would be open to negotiations on this. Paul argues that most Catholic institutions are self insured. This may be correct. But, please remember that many Catholic institutions don’t agree with the bishops on this one. And, many institutions of Catholic leadership also have such diverse communities that they are willing to provide insurance companies not self insurance. So, the issue is an implementation one.

    The point is that there is no violation of the First Amendment and Bonchamps argument that this is tyranny exaggerates the issue. It is an implementation problem that is being worked out through compromise. And, as I argued before, there are greater side effects that come along with this since it can lead to the good of reducing abortions.

    However, on to the point that I made about the violation of individual rights. Bonchamps missed the point of my argument. In today’s environment of high unemployment, it is extremely difficult to make the argument that an individual could simply up and move to a new job. And, while it is true that contraception can be received at convenience stores, the product is often not good for all women due to health reasons. So, if a Catholic employer tells his or her employee that she cannot choose a certain insurance plan, then this is a violation of that individual’s ability to make choices. And, referring that individual to the rigors of the market place right now would simply be forcing the individual into a difficult circumstance of unemployment.

    However, this gets to the bigger problem with Bonchamps argument. This is not personal. But to claim that extreme inequalities are not important to CST is not consistent with papal teachings. I am not arguing from authority. You are clearly in your rights to tell me I am wrong. But the Popes of recent years have clearly pointed out that capitalism, while better than socialism and communism, has the negative problem of a concentration of wealth and the use of wealth for individual selfishness. The current numbers I gave you were not just regular inequality. They show extreme inequality driven by the greed of the top 10% of our society. These cannot be passed off especially when CST argues for economics to provide for the common good.

    And, your argument missed the greater point that I was making off of this. My point was that under our current circumstances the party that is violating most of CST teachings are the Republicans. While Obama’s implementation may be imperfect, it is the Republican plans that violate the needs of the weakest by curtailing spending on medical expenses for those with special needs, curtailing spending on heating oil for the poor, curtailing spending on education, curtailing spending for the elderly on health care, and trying to veto a health care bill that finally covers all people including those previously excluded due to no fault of their own.

    You can definitely disagree with me on this. Even though the Catholic bishops and the Jesuits at Georgetown feel the same way. However, to argue that Obama is tyrannical is simply not accurate to the facts.

  • Paul:

    I did provide reasons. Let me argue this again.

    First, let me point out that you argued that we ought to use reason informed by faith to point out the totality of the act. Agreed.

    Your argument, if I am correct is that sex should be open to life but we can use natural family planning to plan when we ought to have sex to have children and when we ought to abstain from having sex.

    But, this still does not address why sex should always be tied to procreation. True, it is one of its ends. However, sexual union between partners does not always lead to procreation. So, on what basis do you argue that sex and procreation are always linked? If your argument is that this is one of the great purposes of sex, I agree. But this does not mean that sex only has one purpose. Just as a hand does not have one purpose. Now, you could argue that we ought never frustrate any of the purposes. But we do with natural family planning. We just do it naturally. So, why cannot we do this through artificial means?

    You asked for my reasons then why artificial means can be used. Here they are again:

    1. There is no real difference between artificial and natural family planning unless you use a physicalist approach.
    2. Artificial means do not violate life because married couples use it to plan out when they will conceive.
    3. Artificial means allow for a husband and wife to create a committed and loving relationship without the fear of unwanted pregnancies when the cannot afford them.
    4. Sex has multiple purposes. Procreation is not essential to all acts of sex.

  • JZ- For the sake of clarity and your Catholic bona-fides, can you please confirm or deny the following:

    Do you believe that the use of artificial contraception is morally licit as a means of birth control?

  • Paul:

    So, I am unclear on the ends of this question.

    I thought I made myself clear in the last few emails. Here is a clear and unequivocal statement.

    I believe that artificial birth control is moral as long as it is within a committed relationship of marriage and used for the dual purposes of managing family size and creating a loving and intimate relationship between the spouses.

    I hope this makes it clear.

    Also, I reread your last post. I do agree with you on the method of Catholic reasoning. But, I cannot find in your argument why procreation is an essential part to all sexual acts of intimacy between spouses.

  • James Zucker,

    Barack Hussein Obama is a godless, evil, wicked man of sin and depravity promoting the filth of homosexual sodomy, the murder of unborn children and the redistribution of wealth from those who earn to those who refuse to work. He lies. He cheats. He steals. He murders.

    Everyone has a right to choose – and that choice ends at sexual intercourse. You don’t want a baby? Then don’t wallow in filth like a mindless irresponsible baboon, which is exactly and precisely the style of life that that narcissistic son of a snake promotes and deifies. No abortion! No contraception! You don’t get to choose when life begins. You don’t get to partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. If you have sex, then you made your choice.

    And no, it is NOT the responsibility of the Federal govt to provide for the sick, the homeless, the poor, etc. That is your responsibility and mine if we call ourselves members of the Body of Christ. Everytime we abdicate our God-given responsibility to help our fellow man, we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our citizenship in the Kingdom of God for a pale and worthless imitation that at root is satanic.

    And that is exactly and precisely what you liberals want: Caesar Obama to be god. Never. Never ever. This was a Christian Constitutional Republic, NOT a national socialist democracy which is nothing other than two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner, which in this case is the bloody corpses of over 50 million unborn babies. Death to Democracy! Death to Liberalism! Down with Obama on Novermber 6th! Down with every single liberal progressive Democrat! Viva Cristo Rey!

  • There is a Philip in this thread and a couple different Pauls.Somewhere along the way my name got hijacked when you were addressing Philip, I believe.

    Since the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370) then my rule of thumb is: if you don’t respect the teaching authority of the Church instituted by Christ then you sure as hell won’t respect anything I have to say.

    You are an honest about what you apostate, but an apostate nonetheless. Of what point is discussion when you are your own vicar?

  • Paul:

    Okay, so its hard for me to respond to your argument given it is entirely based upon invective and name calling. So, let me try with some personal points first.

    My wife and I have two beautiful girls. We are thrilled to have them and we are completely enthralled to watch them grow up and become the total gifts that God gave to us.

    I also had a son. He was diagnosed with a genetic disorder while in my wife’s womb. The doctors told us that he was likely not to live. However after some great pains in decision making over this, my wife and I believed that he had every right to live and that we had an obligation to love him and give him every blessing possible. He was born. He lived for two months. And, he died in my arms. I am not using this to brag or to praise myself. I went through some extremely dark days back then with many emotions that I am not proud of. And, I just hope that God was as close to me as I believed and felt in His presence during those days. i tell you this because your invective against me as a dark individual who supports a dark leader is simply not fair and not legitimate as an argument.

    I simply asked you for your logical reason based upon reason informed from faith as to why birth control was evil. You have not provided this. You did provide a method of natural law reasoning. It is too bad that you could not follow through on that reasoning and provide a logical explanation of why sex and procreation are always tied together.

    Finally, yes, actually the state does have a role in helping the sick and the weak. This is not because I assert it to be the case. This is the basic teachings of CST. CST preaches the principle of subsidiarity. Yes, we should attempt to take care of the poor locally and without government assistance. And, there are good reasons to do so. However, when local organizations cannot do this alone, the government is an instrument for helping with this. This is the teaching of CST from the popes of the late 1800s to Pope John Paul II. And, John Paul very specifically wrote that while socialism and communism were far worse than capitalism, capitalism tends towards a selfish inequality that does not promote the common good. He called for all citizens of capitalist societies to reorient their values to allow for individualism and competition but to be balanced by compassion.

    Lastly, Paul, I respect you and your beliefs. But honestly, if you believe that persuading someone of the opposite belief system through invective and generalization is a good idea, I can only caution you that it is not. It ends up simply reinforcing the worst stereotypes of Conservatives. I wish you the best. And, I hope we can argue in a more rational way another time. God Bless.

  • Paul:

    Sorry, I just saw that this is another individual. So, let me address your points now more specifically.

    I am now an apostate. Fair enough. Although I am not sure how you can come to that conclusion given that there has always been a dissenting in the church tradition.

    You can definitely argue that I don’t follow the Pope’s every doctrinal command. But there is no rule that this must be the case. This follows a top down mode of the Church that was rejected in Vatican II.

    And, protection of individual conscience is a main stay of the church. Nowhere is it taught that people who disagree on individual teachings are therefore outside of the church.

    Even if I was, that does not mean that you can ignore my arguments. You actually have to provide some backing for your arguments even if they are based upon differences over faith.

    Your only argument is by quoting an authority and its arguments under doctrine. However, doctrine has evolved and changed based upon differences.

    So, you need to show why this doctrine is correct and why your interpretation has to be followed.

  • James,

    “The individual worker is going straight to their insurance provider. So, the employer is by passed.”

    Someone still has to pay for it. That’s what you don’t seem to understand. The individual worker is not paying for it. It isn’t being donated to them. The costs get absorbed into the premiums that these institutions have to pay, so again, either way, they are still paying for contraception coverage. A distinction without a difference.

    “You are correct that this would be a problem for self insured institutions. However, the Obama administration has argued that it would be open to negotiations on this.”

    Talk is cheap. This does not support your position in the least.

    “Paul argues that most Catholic institutions are self insured. This may be correct. But, please remember that many Catholic institutions don’t agree with the bishops on this one. ”

    Also completely irrelevant. We are obviously only talking about those institutions who do care – it is because they exist that this is a controversy to begin with.

    You really think you can obscure the fundamental issues at stake with a flurry of irrelevancies – or you don’t know how to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant.

    “The point is that there is no violation of the First Amendment and Bonchamps argument that this is tyranny exaggerates the issue.”

    It does no such thing. Read the HHS memo asking a Colorado judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by a Catholic-owned corporation.

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/08/obama-looks-to-strip-entrepreneurs-of-religious-liberty

    The Obama regime is certainly attempting to foist its view of “reproductive freedom” on an unwilling public. I know I expressed that my primary concern was for the Church as institution, but let me state clearly for the record that I believe forcing ANY company to purchase health plans that, by law, cannot exclude contraception, abortion and sterilization, is an act of anti-religious tyranny.

    “However, on to the point that I made about the violation of individual rights. Bonchamps missed the point of my argument. ”

    How can I miss a point you never made?

    ” In today’s environment of high unemployment, it is extremely difficult to make the argument that an individual could simply up and move to a new job.”

    It is irrelevant. The point is that no one is preventing them from doing so, and thus no one is seeking to or actually “limiting their options.” A bad economy is not a person to be morally accountable for their actions. You may as well complain about seasonal hurricanes depriving people of their right to live wherever they choose without any potential risks.

    This is why I use words like “insane” to describe such thinking and the policies that such thinking lead to. The charge is that Catholic institutions are somehow limiting people’s liberty. But it turns out that it is really the bad economy that is to blame. Well Catholic institutions didn’t create the bad economy and they don’t have a moral obligation to violate their own consciences because the bad economy doesn’t allow someone else to buy something that their own conscience approves of. That’s what living in a free society means.

    “And, while it is true that contraception can be received at convenience stores, the product is often not good for all women due to health reasons. ”

    Buyer beware. The pro-abortion crowd makes the same argument about abortion. If it isn’t made “safe and legal”, then they get an inferior product from back-alley scam artists or something like this. And yet this argument is completely irrelevant, as we all know. The fact that some people might harm themselves obtaining a good or service is not a moral argument for the legalization of that good or service. But this contraception argument isn’t even that extreme. Contraception is legal and no one challenges it – all you’ve got is some contention that over-the-counter birth control may not be as good for some women as that which an insurance plan might cover. And this flimsy appeal is what you would sacrifice the religious liberty of tens of millions of Americans for. Well this is garbage and I am not obliged to agree.

    “So, if a Catholic employer tells his or her employee that she cannot choose a certain insurance plan, then this is a violation of that individual’s ability to make choices.”

    This is a lie. That individual can still make choices. She doesn’t have to work for that employer.

    “And, referring that individual to the rigors of the market place right now would simply be forcing the individual into a difficult circumstance of unemployment.”

    And that isn’t immoral. That’s called life. That’s called respect for private property rights, which is also a pillar of Catholic social teaching in case you’ve forgotten.

    “But to claim that extreme inequalities are not important to CST is not consistent with papal teachings.”

    Papal teachings almost always address global inequalities, and they do not rule out the possibility of the very real sociological concept of relative poverty. Like I said, global inequalities may present a stronger case for some kind of redistribution of wealth, but national inequalities in the United States do not. The American poor are wealthy by comparison to the African poor. This is simply a fact.

    Inequality in and of itself is not injustice. CST has never taught this. In fact, to portray inequality as bad in and of itself is nothing but an expression of deep-seated envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

    “The current numbers I gave you were not just regular inequality. They show extreme inequality driven by the greed of the top 10% of our society. ”

    The numbers you provide do not demonstrate that anyone is being made destitute.

    “And, your argument missed the greater point that I was making off of this. My point was that under our current circumstances the party that is violating most of CST teachings are the Republicans. ”

    Yeah, I tend to miss points when they aren’t clearly made.

    And this claim is absolutely false. The Democrats officially support the butchering of tens of millions of innocent children in the womb, they officially support the moral and social abomination of “gay marriage”, and their welfare policies create a condition of servility and dependency for the vast majority of poor people. They undermine family, local communities, and churches as providers of social support and seek to replace them all with the federal government. The Democratic vision is not one of solidarity, but rather an atomized nightmare in which millions of individuals fight over the scraps from the government table, scraps which only exist because the middle classes have been plundered, swiping their EBT cards in perpetuity without ever finding gainful employment. It is also a vision in which the Church has no meaningful role to play in society as an independent institution.

    “While Obama’s implementation may be imperfect, it is the Republican plans that violate the needs of the weakest by curtailing spending on medical expenses for those with special needs, curtailing spending on heating oil for the poor,”

    That’s a good one! It’s not like Obama and the Dems are relentlessly pursuing green energy policies, its not like Obama threatened to bankrupt the coal industry, its not like this entire policy orientation will drive prices for energy for the poorest Americans through the roof. No, not at all. All you have to do, in your book, to be a champion for the poor is SAY that you’re a champion for the poor. If your policies end up completely screwing them over, it doesn’t matter. You had good intentions.

    The bishops are sadly mistaken on many economic points. The root of the problem is the assumption that the market cannot provide many of these things that people need. The market can provide them. Competition keeps costs down for the average consumer, many of whom are of average means or are poor. Policies that reduce or eliminate economic competition, on the other hand, end up making many goods and services more expensive and more difficult for people of average means to afford.

    But you never think of the consequences of these policies, even as you say that you believe consequences can and should be morally considered. If you really believe in a better economy for the poor, then support policies that increase competition, that incentivize job creation, and that increase the value of the dollar by fighting inflation.

  • I don’t argue, debate or have dialogue with liberals, James Zucker. I pray to God and work for your utter, total and complete defeat. Period. It frankly enrages me to see any self-described Catholic support that godless reprobate of sin and depravity. Death to Democracy! Viva Cristo Rey! I shall now be silent since I am unable to contribute anything to “dialogue.” It’s like dialoguing with the demonic, because that is what Obama and his supporters are.

  • James Zucker: The Catholic Church needs to hire only Catholic workers to be eligible for an exemption? The First Amendment says that Obama may not “prohibit the free exercise thereof.” You have spent much ink telling us how much you are giving us freedom, defining conscience and redefining the human being and eternal truths and I tell you that freedom is granted by God, “their Creator”.

    James. Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress? Obama violated the contract, by usurping and using an unauthorized Congressional power.

    And please explain why Obama has given an unauthorized power to Sebelius to write anything Obama tells her to, whenever Obama tells Sebelius to, into the ACA. Obama removed the Mexico City Policy the first day in office as POTUS. A contract with the people and the Catholic church that only one side can change is no contract at all, it is simply bondage. Contraception is the bait. The real game is to overturn the Catholic Church and absorb all that the Catholic Church holds in trust for our posterity, all generations to come.

  • Bonchamps: Since your posting provides multiple arguments, I will respond to you first. Then, Mary I can respond to you in a separate post. This way, we can keep our points concise.

    Bonchamps:

    Your argument relies upon two essential elements. First, you are arguing that the Obama administration is violating the freedoms of the Church to practice its free beliefs as employers in America. Then, you are arguing that the policies of the Democrats cause massive problems to the society and the poor. These arguments are not really dependent upon one another. But, I would agree we ought to prioritize the first since it deals with values that are sacred both to the Constitution and to the religious faith of Catholics and other Christians.

    You are arguing for the right of the Church to practice its faith. But there is no violation of the faith. And, here is why:

    1. The employees who purchase contraception do so through the insurance company not the employer.
    2. The employer purchases the insurance plans but the individual makes the choice of purchasing the services provided in the plan.
    Your argument that AHA mandates purchasing plans with abortion services is simply incorrect. There is nothing in the AHA that does this. In fact, the AHA allows for people and companies to seek out different insurance plans in exchange markets. The AHA does mandate that one of the choices of insurance companies must have an abortion option. But this is not the same as forcing companies to buy an insurance company that has abortion options.
    3. The closest you come to showing that there is a violation of Church freedoms is in the case of self insured institutions. However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue. You responded by saying this does not matter because there is a violation to freedoms. But this assumes your original point. And, you have not shown that the mandate itself is unfair to institutions. You have shown that there is a possible disadvantage in the implementation that needs to be compromised upon. And, the administration has shown a willingness to do this-not the quality of a tyrannical organization.

    However, by the Church not being willing to compromise on this issue, there is a violation of the individual conscience of its employees. I argued you missed the point on this. You simply replied that I had not made a point. So, let me make it very clear. Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits. For women, contraception is not only often expensive. It can also be important for their health. Your response to my points on convenience stores is that the consequences are not relevant. But, remember my point on Catholic natural law thinking, consequences are important to our overall evaluation of the decision. In this case, the reason why the administration wanted to open free access through insurance companies was to make sure that women’s health issues were covered. If there is an essential violation of rights or morality, then this concern would be relativized or non essential. But you have not shown that such a violation has occurred. So, by not allowing individuals to access their own choices in what plans they can get through insurance plans, the Church is enforcing its own beliefs on their employees.

    You then went further to argue that the economic effects of these decisions were not important due to morality and the difference between relative and absolute poverty. However, the difference between these two issues are not the basis to the papal decisions. Pope John Paul II and other popes argued that the problem with capitalism was not that it produced relative poverty and absolute poverty in different countries. Rather, he argued that the problem with capitalism was its tendency to concentrate wealth at the expense of the Common Good.

    In this framework, my numbers become essentially important. Of course, in Capitalism and in traditional morality, inequalities are natural and a central part of life and capitalism. But extreme inequalities are immoral and harmful to society. 20% of people owning 80% of the wealth, 2% of people getting 97% of the share of the nation’s income, an increasing rate of poverty in the country, and a decline in family income by $4000 over 10 years are example of extreme inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This is why the Catholic Church, the pope, and the American bishops have all condemned Republican policies that are contributing to this.

    You have argued that the Democrats are to blame on these issues. On the abortion and gay marriage issue, these are social issues that are more relevant to another discussion on social morality. But on the economic issues, the Democrats are not the ones who have controlled the economic policies for the last 30 years. Since Reagan, top marginal taxes have been reduced to 28%. Under Clinton, they were raised to 39%. Also, since Reagan, we have seen deregulation of the banking and real estate sector. And, under President Bush the marginal taxes were lowered again. These changes led to the concentration of wealth that we see, an increase in poverty, companies moving overseas, an increasing debt and deficit. These issues are important for our assessing of the economy and the moral decisions we make about managing the economy.

    You are welcome to argue if I have the right causes for these consequences. But here is my argument about Republican policies. They have supported tax and regulation policies that have led to the concentration of wealth, the lowered ability for the middle class to support their families, and an increase in poverty. These violate the CST teachings and allow for the richest to benefit from extreme inequalities.

    All of these outweigh an implementation problem in trying to provide employees with the chance to choose their own insurance plans with or without contraception. And, this is hardly tyranny

  • Mary:

    Okay so time for your argument.

    I am having a hard time answering your points because I am unclear on your overall point. You seem to be arguing that the overall point is to destroy the Catholic Church and establish the State as the authority on all issues. However, none of your evidence points to this conclusion.

    First, you point to the issue of the exemption. But you missed the point of the mandate. The mandate is not telling the Church who it can or cannot hire. The point is that all institutions need to provide employees with choices whether or not these employees agree with the religious beliefs of their employers. Also, if Obama’s main intent was to destroy the Church, you would think that the mandate would be targeted at Catholic institutions. It is not. It is for all employers. The problem is in the implementation due to the Church’s beliefs.

    Second, you argued that Obama gave Sebelius complete powers. he did not. He gave Sebelius the power to make a national mandate on contraception to provide for preventative care. I don’t know why he did not go for this during the AHA debate. But I would guess that they assumed this was not a problem. The reason why is because moderate Republicans had been promoting the idea since 2000. And, this was already done in 28 states.

    Thirdly you argued that Obama overthrew the Mexico policy. This is true. He did. The Mexico policy or the gag rule was established by President Bush. What it did was to prevent any family planning institution receiving American federal government money from telling people in foreign country about options including abortion. Liberals, not myself, disagreed with this. This can definitely be argued as immoral under natural law. However, this was not tyranny. The Mexico policy was established by executive order under Bush. So, it can be removed through executive order.

    Lastly, I agree that our freedoms come from God. I just don’t know how this is relevant to our arguments. Freedom of conscience ensures that we have the choice to make decisions unless we know of a direct moral evil that threatens others. In the case of contraception, none of this exists.

    But most importantly you have not shown that Obama is trying to overturn the Church. This is a difference over policy decisions.

  • James,

    “Your argument relies upon two essential elements. First, you are arguing that the Obama administration is violating the freedoms of the Church to practice its free beliefs as employers in America. Then, you are arguing that the policies of the Democrats cause massive problems to the society and the poor. These arguments are not really dependent upon one another.”

    What I said about the policies of the Democrats was solely in response to you. I never made the argument that these points were dependent upon one another. You started bringing up different topics and I replied to some of those points.

    “The employees who purchase contraception do so through the insurance company not the employer.”

    But the employer is still paying for the insurance plan. The cost is still being passed on to the employer. This is nothing but a street hustler game of three-card monte.

    “The employer purchases the insurance plans but the individual makes the choice of purchasing the services provided in the plan.”

    This is irrelevant. The employer still ends up covering contraception.

    “Your argument that AHA mandates purchasing plans with abortion services is simply incorrect. There is nothing in the AHA that does this.”

    Right – which is why the HHS mandate exists. Nice try, though.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamacare-mandates-coverage-abortion-drug_581969.html?nopager=1

    ” However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue.”

    This is still meaningless. Show me some evidence of this. All you have now are assertions.

    I’ll reply to the rest later.

  • Bonchamps:

    So your rebuttal at this point is that:

    1. The employer still pays at some point.
    2. The employer is purchasing abortion services through the mandate.

    Actually, no the employer does not pay. Yes, the employer has to put some purchase into the insurance itself. But the plans and the services and goods are paid for by the employee through their own choice. And, this has been my argument from the start. This decision provides for the employee to make their own choice.

    Yes, it is true that the mandate does cover some controversial contraception that is argued to be abortificient. However, this is not the same as the argument that this is a wholesale funding of abortion services. The argument is over certain pills that are considered to be abortificients due to the timing of the contraception around conception. This is very different from arguing that the mandate or the AHA is allowing for people to be funded by the federal government to receive abortion services when they are typically done at about the 8th week or after.

    Finally, I think you are incorrect on the other issues that I brought up. They are connected to the larger argument that I was making. My point is that Catholics who vote Democratic are doing so based upon the weighing of much bigger issues than this. We note that the mandate, while problematic, is hardly a sign of tyranny. And, then we look to the overall policies of the Republican party and how, as we believe, they violate the other major principles of CST. So, we make a decision to vote Democratic because we believe that Republican values and policies actually lead to violations of subsidiarity, the Common Good and the preferential option for the poor.

    Considering your original post argued that a true Catholic ought to vote Republican to stop the tyranny of Obama’s policies, all of these arguments are well within the scope of the debate.

    You provided a number of claims against Democratic policies. But you provided no evidence to support your arguments. You are welcome to do this in future posts. But, I would argue that these issues do outweigh the implementation problems that you cited on the mandate. And, you have shown no signs of tyranny or violation of freedom of religious conscience.

  • I probably wouldn’t agree 100% with any of you, but I thought I would throw in my 2 cents…

    James Z says:

    However, as I argued, the Obama administration has been willing to work with institutions on this issue.

    To me this is a, “put up or shut up”, kind of thing. What really happened is Obama said, “We’re willing to deal, but everything you want is off the table.” It wasn’t a sincere offer. It isn’t a real argument. If it isn’t in the Federal Register, it didn’t happen.

    There has been an attempt to redefine the Constitution’s, “free exercise of religion”, as, “freedom of worship”, but that is bogus. Free exercise of religion means that you can’t force people to take an action which violates their religious tenets.

    In the end I think what’s going to happen is that this will be struck down by the Supreme Court. It’s pretty clear that it fails the RFRA law test. I don’t think the actual threat is as large as people make it out to be. SCOTUS will kill it.

    Mary De Voe said:

    Please explain why the HHS mandate was added by Obama after the ACA was passed by Congress?

    I’ll explain it to you. It’s because most of the folks in Congress are cowards, so they write things into laws that say things like, “The specific details will be worked out later by the applicable executive branch agency so we won’t get blamed for it.” They punted, as usual.

    James Z says:

    However, by the Church not being willing to compromise on this issue, there is a violation of the individual conscience of its employees. I argued you missed the point on this. You simply replied that I had not made a point. So, let me make it very clear. Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits.

    Yes, the church is not willing to compromise on the issue that forcing Catholics to pay for birth control for people is a violation of their tenets and the consciences of Catholics and Obama is not willing to compromise on allowing people who object to opt-out based on their conscience. The only legal rights issue here though is whether the government has the right to force people to take actions that violate the tenets of their religion. Nowhere in the Constitution does anyone have the right to employer provided health care or contraception. It does say you have the right to freely exercise your religion though.

    Bonchamps said:

    In fact, to portray inequality as bad in and of itself is nothing but an expression of deep-seated envy, one of the seven deadly sins.

    I wouldn’t argue that it is intrinsically bad, but I think it’s quite clear to anyone who is paying attention that a lot of inequality is caused by rich folks and corporations successfully lobbying the government to stack the deck in their favor. It’s a fairness issue, not an envy issue. Romney pays a lower tax rate than I pay but makes a lot more money. Doesn’t seem fair. Multibillion dollar businesses with thousands of employees are treated as, “small business”, by the tax code because they have a small number of family owners and get tax breaks that the local dry cleaner (an actual small business) can’t get. This is a redistribution of wealth when these folks don’t pay their fair share and the rest of us do. Same thing with these huge companies that pay billions in taxes to other countries but get tax refunds here and companies like WalMart which force their employees into government health insurance for the poor. They are the freeloaders.

    These vulture capitalist guys like Romney and the multitude of CEOs who send jobs overseas and lay off thousands are just as dangerous to this country as Obama IMHO. I can’t say I like either.

    Oh yeah, and most of these CEOs didn’t build these huge multinationals from the ground up using their own money and taking all the risk themselves. They are hired just like the rest of us. Go read Andy Grove’s book where he talks about why CEOs are paid too much and Alan Greenspan’s about how CEOs purposely wreck companies by trading long term viability for short term numbers that will boost the stock price because that’s what gets them bonuses. Then when it goes south they take their golden parachutes and go wreck some other company. The incentives are all wrong…

    It’s unfortunate that according to studies, there are several countries that beat us now in the percentage of people who are able to attain, “the American dream”, of rising above their socioeconomic class. Concentration of wealth here seems the most likely reason. It’s counterproductive for the country.

  • James,

    “Actually, no the employer does not pay. Yes, the employer has to put some purchase into the insurance itself. But the plans and the services and goods are paid for by the employee through their own choice. And, this has been my argument from the start. This decision provides for the employee to make their own choice.”

    So the employer doesn’t pay, and then he does. At the end of the day, the employer is still paying for insurance that covers morally objectionable goods and services. You and Obama can invite me to play three-card montie, but that doesn’t mean I will.

    You’re still lying about employees not being able to make choices too, I see.

    “Yes, it is true that the mandate does cover some controversial contraception that is argued to be abortificient. However, this is not the same as the argument that this is a wholesale funding of abortion services. ”

    It doesn’t have to be “the same argument”, no ever said it was. More irrelevancy, more smoke and mirrors.

    ” The argument is over certain pills that are considered to be abortificients due to the timing of the contraception around conception. This is very different from arguing that the mandate or the AHA is allowing for people to be funded by the federal government to receive abortion services when they are typically done at about the 8th week or after.”

    Another attempted slight-of-hand. The argument is quite simply that the HHS mandate does not allow people to participate in health insurance plans that do not cover morally objectionable goods and services. Citizens are being dragooned into paying for other people’s birth control.

    “My point is that Catholics who vote Democratic are doing so based upon the weighing of much bigger issues than this.”

    Fine. When did I ever say otherwise? I acknowledge that you have your reasons for voting as you do. I disagree with them. I never made the claim that only my reasons are valid.

    “We note that the mandate, while problematic, is hardly a sign of tyranny. ”

    Yes, I know that is what you think. You are unable and/or unwilling to see the implications of the mandate, which are more serious than the mandate itself. I am not basing everything on the details of the mandate. I am arguing that the mandate is a sign of an overall and deep hostility to the Church emanating from this regime and from the left in general.

    “Considering your original post argued that a true Catholic ought to vote Republican to stop the tyranny of Obama’s policies, all of these arguments are well within the scope of the debate.”

    I made no such argument. Again you have serious issues and problems with the truth, or serious reading comprehension deficiencies. I offered my point of view about what I believed my duty as a Catholic citizen was, and made it clear at the outset that I was speaking to other theologically orthodox and politically conservative Catholics. I’m more concerned with people who basically share my views but are allowing their contempt for Romney to keep them out of the campaign.

    At no point did I ever say, or suggest, that a true Catholic had to vote GOP. This borders on slander.

    “You provided a number of claims against Democratic policies. But you provided no evidence to support your arguments.”

    Oh please. What a ridiculous accusation! We’re having a combox discussion and I offered my opinion, in response to things you had said. You never provided any evidence to support your claims about the greatness of those same policies either. How childish!

    “And, you have shown no signs of tyranny or violation of freedom of religious conscience.”

    I can’t convince people to whom these concepts mean nothing, or are radically different than my own, that they are in play. But by my standard of tyranny and religious conscience violation, I have shown it. You’ve chosen to ignore it or define terms differently.

  • From your previous post:

    “Employers have rights but employees also have rights. Employees have the right to bargain with their employers for decent health care benefits.”

    They have the right to bargain, and the employer has the right to say NO. Employees do not have the right to force their employer to pay for their condoms. This is an egregious abuse not only of private property rights, but of the bargaining rights originally defined and defended by the Church in encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum, which absolutely condemned irreligious labor unions.

    “For women, contraception is not only often expensive. It can also be important for their health. Your response to my points on convenience stores is that the consequences are not relevant.”

    The most liberal estimate is 600 dollars per year. Most people make that in a week or less. Cry me a river.

    “In this case, the reason why the administration wanted to open free access through insurance companies was to make sure that women’s health issues were covered. ”

    I don’t give a damn what the reason was. It is totally irrelevant. So please stop talking about it as if it matters, or as if I should care. I don’t.

    “But you have not shown that such a violation has occurred.”

    You not accepting it is not the same as me not showing it. You don’t seem to understand that right now the federal government is being sued precisely because such a violation HAS occurred. Like I said, but I guess you don’t respond to whatever harms your case, a judge in Colorado has already delivered a temporary injunction against the HHS, suspending the mandate until the case can be heard in higher courts. So at least one judge does agree with me and does believe that a violation has a occurred.

    So you can stop uttering this lie now.

    “So, by not allowing individuals to access their own choices in what plans they can get through insurance plans, the Church is enforcing its own beliefs on their employees.”

    Employees who work there voluntarily. Yes, I agree, the Church is “enforcing its own beliefs on its employees”, employees who work under free contract and not under compulsion of any kind. There isn’t a company in existence that doesn’t “enforce its own beliefs on its employees” – its called private property.

    The argument that the Church is “enforcing its own beliefs on their employees” only has relevance if those employees are being forced to work for the Church. They aren’t. So your point is completely meaningless.

    “Pope John Paul II and other popes argued that the problem with capitalism was not that it produced relative poverty and absolute poverty in different countries. Rather, he argued that the problem with capitalism was its tendency to concentrate wealth at the expense of the Common Good.”

    Well, first of all, you’re completely wrong on the first point. Popes have been talking about global inequalities and global poverty for decades now, and have seen it as one of the primary problems of our time. I don’t disagree with them.

    Secondly, capitalism doesn’t concentrate wealth. It diffuses wealth. The state concentrates wealth. The wealthiest man alive is Bill Gates. It is arguable that he does not owe all of his wealth to market forces either. Lets be generous and say half of his fortune, somewhere around 15-20 billion dollars.

    How much wealth does the federal government rake in through taxation, borrowing, and printing cash in a year? In a month? Let me give you a hint: its a little more than 15-20 billion dollars.

    I don’t think JP II ever made the concrete argument that the free market concentrates wealth. Pius XI made that argument, and I flat out disagree with him. But this brings us to the difference between scientific and moral statements. Popes can and have erred on purely technical matters. And this is a technical matter. If the capitalist economy really did what Pius XI claimed it did, then it would be right to condemn it, but it doesn’t. I agree with Pius XI that the situation at that time was evil and should be remedied, but his proposed solution was based on an incorrect assessment of fact and theory, likely because he was surrounded by economists who were fascists.

    “20% of people owning 80% of the wealth, 2% of people getting 97% of the share of the nation’s income, an increasing rate of poverty in the country, and a decline in family income by $4000 over 10 years are example of extreme inequality and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. This is why the Catholic Church, the pope, and the American bishops have all condemned Republican policies that are contributing to this.”

    This is so simplistic. First of all, I have no idea where you get the 2%-97% figure. But I don’t have a problem with 20% of the people owning 80% of the wealth. I don’t see why that matters, or why I should care. It isn’t making people destitute. Americans still have some of the highest living standards in the entire world. If you really care about people and their conditions, then you need to look at all of the factors affecting their quality of life. Some people having a lot of money doesn’t mean that the quality of life is bad for people who don’t. Only envious people think this way.

    An increasing rate of government-defined poverty is not a serious problem either. One person in one bureaucracy can tinker with one document and the number of people considered “poor” by the state could shrink or grow by millions overnight. These are almost meaningless numbers.

    “But here is my argument about Republican policies. They have supported tax and regulation policies that have led to the concentration of wealth, the lowered ability for the middle class to support their families, and an increase in poverty. These violate the CST teachings and allow for the richest to benefit from extreme inequalities.”

    The reasons for these things are far, far more complex than the policies supported by presidents, and are the product of policies favored by both parties. But that is a different discussion. In any case, the fact remains that very few Americans meet a definition of poverty that I believe justifies voting for a man who is enthuastically pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-religious liberty and anti-private property rights. If you want to vote for him, go ahead. Like I said, my conscience is at peace.

  • RRJP,

    When concentration of wealth is due to policies enacted by the state, I am opposed to it. I think it is the perfect argument for limited government. A government that stays out of economic matters and allows competition to thrive ensures that “big business” is big solely because it met the most real needs in society – and that at any time it could become small or non-existent if it failed to do so.

    But of course, most of the people who complain about the concentration of wealth are leftists who favor a large, intrusive state. They believe the competitive process has concentrated wealth, and this is the worst economic fallacy in existence, the premise of Marxism and every other leftist economic theory.

    If you’re for fairness, then you’re necessarily in favor of free competition, which is the fairest social process imaginable. But if you’re just for egalitarianism, for leveling, for making sure that no one can really excel beyond anyone else lest those who don’t excel have low-self esteem or something (this is how leftists really feel), then I say that you don’t have a valid moral argument that I am obliged to consider.

  • “But, this still does not address why sex should always be tied to procreation.”

    Jim,

    Because sex is always tied to procreation. And if I (Phillip) were using a merely physicalist approach as you repeat, that would be the end of it. Because whether we want to accept it or not, sex is ordered towards procreation.

    But as with many things the Catholic reason (and the reasoning in Humanae Vitae) is that there is more than this. The marital act (as opposed to sex itself) is ordered towards the good of the man in woman in their cooperation with God in bringing new life into the world. This cooperation is a reflection of the life-giving relationship of the Trinity. Thus why the unitive aspect also enters in as an expression of life-giving unity that is the Trinity.

    Of course as an act of the human person, it must be a voluntary cooperation of responsible parenthood – a responsible cooperation with God. So if a spouse is ill or if financially one cannot in reason responsibly bring new life into the world, then one can abstain. This abstainance in turn is a cooperation in reason with God’s reason – acting in a humanly responsible way. Using human reason in the given circumstances to cooperate with God responsibly instead of merely procreating.

    But as merely acting on the sexual act without taking into consideration a responsible reason for doing so, using artificial contraception is also, in reason, a violation of the marital act. This because, as in the former, we discard reason in our act, in the latter we eliminate the author of that reason in that cooperation. We set aside our his will and make ours absolute. By casting aside the ability to procreate artificially, we take away our cooperation in that life-giving marital act and make our will absolute.

    At the same time, by taking away the ability to abstain periodically, it is the one who artificially contracepts who reduces the marital act as one of life-giving love into merely a physical act unrestrained by reason.

  • All of that, PLUS . . .

    If Romney gets elected, “ya’ll will be in chains, again.”

  • Paul:

    Great points on why sex and procreation are linked. Here are my answers.

    First, I would accept that your argument is not a physicalist one. Rather, it is one based upon the purpose of creation that is a reflection of God and the Trinity.

    However, here are the problems.

    1. Remember that I have argued and you have agreed that most of the time sex does not lead to any possibility of procreation. I know this is a physicalist argument that you would disagree with. But this becomes important and you will see why in a minute.
    2. Sex has multiple purposes including both procreation and unitive qualities.
    3. We have already admitted that couples have a moral right to manage their pregnancies for a variety of reasons. You have just argued that couples ought to do this by not violating the purpose of sex which is essential to it-procreation.

    Okay, so if these three premises are acceptable, here is my point.

    Every act and thing was created with purposes. The question is whether or not a purpose is essential to the act or one of multiple purposes. Procreation is a purpose to sex and reflects the God given ability in the Trinity to create life out of love. However, if we observe that sex does not always lead to life and, in fact, most of the time does not lead to life, then its essential purpose cannot be for procreation. Rather, that is one of its purposes.

    We have also already admitted that the couple has a moral capability or right to manage these pregnancies. By doing so, they are not frustrating God’s will. They are simply acting in a way to manage their financial and emotional needs. By arguing this, we are showing that the human will and intellect can be used to manage the times and places when having children will be appropriate for their families. So, most of the consequences you claim about the human will distorting God’s desires are really based upon the initial belief that procreation must be tied to all sex acts due to the essential nature of procreation.

    Because of this, we are left again with the question of why artificial is different from natural contraception. Your argument does not admit of a physicalist basis. Rather, it argues from a purpose driven basis as a metaphor or reflection of the trinity. Fair enough. However, you do not show how sex always has this purpose because there is no foundation in your argument to suggest that this is the case. The only resort you really have is to look back at the physical qualities of sex. But to do so would undermine your argument that we are not looking at this from a physicalist perspective.

    Thanks and look forward to hearing your reply.

  • “Paul”

    I actually am beginning to wonder about your reading abilities (as well as reasoning abilities as a result) due to your inability to discern Phillip from Paul.

    Either you are not reading (as is evidenced by this and your earlier errors on the Bishops’ stance on the mandage which they clearly oppose) or are not able to assimilate the argument as to why artificial is distinct from natural family planning.

    Read again. It is there.

  • I’m with Paul W. Primavera.

    This whole debate is pointless. You cannot argue with someone who has turned his back on Church teaching and seeks to rationalize his own rebellion, albeit by faulty logic as well as patent misunderstanding (whether willful or not) of the issues at hand.

    And so I leave you all with this:

    2 Timothy:

    [23] And avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes. [24] But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle: but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] With modesty admonishing them that resist the truth: if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth, [26] And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will.

    God bless,

    Lisa

    P.S. James, I hope that God will open up your eyes and see that you are defending sin and error. It is a mortal sin to support a person who supports abortion and who has put himself at war with the Church. Period. The end. I pray you will come to repentance.

  • James – As to your last comment, it seems like you’re arguing a position that’s contrary to the Catechism. Given the amount of space devoted in this thread to contraception, I’m going to assume that this is an important part of your thinking on the overall question of Obama’s candidacy. So you can’t be making a Catholic case for Obama, or arguing against a Catholic case for Romney, if you’re making non-Catholic assumptions. I’m glad that this long, long thread has focused the argument to its core (a rarity online). The core seems to be that you can surmount the obstacles created by the HHS mandate by framing the issue in a non-Catholic way. You’re welcome to do so, but you can’t call it a Catholic case for Obama.

  • The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden.

    Desire True Repentence for Sins.

    Think of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemani suffering bitter agaony for our sins.

  • Something very wonderful has come out of this blog. The fact that Obama added the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Healthcare Act AFTER Congress had passed it, nullifies informed consent and nullifies congressional consent and nullifies the will of the people. There is no valid ACA because of this unwarranted, unauthorized usurpation of the prerogative of Obama’s constituency to participation in democracy. Obama cannot break faith with congress and his constituents and call it a contract. An Executive Order maybe but not a legal contract. C Justice Roberts ought to have picked that up. more on doctrines and dogmas and Humanae Vitae

  • Thank you, Lisa!

    All of the arguments that James Zucker uses to support his position devolves into these: (1) I can have sex whenever I want to titillate my genitals without responsibility for causing a pregnancy, and I will call that “unitive” because I am uniting with my partner, and (2) I support Obama because government is the dispenser of social justice and human rights.

    None of his arguments invoke holiness and righteousness before the Lord God Almighty, without which no man shall see God, nor do they recognize that our Creator in whose image and likeness we are made is the only granter of human rights. There is no support for chastity and abstinence, no admonition for being righteous and holy. There is every support for placing Caesar in God’s position.

    Now Mr. Zucker, you attend to this very closely:

    “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2nd Chronicles 7:14

    “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” Matthew 6:33

    There is no health, wealth or prosperity without repentance and conversion. Righteousness and holiness must always and everywhere precede social justice and the common good. Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Obama is evil because he murders unborn babies and sanctifies the filth of homosexual sodomy. He is a godless, wicked, evil man of sin and depravity. You are in league with him. What does that make you? And yes, 1st Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!” You call yourself a Catholic Christian and you make excuses to justify that man’s candidacy. How dare you!

    Death to Democracy, Liberalism and Progressivism! Death to the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. Jesus is Lawgiver, King and Judge, NOT that perverse and perverted narcissistic excuse of a man sitting in the Oval Office. God our Creator (as I wrote above) is the dispenser of human rights, NOT that godless government in Washington, DC, and we as a nation deserve nothing but destruction as long as we tolerate such evil. It happened to Israel when King Sennecharib deported them. It happened to Judah when King Nebuchadnezzer deported them. Why do we think that we are exempt from the God who never ever changes?

    I hate and despise and loathe liberalism with every fiber of my being, but I love Jesus the Christ and His Blessed Mother with all my heart.

    Down with Obama, one of the little anti-christs that St. John talked about in his first epistle. Viva Cristo Rey!

  • And by the way, Mr. Zucker, you don’t get to choose when life starts. You unzip your pants – you made the choice. Otherwise, keep it zipped, and I don’t care how many excuses you use that you’re monogamous and your doing it with only your spouse. You and I have no right to partake of the Fruit of the Tree of Life. That’s why God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.

    Liberal! Progressive! Democract! Three of the dirtiest words in the English language.

  • Thank you Paul W. Primavera, and Lisa and all: Herewith as I promised:
    On the violation of the will of the people, Obama’s constituency and their freedom to constitute government.

    Obama does not have the authorized or sovereign power to add or subtract anything from a contract with the people of the United States, without voiding the contract, with or against the will of the people, after the contract was passed by Congress, which Obama did, by adding the HHS Mandate to the ACA after the ACA was passed by Congress for the people, violating the will of the people without their informed consent.

    The penalties must fit the crime: Hidden in the ACA are penalties that are the DEATH to all Catholics. The penalty must be commensurate with the crime. And for the same reason that the Catholic Church, and all churches and religious like the Amish and Mennonites, are not taxed, because their tax exempt status is maintained by the taxes paid by their parishioners as citizens. To tax non-profits and churches would be taxation without representation, two taxes, one vote, for the citizens as parishioners. All physical property is held in trust for all generations, our constitutional posterity. The custody of church property is held in trust and cannot be seized by government, nor disposed of, except by the bishop who is responsible for the souls of all his people.

    The punishment must fit the crime. If not accepting the ACA and its hidden agenda, the HHS mandate, is a crime, and it is not, and this is not martial law, the penalty for not taking the ACA, cannot exceed the suffering of not having insurance. How can there be “a money fine” for not having any money? Are we talking about debtors’ prison? (Hillary Clinton had written a two year Federal prison sentence into Hillarycare. Clinton owns 10 healthcare corporations.) The ACA is not a sealed contract, as the addition of the HHS mandate indicates, and therefore prison sentences may be added as the punishment for acts that are not criminal. The ACA is an Executive Order being foisted upon all people as martial law, without the informed consent of the people and without the necessary will of the people. The ACA needs to be put on the ballot after informed consent, to let the people express their will, and freedom.

    After the savaging the media did on Rick Santorum in the death of their newborn infant, and the support you, James Zucker, give to the INFANT BUTCHER in the White House, I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could support another individual or policy which would try to curtail the existence of another human being who comes into existence through the will of “their Creator”. Only through God’s will, for until God creates the rational, immortal human soul, with its sovereign personhood and human life, there can be no other person.

    ON DOGMAS Dogmas are discerned truths derived by reason and held by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church as necessary to believe in order to have the fullness of Faith and salvation. The dogma of the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is the truth of the preservation of the Mother of God from original sin and every sin as the Angel Gabriel proclaimed: “Hail Mary, FULL OF GRACE”, the dogma of the ASSUMPTION OF MARY INTO HEAVEN comes by reason of Mary being the Mother of God, Jesus Christ.

    ON DOCTRINES Doctrines are TRUTHS revealed by the Revelation of God, Jesus Christ, in His salvivic mission on earth, held and taught by the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as Jesus Christ spoke: “Our Father, in heaven” The Triune God, “I, and the Father are ONE”, “This is my Body, This is the Chalice of My Blood” “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church” “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them”

    BOTH DOGMAS AND DOCTRINES ARE GIFTS OF FAITH AND MUST BE BELIEVED TO RECEIVE THE FULLNESS OF FAITH. Otherwise our faith will dry up like the seeds that fell on the path.

    ON THE INVALID HEALTHCARE ACT. Something very wonderful has come out of this blog. The fact that Obama added the HHS Mandate to the Affordable Healthcare Act AFTER Congress had passed it, nullifies informed consent and nullifies congressional consent and nullifies the will of the people. There is no valid ACA because of this unwarranted, unauthorized usurpation of the prerogative of Obama’s constituency to participation in democracy.

    ACA is an Executive Order. The Supreme Court must judge Executive Orders, and not as Obama has ordered the Court to enforce Executive Orders of the last fifteen years. Papa Obama would murder his own grandchildren instead of suffering the little children.

    ON HUMANAE VITAE The Catholic Church teaches that when a man approaches a woman to quell his sexual desire it is the duty of the wife to do so. When the woman needs a man, it is the duty of the husband to satisfy, appease and fulfill his wife’s sexual desire, that neither husband nor wife burn. Humanae Vitae speaks to the spiritual in the loving embrace of a husband and wife in exercising the graces poured out upon them by the Sacrament of Matrimony, the prayers of the church and God Himself, in expressing and fulfilling God’s command to be fruitful, increase and multiply. Abortion defiles the fruit of the womb and the will of God in creating the life of the immortal soul and sovereign personhood in the fruit of the womb. Contraception denies the will of God in the creation of the Divine in mankind, Lord of Life, God Himself is thwarted in contraception. It is incumbent upon each and every person, having been given Divine Life in the Holy Spirit to cherish and respect the Gift of Divine Life. Contraception disrespects God, man, and man’s procreative powers but most of all contraception, denies the spiritual motherhood and fatherhood of the human person, the husband’s vocation to sanctify his wife and the wife’s vocation to sanctify her husband. The transcendent nature of the Sacrament of human love is lost. Natural Family planning is always open to the divine gift of human life, because, as, in the words of my doctor, sometimes you pop and extra egg or two after menopause. A child so conceived would be extra special in God’s plan for mankind. This, of course, would explain on a physical level St. Elizabeth’s conception of St. John the Baptist, and Sarah’s of Isaac, St. Camillis de Lellis, patron saint of the Knights of Saint John, Hospitalers, whose mother conceived him at the age of 68, and St.Ann’s conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but not wholly, because it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and none of this would have ever happened without God willing it. So, it is with every sovereign human being brought into existence.

    How wonderful it is to know that someone loves you so much that they want there to be more of you.

  • I don’t know why Humane Vitae is talked about as if it is the only Church document with something to say about contraception.

    Casti Connubii, anyone?

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_31121930_casti-connubii_en.html

  • Bon – Some people tend to think that anything before the Council doesn’t count.

  • Most liberals, Pinky, don’t give a hoot what the Church or Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition have to say unless it supports their own personal bias of social justice, the common good and peace at any price. Casti Connubii or Humanae Vitae notwithstanding, they want license and approval to decide on their own when life begins so that they can titillate their genitals with complete abandon. They even want public acclaim for this. Their sin is NO different than what the serpent said to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “You will be like gods!” And using contraception is exactly and precisely that. It is unmitigated hubris for it says: “I am God and I have the wisdom to determine when life begins regardless that I rut in heat like a mindless baboon.”

  • Okay so lots to comment upon since my last entry.

    First, I do want to apologize to Bonchamps. And, I am sincere about this. I had read too quickly through your first entry and thought you were saying what a “true” Catholic ought to do with his/her vote. After a more serious reading of your blog, I would agree that you did not specifically argue for this. I apologize and retract my arguments on this.

    One other thing, though, that I do want to point out. Is there anyway that we can avoid calling our differences “lies”. A lie as far as I understand it is when an individual knowingly provides false information in order to deceive his audience. I don’t know where I have done this. Please point this out. I may have provided incorrect information. And, you are welcome to state that I have made errors. However, a lie carries with it a moral connotation on my morals that makes all my arguments suspect. I would ask that you stop doing this.

    Second, It is really too bad where most of this conversation has devolved. I received several comments from many of you that were simply not based upon a rational attack on my arguments. One of the responses actually stated that my position on contraception was based upon my desire to “unzip my pants” any time in order to satisfy my sexual urges. This was not my position. And, I would have to ask where the author saw me stating that. Also, I was attacked by one of the people here for not truly having compassion for my son who died because I took a different position on the issue of contraception. I am not sure how the author knows this about me or can make these types of accusations about a period in my life that was about extremely sad and filled with hope at the same time. My wife and I experienced great love and we believe God’s support during that time. And, we were incredibly inspired by the life of my son. It is strange to me that any Christian of any denomination would choose to step on such sensitive grounds with the belief that they can morally evaluate my intentions at that time.

    However, the really issue here is that we should be arguing over the reasons for our beliefs. And, those arguments need to be fair or reciprocal in nature. Yes, dogmas and faith do require that we believe on certain statements without question. However, dogmas, doctrines, and faith are also different in degrees of absolute faith. Otherwise everything would be dogma. Also, faith is clearly spelled out in the Bible as requiring defense and evidence. Faith is not simply an emotional acceptance of teachings. This is why various doctors of the Church including Augustine, Aquinas, and Rahner have challenged Church teachings while also upholding them at the same time. So, in our debates, proof texting the Bible and Church teachings while appealing to the authority of the Bishops and Pope is simply not adequate for claiming authority on these issues.

    Rather, arguments must be provided in order demonstrate your defense of these positions. And, attack on my person, motivations, or faith, while they may be correct, are not proofs for the positions that you hold.

    So, let me first deal with Bonchamps arguments from I believe last night:

    You seem to be arguing two major points again:

    1. It is morally objectionable to force Churches and you to pay for others’ contraceptions (your words were for someone’s ability to use a condom).
    2. CST does not criticize the concentration of wealth in capitalism and is irrelevant to our discussion.

    Okay, so on #1. No one is forcing you to pay for someone’s condom. The federal government is mandating that employers provide plans to their employees that open up choices. This means that an employee, Catholic or non-Catholic, can go to their insurance and purchase a plan that includes contraceptive care for whatever reason they believe is necessary including for women’s health issues involving cancer. You are not paying for the person’s contraception. True, premiums might slightly rise. Although this is actually an area that probably is not true. The reason is because the use of contraception lowers the rate of unwanted pregnancies lowering the cost on insurance and therefore dropping premiums. But, even if premiums did go up, you could offer this same argument about anything that insurance companies do with their plans since your money would eventually mingle with the overall money being spent.

    Now, I will admit that self insurance organizations are a problem of implementation. And, you have repeatedly said that you will only believe it when you see the administration actually work with the Church. However, as long as the Church is suing the Obama administration on this issue, there is no room for compromise. This is not because the Church has not right to sue. It is because they are not accepting the invitation to work with Obama on this issue. You might say that they are doing so because the initial action is unconstitutional. However, you have not proven this given my answer above. So, there is no action of tyranny in this case. If you argue that I have not provided evidence for this, please look to these last 2 paragraphs for the warrants that I have provided. These will need to be answered.

    Mary argues that this is still unconstitutional since they were done after HCA passed and through executive order. This is simply a misunderstanding of how the government works. Every president uses executive orders to pass rulings and mandates that are within the executive privilege. Reagan did it far more than Obama. And, President Bush also did this far more than Obama has done. You can argue this is a bad practice. But if the practice is non-unique you cannot claim that this is an act of tyranny while not blaming Reagan and Bush for also being tyrants.

    Now you can argue that there was no precedent that he was basing this on and that this was an act to spread a pro-abortion agenda. However, this is simply not accurate. This policy is already in 28 states. And, 8 of those states did not have the exemptions that Obama offered in even the first mandate. True, there are differences between a state and federal mandate. But the point that this is an attempt to destroy the Catholic Church when it has been used by multiple governors and spread out over different denominations and secular organizations questions that belief. Also, keep in mind that moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe and about 12 others had promoted this idea since about 2001. Again, this is not to say that she is right. It is to point out that there is no hidden agenda. And, before Bonchamps says that all of this is irrelevant to the moral argument, keep in mind that your argument and Mary’s argument is that Obama is doing this out of a mindset of dictatorship or in the fashion of the communist apparatchik. So, that is why these issues fall in the scope of the argument.

    So, my overall point is that there is no violation of our religious freedoms here. There is a problem with implementation. And, before arguing that I provide no evidence for this statement, keep in mind that this is the conclusion of the previous paragraphs that include the evidence. So, that evidence must be answered.

    But this leads to the issue of private conscience. This is important because it establishes why the government has the right to act on the side of labor on this issue. Bonchamps argues that the government cannot do this due to the violation of private property. However, he provides no definition of private property in his argument. Private property exists when an individual works or invests or risks in such a way to make his/her own property. To remove this from him or her would be a violation since the property is an extension of that individual and his/her creativity. The problem with the employer/employee relationship is that no such “private property” exists. Rather, property is invested by the employer and created by the employee. This is why the private property is thus jointly owned by the two and opens up a space for negotiations. The issue then is that employers and employees have agreed that part of the benefits coming from this is to have health care insurance. This is not really under question. The problem in this case is whether the employee has choices in the plans that such an insurer provides. So, the problem with Bonchamps argument is that he assumes that a part of the negotiations between the employer and employee was over the contraception issue. This is not the case. It is an agreement on whether or not insurance will be part of the employee’s benefits. The particulars of what is in the insurance should be up to the individual consumer not imposed by the employers of any faith.

    But this then enters us into the larger social political argument that I made on wealth concentration and inequality. Bonchamps clearly argued that this is not really his concern due to the differentiation between relative and absolute poverty. But this is not my argument. My argument is that the Catholic Church through CST has clearly argued that capitalism, while better than socialism and communism, tends to have the problem of selfish individualism in which profits are seen as for the good of the individual not that of the community. And, I pointed out statistics that demonstrate how this has been happening over the last 30 years. Bonchamps rightly argued that I did not point out why this is a problem in society. Fair enough. Here are two reasons. First, it is immoral since it does not reward the employee for his/her increased labor. Second, it is bad for the economy and the Common Good because it dampens demand and slows down economic growth. This then makes it hard for individuals and families to provide for the development of the ones given to them by God to care for. And, for those who questioned why I rely upon the Church’s CST but not on their teachings on contraception, please note that it is because I have shown that the Church has valid and sound reasons for these beliefs. In the case of contraception, I do not think this is the case and I provided the reasons to demonstrate this.

    I then finished by arguing that Romney and the Republicans do not offer policies that uphold the majority of Catholic positions on CST. I said that Bonchamps did not provide evidence for his positions on the positive points of Republican policies. He said I was “childish” for demanding this due to the limited space on website boxes. I am unclear on this point. How is asking for evidence on a position given on a theological/political blog “childish”? Evidence is the only way that we can evaluate between the soundness of the two positions. Bonchamps also argued that I did not provide such evidence. Fair enough-here goes:

    1. Since the lowering of taxes under President Reagan and President Bush, we have seen a concentration of wealth while there has also been a rise in poverty.
    2. Families have seen a fall in median income after the Bush tax cuts by $4000 and this has affected their ability to save money, purchase a home, provide for education, and provide for health care.
    3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.
    4. During the era before Obama’s HCA, insurance companies regularly dropped adults and children with pre-existing conditions due to the lack of regulations on insurance companies.
    5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand. This has increased unemployment to a level only seen around the Great Depression. And, the Popes have said that such unemployment, lack of work and poverty is an immoral situation.

    The point of all of these is to point out that there are overwhelming reasons for a Catholic to consider voting for Obama in this election. I realize that Bonchamps and others will disagree and state that this is simply my opinion and right to it. True. But one must also provide reasons why my warrants are wrong. Or why my point on how Republican policies don’t uphold CST is wrong.

    Again, I am very welcome to a rational and civil debate between us. And, you are welcome to try to proselytize. You are also welcome to believe that I am an apostate or a wayward Catholic. However, an argument cannot be based upon overgeneralizations and name calling. I will wait for your decision on how everyone would like to respond.

  • Do you have these comments ready/canned or do you type that fast? Do you get it from DNC talking points?

    Anyhow, it would take me all bloody night to address all the counter-factuals you pose.

    So, I will comment in two Latin words: spucatum tauri.

  • James Zucker said: “Also, I was attacked by one of the people here for not truly having compassion for my son who died because I took a different position on the issue of contraception. I am not sure how the author knows this about me or can make these types of accusations about a period in my life that was about extremely sad and filled with hope at the same time. My wife and I experienced great love and we believe God’s support during that time. And, we were incredibly inspired by the life of my son. It is strange to me that any Christian of any denomination would choose to step on such sensitive grounds with the belief that they can morally evaluate my intentions at that time.”
    Mary De Voe said: “After the savaging the media did on Rick Santorum in the death of their newborn infant, and the support you, James Zucker, give to the INFANT BUTCHER in the White House, I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could support another individual or policy which would try to curtail the existence of another human being who comes into existence through the will of “their Creator”. Only through God’s will, for until God creates the rational, immortal human soul, with its sovereign personhood and human life, there can be no other person. ”

    Mary De Voe said: ” I must confess, I could not believe that you had any human compassion for another person, including the child you say you have lost to death. Not until this morning.” Mr Zucker: You do not get to slander me for how I respond to you. Should you learn how to read and comprehend what you read, you will see that I found it impossible to believe you in any given situation, especally because of you supporting the INFANT BUTCHER, OBAMA. The rest has been removed by the author, except SLANDERER

  • “3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.”

    It is getting late and I have to catch a plane tomorrow, but let’s get rid of this myth:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/myth-diagnosis/307905/

  • “1. Since the lowering of taxes under President Reagan and President Bush, we have seen a concentration of wealth while there has also been a rise in poverty.”

    Or the continued break-up of the family, which likely is a much stronger contributor:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/12/29/stuck-in-the-33-percent/

  • Ha! What T. Shaw wrote! Love it! Spucatum tauri! That sums up James Zucker and his arguments all in one neat nut shell. But he won’t stop. He’s got to prove himself smarter and more tolerant than any of the rest of us. He’s got to prove that he has a right to contracept at whim and to prove he is correct to vote for a godless man of sin. He has to prove this most of all to himself because he knows deep in his heart that he is wrong. That’s why he goes on and on and on. Meanwhile, in his hubris he defies God Himself by all his useless sophistry and wind-baggage.

    A very long time ago I had a sponsor in a 12 step program who used to tell me, “Paul, ultimately the only person you can spucatum tauri is yourself.” Of course, he didn’t know Latin, but being a Puerto Rican, he did speak Spanish especially when exasperated by defiant, stubborn new comers who couldn’t (or wouldn’t, like our James Zucker) understand the phrase, “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth because you don’t know anything.” I needed no translation at that point to hear the truth. 😉

  • “5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand. This has increased unemployment to a level only seen around the Great Depression.”

    Or other, more plausable reasons. From CNN no less:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-08/opinion/frum.economy.hiring_1_strong-firms-job-creation-economic-activity?_s=PM:OPINION

    Good night all.

  • So I lied. Just wanted to put up the money quote from CNN on why no hiring:

    “Then there’s public policy. Employers must fear that the future probably holds heavier taxes, more regulation and higher employee health care costs. The outlook might be worse under a President Obama than a President Romney, but it looks sufficiently ugly either way.”

  • So, I wanted to address the economic arguments first since they are little less emotionally controversial

    Phillip makes a number of important significant arguments. However, I would argue that I have the empirical evidence to show that the points that I am making are stronger. First, it is true that single families are a significant problem for the country. However during the 1990s as wages and economy grew, poverty decreased. This was during a period when single parents were still a significant problem. During a comparative period of lower taxes, the Bush era, poverty went back up. This suggests that single parent families while an issue is not the main problem.

    Second, as for the argument on uncertainty. There was a survey done by the Federal of Businesses. It included both small and large businesses. 68% pointed to the lack of demand as the main contributor to uncertainty, not increases in taxes or regulations. And, I understand that Phillip is talking about long term uncertainty. But, keep in mind that we are currently still operating under the Bush tax rates. So, why aren’t we seeing larger job growth. Even during the Bush administration, 3 million new jobs were created. During the Clinton era of higher taxes, 22 million new jobs were created. And, 11 million of these came before the Republicans took office in the Congress.

    On the 40,000 deaths, I do want to thank Phillip. I was not aware of these problems in the studies. However, there have been more recent studies including a Harvard study that was peer reviewed, recent and controlled for all of the social behaviors that the criticism levied. And, this study showed a much greater number of deaths from lacking insurance care.

    But, I want to address Mary’s points since she continues to attack my character and intentions. I realize that Mary was putting her arguments in context. However, your points on my character as being lacking in compassion especially in the case of my son is extremely questionable.

    So, here is my response to your arguments on the nature of sex and the use of contraception.

    You argued that sex is primarily used for the husband and wife as an obligation to stop or quell the desire for physical pleasure within a committed relationship. You are partially correct. It is true that husband and wife are obligated to one another so that we do not fall to the temptations of adultery or divorce. However, this is not sufficient to the actual definition of the nature or ontology of sex. Your view of sex turns it into a necessary evil that must be satisfied for other purposes. This is not the purpose of sex. The Church herself teaches that sex within a committed relationship leads to a unitive function that helps couples to both satisfy their physical needs and grow in an emotionally compatible and joyful relationship. This is why I can make the argument that a responsible couple using contraception in a committed relationship can do so without turning into the selfish individuals that so many are arguing will happen.

    As for your point that this stops God from producing saints and heroes, this is a highly problematic argument. For one, it is utilitarian in the use of the couples. Second, it would eliminate the justification for Natural Family Planning since the same risk could happen. Third, it would lead to the absurd argumentation that we ought to use abortions. What if Hitler’s mom, Stalin’s mom, or Mao’s mom had had an abortion? We would not have had these terrors. But this is absurd because it leaves out the evaluation of the intent and the act itself.

    My argument is that the couple can have sex with the use of contraception within a committed relationship that is open to life but manages family size for financial and emotional reasons. This is because unity is essential to sex. But procreation, while a significant purpose to sex, is not essential to all sex acts.

    Again, you are all welcome to attack my character, throw out Latin phrases about my blindness and attack me. But none of these arguments are actually dealing with my argumentation. I am happy to leave the website if this is what people want. But please keep in mind that this simply reinforces the view that there is a lack of an openness amongst some to discuss and provide argumentation. Either way. I am fine with the conclusions.

  • ” … However, your points on my character as being lacking in compassion especially in the case of my son is extremely questionable. … ” – as is your using him here to argue against the will of God.

    ” But procreation, while a significant purpose to sex, is not essential to all sex acts. ” – Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy, and have faith that NFP will fulfill your marriage.

    8/16 @ 9:39 pm to Mary: “Lastly, I agree that our freedoms come from God. I just don’t know how this is relevant to our arguments. Freedom of conscience ensures that we have the choice to make decisions unless we know of a direct moral evil that threatens others. In the case of contraception, none of this exists.”
    – The “unless” clause undoes your argument, almost as well as removing God from it.

  • James,

    “Is there anyway that we can avoid calling our differences “lies”.”

    I don’t know what else to call your insistence that the Church is seeking to prevent people from accessing birth control. It is a false statement, and you know it is a false statement. What should I call it?

    “No one is forcing you to pay for someone’s condom.”

    If I have a business that employs more than 50 people by the year 2014, that is exactly what will be happening.

    “The federal government is mandating that employers provide plans to their employees that open up choices.”

    Let me say it one more time: there will be no legally available plan excluding contraception for employers to purchase. It is the simplest of logic:

    *Employers MUST buy health insurance for their employees
    *Employers CANNOT choose health plans that DO NOT include morally objectionable goods and services
    *Ergo, employers are being FORCED to buy health plans for their employees that include morally objectionable goods and services that they otherwise would not have bought for reasons of conscience

    Laws that force people to act against their consciences are unjust, and unjustifiable. Our duty is to disobey them.

    The rest of your points are therefore irrelevant. We have a fundamentally different understanding of what this mandate entails, and you are unable or unwilling to admit that the employer has no choice in the matter. At a certain point, I don’t know what else to call it but dishonest.

    In the case of religious institutions that are not self-insured, again, the institution still has to buy the plan from the insurance provider. So they are still paying for the morally objectionable goods, they just aren’t providing them “directly.” This, as I have said repeatedly, is a distinction without a difference. That is why the bishops have largely rejected the so-called “accommodation.”

    “But the point that this is an attempt to destroy the Catholic Church when it has been used by multiple governors and spread out over different denominations and secular organizations questions that belief. ”

    There isn’t a single state-level plan that does not offer exemptions (morally acceptable exemptions that aren’t clearly a smoke and mirrors distraction like Obama’s “accommodation”) that are acceptable to the Church. So this argument doesn’t hold.

    “Bonchamps argues that the government cannot do this due to the violation of private property. However, he provides no definition of private property in his argument.”

    I think we all generally understand the concept of private ownership. Do I need to define light and heat every time I talk about them too?

    If you want to say we need to explore private ownership more, fine. But this snide little remark about how I provide no definition, as if I should have, is just petty.

    “Rather, property is invested by the employer and created by the employee. This is why the private property is thus jointly owned by the two and opens up a space for negotiations.”

    No. You are completely wrong. Unless there is an employee stock ownership program, or unless it is stipulated in the labor contract somehow, the employee is not a joint owner.

    “The problem in this case is whether the employee has choices in the plans that such an insurer provides. So, the problem with Bonchamps argument is that he assumes that a part of the negotiations between the employer and employee was over the contraception issue. This is not the case. It is an agreement on whether or not insurance will be part of the employee’s benefits. The particulars of what is in the insurance should be up to the individual consumer not imposed by the employers of any faith.”

    This is false from top to bottom, and the liberties you take in assuming what other people have assumed are really astounding.

    When an individual seeks employment from an employer, that employer makes known to the potential employee what the conditions of employment are. In the case of Catholic institutions and businesses owned by Catholics, they make it clear at the outset that they will not in any way contribute to the procurement of morally objectionable goods and services. The employee is free to accept this condition of employment, or, deciding that they would like their employer to cover such goods and services, free to look for employment elsewhere. That situation is perfectly just and perfectly consistent with the principles of a free society.

    No one is entitled to a job that offers health care at all, let alone health care that provides contraception in spite of the moral objections of the employer. To insist that one is entitled to such things is NOT consistent with a free society, but with a tyrannical society in which employers have to spend their money in the service of an ideological agenda, and not in accordance with the dictates of their conscience.

    Businesses are private entities. They are separate from the state. Business owners are not public servants and are not obliged to submit to the ideological agenda of the Obama regime. If you can’t accept this, then you don’t accept freedom at all. You can say you aren’t talking about tyranny, but your words will ring hollow.

    Regarding inequalities:

    “First, it is immoral since it does not reward the employee for his/her increased labor.”

    You have absolutely no way of determining what level of labor is worthy of what level of wages. This is something determined by market forces, by the balance of supply and demand.

    “Second, it is bad for the economy and the Common Good because it dampens demand and slows down economic growth.”

    Keyensian dogmas are not Catholic dogmas.

    “He said I was “childish” for demanding this due to the limited space on website boxes.”

    That’s not what I said at all. This is why I think you are dishonest. I never said anything about limited space in website boxes. I said that I was simply replying to your points, and that is childish you to expect academic “evidence” for every point made in a com-box discussion.

    As for your five points:

    I have a huge, huge problem with the use of statistics to make economic arguments. It takes a great deal of work to establish a mere correlation between two variables, and it is virtually impossible to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between them. I guarantee you that for every correlation you attempt to draw upon to support your policy arguments, I or someone else can find one to counter it. I have had so many debates like this that I don’t even bother anymore.

    The relationship between competitive markets, economic opportunity, and lower consumer prices is well-established. But the relationship is difficult to observe for one major reason: inflation. Both major parties are committed to monetary and financial policies that severely obscure and obstruct the operation of the free market.

    But to think you can take one isolated policy, like the Bush tax cuts, and cite them as the actual cause of a rise in poverty, is simply absurd. There are thousands of different relationships between thousands of different variables that have to be examined in order to determine exactly what causes what. So I reject your argument out of hand.

    Since we are unable to really understand anything by making these facile attempts to correlate variables, I, like the Austrians, would rather pursue principled economic policies. And quite frankly this means that neither party is acceptable to me on economic issues, unless Ron Paul were the GOP nominee.

    With that said, however, I believe taxes should be cut, for all people at all levels, on the principle that private citizens and business will spend the money in ways that will better serve the common good than government will. And it is their money. They earned it through their labor, and the government is only justified in taxing at a level that is required for it to fulfill its legitimate functions.

    It is not the job of the government to eradicate poverty – and poverty in a historical sense has been drastically reduced by the operation of the free market and capitalist investment. If you compare the living conditions of an American living at the bureaucratically-determined “poverty line” now with the conditions of 90% of the world’s population around 200 years ago, for instance, the former would be far wealthier.

    As for these points:

    “3. Before Obama’s ACA, 40,000 people died each year due to a lack of health care insurance coverage.”

    This is unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean that I have to buy ACA or the Obama regime as the best or only solution.

    “5. Companies are not hiring right now even though they are sitting on huge profits because as they say there is not enough demand.”

    Arbitrarily forcing companies to hire people they don’t need isn’t going to help the economy, the poor, or the common good.

  • “This suggests that single parent families while an issue is not the main problem.”

    It is one issue among others. Of which the economic policies of Republicans are a minor feature.

    “But, keep in mind that we are currently still operating under the Bush tax rates.”

    Until Jan 2012. At which point no one knows what is going to happen. Include the 1.2 – 2.7 trillion dollars in taxes which the ACA will impose over the next 10 years. And the taxes that the Obama administration has already imposed. No, these are actual concerns.

    “However, there have been more recent studies including a Harvard study that was peer reviewed, recent and controlled for all of the social behaviors that the criticism levied. And, this study showed a much greater number of deaths from lacking insurance care.”

    Except that studied is specifically premised on patients receiving the most up-to-date medications. Something that will definitely not be provided under the ACA. That means that the ACA causes deaths.

  • Zooks: Unadulterated male bovine excrement.

  • Bonchamps:

    Great points. I am happy to respond to each of your points from my perspective. As usual, you are welcome to disagree with me on any of these issues.

    I want to start with some basic definitional and valued based points on this debate. You argued that private property does not need a definition and it is rather objectionable for me to ask for this given that no one would ask for definitions of other terms like light. The difference is that private property is not as simple to define and is not as clear to anyone given that property is produced in an environment of relationships between employers and employees. Even in CST, there is a recognition of this problem. Popes have always defended the right to private property but they have always cautioned employers to look out for the interests of their employees. Why? Because employees have the dignity of work from God and therefore should be treated fairly in negotiations over property and wages. In this context, health care takes on a new meaning as a right.

    Here are my reasons for arguing this:

    1. Modern health care is absolutely necessary for both quality and quantity of life.
    2. Modern health care while a product and service for sale upholds the dignity of life by looking out for individual’s health.
    3. Part of a society’s obligation is to look out for the common good and provide opportunities for individuals to compete. Without health care due to problems of affording this care, some individuals would be left far behind while others would be promoted due to their wealth.

    As I am sure you know, businesses agreed after WWII to provide for health care plans in their wage structures in order to avoid a single payer system that President Truman and others were pursuing back in the 1940s. So, while I agree with you that until the ACA, there was no forced health care on businesses, there has been a general consent in society for businesses to include this for employees for some time.

    The ACA has changed this environment. Now businesses must provide some health care plan for their employees and there are requirements of what must go into these health care plans. I never argued that this was not the case. What I did argue was that employers are not being required to purchase plans with contraception. Rather they are contracting companies to come into their business and offer options for the individual to purchase. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan without contraception that will be fine. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan with contraception that will be the individual’s choice. The point of my argument is that when the Church says that the individual should not have the choice, the Church is violating the individual’s ability to make that decision within and between the plans being offered. The employer is not involved in this choice because he is not purchasing the plans or the contraception. And, none of his money is going directly to the plans or contraception. You can disagree with my reasoning. But this is not a lie.

    But this leads us to your overall claim that Obama is enacting a form of tyranny. This is where my objection about the states comes into play. Again, you can disagree with the states proposals. But, there was never a cry of tryanny when the states did this. And, there is an obvious reason why. This policy is one of difficult tensions over public health versus religious freedoms of conscience and personal choice. So, there were attempts to accommodate as many people as possible. And, the same is now happening at the federal level. If your argument is that any law passed by the federal government is viewed as an act of tyranny, then most of the regulatory structure of the federal government would lead to such an indictment. Rather, you must show that there is an attempt to violate individual’s conscience and religious beliefs. And, due to many of the arguments here, you must also show a committed attempt by the Obama administration to go directly after Catholics and Christians in general to do this.

    I have provided arguments above why individual employers are not being violated due to the choice of the employee. And, because this idea has already existed in 28 states and was promoted by moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, this idea, while objectionable, cannot be claimed to be a new idea based upon a conspiracy against religious groups.

    So, this gets us to the connected issues of CST thinking and the overall reasons for supporting the Democratic platform that would aid the poor.

    You are right that I am using and relying upon Keynesian thinking. However, I am doing so in order to elaborate upon the general principles of CST.

    CST generally teaches that:

    1. Capitalism is better than the alternatives of socialism and communism.
    2. However capitalism can lead to the selfish acquisition of wealth at the expense of the weakest members of society.
    3. Employers and governments in capitalist societies should both protect individual rights and look out for the common good.

    If you disagree with my summary of CST please tell me where I got it wrong.

    Having started from that basis, I would argue that the Republican policies have exacerbated the difference between the groups in society creating excessive inequalities that are unfair to workers and endanger the Common Good of the economy. Yes, our poor live at a higher level than poor in other countries. But this does not demonstrate that the actions of the rich here are moral if they are not rewarding their employees at a fair level.

    You are right to argue that there is no way for me to determine an exact measurement of what is a fair wage. However, we can show that employers are acting in a way that is not looking for the common good. When the richest are earning 300% increases in their wages as the middle class has only gained 30% increases in wages, when the rich earn 97% of the income in the country, and when the richest 20% have 80% of the wealth, this suggests that the rich are not looking out for the common good but are focused on their own individual interests. And, while Keynesian thought is the basis of my point on dampening demand, this is an issue with the Common Good since the economy cannot grow for the good of all.

    You also correctly pointed out that we cannot draw an exact cause and effect relationship between statistics. So, every argument and stat that I use can be questioned. However, questioning is very different from dismissing. My argument is that the Austrian belief that increased taxes always leads to a drag on the economy does not explain why the Bush 1 and Clinton raise in taxes was followed by an economic boom that helped all classes and made a lot of money for the rich while the Bush 2 tax decreases led to a very weak economy, weak employment creation, and an eventual economic crash in 2008. True this does not prove anything for certain. But it opens the point of criticizing Austrian economic philosophy.

    Lastly, you argued that the deaths of 40,000 people due to a lack of health care is tragic but irrelevant. I would argue that this is the exact problem with our two worldviews. The Austrian world view believes that society is an atomized group of individuals who are only responsible for their own self-interest through competition. However, CST teaches that we are ultimately responsible to one another. So, the deaths of 40,000 people calls us to seek out solutions to solve this for the Common Good. Now, this does not mean that government is the solution. It may be solved through churches, volunteer organizations, or church risk pools. But dismissing the issue is not something that would be allowed. So, my criticism of the Republican policies using this example is definitely within the scope of this debate.

    In the end, the point is that the Obama mandate is not an act of tyranny. It does show a tension of how policy in a diverse society requires accommodations. And, while we will still disagree on voting for Obama v. Romney, I have provided an argument that the Democratic platform does a better job comparably of working on the issues that CST calls for in any society.

  • One correction. I reread the section on the 40,000 deaths. I was incorrect on my reading. You did not argue that we ought to dismiss this issue as irrelevant. You did argue that this does not lead to an acceptance of the Obama ACA. I would agree with you on this point. But, I do think that there is a responsibility under CST to look for what is the best possible solution. And, the principle of CST for subsidiarity opens up the possibility for a government action.

  • James,

    “The difference is that private property is not as simple to define”

    No, it is simple to define. The Church defined it in Rerum Novarum. The fruits of your labor are your property. Whatever you exchange them for is your property. The state can only infringe upon your property to fulfill its legitimate functions, and there is certainly no mandate in CST for a national welfare regime.

    “Because employees have the dignity of work from God and therefore should be treated fairly in negotiations over property and wages. In this context, health care takes on a new meaning as a right.”

    Absolutely false. You can’t leap from a duty to treat people fairly in negotiations to a right to health care! There’s no logical continuity between these concepts.

    “1. Modern health care is absolutely necessary for both quality and quantity of life.”

    Modern health care is still a scarce resource that can’t be produced and distributed to everyone for free by fiat. There are still costs to be paid, and to ignore those costs is criminally irrational. Costs don’t disappear when you deem something a “right.”

    Humanity survived dozens of generations without modern health care. It obviously isn’t necessary to live. The real problem is that some people are irritated beyond belief that some people (the vast majority of people, actually) are able to afford health care and others aren’t. The fact that almost no one had what we would call “quality health care” 100 or 200 years ago never even enters into the equation, and that is why such short-sighted moralizers would hamper and destroy the very historical process that enabled so many people to be able to access affordable and quality care in the first place.

    “3. Part of a society’s obligation is to look out for the common good and provide opportunities for individuals to compete. Without health care due to problems of affording this care, some individuals would be left far behind while others would be promoted due to their wealth.”

    No. Society is not obliged to establish equality of conditions, which is what you are really talking about here. Yes, some individuals do start out with more advantages than others. That, again, is called life. It is not the job of a federal bureaucracy to see to it that this or that group gets an advantage. It is up to family, friends, neighbors, fellow Christians, etc. to help people in their midst, voluntarily, with the resources they have to spare.

    “So, while I agree with you that until the ACA, there was no forced health care on businesses, there has been a general consent in society for businesses to include this for employees for some time.”

    So what? Why does this matter?

    ” What I did argue was that employers are not being required to purchase plans with contraception. Rather they are contracting companies to come into their business and offer options for the individual to purchase. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan without contraception that will be fine. If an individual chooses to purchase a plan with contraception that will be the individual’s choice. ”

    This is really a sickness you seem to have. Who is paying? The “individual”, i.e. the individual employee, is not paying. The EMPLOYER is paying. The EMPLOYER is purchasing the plan. Obamacare mandates that all employers with over 50 employees purchase health plans for their employees by 2014. The HHS mandate establishes that there will be NO PLAN AVAILABLE that DOES NOT INCLUDE morally objectionable goods and services. I’m gong to keep repeating it because it is the truth. If you don’t understand or believe that this is what the mandate does, then we have absolutely nothing more to say to one another.

    “The point of my argument is that when the Church says that the individual should not have the choice, the Church is violating the individual’s ability to make that decision within and between the plans being offered. The employer is not involved in this choice because he is not purchasing the plans or the contraception. And, none of his money is going directly to the plans or contraception. You can disagree with my reasoning. But this is not a lie.”

    In the case of private businesses owned by Catholics, the employer IS purchasing the plans. That is beyond dispute. In the case of religious institutions not exempted by the mandate, again, there is a shell game being played in which the COSTS of the morally objectionable goods and services will be passed on to the employer in the form of higher premiums. You can use the word “directly” all you like, but it is irrelevant. At the end of the day these institutions are still contributing “directly” to the distribution of morally objectionable goods and services.

    The lie I accuse you of, though, is your repeated claims that the Church wants to prevent people form accessing birth control. This IS a lie. The Church is neither able nor willing to stop people from buying birth control on their own, nor does it force anyone to work for them. People who choose to work for Catholic institutions are limiting THEIR OWN access to birth control by voluntarily agreeing to the terms of employment offered by these institutions. THAT is the truth.

    “But, there was never a cry of tryanny when the states did this. And, there is an obvious reason why. ”

    The reason what is what I already said: because there is no state plan that fails to offer acceptable exemptions for Catholic employers.

    And I don’t care in the least about “moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe.” Stop mentioning her. What she approves of couldn’t mean less to me.

    ” Yes, our poor live at a higher level than poor in other countries. But this does not demonstrate that the actions of the rich here are moral if they are not rewarding their employees at a fair level.”

    You cannot determine what is “fair.” A government bureaucrat cannot determine what is “fair.” This is worked out between employers and employees based on prevailing market conditions.

    “When the richest are earning 300% increases in their wages as the middle class has only gained 30% increases in wages, when the rich earn 97% of the income in the country, and when the richest 20% have 80% of the wealth, this suggests that the rich are not looking out for the common good but are focused on their own individual interests.”

    Even if I were to accept the argument that the income of the wealthiest Americans – who pay most of the taxes and give the most to charity, by the way – was solely the product of “greed”, this would be a problem of their individual souls. I see no demonstrable harm caused to one man by the mere existence of another man’s wealth.

    ” My argument is that the Austrian belief that increased taxes always leads to a drag on the economy does not explain why the Bush 1 and Clinton raise in taxes was followed by an economic boom that helped all classes and made a lot of money for the rich while the Bush 2 tax decreases led to a very weak economy, weak employment creation, and an eventual economic crash in 2008. True this does not prove anything for certain. But it opens the point of criticizing Austrian economic philosophy.”

    First of all, I never said that it was an “Austrian belief that increased taxes always lead to a drag on the economy.” I’m not sure the school holds that exact position or formulates it in exactly that way, and so I would not describe it in such a way.

    It is the morality of taxation that the Austrian school is more concerned with, and myself as well. What gives anyone the right to point guns in your direction and say “work X hours for me out of the year or go to prison?” I accept that we need a limited government to do certain things that private industry can’t do. But beyond these limited, legitimate functions, the state has no right to shake people down in the service of an ideological agenda. The state exists to serve us, not we to serve the state.

    Finally, much of the economic “booms” of recent years have been based upon false, unsustainable premises – such as the expansion of debt and the money supply. So I am not terribly impressed with the tech boom of the 90s, and we know how the housing boom went. Both parties ignore the fundamentals of sound economics.

    “The Austrian world view believes that society is an atomized group of individuals who are only responsible for their own self-interest through competition.”

    Well, this is false. It’s one of those things that, if you keep saying it after you know it is false, becomes a lie. So I’ll leave that to you to think about.

    The Austrian view is simply that the state does not have the moral legitimacy or the technical competency to manage society. But it does not say that society is “an atomized group of individuals”, nor does it say that they are only responsible “for their own self-interest.” This is simply not true. In defending free markets and opposing statism, Austrian economics does not imply or insist that individuals must be rugged individualists, or that there are no organic institutions that make up what we call “society” such as families, churches, and other associations. It is quite obvious that you’ve never read a single thing by the Austrian school and are only using the word because I used it, and you think this is what I believe.

    “However, CST teaches that we are ultimately responsible to one another.”

    There’s no incompatibility between what I believe and what CST teaches. I reject that “responsible to one another” means “morally obliged to support a confiscatory welfare state.”

  • Bonchamps:

    Once again, an excellent debate showing the clarity and differentiation in our opinions. Here are my responses to your points:

    I think the primary part for us to look at is our difference on the role of the state and private property. You are right that Rerum Navarum called for a protection of the labor that we produce and that the state cannot infringe upon this. But there was a also a call under this document to be careful of selfish pursuit of private property without regard to the Common Good. Why would this be the case if an individual is simply protecting his or her own creation. Because a business is not entirely the creation of the owners. Yes, the owners do put in the risk, investment and overall vision. However, the workers also participate in the creation of the products and services. So they are entitled under morality to a fair share in the eventual rewards. You are correct that I cannot establish an exact number of the fair share. However, we can point to when the economy has tilted in an unfair way towards a concentration of wealth in fewer hands. And, we can evaluate that as hurting the common good. I have provided the statistics to demonstrate that this happened in the country for the last 30 years. And, I have provided evidence of how this hurt our society through increased costs to the poor and middle class. This is not supporting of the Common Good. You are right that the solution is not automatically through the state. But CST does teach the principle of subsidiarity in which the State does have a role in reducing the problems in society in order to help local organizations when they cannot do so.

    This gets us to health care. You are correct that showing negotiations between workers and employers does not lead to a direct right for health care. But this was not my argument. My argument was that workers should have a right to health care for the following reasons:

    1. Modern health care is necessary to quality and quantity of life.
    2. Workers cannot afford health care on their own due to rising costs.
    3. Severe inequalities have hurt the ability of workers to access health care in a way that allows them to fully participate in society.

    You answered in two parts. First, you pointed out that we have done without health care for several centuries. True, but there is a reason why we moved away from this. In previous centuries, the rates of deaths and diseases were also much higher. And, life expectancy was much lower. And, this was largely due to the lack of a professionalized health care system. Catholic teaching would praise our current improvements in health care because it allows for better quality and quantity of life and it protects the sanctity of life.

    This leads to your second criticism. You argued that inequalities are simply a part of life. I agree. And, in fact, most people would agree with you. But this is not the argument. The argument is not that anyone wants to get rid of all inequalities. I have repeatedly argued that CST teaches that capitalism is far superior to socialism and communism. However, there is a difference between general inequalities due to differences in birth, talent, skill and choices and excessive inequalities in which the market is not adequately distributing wealth and income as rewards for work. In fact, your own argument admits of this. You at one point in a previous posting said that capitalism diffuses wealth. But when I gave evidence of the concentration of wealth, you then argued this does not concern you. This was a tacit agreement that concentration of wealth is happening. And, the stats that provided demonstrate an extreme concentration of wealth. When the market does this, another agent, the government, is necessary to break this concentration in order to spread out the rewards. This is not necessary in a socialist or communist manner. But as we have done for the last century, it can be used to make sure the market spreads out the rewards in a more fair manner that is not excessive as the stats that I have provided.

    But this leads us to the HHS mandate. Again, I have to disagree with you. This is not a “sickness” or a “lie” on my part. It is a disagreement on how this system works. You are welcome to disagree with me. But using terms like sickness and lie are not arguments. They are simply personal characterizations. My point is simple. Yes, the ACA does force all employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance. And, there are some basic requirements for these plans. The HHS mandate adds to this. However, you are wrong that the HHS mandate has employers purchase contraception. Rather, it has employers contract with insurance companies that provide that option to employees. So, what is the difference here between my point and yours. My point is that:

    1. The employer contracts the insurance companies not pays for the plans.
    2. The employee makes the choice to purchase contraception from the company. The employer does not pay for this.
    3. The employee pays for the premium, not the employer.

    In order for your argument to be correct, you need to show:

    1. The employer purchases the actual plan with contraception.
    2. The employer purchases contraception for his or her employees.
    3. The employer contributes directly to the premiums for the contraception.

    I am arguing that none of these conditions are true.

    Furthermore, I realize that you don’t care about the Olympia Snowe example. And, I realize that you believe the 28 states are also acting in a tyrannical way. But, your response missed my point. My point was that this was not an attack by the Obama administration on the Catholic Church or any other religious institution. Buy using Snowe and the 28 states, my point was to show that this idea was developed over a long time by different constituencies, was already used in half of the states, and covered all employers not just Catholic ones. So, there is no evidence of a conspiracy to attack or take down the Catholic Church. You can say you don’t care about these issues when it comes to morality. And, you would be right. But this is not my argument. My argument is that these points of evidence show that there is no evidence for a conspiratorial attack on faith.

    This brings me back again to the overall argument on my end for why a Catholic can vote for Obama based upon CST thinking. I realize that you believe Austrian thinking is solely a moral argument about the state. However, they also have an economic argument on their side as well.

    As for the economic argument, Austrian thinkers influenced thinkers like Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of economics. Their overall view on society is an atomized view in which individuals pursue their own self interest and in the process benefit all people. They advocate policies like lowering taxes believing this will help the suppliers to provide more supplies and therefore more jobs to produce those supplies. I think this is a fair way of understanding their argument. I have provided evidence in the past that suggests that they are wrong. I am happy to repeat that argument if you wish.

    But as for the moral argument, yes, they believe that the state is an institution that can perform basic functions like security but has no moral obligation to do anything further. This belief about the state violates the CST teaching on subsidiarity. CST clearly teaches that as many actions as possible should be left to local institutions. However, in the cases where that cannot take place, the state does have a role to help in order to achieve the common good.

    My argument is that, especially on health care, there is a need for the government to do this. The private sector has not shown an ability to lower the costs on health care and provide for all people including those with pre-existing conditions. And, local churches and voluntary organizations do not have the money to cover these costs especially with the increased inequalities of wealth and income. So, the state has a role to regulate and create the conditions where people can access such a basic need for quality and quantity of life.

    You argued that to do this would be immoral due to not having people pay for the costs. But the ACA does not make health care free or entirely based upon taxes from one or multiple groups of people. The ACA provides for regional markets in which businesses and individuals do purchase health care. They do have “skin in the game”. However, what the ACA does is provide subsidies to the poor who cannot afford the health care entirely on their own. And, the ACA mandates everyone purchase some health care policy in order to spread out costs and hold people responsible for using health care in order to solve for the free rider problem-a conservative position until 2008 when Obama advocated for it. Again, I know you will argue that you don’t care because you don’t support all Republicans but a libertarian position. This is fine. But, my point is that this is not a radical left wing policy searching for absolute equality by a tyrannical government position. It is a mainstream position to hold people responsible to pay for a system that they will eventually use.

    So, once again, I would argue:

    1. There is a right to health care because it has evolved into a system necessary to maintain the quality and quantity of life in today’s society.
    2. The state has a role in protecting the Common Good under CST and in today’s environment of extreme inequalities the state needs to step in to solve this problem (not strict equality).
    3. The HHS mandate allows for employees to make choices on the goods and services that they want-not to force employers to pay for contraception.

    As usual I look forward to your response. And, can we please admit that we have a difference of viewpoint not a sickness…

  • “But we allow for natural family planning in order to prevent and frustrate life from being produced.”

    That’s only part of the picture. Natural family planning can be used just as easily for a couple to GET pregnant as to avoid pregnancy. At its root, NFP is simply a series of observations that a couple uses to be aware of the woman’s likely fertility, or lack thereof, at any given time. This knowledge has many other uses besides just avoiding pregnancy — for example, it can help a woman know when to expect her menstrual cycle and can also provide her early warning when she may be approaching menopause or experiencing other hormonal disruptions. In fact there are secular teachers of NFP (usually they refer to it as “fertility awareness”) who embrace the method not for any moral or religious reason but simply because it works WITH nature and not against it — for much the same reason that they embrace organic foods or alternative medicine.

  • James,

    I’ve said all I want to say, and have no desire to repeat myself yet again. I believe you have fundamentally misrepresented the HHS mandate, as well as CST and free market economics. Take care.

  • Z’s problem isn’t what he doesn’t know. It’s that what he knows just ain’t so.

  • Bonchamps:

    Thank you for debating through these issues with me.

    I do have to say that I did find something that I believe I made an error about. I was mistaken in my understanding on how the plan and contraception is paid for. I had thought that companies only contract for the insurance. After doing some reading last night, I now know this is wrong. Employers and employees do both contribute to the policy. Obama’s compromise will have the insurance company pay for the contraception in order to try to separate out the spending. However, if premiums go up, you have a valid point that you are contributing to something you find morally objectionable. I do apologize for this mistake and I thank you for making me aware of this misunderstanding on my part.

    Thank you for your time in this debate. It was informative and enjoyable.