Social Justice=More Power to Caesar

Friday, December 5, AD 2014

 

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

C.S. Lewis

 

 

A fascinating video from Prager University with Jonah Goldberg noting that liberals tend to use social justice as a catch phrase to pursue a new program by government.  In that context the phrase has little meaning with as little substance as saying “I support policy A and policy A is “good”.”

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43 Responses to Social Justice=More Power to Caesar

  • “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
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    “those” use their conscience to deny us the use of our conscience in determining what and how we, the people, will express our “social Justice.” FREEDOM from conscience is freedom from civilization.

  • George Steele Gordon: “Intellectuals, especially in the social sciences, have a nasty habit of thinking that, ‘This is the way the world should be, therefore this is the way the world can be.’
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    “Sometimes the mind just boggles.
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    “The Atlantic has an article this month with the title “Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don’t Realize It).” I am always curious when intellectuals announce that the people (who in the American constitutional system serve as the sovereign power) don’t know what’s good for them (What’s the Matter with Kansas?) or don’t even know what they want.
    .

    “Implicit in all of these revelations, of course, is the firmest, if never directly expressed, belief of the Left: That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions. Those few, those happy few, that band of liberal intellectuals, must do that for them.”
    .

  • As the wag once wagged, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; pick two.”

  • Of course, that doesn’t really work, because you can have liberty and brotherhood, or you can have equality and brotherhood. but you can’t have liberty and equality without subordinating one to the other.

  • Arrogating to oneself another person’s free will is a very serious crime against humanity, trespassing the personhood, violating the sovereignty of the victim.

  • Ernst Schreiber:”Of course, that doesn’t really work, because you can have liberty and brotherhood, or you can have equality and brotherhood. but you can’t have liberty and equality without subordinating one to the other.”

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    Mutual respect, each one for the other, can and does make it work. A person does not have to love his neighbor in politics as in religion. And sometimes love does not encompass “like”, but one must absolutely respect himself and his neighbor. Respect gives us liberty and equal Justice. There is no such thing as equality since men are all created differently by “their Creator”. For example: Same -sex practitioners are seeking marriage equality in a court of law. The court of law may only deliver equal Justice, never equality, because equality is something the court does not have the power nor authority to deliver. Equal Justice is giving to each individual what he truly deserves: murder to the murderer, hatred to the hater, love to the lover, acknowledgment of God to God, ad infinitum.

  • Didn’t you post this video before, Don? No big deal if you did (it is a good one) but I just get the strangest feeling of deja vu…

    Ah there we go, back in march.

  • Ah, a sure sign that I have been working too hard in the law mines. I had completely forgotten about that earlier post!

  • Speaking of law mines, Don do you work with patents or can recommend a honest lawyer who does?

  • The thing is there are certain social doctrines of the Church that Catholics must adhere to. For example, healthcare is a right according to the catechism and papal magisterium. It would be nice if the Church would elucidate exactly what we have to believe in these areas so as to separate the wheat from the chaff. Probably too much to hope for a modern day syllabus of economic errors.

  • “For example, healthcare is a right according to the catechism and papal magisterium.”

    There is never a right to a material thing Tom, because such a right is unenforceable. The Church can say that people should make certain that the poor do not go without healthcare, but a right implies enforcement of the right, or it wouldn’t be a right, and the power to compel other people to supply the healthcare for those who lack it. Such powers are beyond the capabilities of the Church, and today we see the welfare states who have sought to do this heading towards insolvency.

  • Only if the case is in Central Illinois would I be able to recommend an attorney. Send me a private e-mail and I will see what I can do.

  • I’m not sure how that works Donald in light of Church teaching. Pope Benedict taught in CARITAS IN VERITATE that there is both a right to food and a right to water. Aren’t those material things and essentially the same as the right to healthcare?

  • Yep and just as unenforceable. Popes can say whatever they please, but they lack the power to grant enforceable rights, and if a right is not enforceable it isn’t a right. The bitter truth of course is that none of us have a right to any material thing. Everything we get in a material way is earned by sweat, either ours or someone else. If we pay for what we get the sweat is voluntary. If the government compels A to give a good to B, the sweat is involuntary. There are many words for that type of situation, but right is not one of them.

  • What you say makes sense but then we have the clear teaching of the Popes. I would have hoped that Pope Benedict, a brilliant mind, would have considered your points about unenforceable rights. I guess I’m back to my original statement. We need clear teaching in these matters with points like yours considered/debated and then ultimately excommunications for those who refuse to adhere.

  • “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Which also explains how harassing Christmas shoppers, badgering school children attempting to sing Christmas carols, blocking commuters from getting to/from work, etc. can all be excused in the name of “justice”… because if Eric Garner, Mike Brown, et al., can’t enjoy Christmas, no one should!

    There is another passage from Lewis’ Screwtape Letters where Lewis, in the persona of the demon Screwtape, explains how a person can be trained to direct their feelings of charity or benevolence to objects that are, for all practical purposes, imaginary, while at the same time treating the real people they see every day with contempt and malice. What some of these “shut it down” protesters are doing is a perfect example: in the name of charity and justice for dead men whom they never met, and about whom they know nothing other than what has been filtered to them though select media sources, they inflict inconvienience (at best) or outright cruelty (at worst) on living people standing right in front of them.

  • “Pope Benedict taught in CARITAS IN VERITATE that there is both a right to food and a right to water.”

    There are a couple of different ways such a statement can be interpreted. The most logical and defensible interpretation IMO is that it is wrong to needlessly or deliberately interfere with the right of others to obtain food, water, healthcare, etc. via legitimate means. It does not, IMO, necessarily mean that these goods must be actively provided to everyone at government expense regardless of the cost to others.

  • The “rights” fallacy was famously exposed by Rousseau.
    “Each man alienates, I admit, by the social compact, only such part of his powers, goods and liberty as it is important for the community to control; but it must also be granted that the Sovereign [the People] is sole judge of what is important,” for “ if the individuals retained certain rights, as there would be no common superior to decide between them and the public, each, being on one point his own judge, would ask to be so on all; the state of nature would thus continue, and the association would necessarily become inoperative or tyrannical.”

    His conclusion is well known, “whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free; [« ce qui ne signifie autre chose sinon qu’on le forcera d’être libre »] for this is the condition which, by giving each citizen to his country, secures him against all personal dependence.”

  • “forced to be free”

    Ah, what great evil came from that brief oxymoron.

  • The state does not own the citizen to give the citizen to his own country. The state may acknowledge the free will of the person to choose and guard his free will choice. Man defines his own freedom. Being freed from an overcrowded lifeboat as in J.S. Mills’ philosophy by being thrown into the sea for the common good is not freedom being imposed. Rousseau must have been an atheist because Rousseau believes that the state rules supreme. Divine Providence rules supreme. That is why we have the Second Amendment.

  • I keep going to the various concordances and search engines, and they cannot find these words in any language in any part of divinely inspired Scripture: “Social Justice” or “Social Gospel.” Did the libdissents have a new Council and mess with the canon of Scripture?
    T.Shaw: Didn’t you implicitly nail the current Admn and their MIT shill re: how they put ObamaDontCare over on the stupid US public – “That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions’
    Don R. McC: So good, so well done-should be an OpEd in NYT and WSJ and National [not] catholic [not] Reporter[not.
    Nate-Let me know where you are and I will see if I know someone in the area -Guy McClung, Registered US Patent Attorney

  • “Social Justice” is simply another term for “socialism”. This malevolent system illustrates what secular elitist Jonathan Gruber et al seek to impose – a system of equal misery, equal envy and equal subordination of the “stupid” by godless humanists. No thanks!

  • I think that a Christian cannot fulfill her/his charitable duties by giving the government/state/Caesar more of other people’s money or more power.
    .

    Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.

    Washington wrote/said that government is power and, like fire, when controlled is beneficial; but when uncontrolled/unlimited, like conflagration, is highly dangerous.
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    The practical matter and experience is that the geniuses who think they know it all generally don’t and everything they attempt is ruined. So, the solution is to limit their power and their potential to mess up everything, including welfare for the poor. E.G., 50 years of Great Society and trillions of coerced transfer payment, and the USA has more poor people than it had in 1964.

  • Mary De Voe wrote:
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    FREEDOM from conscience is freedom from civilization.
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    St. Paul wrote in Romans 6:16
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    Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
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    Freedom from informed conscience is enslavement to sin whose penalty is death.

  • Donald McClarey wrote:
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    “The bitter truth of course is that none of us have a right to any material thing.”
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    Correct. What each and every one of us deserve is death for putting the nails in Jesus’ Hands and Feet, the Crown of Thorns on His Head, the stripes on His Back, and the hole in His Side. St. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-3 – note what Sacred Scripture at the end of this quote says that we do deserve:
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    “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
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    It is God’s Mercy that we do NOT get what we deserve: God’s wrath.
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    It is God’s Grace that we get what we do NOT deserve: God’s love.
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    It is not that a poor person has a right to bread and water and the other sustenance of life. It is that we as Catholic Christians, citizens of the Kingdom of God, have a moral and sacred duty to do works of mercy for the poor out of our individual resources. Never ever is this a duty of Government. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s. If we do not, then we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our adoption as children of God, and can and should expect to be segregated with the goats at the Final Judgment.
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    As far as I am concerned: Mors Atheismo Democratiaeque. Vive Christe Rex!

  • Paul W Primavera: “Freedom from informed conscience is enslavement to sin whose penalty is death.” Very well said, Paul.

  • Greg, drop me a line to my gmail. “simplegarak” in front of the @.

  • Don and TomM, may I jump in on your debate?

    Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.

    Human rights, such as education and healthcare, are not natural rights since we create them, but the same philosophy applies. Government may not impede them, say, by prohibiting private schools or homeschooling, or by establishing ‘death panels’ for medical review. In a few cases, such as education, it might make sense from a policy outcome viewpoint for government to intervene to ensure by a variety of mechanisms that some education is provided to all, but in no way is it obligated by any philosophy to do so.

    There are even limits to government’s role in the arena of civil rights, where government has an obligation as a provider. For example, we have a right to a free press and to keep and bear arms, but government is not obligated to purchase our word processors or weapons for us. The only place where civil rights affect human rights is on the issue of equal access, and even then we must look at such cases on their unique circumstances to see if we are not misapplying the civil rights regime (e.g., creating a right for equal access to higher education regardless of ability).

    TomM, does that help?

  • Guy, can you send me an email? I’m simplegarak at gmail. (dot com)

  • Whoops, sorry for the double post, didn’t see the first one appearing.

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  • Social justice is to have a proper job.
    Social justice is using what the community has given to you to prosper: an education and social stability.
    Social justice is not getting votes making believe that public money is for everyone. (there is never enough when everyone wants it).
    Social justice is to learn a trade or profession and not be a burden to your neighbors.
    Social justice is stopping being a parasite and help other membersof your community with less gifts than you. The opposite would be being a parasite.

  • TomD: “Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.”
    .
    Thank you TomD. This comment has helped me understand the Ninth Amendment, of having rights not inscribed in the Constitution.

  • T Shaw wrote, “Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.”
    I think that Talleyrand, a consummate politician himself, was nearer the mark, when he said, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.”

  • Mary de Voe wrote, “Rousseau must have been an atheist…”
    So far from being an atheist, Rousseau believed that atheists should be banished from society, “not for impiety, but as an anti-social being, incapable of truly loving the laws and justice, and of sacrificing, at need, his life to his duty.”
    He held society would fall apart, without a belief in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws.”
    Rousseau never abandoned the Calvinism of his native city, Geneva, and admired Calvin and Beza as statesmen, as much as theologians.

  • MP-S: I think your Talleyrand quote defines the “mindset” of many so-called liberals (I have known) who fear the mob and so pay (with other people’s money) the mob.
    .
    A republic (which once we “enjoyed” in the US) cannot exist where rival, hate-filled hordes (egged on by power-grabbing politicians) fear and loathe each other . . . [sigh] Ergo, the woefully deficient supply of ammuntion persists.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour:
    “T Shaw wrote, “Orwell wrote that politics are essentially coercion and deceit.”
    I think that Talleyrand, a consummate politician himself, was nearer the mark, when he said, “Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the mob will hang you from the nearest lamp-post, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the people.””
    .
    If the people are not filled with good will for the common good and general welfare, and mob rule is the wisdom of the constituency. it is better to adhere to what Hilaire Belloc loosely quoted said when ridiculed as a papist and rosary bead counter. Holding up his rosary for all to see, he said:”I pray these beads on my knees every night and pray that I do not have to represent you as my constituent.”

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “He (Rousseau) held society would fall apart, without a belief in “the existence of a mighty, intelligent and beneficent Divinity, possessed of foresight and providence, the life to come, the happiness of the just, the punishment of the wicked, the sanctity of the social contract and the laws.”
    .
    How strange then, that Rousseau would reject the remedy instituted by an all-loving God through Divine Providence, the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has been given to man to satisfy his immortal soul. Fulfilled souls make excellent citizens. The Catholic Church also separates the church from the state, which Rousseau seems to have confused here.

  • TomD: “Part of the problem is that there are many kinds of rights. We have a right to food, water, and air, but these are not civil rights, they are natural rights. As such there is no obligation under any proper constitution, written or unwritten, for government to provide them. In fact, it can be argued that to write such an obligation into a constitution is wrong, for reasons clear to anyone who critiques all but the mildest forms of socialism. The only purpose of government in the arena of natural rights is to not impede them (e.g., such as diverting food that would have fed 2-3 million starving people for alcohol for rocket fuel during peacetime, as Mao did during the Great Leap Forward; or requiring 20 year army enlistments without marriage, as the later Roman Republic did; or licensing the conception of children, as is currently done in China). A government that impedes a natural right is not legitimate.”
    .
    Thank you TomD. This comment has helped me understand the Ninth Amendment, of having rights not inscribed in the Constitution.
    .
    because it is through the individual citizen’s conscience can charity, humane treatment and largess be shared to the needy. It is not government’s duty to define charity for any citizen, although the government may deliver charity, acknowledging that all tax money belongs to the tax payer, even as it is administered by the administration. The tax payer has the final word in how his tax money is used.

  • JOHN C. WRIGHT at Instapundit: “Leftism is politicized envy.”

  • Hi, I’m new to this forum (I think), but anyway, you know, I was just reflecting about the whole thing about government/the intellectuals knowing what’s best for you etc. I know that line of thinking has gotten a hard knock in these blogs but in my country we’ve experienced the hardship that can be experienced when the majority or the masses are woefully ignorant and uneducated. We had a political party that governed our country for some 30 years, grew corrupt, and effectively raped the public Treasury of whatever funds were there. This continued until the people, rightfully so in my opinion, voted them out and installed a new government that stood for integrity and good governance. That new government inherited a Treasury that was almost run down to board through the thieving acts of prior corrupt politicians. They began the painful work of re-building the nation and keeping us out of the jaws of recession and economic meltdown. It required much sacrifice on the part of the population – salaries for example were slashed in the public sector in order to at least preserve jobs. In short, after about 4 years the country began to show signs of recovery and began to creep out of the pits of hell. By then election time had come around again and despite the best efforts by the incumbent government to explain to the populace that the sacrifices and pay cuts were necessary to restore the country to some level of recovery, the population would have none of it. All they knew was that this government had caused salary cuts and introduced VAT, etc and so they voted them out after one term in office – before they could fully effect the work of economic and social recovery – and re-voted in the old corrupt party who promptly began to undo all the good work done by the previous party. It was frustratingly sad for those of us who could appreciate the many tough decisions that had to be made by that government to get us back on track, but sorry to say, an illiterate populace threw us back into the dark ages…sigh…so that when T. Shaw, earlier shared that “Implicit in all of these revelations, of course, is the firmest, if never directly expressed, belief of the Left: That the average person is too stupid to run his own life, let alone make public policy decisions. Those few, those happy few, that band of liberal intellectuals, must do that for them.” Well, I dare to say that there is some truth in the saying that intellectuals must sometimes make decisions for non-intellectuals otherwise the world will collapse. A mother wisely makes the decision to give her young child some bitter cough medicine because in her wisdom she can see that the medicine will do well for the child even if the child with its limited understanding only deciphers that her mother is being cruel to her by giving her this awful tasting thing. Ok, well I haven’t hought through all the ramifications of this but I just wanted to share my country’s experience and indicate that sometimes those who are smarter need to make decisions for those who are less smart, not out of any sense of superiority or smug pride, but simply because the other doesn’t have the capacity to make that decision. It makes no sense asking the average plumber (no disrespect intended) to preside over national economic matters, because he is not so competent to act. My guess is that the solution is to try to upgrade the general intellect (and morality) of the masses so that they can make decisions that will augur to their and their generations benefit. Cheers!

  • Sean J. ” It makes no sense asking the average plumber (no disrespect intended) to preside over national economic matters, because he is not so competent to act. My guess is that the solution is to try to upgrade the general intellect (and morality) of the masses so that they can make decisions that will augur to their and their generations benefit. Cheers!”
    .
    Your guess is wrong, Sean J. Assuming that the general public is ignorant and needs to be augured to their and their generations benefit is outright garbage in and garbage out.
    If Joe the plumber is paying in his tax dollars for something he abhors, Joe knows it. Taxpayers are buying a product or rather being forced to buy a product that will not further their health and/or happiness. If Joe, the plumber makes a mistake out of ignorance, he has only himself to blame. If Joe, the plumber is forced against his free will and better judgement to accept anything that he abhors. it is tyranny. tyranny , tyranny. It is not, however, freedom.

  • Taxation without representation. That means that when a government hides behind closed doors to avoid telling its citizens what they will be spending our tax dollars on, the government is taxing the people without their informed consent, against their freedom. The government has become a regime of tyrants. oath breakers, constitutional betrayers and thieves.
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    For a government to make clandestine imperatives, whether it be Obamacare or amnesty, and use public money is a violation of the public trust.
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    When Bill Clinton was president, Hilarycare was put into place. Hilarycare sentenced doctors to two years in prison, federal prison, for any doctor who healed a patient without Hilarycare’s permission. Really criminalizing the act of healing as though Hilary were god. Never telling the doctors that this was going to make them inmates and ruin their careers. It is possible that Hilarycare was going to use the law to impose horrible fines and money penalties rather than real jail time, unless, of course, the doctor gave the court a hard time, but as Hilarycare was written, the doctors were going to federal prison for healing a sick person without Hilarycare’s permission.
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    The government does not have authentic authority to criminalize a morally and legally innocent act of humanitarianism. Nor does the government has the authority to make citizens’ taxes pay for this deliverance to hell.
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    Taxpaying doctors were the citizens who overturned such evil, when it came to their knowledge.
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    Now, we have Obamacare and amnesty. Taxation without representation, penalties without crimes sucking the life out of our nation while the government tells us that the people are to stupid to count their money.
    .
    Let us pray to God that “We, the people” are not to stupid to shake the monkey off our back.

What Is Social Justice?

Thursday, March 27, AD 2014

Jonah Goldberg for Prager University asks and answers what is social justice.  I agree with him that social justice usually in practice ends up with thieves employed by the government taking property from A, keeping a substantial cut, and throwing the much reduced remainder at favored B and C.  This poorly thought out Robin Hood theology is at the basis of the manifestly failing welfare states today.  It is the antithesis of the voluntary charity called for by Christ in the tale of the Good Samaritan and it is beyond shameful that powerful people within the Church still think that the State is the preferred medium for social justice.  For those completely destitute and unable to work through no fault of their own, State support is a last resort necessity.  Where the welfare state ideology, masquerading as social justice, has gone astray is in taking a last resort and always making it a first resort, with disastrous consequences that are obvious to all, and completely ignored by those who ever bleat “social justice” and usually mean “state control”.

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15 Responses to What Is Social Justice?

  • In Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI carefully distinguished the respective roles of private individuals and the public authorities, harmonising the demands of solidarity and subsidiarity:
    “33. Individual initiative alone and the interplay of competition will not ensure satisfactory development. We cannot proceed to increase the wealth and power of the rich while we entrench the needy in their poverty and add to the woes of the oppressed. Organized programs are necessary for “directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating” (John XXIII, Encyc.letter Mater et Magistra: AAS 53 (1961), 414) the work of individuals and intermediary organizations.
    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. 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.”

  • This is what frustrates me with talking with some Catholics (no really, I had this exchange with Bad Catholic once).

    They have in mind a meaning of social justice that we’ll call c!sj. Leftists have in mind a meaning (as demonstrated above in the excellent video) of social justice that we’ll call l!sj.

    Now in general discussions, many Catholics end up on the side of leftists because they hear them talk about “social justice” and assume c!sj is meant (when in fact it is l!sj), thus leftists are allies. Likewise when they hear rightists oppose “social justice”, they assume c!sj is meant. When in fact in both cases, the l!sj is what the left and right are meaning. Thus you have things like Shea’s post today, “A smart & moving letter”.

    If we were to use animals as metaphors, Catholics would be sheep (no offense, but the boss is a shepherd, remember?), rightists would be donkeys (because they can be used as guard animals), and leftists would be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Right & Catholic should be natural allies, but because the wolf wears a disguise and makes all the right noise, the donkey is dismissed as an enemy because it’s just too different.

    And so we have today, where the wolf has begun to eat the flock, while the sheep beg and plead for it to remember their old friendship.

    (and yes, the metaphor also applies to those sheep who say they’re against wolves and donkeys both and purely for sheep – if anything they are even easier to deceive than those who admit they have chosen a side)

  • There is a lot of talk about social justice. But with God there is only mercy on one side of the coin and justice on the other, and it isn’t called social justice. His eternal justice should scare the living hell right out of us. God doesn’t look just at income inequality. He sees more than 1 million babies murdered annually in the US, and the open promotion of same sex marriage and all the other innumerable crimes against humanity that cry out for vengeance, and His vengeance is a terrible thing. Just ask Kings Manasseh, Zedekiah and the others who thought differently.

    Domine Deus, miserere nobis et totius mundi.

  • When I read this post, I immediately thought of the parable of the Good Samaritan giving comfort and life but also providing that others ought to give comfort and life in the spirit of social Justice. The good Samaritan loved the injured victim. The High Priest did not love the victim. Nor did the others. Compassion is social justice. Compassion is taught by compassionate people.
    .
    Our society reeks of selfishness. Selfishness is adored and glorified. Selfishness is the High Priest of the parable. “Hooray for me, to hell with you” as the saying goes.
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    Government is made up of people. Like the church, who, without priests cannot exist, so, too, the government, who, without citizens cannot exist. The government in and of itself owns nothing but must take from its citizens what it gives and uses. The citizens must exercise the virtue of compassion and give to others the means to survive, their just due. Giving to others what they want is extortion and taxation without representation for there is no group of citizens who owes another group of citizens what that other group demands or wants, but only what anyone and everyone needs to survive…and in love and compassion, a two way street. The victim could not have lived without a love for his rescuer. The Samaritan’s good works delivered the victim from evil.

  • Why can’t you just say “justice.” Isn’t “justice” enough? “Social” refers to “groups”, does it not? So isn’t “social justice” really “group justice?”

  • I believe justice is defined thus: “To reward or punish based on merit”.

    Are the actions here discussed a reward or a punishment?
    No?
    Then please; let’s drop the term “justice”.
    Social justice may refer, I suppose, to the punishment of a group/society. Paul P’s description is probably best.

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  • exNOAAman wrote “believe justice is defined thus: “To reward or punish based on merit”.

    Perhaps, the most famous definition is contained in the opening lines of the Institutes of Justinian, “Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuens” = Justice is the constant and perpetual intention to give to each his own.

    Thus, Ulpian says in the Digest, “Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere” = These are the precepts of the law: to live uprightly, not to harm another, to give to each his own [Dig.1.1.10.1 Ulpianus 1 reg]

    It is the foundational principle of the Roman and Civil law, the basis of the jurisprudence of every civilised nation.

  • “group Justice” would refer to the government which is a group. Social Justice would refer to society with government at its head. The voice of the people is Congress. The will of the people must be heard on the ballot.

  • It should be called “Socialist Injustice”

  • DJ Hesselius on Thursday, March 27, A.D. 2014 at 2:31pm (Edit)
    Why can’t you just say “justice.” Isn’t “justice” enough? “Social” refers to “groups”, does it not? So isn’t “social justice” really “group justice?”

    No, actually. That’s a large part of the point.

    The left is using “social justice” to mean treating people as parts of a group to be balanced; the right is more likely to think that “make laws that promote justice” is an inherent purpose of laws.

    Justice in the Catholic sense; read here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08571c.htm
    It is a moral quality or habit which perfects the will and inclines it to render to each and to all what belongs to them. Of the other cardinal virtues, prudence perfects the intellect and inclines the prudent man to act in all things according to right reason. Fortitude controls the irascible passions; and temperance moderates the appetites according as reason dictates. While fortitude and temperance are self-regarding virtues, justice has reference to others. Together with charity it regulates man’s intercourse with his fellow men. But charity leads us to help our neighbour in his need out of our own stores, while justice teaches us to give to another what belongs to him.
    and
    Justice between man and man is called individual, particular, or commutative justice, because it is chiefly concerned with contracts and exchange. Individual justice is distinguished from social, for not only individuals have claims in justice against other individuals but a subject has claims against the society to which he belongs, as society has claims against him. Justice requires that all should have what belongs to them, and so the just man will render to the society, or State, of which he is a member, what is due to it. The justice which prescribes this is called legal justice. On the other hand, the individual subject has claims against the State. It is the function of the State to protect its subjects in their rights and to govern the whole body for the common good. Authority for this purpose is given to the State by nature and by God, the Author of man’s social nature.

    Pretty clearly NOT about balancing of groups— and small wonder that the more nasty folks would want this term destroyed!
    The rights aren’t granted by the state, but must be PROTECTED by it?
    Goodness.

  • Our church has always been the most successful and efficient engine for providing true SJ. The sad reality that when gov entities wish and even demand to take charge of this process only means a less efficient result and a less just reward.

  • Social Justice as explicated in this article has next to nothing in common with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is important to keep in mind as people rightly criticize and reject this ‘socialism in sheep’s clothing’. This is not Catholic Social Doctrine, which offers true light on the subject.

  • Botolph, good point, given that the left has hijacked the term.

  • According to Père Henri-Dominique Lacordaire OP, who re-founded the Dominicans in France after the Revolution and was reckoned the most eloquent preacher of his day, “”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.”

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.

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  • 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.

Speculating on Gomez

Tuesday, April 6, AD 2010

First of all, I need to introduce myself: my name is Michael Denton and I’m from what Tito calls the People’s Republic of Cajunland and what I call paradise: South Louisiana. As for my qualifications: well, like most other bloggers, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. If that’s a problem for you…well, then you probably don’t need to be reading blogs.

Anyway, today we heard the anticipated news that Los Angeles will soon see Cardinal Mahoney replaced with San Antonio’s Archbishop Jose Gomez. To read all about it, I suggest you head over to Rocco Palmo‘s site, as he is one of the few bloggers who actually does know what he’s talking about. In sum, Abp. Gomez is from the “conservative” order of Opus Dei and could be very different from his predecessor, who built a monstrous cathedral (not in a good way) and is known for hosting a Conference that annually provides Youtube clips for Catholics wishing to show others just how bad liturgical abuse can be. I don’t know if that’s very interesting though. While the liturgical element is certainly important, as the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender, I think we knew beforehand that Benedict was going install a replacement very different from Mahoney in liturgical views.

More important is how they’re similar.

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36 Responses to Speculating on Gomez

  • Just a note. Opus Dei is not a Religious order. Its a Personal Prelature with the priest being incardinated in it.

  • A second note. The Church does recognize the right of the state to regulate immigration. Gomez recognizes this and sees that there must be some penalty for violating immigration laws (though he does not recommend deportation.)

  • Yes, I think a critical distinction needs to be made between those who advocate “open boarders” and those who simply believe in treating immigrants with dignity and respect.

    I really hope that Gomez puts an end to liturgical abuse, to sacrilege, to ceremonies that are more pagan than Christian, as well.

  • Welcome soon to be second year law student! Your first year of legal hell is almost up!

  • I look forward, with very guarded hope, to Archbishop Gomez’s ascension to the throne of Mahoneyland, er, I mean, the Archdiocese of L.A. I had occasion to write him some time ago regarding a concern I had with actions and attitudes here in the Diocese of “All Borders are heinous injustices.”

    That said, I think we do the Catechism (where the full foundation of Church teaching is to be found) serious disservice when we reduce it word-searching. “See, see here! It says immigrant!”

    A nation or people may be called to account for how outsiders within their borders are treated. I think we sometimes take that notion and run straight to the place from which we so often hear Card. Mahoney and others villify the nation for our “inhumane” treatment of Latino (and that’s all anyone really cares about here) immigrants.

    If you want to see migrants (brought to the country legally, often by the government, to work in the “jobs our citizens won’t do” category, go to Saudi Arabia and see how they treat the Filipinos and other island (and some Asian) “third country nationals.” They are normally corraled in living areas near where they work and transported to/from their work areas with little or no ceremony. If they venture into Saudi cities on their free time, they do so with virtually no expectation of good treatment by any authorities. Any rights or dignity thewy might be afforded will be owing only to their demonstrated adherance to Islamic “faith.”

    Unless it truly is unacceptable to have and enforce borders (and if so, I missed that article in the Catechism), we need to accept that the licitness of borders and the control thereof has something to say about the illicitness of those who make of themselves a commodity, by placing themselves in the shadows of the society against whom they trespass. (The trespass of those who hire them does nothing to eliminate the alien’s trespass against the society as a whole.)

    We Catholics seem satisfied with absurd notions that we (the USA) are responsible for the family situations of those who make themselves prisoners or fugitives in our land. To say so is to say that laws against and prison sentences for murder are unjust because of the family separation they impose.

  • I cannot imagine any Archbishop who is given the archdiocese of L.A.who will not work from what is organic. I do believe we are going to experience new wine. I read an article which stated Gomez like past Bishops of American Catholic immigrants also has a main concern to teach authentic Catholicism to the Hispanics. This is not unusual if you look at the Irish and Italian immigrants and their needs in past centuries. I read where he gave a talk on taking the Word of God out to the world and a Hispanic women approach him and said she would start a bible study. What a novel idea a Bishop through preaching converted a person from old ways to the new way.
    I was on the L.A. Times blog and boy the secular world is upset that attention is being given to Hispanics, our culture does need to be re-evangelized.

  • The pro-amnesty position of Cdl Mahony is NOT the “Church’s teaching” on immigration.

  • While I think one can make an open borders argument based on Catholic teaching, I didn’t make the argument nor did Benedict (perhaps Mahoney did; it wouldn’t surprise me). Without getting too deep into Church teaching on immigration (which would merit more research on my part & another post), my understanding is that the bishops’ problems with current US immigration policy is twofold

    1) That the US is unfairly limiting immigration. The US can support more immigration and take them in legally but is refusing to do so. While this can be interpreted as “open borders” it doesn’t have to be; only that the borders should be more wide open.

    2) That the US is committing an injustice by treating illegal immigrants like sub-human beings-allowing below minimum wage, denying health care, making citizenship difficult, etc. I think the current condition that the immigrant finds himself is the greater concern of the bishops as it shows a lack of respect for the dignity of the human person, which does not stop once once sets foot over the arbitrary imaginary line we call the US/Mexican border.

    Now, I don’t know nearly enough to say what the solution is, especially with the rightful balancing of a country’s need to secure its border and enforce its laws, other than deportation is not the answer (for ethical & financial reasons). But I don’t think it’s unfair to at a minimum point out that illegal immigrants are facing injustice and more effort should be spent finding solutions rather than on nativist rhetoric.

  • illegal immigrants are facing injustice

    They broke the law to enter the country. Naturally that doesn’t remotely justify treating them inhumanely (though I would strongly suggest that the actual treatment of illegal immigrants in this country is far from inhumane), but let’s not lose sight of what the real issue is, nor should we engage in baseless rhetoric about “nativist rhetoric” when those opposed to amnesty have far loftier and reasonable justifications for their position.

  • ” … the “Spirit of Vatican II” types are losing their foremost defender …”

    Hardly. The archbishop is a JPII man, and rather autocratic to boot.

    Spelling, spelling, spelling … sheesh.

  • I think if one argues that illegal immigrants should have their status legalized with the simple penalty of community service, then one in effect has open borders. Its a get out of jail card with no real penalty.

    I also think that if one considers it sub-human treatment to deny citizenship for one illegally here then there is no point in discussion. Emotion wins.

  • In my parish, St. John the Evangelist in Goshen, NY, the first major pedophile scandal materialized in the early nineties. The priest in question, “Father Ed” had been molesting boys in their early teens. To say that the parishioners were traumatized by this would be an understatement. They were devastated. Then something wondrous happened….

    Father Ed was eventually replaced by Father Trevor Nichols. Father Trevor had been an Anglican in merrie old England when he converted to Catholicism. On becoming a Catholic was transferred to Saint John’s – WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO DAUGHTERS! A married priest! WITH TWO KIDS!

    You want to hear the punch line? Our little parish did not implode. The sun did not fall from the sky. Huge cracks did not appear in the earth’s surface. In fact, it was nice having them. They were – and are to this day – deeply beloved by the people of St. John’s.

    Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church. Having Father Trevor, his wife Marian and their two lovely daughters in our midst certainly transformed the people of St. John’s.

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan

  • “Allowing priests to marry would transform the Catholic Church.”

    It certainly has done wonders for the Episcopal Church, assuming that the term wonder encompasses extinction.

  • Tom Degan,

    What does your proposal for disobeying Church discipline have to do with Archbishop Gomez moving to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

  • Todd,

    How many bishops are there at this point who weren’t selected by John Paul II? If that constitutes a disproof of being a “Spirit of Vatican II” type in your mind, then it’s already extinct. Whatever one wants to call Mahony, it must be admitted that he represents a type of diocesan leadership that conservative Catholics will be very glad to see go, in regards to liturgy, dealing with the scandals, politics, vocations, religious education, and a host of other issues. And whatever his other faults, progressive Catholics have often found themselves in his corner — as when he squared off against Mother Angelica. Of course, he’s not the darling that Archbishop Weakland was… But we know how that one worked out in the end.

    Tom,

    It’s certainly a good thing that your parish got a faithful new priest — and there are some very good priests who are converts from Anglicanism, some of whom are married. (Father Longnecker springs to mind.) However, one cannot really see that it was only because he was married that he proved to be a good priest for your parish. There are, of course, a great many celibate priests (some of them also converts from Anglicanism) who also do not molest teenage boys. The vast, vast majority, in fact. That yours happened to be married does not mean that the Church needs to change its general discipline in the Western Church.

  • Darwin, I don’t see things with an enemy-of-my-enemy mindset.

    Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years. If you pressed me, I could probably name about a half-dozen things I dislike about the man’s legacy.

    My preference in bishops (a qualified hero) would be guys like Ken Untener and Michael Kenny, both of whom I’ve met and heard speak, not only for what they had to say, but more: how they lived their lives as bishops in witness to the gospel. But it’s probably little surprise I’m more of a sell-the-mansion, reach-out-to-the-poor kind of guy anyway.

    This liberal is happy that his kind of autocrat is leaving. I know Archbishop Gomez even less than I know the cardinal. He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat. If so, good for LA. If not, I’ll probably be happy when he retires, too.

    Interesting that you should mention vocations, because two of the Right’s favorite punching bags over the years, Mahony and Trautmann, are both doing pretty well when it comes to clergy. Far from the bottom of the heap, as it were.

  • “So while conservatives rejoice at the sufferings the liberals must endure at the loss of their liturgical dancers, it would be wise to remember that Benedict wants some change from the right as well.”

    True. But I do think it is problematic that define support for immigration reform as just on the left and opposition to it just on the right. That does not seem to mirtor the actual poltial reality

  • The world not being a polarity, people are certainly not required to like those who are more on their end than not — but it can’t really be denied that much of Mahony’s influence especially in the last 15 years of his episcopacy has been much more towards the progressive side of the Catholic spectrum than otherwise.

    Also, franky, I’m perplexed as to how you can say that Mahony has been doing well as regards vocations. My native diocese (Los Angeles) has more than ten times as many Catholics as my adopted one (Austin) but a similar number of ordinations and seminarians. Plus, the most of vocations LA does manage are “imports” — that is, come to the diocese as seminarians but didn’t live there prior to entering seminary.

    That said, having met Cardinal Mahony on several occasions and heard him speak, I can assure you that he is in person a very nice guy. You would probably like him if you actually met him.

  • Todd,

    “St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years”

    And I suppose you never went around provoking people with your comments. No, you just tell the truth, and people get so mad that they have to stalk you. That it?

  • jh:

    Well, I think the right has deeper problems than the left on the issue. I don’t think you’re going to get much traction on a “Make them speak English” platform in a Democratic room while you’ll get some in a GOP room.

    That said, as the healthcare debate showed both sides have the concerns of the immigrant as very low priority so you’re right to point out that both have significant problems on this issue.

  • “He seems to be more energetic, and maybe he’s less of an autocrat.”

    When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

  • MD,

    Don’t conflate politics with Catholicism.

    I volunteer and help the homeless and serve food to the hungry, but I am not a Democrat.

    Just sayin’!

    😉

  • MD,

    Actually you ask most first generation immigrants and they want their children to learn English. Only so far you can get in a culture if you don’t speak the dominant language. Can’t carry bilingual education to the college level.

    Its compassionate liberals that will keep immigrants down by keeping them in a linguistic ghetto.

  • When it comes to Church leadership, I’m not a fan of democracy.

    You’re so right. Fascism makes for a better, tighter, more unified, ecclesiology.

  • “Speaking as the liberal you know me to be, I find Cardinal Mahony’s leadership style distasteful, and this isn’t (or shouldn’t be) news to St Bloggers who have stalked me over the years.”

    Stalked? Todd, you are the one who keeps showing up here in the comboxes.

  • Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here. Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.

    You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    That said, you’ve left alone my comments on Cardinal Mahony, so I’ll take that as evidence you mostly align with me in disliking the man, and perhaps even for not totally different reasons. On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.

  • You do have a colleague here who sees fit to mention my federal voting record, even on threads in which politics is not in the tag.

    When you claim to be a “Catholic” and yet vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, I have to bring that up so people understand that you’re just a Catholic-In-Name-Only.

    Hence innocent Catholic’s won’t be strayed from their faith because of your lies, innuendo’s, and false interpretations of Catholicism.

    We aim to evangelize Catholics here at TAC and will disallow you from misleading them.

  • Todd has become increasingly angry and bitter in the last couple years (and seems to take undue opportunity to needle conservative Catholics), and I think it shows very poor judgement (including moral judgement) to think that Obama was worthy of a vote in the last election, but I don’t think that it is correct or appropriate to label Todd a “Catholic-in-name-only” for that reason.

  • “Donald, there’s a significant and logical difference between my visiting your site and selectively posting on topics of interest, and your practice of responding to practically every one of my posts here.”

    When anyone posts in one of my threads Todd I will normally respond eventually, although time constraints and laziness on my part sometimes prevent me from doing so. Additionally if someone else in the thread has made the point I was going to make I normally don’t bother.

    “Though to be fair, you pretty much post anywhere you disagree with one of your visitors.”

    Not really, but a bit of hyperbole goes with commenting in comboxes. Usually I won’t post in other threads unless I have a strong interest in the topic or my name comes up.

    “On that point, I’ll conclude my remarks here and stalk…I mean visit another thread later.”

    Feel free to stalk…I mean visit here, as much as you wish. I agree with you on little, although we share a similar distaste of Cardinal Mahoney, but you conduct yourself within the bounds of blog decorum and I have no problem with your visits whatever our sparring, something we of course have been doing since the Welborn Open Book days. (How swiftly time passes!)

  • I agree with Darwin that I would not call Todd a Catholic In Name Only. Beyond a distaste for attempting to judge the sincerity of someone else’s religious committment, I do not think it accurate in his case. I might call him, because of his vote, a Pro-lifer In Name Only, but I do not know if Todd claims to be part of the pro-life movement.

  • How can a Catholic who know’s his faith vote for the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history?

  • Darwin and Don,

    Words matter and I believe that you two are correct. After sleeping on it I should not have labeled Todd as a “Catholic-In-Name-Only”.

    A much more precise label would have been more accurate, but not charitable to say the least.

    I won’t refer to him this way again.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • DRM,
    How exactly is it that one becomes a pro-lifer in name only without meriting at the same moment the appellation “Catholic in Name Only?”

    Pro-abortion baptised Christians come in only one flavor, regardless of the “denomination” they choose to attend services in; protestant.

  • Actually Kevin some of the most fervent pro-lifers I know are protestants. I have a personal distaste for passing on the religious committment of others, and I do not like going beyond what I think the evidence shows me.

  • Kevin:

    I think you mean that once you dissent from the Church’s teachings you cease to be Catholic and become a Protestant.

    That said, I think Donald was right to point out that the way you wrote it could be interpreted very negatively by our Protestant brethren who do a lot for the service of life.

USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

Thursday, February 4, AD 2010

[Update at the bottom of this post]

The scandal that has engulfed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) shows no sign in abating.

Today we learn even more incriminating facts that continue to tarnish the image of the USCCB.

In the latest RealCatholicTV.com program Michael Voris explains the deep entanglement of Democratic Party and anti-Catholic operatives that hold high positions within the USCCB.

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67 Responses to USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

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  • All this sounds like the attitude of the bishops about the sex scandals. “Don’t confirm; don’t deny. Maybe it will all go away”.

    The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.

  • Well, it will only make them look even worse.

    With the new media, ie, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc, the news of their lack of action will spread like wildfire.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much tap-dancing will occur and who will do the tap-dancing.

  • I guess I’m a little perplexed as to how this is in some sense a current or deepening “scandal”. It doesn’t take much dealing with most diocese with large national Catholic organizations (with the exception of some of the newer, more orthodox ones) or with the USCCB to find that a lot of their employees are left leaning politically and progressive leaning in regards to theology and liturgy. If anything, this was more pronounced 10-20 years ago than it is now.

    I think it’s generally been bad for the Church, and we’re suffered as a result, but if anything it’s a bad scene we’re gradually coming out of (it takes a long time to turn over employment) rather than a new breaking scandal of some sort.

  • It’s probably perception more than anything.

    Many of us maybe never bothered to think much, if anything, about the USCCB.

    Then when they got a bit higher visibility when they actively involved themselves with ObamaCare more Catholics took notice.

    Over time as Catholics began to look into the USCCB, what you may call something that has been there for awhile, to us is scandalous.

    So there it is.

    You probably were fortunate enough to be raised a solid Catholic as a child, then progressed to a fine Catholic university immersing yourself even more in Catholic culture. All the while you were already aware of the problems with the USCCB since age 7.

    Me, and many others like me, returned to our faith through various forms. So many of us are behind the loop, so to speak, of the many warts and issues involved in the Catholic Church in America.

    So when many of use “reverts” or “converts” find scandalous information such as an openly professed lesbian or a woman priest advocate working in high profile positions in the USCCB, we are scandalized by this.

    So those are the perceptions.

    The attitude of “well it’s always been there and besides it was worse 10-20 years ago” is understandable.

    But to me and many others its scandalous. 😐

  • Except the problem is: this report is filled with lies, misrepresentation, and logical fallacies. It does no one any good to be scandal mongers and gossipers using false information — though it seems it is all for politics (which is why Voris acting like an authority also suggests, falsely, anyone who said a Catholic could vote for Obama was wrong).

    Want to see the kind of error? Well, it is simple: Mary Kay Henry was NOT given a position by the USCCB. She was brought into talks with people representing different labor groups, and represented one such labor group. In other words, it would be like someone condemning Pope Benedict for his dialogue with Islam and saying “there is something wrong with the Vatican, it is promoting Islam.”

  • Henry K.,

    You made a lot of accusations but you haven’t offered any evidence to back any of it up.

    I respect your knowledge in your fields of study, but where is the evidence of what you propose?

  • Tito

    Voris makes all kinds of accusations and claims, and you never ask him to back it up; you just upload and attack. You never look to the sources yourself. But you want source? Ok.

    http://vox-nova.com/2010/01/29/virtual-polemical-videos-not-real-catholic-tv/

    Go to that thread. Read the post. See the logical fallacies being exposed. Then read the commentary thread. In it you will see this linked: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/usccb_clarifies_involvement_with_controversial_expert/

    And what it says is clear:

    Washington D.C., Dec 7, 2009 / 05:44 pm (CNA).- On Monday, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, media director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke with CNA, clarifying the role of Service Employees Union executive and gay rights activist Mary Kay Henry with the bishops’ conference.

    Sr. Walsh noted that in the past, Mary Kay Henry was chosen by the unions to take part in a dialogue with the USCCB but left in 2006.

    She was not appointed by the bishops, Sr. Walsh explained.

    So there you go, an example of distortion going on. Sure, she talked with the USCCB representing unions. Jesus, and the Catholic Church, has always had dialogue with people in such roles before; will anyone condemn Pope St Gregory the Great for meeting with Atilla the Hun? Using the loopy logic in this video, Pope St Gregory the Great was promoting Atilla’s rampage!

  • Henry K.,

    Good catch on the CNA article.

    I’ll send that link over to Mr. Voris so he can avoid making that mistake.

    (my article didn’t make that connection)

    And for your VN posting, very interesting reading.

    I’m not up to speed in many of the subjects you touch upon, but I’ll be rereading it again. Every little bit helps!

  • As I mentioned in the thread about the CCHD, the underlying theme behind these criticisms is a deep hostility toward not only the USCCB, but the bishops themselves. In this thread, we have read: “The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.” Tito has said that he has been scandalized – i.e., tempted to lose faith.

    Henry is right – these accusations fall apart upon further research. Catholics are being told to doubt the authenticity of the bishops’ teaching and governing office. Moreover, we are being told to question their very sincerity and faith. This is the scandal we should be afraid of.

  • When Bishops have dialogue with lesbians and gays and other members of the legions of hell, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal to criticize the Bishops.

    When Bishops take false Catholics like Representative Patrick Kennedy on the carpet for open apostasy, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal the Bishops are using the Communion Rail politically.

    No, folks, the best liberal is the repentent liberal, and failing that, a defeated, muzzled and emasculated liberal. The only dialogue we should have with them is this: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

    P.S., I’ll trust Michael Voris before I’ll trust any liberal Democrat.

  • PS, Mary Kay Henry should re-read what 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states (NIV):

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    So why are we having dialogue with the wicked? Jesus didn’t have dialogue with them. He preached the Gospel of repentance to them. We ought to do the same.

  • Jesus didn’t have dialogue with the wicked? The Jews certainly thought he did — he was dining with sinners, indeed, drunkards; he was hanging out with the Samaritans; and he said nothing about the abuse of Roman society upon the Jews, yet affirming the faith of a non-Jewish Centurion (are you going to say he was without sin)?

    And that’s just the start of the matter.

  • Mary Ann Walsh did not participate in a women’s “ordination” ceremony. After one such event, the participants marched to where the bishops were meeting. When they didn’t go away, she appeared, met with them, received their rose bouquet, and they left. It’s the kind of thing a media relations person does.

    And her statement that a person could vote for Obama (not that they should – I certainly didn’t) matched up pretty well with an interpretation of Faithful Citizenship that many orthodox bishops accept. Of course, when you’re part of the neo-Donatist movement that thinks Cardinal George and Archbishop Wuerhl are closet leftists, none of this will satisfy you.

  • Zak,

    I caught it right before you posted your comment.

    I corrected my post to reflect this fact.

  • Henry,
    I agree with the points you’re making – one factual issue: it was Leo the Great, not Gregory the Great, who met with Atilla.

  • I agree with both Paul P. and Henry K.

    Whether it was dialogue or preaching, Jesus certainly spent time with sinners, but not to reaffirm their sinfulness but to show them the light.

  • Zak

    Oops — you are right (though I know this, I often do this same mistake when typing, for some reason — I have a few other lapses where my fingers go into automatic writing mode — an interesting phenomena and I expect many of us have examples of this)

  • Another example of what is going on: Voris says people in the hallways are found supporting Obama’s policies. Ok.

    The question is: which policies? All of them? Some of them? A couple of them? But yet by saying it in this way, it’s easy to create a false picture, and that is exactly the kind of strategy which is done for propaganda not for the exploration of truth.

  • Well hopefully they’re not supporting this:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/60893

  • I think ultimately though one needs to see that the USCCB is a political organization in addition to a religious organization. That’s fine as long as people realize it is and that it will have the problems of any organization that is political. I think Henry has pointed out such problems with some pro-life organizations.

  • Well I’m pretty sure that the USCCB is not a political organization in any legal, tax or regulatory sense of the term. But any tax exempt group is permitted (within certain constraints) to work to advance their charitable agenda via supporting and opposing relevant legislation, though not supporting or opposing political candidates. The USCCB has a reputation for generally supporting the liberal approaches to addressing Catholic concerns. To the extent this is true, it is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent. My guess is that the policy preferences expressed by the USCCB are more representative of its staffers than the bishops, and that neither the bishops nor the staffers are especially gifted at public policy, but probably think they are.

  • I think John Carr is one of the most thoughtful Catholics in America–and certainly one of the best spokesmen for Catholic social teaching. And I find it more than a little dismaying that a group of self-anointed REAL CATHOLICS are spending so much energy trying to undermine the work of the bishops of this country. This is not just unhelpful; it’s diabolical.

  • Mike,

    There is political and there is political. I think Henry points out some of the foibles of pro-life conservative organizations that are tax exempt also.

    I don’t think the USCCB generally supports liberal approaches I think it pretty much always does. Again understanding the experts that advise the body may give understanding to why they do.

  • Ron Ch.,

    Thoughtful as in promoting that more innocent children be killed?

    Yeah, and THAT’S not diabolical.

  • Phillip,
    I have not read Henry’s expose on the foibles of “pro-life conservative” organizations, but if the problem is that they are willing to support candidates who are imperfect on life issues in order to prevent the election of candidates who are abortion enthusiasts, ok, but I don’t see that as a foible. On the other hand, if they are favoring pro-choice candidates over pro-life candidates because they former are otherwise considered more conservative than the latter, then that would be worse than a foible — and I’d really appreciate knowing more about it.

  • Tito, what you are doing here is slanderous–to a good man and to the bishops whom he serves as a spokesperson. Do you happen to KNOW John Carr? Have you ever heard him talk about abortion? Do you suppose his work for peace/justice . . . and the work of our bishops through the USCCB to uplift the poor . . . has nothing at all to do with fostering respect for human life? For that matter, do you recognize any connection whatsoever between poverty/racism and abortion, or do you think it is purely coincidental that poor minority women patronize the killing clinics at such a disproportionate rate?

    Sorry, fella, John Carr is a REAL Catholic, not some Pharisee with video blog, a big mouth, and way too much time on his hands.

  • Ron Ch.,

    I’m not sure what blog you are reading, but I have never said anything such about John Carr.

    Joe H. posted a video that stated John Carr has been with an organization that promotes abortion for decades. I don’t see how you got your conclusions from this, so I’ll just chalk it up to your liberal-tainted glasses getting the better of your imagination.

    Get a hold of yourself brother.

  • Some other concerns about the CCC that I’m sure can be disproved:

    http://www.catholicadvocate.com/?tag=john-carr

  • Phillip and Ron Ch.,

    The evidence is devastating concerning the cooperation in evil that John Carr has led and been involved in.

  • American Catholic began as a healthy alternative to the consistently left-leaning Vox Nova. It seems to be reinventing itself in the spirit of the old Wanderer. That is a terrible shame, and shame on anyone here–and in the holier-than-God “orthodox” blogosphere–who casts aspersion on a man who has faithfully served the Church in the United States and its bishops for many years.

  • No, what this post is doing is highlighting a story. If any of the facts are mistaken Ron tell us precisely what facts are wrong. The USCCB has a history of allowing its staffers to associate the USCCB with some pretty unsavory groups that promote positions directly contrary to Church teaching. The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

  • Donald, a lot of the ‘facts’ have been debunked, and one glaring piece of slander removed (the picture of Sister Mary Ann Walsh). The more you dig into this, the more you see that a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

  • That sounds intereting. I can’t believe it. gochristian shoes

  • I have to say, I don’t find this video or the accusations very substantial. Everyone is entitled to their polemics, of course, and so I can see why some anti-Democrat Catholics enjoy this type of stuff. But, as Mike Petrik says above, some members of the USCCB preferring policies favored by the Democratic party to advance the common good “is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent.”

    Also, on a personal note, I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.

    To be clear, I think legitimate criticisms can be made of the USCCB. But these types of videos blend and muddle legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful. The problem with the Vortex, as I see it, is that it isolates and absolutizes one of many possible approaches to serving the common good, and regards any other approach as illegitimate. It seems to me that it instrumentalizes the Faith in the service of a conservative political polemic, and in the process does a disservice to the Faith and to the USCCB.

  • The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

    I don’t really see what you’re talking about. These accusations are pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things, and, as Darwin notes, there is nothing new in there. In the 1980’s, sure, the USCCB was basically co-opted by Democratic partisans. But the Vortex is basically the mirror image of it from the right; they are not raising any new questions. Most of these issues have already been addressed, are matters for prudential judgment where reasonable people can differ, and/or are inaccurate to begin with.

  • I’ll spell it our for you John Henry. They should explain why they were shoveling money into an organization that one of their staffers served as the head of. Can they even spell “conflict of interest”? Rather than attacking the people who are bringing this to light they should be ramping up their own investigation. They might also wish to explain why Carr omitted noting his involvement with the CCC from his USCCB bio. They might also explain why Tom Chabolla, associate director of CCHD programs until 2008, and who worked under Carr, took Carr’s place on the CCC board after Carr left, during a time period when the CCC became involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and whether Chabolla and Carr maintained contacts about the CCC. Chabolla since leaving the CCHD is now assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union. Finally, perhaps they can explain why, when this all came to light, the first reaction from the CCHD was to scrub their website of all mention of ties with the CCC. This story is not going away.

  • Don,

    I get conflict of interest issue; and I get that the CCHD has had very poor oversight. I think the CCHD should be either scrapped or completely overhauled, and I’m in favor of more transparency. But I don’t think the video covers these issues very well.

    My issue is that I think the Vortex (and, really, couldn’t they find a better name?) is advancing a partisan agenda, rather than simply voicing legitimate concerns about conflict of interest or the funding of groups whose values conflict with those of the Church. For instance, the video keeps repeating the word ‘Democrat’ or ‘Democractic’ as if it’s an epithet. And some of the charges in the video are just ridiculous (implying that making the case that Catholics could have voted for Obama should disqualify someone from working for the USCCB?). In other words, as I said above, the video “blends and muddles legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful.”

  • Clearly many improvements or even an overhaul of the program needs to take place. Attacking the structures of sin is a laudable activity with a positive goal. However, the problem with many (most?) secular groups that appear to be doing that sort of work is that they’re almost always trying to exchange one structure of sin for another. They are typically shells for particular political parties or have too closely aligned themselves to party interests.

    Therein lies part of the danger for third party benefactors like the USCCB. It’s one thing to work with a secular org for a shared interest even though they may not share all interests, it’s another to thing to support that org directly. What happens is that you run the real risk of becoming an integral part of a structure of sin.

    All that said, I think those ads are poorly done in substance. They smack of overblown righteous indignation, take many intellectual shortcuts, argue by assertion, use charged words that are usually quite subjective, makes unwarranted assumptions, etc. Frankly, I can’t see any difference in what is being done here than what some authentic Catholic anti-american-calvinist crusaders do. The only difference is what side of the fence their sitting on.

  • I’m not touching this story with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the reporting (and I have my doubts), the blatant guilt-by-association-and-innuendo style of the reporting left me feeling dirty after watching.

    “… I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting that it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.”

    Yeah, tell me about it. I must be a stark-raving lefty.

  • Rick,

    Right. There are problems on both sides of the fence. There are pro-life pharisees. There are also social justice pharisees.

    Just hard to recognize one’s own as such sometimes.

  • Great comments and insights.

    About the overhaul of the CCHD – they have two overall programs, one focusing on political activity, the other focusing on business activity. The business grants are amazing – helping poor people build skills and worker-owned businesses. The political grants are a lot more tricky – often involving people with liberal mindsets – and I agree that it needs to be overhauled.

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  • Henry K, for your insights on what the Bishops knew and didn’t know, you are probably right. For your history on St. Gregory the Great meeting Atilla the Hun, you are at least a century off. It was St. Leo the Great in 451 who met with Atilla, thus delaying the destruction of Rome by 25 years……historical footnote worth noting….

  • Nate W., John Henry, Ron Ch., Jay Anderson, et al,

    You guys are building straw men arguments by attacking the messenger.

    By shining the light on the problem, you guys go ahead and savage the reputation of those doing the reporting and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Granted that Mr. Voris *may* have gone over the top in some of his analysis, especially the innuendos to being a “Democrat”, but the basic story is this, the USCCB has been dealing with anti-catholic organizations for years. Just because they’ve done it in the past, doesn’t allow them a free pass, such as John Henry’s comment, ‘small potatoes’.

    If the USCCB wants to be taken more seriously they need to get their ‘allegedly’ devout Catholics like John Carr OUT of pro-abortion organizations and place Catholics without, as Jay says, a ‘conflict of interest’.

    Thank you for your comments, I’m learning a lot on how to report such news.

  • Dennis

    Yes, that was established above about Gregory/Leo. Often my fingers will mix them up when typing — but the point behind it still stands. Thankfully, I know I’m not impeccable nor infallible!

  • Tito, the guys you reference have no reason to be ashamed of themselves, anymore than does anyone who notes that other journalists & commentators occasionally make generalizations and inaccurate statements.

  • Chris,

    There is no evidence of inaccuracy.

    If Nate could name what was inaccurate instead of making things up I can see your point.

    On the rest, I understand what you’re saying.

  • Pingback: The Many Scandals of the USCCB « The American Catholic
  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content behind encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests along with their progressive laity can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • Darlene

    So basically, you are telling me you are still a Protestant, and the reason why you didn’t convert is because you are a Protestant? Big deal.

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  • Henry,

    No, I am not a Protestant. It’s easy to assume things in a forum like this where face-to-face, in person dialogue is absent.

    Protestant evangelicalism has many problems, one of which is that they (for the most part) ignore the creeds and councils of the first millenia.

    So, I came to the conclusion that Protestantism is a schism from a schism and will continue to split and divide. Sola Scriptura is not a unifying force within Protestantism, but a disunifying force. Hope that clarifies things.

    As far as my emphatic, blunt post, I understand that it will offend Roman Catholics. Offending was not my intent. With that said, the priest with whom I had counsel was very kind, long-suffering, and understanding. Even taking into consideration my original comments, I do not judge the salvation of individual Catholics. That is God’s business.

    If I have sinned in being so bold, forgive me.

  • The USCCB website says that Mary Kay Henry was appointed to a USCCB subcommittee and the USCCB accepted the subcommittee’s findings. Why would the USCCB look to anti-Catholic “experts” like Mary Kay Henry for advice in developing policy?

    Answer: For the same reason they invited Father Thomas Reese and Diana Hayes to speak at their conference last week-end.

    Jesus had something to say about this: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

  • Michael Voris is certainly human, and on rare occasions he may get his facts wrong, but taken as a whole, there is a mountain of evidence against the USCCB. A favorite liberal trick is to suggest that one flaw in the evidence damns all the evidence. I’m not fooled.

  • Nothing has been said here. Absolutely nothing.

    All of you are defending nothing and have nothing concrete to say about anything.

    The fact is you can not vote for a man who kills babies, I’d like to see you explain that when you come face to face with your creator. Can’t do it.

    The fact is, you can not give money to death programs from unsuspecting pew sitters – its illegal as well as totally against what Jesus commanded of us.

    Who cares who supports John Carr? It’s irrelevant? If the man has put any support into anti-God programs he is out.

    The Jews (many) did it wrong and so are the Catholics (many). You don’t reject the sacraments because the gatekeepers are corrupt. God said to St. Teresa of Avila “I put myself in the hands of thy enemies for your sake!” If you reject the commandments and the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church through those sacraments – then you hold man up as God.

    Don’t give money if you don’t know where the money is going. Put your money in areas you know are deserving of it. Don’t vote for the slaughter of innocence. Don’t keep quite when a priest is an idiot or a Bishop is a nutcase. Fight – and stop trying to defend your need for comfort.

    Newsflash the Church has the enemies within. Fight it – get them out – run them out of town but stop trying to give yourself an excuse to take a nap.

  • My dealings with the USCCB and the two of the organizations it sponsors and funds leads me to believe this organization is more a socialist political group than people working to live up to the Gospels. Obama and far too many of the Democrats in office are sociast with a socialist agenda. I fear that some of the Bishops may have been sucked into the false notion that socialism serves the needs of the poor. SOcialism brings the entire society down to the level of the laziest. Socialism depleats to will and ability of the society to provide for all.

  • WayneK,

    It is quite apparent in Europe today. France is turning into an economic basket case with gov’t unions striking each day preventing Sarkozy from instituting well needed reforms.

    It’s a slow creep towards totalitarianism.

  • MIchael Voris and Simon J. Rafe practice censorship of
    anyone who does not accept their messages on face value. That leads me to believe they are fake critics
    seeking to marginalize rather than serve any issue.

  • I believe they love their faith and don’t like it when bishops fail in their duty to feed their sheep.

    Instead they hide behind man-made bureaucracies hoping that difficult issues that don’t adhere to their Democratic Party Catholic leanings would just go away.

  • Archbishoip Raymond Burke was well known for “speaking out”. In an article for Time online, Amy Sullivan (Priests Spar Over What it Means to Be Catholic) alludes to the fact of his removal by the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. In particular, the article states that because of a “calming down” of the anti-abortion rhetoric, the president was elected. In fact, I can tell you that here in St. Louis, the archbishop who replaced Burke (Carlson) silenced the Latin rite Church (St. Francis De Sales) from speaking out against abortion from the pulpit.

  • D Paul,
    That surprises me greatly. I wonder whether the “silencing” actually referred to exhortations on who to vote for or not vote for, which is a violation of federal tax law. Under federal tax law churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations may receive contributions on a tax deductible basis only if they refrain from political or partisan behavior. Within much more relaxed constraints they normally can engage in legislative or policy behavior. Telling a congregation that it is important to vote for candidates who are opposed to abortion is fine (even if somewhat simplistic from a Catholic perspective), but a minister may not tell his congregation to vote for X or against Y, at least without losing the right to receive contributions on a tax deductible basis. I’d be very surprised if AB Carlson told the priest at SFdS that he could not speak out against abortion from the pulpit. If true, that really would be quite scandalous, and shocking given that AB Carlson is among the bishops who criticized ND for awarding pro-abort Obama an honorary degree.

USCCB and John Carr In Denial

Wednesday, February 3, AD 2010

After the breaking news that showed direct links between John Carr, a top executive of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with pro-abortion groups dating back 30 years, John Carr has denied any wrong doing.

Below watch the full eight minutes for the most current update of this USCCB scandal on RealCatholicTV.com‘s Daily Catholic News Roundup and The VortexVic Faust and Michael Voris will report how both the USCCB and the pro-abortion group scrubbed their websites simultaneously to hide any connection they had with each other plus much more.

Continue reading...

10 Responses to USCCB and John Carr In Denial

  • Msgr. George Kelly pointed out decades ago that the weakness of the Church in the U.S. is a weakness of the bishops – their refusal to be active bishops who actually bishop. They have allowed their dioceses to be run by their bureaucracies. They are afraid of the orders of nuns and priests and of college presidents [who seem envious of the bishops].

    Now the chickens have come home to roost. The inability of the bishops to face up – and immediately – to complaints of sexual abuse has cost dearly in financial terms. But the cost has been worse in spiritual terms. How can we trust our bishops who seem spineless? Consider the refusal of Bishop Morin even to countenance that he may be wrong in his support of the CCHD and the CCC. There is said to be a crisis of vocation to the priesthood. But who would want to submit to orders from the cowardly?

  • Not to mention Harry Forbes continuing to give glowing movie reviews to anti-Catholic films under the USCCB banner:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/feb/08020111.html

    He’s still there:

    http://www.usccb.org/comm/source/background051608.shtml#forbes

    Sad.

  • I think we have to be cautious to lay the blame solely on the bishops. I suspect that some of them are complicit; however, many are simply saddled with other functions and are failing only to supervise petty bureaucrats. Also, many have displayed poor judgment but they aren’t infallible and neither are we. When a mistake is made, it needs to be corrected – not hidden. I wouldn’t want to be a bishop who willfully allowed this when all our sins are made known to all. Ouch!

    I state this because I get the feeling that many people perceive any criticism of the USCCB as an attack on the bishops. The USCCB is a Behemoth that is often not run by the bishops. In my opinion this is why the USCCB is useless. Apparently it is also corrupt. Attacking the USCCB is not an attack on bishops, it is an attack on a collective body that seems to have a life of its own.

    I also notice Carr stated that he did not know about an organization that promoted abortion AND homosexuality. Why didn’t he say OR? Could it be that different organizations promoted abortion and homosexuality? That would make his statement true. Unless it is the same organization that promotes both evils – then he wasn’t lying. He was misleading and sly like a serpent. I pray that this man isn’t a Sodomite – for the sake of his soul.

    Thanks for keeping us posted Tito – this is a big deal. The light exposes evil. Keep shining it.

    I smell more smoke.

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  • AK,

    Absolutely right.

    It is the USCCB as a whole that is the issue, not individual bishops.

    But the spotlight will be placed on bishops that are directly linked to the CCHD and CCC that continue to mendaciously defend this cooperation with evil.

  • Will there be any expose on the people who keep pushing big business insurance, and the insurance promotion of abortion for the sake of money?

  • Yes, one hopes so. Such is the nature of the human species. Business, govet. and Bishops error.

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  • Thanks for keeping us posted Tito – this is a big deal. The light exposes evil. Keep shining it.

    I smell more smoke.

    So John Carr is now an “unfaithful Catholic” using the cover of social justice to subvert the Church so beloved of REAL Catholics like Michael Voris, S.T.B.???? Hey, guys, that’s not smoke you’re smelling.

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25 Responses to Social Doctrine is Ours… Let's Take it Back!

  • I support the complete dissolution of the CCHD. The money could be used to help save Catholic schools from closing instead of funding socialist and anti-Catholic organizations that promote class warfare and hate.

  • In other words you disagree completely, Tito? 🙂

    Seriously, though: I happen to think that *everything* is redeemable/reformable, even CCHD. And as I argue, the idea — seeking to address poverty in a systemic & structural manner — is worth fighting for.

  • It’s worth fighting for, through Catholic organizations.

    I don’t like giving our money to anti-Catholic organizations that in the end would persecute us if given the chance.

  • I don’t either, which is why I support reforming CCHD, including ditching the ban on giving to Catholic entities.

  • I don’t know enough about addressing poverty through a systemic and structural manner, but I do trust our faith in doing what is needed in this area.

    The CCHD is completely incompetent and irrelevant to this task as much as the USCCB is (but that’s for another day).

    Let’s scuttle them altogether and come back with a new plan under a new committee in executing this. The CCHD is infested with self-avowed communists (Ralph McCloud) and leftist bishops that could give a damn about our faith unless it promotes social revolution (I am speaking in regards to Bishop Morin).

    Kick the bums out.

  • …promote class warfare and hate.

    Tito – you nailed it.

  • leftist bishops that could give a damn about our faith unless it promotes social revolution (I am speaking in regards to Bishop Morin).

    What are you referring to, Tito?

  • Chris,

    Bishop Roger Morin.

    His continued defense of the indefensible.

    After mountains of evidence showing that some of the programs funded by CCHD are anti-Catholic, he continues to deny that they aren’t.

    He lies through his teeth.

  • People who donate to the CCHD do so willingly, and partly because they know the campaign is about “human development.” (The other part if obedience to the envelope in their box.)

    Catholic catechesis is another fine opportunity to offer one’s material resources. And if such donations are made to students who are primarily poor, then that would be in keeping with the principle.

    However, the failure of Catholic schools is not a problem that can be fixed necessarily with money.

    The problems, real or perceived, of CCHD are also not going to be fixed by a drumbeat of insult, however couched in fact-checking rhetoric. People will give to the CCHD this weekend, and some will give more knowing others are on the warpath against it.

    Talking louder and more often does not seem to be convincing either bishops or CCHD leadership. Indeed, many high-profile conservative bishops have spoken in favor of CCHD.

    Giving to CCHD or not is a prudential issue. But it has the support of a large number of bishops. It would seem that CCHD’s most vehement detractors are practicing a variation of cafeteria Catholicism here. It is one thing to investigate the CCHD and its beneficiaries. Another to withhold one’s own money. Another to urge others not to donate. And entirely another to call a bishop a liar.

    Is this line of criticism effective or realistic?

  • “addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level is both necessary and thoroughly Catholic, ”

    I know the answer is not simple, but what does this mean? Does this mean Catholics are morally obligated to argue for government to redistribute wealth and provide social services?

    Is Catholic Social teaching a set of moral principles to inform politics or is it more than that?

  • Todd,

    It shines a light on a depraved process inside a decrepit organization.

    Because our bishops are beholden to no one and when they ignore charitable approaches to resolving the issue, they leave no room for discussion.

    Hence why I posted about it.

    Believe me, if my bishop would have listened to what I had to say and taken action I wouldn’t have posted this at all.

    And yes, this line of criticism is effective.

    Just because it makes you and others uncomfortable doesn’t make donating money to the CCHD right.

  • It strikes me that one of the additional sources of controversy surrounding “addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level” is that those with progressive and conservative dispositions will probably see what that would mean in very different ways.

    Painting in very broad strokes, conservatives tend to think that if people are given an education, opportunity, and a strong work ethic, that they will generally be able to improve things on their own, and at most will need direct help when they run into misfortunes.

    Progressives, on the other hand, often seem to think that people are already doing everything they could themselves be doing, and that what’s needed in order to improve their condition is for someone to come in and raise awareness so that the government will give them things or ordain that they will be paid more for the same work, etc.

    This doubtless results in a lot of difference over what a structural program that would assist those in poverty would actually look like. It also probably accounts for the fact that conservatives index more heavily towards liking direct aid for people currently in desperate circumstances — because they assume that once people in poverty have received some help to get back on their feet, that they’ll go and improve their overall condition themselves. I’ve often heard progressives dismiss such direct help as enabling poverty to continue — which probably makes sense if you assume that people are fundamentally incapable of improving their own conditions no matter what they do.

  • Tito, I wouldn’t interpret my stance here as discomfort. I’m a critic, and an unconventional one at that.

  • Echoing part of Darwin’s comment, I’d note — perhaps responding at least in part to Zach’s question — that “addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level” is not synonymous with calling for help from the government, let alone the feds. *Can* it mean that? Sure. Does it *have* to mean that? No.

    I subscribe to the theory that politics is downstream from culture… while there is certainly a feedback loop, culture is primary. So when I speak of addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level, I’m thinking first about efforts to change the culture of the local community, at the level of the local community. Darwin’s strokes are a bit overly broad for me (and he acknowledged their breadth)… I think there it’s thoroughly conservative to try to address the cultural underpinnings of poverty, and that’s what I’d like to see the CCHD do.

    Tito, the fact that Bishop Morin appears somewhat obtuse with regard to what CCHD funds in no way makes him a leftist who promotes social revolution.

  • CCHD is not reformable. It is not a person. It is a half-baked socialist idea that infiltrated the Church along with a great deal of other smoke from Hell.

    Human Development is a big theme, maybe the biggest, in the Pope’s most recent encyclical and it does not mean anything close to what CCHD does. CCHD is a dehumanizing and government-promoting endeavor masked with Catholic-sounding words that are used in a socialist context.

    A Catholic organization that is under the direction of the Church must be concerned with the salvation of souls before any other mission including feeding the poor. As a lay Catholic I am called to take care of all I come in contact with as I would Christ. The Church is not called to that to the same degree – the Church is called to save souls first. I can’t save a soul but I can feed a poor person – and I should be a good Cahtolic witness while I am at it.

    CCHD does none of these things. Time for it to die.

  • How is CCHD’s mission socialist, Knight? Why is it irreformable?

    Listen, the whole point of the post was to talk about the idea of development, not the way in which one organization has failed to promote human development worthily.

    I’d challenge your ecclesiology in the 3rd ‘graph, Knight… you are a part of the Church, of course, and as laymen we have a particular responsibility to carry out the mission of the Church, in a great many variety of ways. To refer to the Church as an entity separate from us is problematic… it leads to conclusions such as your charitable work is not the Church’s.

    I can’t stand the errors of CCHD more than anyone else, but I think it’s too soon to be talking the nuclear option.

  • It was set up on the Saul Alinksy radical model to fund non-Catholic social(ist) organizations.

    Why bother reforming it? We have many other better models to delivery Charity and Truth and stay true to Church teaching.

    Chris, we are members of the body of Christ, so yes, we are Church; however, a bishop can celebrate Mass and I cannot; a priest can hear confessions and I cannot. We are one church but we have different functions. It is time for Bishops to stick with pastoral care, administration of the Sacraments and informing our consciences in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Leave the community organizing to the proper ilk that are predisposed to that sort of thing.

  • “addressing poverty at a systemic & structural level is both necessary and thoroughly Catholic”

    I know the answer is not simple, but what does this mean? Does this mean Catholics are morally obligated to argue for government to redistribute wealth and provide social services?–Zach (12:54 pm)

    I’m suspicious of the true agenda of those who spout Leftist code phrases such as the one Zach identified. The basic moral instruction the Church should be giving to one and all is most proper and most effective way to address virtually all genuine “systemic and structural” poverty there is in the United States today.

    Envy (the practical motive of any leveller) and enabling destructively immoral behavior aren’t part of “the Church’s social teaching.”

  • AK has been swallowing talking points from too many sources. In one breath, he complains about “government-promoting endeavor” and in another “Saul Alinksy radical model (of) social(ist) organizations.”

    Yet again, we have an emphasis on charity to the exclusion of justice. Not to mention a seeming ignorance of Matthew 25.

    I don’t see CCHD going away any time soon. What happens to the Catholic Right is they’re stuck with it? Just another seasonal Angry Event.

  • Todd,

    I appreciate the criticism. It certainly helps in forming ideas. Please help me a little more. It seems that you think that ‘government-promoting endeavor’ and ‘Alinsky radical model’ are incompatible. Am I right? If so, why? I see them as one and the same dehumanizing force – please help me clarify your thoughts. I am not suggesting that you are wrong but I can’t see a reason to agree with you.

    Charity and Justice are also not mutually exclusive. I hope I did not suggest that. Charity, properly understood is Love. Justice is also Love, love of God and in that love our neighbor. I owe God justice by observing the precepts and commandments of His religion. I owe justice to my fellow man by the same mechanism.

    Charity can be taking care of the acute needs of the poor and Justice can be helping them solve the reason for their poverty. I am confident that faithful Catholics agree on that. Where we may disagree is on the means of how to achieve those noble goals. The Church doesn’t tell us how, and if she did she would not be infallible becuase the method is not a matter of faith or morals – the goal is.

    I am not in disagreement with the stated intention of CCHD. I am in disagreement with the means to that stated intention and also the evidence that in practice CCHD as worked to achieve the opposite ends.

  • ok, Knight, I’ll bite.

    Are you saying that the CCHD’s problem includes government? I can’t say I’ve followed the list of organization grants carefully, but I didn’t see any government agency on the list in my diocese.

    Our government is much more beholden to the excesses of capitalism and Big Bidness than socialism.

    I agree with you there are many dehumanizing forces in the world. They are much more often due to extremism that the particulars of philosophy. By themselves, socialism, federalism, capitalism, or most any other philosophy has good points rooted in what some people think to be a better way to live. The problem is when the philosophy becomes the idol and God is set aside.

  • Todd,

    It was not a debating snare. No need to bite. I think we are coming closer to some agreement.

    I don’t think CCHD gave any government agency money directly; however, many of the groups that received CCHD money also recieve government money. Unlike USCCB, the money from the government doesn’t come without strings (to be clear I think Catholic money should come with strings – strings that require witness to the Gospel). This effectively places our material charity in organizations with a secular-government slant, which renders the material charity devoid of true Charity.

    We also agree that our government is beholden to Big Bidness; however, we disagree that it is beholden to the excess of capitalism (I take you to mean free market capitalism). Greed is not inherant in capitalism; greed is inherent in fallen humans. The problem is we are taught to look at capitalism and socialism as oppsities, when in fact they are twin sisters. Socialism approaches economic and eventually total control from the angle of ‘social justice’ and ‘class struggle’. Capitalism approaches from the ‘market’ perspective. Both are lies.

    Socialism seeks to use social influence from the masses by promoting envy and coveting to wrest control from the ‘merchant class’ and capitalism seeks to use corporate consolidation (monopoly, duopoly) to wrest control from the ‘merhcant class’. The means both systems use is government coercion and the ends will be the same: Absolutism, either oligarchy or dictatorship. Keep in mind Russia’s errors would not have been possible without support from wealthy Western industrialists.

    In that case their is no room for charity or justice.

    We need to begin to approach our ‘systemic’ concerns from the perspective of true, authentic Charity (Caritas, which is Love) at the most reduced level: person to person and from there up and out respecting subsidiarity. This keeps Charity on the level of each of us loving our neigbor in Truth and also subsidiarity is more likely to promote Justice than consolidated power and decision making do.

    Authentic Human Development as expressed by the Church and most recently Papa Bene is only possible on the human level where in the institutions are subject to the human person rather than the human cog subject to the institutional machine.

    Like I said, we can fall into the quagmire of partisan and ideological rhetoric (I am very guilty of that) or we can transend and find authentic ways to promote the general welfare, the common good properly understood in light of Truth, since we have the same ends in mind: The Kingdom of Heaven. What we must remember is that we cannot seperate the means from the ends. We need to use His means to seek His ends becuase fallen human means and fallen human ends are hellish.

  • I’m for the nuclear option.

    I refuse to wait until my grandchildren get a corrective on CCHD.

    By then we’ll probably be the United Socialist States of America and that isn’t going to happen until they pull my gun away from my dead hands!

  • Chris,

    Thank you for the response – very helpful for me.

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Res et Explicatio for AD 11-9-2009

Monday, November 9, AD 2009

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

reagan pope john paul ii

1. Today is the twenty year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin WallPope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher all played pivotal roles in bringing down Communism and discredited all socialistic and atheistic systems the world over.  Pope John Paul II played the most important role of the three, providing the moral backbone that is needed when confronting these manifestations of evil.

Newt Gingrich, Callista Gingrich, and Vince Haley wrote a timely article concerning this important anniversary titled The Victory of the Cross: How spiritual renewal helped bring down the Berlin Wall.  For this article click here.

2. Dave Hartline has already posted three articles here with us.  His latest is titled, Following the 2009 Election Results which Way is the Tide Turning toward Truth or Relativism?

For the article click here.

For all of Dave Hartline’s articles on The American Catholic click here.

3. Catholic Culture has changed their look again.  Unlike the last time I mentioned their new look, I have to say it is a major improvement.  It’s much easier to find Diogenes of Off the Record (under Commentary).  Blue has replaced what I think was the color pink as it’s primary color and the fonts are much stronger.

For the Catholic Culture link click here.

For Diogenes, which is under Commentary, click here.

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2 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 11-9-2009

Grassroots Push for Democrats for Life

Sunday, June 21, AD 2009

Here is a blog I wrote for fladems4life.org- this is the website for Florida Democrats for Life organization- If you are a Democrat and pro-life you should seriously consider joining the National and State chapters for Democrats for Life. There is a lot of freedom for you to bring your ideals and ideas into these growing organizations. I believe it is mostly a waste of time trying to turn Democrats into Republicans or vice versa- there is a philosophy of governance that pulls deeper than individual issues- even big issues like abortion.

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30 Responses to Grassroots Push for Democrats for Life

  • Tim,

    As always, we are in agreement. Though lately I have been wondering if perhpas, as well, conservatives might be won over to the Catholic economic and political perspective.

    Perhaps we need a movement on both sides of the spectrum – one which encourages Democrats to accept pro-life, pro-family values, and one which encourages Republicans to embrace new and better economic ideas. Then we might meet in the middle and shift the whole center of gravity, away from liberalism in its economic and cultural forms, and towards a truly communitarian vision in which the state plays a supporting role (as opposed to no role at all, or too great a role).

  • I somehow found my way here after reading an article about another Christian pro-test about something irrelevant to the mainstream. My instinct is to not waste my time on this, but here it is…STOP MAKING DEMOCRATS OUT TO BE ANTI-FAMILY…just some of us believe that government has NO PLACE IN A WOMAN’S UTERUS…and certainly some middle aged, middle income white MAN has no business pushing for legislation that effect women…pro-choice is not the same thing as pro-abortion. Everyone wants less abortions happening. Only the Catholics also want no birth control, no sex education…gosh, that will work well for preventing unwanted pregnancies…and “family values?”…look at the personal lives of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Riley, Gingrich, the list goes on…hypocrites on ‘family values.’ I teach Sunday school, I pray and I am curious about my faith…but I will be damned to allow the religious right to continue to make abortion a political issue. Keep the church out of my government and I will keep the government out of my church. The Catholic church (and many Catholics) scare me more then any other religious group. So please, do not try to patronize Democrats with this issue. We know the truth…Republicans use it to get single issue voters…it is highly effective. Let the Democrats keep fighting for urgent things that effect the already living…things like energy efficiency, global warming, poverty, urban plight, labor, and health care…

  • Pro-Family Democrat,

    You have no right to tell us what we can and cannot do as Catholics we have freedom of speech.

    You confuse establishing the Church as the official church of the United States to Catholics speaking up about their values. Just as you speak up about your right to kill children in the womb.

  • Tito…

    Again, this time slower for you…no one here is pro “killing children in the womb”….(but those are choice emotional words, well done)…I am not pro-abortion…a concept that seems to be void to most ‘pro-lifers’…if you all would slightly bend to include PREVENTION into your cause we could probably work for a common good…but you are limited in your fight.

    Again…keep your church out of my government and I will keep the government out of your church…you can’t have to both ways. You should be very scared to continue to blur the lines…church-led government like Iran…or Government led church, like Hitler’s Germany and cold war Eastern Europe…are you really wanting to be like that?

  • Joe,

    Yea- it’s strange fighting against sexual liberalism and economic neo-liberalism simultaneously- it puts you on the ‘outs’ with both major political forces in this country anyway. I was being a little polemical about how it is easier to convert to pro-life than to change party affiliation- it did work that way for me though. Even though I hold firm to being a Democrat and working within that party, I don’t vote for the party so much as the candidate- though there are times when I haven’t done the necessary homework and all I have facing me in the ballot box is a name and a party affiliation- for local elections the abortion issue is pretty moot. But philosophically, I can see the Democratic Party taking abortion out at the national level if it gets it’s act together, and combine that natural law legal move with the necessary social program and safety net investments to make sure women are not going to face undue hardships in seeing their children through to birth at minimum.

    One other side note- I agree with Ralph Nadar about how the Dems have in many ways embraced the Republican neo-liberal economics- though both parties have gone in for dubious massive bail-outs for the large investor class- see Jeff Faux’s book The Global Class War- for info on how Clinton began the sell-out of prior Democratic party inclinations on economics. Just because I see a major role for government in such things as directing economic outcomes- I don’t go in for all of the Greenspan/Bush/Obama bail-outs of dubious banking and investment interests- economics is not a zero-sum game, you don’t just print money up to bail out the big boys- you do have to get resources moving with fixed currency exchanges and investments like the Marshall plan and/or Manhattan Projects for morally positive outcomes. I will post my campaign column on “Common good, Common-sense Economics” at a later time.

  • Baby Killing Democrat,

    Your argument sounds like I’m against slavery but I don’t want to push my views of being anti-slavery on others.

    Also I have a right to speak my values, so keep your anti-Catholic views out of the public forum.

    Islam and Catholicism are different. It’s also a straw man argument. You, like many democrats, dwell in relativism and think all religions are the same.

    Just as Hitler came to power pushing socialism, Obama is very similar. Just as Hitler, Obama is a great public speaker. Just like Hitler’s thugs, ACORN rigged the votes in strategic states. Just like the Brownshirts (who were militant homosexuals) the Black Panthers intimidated voterr. (two can play the “Hitler-card”).

    When you start drawing analogies such as you have, you know you’re losing the argument.

    If you want to prevent the killing of innocent children in the womb, then outlaw it.

  • Tito,

    your last rant is what makes me think you all are loony…just more proof…so cool, thanks…

    and when you put Acorn, Obama, Hitler and what have into your analogy…your not just losing an argument…your losing your mind.

    My guess is..it’s been awhile since you have been laid…homophobic AND a conspiracy theorist…mix in neo-nazi pro-lifer…been awhile since you had a date I bet.

    You keep on that crusade of yours…good luck. hahaha…

    I need to go wake my baby from his nap…and go meet my family at the pool for some family time…that crazy thing that us anti family Democrats writhe from…hahahaha

    you see, freak? I didn’t “kill my babies”….I just waited to have them when I was ready…thanks to being educated and informed about how babies are made…

    may the Dear Lord forgive you for being such an intolerant and bigoted ass…

  • oh one more thing Tito

    “If you want to prevent the killing of innocent children in the womb, then outlaw it”

    you are so sadly misinformed and ignorant…wow.

    We should do this with so many things…let’s start with murder. That should be illegal…then it would finally not be a problem…drunk driving, that’s another one…mmmm….we are on to something here, Tito!…how about drug use? Excellent…that IS a pesky problem. And while we are at it, how about robbery, home invasion…man, if we just made them illegal…gosh, we should have done this years ago!!!

    Excellent thought process Einstein…

  • While I may not agree with precisely the way Tito addressed you, you did say…

    “just some of us believe that government has NO PLACE IN A WOMAN’S UTERUS”

    And some of us believe that every human being, regardless of his or her location, has a right to exist. It is that simple.

    If I believed that it wasn’t a human life inside a woman’s uterus, I wouldn’t care about it. If the unborn human being has no value, then abortion should be legal.

    If the unborn human being does have value, then nothing can justify abortion. It is really that simple. The government has every right to protect human life. Seeing as how 99% of pro-lifers don’t care about the 99% of medical procedures that don’t involve killing a human being, it is simply false to make this a women’s issue.

    Even moreso in that I think men should be held accountable as well. Please don’t make us out to be misogynistic. This is about parental obligation, not women’s rights. No one has a right to neglect, abuse, or murder their child, man or woman.

  • Baby Killing Democrat,

    Odd that you bring up Hitler then mock me for mocking you.

    Again, it is God that you are angry at, you’re just a troll throwing vitriol at anyone that doesn’t adhere to your disordered view on life.

    I’ll pray for you.

  • I have found myself in the Lion’s Den…so I ask you. You middle aged men who fight for the unborn…what have you done to help the BORN? Have you adopted an unwanted child? Do you want to raise a minority child born to a drug addicted mother? Please do, it would make your argument credible. Do you volunteer at county hospitals to rock the newborn, who has been abandoned while it detoxes from meth? Do you work in the foster care system to give those children an equal chance in the world? Do you support social systems that provide a family with the LIFE LONG support they will need? Not short term…”here are some bottles, diapers and a winter coat…good luck.” WHAT DO YOU DO to help those children? Those children born, here and now…breathing, living, suffering, hurting, hungry and unwanted. Do you help them? I’m betting on ‘NO’

    And again I say to you…prevention is the key. Stop thinking abstinence. Get out of the box. I am NOT a sexual libertarian…or whatever you called Democrats…the most offensive, sexually degrading shows I have seen are on FOX…the “values channel.” Republicans, Catholics, Christians, pro-lifers…you do not have the moral authority. I am not a “baby killer” because I want to see prevented pregnancies for women that do not want to yet be mothers.

    You must separate the radical pro-life movement and include prevention and education.

    But if abortion were to be illegal…the Republicans will lose too much of their base…they know it. It will never change. Bush didn’t change a thing…why? Because you all came back and voted for him again.

    Patronizing your vote.

    good luck in your fight to get Dems on board. Single issue voters are pathetic. If they would give up all the important issues we are working on, so they can go hold up a sign and shout at young girls…good riddance…

    I hear the pitter patter of my son’s feet…he wants to join his siblings at the pool…

    Namaste

  • Does pro family include the prenatal?

  • Pro-abort Troll, I have three kids, including an autistic son, so don’t rant to me about the demands of parenthood, my wife and I have lived them. I have been active in the pro-life movement since 1973. For the last decade I have been on the board of the crisis pregnancy center in my county that gives assistance to women dealing with problem pregnancies. I am currently president of the board. Many of these women we help eventually come back to volunteer with our organization to help other women. We also have an outreach to post-abortive women to help them heal from the bitter despair often engendered from a “safe, legal abortion.” In short I have done what I can to help women in bad situations as a result of pregnancy and abortion. Do I have all the answers to the complex social problem of unwanted pregnancies? I do not. But I do know that killing the child is not a solution, and that the law must protect unborn children as it does born children, if we are to have any pretense of being a civilized society that values human life.

  • Pro-Death Democrat,

    No one here made any claims to “Fox” being the values channel. Most of us don’t even watch tv for that matter. We like to read books mostly.

    I am a board member and a volunteer to a crisis pregnancy center and many more other post-natal care facilities. In addition I pray every day for the end of killing babies as well as praying in front of baby killing facilities such as Planned Parenthood.

    I am a young man in my thirties, but I am old relative to the movement since most of my colleagues are toddlers all the way up to college students who pray with me in front of abortion mills, volunteer with many pro-life organizations that helps pregnant moms and abstinence programs.

    I don’t believe in killing innocent unborn babies and will work until my dying days for the end to the mass slaughter of babies, which is the greatest civil rights challenge in our nations history.

  • Wow- I go out for ice cream and the playground with the family and look what happens to my father’s day blog entry!!

    Well all I can say is that while I am a middle-aged man, my chief pro-life teachers in life have been women. I didn’t just become Catholic and then receive my marching orders from the Pope to become anti-abortion. I had enough life experiences to teach me the true nature of abortion to lead me to oppose abortion with or without a religious conversion. As an update, my wife was one who helped me clear the final hurdles about abortion- she is the one who told me that the only women she can understand would still be pro-choice on abortion are women who have not had children. She is the one who has told me before the births of our children, she is the one who made me promise that no matter what goes down, if there comes a point where there is a choice to be made between her life or the baby she has only seen on ultrasound- go with the baby always! Now I know I am only a middle-aged male, but these kind of witnesses from my female wife have made a deep impact. Maybe the claim will be made that my wife is a self-loathing female- well that logic would follow anyone who opposes a U.S. war and speaks out negatively. Maybe only active duty service men and women should be able to participate in the political debates concerning whether the country should go to war or not.

    I’m not buying it. Now I agree with the need for investments in all kinds of pregnant women/children/family social helps, which is why I am pushing for the Pregnant Women Support Act, it deals with a lot of the root causes of abortion- so don’t paint the pro-lifers with too broad of a brush as being insensitive to women and children already born. We may have strong disagreements on the value of contraception, but there are a host of other ways to address many of the same root causes- shall we work together on those, or just continue to issue angry emails and look upon our opposites as pure bad guys. I personally disagree with many things that mainstream liberals and conservatives put forth, but I also find room for common ground, and I am willing to work on that, even as I keep on trucking with my full list of ideals, pushing the system as is my right to do in a free society.

    I’m not sure that non-religious persons would embrace my way of loving the women in my life- but I have a facebook cause entitled “Dads Protecting Daughters” which shows more of the politics of my heartfelt love and devotion to my female children- girls I would die a thousand painful deaths over to save- the content of my love may be in some ways mistaken, but do not mistake my intent- I love the women in my life, and I do not believe that supporting abortion rights is any way to say I love you to any woman. That’s my humble but strong opinion.

  • This guy gives us yet another opportunity to look at how the pro-choice movement makes a complete mockery out of logic.

    “You middle aged men who fight for the unborn…what have you done to help the BORN?”

    Why would this have any bearing on the argument? Something is either true or it is not. What the person proclaiming that truth does on their spare time has no relevance. The answer to the question may well be, ‘absolutely nothing’. So what? Go back to logic 101. 1+1 = 2 even if Hitler says so. The sky is blue even if Stalin says so. Truth claims have to be evaluated independently of the person making the claim.

    “Do you support social systems that provide a family with the LIFE LONG support they will need?”

    I can’t speak for the others, but I do, as a good in itself. But again it is irrelevant. With or without those systems, either abortion is murder or it isn’t. If it is, it is unjustifiable. If it isn’t, then who cares if there is a system in place?

    “And again I say to you…prevention is the key. Stop thinking abstinence. Get out of the box.”

    This is simply not about abstinence. There are plenty of married people having morally licit sexual relations who nonetheless seek out the services of the abortionist. This is about parental obligation. To make it all about sex reduces the unborn child to nothing else but a consequence of sex. It is that, but it is also more. It is a child of two parents and an independent human being.

    That said, birth control does not prevent abortion. It encourages abortion. It creates a mentality and a lifestyle of sex without consequences, but it only has to fail ONCE, people only have to forget to use it ONCE for that false reality to implode. Then people are left completely unprepared for the consequences, and the less prepared people are, the more likely they are to abort.

    “the most offensive, sexually degrading shows I have seen are on FOX…the “values channel.”

    True, but again, irrelevant.

    “I am not a “baby killer” because I want to see prevented pregnancies for women that do not want to yet be mothers.”

    We all know what a pregnancy is, and what you mean by ‘prevented’.

    A woman isn’t pregnant with a kidney or a spleen, but an unborn child, a unique individual with its own genetic code and potential in life. The only way to ‘prevent’ it from being born is to kill it. So, we have a child, and we have killing. Making it sound political or clinical doesn’t change what it is.

  • Tim, as a pro-life Democrat, I obviously agree.

    If I lived in Florida, I would strongly urge you to run for re-election and I would work for your campaign.

    Joe, this is yet another reason as to why we should run on the same ticket. I’d be willing to be the Vice President for 8 years. So that I can succeed you for another 8 and be in the White House for 16 years (diabolical laughter).

  • Normally liberal Democrats are all in favor of protecting groups of people who are seen as vulnerable, powerless, or discriminated against, particularly women and racial minorities. Wouldn’t it be perfectly logical for them to regard the unborn as an oppressed class deserving of protection as well?

    I realize, of course, that the main reason liberals seem to have a blind spot with regard to the unborn is their insistence upon absolute sexual freedom. However, most liberals don’t seem to have a problem restricting the “freedom” of an employer to sexually harass or intimidate workers, or the “freedom” of pedophiles to access child porn, so even they acknowledge that there are SOME limits on sexual freedom.

  • I think “Pro-family Democrat” is the reason many of us see making the Democratic party pro-life as a practical impossibility.

  • Phillip raises an excellent point. I have paid dues to Dems for Life, but even on the local level, pro-life voices are made VERY unwelcome at Democratic Party gatherings. The (God help us) “Pro-family Democrat” types treat respect for life as hate speech; it’s hard to imagine any common ground with them.

  • I am registered as an independent, but I would not have any qualms voting for a pro-life Democrat. I would even volunteer for a pro-life Democrat and actively participate for Democrats for Life.

    In fact I have done those three things in the past, but only at the local level.

    This is only the beginning, but we shouldn’t lose faith. Continue working within the Democratic Party to begin a dialogue and eventually a change from their pro-abortion platform.

    With God all things are possible.

  • Here’s the plan guys- I know that strong Republicans are pretty biased against the idea that Democrats can pull themselves together on Life issues because of the current establishment/activist hostility to traditionally religious worldviews- it is natural to suppose that an organization that you disagree with to the core could ever change on something that is nearest to your heart. But, I think that there is much more positive in the classic Democratic model as Elaine describes above- and also I don’t think that “Pro-Family Democrat” represents the mass of Democratic voters. This is KEY.

    I recommend Mark Stricherz’ book – Why The Democrats Are Blue- I plan on doing a brief sketch of the book for a blog entry in the future. The book depicts how secular liberalism came to dominate the upper reaches of the Party by way of legal strategies internal to the Party as the Party Boss system was challenged- there was enough to justify reform on the old boy network, but of course, the wrong type of folks took advantage and led the Party down the drain.

    I take it as a given that there is a very large untapped “market” among rank and file Dems- the type of people who vote Democratic for economic and other meat and potato reasons, but disagree with varying intensities to the social liberalism that comes with that package. As evidence, look at how many states voted as a majority for Obama but then also voted down gay marriage or voted for trad marriage definitions. And even though african-americans and hispanics voted strongly for obama, there are probable majorities among these folks who would love to support traditional morality candidates- but they haven’t had many opportunities.

    I would say that the strategy of Republican Catholics to just continue casting aspertions on minorities for voting Democratic- as if everyone should just fall in line and become overnight Republicans- that is beyond wishful thinking. The fact that many of us feel that the establishment Republican strategy of having an end game of sending abortion back to state legislatures- is not even a worthy pro-life strategy in the first place, is another point to consider.

    Instead of focusing a lot of energy trying to convert Dems over to Repubs, or Repubs over to Dems, I would rather spend time now building up a network of traditional religious voters within the Democratic fold- among those who are Democratic already for reasons I have spoken of many times before. This is why I am addressing myself primarily to fellow Democrats- it is not very helpful for Republicans to jump in with more negativism about how “hopeless” the Democratic Party is- I get it- but I think both major parties are “hopeless” on paper, but God trumps the paper, and I believe that there is a numbers game that is to the favor of transforming the Democratic and Republican parties to be much much more pro-life if only the sleeping giants of traditional religious folks awaken and assert themselves. My role is to try to help organize that within the Democratic fold. I would suggest that religious Republicans focus more on getting the Republican party to put abortion on a much higher shelf than it has in the past. For example if Bush/Cheney had spent half the energy they devoted to the case for invading Iraq on bully pulpiting and pushing the Republican Congress to educate the American people to the facts of Life beginning at Conception, with legislation being passed saying the same, putting the issue in front of the Supreme Court repeatedly- then I don’t think we would be sitting here looking at a very diminished Republican party today.

    But my job here is not to keep beating up on Republicans, I need to focus on my party, and since I believe only a strong two major party strategy against abortion will do the trick- I believe my mission is good, and not self-delusional. If or when I come to see that I am wrong, I would probably go with trying to form a Natural Law/Common Good Party rather than join a Republican Party where I disagree with their core assumptions about the nature of the role of the political community, which results in my even finding too many serious flaws in their approach to abortion that I couldn’t find any true enthusiasm- even though I do vote Republican sometimes- mostly at the national level where I have to admit that while establishment Republicans are lukewarm on abortion, Democrats have bacome ice cold. If we use an analogy from Scripture where the unborn are unconcerned- I see establishment Republicans as the Pontius Pilates’ trying to wash their hands of abortion by sounding like impartial, unemotional originalist judges, while the establishment Dems are more like the Chief Priests who are very actively stirring up the people against the rights of the unborn. Not a pretty choice to make- with few heroes out there in the mainstream.

  • I notice that Elaine Krewer is the only lady who’s commented here, so I figured I’d put my oar in just so PFD doesn’t get the notion this is entirely a hangout for middle-aged men.

    Middle-aged woman, here. Mom of four. Doctrinally conservative Catholic with liturgically eclectic tendencies. Pro-life feminist in the tradition of the nineteenth-century suffragists. Have had a crisis pregnancy. Have volunteered with a Birthright center. Been volunteering with kids for a couple of decades. Make regular contributions to those less fortunate.

    I bear you no ill-will, PFD, but if you’re going to sashay into a combox and post a bunch of inflammatory accusations and rambling rants, you shouldn’t be too surprised if some of the gentlemen reading forget they’re gentlemen.

  • Dear readers-

    Good for you! We need to work hard to end abortion by election of more Pro-Life Democrats who will pass laws in this respect and Pray for those who want abortion and have back alley shops they call offices! God will do his thing!

    Respect,

    Robert L. Jones
    A Blue Dog Democrat
    http://www.democratsforlife.org

  • Is abortion wrong because abortion is anti family, against God’s law, and/or coercive?

  • Student,

    That is part of it. But mostly because it violates the Fifth Commandment of “You shall not kill”, ie, killing innocent babies.

  • This blog post and the comments are an excellent witness to both the Catholic faith and the “pro-life, whole life” doctrine it teaches. Pro-family Democrat, you are in my prayers. Kudos to everyone here who will doubtlessly be called “good and faithful servants” by our heavenly Father some day!

  • Thank you so much for this very interesting post. I am pro-life, but disagree with the Republican party about just about everything else. If anything, I am probably a bit more liberal than the Democratic party on many issues. I feel in such a crisis about this. I like what you wrote about “limited government” verses “limited responsibility” and the importance of the common good.

    I was just talking with my husband–actually in tears–because I have always been political and civic minded and voted since age 18, and yet I feel like I have no one to vote for.

    For the record, I am not Catholic, although I am Christian. And also for the record, I am a woman and a feminist and have been pro-life almost all of my life. But that is not what matters. Sadly, I do think that a lot of liberal men who otherwise might be pro-life are bullied by the more radical elements in the pro-choice movement–are told that they have no right to have an opinion about abortion because they are men, which is irrelevant if abortion is murder.

    Anyway. Sorry to crash your party, but I wanted to say that what you are doing is inspiring.

  • Should God’s laws influence (if not control) government’s laws?

  • From: Lila Cuajunco
    Date: Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 7:03 AM
    Subject: Fwd: FW: Fwd: Fw: OPEN LETTER TO OBAMA
    To: [email protected]

    On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 1:38 AM, Lila Cuajunco wrote:
    Hi Georgia – Thanks for the Open Letter to Obama. I will send it to my
    congressman.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Georgia Froncek
    Date: Sat, Jun 20, 2009 at 1:47 PM
    Subject: Fwd: FW: Fwd: Fw: OPEN LETTER TO OBAMA

    This letter you are about to read was written by a 4th grade teacher
    recently. She even gave the world her telephone and fax numbers. She
    is a brave, bright, PATRIOT! We are in dire need of more true American
    citizens who are proud of OUR United States of America . WAKE UP
    AMERICA . . . Please . . . Before it is too late!

    April 27, 2009

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington , DC 20500

    Mr. Obama:

    I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on
    your recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an
    adequate representative of the United States of America collectively
    or of me personally.

    You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world
    that you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the
    United States of America. You are responsible to the citizens of the
    United States.

    You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth.
    I personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the
    United States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care
    about their status in the world. Sir, what do you think the First
    World War and the Second World War were all about if not the
    consideration of the peoples of Europe ? Are you brain dead ? What do
    you think the Marshall Plan was all about?

    Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century? Where
    do you get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does
    not consider itself a Christian country? Have you not read the
    Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States ?
    This country was founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles
    governing this country, at least until you came along, come directly
    from this heritage. Do you not understand this?

    Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all
    Americans. Our President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the
    king of S Audi Arabia. You don’t show Great Britain , our best and one
    of our oldest allies, the respect they deserve yet you bow down to the
    king of Saudi Arabia. How dare you, sir! How dare you!

    You can’t find the time to visit the graves of our greatest
    generation because you don’t want to offend the Germans but make time
    to visit a mosque in Turkey . You offended our dead and every veteran
    when you give the Germans more respect than the people who saved the
    German people from themselves. What’s the matter with you?

    I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have
    the historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be
    ashamed of yourselves, all of you. You are so self-righteously
    offended by the big bankers and the American automobile manufacturers
    yet do nothing about the real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr.
    Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the
    Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you intend to do about them? Anything? I
    seriously doubt it.

    What about the US . House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses
    to their staff members – on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay
    raises that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House
    aide got a 17% bonus. I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my
    employer.

    You haven’t said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely
    didn’t! Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving
    $210 million in bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that’s $45
    million more than the AIG bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie
    executives have already been awarded $51 million – not a bad take. Who
    authorized that and why haven’t you expressed your outrage at this
    group who are largely responsible for the economic mess we have right
    now.

    You can’t blame ANY of the above on George W. Bush. WHY are you so
    determined to give this country’s dwindling wealth to corrupt
    politicians and your corrupt friends?

    I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and
    not caring about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are
    doing and we are getting increasingly fed up with all of you. I also
    want you to know that I personally find just about everything you do
    and say to be offensive to every one of my sensibilities. I promise
    you that I will work tirelessly to see that you do not get a chance to
    spend two terms destroying my beautiful country.

    Sincerely,
    Every Real American

    P.S. I rarely ask that e-mails be ‘passed around’…………
    PLEASE SEND THIS TO YOUR EMAIL LIST……it’s past time for all
    Americans to wake up!

    Ms Kathleen Lyday
    Fourth Grade Teacher
    Grandview Elementary School
    11470 Hwy. C Hillsboro,
    MO 63050
    (636) 944-3291 Phone
    (636) 944-3870 Fax
    >
    >
    >

4 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community

  • “10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” ”

    I’d say that the warnings about Kingship (Government), are some of the more accurate prophecies in the Bible.

  • Belloc however noted that the president of the U.S. acted as a prince [his word for the executive] and the country was thus spared the corruption and weakness of parliaments.

  • This may be rather more of a libertarian reading than you were thinking of — but one of the things that had always struck me about the list of evils surrounding having a king (which Donald quotes above) is that it underlines the trade off which communities make as they move from a society of direct personal relationships, to one of rulers, to one of laws.

    There is no state of primordial social goodness, in that humans as we know them are fallen creatures drawn to take advantage of others, but in the most basic organizational level of society we see people interacting with each other as people with direct relationships. However, in order to martial the centralized resources to achieve a certain level of power and prestige, a society must establish some sort of ruling power — which in turn is invariably abused to some extent.

    Those weilding power (whether kings or legislatures) are always capable of doing things that increase the common good — but also capable of either bumbling or actively abusing. There is, thus, a constant search for balance, whether to give more power to the ruler[s] so that they may try to improve society, or restrict their power to curtail their ability to harm society.

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

    Gerald Ford

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Monday, February 23, AD 2009

One of the great principles that tends to be ignored in our debates about economics, social justice, and governmental involvement in the lives of the people is solidarity.  We argue about how involved the government should be in our lives, what kinds of safety nets it should provide, and to what extent it should mandate and appropriate in order to provide for the most needy of society.  We argue about how well certain economic theories–capitalism, Keynesian economics, socialism, etc.–work in providing justice, or even providing just shelter and food.  We argue about subsidiarity, and how it should be practiced, and while that touches on solidarity, it doesn’t fully overlap.

One of the arguments about governmental involvement is how the aid provided is cold and distant.  By the time  the welfare check is spat out of the massive, convulsing, bureaucratic mess that is the government, any principle of charity has been rendered flat.  The recipient is a name on the list, judged worthy to receive a handout based upon an entry in a database.  At first this seems like an argument of aesthetics.  If a man receives a welfare check from the government rather than from friends in the community or local charities, he still receives the money he needs to survive.  Yet there is a deeper problem here than merely looking at from whom the money comes, or how much charity exists in the entity delivering assistance.  The continual reliance on the federal government to solve our problems aids in the breakdown of solidarity.

Is it any wonder that we have become so polarized, so factious, so estranged?

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5 Responses to Am I My Brother's Keeper?

  • Great post and I agree with much of it.

    Let me offer this thought though. Often because of the political emotion of the topics there is perhaps a tenedency to think things were better in the good ole days before the big ole Federal Govt came on the scene.

    This is of course is not exactly true. There are still a few people in my state that are alive that were kids in the days of Huey and Earl Long. I am at times floored by the real poverty and devastation so many people were facing. Were there good times ?yes but there are reasons while Huey and Earl were so loved with their massive govt assistance to the poor. For that matter there is a reason in the deep South and the nation FDR was viewed as a patron Saint by many common people for decades.

    So there were real serious flaws

    That being said I think you are on to something. THis country just economic wise is different than it was in 1800. However for many of the problems we face a heatlhy dose of Federalism can still be applied.

    THe communial bonds that you talk about must be reestablished. However you are right it is no easy task. Especially in a world where big families are looked at with scorn

  • Well, I’m not try to assert that the past times were the good ol’ days. Rather, I wanted to paint a picture of how we got to the current dilemma, which I think wasn’t much of a problem (or at least not as much of a problem) in the earlier decades of the 20th century (though I think the 1880’s to the turn of the century some some similar problems). Indeed, past days carried their own problems, their own great struggles. I believe that problems with solidarity have risen and fallen over the centuries, and that currently we’re seeing a drastic collapse of solidarity in our nation.

  • I completely agree. I have seen so many people refuse necessary help because of pride. I try to make people understand that it’s ok to need help sometimes and it’s necessary that we be willing to give that help. Best wishes.

    – Schev

  • I sense a strong impulse toward solidarity in much of the current valuation of non-judgmentalism and inclusivitiy above all else. This is the Freshman Dorm Mentality: Let’s erase our points of difference in the hope that we can all get along. Maybe we end up “getting along” just fine, but ultimately these are superficial bonds — we have many acquaintances but few lifelong friends. Though we still long for it, what we have isn’t solidarity or community, but something much weaker. Erase enough of our differences and all that we have in common is our DNA.

    Even as we try to erase our differences, more behaviors seem to rise to the level of moral categorical imperative. If I have a barbecue in my backyard, will my vegan neighbor ostracize me? I have to worry at every turn not only that I’m being impractical, but that I’m being *immoral.* How can we have solidarity when so few of us share a common view of the summum bonum?

    Maybe that’s the rub: we have a staggering lack of imagination when it comes to our ideas about the common good and what human flourishing means. There is no sense of shared telos that we can all turn to and demonstrate how this action flows to that good. This state of affairs probably follows from many of the historical/social trends that Ryan described. We’ve become atomistic individuals, making choices that are unassailable simply because they’re our own. It’s true that there was no “golden age” or good ol’ days when everyone agreed on everything; but at a minimum there wasn’t a sanctification of all paths no matter how outlandish. It seems for real solidarity and community to exist, there have to be at least a few axioms about ultimate reality and the ends of human striving shared among all persons.

  • I completely agree, Ryan 🙂

Luke Live, Day One

Tuesday, February 17, AD 2009

This week, at St. Paul’s Newman Center in Laramie, we have Father James DiLuzio visiting to perform his Luke Live, essentially a performance of the Gospel of St. Luke.  We are on the final run of the gospel, covering chapters 17-24.  I have to say, Father DiLuzio is quite an engaging, energetic fellow, and last night’s session was a blast.  I’m looking forward to the next three, and I hope to report on them each day, with what we discussed and what observations we made.  (And if anyone else has had the pleasure of joining Father DiLuzio for Luke Live, please feel free to share your observations!)

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2 Responses to Luke Live, Day One

  • Father DiLuzio once was a priest at a parish I attended.

    He organized a performance of Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” performed in the main body of the church. The altar had some scenery thrown over it to disguise it. Fr. DiLuzio was the male lead. The parish’s main cantor was the female lead. I will never forget watching them kiss each other passionately in front of the altar.

    What, you think I’m kidding?

  • I will never forget watching them kiss each other passionately in front of the altar.

    Lord help us.

And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

Thursday, January 29, AD 2009

So there’s a new You-Tube video  spreading around meant to be the final word in exposing the hypocrisy of anti-abortion advocates. In what many seem to believe is highly telling, an interviewer asks a group of demonstrating pro-lifers that, should abortion be declared illegal, if they would punish women who had abortions. Apparently the confused looks, murmured “I don’t know, I don’t think they should be punished,” and the otherwise general indication that they hadn’t thought much on the issue, somehow shows that pro-lifers do not believe that abortion is murder, or even the taking of human life. There is a huge amount of self-congratulatory straining of shoulders, clapping themselves on the back for having discovered this one-shot knockdown argument.

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33 Responses to And They Accuse Us of Brainless Sloganisms

  • Ryan,

    a good discussion.

    Third, to some extent this heinous act, while there is plenty of evidence that it does harm society in general, is a matter between the person who has procured an abortion and God.

    No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    I think in justice, one must give abortion the weight in law that it is due, and under the conditions that apply to homicide in general. The justice system has a means of considering the degree of free will attached to the killing of another human being under particular circumstances, and provides manslaughter when it is diminished. To specifically define in the law that for a mother to kill her unborn child as less serious a crime than a man killing a guard while robbing a bank is not just.

    Obviously, there would need to be intermediate measures to eliminate access to abortion and educate the populace before it could be charged criminally.

  • I’d be interested in reading anything the Church might officially say about this (???). Absent that, I’m sure there are some articles out there by Catholic thinkers on what just abortion laws would look like (???).

    (My wife and I were just talking about this last night, how Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” has deluded people into believing that the pro-life cause wants a world in which every miscarriage is investigated by secret police or some such nonsense.)

  • No less than a private murder of an innocent person in their home or anywhere else that they ought to be safe.

    Of course, I realized that the statement I made sounds very soft, and I tried to qualify exactly what I meant. Let me try again to explain what I meant there.

    With abortion between a person and God, I don’t mean exclusively, because obviously abortion has severe societal impact. I mean that ultimately, all justice will be meted out, and everyone will receive their due. Some people who have abortion will sincerely repent, spend their time in purgatory, and eventually come out cleansed of their sins. Others will not repent, but due to ignorance of important details, they will spend their time in purgatory and come out cleansed. Others may persist in placing their lifestyle above God, reject God, and be lost forever. In the end, we will all reap what we have sown. To that extent, worrying much over the worldly punishments we would exact on people who have abortions is secondary to trying to outlaw abortion. Furthermore, the problem has legal ramifications that would be better served by a team of legal (and hopefully faithful Catholic) advisers who can try to make the system as a just as possible in light of the crime. Finally, trying to state on the spot what punishments should be exacted runs the risk of being vindictive and retributive in nature, rather than corrective and just. Thus, given the complications, the nuances, and everything else, it is simpler at the moment to say, “I know eventually everything will be squared away at the final judgment, and then it will be between a person and God, regardless of what happens legally.” It may seem like a cop-out, but I personally take it as an acknowledgment that the answers are neither simple nor adequately addressed by a lay person on the streets.

    I do believe a discussion of what abortions laws should look like is important, and that maybe we could take some time to look at them here. My view is in my post, but what do others think? Do you agree that a doctor giving the abortion is more culpable (or at least deserves a harsher sentence) than the woman receiving the abortion? Do we need to worry about the claims that every miscarriage would be investigated?

  • Ryan,

    I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree. I would propose that, ultimately, abortion should be defined as homicide, the justice system would sort out whether the subject’s actions and state of mind merit charge and conviction under manslaughter or murder. Obviously, if I was involved in a case I would orient towards the former for mothers, and the latter for the purveyors, but not necessarily in every case.

    I would agree that in the general case the doctors deserve a harsher sentence.

    I don’t think we need to worry all that much about miscarriage’s being investigated, any more than they already are. Doctors or others who discover evidence of intentional miscarriage would have the same obligation to report such to the authorities as I would assume they do for any other case of wrongful death. It certainly would not be the place of police to seek out these cases without any sort of complaint. This will certainly happen though, and law enforcement should probably focus efforts on the sources of the drugs rather than the recipients.

  • I don’t think I misunderstood you, I just disagree.

    Well, obviously (tongue-in-cheek) if you disagree with me, you misunderstood what I said! Heh…

    How exactly, then, do you disagree? We seem to be in lockstep with that abortion should be defined as homicide, with some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion. My statements in regard to abortion being between the woman and God were not to exclude any legal ramifications, but to explain why some people haven’t given the punishment issue much thought, and why some are justified in not concentrating on the issue. It was also an attempt to show why this pro-abortionists aren’t justified in using the lack of a definite answer as indication that pro-lifers don’t really believe abortion is murder.

  • Ryan,

    some statutes that pay attention to the state of mind of the woman getting an abortion

    I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

  • I believe the current statutes which make the distinction between manslaughter and murder #2, or #1, should suffice without a specific reference to abortion and the mother. It’s perhaps reasonable that this case could be addressed provided that it does not preclude the conclusion that mother is guilty of a greater crime should circumstances dictate.

    Not knowing the exact statues, I might hesitate, but in general, yes, I’m lockstep with you here, as well.

  • Ryan,

    I’m lockstep with you here, as well.</i<

    I must have misstated my position then… heheh

  • Now if I can only convince American Catholic blogger Ryan Harkins to put up a pic for his ID. Maybe the flag of Wyoming?

  • Concerning the Video, a couple of points you did not make. First, when I am out on the lines with my sign, and someone approaches me, I get slightly nerved up, or stressed – not a lot, just a bit. There is always the possibility that person is going to start ranting at me or something. That stress response is increased for most people when someone is holding a camera on them. The stress is increased even more when they ask you a tough question, and they are obviously trying to get you to say something they can use. Second, most people, even those on the lines, are not practiced speakers adept at articulating ‘hot button’ topics on the fly. You can tell clearly several of the interviewees are just hoping the camera people will go away.

    It is more of a cheap shot that you make it out to be.

    Beyond that nit picking, great post. It is true we need to talk more in the pro-life community about what criminalizing abortion would really look like.

    Also, if abortion were criminalized, imagine what would happen. How would the opposition react? Not just politically. Statutes and penalties should also include dealing with people who run conspiracies (organized crime) to provide abortions.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Paul @GNW_Paul

  • Thanks for the input, Paul! I admit, I did gloss over the majority of the impact of being confronted by someone with a camera just looking to get a few snippits of dialogue that they can use. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Ryan,

    University of Wyoming Cowboys!

    Nice pic.

  • Tito,

    Thanks. As per request, I have delivered. Of course, while the bucking bronco is one of UW’s great symbols, it was also on the back of the Wyoming state quarter. (And NOTHING else!!!! We could have put in Devil’s Tower behind it, but noooooo….) So I figured it would symbolize well both my Wyomingness and my University of Wyomingness, the former being important because I might just graduate one of these semesters… (Thinking December…)

  • Ryan,

    I love the Avatar also. Big Sky territory is my land, but Wyoming is just fine with me.

    @GNW_Paul

  • Paul in the GNW,

    Your next to get an avatar.

    Maybe some rain drops or Mark Shea in purple?

  • I tried, lets see if it shows up know?

  • Paul,

    If it doesn’t show up, it’s not a big deal.

    Email me if you have any questions and I’d be happy to guide you through the process.

  • Paul,

    Forgive me if you have done this already.

    Go to this link: http://wordpress.com/signup/

    Sign up and follow the directions there. You don’t need to create a blog to create a username. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you’ll see what I mean.

    Good luck!

  • Ryan,
    Historically in the U. S. women who underwent illegal abortions were not punished. Prior to the 19th century incomplete understanding of human embryology combined with the difficulty of proving intent in an early abortion meant that there was little effort made to prosecute anyone connected.

    The first generation of feminists–the suffragists of the 19th century–opposed abortion to a woman. This was only partly because of the risks the procedure held for women; they–perhaps more than most men outside the medical profession–quickly realized the implications of the scientific advances in human development. The Revolution, the feminist paper launched by Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, often decried abortion in the strongest terms and refused to sell advertising to purveyors of “patent medicines” (many of which were abortifacients.)

    Anthony, Stanton, and their sisters-in-arms called for punishment for those who performed abortions, but not for women. Their reasoning was simple. They recognized that, while there were women who aborted out of selfishness, most did so out of desperation and for reasons that stemmed from the inherent inequality of women in the society of the day. Women were, in a sense, co-victims with their murdered babies even when they survived the abortion.

    I think there is a case for continuing this policy were abortion to be outlawed again:

    1. While legalizing something does not make it right, it does create the public perception that it is. Likewise, outlawing something creates the perception that it is wrong. Thus there are good reasons for outlawing heinous acts apart from the opportunity for prosecution of the perpetrators.
    2. Our legal system allows for compassion in the case of crimes committed under duress. (Moreover, the ethics upon which the system is founded call for compassion in such cases.)
    3. Even today, women who resort to abortion frequently do so because they feel they have “no other choice.” Abandonment or compulsion by the baby’s father or other family members is still not unusual, and societal pressures still lead many women against their consciences. Abortionists are not as a rule coerced into the trade.
    4. Women procuring an abortion may or may not have full understanding that they are taking a human life; abortionists do, or should as they are usually medical professionals.
    5. Women who have abortions do not profit financially from them (there are nonlethal alternatives to the costs of birth and childrearing) and may suffer physical or emotional harm; abortionists generally profit handsomely.

    There. Now when somebody sticks a camera in your face, you have some ammunition.

  • Cminor,

    while it’s likely that a transitory period could be considered, it would be unjust to treat abortion so much less serious a crime than murder. What about women that kill born infants because of stress and pressure? Do they not largely meet those conditions? Now, every case is different and there is a degree of lattitude permitted to prosecutors, judges, and juries with regard to charges being laid, and sentencing, and that is the place to determine any mitigating circumstances, no differently than any other murder.

  • Now I’ll try that Avatar again.

    Cminor, I agree that the abortionists should be treated more severely under the law than the women, but women who seek out abortions should be judge in court – their circumstances can be considered then.

    Paul

  • NO, one more time

  • For lack of time to write more extensively: I agree with CMinor.

  • Matt and Paul,
    I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby. Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.


  • I’ll concur and dissent, but with the caveat that if you embark on this discussion with the guy with the camcorder, anything you say will be used against you. 😉

    Agreed. Wrong time and place for sucha discussion.

    Matt, you point out that abortion isn’t really different from killing a born infant, and I agree. Nonetheless, if the objective is to obtain legal protection for unborn children, I would caution against impeding that end in the name of justice. I don’t think we’d have a chance of overturning Roe v. Wade if we made prosecuting aborted women part of the deal.

    It will be a great day when aborting a preborn baby is regarded by society at large with the abhorrence normally reserved for infanticide, but I don’t think we’re going to accomplish that overnight. Our society may well evolve to that point eventually.

    Absolutely, I am all for incremental approaches that make slow and steady progress. Even a law which bans abortion except in the case rape/incest/life of mother would be a massive step forward and would also serve to help develop the culture of life.

    In the meantime, we have to work with the society we have. Were an HLA to be passed tomorrow, we would still have to contend with a sizeable segment of the population that had become accustomed to thinking of abortion as a “right” and of the preborn baby at whatever stage as a “blob of tissue.” We can make it harder for them to act on that viewpoint, but we will not be able to change every heart and mind. (I live in former Jim Crow country. Trust me, it may take a few generations.)

    Very true, as I acknowledged earlier, a transitory period would be necessary.

    I’d predict that if we prosecuted aborted women, many would end up getting clemency because of duress anyhow–few women decide to have abortions independently of the decisions of others. There’s the impregnator’s part in the act to consider, for example, and often that of family members or employers. I don’t think it’s at all just to single out the woman for special punishment just because she’s the one who carried the baby.

    Here is where we depart company. I agree we shouldn’t single out the woman, and I’ve never said we should. Only that all the pertinent parties should charges to the extent of their participation, and degree of culpability. Let the legal system figure out the details on any particular case.

    Besides, we could end up with some awfully crowded courtrooms. But this could turn into a very long discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.

    What does the severity of the charge have to do with the degree of overcrowding? Or are you suggesting no charges at all?

  • Oh, I’m all for going after abortionists. Beyond that, no, I’m not for going after women; my intent was to suggest that if we did, it would be only fair to go after anyone who by action or inaction led the defendant to abort. Hence my remark about the “crowded courtrooms.” Somewhere in there was intended to be the suggestion that I think making a case stick at this point would be difficult given cultural factors. Sorry, it was late.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

  • I’m not for going after women

    Could we apply this exemption to early infanticide? Or is it only for women who kill their babies in the womb that no criminal penalty applies? We must apply the law evenly, that is why justice wears a blindfold.

    action or inaction led the defendant to abort.

    Wow, that’s a giant leap of jurisprudence. There is no legal system in the world which would consider that standard to make a person an accomplice to a crime. If I don’t give money to a beggar, do I go to jail with him when he robs me, or someone else? Good grief.

    At some point in the future, there may well be a case for prosecuting aborters. But I think society would have to have reached a point at which there was no compulsion to abort.

    If a person is coerced into commiting a crime then there is either a diminished or eliminated culpability, the law provides for that and is within the power of prosecutors, judges and juries to respond accordingly. Why should there be a special case for women who murder their unborn children?

    My whole point is related to the ultimate situation in which abortion is not readily available on the open market. Where any abortions which take place will be obvious to the participants to be murder, if they proceed then they ought to be charged. Obviously, as long as abortion is legal, or appears legal it isn’t just to target those who reasonably believe they are not comitting a crime.