USCCB Issues A Statement of Support For Bishop D'Arcy

Tuesday, June 23, AD 2009

Bishop John M. D'Arcy

Hattip to reader Rick Lugari.  The USCCB* has issued this statement of support for Bishop John D’Arcy, the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend:

“The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D’Arcy.  We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.”

Bishop D’Arcy had been in the forefront of protesting Notre Dame honoring Obama on May 17, 2009.

* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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30 Responses to USCCB Issues A Statement of Support For Bishop D'Arcy

  • I wonder if, now that the entire USCCB has voted on this resolution, people will stop claiming that the ~80 bishops who spoke out against Notre Dame’s actions at the time were some sort of partisan hack minority.

  • “A sad testament to the co-option of the USCCB by Republican partisans…” will probably be the editorial gloss from the usual suspects, followed by more faux hand-wringing about “civility”, which, as practiced by its proponents, rarely involves a good faith attempt to respond to legitimate criticism.

    It is nice that the USCCB decided to recognize Bishop D’Arcy. I thought his firm and temperate response to the Notre Dame controversy was a model for other bishops.

  • The members of the Obama cult will have no difficulty discounting this.

  • How soon we forget!

    D’Arcy was one of the more moderate of those who expressed concerns about the Obama visit. Some of you even called him a coward! Now you’re spinning this as you wish. I commend the USCCB’s recognition of his leadership. In doing so, they have expressed their solidarity with HIS view, not the views of the mosr radical, Republicatholic bishops.

  • Catholic Anarchist, I defy you to find a quotation from any member of this blog in which Bishop D’Arcy was called a coward.

  • Michael, I think it’s you who are spinning. Bishop D’Arcy could not have been more clear in his position that Notre Dame was wrong to honor president Obama and that in doing so, they violated the 2004 Bishop’s statement (both statements are available on the diocese website and the one interview he gave is available on youtube). His response was direct and prayerful. I read all the bishops statements and I didn’t see any who said anything markedly stronger than Bishop D’Arcy. Maybe I missed it. Can you point me to the bishops you think are the “radical republicatholic bishops” and which parts of their statements went so far beyond Bishop D’Arcy that the USCCB’s statement of support can’t fairly be said to apply to them also?

  • D’Arcy was one of the more moderate of those who expressed concerns about the Obama visit. Some of you even called him a coward!

    Michael,

    I have no recollection of such a statement by anyone on this blog. As far as I know, I am the only one who (gently) criticized any of the bishops, and that post suggested Bishop Olmsted had been too harsh with Fr. Jenkins (a view I later revised as more Bishops spoke out). I praised Bishop D’Arcy’s response as striking the perfect balance; certainly, no one called him a coward. Please either produce a link or retract the accusation.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/03/26/bishop-olmsted-accuses-president-jenkins-of-disobedience/

  • As I recall the debate the only thing negative and disrespectful said about any of the bishops were from people who called them Republicatholics and the like because they spoke out against a Catholic college honoring a vehemently pro-abortion politician who happens to be a Democrat. Those who supported the bishops were called partisan hacks who don’t understand what true Catholicism is – strikingly similar to Schiavo affair when the enlightened Catholics told us that Terri’s supporters and the many vocal bishops simply didn’t understand. Now the USCCB, albeit a late, gave voice, just like the Vatican did – thought at least in the Schiavo case Pope John Paul II and the Vatican were speaking out all along – but the arbiters of true Catholicism ignored all that too.

  • Rick

    Thank you for combating the revisionist history

  • I read all the bishops statements and I didn’t see any who said anything markedly stronger than Bishop D’Arcy.

    This is simply absurd. D’Arcy was about the tamest of the bishops who spoke out. This, jh, is revisionism.

  • Now, now, now–don’t confuse the excitable lad with facts. He expects neologisms like Republicatholic actually mean something to others, which is almost endearing.

    About the only truly intemperate statement was from Bishop Bruskewitz, the exception which proves the rule.

  • “Republicatholic bishops”

    Like I said, self parody. Who needs “i” when you have the real iafrate?

  • D’Arcy was one of the more moderate of those who expressed concerns about the Obama visit.

    What a hack. So a “more moderate” response was D’Arcy’s boycott of the Notre Dame graduation, along with his prayer for “Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.”

    After your behavior over at VN, no one in their right mind thinks that your positions have anything to do with fealty to the Church. Your comments are dripping with contempt and intellectual pride whenever anybody in the Church suggests disagreement with your precious political positions.

  • Michael J is the embodiment of the axiom that being on the left means never having to say you’re sorry, either for baseless accusations or for a bad memmory. There does seem to be a catholic modification to his leftism; he generally tells those he disagrees with to merely “shut up”. This is vastly better than the Che Guevara supporters on youtube who say they are going to kill me.

  • Michael J is the embodiment of the axiom that being on the left means never having to say you’re sorry, either for baseless accusations or for a bad memmory.

    What should I apologize for? I was against the idea of Obama receiving the degree from the beginning.

    he generally tells those he disagrees with to merely “shut up”.

    Prove it.

  • What should I apologize for?

    For claiming that you were against Obama receiving an honorary degree, when in fact you ridicule the Bishops that you supposedly agree with as “radical Republicatholics.”

  • Yeah, SB, that second example you posted is something I’ve seen more than once from him.

    Michael J. Iafrate Says:
    October 29, 2008 at 3:47 pm
    S.B., shut up or you will be permanently banned from commenting on my posts. Understand?

    I assume that smart people on the left resort to verbal bullying and intimidation because they know their arguments are weak. Some on the fringe right have the same tendency.

  • For claiming that you were against Obama receiving an honorary degree, when in fact you ridicule the Bishops that you supposedly agree with as “radical Republicatholics.”

    I was against Obama receiving the degree but I disagreed with the viewpoint expressed by your “heroic” bishops who went much further and said he should not be allowed to speak at ND and even went so far as to make judgments about Fr. Jenkin’s spiritual state. Surely you see that there is a difference.

    In the first example you cite, S.B., I clearly did not simply say “shut up” as a way to end an argument.

    Nor did I do so in the second example. In fact, “Pauli,” if you look at my comment in context you will see that was in fact S.B. who was engaging in verbal bullying. That’s his tactic as I’m sure you well know. I have no qualms about telling him to shut up when he does such things at my blog. But that is not the same as saying “shut up” in order to shut down an argument. Once again, you and S.B. must resort to mischaracterization in order to “win” an argument.

  • It wasn’t verbal “bullying” to point out the obvious fact that you were making an astonishing claim (about starvation being caused by “deliberate policies of global capitalism”) with zero evidence to back it up (“click around the internet,” you said, when you turned out to be incapable of finding any supportive links yourself).

    So you’re merely proving the point that leftists sometimes resort to verbal bullying (“shut up”) when their arguments lack logic or evidence.

  • S.B. – Your bullying reputation is obvious to anyone who reads this blog or Vox Nova. But continue to claim otherwise. It’s nice to have a little giggle in the middle of a busy day.

  • People who say stupid things often experience it as “bullying” to have it pointed out.

  • Ha! Two giggles in one day! You are too generous, S.B.

  • Addendum: People who tell outright lies in defense of unorthodox beliefs, and yet who derive enormous intellectual pride from their faith, often experience it as “bullying” to have that pointed out as well.

  • Reading his stuff is kind of like looking at pictures of crystal addicts–it keeps most sane folks from going over to the left. At least I would hope so.

  • I was against Obama receiving the degree but I disagreed with the viewpoint expressed by your “heroic” bishops who went much further and said he should not be allowed to speak at ND and even went so far as to make judgments about Fr. Jenkin’s spiritual state. Surely you see that there is a difference.

    Of course there’s a difference. But it says much more about your partisan idiocy, and about your willingness to put your own ideology above respect for the Church’s stewards, that you think a Bishop’s fierce opposition to Obama’s position on abortion makes him a “Republicatholic.”

  • Please, by all means, prove that I am a “partisan.” I am, and have been, against the republicans and democrats for many years. You are just spewing filth, nothing accurate, nothing based in reality.

  • It’s not “filth” — just the obvious truth — to point out that you are unorthodox, as are some of your fellow bloggers. If you’re not intelligent or honest enough to admit that fact, that’s your problem.

  • Is partisanship equivalent to unorthodox?

    It doe not matter here… SB is allowed to live out rather ungracefully his continued obsession with MI.

  • No, they’re unorthodox on several moral issues.

    I’m not “obsessed.” Believe me, it takes but 30 seconds or a minute at most to type out an occasional comment. I spend far more time thinking about my family, my work, the book I’m publishing, the classical guitar album I’m making, and how to improve my squat form as I progress towards squatting 405. It’s just that when I read this blog, and I keep coming across obnoxious and asinine comments from unabashed dissenters who nonetheless have managed to convince themselves that they are the only true Catholics, I can’t help responding.

38 Responses to Alexia Kelley — a solid Catholic appointment by President Obama?

  • This from the “Reproductive Rights” blog:

    “Moments after the announcement, John O’Brien, president of the pro-choice group Catholics for Choice, released a statement calling the Kelley appointment “a defeat for reason and logic.”…

    O’Brien’s complaint is that the choice of Kelley, given her previous role overseeing a Catholic, anti-abortion organization, puts important social policies in danger of being hijacked by those same Bushian forces. But Kelley is not the Bush-styled pro-lifer of yore. Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, which Kelley founded, is a progressive organization that has also played a primary role in instigating a nationwide discussion of common ground on abortion. Her group has championed policies aimed at preventing the need for abortion, policies that have been identified as those pro-choice people can support too. It would be a mistake to group Kelley among anti-abortion operatives who snub opportunities to improve the relationship between pro-choice and pro-life communities, and who refuse to do anything to reduce the need for abortion.”
    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/reproductive_rights/2009/06/a-different-perspective-on-alexia-kelley.html

    Translation: She really isn’t a pro-lifer. They are right. As always Frances Kissling is not only wrong but WRONG!!!.

  • Silly dissenters. Kelly is just another pro-abort in Catholics’ clothing. Otherwise would not have extracted cash from the Daddy Warbucks of the Democratic Party. Also note her previous employers as listed by Chris. Just business as usual. As though a real defender of the unborn would be hired.

  • It’s a lose-lose scenario with your people. Appoint somebody who is not pro-life (in the narrow sense of abortion anyway), like Sibelius, and you jump up and down. Appoint somebody who is pro-life, and you still jump up and down…because that person supports Obama and marshalls arguments to make that case. In other words, the only way Obama could make you people happy is to appoint a pro-life Republican. In other words, you put partisanship above the issue of life.

    And please, don’t even try to suggest that an orthodox Catholic cannot vote for a politician who supports legalizated abortion — tell that to any non-American Catholic, anybody not exposed to the American evangelical culture, and see how far that gets you. (It’s actually not that hard when you realize that neither party will have much influence on abortion, and yet the party that most contributors to this blog favors has the annoying habit of believing every world problem can be solved with violence — and actually go about doing it).

    One more thing: I fully agree with you that Kissling is a dissenter. Do you agree with me that the American Catholics who defend Cheney’s torture tactics are also dissenters?

  • Blah blah blah Americanists. Blah blah blah Calvinist. Blah blah BLEH.

  • Paul,

    That was certainly a shorter, and better read.

  • “Do you agree with me that the American Catholics who defend Cheney’s torture tactics are also dissenters?”

    I don’t think theyu are dissenters since many are trying to debate what actually is torture

    In any event I dount there will be any real opposition form the Catholic conservative or GOP elements as to her nomination.

    I think some pople are pointing out that perhaps the “Pro-choice” elemnts concerns are misplaced

  • What makes someone “reflect Catholic principles?” Surely you cannot seriously suggest that simply being strongly anti-abortion (and voting against any anti-abortion politicians) should be the only criterion? I don’t consider this Roeder murderer reflecting Catholic values. I applaud President Obama for seeking people of differing views but open minds to work in his administration. It is surely an improvement over the incompetence of the Bush administration.

  • JH

    That’s like some people saying, “I don’t think those people are for the killing of babies, since they debate what exactly babies are.”

  • “you put partisnaship above the issue of life”

    Were you looking in the mirror when you wrote that, Tony?

  • “In other words, you put partisanship above the issue of life.”

    Interesting case of projection here. Tony, someone voting, as you did, for the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history, a man who raised funds touting his opposition to a partial birth abortion ban, amply demonstrates the priority given by such a voter to the fight against abortion. It would be rather like someone who is a declared philo-semite voting for the Nazis in Germany in 1932. It would be difficult to take the philo-semitism of such a person as anything but lip service.

    Of course Catholics under the Catechism have a duty to vote for candidates in favor of legally banning abortion:

    “2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

    ‘The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.’

    ‘The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.'”

    Of course I am sure that you can explain how voting for a man who would sooner eat ground glass than support legislation banning abortion is in accord with this section of the Catechism.

  • And, for the record, I commend Kelley’s appointment. Even if she’s only paying lip service to favoring restrictions on abortion (and I’m not convinced that she isn’t sincere on the issue, despite her allegiances to the party dedicated to legalized abortion-on-demand), that makes her much better than the President’s openly “pro-choice” Catholic appointments to date.

    Let’s take her at her word and give her the benefit of the doubt.

  • Appoint somebody who is pro-life, and you still jump up and down…because that person supports Obama and marshalls arguments to make that case.

    Actually, I believe the point was to outline that she’s a hack with no serious commitment to the pro-life cause. Of course, surely we’re being unreasonable Calvinist Americanists who believe that consistently voting against pro-life candidates while actively promoting pro-abortion candidates fails to signal a deep commitment to the pro-life cause.

    In other words, the only way Obama could make you people happy is to appoint a pro-life Republican.

    Actually, that wouldn’t make me happy. If he resigned or became pro-life, or actually took a stand against torture rather than putting every effort to defend torture and its perpetrators, I would be pleased. Of course, it could not make me happy, because I believe that happiness comes from Christ and not from material goods but perhaps you missed that part.

  • Henry I don’t think it is all the same. As I have pointed out an amazing number of things are called torture now. Once you get past waterboarding there is a lot of gray and their needs to be debate.

    Especially if we are going to have it as an standaard and prosecute people over it.

  • “the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history”.

    This is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the convergence of Catholic pro-lifers and Republican tactics. Your rhetoric is the sloganistic rhetoric of the Limbaughs and the Hannitys. Its disdain for fact and context push it into the relativistic realm. You are giving support to tactics that are Leninist at root. How ironic is that?

    See here for a fuller elaboration, if you want to debate the point (I’m arguing in good faith, by the way, and I know that most of you are better than Paul and Phillip on this front) — http://vox-nova.com/2009/04/27/a-watershed-moment/

  • Morning Obama is indeed one of the most Pro-Abortion Presidents in history

    No sense sugarcoating it. I guess we can debate if he or Clinton are in a tie.

    I mean I guess if was anti adoption or something that would make it worse but it is hard to see how it can be much worse.

  • JH

    We have many documents which indicate things to be torture, and those are the same ones being “questioned.” Things historically considered torture are now “questioned.” It’s exactly the same thing as “questioning whether or not that is a human person.” Same argument, different evil.

  • “It would be rather like someone who is a declared philo-semite voting for the Nazis in Germany in 1932. It would be difficult to take the philo-semitism of such a person as anything but lip service.”

    As always, you confuse an absolute principle (act A is intrinsically evil and can never be supported) with a relative choice. I believe it would be difficult to argue that abortion would have been any different under any Republican president. I also believe that the Republican choice would support war, and probably torture too, support the rich over the poor, mock the need to reduce greenhouse has emissions, and continue with the economic mismanagement that has characterized the movement since the 1980s. On the fundamental issue of life, claiming to be against abortion while being in favor of modern war as conducted by the US military is a sham.

  • “This is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with the convergence of Catholic pro-lifers and Republican tactics.”

    Bluster and sophisty. You helped put into the White House a man pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. The only way Obama could be more pro-abortion would be if he actually performed them with his own hands.

  • “On the fundamental issue of life, claiming to be against abortion while being in favor of modern war as conducted by the US military is a sham.”

    All a smoke screen to allow you to vote for pro-abort candidates. I really doubt if at this point you are even fooling yourself with your arguments. The simple truth is that you rank the fight against abortion far below other issues and the fact that a candidate you support is a pro-abort is of little consequence to you.

  • Minion:

    That post is remarkable in its failure to actually address the argument. While I don’t use the phrase often, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s accurate.

    Instead of showing how Clinton and Obama shared abortion positions, you instead criticize Reagan for not really being pro-life while attacking Bush over the Iraq War and torture while not mentioning FOCA.

    If you want your claim that this is Leninist tactic to be taken as anything more than a liberal example of partisanship, you might want to put some effort into showing the phrase isn’t not true. But you can’t, since the FOCA that Obama endorsed is much more extreme then the presidents before him had endorsed, Clinton or Reagan.

  • Wow! First the wonderful speeches at ND and in Cair, add to them the inspired nominations of Sotomayor, Diaz and, now, Kelley…… tell us again why we, the majority of Catholic voters who voted for the President, need to confess our “sin”?

  • Oh boy!!! Economic mismangement. Our Sec of Treasury got laughed out in China last week when he said that China inestments in American were safe.

    I don’t know what people are going to do when they wake up and realize all the money has been wasted and there is no money left to even borrow for these big ticket items like Health Care they want.

    Handing the keys ot he treasury to Reid and Pelosi does not seem to be doing well.

    Is Obama that much different that Bush on “torture” Rendetion is contuining and my gosh we have not waterbnoarded anyone since 2003.

    Favored the rich over the poor. Yeah I see what a priority immigration reform is under this administration.

    Regardless I think the issue was abortion. Not the polciy in Afgansiatan

  • An

    I am not against the Kelly nomination nor the Diaz nomination. I will say if you think these picks are inspirations then I would suggest you have a low bar for inspiration. Nothing wrong with them but I don’t seem them as groundbreaking and something to be wowed over with

  • Minion:

    I think your comment shows quite well that YOU’RE NOT APPLYING THESE PRINCIPLES EVENLY!!!!

    I also believe that the Republican choice would support war, and probably torture too, support the rich over the poor, mock the need to reduce greenhouse has emissions, and continue with the economic mismanagement that has characterized the movement since the 1980s. On the fundamental issue of life, claiming to be against abortion while being in favor of modern war as conducted by the US military is a sham.

    Let’s go through Obama’s ACTUAL positions.

    support war-Obama has promoted an expanded effort in Iraq while making no significant deviations from the Bush plan.

    and probably torture too-Obama has continued to fight efforts to uncover examples of torture and punish those who committed these acts.

    support the rich over the poor- Obama has pushed to give bankers bailouts while allowing GM & Chrysler to die, costing many poorer factory workers their jobs.

    the economic mismanagement that has characterized the movement since the 1980s.-That’s an argument of prudence, not of Catholic teaching. Besides, one would be hard pressed to show that Obama is doing an amazing job of economic management right now.

    On the fundamental issue of life, claiming to be against abortion while being in favor of modern war as conducted by the US military is a sham.

    So it’s less of a sham to be for abortion and for the modern war as conducted by the US military? How has Obama reigned in the modern war conducted by the US military? Surely not the examples of civilian deaths by bombings?

    You’ve projected your own desires on Obama, stubbornly ignoring the fact that he holds none of these positions in reality. That’s the true sham.

  • JH,

    They are “inspired nominations” if you’re a Catholic looking for anything … ANYTHING … to hang your hat on in justifying your vote for Obama. Like you said, there’s nothing particularly wrong with these choices (and there were obviously worse candidates that the President might have chosen), but they are hardly the sorts of nominations that Catholics are going to be looking to for “inspiration”.

  • Jay,

    They’re not just “inspired nominations.” They also have “compelling stories.” Come on. Get with it.

  • Michael D,

    First, I commend for you actually taking on the argument — sadly, Donald just retreats to slogans.

    A key component of your argument is that what I have argued is based on prudence. Absolutely. I cannot say these things with certainly, but I believe them to be more likely than not.

  • Oh, on the economics argument, some of you might be interested in what I just wrote. And I’m looking at you Donald! (actually, I’m looking at my monitor, but you know what I mean….)

    http://vox-nova.com/2009/06/09/american-socialism-a-long-and-detailed-post/

  • “sadly, Donald just retreats to slogans.”

    Projection again Tony. Take away cant phrases from your statements, such as “Calvinist”, and you have little to say.

    Body and soul you are a partisan liberal Democrat. The leaders of your political movement are pro-aborts. Rather than deal with that very unpleasant fact you attack pro-lifers who refuse to vote for pro-aborts and who oppose the pro-aborts. With your type of unblinking devotion, the pro-aborts in the party that has your unwavering allegiance will never change. Pro-lifers last year made it clear in the Republican party that we would never vote for a pro-abort. You would never be part of such a movement in the Democrat party. All your obfuscation can not conceal the fact that the slaying of the unborn is simply not a high priority issue to you.

  • These faux protestations by abortocrats on Kelley’s appointment is smoke and mirrors. Abortocrats can smell their own 100 miles away.
    Kelley may claim she’s pro-life, but her actions reveal what she really is.

  • It is my understanding, backed up by a number of official Church documents including Pope John Paul II’s “Evangelium Vitae,” that it IS permissible to vote for a pro-choice candidate WHEN they are the lesser of two (or more) evils, and their election would prevent an even worse pro-abortion candidate from winning.

    Now granted, Kelly is not an elected official, but out of all the people whom Obama would have (realistically) chosen for this post, might she not be a lesser evil than many of the others? And if so, would it not be permissible to support, or at least not actively oppose, her appointment?

  • Bruce Springsteen wearing a chain of what look to be a number of Miraculous Medals on the chain and there are recent pictures of this…and yes, Catholic background. Apparently, a campaigner for Obama, if only the Boss was on our side, who knows, he should address this issue. I apologize if this is “off-topic.”

  • Morning’s Minion Says:
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009 A.D. at 2:49 pm
    “As always, you confuse an absolute principle (act A is intrinsically evil and can never be supported) with a relative choice. I believe it would be difficult to argue that abortion would have been any different under any Republican president. I also believe that the Republican choice would support war, and probably torture too, support the rich over the poor, mock the need to reduce greenhouse has emissions, and continue with the economic mismanagement that has characterized the movement since the 1980s. On the fundamental issue of life, claiming to be against abortion while being in favor of modern war as conducted by the US military is a sham.”

    Not only a Prez. trying to enact FOCA as Donald R. McClarey mentioned, but at least Reagan and Bush tossed out the Mexico City Policy. I’m not up to snuff on this issue, but exporting abortion is an A-1 evil, is an ugly act of foreign colonialism or whatever word might be proper, especially from some guy that indeed, many have doubts about his own native birth in the United States. Imagine, aborting the lives of foreigners in foreign lands.

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  • I did not even mention BAIPA. It is becoming apparent that many supporters of Obama are just plainly not informed on the issues, then we see indeed, ignorance as being an ally in getting Obama elected.

  • Jh,

    Oh boy!!! Economic mismangement. Our Sec of Treasury got laughed out in China last week when he said that China inestments in American were safe.

    that one really cracked me up…. this is almost as good as Obama’s sudden born-again fiscal responsibility — ‘pay as you go’!

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Bishop Olmsted Accuses President Jenkins of Disobedience

Thursday, March 26, AD 2009

Here is the text of Bishop Olmsted’s letter to President Jenkins (h/t American Papist):

olmsted

While I am disappointed by President Jenkin’s decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement, particularly the decision to confer an honorary law degree, I have several questions about this letter:

Continue reading...

43 Responses to Bishop Olmsted Accuses President Jenkins of Disobedience

  • A voice of reasoned consideration in these woods.

    Deo Gratias.

  • I would assume that one of the benefits of being a bishop is that you can usually assume that people are interested in knowing your opinion — and most of us are interested in making our opinions known.

  • I think if it wasn’t a public act of disobedience on the part of Jenkins it certainly was a public act of stupidity. Of course people will see Obama getting a commencement speech and an honorary degree as the Notre Dame administration supporting a pro-abort pol. I am glad that Olmsted took Jenkins to the ecclesiastical woodshed, and I only regret that his language was so restrained. Jenkins isn’t a stupid man. He knows precisely what he is doing and I find it reprehensible.

  • To read the document in any other way than the reading given by Bishops D’Arcy and Olmsted is to render the document completely meaningless. I mean, was there REALLY a problem with Catholic colleges giving “awards, honors or platforms” to pro-abort politicians as a way of honoring them SPECIFICALLY FOR those pro-abort activities? Of course not! Such a reading is ludicrous Jesuitical hair-splitting.

    The only way the Bishops’ document makes any sense at all is for it to be given the quite straightforward reading the Bishops themselves seem to be giving it.

  • Hopefully Bishop D’Arcy will see the letter as an act of support from a brother bishop. As someone in the AmP comment section pointed out, there are most likely Catholics from Phoenix attending Notre Dame, so Olmsted is, if nothing else, acting in their interests as a concerned pastor.

    And although Fr. Jenkins is trying to wriggle his way around the statement on “awards, honors, or platforms,” I find his argument rather worn and tenuous. If Notre Dame were only inviting President Obama as a speaker, he might have a leg to stand on. However he is also being awarded an honorary degree that is meant to recognize his leadership. Arguably, thus far Obama’s most major acts as our new leader have been anti-life ones. I’m sure you’re familiar with what he’s done so far, so I won’t labor to make a list.

  • I always love Jay Anderson’s responses!

    1. Bishop D’Arcy’s response was weak. He’s pals with Jenkins. Who cares about his toes.

    2. Prudent to go public? Are you serious? ND’s Pres. Obortion invite was a very public F-U to the bishops.

    3. Yes, a “hair-splitting”, Jesuit type argument (I agree with Jay).

    Cheers!

  • And I should add: I don’t really think it does to question whether a bishop is correctly parsing a USCCB document that he cites, unless his citation is just flagrantly out of line. Olmsted is, after all, a member of the USCCB. That doesn’t make his interpretation definitive, but it’s not as if he’s some lay person spouting off as to what a USCCB document means.

    If it was a bit outspoken of Bishop Olmsted, I think his crosier and miter give him the license to be so if he chooses.

  • ND’s Pres. Obortion invite was a very public F-U to the bishops.

    I think you’re exaggerating a bit.

  • Exaggerating on the “Obortion” part or the “very public F-U” part?

  • DC wrote:
    I would assume that one of the benefits of being a bishop is that you can usually assume that people are interested in knowing your opinion — and most of us are interested in making our opinions known.

    If a bishop is going to accuse a member of a religious order of public disobedience, a serious charge, it seems to me that this is more than simply offering an opinion. It seems odd to me that Bishop Olmsted felt compelled to address Fr. Jenkins so publicly, when Bishop D’Arcy had already addressed the situation quite well. If he had simply supported Bishop D’Arcy, all well and good. But instead he made a serious accusation, which is likely to damage Notre Dame’s relationship with the Church hierarchy.

    Jay wrote:
    To read the document in any other way than the reading given by Bishops D’Arcy and Olmsted is to render the document completely meaningless. I mean, was there REALLY a problem with Catholic colleges giving “awards, honors or platforms” to pro-abort politicians as a way of honoring them SPECIFICALLY FOR those pro-abort activities? Of course not! Such a reading is ludicrous Jesuitical hair-splitting.

    The charge of Jesuitical reasoning hurts on two levels Jay: 1) Our shared graduate educational background; 2) I’ve been educated (insert scare quotes as necessary) by Franciscans and Salesians, but never by the dreaded Jesuits.

    In response to your comment, I think there has been a serious problem with Catholic colleges inviting and honoring pro-abortion speakers, and that many colleges have not made it clear that they oppose the speakers views on abortion. So yes, I think the statement could plausibly be read in this manner. In this case, Fr. Jenkins has made it clear that the invitation is not an endorsement of Obama’s views on abortion and ESCR (although, of course, I wish he had not made the invitation at all).

    Regarding the Jesuitical point, the question here is whether it’s clear that Fr. Jenkins was disobedient. I don’t think it is. I think the USCCB statement is worded ambiguously, and that the ambiguity is not an accident. My recollection is that you are not shy of criticizing the USCCB, and it would hardly surprise me if the document was deliberately written this way . To cite another recent example of this phenomenon, one could drive a truck through the wiggle room in the recent Faithful Citizenship document.

    Bishop D’Arcy, as the local ordinary, has a responsibility to interpret the document, and I think his interpretation is probably the stronger one. But there is a difference between providing an interpretation as Bishop D’Arcy has done, and declaring that a priest in a religious order is publicly disobedient because he had a different interpretation than the Bishop of Phoenix when he invited the President of the United States to speak at Commencement.

    Finally, I think there is a prudential question here. Notre Dame is in a fairly precarious place as an ‘elite’ institution that is also trying to maintain its Catholic identity. In many ways these goals conflict. To the extent Fr. Jenkins and the University are not only constructively criticized (see Bishop D’Arcy’s statement), but condemned as publicly disobedient (Bishop Olmsted), this type of statement is likely to damage the University’s relationship with the hierarchy. It’s a delicate balance, and I think Bishop D’Arcy struck the perfect note; I think Bishop Olmsted, however, was somewhat unfair (because of the deficiencies in the USCCB document), as well as imprudent. And I’m not sure why the Bishop of Phoenix has special jurisdiction vis-a-vis priestly religious in Bishop D’Arcy’s diocese.

  • Btw, thanks to all commenters for the responses. I don’t have time to respond to every criticism right now, but I appreciated reading people’s thoughts.

  • “My recollection is that you are not shy of criticizing the USCCB …”

    Actually, I have tried to avoid criticizing the USCCB and I give particular leeway to the Bishops when interpreting their own documents. I give much less leeway to the dubious interpretations and justifications of University presidents with a history of coming down on the side of “engaging the culture” over faithfulness to Catholic identity.

  • Should a divorcee who has remarried (without any annulments), especially someone who is known by the public, be allowed to speak and get an award at a Catholic institution, since they are, after all, going against the morals of the Catholic Church?

    Again, the vagueness is on many levels.

  • Comparing divorce and abortion is comparing apples and rock salt. Nobody dies as a matter of course in a divorce. Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger recognized the special level of evil involved in abortion and euthanasia:

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    http://priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

    One would think this would be clear enough even for academics that someone who promotes abortion should not be honored at catholic unversities and colleges.

  • I agree with John Henry that the statement is somewhat ambiguous. At least, I think the situation might affect whether or not having a speaker with views contrary to Catholic fundamental moral principles consititutes support for those views. If, for example, Obama had been invited to speak prior to the election, where his speaking could help him win the election and thus put his views into action, then the argument that ND is endorsing his views would be stronger.

    There’s also the ambiguity of the word “defiance,” which can mean simply contrariness, but usually suggests resistance. A pro-choice Catholic politician who has been admonished by his bishop would seem to be more defiant than a non-Catholic politician who holds the same views.

  • Even conceding the ambiguity, President Jenkins has done next to nothing to separate the award and platform from President Obama’s defiance of our fundamental moral principles. Thus far, it’s been a rhetorical tongue bath and excuse-making to the larger Catholic world. Not to put to fine a point on it, but Jenkins’ behavior has not been above board and, frankly, has been rather shabby.

  • Kyle: there’s no credible argument that Obama is unaware of Catholic moral principles on abortion and ESCR. Even the obsequious fawner Doug Kmiec says he discussed the matters with him.

    The President is Rhett Butler. He frankly doesn’t give a damn, and when it comes to brass tacks has (an admittedly elegant) contempt for them.

  • On the other AC thread, Elaine pointed out if anyone has contacted the CSC superior? Meaning since Notre Dame was founded by the Congregration of the Holy Cross. Why doesn’t somebody contact them to see if they can pull some strings?

    I’m sure someone has, just covering all our bases here.

  • That’s an interesting question Tito. I haven’t heard anything about that, although I’d be surprised if anything changed at this point.

  • Dale,

    I didn’t mean to imply that Obama isn’t aware of Catholic teaching on the life issues. My point is that he’s not Catholic, and so his holding opposing views on the life issues isn’t defiant in the way that a Catholic’s holding his views would be. Of course, one need not be Catholic in order to oppose abortion and ESCR.

  • Rush Limbaugh has been discussing Notre Dame and Obama on his show now. He is stunned that a Catholic University of Notre Dame’s stature is providing a forum to the “most anti-life President in our nation’s history”.

  • Since when is Rush Limbaugh competent in matters Catholic.

    And I am not surprised by the emotionalist rhetoric of “the most anti-life President in our nation’s history”. His is a lucrative industry of demagoguery.

  • Mark,

    While I would be more surprised if Limbaugh did not profess to be stunned because being stunned has entertainment value, I think there is a strong case for that description of President Obama, given his record on life issues (we need not recite all the details here).

  • Thank you Mr. DeFrancisis, I was waiting for someone to attack the messenger. Rush Limbaugh, thrice divorced, a former oxycotin addict, add on anything detrimental against him you wish, is here standing for Catholic truth, while Jenkins and his administration are falling all over themselves to pay homage to a man who has fought for abortion up to the time the cord is cut, and against medical assistance to those infants who survive the abortion. This is a deeply shameful moment for the Catholic Church in this country when a non-Catholic like Limbaugh stands up for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life while Jenkins and his acolytes are doing their very best to ignore that teaching. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to respond to your comment.

  • Donald,

    I honestly was not referencing his personal life. I do not know of all the sordid details, other than his past, temporary (but understandable) prolem with addictions to pain medication.

    His show and its modus operandi, however, virtually precludes a constructive discussion which actually fosters the culture of life and an evenhanded assessment of all parties/positions involved.

    To me, he is a high stakes entertainer.

    I avoid him like I avoid Olbermann these days.

    Aditionally, you and I have differing interpretations on what the commencement address and honorary degree expresses. Let us as gentlemen respect each other’s differing interpretation of both that matter in itself and the USCCB document that is intimately related.

    Let me just end by communicating to you my utmost respect for your life long and lifewide commitment to the unborn, our society’s most vulnerable.

  • Mark, I ask this in all sincerity, as you are on the other side of this issue from me:

    How has the administration of ND taken care to ensure that the award and platform offered to the President do not suggest support for his actions which are contrary to fundamental moral principles?

  • JH,

    Who is The most “antilife president in our nation’ is a very tough thing to gauge.

    For one, Eisenhower ordered and was ultimately responsible for the unjust nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which directly resulted in deaths in the millions and millions.

    While Obama’s stance on the legality of abortion and his recent ESCR moves are heinous, I do not know if he will rack up such numbers of deaths in which is hand is so front and central in the matter.

  • Not to be a nitnoid, but the atomic bombing wasn’t ordered by Eisenhower, but rather by Harry Truman.

  • “Is Bishop Olmsted stepping on Bishop D’Arcy’s toes by commenting on events in the latter’s diocese after Bishop D’Arcy has already addressed the matter (quite well, I might add)?”

    The good bishop is merely supporting his fellow Bishop on the matter and, thus, consolidating their position should there be any doubt concerning the wrongfulness of such an action.

    It’s not unlike how several bishops from various dioceses during the elections kept advising Catholics on how pro-life issues should be a major point of consideration when selecting a candidate.

    “Since when is Rush Limbaugh competent in matters Catholic.”

    Was this even a serious matter for consideration?

    I mean, Rush was the very same who mocked Mother Teresa, accusing her of playing to the camera and both blatantly and maliciously characterizing media coverage of her as really her ulterior agenda of taking advantage of several photo opportunities just to cheaply advertise on behalf of the Catholic church then.

    The guy’s a prick.

  • For one, Eisenhower ordered and was ultimately responsible for the unjust nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which directly resulted in deaths in the millions and millions.

    Also, in addition to the fact it was Pres. Truman, not Pres Eisenhower, the number killed was in fact slightly under 250k — not millions.

  • Nobody dies as a matter of course in a divorce.

    Don:

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of family law attorneys who have gotten the other spouse so angry that they have undertaken murderous actions against their former spouse and children.

    Most successful family law attorneys I know love to fan the flames of contention and in an already emotionally charged situation it results in the parties not reaching a quick resolution and lines their pockets with additional fees. So what if it occasionally ends in disasterous results. . . blame it on the party who wasn’t your client?

    By the way, Pope John Paul did state that attorneys “should avoid being personnally involved in anything that might imply cooperation with a divorce.”

    http://www.lawandreligion.com/new_devs/RJLR_ND_54.pdf

  • By the way Reagan as Governor of California signed into effect one of the most liberal divorce and abortion laws in the nation at that time. Of course he later said he regretted it, but then what else is he going to say when he is running for the Republican nomination for President in the 70’s and 80’s.

  • On the other AC thread, Elaine pointed out if anyone has contacted the CSC superior? Meaning since Notre Dame was founded by the Congregration of the Holy Cross. Why doesn’t somebody contact them to see if they can pull some strings?

    I’m sure someone has, just covering all our bases here.

    You are assuming that the decision is that of Father Jenkins alone. He is appointed not by his CSC superior as president of the university but by Notre Dame’s lay board of directors (thank you Father Ted and the Land of Lake’s Conferenc). Of course dear Father Ted when he handed the University over to laymen (to give it greater academic credibility) did put in the requirement that the President always had to be a CSC priest. No one denies that Father Ted does have his priorities and looking out for No. 1 always comes first.

  • a-man,

    Just got word that the CSC provincial completely supports Fr. Jenkin’s decision:

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032708.html

  • Most successful family law attorneys I know love to fan the flames of contention and in an already emotionally charged situation it results in the parties not reaching a quick resolution and lines their pockets with additional fees.

    That’s some company you keep. However, I find it hard to believe. Divorce is evil. It does great violence to the souls of everyone involved. From my experience though, lawyers recognize that more than most (even secular minded lawyers). Contrary to your characterization, lawyers generally want to get it over with as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s usually the clients that keep the flames fueled while the lawyers are trying to bring some reason to the process even as they advocate for their client. Hmm, now I’m considering the adjective you used, “successful”. Maybe you can stand firm on your comment as I will stand on mine. We may just have a different idea of what it means to be successful.

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  • “Don:

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of family law attorneys who have gotten the other spouse so angry that they have undertaken murderous actions against their former spouse and children.

    Most successful family law attorneys I know love to fan the flames of contention and in an already emotionally charged situation it results in the parties not reaching a quick resolution and lines their pockets with additional fees. So what if it occasionally ends in disasterous results. . . blame it on the party who wasn’t your client?”

    Some lawyers can be jerks, no doubt about that. Most lawyers in divorce cases, including those who specialize in them in my experience, do their best to get the parties to compromise or at least try to be civil. Lawyers tend to be fairly busy, and the last thing they want to do is field anguished phone calls from a client in a contentious divorce or be constantly running back to court on minor matters that should be easily resolved by negotiation. For every divorce I have seen where the personality of the attorney is a problem in the case, I have seen 10 where one or both of the parties simply want to go to war. Most divorces are not like that however. Usually after some preliminary skirmishing in court an agreement is worked out fairly quickly. The hotly contested divorce from start to finish does happen of course but it is far from the norm.

    “By the way, Pope John Paul did state that attorneys “should avoid being personnally involved in anything that might imply cooperation with a divorce.””

    He then later said that attorneys might be involved if they were attempting to resolve the case to the benefit of the children involved in a custody proceeding.

    He also said that attorneys should look for effective measures that favour marriage, above all mediation and conciliation. The first question I ask anyone seeking my counsel in a divorce case is if mediation could save the marriage. They almost always say no. If clients ask my opinion I always say counseling should be attempted prior to a divorce action if there is any hope at all of avoiding a marriage. I also tell them that I do not believe in divorce and they might do better with a counsel with views different from mine.

    Like most attorneys I find divorce actions depressing and I have deliberately kept them a very small portion of my practice. Often times I enter a case post-dissolution where there is an issue of enforcement of child support, visitation or an attempt to modify child custody.

    However even more depressing are paternity cases where the family tie is never formed to begin with. When I hung out my shingle in 82 paternity cases were rare, at least in central Illinois, now they are commonplace. Of course with a 40% illegitimacy rate one would expect that. Quite a few handbaskets on their way to Hell these days.

  • In regard to Reagan and the California abortion law, he always regarded it as his biggest mistake:

    “In May 1967, the Therapeutic Abortion Bill began to take shape. It was a measure to allow pregnant women to terminate embryos prejudicial to their “physical or mental health.” Reagan had to admit that he agreed with “the moral principle of self-defense.” If 100,000 California women were desperate enough to undergo illegal abortions every year, he could at least make it safer for some of them.
    He signed it into law. Only as abortion became an extension of welfare, would he wish he had paid more head to the bill’s manipulative language. The very word “Therapeutic” was a medical euphemism, sanitizing essentially bloody procedures. It defined “mental health” as at-risk if a pregnant teen went out and smashed windows. In common with the more liberal laws it was to spawn at state and federal levels, the Act ignored the feelings of fathers.

    Reagan was left with a sense of guilt. “If there is a question as to whether there is life or death, the doubt should be resolved in favor of life.”

    Source: Dutch, by Edmund Morris, p.351-352 May 1, 1967”

    Here is an article which Reagan wrote for the Human Life Review in 1983:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/document/reagan200406101030.asp

    “Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. My Administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land, and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.”

  • “I mean, Rush was the very same who mocked Mother Teresa, accusing her of playing to the camera and both blatantly and maliciously characterizing media coverage of her as really her ulterior agenda of taking advantage of several photo opportunities just to cheaply advertise on behalf of the Catholic church then.”

    Unless you have some quotes e. I believe you are probably confusing Rush with Christopher Hitchens. I can recall Rush speaking very highly of her on his radio show on several occasions.

  • “For one, Eisenhower ordered and was ultimately responsible for the unjust nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which directly resulted in deaths in the millions and millions.”

    As Dale and Darwin note, Mr. DeFrancisis, the President was Truman, not Eisenhower. Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Anglo-American forces in Europe. He had no role in the war in the Pacific. In his memoirs he contended that at the time he thought the bombs were unnecessary, but he also stated that all of his attention was focused on Europe and that he was unfamiliar with the war being waged against Japan other than as an observer from the sidelines.

    “Let me just end by communicating to you my utmost respect for your life long and lifewide commitment to the unborn, our society’s most vulnerable.”

    A handsome statement Mr. DeFrancisis which I very much appreciate. I pray that some day abortion will no longer be a political issue because we will look at it with the same abhorence engendered when we now recalll slavery. I do not know if I will live to see that day, but it will come.

  • I certainly do think it is an act of public disobedience to the Bishops to not only invite the President to speak but to give him an award on top of it – and it is a slap in the face to all Catholics who have built the College up through the years. As a Catholic I expect any institution purporting to be Catholic to be Catholic and uphold the Church’s teachings. That is basic to any group in society that has rules and regulations to be followed. Every Catholic knows the Church’s stand on abortion. Why do people belong to the Catholic Church if they dissent from her teachings? The door is open for them to walk out if don’t like anything the Church teaches. They are not bound to stay. Christ Himself said to take the narrow path. He kicked the money lenders out of the temple. He didn’t mince His words. It’s high time Catholics shook themselves up and realise how morally lax we have become.

Notre Dame Honors Pro-Abort

Friday, March 20, AD 2009

obama-planned-parenthood

The University of Notre Dame announced today that President Obama will be the commencement speaker this year and receive an honorary degree.  Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes, the bishops of this country* spoke on this point in 2004:

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

I hope that faithful Catholics will do their best to persuade the administration of Notre Dame to rethink this invitation.  If the administration does not, I hope that enough faithful Catholics show up on May 17, 2009 to make the protest of the speech a memorable one.  I also trust that the students of Notre Dame who take their Faith seriously will also find means during the speech to express their displeasure over the choice of speaker known.

* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or USCCB

Update I:  As usual, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is on top of the story.

Update II:  Totus chimes in.

Update III:  For those of you who would like to make your views known to the president of Notre Dame, click here.

Update IV:  Good.  There is a website set up to organize resistance to this invitation.

Continue reading...

38 Responses to Notre Dame Honors Pro-Abort

  • “Leaving aside the spit in the face insult to Our Lady that this invitation constitutes…”

    I think Our Lady can endure it, as she has loving birth-pangs for all God’s children to be saved…

  • Yep she can Mr. DeFrancisis. Why any faithful Catholic would endure for a second such an insult to Our Lady is another matter.

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  • Mr. McClarey,

    Your conception of the Church sounds more lihe a bastion than the sacrament for God’s universal salvific will.

    BTW, I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

  • I don’t think it has anything to do with politics. Abortion is such a paramount evil — analogous to and well beyond in death count — the genocide of the Jews in the holocaust. The fact that a Catholic institution, apart of the Catholic Church, would invite someone who supports such a horror, even in ignorance, to deliver a speech and to commission the students to go engage the world presents itself as a scandal.

    Now, granted, I ardently oppose the war in Iraq and I think we need to re-think our strategy on Afghanistan. My views on torture as just the same. However, the scope and gravity of these evils, is a pale comparison to abortion. Now, I’m not advocating a proportionalist trap of condoning or “watering” down the lesser evils, to totally oppose the greater one; I’m just saying, one cannot make the comparison as if the two sides are morally equal because the scope and gravity in and of itself attests to that.

    I do not think President Obama should be given the opportunity to speak at any Catholic institution or receive any award. In the same way, I would have opposed President Bush speaking at a Catholic institution or receiving any award.

    Rather, I think that Catholic institutions should avoid all together giving the privilege of speaking at such ceremonies to politicians who represent a political platform and a realm of bias and division (politics) instead of the breadth and all-embracing truth of the Gospel. At this point, I cannot name many Catholic politicians who are a “sign of contradiction” that bring to life Catholic Social Teaching in their political office who could truly be a uniting figure at a commencement ceremony.

    That’s my two cents.

  • Totally disagree with you in regard to President Bush Mr. DeFrancisis. I believe he waged just wars. As to the torture issue, I disagree with waterboarding, but I can understand how reasonable people would disagree with me.

    As to President Obama, giving an honorary degree at a Catholic institution to a man who has raised campaign funds on the basis of his support for that barely disguised infanticide known as partial birth abortion is a capitualtion to the culture of death and a despicable, I would say calculated, insult to the Blessed Virgin who brought our Redeemer into the World through her womb. This is tantamount to a synagogue giving an award to a neo-Nazi politician. The administration of Notre Dame should be deeply ashamed.

  • Bravo Eric, always the voice of reason and faith!

  • Good call Eric! It really does help to have a range of viewpoints, especially in the face of Mark’s attempt at moral equivalency. Your defense of orthodoxy is all the more poignant considering your opposition to the Iraq war.

    Mr. DeFrancis,

    do you really think it’s just as bad to pour water on the face of 3 avowed terrorists as it is to murder a million babies a year? That is just sick.

  • “That is just sick.”

    Matt, I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from that type of comment. I enjoy your vigorous defense of Catholic teaching, but Mr. DeFrancisis has said nothing of a personal nature in this thread against anyone else and he should not be attacked personally. You made your point well without your final sentence.

  • Matt,

    I made no attempt at moral equivalency. You are reading into my remarks. Try harder.

  • Mark,

    You comment here often enough you should plug AC in your name, ie, place the http address as the link to your name.

    You’re part of the tapestry here, mind as well go all the way!

    🙂

  • Mark D.,

    are you unfamiliar with the term, “moral equivalency”?

    When we decry the honoring of a pro-abortion president at a Catholic university, and you ask:

    I wonder if you protested President Bush’s commencement at Saint Vincent College, 2 years ago. You know, he instigated an unjest war and ordered torture.

    You are clearly implying that the acts, even if we accept your analysis of them, are equivalent, or at least on the same moral scale.

    Do you accept that abortion is far more grave a situation, as the Church teaches, or not?

  • Matt,

    The Church opposes instrinsic and grave moral evils. Unjust wars and torture are both.

  • Ah, Catholic Anarchist, with your penchant for name calling as a substitute for analysis and argument, it is always good to have the delete button ready when you come calling, and I deleted your last comment for personal insults.

  • Once again Mr. DeFrancisis I simply disagree with you about the wars being unjust. However, this entire thread is about Notre Dame honoring a pro-abort, and the Church puts abortion and euthanasia in a special category of evil as Cardinal Ratzinger noted in 2004:

    “3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    Here is a link to the entire memorandum:

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/bishops/04-07ratzingerommunion.htm

    What the administration of Notre Dame is attempting to do should be anathema to all believing Catholics.

  • I was shocked and disappointed by this. One (small) mitigating factor, however, is that Notre Dame has a long-standing tradition, going back at least 50 years, of ALWAYS inviting each sitting president to be its commencement speaker. Most, if not all, presidents since Eisenhower have accepted the invitation at some point. They did not go out of their way to do this for Obama because they thought he was especially great (which was the impression I had at first)

    Perhaps they (ND administration) felt they could not back out of this tradition now without it appearing to insult the presidential office. You all know how we’re supposed to respect the office, no matter who happens to occupy it?

    That being said: given Obama’s particularly egregious efforts to promote the destruction of unborn human life, combined with the earlier controversies over Bush 43’s appearance, now would have been a good time to drop this particular tradition simply because of its potential to be a source of scandal.

    I doubt very much that a Jewish university would invite, say, Pat Buchanan or another well-known critic of Israel to be a commencement speaker, or that Brigham Young University (Mormon) would invite a vocal opponent of Proposition 8, even if they had a “tradition” of inviting similar public figures in the past.

  • Also, the argument that this is somehow going to promote “dialogue” and “openness” doesn’t wash. This isn’t a debate, a question and answer session, a panel discussion or a forum with multiple participants, which does not imply endorsement of any particular participant’s views. (If it were, there MIGHT be some justification for having him there.) No, this is a speech by ONE man to a captive audience, at which he gets to express his views to them (and to the nation via press coverage), and at which he is personally honored with an honorary degree. Not a “dialogue” but a one-way conversation.

  • Good comment as usual Elaine. I would note that Bill Clinton never gave a commencement address to Notre Dame. I do not know if he received an invitation. As far as I can tell no pro-abortion President has ever before delivered this address.

  • The invitation needs to be rescinded once and for all.

  • Donald – You can’t delete the truth, friend.

  • Correct Catholic Anarchist. Your comments are only deleted when they involve personal insult or are not on topic. Your most recent comment is not on topic, but you are responding to a prior comment by me so I will not delete it.

  • Notre Dame has made a grave error by inviting the abortionist to speak at their commencement. He is openly anti-Catholic and anti-God.

    What possible reason would ND have for asking him above all of the many qualified, intelligent, Catholic or at least pro-life speakers from which they could have chosen? This is the question. Even if they have invited every sitting president throughout the years, this guy is like no other president in his outrageous disrespect for human life. He resembles Hitler more than a president of the United States.

    His presence at ND will be an insult to the Catholic faith. Let us hope that through public outcry that they have the guts to un-invite him ASAP.

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  • Mark,

    The Church opposes instrinsic and grave moral evils. Unjust wars and torture are both.

    war is not intrinsically evil, water boarding is not intrinsically evil, though given circumstances it is reasonable to conclude that these acts in particular circumstances are, or even in almost every circumstance.

    Are you suggesting that ALL intrinsicly evil acts are morally equivalent? That telling a lie is as grave an evil as abortion?

    Do you even understand what “intrinsically evil” is? It bears no relation to the severity of an act. It’s not that abortion is intrinsically evil that which makes it so heinous.

  • It’s interesting to see just how ridiculous the arguments are over at Vox Nova. MZ’s argument, such as it is, is “grow up.” Thoughtful, that. Morning’s Minion “doesn’t care,” although not for any reason that he can explain.

    Henry takes the cake for the dumbest argument, though, as usually is the case. He says that this is like Jesus being criticized for hanging out with sinners. Yeah, except for the part where Jesus said that he was calling the sinners to repentance, and except for the fact that Jesus was specifically explaining why he was hanging out with the lower classes of society rather than the powerful and prestigious (precisely the opposite of what Notre Dame is doing), and except for the fact that Notre Dame is just sucking up to power rather than calling it to repentance. Other than that, it’s a great analogy, worthy of

  • Should be a period after “analogy.”

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  • I graduated from Notre Dame in 1977. President Carter was our commencement speaker and he was pro-choice.

  • President Ford also gave a speech at Notre Dame. Here’s what he wrote on abortion. Looks like his need for exceptions shouldn’t have sat well with Notre Dame back then.

    “Abortion on demand is wrong,” he said, adding that every state should have a constitutional right to control abortion and expressing his belief that such laws need to “recognize and provide for exceptional cases.”

  • Well Jim Notre Dame won’t have to worry about Obama having exceptions. He is 100% pro-abortion. Of course the Catholic Church is 100% against abortion. Even a pro-abort like yourself should be able to see why this might be a wee problem for Catholics who actually believe what the Church teaches, especially since what the Church teaches is that an innocent human life is destroyed in every abortion.

  • Mark – Did I miss something? Did the Catholic Chuch, i.e. Our Holy Father, declare the Iraqi War an “Unjust War.”

  • This is truly hypocritical. If Notre Dame wants to stay “true’ to its beliefs, then NO U.S. President should ever be invited to speak at a commencement. ALL OF THEM would be guilty of violating Catholic doctrine. As mentioned, George W. Bush was criticized by his holiness Pope John Paul II for his “unjust” war in Iraq. How many innocent lives, including children, were lost in that conflict? How are those innocent lives any different from the unborn? What about Bush’s immoral actions of torture and imprisonment? Did Notre Dame rescind his honorary degree as a result? The church needs to be consistent with its criticism. You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others. This is why people are leaving the church. They are inconsistent. The church should be fighting on ALL issues where innocents are harmed, not just select one. What about the homeless people in this country that were ignored by the prior Republican administrations? Are their lives insignificant? Of course we don’t need to mention the scandals in the Catholic Church itself.

    I would have one thing more to say to all these people that are upset with President Obama speaking:

    Romans 14:10 “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

  • ” You can’t viciously attack one person’s views while ignoring the sins of others.”

    That is a recipe for doing nothing Mr. Miller and allowing evil to flourish. We have almost a million unborn kids put to death each year in this country and President Obama is vigorously in favor of this policy. For a university dedictated to Our Lady to honor such a man is an obscenity.

  • ?????????? ????, ?? ???? ?? ???????? ? ?????????? ?????? ?? ?????. ??-????? ?? ??????? ????? 🙂 ????, ??????? – ??? ?? ??? ???? 🙂

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  • ?? ???????!

Now This Is An Archbishop!

Friday, January 30, AD 2009

archbishop-burke

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

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36 Responses to Now This Is An Archbishop!

  • Huzzahs to Archbishop Burke!

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

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

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

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

  • Gerard E.,

    Amen brother. Amen.

  • Gerard E.,

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

    Maybe a saint.

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

  • Gerard E.,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    God forbid children read this blog!

  • Michael I.,

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

    God forbid children read this blog!

    You read this blog don’t you? 😉

  • Michael,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Michael I.,

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

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

  • Michael I.,

    If I did I forgot about it.

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

  • Michael J. Iafrate,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

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

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

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

    Some relevant passages:

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

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

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

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

    Taking into account that the authentic magisterium of the Bishops, namely what they teach insofar as they are invested with the authority of Christ, must always be in communion with the Head of the College and its members,(83) when the doctrinal declarations of Episcopal Conferences are approved unanimously, they may certainly be issued in the name of the Conferences themselves, and the faithful are obliged to adhere with a sense of religious respect to that authentic magisterium of their own Bishops. However, if this unanimity is lacking, a majority alone of the Bishops of a Conference cannot issue a declaration as authentic teaching of the Conference to which all the faithful of the territory would have to adhere, unless it obtains the recognitio of the Apostolic See, which will not give it if the majority requesting it is not substantial. The intervention of the Apostolic See is analogous to that required by the law in order for the Episcopal Conference to issue general decrees.(84) The recognitio of the Holy See serves furthermore to guarantee that, in dealing with new questions posed by the accelerated social and cultural changes characteristic of present times, the doctrinal response will favour communion and not harm it, and will rather prepare an eventual intervention of the universal magisterium.

  • Michael I.,

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

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

  • Michael I,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Of course I agree with this.

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

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

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

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.

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

    You are in disagreement with JPII and Paul VI.,

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

  • “not suggested” that is.

  • Michael I.,

    What Matt “Mark” McDonald said.

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

    Have a great weekend!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

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

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

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

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

    This is the same with many papal statements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Michael,

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Michael,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Michael,

    Yes, they are morally equivalent.

    That’s what I figured you’d say.

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

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

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

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

Catholic Campaign for Human Development – Tainted by ACORN or Still Rotten Itself?

Tuesday, November 25, AD 2008

A lone individual with a sign protesting the second collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development sets Vox Nova‘s Morning’s Minion on a tirade against Fr. Neuhaus and evangelicals:

After a moment of confusion, it suddenly dawned on me what this was about. And then I became rather angry. Yes, it was just one “whack-job”, but I was still angry. And then I thought of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’s partially-successful attempt to align Catholics with the emergent right-wing evangelical movement, and realized that it had come to this. Catholics, including Neuhaus, were lambasting an anti-poverty program because it simply did not fit with the the ideological talking points of the hour.

As Fr. Neuhaus points out, “Ten years ago, CCHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians.”

Pointing to the CCHD’s stated principles, including that it “will not consider organizations which promote or support abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, or any other affront to human life and dignity,” Morning’s Minion dismisses Neuhaus’ concerns:

This is important as many of the critics (including Neuhaus) claim it is funding pro-abortion activities. (Yet again, the mis-use of the abortion agenda as a Trojan horse to further a distinctly less noble cause– will this ever end?)

Unfortunately, Neuhaus’ claim is true — CCHD has a disappointing history of, contrary to its stated principles, providing extensive funding for questionable political groups with agendas morally at odds with Catholic teaching.

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8 Responses to Catholic Campaign for Human Development – Tainted by ACORN or Still Rotten Itself?

  • “were lambasting an anti-poverty program because it simply did not fit with the the ideological talking points of the hour.”

    Funding a far-left group that engages in voter fraud is anti-poverty? I assume that Obama’s Minion can square that particular circle.

  • I can’t think of a single orthodox Catholic I know who has ever given a dime to the CCHD.

    In fact, I have always considered it be Catholic in same spirit as Catholics for a Free Choice is Catholic. It calls itself Catholic, but after that all bets are off. In fact CCFC is most certainly far more welcome on CCHD grounds than is actually Church teaching.

  • The unfortunate reality is that CCHD is far too comfortable with groups that advocate against the unborn. This is another reason why charity should be as local as possible: Christ called us to help our neighbor, there is never a shortage of need, and the opportunity for that sort of nonsense is less.

  • I emailed the Diocese of Joliet about my disgust with CCHD. Here is the not at all reassuring reply:

    I note your concerns about the use of Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds in the Joliet Diocese, and I want to assure you that none of the local CCHD funded groups are affiliated with ACORN. As you may know, CCHD is a program developed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to address domestic poverty. The Campaign funds projects that empower the poor to develop leadership skills and to organize so that they can be successful in their own efforts to break the cycle of poverty. All local grant applications are carefully screened by the diocesan coordinator and a CCHD committee made up of representatives from various parishes within the diocese to ensure that the objectives and actions of each funded group are consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. In addition, the Bishop endorses every project recommended for funding here in the Joliet area. National grant applications are carefully evaluated by CCHD national staff and must be approved by a group of bishops selected to oversee grants as well. Partisan activity is strictly prohibited for all grantees; any organization engaged in partisan activity is not eligible for funding. Some activities that are encouraged and eligible for funding are: community organizing, job training, legitimate voter registration initiatives, leadership development, citizenship training, and English language classes. The goal is to empower the marginalized groups within our community so that they may enjoy a more active role in shaping their own lives. In this way they can move from poverty on the fringes of society to a more fulfilling life for themselves and their families as full participating members. For a list and more information about the grants awarded here in the Joliet diocese see http://www.paxjoliet.org/cchd/grants_0809.htm. A full explanation regarding the mission and policies of CCHD is available at http://www.usccb.org/cchd/grant.shtml

  • I was at this Mass, and didn’t see the person with the sign. I probably would have gone up to him and given him a high-five. But MM and I don’t often see eye-to-eye on such things.

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Canonical Options For Dealing With FOCA

Sunday, November 23, AD 2008

With President-elect Obama assembling together the most anti-life and anti-family radicals imaginable for his upcoming administration.  In addition to ignoring the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement* (November 12, 2008 AD) to reconsider not signing the misnomered Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).  Along with other abortion related executive, judicial, and legislative acts, the options to combat this evil are becoming fewer for American Catholics.

With American Catholics being left to their faith for sustenance, our shepherds, the Catholic Bishops (USCCB), may need to review their canonical options for dealing with Catholic legislative support for FOCA.  The USCCB will have to engage the issue of well known “Catholic legislators supporting a specifically and gravely evil bill” as Dr. Edward Peters, a well respected canon lawyer, stated today on his blog.  Dr. Edward Peters sees four (4) canonical options in “dealing with these Catholic legislators who support FOCA” (emphasis mine):

1. Canon 915. Make plain, by public announcement and/or private contact, that a legislator’s support for FOCA qualifies as (probably formal, but certainly proximate material) cooperation with objective grave evil and that such conduct, in this case, would render one ineligible for reception of holy Communion under Canon 915.

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3 Responses to Canonical Options For Dealing With FOCA

  • As Prof. Dr. Peters outlines, numerous options for our shepherds in case FOCA gets Mr. Obama’s John Hancock. The one possibility for prevention is that other issues command his attention, particularly the economy. If not, the bishops are in a significant bind. Many bold and freeswinging letters, documents, interview quotes were issued before November 4. Oops- the majority of our brethren voted with the understanding that economic issues trump the lives of unborn babies. Some quick and fast evangelization may be needed to reinforce opposition to FOCA. Never a very good idea to call for battle with no troops behind the generals.

  • Forget the troops! Be true shepherds and defend the magisterium regardless of the flock. The Bishops are wholly responsible for 54% of Catholics voting for evil by their equivocating in their ‘Faithful Citizenship’ Document. They must now act and act boldly. Forget the economy, the rich progressive benefactors, and lead, or resign. Also, the Vatican needs to be more selective when it chooses Bishops. The time for gentle politics is over. Act now and act decisively! This will seep back into what little is left the Church if no action is taken.

  • COLUMBIA, S.C. – A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and

Not One Dime

Thursday, November 13, AD 2008

dime

I have never given a dime to the Campaign for Human Development.  The always indispensable Father Neuhaus explains why here:

“Which brings me, finally, to another and related matter that will surely be discussed in Baltimore and deserves to be on the agenda. The Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops* no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

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One Response to Not One Dime

  • Fuzzy wuzzy ideology is easy to implement when times are fat. Oh you wonderful neighborhood organzation (led by the local Stalinists) we’ll send cash to you. No we don’t need to audit our books we trust these people. Our Serious Financial Crisis may produce all manner of good, if unexpected, fruit. One result is that the biggest public scam in American Catholicism may be in its last days. I will vote for Nancy Pelosi before one red cent from my pocket ever goes into CHD anymore. Maintained that position since reading some of The Wanderer’s investigative pieces. Would that many of our peeps- some of whom really are hurting very deeply- do likewise.

12 Responses to Cardinal George's Official Statment on Abortion

  • The Catholic Anarchist and I agree! Probably not one of the signs of the Apocalypse, but close!

  • “This was bad law [I would say “this is bad law”].”

    Actually an attorney would use the phrase “this was bad law” which might indicate that the cardinal consulted with an attorney when drafting it. Heaven knows, however, that I would never set up my profession as models of good English usage.

  • Donald,

    Thanks. I was wondering about that, especially from such an important document such as this.

    I like the statement as well. I hope Cardinal George and President-elect Obama will be able to have a good dialogue on this and hopefully a fruitful outcome.

  • Decent stuff. Tito’s comments in red were welcome and clearly modelled on those by the esteemed Father Zeulsdorf on the most excellent What Up That Prayer Say. Almost bold or at least appears that way compared to the usual oatmeal served at the USCCB Restaurant. Time to find out if all those bold letters and statements they released in the past 12 weeks weren’t just vacant moosh. Could be tough times ahead for them and many practicing Catholics, particularly those in health care. Must pray for them to maintain the tungsten reinforcement in their vertebrae. And for us too.

  • Tito – Did you add more commentary since you originally posted this? Just to clarify, I think the statement itself is a good one. I have no comment whatsoever on your own commentary, other than to say I think you should have placed it at the end of their statement rather than mucking it up with your own interruptions.

  • The red is a little jarring to me, personally, but I like the statement. Thanks for posting it Tito.

    MI- approved your comment (not the second one, although I found it amusing). I feel your pain with the moderation; it’s happened to me occasionally with the auto-filters at VN and I know it’s off-putting.

  • Too bad the Catholic Church does not persecute the pedophiles and rapists within their very ranks with the same fervor they pursue the people’s elected representatives who do not kowtow the Catholic line.

    What about protecting the children that are already born? This is an organization that by it’s very actions basically condones child molestation!!!!!

  • M.I.,

    I was thinking the same thing. The red seems to scream out. I was puting in my commentary and saving the column after each paragraph, hence why you thought you saw double or something.

    I believe Fr. Z uses a slightly off-blue on the background to calm down the screaming red. I like your idea of puting the comments at the end though.

    I’ve been practicing on my personal blog with the red commentary a la Fr. Z and still haven’t figured out the right balance so as not to distract from the statement itself.

    It’s a work in progress and I also agree with you that the statement itself would have been sufficient, though what fun would that have been?

    😉

  • Zebediah,

    Could you present proof of the Church’s teaching on the condoning of said behavior?

    Here’s our catechism link so you can find it for us and post it on our website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

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FOCA meet the USCCB

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

images3obama

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have made fighting against the Freedom of Choice Act a high priority in their current meeting.  The Catholic Church and the incoming Obama administration are on a  collision course in regard to abortion.  For every American Catholic the choice couldn’t be starker:  which side are you on?

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3 Responses to FOCA meet the USCCB

  • The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

    Will our shepherds lay down their life for their sheep, or will they flee and leave us to the wolves?

    For decades they’ve acted as hired hands and squandered their authority.

    How many will see this through, and give their all so that, martyred their witness may provide the moral authority to their successors that they received from so many of their predecessors?

  • About time. For too many years, our shepherds tapdanced around controversy. They allowed most official documents to be wrapped around the blanket labelled Social Justice. When none of the sort meted out to around 50 million unborn children. Now awake, they speak pretty boldly for such an august body. Hope they’re ready for whatever level of persecution may be dished out by the new administration. So they were going to avoid that abortion/election/citizenship stuff at this meeting. Events dictated otherwise.

  • Pray for our bishops.

Cardinal George Issues Congratulations & Challenge to Obama

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

John Allen provides an encouraging report on Francis Cardinal George’s remarks as USCCB president regarding the election of Senator Obama to the presidency:

Cardinal Francis George, speaking this morning as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said all Americans should “rejoice” that a country which once tolerated slavery has elected an African-American as president – and, in the same breath, he issued a blunt challenge to the new administration on abortion.

“If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons, were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be President of the United States,” George said.

“Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good,” he said.

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3 Responses to Cardinal George Issues Congratulations & Challenge to Obama

10 Responses to Bishops remove discussion of politics and abortion from conference agenda

3 Responses to USCCB Investigates $1 Million Church Funding to ACORN

  • Well bless my soul. Some good fruit from this overtime loss. Have not given a dime to this Campaign for Human Development scam for well unto a decade. Props to The Wanderer which for all its faults has reported on the money trail again and yet again. Quite the dilemma for the ACORNites. Their dream fave candidate/protege takes up residence in 1600 PA Av. While one investigative organization after another picks it apart like the poor Turkey Day bird. A little good news on a less than cheery day.

  • “Not one dime.”

    Amen!

Counting Bishops

Friday, October 31, AD 2008

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

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

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3 Responses to Counting Bishops

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

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

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

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

    😉

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

A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

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

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15 Responses to A Huge Switch Among Catholics Towards McCain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Patrick,

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

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

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

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

    Yes, I have seen reports saying the exact opposite.

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

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

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

  • Daledog,

    Let’s pray and fast that’s true.

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Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

Thursday, October 23, AD 2008

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

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

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

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50 Responses to Let the Bishops Interpret Their Document

  • Bravo!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    All,

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

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

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

  • Obama fever is hitting its peak

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

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

  • Denton,

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

  • Michael I. and Darwin,

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

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

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

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  • Michael,

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

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

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

  • Michael & DC,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mark,

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

  • Well, I agree, Mark.

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

    😉

  • Especially when the USCCB is NOT the magisterium.

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

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

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

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

  • Chris B,

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

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

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

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

  • Michael,

    The heart of my comment which sparked this is:

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

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

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

    Agreed?

  • Mark,

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

  • Michael,

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

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

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

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

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

    The PA Bishops state thusly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • MM,

    Thanks for dropping by. A couple things:

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

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

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

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

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

    Agreed?

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

  • On Paul’s inflammatary rhetoric:

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

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

  • MM,

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • MM:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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