Catholics & the 2004 Presidential Election - Collected Readings & Resources

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Sen. John Kerry isn't as honest about abortion as the missus is, but in flip-flopping around the issue today he said something sure to enrage chief handler Mary Beth Cahill and other pro-abortion extremists.

In his first post-convention interview, the self-described "Catholic" today told the Associated Press in Newburgh, N.Y., that life began at conception but that he still believed abortion should be allowed anyway.

Asked whether he believed abortion was taking a life, Kerry acknowledged a fetus was a "form of life."

That's when he seemed to realize he had put his foot in it, and the flip-flopping cranked up. He stammered: "The Bible itself - I mean, everything talks about different layers of development. That's what Roe v. Wade does. It talks about viability. It's the law of the land."

Yes, the Bible and Roe vs. Wade have so much in common. (source)

I just love the "it's the law of the land" argument. I am sure that it really comforted slaves before. And even if you go with the viability argument, his voting for partial birth abortion would contradict that. What can be more viable than a baby being delivered normally. Of course after they vacuum their brains out - there goes viability.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Fr. Pavone levels the playing field 

Posted by Jamie at 1:33 PM

"If a candidate who supported terrorism asked for your vote, would you say, 'I disagree with you on terrorism, but where do you stand on other issues?'"

"'I stand for adequate and comprehensive health care.' So far, so good. But as soon as you say that a procedure that tears the arms off of little babies is part of 'health care,' then your understanding of the term 'health care' is obviously quite different from the actual meaning of the words."

"'My plan for adequate housing will succeed.' Fine. But what are houses for, if not for people to live in them? If you allow the killing of the children who would otherwise live in those houses, how am I supposed to get excited by your housing project?"

Summary: "It's easy to get confused by all the arguments in an election year. But if you start by asking where candidates stand on abortion, you can eliminate a lot of other questions you needn't even ask."

Nice. Article here. Priests for Life here.

GOP Announces Pro-Life Speakers at National Convention 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 9:26 AM

Since I originally posted about the "Kerry Catholics" in the Republican Party", bemoaning the lack of pro-life speakers at the Republican National Convention, it is my pleasure to post that the GOP has just announced the following pro-life speakers (Source: LifeNews.Com):
The newest list of speakers includes Senate Majority Leader Bill First, a doctor from Tennessee who recently spoke in favor of President Bush's position against taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the sponsor of the partial-birth abortion ban Bush signed into law, will also speak as will Senator Sam Brownback, who has been the leading pro-life lawmaker fighting human cloning.

Other pro-life speakers on the new list include Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Senator Elizabeth Dole, Kentucky Congresswoman Anne Northup, and Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, a leading black Republican. . . .

The initial convention speakers list also included pro-life speakers, such as Senator John McCain, who has angered pro-life advocates on other issues, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia, a pro-life Democrat who has endorsed Bush.

Thanks to Catholics For Bush for the tip.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Ron Reagan and Functionalism, Revisited. 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 1:08 AM

A couple days ago on Catholic Kerry Watch I posted on the functionalism of Senator Kerry and it's refutation by Dr. Peter Kreeft ("John Kerry is human . . . But is he a person?"). According to Dr. Kreeft, functionalism is to "define a person by his or her functioning or behavior." One could not ask for a better example of this warped line of reasoning than Ron Reagan's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention:
. . . It is a hallmark of human intelligence that we are able to make distinctions. Yes, these cells could theoretically have the potential, under very different circumstances, to develop into human beings -- that potential is where their magic lies. But they are not, in and of themselves, human beings. They have no fingers and toes, no brain or spinal cord. They have no thoughts, no fears. They feel no pain. Surely we can distinguish between these undifferentiated cells multiplying in a tissue culture and a living, breathing person -- a parent, a spouse, a child.
A position to which Ramesh Ponnuru deftly commented ("Ron's Moment: stem cell delusions" NRO July 27, 2004):
Reagan attempted to engage the arguments of those who believe that the killing of human embryos should not be subsidized. He deserves some credit for this: Many people just skip past this question. "It is the hallmark of human intelligence that we are able to make distinctions," he said. But it is a hallmark of human intelligence that we are able to make rationalizations, too. And Reagan's distinctions don't distinguish. Killing embryos is not a problem, he said, because those embryos have no fingers or toes. So much for quadriplegics. It's not a problem because they feel no pain -- like the comatose, or people given lethal injections. It's not a problem because the future will approve. In which case, so much the worse for the future. (All of these arguments, by the way, contradict Reagan's earlier insistence that the research involves only using the materials of our own bodies.)
What I find most disturbing is just how easily public opinion can be swayed on this issue by simple appeal to human emotion. In his speech, Ron Reagan appealed to his audience's sympathy by comparing the plight of the embroyo with that of
. . . a child -- well, she must be 13 now -- I'd better call her a young woman. She has fingers and toes. She has a mind. She has memories. She has hopes. And she has juvenile diabetes. . . .

She's very brave. She is also quite bright and understands full well the progress of her disease and what that might ultimately mean: blindness, amputation, diabetic coma. Every day, she fights to have a future.

What excuse will we offer this young woman should we fail her now? What might we tell her children? Or the millions of others who suffer? That when given an opportunity to help, we turned away?

Think about it, Ron says. An embroyo . . . "no fingers. no toes. no brain. no spinal cord. no thoughts, no fears, no pain."

Compared with the life of a 13 year old girl -- a girl with fingers, toes, brain, spinal cord, et al. -- and the countless others we may be able to save, what's the cost of a few cloned embroyos sacrificed in the name of science?

Nothing, really, says Ron.

A trifle, especially were we to believe

". . . these cells could theoretically have the potential, under very different circumstances, to develop into human beings . . ."
Methinks Ron Reagan could benefit from a basic lesson in human biology: "When Do Human Beings Begin? "Scientific" Myths and Scientific Facts", by Dian Irving (International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 19:3/4 (February 1999): 22-47).

It's actually quite elementary, the kind of stuff we all learned (or should have learned) in high school . . . but, as was demonstrated last night, can very well forget, caught up in the crowd and the manupulative spell of a skilled rhetorician.

Incidentally, Senator Kerry agrees with Ron Reagan, and just last week attached his name to a bill supporting what pro-life organizations are referring to as "clone and kill" procedures, permitting scientists to clone unborn children only to be killed to obtain their stem cells for use in research. In doing so, he joins countless others in opposing the Bush Administration's ban on such experimentation.

You can guess what will happen if he wins the election.

Related Links

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Newday: Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 4:23 PM

Newsday columnist Raymond J. Keating puzzles over Kerry's logic-defying "position" on abortion:
. . . If Kerry believes life begins at conception, then he either has voted consistently against his conscience or, in his moral ordering, perversely places greater weight on not offending some over saving innocent lives. The other possibility is that Kerry is disingenuously pandering to both sides of the abortion issue. None of these choices is encouraging if one hopes for a president with a sound moral compass.

In fact, I would think that both sides of the abortion debate - pro-choice and pro-life - have to be scratching their heads over Kerry's position. But it's clear how he has voted. If he opposes abortion, then how does Kerry sleep at night with such a staunchly pro-abortion voting record?

Keating also interviews Kristen Day, executive director of the group Democrats for Life, who will be holding a rally today in Faneuil Hall, Boston. Says Ms. Day:
". . . We're really trying to send a message that pro-life Democrats shouldn't be silent anymore. There is a home in the Democratic Party for pro-lifers; we just have to speak up more."

[About Kerry's contradictory position]:"We're very happy to hear that he does believe that life begins at conception," she said, "and it really shows how much power the abortion lobby has over the Democratic Party right now. ... If people are prevented from voting their conscience because they're afraid of the abortion lobby, that's just wrong."

Wouldn't it be nice if . . .  

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 12:21 AM

So while the bishops wrestle with the problem of whether to give Holy Communion to John Kerry (not to mention all the other Catholic politicians who sold out for electoral silver), they should be equally alarmed over the apathy of the estimated 13 million [Catholics] who voted for abortion politicians.

The faithful get little encouragement from some members of the hierarchy. Indeed, Cardinal McCarrick, now at the center of the Kerry-abortion-Communion inquiry, is remembered in his old archdiocese in Newark, N.J., for throwing open his cathedral to fete that arch-pro-abortion Republican Christie Whitman when she was elected governor.

McCarrick has already sent some signals on Kerry: He's "uncomfortable" denying Holy Communion to anyone; he does not want to be "confrontational." When shepherds vacillate, the sheep stray.

The tragedy is the lost chance. The numbers prove that if every Catholic voter, acting on an informed conscience, refused to vote for any politician -- Democrat, Republican or independent -- who supports abortion, the scourge could be eliminated almost overnight.

A Catholic bloc vote against abortion would stun the Democratic Party into renouncing its abortion platform and serve notice to the wobbly Republicans, especially their Catholic sell-outs.

Beyond John Kerry, the bishops have a lot of work to do with the flock. The unanswered questions are: Do they recognize it, and do they have the will?

SOURCE: Where Bishops Fail to Lead", by Ray Kerrison. New York Post July 24, 2004.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Should Catholics vote for Bush? -- A legitimate debate. 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 5:50 PM

Today one of our commentators made the suggestion that anybody who remained as yet "undecided" on who to vote for, or even "hesitated" in voting for Bush, did not consider abortion an important issue -- and even proposed that they might be recruited by supporters of Kerry to infiltrate this blog.

Coincidentally, the question of whether Catholics should vote for Bush was the subject of a recent op-ed piece by Matthew Abott (Should Catholics vote for Dubya?" 7/20/04). *

Mr. Abott (fairly, I think) presents both sides of the issue, presenting the thoughts of one reader on why Catholics ought to vote for Bush:

". . . In light of our understanding of the Church's role in guiding us in our electoral process without actually telling us who to vote for, let us consider what the Church has said to 'nudge' us in the right direction this election year:

"1) Belief in capital punishment, while a present day [but not intrinsic] evil, is not necessarily heresy and thus does not warrant the severe penalty of excommunication;

"2) Belief in the Iraqi war, while denounced by the Pope, still can be dissented from and does not warrant the severe penalty of excommunication;

"3) Belief in abortion is a heresy, a terrible, inexcusable evil, and always warrants the severe penalty of excommunication. [According to the Code of Canon Law, 'a person who procures a completed abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication.']

According to this argument, abortion occupies a position of higher priority than the death penalty or the debate over 'just war' -- and it is precisely for this reason why one ought to vote against Kerry, since a Kerry victory would assuredly ensure the repeal of any legislative advancement the pro-life movement has made under the Bush administration.

However, Mr. Abott goes on to present the case of Janet M. Thompson of the Fides Foundation who would not recommend that Catholics vote for Bush on grounds that he isn't unconditionally pro-life, and takes issue with those who justify such a compromise:

"Appealing to 'proportional cause' to justify voting for pro-abortion candidates is erroneous; whatever good may have been gained from such a practice is far, far outweighed by the evil, not only the killing of the innocent, but the steady deterioration of the moral fabric of society – moral compromise does not build strength, it only spawns greater compromise.

"Given the above, the liceity of voting for pro-abortion candidates cannot be conclusively affirmed by the application of those principles so often appealed to; therefore, the only certain morally licit recourse is to the Fifth Commandment, 'You shall not kill.'"

What's my point in mentioning this op-ed? -- I believe that the case can clearly be made (and has been made by several of our bishops) why Catholics should not vote for John Kerry. However, I do not think this is grounds for questioning the moral integrity or pro-life commitment of those who are as yet "undecided" about whether to vote for Bush in November. It seems to me a subject very much open for discussion.

I'm grateful for Matt's raising of the question, and would be interested in hearing my co-editors weigh in on this question.

* * *

On a parting note, you may have heard that in response to the roster of pro-abortion Republicans slated to speak at the GOP convention, some 127 members of Congress drafted a letter to the president urging him to request that Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, a longtime pro-life champion, be added to the list -- said letter being signed by more than half of the Republicans in the house (SOURCE). Let's pray for the success of this effort, and a renewal of the GOP's commitment to advancing the culture of life.

* Lest anybody cast doubt on Mr. Abbot's credibility or impugn him as not giving due consideration to abortion as the most critical issue in this campaign, Mr. Abott happens to be a contributor to some fairly reputable organizations: ". . . the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League. He is also a contributor to,,,,,, "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper,,,,, and"

Speaking of the Paulist Center, The Boston Globe reports:
In a break from past practice, the Democratic Party is not inviting the archbishop of Boston to offer a blessing at the Democratic National Convention, but instead is inviting a Paulist priest who has taken Senator John F. Kerry's side in a national debate over whether politicians who support abortion rights should receive Communion.

The Kerry campaign said last night it is seeking to have the Rev. John B. Ardis, director of the Paulist Center, deliver an invocation at the convention. The Paulist Center is on Beacon Hill, where Kerry lives, and the senator and his wife have often worshiped at the chapel there.

The Kerry campaign said it has not invited Sean P. O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston. O'Malley's spokesman, the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, said recently that O'Malley planned to be out of town this week.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Catholic church protested by anti-abortion groups 

Posted by Jeff Miller at 4:46 PM

CATHOLICS ARE USED TO having people protest outside their churches. Because Catholics are one of the last socially acceptable objects of bigotry, it seems as though activist groups are always showing up at their churches. Gay and women's rights groups make up the usual crowd, although these days it's common to find hecklers there to beat up on Catholics for the priest sex-abuse scandals. However, today may mark the first time a Catholic church has been picketed by anti-abortion protestors.

Dozens of such protestors were gathered on Park Street in front of the Paulist Center an hour before Sunday's 10:00 a.m. Mass. They strummed guitars, sang hymns, drew slogans on the sidewalk in chalk, and carried placards saying "Stop Killing My Generation" and "You CAN'T be Catholic & Pro-Abortion." Some of the protestors hailed from Operation Rescue, other were from the American Life League. All of them were respectful and cheery as they stood in the morning sunshine, down the block from the Massachusetts statehouse.

The reason for their protest is that the Paulist Center is John Kerry's home church.

KERRY'S CATHOLICISM has put him in a bizarre position. Kerry is Catholic. As such, he is, by his own proclamation, personally opposed to abortion. He does not allow this opposition to get in the way of supporting abortion rights as a matter of public policy. Nor do his personal convictions prevent him from vigorously courting the support of explicitly pro-abortion groups. "Abortion should be rare, but it should be safe and legal, and
the government should stay out of the bedroom," Kerry said recently as he accepted the Planned Parenthood Action Fund's endorsement. According the Los Angeles Times, the assembled Planned Parenthood Crowd "whooped" and "chanted" their approval. The eagerness with which Kerry stumps for abortion suggests that putting aside his "personal" convictions does not cause him a heavy heart. (source)

Not much of a fluke that the Catholic Church Sen. Kerry goes to is about as devoid of Catholicism as himself. A Church that would not force it's personal faith even on its congregation.

...There are no kneelers in the church and the atmosphere is decidedly casual. (Of the hundred or so people at Mass on Sunday morning, only two men wore coat and tie.) At times the Mass departs from the Catholic text. During the Nicene Creed, for example, the sections on believing in only "one Lord" ("We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God . . .") and only "one holy Catholic and apostolic Church" are excised from the prayer.

On the back of the Sunday bulletin, the Paulist Center carries ads, like all Catholic churches do. Where most Churches have ads from local florists, funeral homes, hotels, and restaurants, the Paulist Center carries ads for the Animal Rescue League and "Yoga of the Future." The biggest block of ads is from psychotherapists. More than a fifth of the ads in the Paulist Center bulletin are from "Jungian psychoanalysts" who offer counseling, "body psychotherapy," and even "dream interpretation."

Friday, July 23, 2004

Senator Kerry may be human -- but is he a person? 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 10:54 PM

L.A. Times reports that John Kerry reiterated his position on abortion in a recent interview with ABC's Peter Jennings:
"Let me tell you very clearly that being pro-choice is not pro-abortion," he told ABC's Peter Jennings. "And I have very strong feelings that we should talk about abortion in a very realistic way in this country. It is a very complicated, incredibly important moral issue that people have to face."

Thursday, Jennings pressed Kerry about whether he then believed that early-term abortions were murder.

"No, because it's not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past," the senator responded.

"It's the beginning of life," Kerry added. "Does life begin? Yes, it begins. Is it at the point where I would say that you apply those [criminal] penalties? The answer is, no, and I believe in choice. I believe in the right to choose, and the government should not involve itself in that choice, beyond where it has in the context of Roe vs. Wade."

Kerry said Thursday that he personally believed that, in the fertilization process, "a human being is first formed and created, and that's when life begins."

"There's a transformation. There's an evolution. Within weeks, you look and see the development of it, but that's not a person yet, and it's certainly not what somebody, in my judgment, ought to have the government of the United States intervening in."

So, having recognized the fact that life begins at conception, and that this life is human, Kerry now falls back on the precarious and morally questionable position that, because unborn human life is not yet "a person," we are entitled to kill it.

A number of Amy Welborn's readers have already responded by critiquing Kerry's muddled thinking and tortured logic on this issue. However, I wanted to refer you to an excellent essay by Dr. Peter Kreeft from Boston University, who thoroughly demolishes Kerry's stance in the essay: "Human Personhood Begins at Conception" (Medical Ethics Policy Monograph Stafford, Virginia: Castello Institute. 1997), in which he notes the novelty of such a position:

Thus the crucial issue is: Are there any human beings who are not persons? If so, killing them might be permissible, like killing warts. But who might these human non-persons be? Jews? Blacks? Slaves? Infidels? Counterrevolutionaries? Others have said so, and justified their genocide, lynching, slavery, jihad, or gulag. But pro-choicers never include these groups as non-persons. Many pro-choicers include severely retarded or handicapped humans, or very old and sick humans, as non-persons, but this is still morally shocking to most people, and many pro-choicers avoid that morally shocking position by including only fetuses as members of this newly invented class of human non-persons, or non-personal humans. I think no one ever conceived of this category before the abortion controversy. It looks very suspiciously like the category was invented to justify the killing, for its only members are the humans we happen to be now killing and want to keep killing and want to justify killing. But the only way we can prove this dark suspicion true is to refute the category. Are there any humans who are not persons?
Kerry's stance is rooted in the philosophical premise called functionalism, which is to say "defining a person by his or her functioning or behavior." Readers can turn to Dr. Kreeft's article for an extended philosophical analysis and refutation of this position. And, for the benefit of those with a shortened attention span, CatholicEducation.Org has produced a condensed version ("A Person's A Person, No Matter How Small"), outlining possible responses for Senator Kerry and like-minded folk:
  • An embryo is just a bunch of cells. It can't be a person! Yes, but so are you and so am I. The fact is, an embryo will grow into a fetus, which will grow into a baby ... and a toddler ... and a teenager ... and an adult. So it's not just a bunch of cells; it's a human being at the very earliest stages of development.
  • Okay, it's a separate life, but it still can't be called a person. It will grow into a person, but it's not a person while it's in the womb. So what is it then, an ape? A fish? If it's not a person, how does it become a person?
  • It becomes a person by acting like a person. People think. Embryos do not. Not all people think all the time. Does this mean that not all people are persons? For example, you don't think when you are in deep sleep. You don't think when you are in a coma. Are you sometimes a non-person? Newborn babies have very limited thinking abilities compared to teenagers. Does this mean that they are not people?
One of Amy Welborn's readers lamented that Peter Jennings didn't press Senator Kerry on at what point, specifically, would he bestow "personhood" on a human life. Perhaps Mr. Jennings had refrained as well on account that both he and Kerry would then have to grapple with the challenge of Dr. Kreeft.

Incidentally, did you know that in 1928 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that women were not 'persons'. As a result, they were not entitled to hold office as Senators. This ruling held until it was overruled by the British Privy Council (thanks to CatholicEducation.Org for the history lesson).

Update! Catholic Light informs us that William Donahue has weighed in on the matter:

"Kerry's dichotomy," Donohue said, "was advanced by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857 in the Dred Scott decision."

"In that ruling, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote that members of 'the Negro race' were 'not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the government.' Similarly, he concluded that 'it is too plain for argument, that they have never been regarded as part of the people or citizens of the state."

"Catholic League Hits Kerry on Abortion Washington Times July 23, 2004.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Further Thoughts: "Due Process" for Anti-Life CINOs 

Posted by Earl at 10:15 AM

Archbishop Brunett washing handsFrom the pages of Times Against Humanity . . .

As previously reported here, Seattle's Archbishop Alex Brunett has adopted the McCarrick line, pledging to "not deny Holy Communion to politicians because of their stances on abortion."

As our Brother Blogger Dom Bettinelli observes:

Rather than clear things up, Archbishop Brunett, like so many of his brother bishops, has only muddied the waters, taking [Cardinal] Ratzinger's clear teaching and either ignoring it or watering it down. Some bishops seem to want to be like the parent who's more interested in having their kids like them, so that everyone gets along all the time, than the parent who loves their kids, but knows that sometimes loving them means doing things that will make the kids unhappy with them. The latter parent usually ends up with mature adult children. The former almost invariably finds his adult children remain bratty adolescents.

You'll want to read the rest of Dom's analysis on Bettnet, which is always a good read.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bishop Vasa—A Shepherd for Our Time 

Posted by Earl at 4:42 PM

From the pages of Fidelis, as posted by my fellow pundit Barbara Kralis:
A faithful and courageous prelate, Bishop Robert Francis Vasa, M.Div., J.C.L.,1 Bishop of Baker, Oregon, kindly granted Catholic Online and this writer a recent interview. During the conversation, Bishop Vasa (pronounced Va'.sha) helped reinforce Church teachings regarding the scandal of the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion by persons who obstinately persist in their manifest grave sin. In answer to the question, "If the pro-abortion 'Catholic' Senator John Kerry came up to you for communion, would you deny him?" Bishop Vasa quickly replied:

Absolutely. I would agree, certainly, with Archbishop [Raymond] Burke and Bishop [Fabyan] Bruskewitz in their own actions in this matter. I literally could not give Holy Communion to a professed and actively committed "pro-choice" politician.
It is well known that the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, recently wrote an instructive memorandum. It was addressed to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Task Force, and to Bishop Wilton Gregory, President of the USCCB. The Vatican memo was written in English expressly for the USCCB as a guideline of the Church's teachings to be used at their closed-door plenary conference in Denver, CO, June 14-19, 2004. Cardinal Ratzinger, in his memo "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion—General Principles" said without ambiguity:

The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it [when warning and counsel given to the manifest sinner] have not had their effect.
Cardinal McCarrick, chair of the Task Force committee, apparently withheld the memorandum from the USCCB, and even perhaps from the Task Force committee.

Were all of the bishops informed of Cardinal Ratzinger's clear supportive directive citing why the bishops must deny manifest, obstinate, persistent persons in grave sin? Bishop Vasa replied that the June memorandum from Cardinal Ratzinger was not given to the Conference of Bishops in Denver.

As I recall, Cardinal McCarrick made reference to some letter, but I did not see a copy of the letter at the meeting. I don't know if the committee writing the statement entitled Catholics in Political Life was given a copy of the letter.
Bishop Vasa was not sure when the memorandum was delivered to Cardinal McCarrick and Bishop Gregory. It is well known that Cardinal McCarrick presented to the Conference his Interim Report, which instead warned against denying anyone the Eucharist.

"Our consultations with moral theologians and canonists warned us that such steps could raise serious questions about Catholic teaching and the application of canon law," Cardinal McCarrick said in a presentation delivered at the June 15 bishops' meeting and made public June 23.  "Vatican officials offered...principles and advised caution and pastoral prudence in the use of sanctions," the Cardinal advised the bishops, noting that his "Task Force does not advocate the denial of communion from Catholic politicians or Catholic voters." 2 He said that dialogue and teachings must be used instead "in the public square, in hearts and minds, in our pulpits and public advocacy, in our consciences and communities."3

Why would McCarrick give the USCCB information directly in opposition to what Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum actually recommended? Upon further discussion with Bishop Vasa regarding the wording of the USCCB's Denver statement, this writer asked for a clarification. Do the U.S. bishops now teach that it is correct for one Bishop to deny Senator Kerry the Eucharist, while another Bishop, perhaps in a diocese just 10 miles away, mandates his "ministers of Holy Communion" to give him the Eucharist?

"I answer to the Holy See, I don't answer to the USCCB," replied Bishop Vasa.

The June memorandum of Cardinal Ratzinger should have a greater impact on the decision of individual bishops in their own dioceses than the statement of the USCCB, which seems to give broader latitude to the judgment of the bishops.
In response to further correspondence, Cardinal McCarrick received a July 9 letter from the Cardinal, saying:4

The statement is very much in harmony with the general principles of "Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion," sent as a fraternal service—to clarify the doctrine of the Church on this specific issue—in order to assist the American bishops in their related discussion and determinations.
The question was asked Bishop Vasa if it was his understanding that Cardinal Ratzinger agrees with the USCCB's statement that some "ministers of Holy Communion" should admit Senator Kerry to Holy Communion and that some should not admit him. This did not sound like being "very much in harmony" with Church teachings. Bishop Vasa replied:
When the Holy See issues a statement like Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum, he was speaking of a broad range of politicians that individual bishops have to make prudential, pastoral judgments upon. I do not know that in the mind of Cardinal Ratzinger he was specifically targeting the presidential candidate. He was looking at the whole gamut of manifest sinners.

If the bishops and Cardinal Ratzinger were dealing exclusively with John Kerry, then probably the USCCB statement is not in harmony with Cardinal Ratzinger's memo. [emphasis added]

Denying Holy Communion to a pro-abortion Catholic politician may seem like effective action, I wish it were an effective method of achieving conversion and change of heart, but unless there is a change of heart that politician continues to act in a way which supports and cooperates with the evil of abortion.

Thus while denial of Holy Communion, and the preceding dialogue, is an action I would prefer, I must recognize that there are other, perhaps even more effective, ways of achieving a suitable protection of pre-born human life in our country. It seems to me that the most effective way to end abortion is to vote for pro-life candidates.
Bishop Vasa said his understanding was that the Task Force chaired by Cardinal McCarrick has not been dissolved but that there was still much work to be done.

It is my understanding that the Task Force has completed only its interim work and a fuller document is to be issued in November.
Catholic News Service, a USCCB division, reported  that the Task Force would continue to consult with the Holy See, the American bishops, other episcopal conferences, and others, as it develops its final report.5

Bishop Vasa is no stranger to controversy nor does he shy away from defending Church teachings. Earlier this year, he published an important pastoral letter, possibly the first of its kind in the U.S.

The Church requires the making of a Profession of Faith by various persons when they undertake specific duties related to Church administration and teaching, according to Canon Law c. 833.6 Sadly, this oath of fidelity is rarely implemented in U.S. dioceses.
Bishop Vasa understands clearly that lay people working within the Church must be of "outstanding moral character" and give their full assent to all the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Accordingly, on April 23, 2004, Bishop Vasa, published a 40-paragraph document entitled Giving Testimony to the Truth, which was addressed to the lay ministers of his diocese.
Following this pastoral, Bishop Vasa attached an oath of fidelity, which he titled Affirmation of Personal Faith. In the diocese of Baker, the useof the oath has been expanded to include those who assume the ecclesial duties of catechist, teacher, liturgical reader, cantor, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, directors of youth activities,  and other Church positions, which entail a presumption of orthodoxy.

The Church teaches that anyone commissioned to lay apostolate in the Church should be fully accepting of all Catholic teachings.7 Bishop Vasa points out that it is ultimately the Bishop, as chief shepherd of a diocese, who commissions persons to exercise these works. It is also the Bishop's responsibility to establish clear qualifying or disqualifying criteria of who may serve. Bishop Vasa asked that everyone serving the Church in some official capacity, in all parishes, attest their acceptance of each of the Affirmation's parts.

You would be very angry at me if I permitted someone to teach your child who had been fired from a teaching job for inappropriate actions with children. Your anger would be justified.

You would likewise have cause to be angry with me if I permitted a person lacking all faith in the Eucharistic Presence to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion or to serve as a catechist for first Communion. A failure on my part to verify a person's suitability for ministry would be judged as seriously negligent. While I may want to presume a person's appropriateness for ministry such presumptions are not sufficient.
All of the statements, which Bishop Vasa has incorporated in the Affirmation of Personal Faith, are taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Bishop Vasa explains:

They represent the authentic and authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church and acceptance of these tenets is expected of every Catholic. While it is sufficient for me to presume that Catholics who attend Mass and receive communion adhere to these teachings (unless the contrary is clearly evident) such a presumption is not sufficient for those whom I commission to teach and act in some official capacity.
Editor's Note: Endnotes may be accessed via the above links. An annotated edition of the above article, which has been slightly revised for Fidelis, can be found on Catholic Online. To convey your encouragement and support to  Bishop Vasa e-mail him at at:

Monday, July 19, 2004

"Due Process" for Anti-Life CINOs, But Not Their Victims 

Posted by Earl at 11:18 PM

Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett said today that "he would not deny Holy Communion to politicians because of their stances on abortion, the death penalty or other issues," Gene Johnson reports in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Last month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that lawmakers who consistently support abortion rights [sic] or euthanasia were "cooperating in evil," but that individual bishops could decide whether the politicians should be denied Holy Communion.
Archbishop Brunett has decided that priests "should not take it upon themselves to deny Holy Communion to anyone who presents themselves. That would have the result of denying Eucharist participation without due process."

"Due process"—something that the victims of abortion and euthanasia will never receive.

Meanwhile Spokane Bishop William Skylstad has decided that he will not deny Sen. Kerry or other pro-abort politicians Communion, saying "the sacrament should not be used as a weapon," while Bishop Carlos Sevilla of Yakima has not made his decision public.
Washington's three most prominent female politicians—U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Attorney General Christine Gregoire, the Democratic party's front-runner for the gubernatorial nomination, are all Catholics and longtime advocates of...abortion rights. Murray and Cantwell are also Democrats.

Gregoire campaign spokesman Morton Brilliant said Gregoire is still taking Communion publicly and regularly attends church at St. Michael in Olympia.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Kerry sponsors "Clone and Kill" bill 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 5:24 PM

Affirming his support for the culture of death in yet another vote, LifeNews reports that Senator Kerry has announced his support for a "clone and kill" bill advocating stem cell research:
Senator John Kerry has attached his name to a "clone and kill" bill that pro-life organizations oppose because it allows scientists to clone unborn children only to be killed to obtain their stem cells for use in research.

The likely Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday, signed on as a cosponsor of the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Research Protection Act, S. 303.

Some have called the legislation a ban on human cloning. Though it prohibits the grisly practice for reproductive purposes, the legislation allows the "clone and kill" practice for research

According to LifeNews, Kerry's sponsorship of the bill is a politically-motivated attack on the pro-life stance of the Bush administration:
[Kerry] has joined other lawmakers and some in the research community who are putting intense pressure on President Bush to reverse his August 2001 policy prohibiting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Kerry has been using the issue to paint Bush as a religious extremist and claims his pro-life views prevent patients with various diseases from obtaining potentially beneficial treatments that scientists may someday derive from embryonic stem cells.

That may explain why Kerry suddenly signed on to legislation that has been sitting for over a year and isn't expected to receive a Senate vote anytime soon.

The "clone and kill" legislation was introduced in February 2003 and the last senator to cosponsor the bill, Vermont's Jim Jeffords, attached his name to the legislation over a year ago.

President Bush and pro-life groups support a competing bill sponsored by Kansas Republican Sam Brownback.

Senator Brownback's legislation bans both forms of human cloning -- reproductive and so-called therapeutic -- and has 28 co-sponsors.

The House of Representatives already passed a total human cloning ban similar to the Brownback bill, and pro-life lawmakers want the Senate to follow suit.

"[Utah] Senator [Orrin] Hatch and others in the U.S. Senate need to stop blocking a total ban on human cloning so we can proceed to protect the dignity of human life," New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith said. "We also need an international ban on human cloning."

Whatever one's criticisms of the Republican party's "crisis of identity" and willingness to support "Kerry Catholics" like Schwarzenegger, Pataki, and Guiliani, the difference between George W. Bush and John Kerry, and the practical results of a 'Kerry Presidency', could not be more clear.

Kerry-Catholics in the Republican Party 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 1:24 PM

Nathan ("The Tower") has a very disturbing -- and must-read -- post on the marginalization of the pro-life cause within the Republican party, as indicated by the roster of speakers (many of them "Kerry Catholics") at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Related Links:

  • Over at Catholic Light, Sal Ravilla's "attempting to look up the abortion voting records or positions of all the prominent speakers at the Republican National Convention."
  • At National Review online, Kate O' Beirne questions why "at the Big Apple convention, three Kerry Catholics will be representing the millions of faithful Catholics being aggressively courted by the Bush campaign." (Rockefeller Republicans Take Manhattan July 7, 2004).

Meanwhile, my co-editor Oswald Sobrino mentions a recent victory for the pro-life cause:
In another move favoring the Culture of Life, President Bush cut off funds to the U.N. Population Fund due to the fund's ties with China's "forced abortion programs." See Catholic World News, "Bush withholds funds from UN Population Fund," July 16, 2004. Given the opposition of pro-abortion Democrats to this move, you know what Sen. Kerry would have done.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Methodist? Edward Watch 

Posted by Jeff Miller at 10:51 PM

John Kerry and John Edwards were dished another setback last month in their quest to appear as men of deep abiding Faith. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who serves as the Pope's doctrinal adviser, sent a memo to the U.S. Catholic Bishop's conference asking priests to warn pro-abortion politicians that, unless they change their position, they are ineligible to receive Communion. Although the memo never specifically mentioned John Kerry, many portions could have easily been written directly to the Massachusetts Senator.

Maintaining a moral, church-going image is a growing challenge for the two Johns. In fact, it's long been an issue for the entire Democratic Party. How can they appeal to down-to-earth Christian Americans in a way that looks genuine? It's not easy, especially when you're talking about two of the most liberal members of the United States Senate.

How do they intend to pull it off? Simple: Lots of photo ops in front of church buildings, lots of talk about their deep abiding faith (although not too much), and lots of partaking in Communion. That last part is perhaps the most important. Why? Because the Lord's Supper is the one ritual every Christian is supposed to participate in. Many consider it a litmus test for true Christianity. Obviously, Kerry and Edwards are going to have to take Communion if they intend to appeal to the Faithful in America.

That's all fine and dandy, except for one little problem: The Catholic Church disdains John Kerry's fanatically pro-abortion voting record. That brings up the possibility of no Communion for Kerry, something he simply can't afford. But low and behold, here comes John Edwards, the good ol' boy from North Carolina, with the answer to Kerry's Communion woes. . . if only his Methodist church allows it.

Unfortunately, it just did. (source) (via The Wired Catholic)

The rest of the article is interesting as this Methodist goes to Church to find Sen. Edwards also going and the non-reaction to this strong proponent of abortion by both the minister and the other people there.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

What about "pro-death penalty" legislators?  

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 7:19 PM

FoxNews has posted the transcript of Hannity & Colmes' interview with Marc Balestrieri (thanks to Catholic Light for the tip).

BALESTRIERI: [...] There are other pro-choice Catholic politicians. But unlike any of the other ones, Senator Kerry has gone out of his way to make this an issue against the teaching of the church, in violation of the Vatican's directives and he is using Catholics to...

COLMES: Well, it sounds like you're making it an issue. I'm just wondering, will you -- should you also go after Catholic legislators who are for the death penalty?

BALESTRIERI: Those who are for the death penalty must apply the strict criteria of the Catholic Church, deciding whether or not there's absolutely no other way to protect the community apart from executing the criminal.

COLMES: But why single out John Kerry? There are many legislators who are pro-death penalty, and that's not what the church talks about.

There are many other legislators who agree with John Kerry on the issue of abortion who also happen to be in office. Maybe they're not running for president. So it's clear to me that you're singling out John Kerry because of politics?

BALESTRIERI: Alan, I think it's -- I think it's difficult if you're not a Catholic to understand the exact difference between abortion, which is a heresy, and capital punishment, which is not always the case.

Abortion is an intrinsically evil act. It can never be performed if it's direct and voluntary. Whereas capital punishment is only extrinsically evil, and under certain strict circumstances, it can be permitted. There's a great difference there.

The (mistaken) equasion of the Church's condemnation of abortion and capital punishment has been raised countless times, often with the intent of diverting attention away from the chief issue at hand: the legislator's stance on abortion and the absolute condemnation of the Church. Colmes (the token liberal voice of the Fox News' tag team) mentioned "pro-death penalty" legislators twice, and Mr. Balestriery displayed great patience in correcting him in the brief time that was allotted to him on air.

The errors contained in such an equasion have been addressed by my co-editors in the past, but for those who persist (and I anticipate there will be plenty after Colmes) let's go over this one more time:

The morality of capital punishment involves the question of justice and legitimate defense of society -- namely, whether execution of an "unjust agressor" may be employed in defense of the common good. On this issue the Catechism [2263-2267] teaches:

". . . the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person."
Now is not the time (nor is this blog the place) for an extended discussion of the death penalty. Those who wish to do so can peruse the extensive list of articles here, beginning with Cardinal Dulle's "Catholicism and Capital Punishment" First Things 112 (April 2001): 30-35).

It is sufficent here to remember that the Church's condemnation of capital punishment is, for the above reasons, conditional, it's condemnation of abortion absolute. Catholic Tradition has always defended the "inviolable right of every innocent being to life", and "affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion." Likewise, it has always condemned direct euthanasia: the deliberate killing of those who are sick, handicapped, or otherwise deemed "not suitable for life," and found such acts morally unacceptable.

Consequently, the Church distinguishes between -- and does not equate -- its condemnation of abortion/euthanasia and its criticism of capital punishment as a form of defense.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Ratzinger Backs Bishops' Statement - Reflections 

Posted by Oswald at 12:00 PM

Cardinal McCarrick has released a recent letter from Cardinal Ratzinger in which Ratzinger backs the bishops' official June 18th statement entitled "Catholics in Political Life" (Catholic News Service, July 12, 2004). In that statement the bishops gave cover to those bishops who have decided to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. The statement also called for denial of honors and speaking platforms for such politicians at Catholic institutions and warned of the evil of supporting abortion legislation. Those are the facts. What follows is this writer's opinion, as previously stated on this website.

In my view, it was the submission of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum discussing the theological issues involved in this matter that made it impossible for the bishops to issue an official statement discouraging the denial of Communion to pro-abortion politicians as desired by Cardinal McCarrick. The absurdly weak position advocated by the task force headed by McCarrick never made it into the official position paper issued by the bishops. In my view, the weak position never made it because it contradicted the theological principles presented by Ratzinger to the bishops for use in their deliberations.

In the end, one big thing has happened: the right of a few courageous bishops to defend the Eucharist has been officially affirmed. As one liberal ruefully put it, these bishops have "cover" to continue to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. That is a big thing because the McCarrick task force was intent on attempting to get an official statement discouraging such courageous action.

In addition, Ratzinger's summary of the theological principles involved in this issue make it crystal clear that the actions of the courageous bishops are the theological gold standard. Theology dictates that the best practice is to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians. Application is a matter of prudence. Unfortunately, it is my view and that of many others that for many prudence has become an excuse for cowardice or, even worse, indifference. In any event, a few courageous bishops have had a disproportionate and highly positive impact by following the best theological practice--and that is a welcome change for the better. The work of the courageous few among the bishops plus the recently filed heresy action against Kerry by a lay canon lawyer show that the Holy Spirit is still dispensing the gift of courage among American Catholics. So be it.

Cardinal Ratzinger says USCCB's statement 'in harmony' with his own 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 1:19 AM

Catholic News Service (CN) reports:

Following a rash of news reports claiming the U.S. bishops defied Vatican Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on the question of withholding Communion from Catholic politicians whose actions conflict with church teaching on abortion, Cardinal Ratzinger said the bishops' statement on the issue "is very much in harmony" with his recently leaked memo on the topic.

In a letter dated July 9 and made public July 12 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the bishops' June 18 statement, titled "Catholics in Political Life," "is very much in harmony with the general principles (of) 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion.'" . . .


CNS News concludes the article with the text of Cardinal Ratzinger's July 9 letter to Cardinal McCarrick, responding to the document "Catholics in Political Life":
"Your Eminence:

"With your letter of June 21, 2004, transmitted via fax, you kindly sent a copy of the statement 'Catholics in Political Life,' approved by the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at their June meeting.

"The congregation is grateful for this courtesy. The statement is very much in harmony with the general principles 'Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,' sent as a fraternal service -- to clarify the doctrine of the church on this specific issue -- in order to assist the American bishops in their related discussion and determinations.

"It is hoped that this dialogue can continue as the task force carries on its important work.

"With fraternal regards and prayerful best wishes, I am,

"Sincerely yours in Christ

"Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger"

Monday, July 12, 2004

Thoughts on Proportionality 

Posted by Jamie at 3:46 PM

In Ratzinger's well-known letter to Cardinal McCarrick last month (see discussion below), the author closed his memo with a brief note on the moral issues involved in voting for politicians with regard to pro-life legislation:

"[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]" (emphasis mine.)

Domenico Bettinelli of Bettnet, last Friday, pointed to Fr. Stephen Torraco's Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters as a aid in reading Ratzinger's words here. Fr. Torraco, in item eight of his 'Catechism,' discusses the issues involved in a campaign field in which "none of the candidates are completely pro-life":

"8. What if none of the candidates are completely pro-life?

As Pope John Paul II explains in his encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), '. . .when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.' Logically, it follows from these words of the Pope that a voter may likewise vote for that candidate who will most likely limit the evils of abortion or any other moral evil at issue."

Since Ratzinger supplies no references for his 'proportionate reasons' statement of his letter, it is difficult to discern its textual basis. If he is, in fact, basing his point on Evangelium Vitae (EV), then his observations would be speaking only to a relatively obscure situation which is only indirectly relevant to the average voter. I would argue, however, that he cannot be referring to EV 73-74, because the latter text speaks to an entirely different situation. First, EV 73-74 is speaking specifically to the case of the 'elected official'; Ratzinger to that of the Catholic voter. Second, EV presumes that the politician in question has made absolutely clear his "absolute personal opposition to procured abortion." Ratzinger's hypothetical case, on the other hand, deals with the politician who has a "stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia." Hence, Ratzinger cannot be basing his comment on a reading of EV 73-74. Nor, I think, is it helpful to read the former in light of the latter.

No, Ratzinger seems to be dealing with a situation in which neither EV nor the CDF 2002 Doctrinal Note have explicitly addressed, i.e. the situation of the voter considering a field of candidates for election. While both documents teach that it is "impossible to promote such laws [i.e., that attack human life] or to vote for them," it is also clear that 'Joe Catholic voter' is not directly promoting or voting for such laws. Of course, to vote for a candidate is indirectly to 'promote' the laws which the candidate has pledged to support, but here we get into the tricky area of what is technically know as 'cooperation' with evil. As is well-known, it is only 'formal' cooperation with evil that is intrinsically and universally illicit; 'formal' cooperation implies participation in the actual 'form' of the evil action, which in turn requires either 'direct involvement' or 'shared intention.' EV 74 describes this process as relevant to the situation of abortion:

"Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. Such cooperation occurs when an action, either by its very nature or by the form it takes in a concrete situation, can be defined as a direct participation in an act against innocent human life or a sharing in the immoral intention of the person committing it."

If one both of these aspects are missing, the cooperation is not 'formal' but 'material.' Now, lest we tread in ethical minimalist territory, we must emphasize that material cooperation with evil is still cooperation with evil, and must still be avoided whenever another viable alternative is present. Yet, formally speaking, material cooperation is not intrinsically evil; its relative sinfulness depends upon the degree of material 'closeness' to the activity (i.e., the extent of direct involvement, the extent of the shared intention). While, again, it should be avoided when possible, it cannot be a priori excluded, and can be permitted in certain situations. (To give you an idea of how 'minimal' material cooperation can be, it might mean using a product manufactured by a company which donates to Planned Parenthood; such products, as many of you know, constitute probably 50% of the consumer market and are nearly impossible to avoid.)

Now, applying these categories to the democratic voting process is fairly simple: Voting for a candidate who supports, in part, immoral legislation is not 'de facto' evil unless the voter manifests one of the two criteria necessary for formal cooperation, direct involvement and shared intention. This is precisely what Ratzinger is pointing out in his memo. Voting for pro-abortion politicians can be permitted so long as a shared intention is not present (the criterion of direct involvement, it seems to me, is difficult to apply to the voting booth). And this results from the simple and uncontroversial application of traditional moral teaching on cooperation to the voting booth.

Yet, to return to the theme of 'ethical minimalism,' it stands that not everything that is morally permissible in theory is morally permissible in practice. It is true that material cooperation with evil is not intrinsically sinful; but that does not mean it is not sinful. Stealing, too, is not intrinsically sinful; but it can certainly be sinful, and generally is sinful apart from rare (if well-known) circumstances. And this is where it important to recall Cardinal Ratzinger's qualifier, "which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

Church teaching on abortion is not limited to a simple affirmation that abortion is wrong. Church teaching also speaks to the gravity and 'weight' of its wrongfulness, presented in terms of the grave matter of the act. "There is a grave and clear obligation to oppose [pro-abortion laws] by conscientious objection." Thus, to affirm that abortion is wrong, but then to relegate it to a secondary priority in view of other concerns (e.g., welfare reform) which intrinsically carry less gravity, is also to dissent from Church teaching. And this is as true of the Catholic voter as the Catholic politician. Thus, even if it is permissible, in theory, for a Catholic voter to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, this presumes that other issues are at stake which carry equal gravity vis-a-vis the abortion issue. If no other issues are present, or if they are present, but the pro-abortion candidate is on the wrong side of these issues as well, then the voter has no proportionate reasons for voting for this candidate. Even if he has not formally cooperated in the candidate's pro-abortion stance, he has nonetheless erred in undervaluing the moral gravity of abortion.

Hence, it follows that Ratzinger's statement does not give blanket permission to vote for pro-abortion candidates so long as the voter does not share the candidate's intention in relation to abortion (and, all doom-and-gloom assessments of our American Church aside, the Catholic who would vote for a candidate precisely because of his pro-abortion stance is probably the rare exception). On the contrary, Ratzinger permits such a vote only when 'proportionate reasons' are present. And since the purpose of Ratzinger's memo is to explicitly highlight the relative gravity of abortion/euthanasia vis-a-vis other concerns, the burden seems to be squarely on the shoulders of those who would propose that any other concerns -- those, I mean, which are 'on the table' in the upcoming American elections -- are genuinely equal to the moral gravity of these fundamental matters, literally, of life and death. I'm not claiming that such alternative, grave concerns do not exist. I'm just waiting to hear what they are.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Over at Envoy Encore, Peter Vere posts a update regarding Marc Balestrieri's canonical action against John Kerry.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

  • Cardinal Ratzinger said, "The minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it." He did not say 'could,' or 'may,' . . ., by Barbara Kralis. July 6, 2004 (RenewAmerica.Us). Ms. Kralis, among others, are still awaiting a response from Cardinal McCarrick.

  • Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. Media Research Center. July 7, 2004. ("The Kerry shorthand: I'm a Catholic, I'm a legislator, but by God I'm not a Catholic legislator.")

  • Kerry's Conceptions, by George Neumayr, managing editor. American Spectator. July 7, 2004. ("tip of the hat" to Earl for this link).

  • Recognition from "across the pond": Catholic Kerry Watch was mentioned by the Guardian's U.S. Elections 2004 weblog.

  • Catholics for Bush weblog dissects Senator Kerry's interview with Larry King the other night, and his claim that "being pro-choice does not mean that you are pro-abortion":
    If being pro-choice does not mean you are neccesarily pro-abortion, then why do pro-choicers have such a difficult time accepting crisis pregnancy centers being setup right next door to abortion mills? Why do they attempt to squash sidewalk counselors from helping women, who are seeking abortions, consider "other choices"? The Senator agrees this is a "great moral issue". But he only speaks of the morality of the alternatives and ignores the obvious immorality, to so many Catholics and other people of faith in thus country, of abortion itself. How sad.

  • Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned "proportionate reasons" in his letter to Cardinal McCarrick regarding why some voters may be able to vote for an anti-life politician. Just what are those proportionate reasons? -- Domenico Bettinelli points us to a Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters by Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD, on EWTN's website, which addresses this issue.

  • The Tablet states outright: U.S. Bishops Refuse Ratzinger's Advice. July 10, 2004.

  • Offering an ecumenical perspective, the Anglican blog Pontifications emphasizes the need for the bishops to resolve this matter:
    An Episcopalian is hardly in a position to throw stones; but from the viewpoint of the Pontificator, this has all the look of a public relations debacle. The Catholic bishops had an opportunity to take an important and courageous political position, but instead they adopted a position of pragmatic cowardice. If the Catholic understanding of abortion truly expresses the divine will, then any Catholic who actively supports a public policy that supports abortion must be counted as a traitor to the faith of Christ. The Catholic bishops should have come clean on this years ago. The chickens of catechesis-failure are coming home to roost, and now the Catholic bishops are confronted with the sad spectacle of Catholic politicians who publicly advocate public policies that the Catholic Church deems as intrinsically evil. And the bishops are unsure how to respond. One thing for sure. The problem ain't going to go away. What are they going to do a year from now when President Kerry shows up for Mass!

WORLD EXCLUSIVE - Ratzinger "Cover Letter" @ Curt Jester 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 11:31 AM

In the 6th of July CNS reported:
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington said July 6 that the leaked text of a recent memo he received from a top Vatican official, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on Catholic politicians and abortion appeared to be "an incomplete and partial leak" not reflecting "the full message I received."

They also later reported:

The text of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum was published online July 3 by the Italian magazine L'Espresso, and a Vatican official said it was authentic. But it apparently was accompanied by a cover letter that has not been published.

Now, CKW co-editor Jeff Miller (aka. "The Curt Jester"), brings you Cardinal Ratzinger's cover letter, in a world internet exclusive.

Support Marc Balestrieri AND get a Theological Education! 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 1:27 AM

CKW co-editor Oswald Sobrino is donating royalties from the newly-revised version of his book Unpopular Catholic Truths to support the canonical petition filed by Los Angeles canon lawyer Marc Balestrieri against Sen. Kerry for heresy on the abortion issue. "Author royalties from orders placed between today, July 8, 2004, and Election Day, November 2, 2004, will be donated to support the efforts of Balestrieri, whose website is"

See his daily blog, Catholic Analysis for all the details.

Unconventional Wisdom: A Closer Look at Kerry 

Posted by Earl at 12:37 AM

From the pages of Times Against Humanity...

As John Mallon recently observed, "Even the Left is starting to get it about Kerry!" My commentary immediately below provides a telling example -- courtesy of John -- in the critical comments of Eileen McNamara, a liberal columnist for The Boston Globe.

To save your mouse a trip, McNamara, "who support(s) legal abortion, writes:
I did not know that Senator John F. Kerry believes that life begins at conception. Now that I do know, I do not understand 20 years of votes supporting a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

...I don't know what to think. I cannot respectfully disagree with him as I do with an abortion opponent whose conscience prompts her to work to unseat lawmakers like Kerry. I understand her. She is acting on principle, lobbying to change laws antithetical to her conscience. I don't understand him, voting consistently in opposition to what he now tells us is one of his core beliefs.
Nor is McNamara, the only one outside the pro-life camp who has taken a closer look at Kerry and troubled at what is seen.

Lane Core Jr. introduces us to John Rosenberg, who advises us that he hasn't taken "any position on abortion," which he—as most "pro-choice" agnostics—describes as "a wrenching issue" on which "reasonable, principled people can disagree."

In principle, of course, I utterly reject such moral relativism, but my reason for joining Lane in calling Mr. Rosenberg to your attention is his unconventional wisdom, cogently expressed in such memorable lines as the following:
Trumpeting both "personal" opposition but active political support is an unsuccessful, pusillanimous, straddling cop-out, reminiscent...of Stephen A. Douglas's "personal" opposition to slavery while working as hard as he could politically to enable its expansion. Can you imagine Cuomo/Califano/Kerry saying they "personally" don't like slavery, would never themselves own a slave, but don't feel they have the right to legislate that belief "on" an actual or would-be slaveholder?
In the light of such logic, it is not surprising that Lane concludes his presentation of Rosenberg's argument with this plaint:
Why can't we manage to find more than a handful, it seems, of bishops as good-sighted, clear-thinking, and straight-shooting as John Rosenberg is?
which echoes my own lament on publishing McNamara's persuasive reasoning:
If only our Bishops—with notable and honorable exceptions—saw things as clearly as Ms. McNamara.
To do so, of course, they must think outside the box of America's Culture of Death.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

For Kerry, Life Begins—and Ends—at Conception 

Posted by Earl at 10:22 PM

"Whenever Democrats mock George Bush for holding that human life 'begins at conception,' they will also be mocking their own presidential candidate," George Nemayr observes in the latest issue of The American Spectator. For in this regard, the pro-abortion senator ("I believe life does begin at conception") agrees with our anti-abortion president—as apparently does his wife (abortion means "stopping the process of life").

As my editorial colleague Christopher and I have reported here on Catholic Kerry Watch, Sen. Kerry is attempting to obscure his infamous anti-life record in a shameless attempt to provide a cover for "Catholic" voters squeamish about being identified with aiding and abeting America's abortion holocaust, but as Neumayr intimates, Kerry's ploy could prove a two-edged sword:
Catholic Democrats like Kerry assume that making this sort of show of their personal moral distaste for abortion will make their "pro-choice" views more respectable. But it only makes them more disgraceful. Kerry can't even claim lack of culpability on account of cluelessness. He knows that abortion destroys a human life but promotes a right to it anyway.
That sword, swung with such reckless abandon, has already drawn blood on the Left. Thus, Eileen McNamara, a Boston Globe columnist "who support(s) legal abortion," concludes that "It Is Time to Quiz Kerry."
I did not know that Senator John F. Kerry believes that life begins at conception. Now that I do know, I do not understand 20 years of votes supporting a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

...I don't know what to think. I cannot respectfully disagree with him as I do with an abortion opponent whose conscience prompts her to work to unseat lawmakers like Kerry. I understand her. She is acting on principle, lobbying to change laws antithetical to her conscience. I don't understand him, voting consistently in opposition to what he now tells us is one of his core beliefs.
If only our Bishops—with notable and honorable exceptions—saw things as clearly as Ms. McNamara.

A grateful tip of my editor's hat to the ever resourceful Amy Welborn and John Mallon for calling my attention to Neumayr's and McNamara's articles, respectively.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Peter Vere: "The Catholic Faithful vs. John Kerry" 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 11:44 PM

Back from Canada, Peter Vere has high praise for Marc Balestrieri's canonical petition against John Kerry:
I cannot begin to explain the likely consequences of Marc's actions. Don't get me wrong; up until this point Marc enjoyed a solid reputation as a canon lawyer. He spent six months researching this petition, and his research, presentation, and handling of the facts and of the law is solid. Yet in terms of his future, this is the most risky venture undertaken by a canon lawyer since the eighties when Fr. Tom Doyle predicted the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Basically, Marc is putting his reputation and his livelihood on the line here.

We spoke earlier today by phone, and he is already come under heavy fire from the Democrat machine, some heavy players within the Catholic hierarchy, not a few respected canonists, and even some neo-conservative Republicans. Up until now, he's also fought much of this battle alone, against powerful enemies on several fronts, and out of his own pockets. Keep in mind that Church employees don't make a whole lot of money to begin with, and Marc has living expenses like the rest of us. As long as this canonical action is drawing public attention, despite the Church's shortage of canon lawyers, most dioceses won't touch him.

Yet Marc assured me when we spoke that the costs were worth it. He also told me that he would rather seek Kerry repent than be excommunicated, and this remains the end for which Marc hopes. Barring this happy outcome, however, Marc is ready and willing to sacrifice his future over this canonical action. Although I cringe whenever I think of what's in store for Marc, I know he is doing the right thing.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Vatican confirms authenticity of Ratzinger's Memorandum 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 11:27 PM

According to the Catholic News Service, the text of the letter is authentic:
The text of Cardinal Ratzinger's memorandum was published online July 3 by the Italian magazine L'Espresso, and a Vatican official said it was authentic. But it apparently was accompanied by a cover letter that has not been published.

Cardinal McCarrick said in a statement July 6 that L'Espresso's story was the result of an "incomplete and partial leak" that did not reflect Cardinal Ratzinger's full advice to the U.S. bishops.

The cardinal said he would not release Cardinal Ratzinger's "written materials" because the cardinal asked him not to.

"Through this continuing process, the Holy See has constantly emphasized it is up to our bishops' conference to discuss and determine how best to apply the relevant principles and for individual bishops to make prudent pastoral judgments in our own circumstance," Cardinal McCarrick said.

Source: Cardinal Ratzinger lays out principles on denying Communion, voting. Catholic News Service. July 6, 2004.

As my colleague Jamie has shown in the previous post, the basic text of the Cardinal's memorandum could not be more clear as to what course of action should be followed. Cardinal McCarrick has maintained that "Cardinal Ratzinger clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors and leaders WHETHER to pursue this path" -- but in reading the course of action proposed by Cardinal Ratzinger, one must ask: what other path is possible, or permissable?

Ratzinger vs. McCarrick 

Posted by Jamie at 4:09 PM

Over the weekend Christopher broke the news on CKW regarding the supposed publication of Cardinal Ratzinger's communication to Cardinal McCarrick, which was purportedly summarized last month in McCarrick's 'Interim Reflections' to the bishops in Denver (on which we had some lengthy reflections last week, here and on my own blog, Ad Limina Apostolorum). Though I've seen quite a few commentaries on the letter, I have yet to see a line-by-line comparison of Ratzinger's letter with McCarrick's alleged summary of it, which - at the risk of excessive verbiage - I hope to provide here.

Three caveats: (1) We have no proof or confirmation that this indeed is the text of Ratzinger's letter, even if it bears more than a few characteristic markings of it; (2) We have even less proof that this is the full content of the letter in question; and (3) the jury is still out as to the canonical authority of this letter, which, if anything, seems quite minimal (even if it does seem to convey the mens ecclesiae on this matter). Lastly, I am always cautious to offer the benefit of the doubt to our bishops, in addition to the general loyalty and fidelity we owe them: they are the vicars of the apostles and of Christ, whether we love them or hate them. Perhaps I err too much in this direction, but I have to admit I would prefer to find out - in the end, I mean - that I had erred too much in the direction of loyalty to our shepherds than disloyalty. The following, then, is intended not as a criticism of our bishops, but rather as an ongoing investigation into the background of the USCCB statement 'Catholics in Political Life' issued last month.

Below, 'TM' represents Cardinal Theodore McCarrick; 'JR' represents Josef Ratzinger. The intent, again, is to determine how accurate was Cardinal McCarrick's summary of Ratzinger's letter. All italicized or bold emphases are mine.

TM: "Having said this, Cardinal Ratzinger speaks about WHAT constitutes 'manifest grave sin' and 'obstinate persistence' in public life, stating that consistently campaigning for and voting for permissive laws on abortion and euthanasia could meet these criteria."

JR: "Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, etc . . ."

McCarrick's summary here is not quite accurate. Ratzinger's wording, when restated in the form of a positive statement, implies that a Catholic politician's "consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" is, by definition, the manifestation of formal cooperation in grave sin. McCarrick's summary dulls the statement by phrasing it in such a way that such activities 'could' meet these criteria.

TM: "Cardinal Ratzinger outlines HOW a bishop might deal with these matters, including a series of precautionary measures involving a process of meeting, instruction and warning. This process involves meeting with the person and providing instruction on Catholic moral teaching. Cardinal Ratzinger suggests informing such persons that if they reject Catholic moral teaching in their public actions, they should not present themselves for Holy Communion until their situation has ended. Using the precedent of our teaching and practice in the case of a person in an invalid marriage, the Cardinal recognizes that there are circumstances in which Holy Communion may be denied. He also indicates that in these cases a warning must be provided before the Eucharist can be denied."

JR: ". . . his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist. When 'these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,' and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, 'the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.'"

Here is the crux of the disagreement, with regard to the bishop's course of action once 'precautionary measures' with said Catholic politicians have proven ineffective. McCarrick paraphrases Ratzinger as suggesting a warning that "they should not present themselves for Holy Communion." Ratzinger, in fact, after stating this, went further and advised "warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist," with the consequent statement that, if he again presents himself, the minister "must refuse to distribute it." The proposals are as different as night and day. Although McCarrick adds, almost as an afterthought, that "there are circumstances in which Holy Communion may be denied," this is posited only as a theoretical possibility, apart from the concrete situation of the bishops' admonishment of the Catholic politician. Ratzinger does not suggest this as a theoretical possibility; for him it is the normative course of action for a bishop who is put in this situation. Another difference: McCarrick states that, in this situation, "a warning must be provided." Ratzinger, however, explicitly allows for a situation in which precautionary measures "[are] not possible." What sort of situation this would be is difficult to imagine, but it is notable that McCarrick leaves it out entirely.

TM: "I would emphasize that Cardinal Ratzinger clearly leaves to us as teachers, pastors and leaders WHETHER to pursue this path. The Holy See has repeatedly expressed its confidence in our roles as bishops and pastors. The question for us is not simply whether denial of Communion is possible, but whether it is pastorally wise and prudent. It is not surprising that difficult and differing circumstances on these matters can lead to different practices. Every bishop is acting in accord with his own understanding of his duties and the law."

Although it is almost undeniable that Ratzinger would agree to the above statement, I cannot find anything approximating it in the text of his letter. Perhaps it was stated in another context - in a cover letter or accompanying documentation. But the fact that McCarrick makes this the dominant motif, whereas the substance of Ratzinger's letter does not even mention it, may be telling. If anything, the substance of Ratzinger's communication leans in the other direction. Rather than simply maintaining absolute neutrality and delegating this entirely to the bishops, Ratzinger pronounces what is, incidentally, my favorite line in the text: "The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected." And Ratzinger does not seem to posit the denial of communion as simply one option among others, but as a necessary corollary of a politician's obstinate refusal to submit to episcopal correction: "When . . .the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it." This position can hardly be summarized adequately in the simple statement that "Ratzinger clearly leaves to us . . . whether to pursue this path."

TM: "It is important to note that Cardinal Ratzinger makes a clear distinction between public officials and voters, explaining that a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil only if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion. However, when a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted if there are proportionate reasons."

JR: "[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]"

Ratzinger's closing statement here has raised some furor among more conservative Catholics, but it is in fact quite uncontroversial, as it only reflects traditional Catholic teaching. Also, I see no difference between Ratzinger and McCarrick here; the quote is almost verbatim, with the exception that Ratzinger explicitly underlines the conclusion that the culpable voter in question "is unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion," whereas McCarrick simply states that he is "guilty of formal cooperation in evil," and leaves the conclusion implicit.

Lastly, it is worth noting one other point of Ratzinger's letter which McCarrick neglects to summarize, which is particularly relevant to the American debate. Ratzinger has some very helpful observations regarding the 'weight' of abortion/euthanasia vis-a-vis other moral issues, which McCarrick neglects entirely: "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."

Threading the Needle? 

Posted by Earl at 1:29 PM

As my colleague Christopher reports below, Sen. John Kerry (CINO-MA) is stepping up his campaign to obfuscate his pro-abort record in the hope of providing a fig leaf for Catholics for Kerry squeamish about being identified with the brutal baby killers they—and their candidate—support.

Chris aptly pegs this latest variant of the Kerry-patented flip-flop as a rehash of the classic "Cuomo defense." Admittedly, the Democrat standard bearer has spun this "pro-choice" ploy to new heights, or rather, lows in his attempt to "thread the needle, simultaneously satisfying his Catholicism and his contradictory liberal theology, by saying he is personally opposed to abortion but that he doesn't believe he should impose his belief on others," as David Limbaugh writes for Townhall today.

Limbaugh concludes that "instead of threading the needle, the senator pricked himself with it and he's bleeding." Whether this is the wound Limbaugh intimates or merely a superficial prick remains to be seen. As readers of this writer know, I find "wishful thinking" an oxymoron.

Kerry chooses Edwards, cements pro-abortion presidential ticket 

Posted by Christopher Blosser at 8:49 AM

Senator Kerry has chosen North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running made, cementing this as the "pro-choice"/pro-abortion ticket. As a trial lawyer, Sen. Edwards won many a case speaking out on behalf of the unborn and their mothers, in lawsuits against doctors for botched deliveries. According to Kate O'Beirne of the National Review:
Back in 1985, a younger John Edwards "stood before a jury and channeled the words of an unborn baby girl," the New York Times recently reported in a front-page story about the senator's spectacularly successful career as a trial lawyer. The poor child whose words Edwards shared with the North Carolina jury suffered brain damage that Edwards hoped to pin on the obstetrician who failed to heed a fetal heart monitor's distress signals. Since being elected to the Senate, Edwards has obviously not heard such desperate little voices given his vehement opposition to any restriction on abortion, even the gruesome partial-birth-abortion procedure.

Referencing the hour-by-hour monitor readings, Edwards told the jury, "She said at 3, 'I'm fine.' She said at 4, 'I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing O.K.'...At 5:30, she said, 'I need out.'" His closer: "She speaks to you through me...I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you." Edwards's clients won a $6.5 million verdict in that cerebral-palsy case and Edwards went on to win over $60 million in about 20 similar lawsuits over allegedly botched deliveries against doctors and hospitals. His share of the verdicts was typically about a third.

Large contingency fees encourage lawyers' aggression and passion. Who knew that they could improve a lawyer's hearing?

When it comes to his political record, Edwards adheres to the schizophrenic "personally against/publically for" line of his running mate. According to, he has expressed his personal opposition to partial-birth abortion:
"I oppose partial-birth abortions," Edwards said during the debate in the Senate over the partial-birth abortion ban on October 21, 1999. "Put simply, I oppose all late-term abortions unless they are necessary to save the life of the mother or to avert grievous damage to the physical health of the mother. . . . I believe that the difficult question of abortion should be left for a woman to decide in consultation with her family, her physician, and her faith. However, once the fetus has reached viability, I believe we have a responsibility, and a constitutional ability, to protect the unborn child."

Apparently, Edward's personal belief regarding abortion has been sacrificed on the alter of political gain -- as he assures his voters on his campaign website:

  • Edwards is a strong supporter of Roe vs. Wade and a woman's right to choose. At a January 2003 NARAL event, Edwards said he would "help lead a fight to pass a federal freedom of choice act so that your right to choose is guaranteed and protected no matter what the court does." He has voted against Republican efforts to prohibit funding for choice for federal employees, DC residents and women overseas at international family planning centers. He also voted to eliminate a ban on abortions at overseas military facilities, which would ban abortion even if the woman paid for it herself.
  • Edwards opposes President Bush's reinstatement of the "Mexico City policy" or "global gag rule," which prevents an organization from receiving federal funding -- or UN funding -- if they provide abortions or counsel patients about abortions.
  • Edwards, a member of the Judiciary Committee voted against the nominations of John Ashcroft, Priscilla Owen, and Bill Pryor each strongly opposed by pro-choice groups such as NOW, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood.
On his voting record, Edwards received a 100% score from Planned Parenthood and 0% from the National Right to Life Committee.

Related Links:

Ongoing commentary by the editors of CatholicKerryWatch

Sen. John Kerry stands with Kate Michelman (right) President of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, Michelman's group has given Kerry a 100% rating for his voting record to defend abortion.


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Contributing Editors:

Oswald Sobrino of
Catholic Analysis

Earl E. Appleby of
Times Against Humanity

Jeff Miller of
The Curt Jester

Ad Limina Apostolorum

Christopher Blosser of
Against The Grain

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Kerry's Critics


Ad Limina Apostolorum
The Black Republican
The Blog From The Core
Catholics for Bush [Blog]
Catholic Light
Defensor Fidei (Jimmy Akin)
Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.
The Galvin Opinion
Just Being Frank
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Let's Try Freedom
Mark Shea
[The Meandering Mind of a Seminarian]
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TriCoastal Commission


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News Resources

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Kerry Communion Watch @

The Candidates on Abortion: Where do they stand?




National Catholic Reporter
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Crisis Magazine
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Related Documents & Articles

Worthiness To Recieve Communion: General Principles
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Evangelium Vitae
Pope John Paul II

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion, from Archbishop Donoghue (Atlanta, GA), Bishop Baker (Charleston, SC) and Bishop Jugis (Charlotte, NC).
August 4, 2004

Catholics in Political Life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 7, 2004.

Catholic Politicians and Bishops. By Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis. America June 21-28, 2004.

A Time For Honesty, Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark. May 5, 2004.

Why Communion Could Be Denied to Anti-Life Legislators. Interview with Father Thomas Williams, dean of the School of Theology of the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Why Don't Catholic Politicians Practice What the Catholic Church Preaches?, by Judie Brown. Washington Dispatch April 19, 2004.

How to tell a Duck from a Fox: Thinking with the Church as we look toward November, by Archbishop Chaput. Denver Catholic Register April 14, 2004.

On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility, a Pastoral Letter by La Crosse Bishop Raymond L. Burke.

Blood On Their Hands: Exposing Pro-abortion Catholic Politicians, by Mark Stricherz. Crisis May 2003.

The Failure of Catholic Political Leadership, by Robert P. George & William E. Saunders. Crisis 18, No. 4 (April 2000).

Denying Holy Communion: A Case History, by Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida. [PDF Format].

Ten questions regarding the denial of the Eucharist, by Barbara Kralis.

Recommmended Reading

John Kerry, Abortion and the Catholic Church

Irreconcilable Differences", by Matthew Mehan. NRO Sept. 16, 2004.

John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of Abortion Investigative report by Christopher Blosser. August 30, 2004.

"Please answer the question, Senator Kerry", The Mighty Barrister. August 2, 2004.

You wouldn't even ask. Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life). July 2004.

Kerry isn't making abortion stand clear, by Raymond J. Keating. Newsday July 27, 2004.

Senator Kerry May Be Human . . . But is He a Person?, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 23, 2004.

Kerry's Catholic Problem, by Brent Bozell. July 7, 2004.

The Body Politic and the Body of Christ: Candidates, Communion and the Catholic Church. Debate btw/ Thomas J. Reese, S.J. and George Weigel. June 23, 2004.

The Kerry challenge, by George Weigel. May 5, 2004.

Rites and Wrongs: Why John Kerry should not take communion, by Philip F. Lawler. Wall Street Journal April 30, 2004.

John Kerry's Catholic Problem", by Cal Thomas. April 26, 2004.

Kerry Distorting Catholic Doctrine. interviews George Weigel. April 16, 2004.

"Personally Opposed, But…" Five Pro-Abortion Dodges, by Todd M. Aglialoro. Crisis April 1, 2004.

On Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

Reagan vs. Reagan and The Stem-Cell Cover-Up, Catholic Kerry Watch, August 14, 2004.

Senator Kerry dismisses religious convictions as "ideology"  Catholic Kerry Watch. August 9, 2004.

Ron Reagan & Functionalism, Revisited, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 29, 2004.

Out of Touch, by Michael Fumento. Refuting Kerry's claims on the use of embryonic stem cells. Citizen Magazine August 2004.

Stem Cell Defection, by Ramesh Ponnuru. National Review August 16, 2004.

Stem Cell Research: Fact Sheets, Letters to Congress and Articles from the USCCB.

On Voting, "Proportionality" and Cardinal Ratzinger's Memorandum

What Ratzinger Said, by James Akin. Sept. 9, 2004.

Bishops Refute Flawed Theology (of Andrew Greeley) Barbara Kralis. August 22, 2004.

Thoughts on Proportionality, Catholic Kerry Watch. July 12, 2004.

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