Although Bush isn't a Catholic, and not all of his positions are always consistent with Catholic teaching, it is he, not his nominally Catholic opponent, John F. Kerry, who promises to foster and defend the Catholic ethic of life.
At the core of that ethic--and I'll say it bluntly--lies abortion, the life issue that most sharply divides Bush and Kerry. Bush supports at least some restrictions on abortion; Kerry supports almost none. Related to it are the Catholic Church's positions against euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.
Philip Lawler, editor of Catholic World Report, takes a look at how John Kerry's "Catholicism" will affect the outcome of the election in Mixed Messages.
Patrick O'Hannigan ("The Paragraph Farmer") notes a conflict of ideas between Christianity Todayand Touchstone magazine on "single issue voting", and believes the latter has the upper hand.
If, for example, I was a powerful Senator married to a billionaire who was "not in favor of abortion", but I thought it wrong to work directly against abortion in the legal arena, I might do some or all of the following things:
Work to fund pregnancy crisis centers that provide non-abortion counseling
Work to ease adoption restrictions and promote awareness of the adoption option
Work to encourage strong marriages
Work to encourage abstinence in young people not ready for childbearing
Generously contribute to pregnancy centers
Generously contribute to non-profit adoption agencies
Generously contribute to social welfare organizations working with young mothers
I wonder what Senator Kerry's actual record is in these areas? I'm sure it must be outstanding. Surely a man of such strong faith has made enormous contributions to the areas of public policy and private charity.
As posted by my fellow pundit Barbara Kralis on Fidelis . . .
The Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth, the complete moral teachings of our age. We thank God for the Magisterium of the Church, for the solemn teaching office of our Pope John Paul II and the Popes before him, and the "ordinary magisterium" or the bishops in communion with him.
Yet, attempts by Church leaders are made every day to sabotage these teachings. Let us look at a number of recent damages:
On August 20, 2004, La Crosse diocese Attorney James G. Birnbaum wrote a letter to diocesan pastors and administrators, advising the pro-life Catholic Answers' 'Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics' was "too narrow to pass legal muster." Attorney Birnbaum, a lector at the diocese's Cathedral, advised the diocese not to allow the voter's guide on parish grounds because it violated tax laws.
Shortly thereafter, documentation was revealed showing this "Catholic" diocesan attorney personally donated thousands of dollars to various pro-abortion Democrat Party candidates since 1997 until June 2004. 
It was reported that Birnbaum donated $6,000 over the past four years to pro-abortion Democrat Congressman Ron Kind, whom the abortion group NARAL reports has l00 percent anti-life voting record.
Why was this attorney, who financially supports legislators who promote procured abortion, allowed to issue a Catholic diocesan legal opinion that prohibited the distribution of an authentically Catholic voter guide?  CWN has reported Birnbaum has recused himself of issuing further tax information to the diocese...but, he will remain as the diocese's attorney on other matters. 
Attorney Birnbaum's actions surely raise questions concerning a personal conflict of interests and distortion of Catholic teachings for political gain. His directive has caused Priests in the diocese to believe they should not be telling their congregations what kind of people they should or should not vote for.
It is important to note that La Crosse's former bishop, Archbishop Raymond Burke, has mandated full distribution of The Voters Guide for Serious Catholics for the year 2004 in his new diocese of St. Louis.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life, recently discussed the issue of dioceses and their attorneys misinterpreting tax laws. Fr. Pavone suggested the following in his October 28 article, "Distorted Citizenship":
Unfortunately, the Church has been fed for decades with legal advice which is far more restrictive of the Church's freedom than the IRS or the FEC has ever been. And this is wrong. Not only are the IRS/FEC restrictions on the Church minimal, but the enforcement policy is even looser. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption by teaching about abortion, or the primacy of the right to life, or the duty of public officials and voters to advance the Culture of Life by voting. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption for doing what it exists to do, namely, convey the teachings of the Church. No Church has ever lost its tax exemption for distributing materials that did not cover a wide-enough range of issues; in fact, no Church has lost its tax exemption for distributing voter guides, period. 
Adding to the obfuscation of truth, the Catholic organization Pax Christi USA is placing ads that speak against infallible magisterial teachings of the Church. Targeting Catholic diocesan newspapers in three states, their ads read: "Catholic voters should not make abortion a single-issue litmus test for candidates."
The Diocese of Pittsburgh's Director of Communications, Robert Lockwood, says the diocese allows the Pax Christi ads because they do not oppose the teachings of the Church  ...and because "Financially, it's been a great assistance to our apostolate." 
Here is more disturbing news. Most recently, the Cardinal Newman Society completed a list of Catholic university employee donations [of $250 or more] to the Bush and Kerry campaigns, as reported to the FEC. The non-partisan study examines ten of the largest Catholic universities. It was revealed that more than 90.24% of the so-called 'Catholic' university employee gifts went to the Kerry campaign, totaling $196,025. The Bush campaign received just 9.75% of total donations, or $21,200. Moreover, a whopping 59.65% of Kerry's donations came from "Catholic" Georgetown University alone, or $116,915. 
Catholic parents, be mindful of what your kiddos are being taught at these so-called Catholic institutions. Alumni, remember this corruption when your alma mater asks you for donations. It would be better to donate your money elsewhere.
Another attempt of Church leaders to sabotage Catholic voters can be found within the worldwide "Catholic" organization of the Maryknoll Society of religious priests, including the Maryknoll Congregation of nuns, and the Maryknoll Mission Association of lay missionaries. Maryknoll is mailing worldwide their 4,000-word election guide. Entitled Impact on Peace, Social Justice and the Integrity of Creation, the voter guide emphases sixteen social issues such as "hunger and food," "water," "biotechnology," "U.S. unilateralism."
Stunningly, not one single word mentions the most preeminent of all human rights, "the right to life of the unborn." Not one word, of the 4,000 words, mentioned "abortion,'" "euthanasia," "embryonic stem cell research," "cloning," or "sodomy."
Another example of obfuscation can always be found with the well-known dissident priest, Fr. Richard McBrien, Chairman of the Theology Department at the Catholic University of Notre Dame. Appearing in his clerical collar on Fox News Channel Wednesday, October 13, 2004, McBrien told millions of viewers that they could vote for someone like a pro-abortion John Kerry. Fr. McBrien clarified his theological confusion:
"The American Catholic Bishops as a body do not follow the approach that's been taken by the archbishops of Denver, St. Louis and Newark and some other Bishops of smaller diocese...[Cardinal Ratzinger] said if someone votes for a candidate for other reasons, well, taking other issues into account as the American Catholic Bishops say they should, we should put everything in a consistent ethic-of- life framework, they said, then it would not be a sin to vote for... the teachings of our Bishops [is] that we have to follow a 'consistent ethic of life.' The proportionate reasons would involve taking other life issues in account... The proportionate reasons would be that you're looking at a candidate and trying to see what that candidate's views and policies are on a broad range of life issues...[the Bishops] have never said that [abortion trumps the other issues]. They have never said that...this is not a card game...there's no trump card." 
Fr. McBrien is a priest of the diocese of Hartford, CT, was one of the original dissenters/signers of Fr. Charles Curran's Statement of Dissent against Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae.
Fr. McBrien's dangerous book Catholicism [condemned by the U.S. bishops in l996]  clothed in dissent contains heretical teachings from Frs. Schillebeeckx and Hans Kung. Why has Fr. McBrien's Hartford bishop not silenced him nor removed him from teaching errors and ambiguities for too many years to our Catholic youth?
Here is another bishop who supports the excellent Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics, Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix. His spokesman, Mary Jo West, told this writer that Bishop Olmsted is fully allowing the Catholic Answers guides to be distributed in diocesan parishes. Emphasizing the importance of Catholic voters to be fully informed of the Church's teaching, Bishop Olmsted recently said:
The Catholic Church is actively engaged in a wide variety of important public policy issues.... We should do our best to be informed and to support those proposed solutions that seem most likely to be effective. However, when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter.
However, just 117 miles away from Phoenix, in Tucson, AZ, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas' office told this writer this week they will not allow the Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics to be used in their diocese. Instead, Bishop Kicanas is promoting the confusingFaithful Citizenship guidelines.
Bishop Kicanas held two public meetings recently to explain how Catholic social teaching applies to Catholic voters. "It's not a sin to vote for a pro-abortion candidate if it's because you are supporting that candidate for a wide range of reasons." Oh, by the way, Bishop Kicanas is Chairman of the USCCB Communications Committee. 
San Bernardino's diocesan Director of Office of Social Concerns issued on October 6, 2004 a diocesan directive saying that parishes are to only use material derived from the confusing USCCB's voter guide Faithful Citizenship.
In an interview with Culture and Cosmos, the Director of the Family Life Office of the Arlington, Virginia diocese said, "Faithful Citizenship equates abortion with debt relief. They are not equal." 
Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis forbids the Catholic Answers' Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics. A phone call to the Archdiocesan office revealed that Flynn allows only the USCCB voter guide, Faithful Citizenship.
It was reported byCatholic World News that the diocese's reason for banning the excellent guide, in favor of the confusing USCCB guide, was that they "felt the document was too one-sided...You can only read the document and come to one conclusion," said Dennis McGrath, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese.
The Culture of Life Foundation and Catholic World News reports that "Faithful Citizenship has been criticized even within the Church for placing the paramount issue of abortion on the same moral plane with lesser issues like promoting 'social justice'and 'global solidarity.'" 
Unfortunately, this is the status quo in most U.S. Catholic dioceses.
The laity not only should, but also must, discuss problems of disobedience, errors, and heresy with their pastors and bishops. In fact, Pope Leo XIII declared, "When circumstances make it necessary, it is not prelates alone who have to watch over the integrity of the faith." In addition, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium n.37], Apostolicam Actuositatem [Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity n.2] and The Code of Canon Law n. 212 teach that laity have not only the responsibility but the duty to openly reveal to their bishops their needs and desires fitting for children of God.  In addition, the laity are permitted and even obliged to express their opinion on things that concern the good of the Church.
The Catholic Church's social teachings on the human condition are vast and complete. However, faithful Catholics may legitimately disagree on different points of view and on how to implement these social teachings. One can never disagree on the teachings regarding the right to life of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly. 
"One can never approve of abortion; but it is above all necessary to combat its causes. This includes political action" proclaimed Pope Paul VI 
Pope Pius XI, in his more relevant than ever landmark encyclical, warns—this will give you goose bumps:
Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority...to defend the lives of the innocent...among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And, if the public magistrates...do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors and others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from earth to heaven. (Casti Connubii n.67).
Only by a return to the order established by God in all our social structures, including obedience to God and His divinely ordained Roman Pontiff, by all public servants, could the way to true peace and true justice in this world be attained. Everything else is a false peace, a false justice. Disobedience by Church leaders to Church teachings contributes to the disorder which rules creation that once subject to Divine Order.
Abortion will not end until the work of the Church is consistent and faithful to the most preeminent of all human rights—the right to life of the unborn.
In the quiet of the voting booth, at long last beyond, the steady din of the hired hands, will the still voice of Catholic consciences recall the silent slaughter that lies behind what Prof. Paul Kengor, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, calls the "quiet issue" of the 2004 campaign?
It is the quiet issue of the 2004 presidential election, but it remains etched in the minds of liberals and conservatives, of the most devout secularist and most pious believer: abortion....
Among the left, a John F. Kerry victory would be viewed as not just a win for Democrats but a huge victory for legalized abortion, just as a Bush re-election would be a continuing triumph for forces allied against legalized abortion....
Indeed, a telling difference between Kerry and Bush is how their faith relates to their positions on abortion. Bush believes that a life in the womb is a gift from God that should be protected. Kerry's position is more complicated....
A President John F. Kerry would shape the direction of the court, starting with the U.S. Supreme Court, filling the courts with pro-choice appointments, and rejecting pro-life judges. Kerry would be the most staunchly pro-choice president ever....
The pro-life constituency that would be most crushed by a Kerry victory is Catholics. No other group has so doggedly led the fight to halt abortion, and a potential Catholic president stands poised to undermine that progress. What Pope John Paul II has described as the "culture of life" could be hindered by no less than a practicing Catholic in the Oval Office.
With all due respect, Professor, "a practicing Catholic" would practice the faith and not merely its rhetoric in order to deceive the elect and win the election.
Friday, October 29, 2004
The Political Implications of the 1992 Snubbing of Democratic Governer Bob Casey
. . . my object here is not to declare between Republicans and Democrats but to highlight the cleavage between the Democratic party whose mission Hubert Humphrey defined as standing for "those in the dawn of life, those in the shadows of life, and those in the twilight of life" and the Democratic party of this platform, whose first sentence thumps for the most extreme of all abortion positions: abortion on demand with taxpayer funding. Thumps for it clearly and without apology.
The political consequence of this position is evident every day in our headlines: war on anything that threatens this absolutist stance, whether it be restrictions on federal funding or partial birth abortions, to the maligning and political destruction of judicial nominees deemed to show insufficient piety for the view that Roe is sacrosanct while at the same time every other precedent is for grabs depending on the social or political exigencies of the moment.
John Kerry did not create the abortion test that is today operates to push faithful Catholics off the public square on the grounds that their Catholicity may be deeply held. But John Kerry, like all national Democratic contenders, must be defined by it or become, a la Governor Casey, a stranger in his own land.
From Life of the Party, the first Bob Casey lecture delivered by William McGurn in the Catholic archdiocese of Denver. McGurn spoke of the deliberate and malicious snubbing of pro-life Democratic Governor Bob Casey at the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
A very good address -- one Democrats ought to listen to (but probably won't).
5 Issues That Matter Most: Catholics and the 2004 Election
Catholic Outreach is making available for free downloading their 90-page book "5 Issues That Matter Most: Catholics and the Upcoming Election": "The book offers an easy-to- understand explanation, in a question-and-answer format, of the key issues that are being debated in this election. With its gentle tone and clear answers, The Five Issues That Matter Most is the perfect resource for family members or friends who are still on the fence about the moral issues facing American society today."
For those with the time to read, it takes a more detailed and substantial approach to the issues of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research and human cloning, by Fr. Frank Pavone (Priests for Life), Fr. Tom Euteneuer of Human Life International, Mark Brumley of Ignatius Press, Kim Marshall of Generation Life, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk of the National Bioethics Center and author Matthew Pinto.
Editor's note: this was originally posted by Greg Sisk to the group blog Mirror of Justice -- as Greg in his most recent post encourages "re-postings of our words on other web sites," in the interest of reasserting the truth of Senator Kerry's militant pro-choice/pro-abortion stance, I'm taking the liberty of reposting Greg's post in full:
The more the information flows in, the more it is confirmed that Senator Kerry's record as a self-proclaimed opponent of those attempting to protect innocent human life is even worse than I at least had originally understood. His own words confirm that he is directly at odds with any understanding of Catholic teaching on the sanctity of unborn human life.
Herewith just a few examples:
In January of last year as he opened his presidential campaign, Senator Kerry spoke to a National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) dinner. Beginning his campaign by touching base with his closest allies in the abortion industry was in itself sadly unremarkable, as Kerry has regularly lent his name and proudly pledged his loyalty to those advancing the war against the unborn. Still, the effusiveness of his words of praise for the abortion advocates and his expressions of contempt for those working to protect unborn human life are astounding. You can read the entire speech here. Below are a couple of excerpts:
With respect to John Kerry's admiration for the pro-abortion movement: "NARAL is without question the front line defense in this struggle and when judgments are made, the judgment is inescapable that Kate Michelman is one of the most effective and important civil rights leaders in our time. Kate has saved more women's lives and liberated more women than almost anyone and taken on more tough fights than anyone else committed to this cause."
As for the pro-life movement, while out of one side of his mouth Kerry said "nothing we say here diminishes or disrespects someone else's belief or morality," he nonetheless blasted those who stand opposed to NARAL: "We need to take on this President and the forces of intolerance on the other side. We need to honestly and candidly take this cause to the country -- speak up and be proud of what we stand for."
Late last year, at a forum on women's issued for Democratic presidential candidates organized by, among others, Planned Parenthood (which operates the largest chain of abortion mills in the country), Senator Kerry again made clear his extreme views on abortion. The transcript of the entire forum can be found here. At that forum, Senator Kerry responded to a question about the President's signing of the ban on partial-birth abortion by saying: "There's no such thing as a quote "partial birth." It is a late term abortion. They've done a very effective job of giving people a sense of fear about it and it's part of their assault on the rights of women in America. It is the first step in their effort – there's nothing partial, may I say, about their effort to undue Roe v. Wade. And I am the only candidate here who has said declaratively, I will support no person to the Supreme Court of the United States whose philosophy is to undue Roe v. Wade. They call it a litmus test; I call it protecting Constitutional rights in America. And we need a president who stands up and does that."
Of course, none of this is a new direction for John Kerry, for whom the abortion cause has been the signal continuity of his political career. He often tells pro-abortion rallies of his pride that his maiden speech in the United States Senate in 1985 was to proclaim his unwavering support for Roe v. Wade.
In another speech to the Senate in 1994, Senator Kerry made clear that he is not merely pro-choice but approves of abortion: "The right thing to do is to treat abortions as exactly what they are -- a medical procedure that any doctor is free to provide and any pregnant woman free to obtain. Consequently, abortions should not have to be performed in tightly guarded clinics on the edge of town; they should be performed and obtained in the same locations as any other medical procedure. . . . [A]bortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the mainstream of medical practice." More about his record, together with the suggestion that pro-life Democrats could swing the election to Bush in Pennsylvania, may be found in Professor Paul Kengor's column.
In sum, the more we learn about John Kerry's record on the sanctity of life, the uglier and more despicable it appears. It is no wonder that John Kerry has proven unable to utter even a single word of condemnation of abortion or rebuke to the abortionists. He has never fully expressed any personal opposition to abortion because, well, his own words make clear that he has no genuine qualms about abortion, personally, legally, or politically.
I received an e-mail this morning forwarded from a medical professional in Arizona who felt impelled to share what she knows: that embryonic stem cell research is not under any ban, but is in fact going forward. The key point is that, in her experience, the research is going forward by harvesting embryonic stem cells from umbilical cords and placenta taken after the birth of a child. No destruction of embryos here.
So, in addition to promising research on adult stem cells, there is a way to conduct morally legitimate embryonic stem cell research. But, of course, the Kerry/Edwards ticket has no time for ethical niceties. Rather, consistent with their radical embrace of abortion, Kerry/Edwards now radically embraces a blank check for embryonic stem cell.
What can we say about politicians who recognize no ethical limits, about politicians who will sacrifice unborn children and embryos at will? Two words come to mind: corrupt and idolatrous. The ancient Israelites lived in the midst of pagan peoples accustomed to child sacrifice (see Leviticus 18:21). The Canaanites sacrificed children by burning to the god Molech (see the New Jerusalem Bible's comment on the above verse).
Our own culture has sunk to the level of that ancient barbarism. Kerry and Edwards have a corrupt vision with political power and self-indulgent egoism as the new Molech.
Read Bill Cork's "letter to the principal", which he wrote in response to a school assignment his son was given, "to write a persuasive essay on why he might choose one presidential candidate over the other" -- but without any reference whatsoever to abortion, which the teacher considered to be a "non-issue" in the election.
As Geoff Earle writes in today's issue of The Hill:
Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, is predicting that Bush will win both the electoral vote and the popular vote on election night. He said the president could prevail even if Kerry were to pull out victories in Pennsylvania and Ohio—an outcome that is a distinct possibility.
"I am confident we're going to win Ohio and Florida," Mehlman said at a Christian Science Monitor lunch yesterday. He said Bush was "in the ball game" in Michigan and Pennsylvania, ahead in Wisconsin and Iowa, and "very close" in New Mexico. "All of these are states that were blue last time that are now within the margin of error today," Mehlman said.
As we enter the closing stretch of the presidential race, "both candidates are spending their last days trying to fire up their own supporters while also trying to pick off wavering supporters from their opponents," Australia's Financial Reviewreports.
Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said this is why the president was holding a bus tour in the more rural, western half of Wisconsin. "It's an area of the state where we feel we have room for improvement," Stanzel said. "Western Wisconsin is home to many conservative Democrats who share the president's values. That includes the sanctity of marriage and right to life. Kerry is 'out of step' here."
While Bush did three campaign stops in Wisconsin, he also flew out to Iowa for another day of stumping in that state and the strategy was the same. In his appearance in Dubuque, Bush planned to try to appeal to conservative Catholic voters who dislike Kerry's pro-choice stance, Stanzel said.
With all this in mind, let's take a closer look at how the Catholic vote is shaping up in two key battleground states.
President Bush wrapped up a two-day blitz of Iowa in Dubuque on Tuesday with a sharp indictment of Democrat John Kerry's record on cultural issues..."The final clear choice in this election is on the values that are crucial to keeping our families strong. And here, my opponent and I are miles apart," Bush said at a late-afternoon rally at the Grand River Center.
"I believe marriage is a sacred commitment, a pillar of our civilization....But Senator Kerry was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act," Bush said, prompting a chorus of boos from 4,500 supporters at the rally. "Republicans and Democrats came together and agreed we should ban the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion....But my opponent was part of an out-of-the-mainstream minority that voted against the ban."
On his second campaign stop in Democrat-heavy Dubuque, Bush was hoping to improve on the support he received in 2000 by focusing on issues critical to some of the city's large Roman Catholic population.
In 2000, Democrat Al Gore beat Bush by about 6,000 votes in Dubuque County, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 10,000. Bush aides said they hoped to suppress Kerry's support among devout Roman Catholics, who disagree with Kerry's support for abortion rights and his opposition to a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. Bush opposes abortion rights and has called for an amendment banning gay marriage.
Kerry's campaign said Bush's emphasis on cultural issues was an attempt to divide and distract voters. ("Bush Accents Values, Taxes,"The DesMoines Register, October 27, 2004)
Bush lost Iowa to Gore by 4,144 votes, less than one-third of a percentage point, in 2000.
Voters who "take[their] Christianity seriously" are "a prime target of President George W. Bush's campaign."
He is counting on religious voters—especially women—to win a state that Democrat John Kerry can't afford to lose. And unlike 2000, when he lost here by four points, Bush operatives have been organizing almost pew by pew....
Bush's "values" push has persuaded some Democrats. "Abortion is above all other issues for me," Sandy Beveridge said at her door. "I don't think I can vote for Kerry."...
As part of his appeal to the state's huge Catholic population, Bush recently was granted an audience with Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, who, like many bishops, had said Catholics had "a duty and responsibility" to back candidates who upheld church teachings on "life" issues. Kerry's response was to say he "respects" his church and its leaders, "but I respectfully disagree."
Bush has volunteers in every one of the state's 1,000 Catholic parishes. This weekend, as part of a huge get-out-the-vote effort that didn't exist in 2000, volunteers will hand out pamphlets at churches that compare the candidates' positions on a variety of issues, from abortion to tax cuts for children in religious schools.
"If you follow the teachings of the Catholic church, you can't vote for Kerry," said Rob Gleason, who runs Bush's Catholic outreach in Pennsylvania. "I was stunned that [Al] Gore got the majority of Catholic votes here. We're doing every thing we can to make sure that doesn't happen again."...
Bush has a prayer here in part because of inroads with Democratic Catholics and evangelicals. If Bush wins this state, and thus the presidency, he literally can thank God—and thousands of volunteers who spread his and Bush's word. It would mean Bush's religious strategy netted more new voters than it repelled. It would mean his gamble paid off. ("Strategy Could Turn Women Off," Newsday, October 27, 2004)
Florida Bishops are collectively reminding their parishioners to vote . . . and countering the misleading notion that all issues on the table "are of equal importance" in this election:
From a moral perspective, the issues of concern are not always of equal importance or urgency. Some are more fundamental and therefore more pressing than others. Pope John Paul II reminds us in the Gospel of Life, "It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop."
In our preparation, each of us should measure candidates and proposed constitutional amendments by how they will safeguard or diminish the life, dignity and rights of the human person. Dignity and rights have no meaning for the person who has been denied life. We should inform the candidates that our values impel us to insist -- because of our Lord's own witness to the sacredness of human life -- that the killing of an unborn child or vulnerable adult is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified.
Norma McCorvey, the former plaintiff in the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision, has endorsed President Bush in his re-election bid.
"This year I am going to vote to re-elect President Bush, because he is committed to the cause of life and wants our nation to make room to welcome and protect every unborn child," McCorvey said.
"Unless we do that, we can never have a world of social justice," the former Jane Roe added. "I urge all my pro-life friends to likewise vote for the President."
And here's a bit of trivia I didn't know:
McCorvey became a Christian in 1995 and renounced her part in the Roe v. Wade decision. She now heads up Roe No More, an organization dedicated to overturning the landmark case. Father Frank Pavone [of Priests for Life] is the priest who facilitated McCorvey's conversion to Catholicism in 1998.
You can find Norma's account of her conversion to the Catholic faith here.
My faith, and the faith I have seen in the lives of so many Americans, also teaches me that, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me." That means we have a moral obligation to one another, to the forgotten, and to those who live in the shadows. This is a moral obligation at the heart of all our great religious traditions. It is also the vision of America: "E Pluribus Unum." The ethical test of a good society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.
"Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me." So I guess then John Kerry is admitting that he is aborting Jesus and chopping Jesus up to get at his stem-cells.
Who among us is more vulnerable today than the 8 million Americans who are out of work? Who is more vulnerable than the 45 million Americans without health insurance? Who is more vulnerable than the parents who have to choose between food and medicine for their children?
I guess he can't see the forest because of all the abortion clinics in the way. Chris Burgwald also posts on that statement with:
This is who, Senator: the 43 million people we have allowed to be killed since abortion was legalized in 1973. That's 4000 people a day, today, Senator. Where are you for those vulnerable?
I know there are some Bishops who have suggested that as a public official I must cast votes or take public positions - on issues like a woman's right to choose and stem cell research - that carry out the tenets of the Catholic Church. I love my Church; I respect the Bishops; but I respectfully disagree.
"Personally opposed" and yet speaks of a women's right to choose. I would hate to see the rhetoric if he was "personally for". Elaine of My Domestic Church says "I won't mention that I think Kerry is an H******" Well for the record I don't think John Kerry is a heretic. A heretic actually believes in the falsehoods they profess. If the core constituents of the Democratic party were pro-life is there any doubt that John Kerry would also then be pro-life?
"Ornery American" and science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card questions Kerry's faith ("in science"):
We already knew Kerry had a plan for everything -- ending the war, not getting in the war in the first place, getting allies to join us in the war, saving Social Security, lowering taxes, vastly increasing spending, cutting the deficit in half.
You know. Miracles.
But who knew that Kerry and Edwards could cause the crippled to rise up and walk?
I don't think that has ever been promised in a political campaign before.
I was amused when Kerry said, during the second debate, "I believe in science."
That was a pretty clear contrast with George W. Bush, who believes in God.
. . . and the reasoning behind Kerry's opposition to "rigid ideological restrictions" -- that is to say, Christian -- on abortion:
When Kerry really believes something is wrong, he does not hesitate to call for laws to ban it. What he's really saying is that it's illegitimate to ban something you believe is wrong if -- and only if -- your belief in its wrongness comes from your religion.
So in his worldview, only religious people are forbidden to impose their beliefs about right and wrong on others. As long as you have no religion behind you, you can force your beliefs about right and wrong on anybody you want.
John Kerry says he's against "disenfranchising" people.
He really means, "except for people who believe their view of morality comes from God." Those people can just sit down and shut up, while the unbelievers make all the laws that rule their lives.
As we enter the last week before the presidential campaign, it struck me last night at a Sunday evening Mass that something is changing for the better in our Church: people are getting bolder in resisting the Culture of Death. Before the beginning of the quasi-youth Mass with its contemporary music, the young female singer urged us to vote for God's choice in the election and then proceeded to sing a song about the tragedy of abortion.
After the Mass, pro-life volunteers handed out their pro-life voting guides as people exited the door. The setting was a very large middle class, suburban parish in a strongly Democratic and pro-union part of Michigan.
Of course, this experience is anecdotal. But it matches what we have seen on the internet, in newspaper advertisements, in the form of a highly publicized canon law complaint boldly filed against Kerry, in the questions directed by ordinary citizens toward the candidates in the town hall presidential debate, in the outspoken bishops and archbishops who have denied Communion to Kerry, and in the articulate and aggressive election year posture of Archbishop Chaput in Denver. What all these actions have in common is that the ambiguity and pusillanimity of the past are wearing thin with many pro-life Catholics. We are in a cultural war, and faithful Catholics are ready to rumble.
People, young and old, are bolder and less inhibited in expressing support for life and for marriage. This boldness did not come from the U.S. Bishops Conference or from a diocesan workshop or roundtable discussion.
And this boldness certainly did not come from the liberal precincts of heterodox Catholic ivory towers and their in-house academic theologians and canon lawyers. In my opinion, this new boldness among faithful Catholics comes from the Holy Spirit. Finally, we have a good example of the authentic workings of the sense of the truly faithful, from the bottom up.
Almighty God, all things are in Your hands: our nation, our communities, our families, our lives.
In this time of great decision, bless our country and its people. Prosper the efforts of the just and true, and thwart the purposes of the unjust and dishonest. Preserve our land from violence and turmoil, and keep our relationships decent and respectful.
Inspire voters, legislators, executives, and judges so our country may be a land where morality is furthered by law and authority; where life is protected, marriage respected, and family supported; where the innocent are spared, and the guilty punished; where justice is tempered by mercy, and mercy fortified by justice.
Help us to keep the United States of America a land where the rule of law and respect for individual dignity are the legal foundation of a just order.
My personal prayer addendum:
And, dear Lord, we pray that in the next presidential election we might have a candidate whom we could support wholeheartedly, without moral or mental reservation, rather than one whom we feel duty bound to vote against in defence of every scrap of moral deceny that yet remains in our once Christian nation.
Please share Lane's Novena with family, friends, and readers who share our love for God and country.
Senator John Kerry, Abortion and the Relation Between Church & State
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus looks at the Kerry communion scandal and provides an excellent recap of the Bishop's Conference in Denver in June 2004, including Fr. Neuhaus' thoughts on Ratzinger's letter to Cardinal McCarrick and the latter's failure to disclose the complete contents and intent of the letter to the bishops:
. . . The Ratzinger letter and how McCarrick used it is the subject of lively discussion. No bishop wanted to say that McCarrick "misrepresented" Ratzinger’s message but, as one put it, "The charitable thing to say is that he did not tell us the whole truth." It appears, although it is not certain, that the letter was sent only to McCarrick and the papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, who was, of course, present at the meeting. At least a few bishops, however, were apprised of the full text and were less than pleased with McCarrick’s presentation of what Ratzinger had to say. When the full text was later made public, first in an Italian newspaper, McCarrick suggested to the press that there were other communications with Ratzinger that put the letter in context, justifying the interpretation he had offered the bishops. Back at the June meeting, the bishops had, despite McCarrick’s resistance, made up their minds. There needed to be a clear and firm statement that unmistakably underscored the utterly distinctive status of abortion and euthanasia in Catholic teaching, and that approved, but did not mandate, specific pastoral approaches, including the denial of Communion to the obdurate.
Fr. Neuhaus also seems to be very impressed with the "new generation" of bishops in the American Catholic Church -- among them Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, and others who have stood to criticize Senator Kerry's misrepresentation of the Catholic faith.
Reasons to hope.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Kerry vs. Bush - The Stakes are Higher than a few Supreme Court Justices
Posters who remind us that even one abortion is terrible, and that while one goal of the pro-life movement is to reduce numbers of abortions, certainly (and remember- those aren't "numbers" - they're people. "reduce numbers" = "saving lives"), another goal is to reshape the culture and law - are correct.
But this is an important issue, especially now, because I've seen Stassen's information and perspective already, in just a matter of days, pulled out and used in defense of support for a "pro-choice" candidate. A "pro-choice" candidate, who, I might add, has no interest or intention in reducing anything related to abortion, if one is to go on his record.
It's also a useful conversation to have, generally - the questions are important, even as we constantly remind ourselves that our job doesn't end with talking about it - it's only begun, and it really begins in earnest, when we've managed to actually meet pregnant women and girls where they are and offer them the help and support they need.
Kerry takes every opportunity to warn liberal voters that a Bush victory will jeopordize the "constitutional right" to abortion, but we should remember that the stakes in this election are more than the nomination of a few Justices to the Supreme Court. Besides Kerry's promise to revoke the Mexico City Policy as his first Executive Order, we should keep in mind that liberals are absolutely furious over the Bush Administration's generous financial support for crisis pregnancy centers, which assist pregnant women in finding alternatives to abortion and provide post-abortion counseling.
One can only guess what will happen to federal funding for CPC's under a militantly pro-choice, Planned-Parenthood and NARAL courting Kerry administration.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Archbishop Chaput: "Words are cheap. Actions matter."
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput gives a lesson in elementary logic and civics to those who, like Senator Kerry, criticize Catholics for "imposing their morals" on others ("Faith and Patriotism" Oct. 22, 2004):
Lawmaking inevitably involves some group imposing its beliefs on the rest of us. That's the nature of the democratic process. If we say that we "ought" to do something, we are making a moral judgment. When our legislators turn that judgment into law, somebody's ought becomes a "must" for the whole of society. This is not inherently dangerous; it's how pluralism works.
Democracy depends on people of conviction expressing their views, confidently and without embarrassment. This give-and-take is an American tradition, and religious believers play a vital role in it. We don't serve our country - in fact we weaken it intellectually - if we downplay our principles or fail to speak forcefully out of some misguided sense of good manners.
People who support permissive abortion laws have no qualms about imposing their views on society. Often working against popular opinion, they have tried to block any effort to change permissive abortion laws since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. That's fair. That's their right. But why should the rules of engagement be different for citizens who oppose those laws?
Catholics have an obligation to work for the common good and the dignity of every person. We see abortion as a matter of civil rights and human dignity, not simply as a matter of religious teaching. We are doubly unfaithful - both to our religious convictions and to our democratic responsibilities - if we fail to support the right to life of the unborn child. Our duties to social justice by no means end there. But they do always begin there, because the right to life is foundational.
The Archbishop closes with a not-too-subtle rebuke to John Kerry's citation of a passage from James in his bid to attract religious voters:
Words are cheap. Actions matter. If we believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, we need to prove that by our actions, including our political choices. Anything less leads to the corruption of our integrity. . . . As James 2:17 reminds us, in a passage quoted in the final presidential debate, "Faith without works is dead." It is a valid point. People should act on what they claim to believe. Otherwise they are violating their own conscience, and lying to themselves and the rest of us.
But those of us who have followed the career of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver already knew that. After a botched interview, the New York Times gave Archbishop Chaput the opportunity to write an op-ed column on the election. He took the opportunity and ran with it. Seldom will you read a more forthright and common sense column in the pages of the Times.
This election is certainly not the election of 1960, with Catholics supporting the "Catholic" candidate overwhelmingly or with the hierarchy, beginning with Cardinal Cushing of Boston, walking hand in hand with the Kennedy family. Those days are over. Today, Bush probably leads among white Catholics and is probably tied among all Catholics.
Bishops and archbishops have spoken out against the scandal of Kerry's faux and heterodox Catholicism. The lesson is clear: heterodox Catholics like Kerry will not go unchallenged in their use of the Catholic label for political gain. In fact, these phony Catholic candidates will be vehemently challenged and exposed by both laity and bishops.
Chaput lays it on the line: pro-life Catholics will not be muzzled in the world's greatest democracy. We came to these shores for freedom, and that freedom certainly includes the freedom to proclaim the truth that infants, whether unborn, partially born, or fully born, should not be butchered. As Chaput points out, it's a matter of human rights in addition to being a religious truth. But no one, not even the secularist editors of the New York Times should be surprised at this argument. After all, the very concept of human rights was born of the Judeo-Christian religious belief in the dignity of every human person.
Religion is the source of the Western development of human rights. To muzzle religious believers in political debate is to destroy the goose that laid the golden egg. The liberals will realize this fact only when it is too late. Catholics and many others realize it today.
The last few weeks before election day, more and more faithful Catholics from all walks of life -- clergy and laity -- are voicing their discontent with Senator Kerry's blatant misrepresentation and mockery of the Catholic faith.
My colleague Earl E. Appleby has drawn attention to Bishop Paul S. Loverde's correction of Kerry's claim that the Church's opposition to abortion is an "article of faith" that cannot be legislated. In so doing, Bishop Loverde joins a growing list of bishops who -- like the biblical prophets of old -- are speaking truth to political power and condemning the slaughter of innocents.
Innocent human life must always be protected. Senator John Kerry, you have said that "life begins at conception," but you have persistently supported abortion and oppose all sensible restrictions on the practice.
You have voted six times against banning the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion. You voted to spend taxpayers' dollars to fund abortion at least 25 times.
You opposed Laci and Conner's Law, which protects pregnant women and their unborn babies from violent crimes.
In the most recent debate Senator Kerry, you said, "everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith" and that "everything is a gift from the Almighty." But apparently, when it comes to the issue of the right to life, you follow neither your own faith nor your own reason.
Senator Kerry, your stand contradicts both your faith and reason.
What is troubling to me is that the complete irrationality of John Kerry's support of abortion should be obvious to anybody with a little bit of common sense. You don't need a philosophy degree to realize that there's something more than a little wrong with a politician who recognizes that human life begins at conception but defends with every breath the "right" to murder that life. Who claims to be "personally opposed" to abortion but proudly claims militant defenders of abortion as allies. Who claims to have a "respect" for the Catholic faith but denigrates Christian opposition to abortion as a "rigid ideology". Who claims to "fight for equality and justice" but is all too willing to exclude the weakest among us.
The plain fact is that John Kerry is not a "pro-choice" politician. Much worse, John Kerry is the candidate of the abortion industry itself.
It is for these reasons, principled reasons far beyond those flowing from ordinary partisan politics, that I and so many others genuinely tremble at the prospect of a President Kerry. It is difficult even to contemplate the appalling spectacle of a professing Catholic who knowingly and freely and energetically gives financial and legal aid and moral comfort to those who daily add to our national holocaust. Watching the most powerful man in the country throwing his arms in a warm embrace around those who kill unborn children, while banishing from government and judicial office those who would promote life, would be heart-rendingly painful. That this same man then could claim communion with the Church of Life is astounding. Such unavoidably would be an act of fundamental dishonesty and contempt for the Church's witness to life. The scandal that would be caused to the faithful and the injury to the Church's credibility and voice on issues of life might reverberate for years.
In words expressed by many other bishops as well, although not targeted at Kerry in particular, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark has explained that "Catholics who publicly dissent from the Church's teaching on the right to life of all unborn" have thereby chosen to separate themselves from the Church and "in a significant way from the Catholic community." He asked that such people should "honestly admit in the public forum that they are not in full union with the Church," and that any attempt by such a person to "express 'communion' with Christ and His Church by the reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is objectively dishonest." To emphasize the fuller meaning and the powerful meaning of communion is not bullying; it is a matter of simple integrity.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
A Particular Candidate's Mistaken Views—Setting the Record Straight
"A recent response on the issue of abortion by a candidate for national office prompts me to offer these clarifications," Bishop Paul S. Loverde writes in today's Arlington, VA, Catholic Herald.
I feel it necessary to correct what I consider to be a misstatement by this particular candidate on what an article of faith is, and what the duties of the faithful are. In fact, there are others as well, including legislators, judges, and ordinary citizens, who espouse a similarly erroneous approach.
A short time ago, when asked about his position on abortion, this candidate said:
I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith.
"Opposition to abortion does not depend on a foundation of religious faith," Bishop Loverde reminds us. "Many people, who profess a variety of religious beliefs or even no religion, oppose the direct taking of innocent human life by abortion. There is an error inherent in the assertion that abortion is just an article of faith."
The error is simply this: the wrongness of direct abortion is decidedly not just "an article of faith." Rather, it is rooted in the natural law. Citing legislators who say "I am personally opposed to abortion, but I cannot impose my religious beliefs on others," my predecessor, Bishop John Keating, spoke clearly in words which I echo today:
The fallacy in this reasoning is simply that the morality of abortion is not a religious belief, any more than the morality of slavery, apartheid, rape, larceny, murder or arson is a religious belief. These are norms of the natural law of mankind and can be legislated even in a completely religionless society (A Pastoral Letter on Morality and Conscience, 1994).
Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work towards correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and sinning against the common good.
The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may 'lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way' (1 Tim. 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being (71).
As Bishop Loverde concludes:
To be a faithful Catholic necessarily means that one is pro-life and not pro-choice. To be pro-choice essentially means supporting the right of a woman to terminate the life of her baby, either preborn or partially born. No Catholic can claim to be a faithful member of the Church while advocating for, or actively supporting, direct attacks on innocent human life. In reality, protecting human life from conception to natural death is far more than a Catholic issue. It is an issue that cuts across denominational lines. It is an issue of fundamental morality, rooted in both the natural moral law and the divine law. Because of this, no other issue is objectively more important. Therefore, both as citizens and as Catholics, we can never give up our efforts to eliminate the killing of innocent, defenseless human beings. [emphases and hypertext links added]
When a brave man steps up to the plate with truth on his side, the rest of us need to back him up. Los Angeles canon lawyer Marc Balestrieri is now well-known as the person who instituted a canon law action against Kerry for his "pro-choice" heresy. Recently, an unofficial communication sent at the direction of the Vatican confirmed that Balestrieri's contentions against Kerry are indeed correct.
But, in their customarily cautious manner, some Vatican officials are now emphasizing that this unofficial communication is not definitive. Canon lawyer Peter Vere gives an insightful analysis of the situation by noting that the Vatican works with a "two steps forward, one step backward" mentality. That mentality may be necessary and may even be prudent and responsible. To some of us on the ground here in the United States, that mentality may be a bit frustrating and lacking in needed urgency. Either way, as Peter Vere notes, Marc Balestrieri of DeFide.com has moved the ball down the field. He has brought long and scandalously ignored matters to a head. For that, we owe him our continued thanks and support.
Therefore, I am happy to reiterate and extend my earlier pledge to help Mr. Balestrieri. Any author royalties from purchases made, in the remaining months of 2004, of the Catholic Analysis book, Unpopular Catholic Truths will go to support the work of Mr. Balestrieri as described in DeFide.com.
Whether by words or by treasure, I urge readers of this site to encourage the efforts of this singularly courageous canon lawyer from Los Angeles. He decided to take a stand instead of remaining a spectator. We apparently have many canon lawyers willing to remain spectators. I'll put my money on the one who decided to be different.
As posted by my fellow resident pundit Barbara Kralis on Fidelis . . .
Will the silence of most U.S. Catholic bishops help elect a Presidential candidate who promotes procured abortion and supports same-sex marriage?
The Democrat Presidential candidate, John Kerry, proclaimed recently to all Americans that he is a "faithful Catholic" in good standing, yet promised that if elected:
I will not overturn Roe v Wade; I will not appoint judges hostile to "choice;" I will allow poor women to have free abortions; I will never outlaw abortion; I will increase American taxpayer's dollars on population control efforts around the world."
In other words, this pro-abortion legislator has set himself outside of the Catholic faith and has incurred, according to Canon Law n. 1398, a common excommunication, latae sententiae, a censure incurred by the very fact of committing a crime.
Yet, ironically, a majority of U.S. Catholic Bishops is unwilling to discipline legislators who support procured abortion by banning them from the sacrilegious reception of the Eucharist in most of the nation's Catholic dioceses. The sixty-million U.S. Catholic laity is scandalized and confused by the refusal of most bishops to dutifully govern and correct.
The world media are reporting with amusement the reactions of individual bishops.
Currently, two archbishops and 10 bishops have stated publicly they would obey the Church's Divine Law and deny the Sacrament of the Eucharist to legislators who support procured abortion.
The rest of the 365 U.S. bishops, 46 archbishops, and 12 cardinals, including the remaining 184 of the 196 diocesan bishop heads, have made no such statement. In fact, many bishops have spoken wrongly against the denial of Holy Communion to anyone, at anytime, for any reason.
Is the silence of this majority of Bishops sending a loud, clear message to all Americans that being pro-abortion is not a grave offense against God?
The Code of Canon Law n. 1369 instructs all Bishops:
A person is to be punished with a just penalty who gravely harms public morals.
Who could refute the fact that for years Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy and over 500 pro-abortion U.S. "Catholic" politicians have participated in abortion by writing, endorsing, encouraging, and passing pro abortion and pro sodomite legislation? Canon Law n. 915 specifically prohibits persons receiving the Eucharist who obstinately persist in their grave manifest sins. This is a no-brainer.
In fact, Senator Kerry's pro-abortion record is so strong that he is the first presidential candidate--including Clinton and Gore--to be endorsed by the evil Planned Parenthood abortion group.
Senator Kerry supports human cloning, favors the creation and destruction of human embryos for research, and has voted repeatedly against a federal ban on "partial birth abortion."
In an interview Kerry gave the Dubuque, IA, Telegraph Herald, as cited in a secondary report by the Washington Post,
I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist . . . who doesn't share it. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America.
Does not the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's note Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life carry any authority with American bishops and clergy? It declared:
Lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life.
Why, as recently revealed by Catholic World News, have three of the twelve prominent members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Review Board flagrantly and traitorously disobeyed Church teachings and financially supported pro-abortion Kerry's presidential campaign?
Kerry travels throughout the United States in his presidential bid. This pro-abortion, heretical "Catholic" legislator receives sacrilegious Holy Communions wherever and whenever he attends the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Why?
Each Sunday, pro-abortion Senator Kerry enters a different parish, approaches the altar, receiving the Eucharist while obstinately refusing to obey the Church's clearly defined laws against his unlawful reception of Communion. Every parish receives advance notice of Kerry's clamorous arrival, yet, in parish after parish, both Ministers of Holy Communion (pastors, priests, deacons) and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (laymen) willfully give Kerry sacrilegious Communions.
The Catechism teaches that all clergy who administer the Sacrament of the Eucharist to manifest, obstinate, persistent sinners also participate in this grave cardinal sin of sacrilege (CCC, n.1755). Is it not clear they must deny these pro-abortion politicians the Eucharist?
In fact, Canon Law n. 915 places the responsibility on the minister--'ne admittantur'--who, in the opinion of some canonists, could be punished themselves according to Canon Law n. 1389 §2, should he unlawfully administer the sacrament with the consequent danger of scandal for the rest of the faithful. Canon Law n. 1339 prescribes the possibility of punishing any person who causes grave scandal by any violation of a divine or ecclesiastical law.
Some have suggested that the silence of most of the bishops is because U.S. clergy overwhelmingly vote as Democrats and do not want to offend their leaders. A recent poll suggested this was the case, at least, in the diocese of Chicago.
According to an exclusive Illinois Leader analysis of the voting habits of the Chicago Archdiocese's voting Catholic priests, more than 75% of them sided with the Democrats in the March 2002 primary election. Consequently, many U.S. Catholics are receiving a message from many bishops and priests, however subtle, that the Church wishes them to vote for the Democrat Party, the official abortion party in America Is this why many of our pulpits are silent on the infallible Church teachings regarding morals and faith, teachings that definitely offend Democrats?
Could another reason be that U.S. bishops fear losing money donated in weekly offertory collections? Do some bishops fear offending powerful Democrat parishioners?
Dear Bishops, you are the leaders and shepherds of our church. We stand beside you in deepest prayer and respect.Please stop this scandal and sacrilege of the Eucharist, we pray!
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 Renew America.
Abortions Did Not Increase Under President Bush, Researcher's Study Flawed
As part of their last-minute attempts to question President Bush's pro-life record, Democrats have cited a research report by Prof. Glen Harold Stassen of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary that claims Bush's economic policies have led to an increase in the number of abortions during his administration.
Dr. Randy O'Bannon, director of education at the National Right to Life Committee, reveals bad assumptions and false conclusions in the report:
Since the federal government stopped collecting national abortion figures in 2000, Stassen relies on data from 16 states to establish his claim that abortions have increased dramatically under President Bush.
Stassen found that abortions increased in 11 of those 16 states claims abortions must be on the rise nationwide.
"Stassen never demonstrates that his 16 states are representative of the 50 states," O'Bannon said. "Even worse for Stassen's case is that some of his statistics are just flat wrong, while others are of ambiguous origin."
As Prime Minister of England Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) observed, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Cardinal Francis George on the necessity of admonishing wayward politicians
. . . that abortion is intrinsically immoral is clear to many and is clearly taught to all Catholics. Some Catholics would argue, however, that not everything immoral need be illegal and that abortion, while always immoral, is so fundamentally ensconced in our American way of life that any attempt to outlaw it now would destroy social peace. It must therefore be tolerated precisely for the common good.
That argument makes its point, however, only if the one making it is working actively to change attitudes toward abortion with a view of eventually coming to protect in law every unborn child. Because it is hard to see how one can make the argument in good conscience while proclaiming abortion a “right” and vowing to protect it all costs, many Catholics have lost patience with politicians who claim to share their faith while piling up a completely “pro-choice” voting record. The U.S. Bishops last June, bringing once again the question of conscience to participation in political life, said that voting to protect legal abortion is a form of cooperating in the evil of abortion itself.
Do all Catholic politicians understand their obligations in conscience? Apparently not, which means that their pastors have to take the time to speak with them personally. A pastoral conversation about the formation of conscience is not an interference in the political process. It is an exercise in pastoral charity, motivated by a desire for a politician’s salvation. The politician will someday be asked by the Lord: "What did you do to the least of my brothers and sisters?” And the pastor will be asked by the same Lord: “What did you do to warn them? How did you help them form their conscience?" Like Lazarus, the poor man ignored by the rich man until it was too late for the rich man to be saved (Luke 16: 19-31), those killed in their mother’s womb will be at the gates of paradise but unable to come to the assistance of those condemned to hell because they killed unborn children or supported their being killed. . . .
Fr. Rob Johansen criticizes Ohio Dominican University for "Giving The Platform To Your Enemies" by hosting anti-Catholic columnist Ellen Goodman as the premier event of it's 2004-2005 "Presidential Lecture Series".
Thomas Galvin (The Galvin Opinion) notices the discrepancy between Christopher Reeve's admission that "embryonic stem cells are . . . not able to do much about chronic injuries" and John Edward's promise to a Newton High School audience that: "When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."
Just Bein' Frank takes a look at Kerry "on abortion, litmus tests, and religious tests" and notes that Kerry's religious intolerance toward those who oppose Roe vs. Wade would "[effectively exclude] all serious Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims from the bench."
Christine at Laudem Gloriae responds to Notre Dame professor M. Cathleen Kaveny's Wall Street Journal op-ed diatribe against "rambo Catholics" who she accuses of "trying to bully their fellow American Catholics into voting for George Bush."
The Mighty Barrister critiques Rev. Lawrence Hummer's sermon at a specially arranged Mass which Senator Kerry recently attended, and notes Kerry's fondness from quoting from a Protestant version of the Bible.
And as this election focuses Catholics' attention on the "life issues", Fidelis posts a recent editorial by Father John Fongemie FSSP, chaplain to Canberra's Latin Mass community, addressing "two interrelated matters I have put on the backburner for too long: organ donation and so-called "brain death" -- a controversy "not only ignored by the anti-life media, it is hardly prominent among pro-lifers themselves, even though the secular definition of what constitutes death . . . should be a frontline issue for all upholders of the Fifth Commandment.").
Four months after American Catholic Bishops collectively decided that "the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions," St. Catherine's, the largest Catholic women's college in the U.S., will host a rally for Senator Kerry in their auditorium. According to LifeNews.com:
According to an announcement by the event's organizers, Artists for Kerry will hold a rally at the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at the College of St. Catherine on Thursday, October 21.
St. Catherine's is run by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and is the largest Catholic college for women in the U.S. The event is meant "to inspire and mobilize Minnesotans to Get Out the Vote on November 2 and elect John Kerry President," according to the announcement.
According to the college's website, an appearance by Kerry has not been confirmed, although he is scheduled to be in Minneapolis at the time of the event.
Pro-life organizations are protesting the event, but the school's communications director is claiming they are powerless to do anything about a group "renting their facilities."
Leo LaLonde, president of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, expressed concern over the college's acceptance of the arrangement.
"It is sad irony that the college named for St. Catherine of Alexandria who was beheaded for refusing to renounce her faith, welcomes a man who has renounced his faith by voting repeatedly to continue the practice of abortion; an act that the Catholic Church holds to be a grave moral evil," said LaLonde. "Equally ironic, St. Catherine is the patron saint of lawyers."
Senator Kerry recently spoke with the Denver Post, requesting that Catholics "look at his entire record in public office, and not just his position on abortion rights."
. . . To bolster his case, the Democratic presidential nominee pointed to a recent letter received by the U.S. bishops from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's arbiter of matters of faith and doctrine, who said it is not necessarily sinful for Catholics to consider all aspects of a public official's record, and not just his or her stance on abortion, before casting their votes.
[Kerry] cited a Democratic Senate survey that tallied votes on all the social justice, environmental, anti-abortion and foreign policy issues listed as concerns by America's Catholic bishops. Kerry said he had the best record in the Senate when it came to Catholic issues.
Never mind the fact that the very same memorandum that Kerry cites also contains the following note from Cardinal Ratzinger:
Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. . . . 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.
And people wonder why Catholics like Marc Balestrieri are outraged.
"The death of actor Christopher Reeve, a prominent advocate of human cloning and embryonic-destructive stem cell research, could be politically beneficial for Democrat presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry," Culture and Cosmosreports. "But there are also signs that Catholic voters are increasingly turned off by Kerry's long litany of anti-life positions making it a possibility that Kerry would be hurt by trying to capitalize on the stem cell issue."
It is becoming increasingly clear that Kerry's positions on issues like abortion and stem cell research are having a negative effect among Catholic voters.
A front page story from [the October 12] New York Times addressed the growing number of Catholic bishops who are making the case that support for pro-abortion candidates is sinful because the fundamental nature of protecting life in Church teaching....
Equally significant, in Zogby's view, is the evidence that Catholic voters are responding to the messages of these pro-life bishops.
The Times story cites a Pew Research poll from this month that reports 42 percent of white Catholics favoring George Bush, 29 percent supporting Kerry and 27 percent as undecided.
A Zogby poll conducted in September revealed that Bush enjoyed significantly greater support among Catholics than he did among the general population in the battleground states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
President Bush lost the Catholic vote four years ago to Al Gore 49-47 percent. Sources close to the Bush campaign are predicting a significantly higher count for Bush come November.
In an interview with the Catholic News Service, Zogby senior political writer Fritz Wenzel attributed the growing support of Catholics for Bush partly to the controversy that erupted this summer over whether or not Kerry ought to receive Communion.
According to Wenzel:
The media attention given to the issue advanced the pro-life cause. "Denying Communion is a whole different issue than abortion, but it made people aware of (the candidates') positions," Wenzel said. "It's like a potato chip that's the conveyor for the salt."
As the 2004 presidential election heads towards the home stretch, the Catholic vote takes on added significance, particularly in such make-or-break swing states as Pennsylvania, where Catholics make up 35% of the electorate, as National Public Radio's Brian Naylor reports.added significance, particularly in such make-or-break swing states as Pennsylvania, where Catholics make up 35% of the electorate, as National Public Radio's Brian Naylor reports.
The Catholic factor does not necessarily accrue to the benefit of President Bush, however, as polling indicates that centrist Catholics outnumber conservative Catholics nearly 2 to 1 and are heavily concentrated in such competive states as Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
On the other hand, Prof. John Green, the political scientist who conducted that polling, believes that while statements by orthodox bishops such as Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput and Colorado Springs' Bishop Michael Sheridan vex liberal Catholics, they rally conservative Catholics, who may truimph in the end. As Green concludes:
Many liberal Catholics are not regular Mass attenders, The conservative Catholics, they attend Mass, they take their institutions and leaders very seriously, and they're simply easier to mobilize.
This is one reason why Senator Kerry is going through yet another make-over as he scrambles to reduce what pundits have dubbed the "God gap."
John F. Kerry is evolving from a reserved Catholic reluctant to discuss faith in the public square into a Democratic preacher of sorts who speaks freely and sometimes forcefully about religion on the hustings.
"It wasn't always this way," VandeHei acknowledges. "For much of the campaign, Kerry resisted pressure from some Democrats, including aides, to discuss his faith more widely."
Why the about face?
Friends say that Kerry also has gained a deeper appreciation of how voters in many of the battleground states—from Hispanic Catholics in New Mexico to evangelical Christians in rural Ohio—seek candidates of faith, or at least desire reassurance that their president shares most of their values.
In other words, it's the same reason that lies behind most of Kerry's trademark flip-flops: old-fashioned political opportunism.
Just what America needs in a Commander in Chief.
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.