Belief Beat

Belief Beat

RIP Geraldine Ferraro: Political Trailblazer, Pro-Choice Catholic & ‘Friend of Israel’

I don’t normally blog about obituaries here — religious leaders and prominent people of faith die every week, after all — but the coverage of the death of trailblazing vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, 75, struck me as particularly interesting, from a faith-related perspective. (Also, Zsa Zsa Gabor must be relieved that Ferraro seems to be the third of that “celebrity deaths come in threes” belief, preceded by Jane Russell and Elizabeth Taylor.)

GetReligion has a good round-up of the Ferraro stories from the secular media outlets like The New York Times and L.A. Times, revisiting how the Catholic politician was blasted by church leaders over her pro-choice views.

Here are three interesting links from religious media outlets:

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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Deacon Keith Fournier

posted March 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

In Article 12 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church the teaching on Life Everlasting and the Judgement is found.( Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1020 – 1065). It is not my intention to speculate on Geraldine Ferraro’s state. This beautifully written section cites these words of St. John of the Cross “At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love”. I leave room for mercy and know she was attended to by a priest of the Church in her final hours. I wish her family God’s comfort.

However, I write to take strong exception to the headline in BeliefBeat’s story on her death calling her a “Pro-Choice Catholic”. There is no such thing. A “Pro-Choice” Catholic – if by the term is meant one who accepts that the choice to take the life of an innocent child in the first home of the womb is ever morally acceptable, is an unfaithful Catholic. To be a Catholic Christian is to be Pro-Life, Period.

In addition to the clear teaching of the Sacred Scripture, the clear teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see CCC #2270 – 2275) and the unbroken Christian tradition which condemns every procured abortion as an intrinsically evil act, Catholics have a “magisterium”, a teaching office which has made it all very clear. Perhaps one of the strongest statements were these from Blessed John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter, The Gospel of Life:

Pope John Paul II (The Gospel of Life, Par. 62):

“Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops – who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine – I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.

“This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”

There is no such thing as a Pro-Choice Catholic

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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I understand what you’re trying to say, but isn’t that like claiming there’s no such thing as a gay Catholic, or a divorced Catholic, or a Catholic on the pill? (See also: bacon-loving Jews, beer-drinking Muslims…)

Also, here’s something I don’t understand: isn’t there an important distinction between a politician stating that abortion should remain legal — consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling — versus supporting abortions personally? Isn’t this a church-state separation issue?

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Deacon Keith Fournier

posted March 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Dear Nicole,

No, it is not. A “gay” Catholic can remain chaste and not engage in sexual activity with a member of the opposite sex. In fact many people with same sex attraction find great help in doing so through efforts such as “Courage” founded by the late Fr Paul Harvey.

There are many divorced Catholics fully living their lives in the Church. They are asked to remain single. It is only upon remarriage, without an annulment, that they are to refrain from receiving the Eucharist.

A Catholic who contracepts is not following the teaching of the Church and it is unfortuante because the teaching leads to a wonderful marriage and family life and natural family planning allows for spacing of children and promotes the couples life of love in the Lord. I speak as amn married for 35 years with five children and six grandchildren as well as a member of the Clergy, a Deacon of the Church.

However, a Catholic who calls themselves “Pro-Choice” – and means by that they support protecting with the civil law the taking of the life of another – is openly rejecting the clear teaching of the Church and placing themselves outside of the communion of the very Church they profess to belong to.It is a matter of fundamental moral truth, unlike disciplines such as abstaining from pork…

It is particularly egregious when it is a Catholic in Public Life rejecting this truth.There is no moral difference between the taking of the life of a child in the womb or the taking of any other innocent human life at any stage of life. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life.

There is absolutely no doubt where the Catholic Church stands on this fundamental human rights issue. In fact, the Church affirms that the dignity of every human life is a matter of the Natural Law and not dependent upon revelation; though certainly confirmed by it. It is knowable by all men and women and forms the basis of our life together. Our positive law is to respect and reflect it or it is unjust.

It is also binding on all men and women. It is the basis of all of our social doctrine. For example, the reason we care for the poor is because they our our neighbors and have human dignity and a fundamental human right to life. Children in the womb are our smallest neighbors. Thanks for the dialogue.

Deacon Keith Fournier

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posted March 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm

So I take it she was excommunicated?

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posted March 30, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Thanks for taking out the time and effort to educate us here, Deacon. Facts are badly needed in this day and age where the mainstream media has control over most peoples’ minds. Keep up the great work!

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posted March 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm

The religion is a business in my opinion.

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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Let’s not get into a discussion about the “mainstream media,” please! (As a wordsmith, I find it disturbing that “mainstream,” “elite,” “liberal,” etc. are interpreted as code words for anti-Americanism by certain groups. We can’t have effective discussion on controversial issues if language gets hijacked like that.)

As for Ferraro’s status, no, she was not excommunicated. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday at a Catholic church in Manhattan.

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posted March 30, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Ferraro was a lady with much love for everyone. She had no trouble with doing an excellent job for her country and countryman, and for her beliefs in God as well. I’m proud she came from my generation of women. Enjoy the peace of heaven Geraldine. This is from a confirmed Evangelical Lutheran.

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posted March 30, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Oops. Bad Jester. By “mainstream” I actually meant “conservative”, “tea-party”, “fascist”, etc.

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posted March 30, 2011 at 9:34 pm

So the label pro-choice Catholic politician seems fairly accurate to me.

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Robert C

posted April 1, 2011 at 7:24 pm

sanitizing the comments?

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Nicole Neroulias

posted April 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Deleting off-topic ones, as usual.

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Robert C

posted April 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

….or keeping them in perpetual moderation. ( its a gay thing…)

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posted August 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm

826877 708876Hey there! Great post! Please when all could see a follow up! 82230

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