Pontifications

Pontifications


Sebelius to HHS: Pro-lifers on alert?

posted by David Gibson

Sebelius.jpgThe New York Times is reporting that the mass-attending, barred-from-communion, pro-choice Catholic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, is President Obama’s pick to run the Department of Health & Human Services. She replaces Tom Daschle, another pro-choice Catholic–but with reservations–whose nomination was derailed by unpaid taxes. Pro-lifers may want to start a fundraiser for Daschle to get him back in the running.
As discussed here, Sebelius ran afoul of Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann during last year’s campaign. Naumann barred her from communion for her pro-choice views and may have scuttled her chances of being Obama’s running mate.
But what goes around comes around, and now Sebelius could be spearheading the department with greatest oversight of the implementation of family planning policies. Of course she’s also aces on health insurance, and a no-brainer for that issue, which is why Obama is bringing her on board. But don’t think that will be the focus of Catholic commentary…
In this Q&A, Naumann explained his reasoning for barring her, while in an RNS commentary last June, David O’Brien, an emeritus church historian at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., and Lisa Sowle Cahill, a professor of moral theology at Boston College, labeled actions against Sebelius and other pro-choice Catholic pols “Spiritual McCarthyism.”

In Kansas City, Archbishop Joseph Naumann has ordered Sebelius not to receive Communion after she vetoed abortion legislation riddled with constitutional red flags. The bill in question made it easier for prosecutors to search private medical records, allowed family members to seek court orders to stop abortions and failed to include exceptions to save the life of the mother.
Along with many public officials, Sebelius recognizes the profound moral gravity of abortion and has supported prudent public policies that have reduced abortions in Kansas. Yet in his diocesan newspaper, Naumann pulled few punches, blasting Sebelius for her “spiritually lethal” message and her obligation to recognize the “legitimate authority within the Church.”
The archbishop has a right, and indeed an obligation, to speak out against abortion; Catholic public officials look to the church to help form their conscience. But the archbishop is on dangerous ground when he tells a democratically elected official how to govern when it comes to the particulars of specific legislation. The proper application of moral principles in a pluralistic society rarely allows for absolutes.

They continued:

If we remain silent when respected Catholic leaders are publicly attacked and denied Communion, the proper role of faith in our public square is grossly distorted. This election year, let’s have a better debate about faith and political responsibility that reclaims the vital role religion has often played in renewing our most cherished democratic values.

So it goes…



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Gwyddion9

posted February 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm


The audacity of the RCC amazes me. I live close to the Missouri – Kansas border and have watched Governor Sebelius tackle many issues in her state, trying to find the common ground for all its citizens; and because of financial difficulty for the state, life has been hard for those in Kansas. Personally, I scoffed at the Naumann for trying to coheres Sebelius using religion. Yes, she is Catholic but she represents all people, of all religious and non-religious backgrounds and beliefs. Here Naumann is trying to force her to support RCC stance on abortion and in so doing, screw everyone else not of his beliefs.
I liked the comment in the article, which accuses the Archbishop of “Spiritual McCarthyism”, which is exactly what it is! Whether or not she supports the RCC’s views on abortion is her own choice but she is still a representative of the people, representing ALL people, in thought and belief. I serious doubt that the Archbishop really cares what others think or believe as long as he can force Sebelius into submission and have her force the Churches view on to the Kansas Populous. If the RCC thinks it has changed in how it’s being perceived by the world, it is greatly mistaken. In using its religious beliefs and power as clout over others to force them into submission, it’s simply reinforcing the view that it has to have absolute power over people. Imo, what a sad religion. The dark ages is obviously trying to make a come back!



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 4:12 am


Gwyddion9,
I tremble at challenging so firmly an expressed post as yours. Rather than nibble around the edges, let me go for the heart of the matter.
I studied for a few years to become a Catholic Priest back in the 80′s, before leaving the seminary to become a molecular biologist (There’s a switch!!).
One night I had occasion to be at dinner with an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. At the time, Cardinal O’Connor and Governor Mario Cuomo were famously locking horns over this very issue. Being in my 20′s and not holding back, I asked the Bishop if the Cardinal was not out of line. After all, the Governor had a Constitutional duty to uphold the law. His pastoral response was delivered without hesitation:
Yes, the Governor is duty-bound to uphold the law. Yes he is the Governor of all the people. The Church has a problem with neither.
The Governor is also a citizen. He also has the ability and obligation to use the machinery of government to advance whatever human or social rights agenda he supports. That’s what executives and legislators do routinely. Look at the Civil Rights movement. It is not Cuomo’s upholding the law that is at issue, it is his refusal to work within the system to change a law that he himself deems unjust.
Governor Cuomo said that he opposed abortion personally, but that as Governor, he had to support a woman’s right to choose to kill her baby. His hands were tied. Contrast this with Governor Cuomo being personally opposed to capital punishment, and vetoing a bill every year passed by the Legislature that would have reinstated the death penalty in New York.
When it comes to receiving Communion, the Church will in certain circumstances prohibit an individual from doing so as a spiritual corrective. We believe that a mother killing her baby is a grave offense, so much so that in the very act of doing it, she is excommunicated from the Church (so long as she is aware of the penalty) and can only come back by confessing her sin in Confession.
Governor Sebelius, in refusing to work to change this barbaric law, participates in abortion by protecting the institution of abortion from within the government. This too is a grave offense before God.
St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
Being locked into such a rebellion and receiving the Eucharist allows one to deceive themselves that they are truly “in Holy Communion” with God. In so doing, they stay on course for damnation. The action of the Bishop, then, is not to force a public policy change (She could also step down as a politician if she can’t bring herself to abandon her pro-choice proclivities); it is to come to the spiritual aid of a member of the family.
“If the RCC thinks it has changed in how it’s being perceived by the world, it is greatly mistaken.”
Let me turn this around on you. In the USA alone, since 1973, we have slaughtered over 50 million babies in what ought to have been the safety and sanctity of their mother’s wombs. Can you guess how we are perceived by the Church?
Consider Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s observations:
“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.
“And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.
“By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.
“Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.”



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Gwyddion9

posted February 19, 2009 at 8:03 am


Gerard Nadal,
Respectfully, I read your comment and do understand your thoughts and concerns, as posted. However, I am still firm on my position. I recognize that it is sometimes difficult to honor ones faith and be a public servant but that is the situation when holding a government position of authority, be it local, state or on a federal level.
“”And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.
“By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. “
The issue I see with these two comments is that it simply isn’t that easy to define abortion or its cause. Nothing is really black and white in this world, as easy as that might make defining things.
From my own religious beliefs, I am Wiccan. I do not personally support abortion for the use of birth control however, it is not my right to tell another what they can and cannot do. In my religion, it is between themselves and however they define the divine, which could include consequences, for such a choice. I have known women, who for various reasons, chose to have an abortion. The decision was not an easy one for them nor was it thoughtlessly done. Much time and consideration was given. Because of this, I recognize that there is no one easy solution to abortion in spite of those, who for religious reasons presume it upon themselves to make it illegal or impossible to obtain an abortion. As far as the RCC is concerned, it is their right, however they deem, to punish any follower for not abiding its beliefs or laws but when they presume to use this as a method of control, to enforce its beliefs in the public arena, it has crossed the line.
Earlier in your comments, you stated that: “Yes, the Governor is duty-bound to uphold the law. Yes he is the Governor of all the people. The Church has a problem with neither.” I submit that this statement is false, that the RCC does have issues with the inability to control the general populous, rather they are Catholic or not. Because of their religious beliefs, they feel it is their duty to have those beliefs enshrined in law, thus making all people subject to them. Face it, throughout history, the RCC has never truly allowed descent of thought or idea and crushed it, most times by force. However, today, the RCC does not have the power to do so, and i believe it irks them to no end. It, like many Christian churches, takes the position that it alone has authority of “God” and expects others to submit to this authority. Individuality is only permitted so far as what can be controlled by the church. IMO, the Christian church, whether it is the RCC or any number of Protestant Churches, are about authority, control, and submission to its perceived power. I also want to state that some Christian Churches would prefer that women not seek to have an abortion but recognize that it is up to the individual.
Individual choice is a powerful and frightening thing to some people and to some religions. To believe that an individual has the right to follow their own conscience, which might be contrary to another’s belief system, can be disconcerting to some but it is reality.
In ending, you quoted: “Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.” I’m sorry but with the history of the RCC, it doesn’t have a foot to stand on.



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paul

posted February 19, 2009 at 9:02 am


An elected official has the “right” to act as they wish.
The Church has a “right” to react to the elected official’s action as it wishes.
If an elected official decides to play for the other side, well, then, they have made their decision. The Church is simply acknowledging that decision by refusing to allow the politician to participate in the sacramental life of the Church.



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Charles Cosimano

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:12 am


Then comes the question, can a non-Catholic in conscience vote for a Catholic (or any other believer) who would put his faith above the will of his constituents?



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Tom

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:58 am


Newsflash, Charlie: Politicians are constantly putting THEIR will above the will of their constituents, whether it pertains to religion, political ideology, economic and social policy, or what have you. The recent ‘stimulus’ package is more than enough evidence to support this.
{Lisa Sowle Cahill, a professor of moral theology at Boston College, labeled actions against Sebelius and other pro-choice Catholic pols “Spiritual McCarthyism.”}
Canon 915 has been in the books long before McCarthy made his bones. Perhaps Mrs. Cahill should read up on the history as to how it came about and how it is used in a spirit of compassion; to preserve Mother Church from scandal and discipline her members, making them aware of the gravity of their actions.
Either Mrs. Cahill’s theology is suspect or her morals are severely impaired (or a combination thereof). In any event, I wouldn’t want my offspring to learn moral theology from her based on that statement. This is merely symptomatic of the secularization of ‘Catholic’ institutions like Boston College. Hopefully they’ll turn it around with Crucifix in Classroom policies and the like.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:01 am


Gwyddion9,
Thanks for writing back. A few observations and comments.
“However, I am still firm on my position.”
Far from trying to assuage you of your deeply held beliefs, I am trying simply to share with you a deep insiders clear understanding of what the Catholic Church actually teaches.
“however, it is not my right to tell another what they can and cannot do.”
Actually, with all due respect, that is the whole premise behind our civil and criminal justice system. Our laws tell us precisely what we may or may not do on a million different topics. Rape is not a ‘choice’ Nor is murder, or stealing, etc.. We understand that humans at every stage of development have rights.
Have you ever noticed that the so-called right to choose is one the only acceptable sentence fragment in the English language. “I have the right to choose.”
Choose what? To go to the movies? Eat Pizza? What?
“I have the right to chose to kill the life within me.” But that doesn’t sound nice in polite company, so we admit the fragment as acceptable use.
“IMO, the Christian church, whether it is the RCC or any number of Protestant Churches, are about authority, control, and submission to its perceived power.”
One is free to give their assent of faith or not. As Paul notes in his post above,
“If an elected official decides to play for the other side, well, then, they have made their decision. The Church is simply acknowledging that decision by refusing to allow the politician to participate in the sacramental life of the Church.”
“In ending, you quoted: ‘Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.’ I’m sorry but with the history of the RCC, it doesn’t have a foot to stand on.”
Actually, Pope John Paul II, on over 94 different occasions took the opportunity to acknowledge the Church’s errors in the past, with Galileo, women, the Jews, etc. We have corrected our historical errors. It is precisely because of acknowledging the mistakes and sins of the past that the Church has credibility. You can’t have it both ways here.
John Paul II’s apologies only have credibility if the Church had a legitimate authority that it abused. If his words, therefore are credible, then so is the Church’s criticism here, expressed by Mother Teresa. On the other hand, if the Church had no credible authority to abuse, then John Paul II need not have apologized for the abuse of an authority it never possessed.
” Because of their religious beliefs, they feel it is their duty to have those beliefs enshrined in law, thus making all people subject to them.”
Laws arise out of societal ethics. Ethics arise out of moral codes, be they secular or religious codes. Therefore, laws arise from the morals of the citizens. So, yes, you are absolutely correct here. It is every citizens duty to vote their informed conscience. If that conscience is informed by religiously formed moral norms, then so be it. What makes secular and atheistic moral norms so superior, so transcendent? All the seculars and atheists have is this tortured and hackneyed mantra of separation of Church and state, which does not appear in the Constitution.
“Face it, throughout history, the RCC has never truly allowed descent of thought or idea and crushed it, most times by force.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. If you believe that, then you know absolutely nothing about the Catholic Church. There is precious little in the way of defined teaching. What is held as definitive is simply not open to discussion. ‘Go start your own religion, or join another if you simply cannot give your assent of faith.’ is what the recalcitrant need to understand.
Non Catholics are forever asking, “What’s the Catholic Church position on (fill in your question here)? 99.999% of the time the answer is, “Nothing.” It’s a common misperception.
You say you are Wiccan. Would you admit as a member one who did not hold to your common core of beliefs? Would they be welcome to participate in your ceremonies if they held them in contempt? Would you consider them members in good standing? Of course not. The same goes with us.
Sebelius and her ilk are in fearful danger of eternal separation from God for supporting this hideous and barbaric regime, It is the duty of the Bishops to tell them so and to protect the integrity of the Church’s Sacraments from being made a mockery. It speaks volumes about these Bishops’ character that they are willing to be ridiculed as you have done so here, rather than compromise the truth of the Church’s teaching and the integrity of the Eucharist. I’m proud of them, of their courage and conviction, of their character. Sebelius, Pelosi, Kennedy and company should have 1/1000 as much character. They all say that they are personally opposed to abortion, but will not work to correct what they admit is wrong. In my book, that’s profiles in cowardice.
I wish you well.



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RJohnson

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:17 am


Gerard, do you believe that a bishop would be on solid ground within the Church to deny communion to a Catholic elected official who supported the war in Iraq, or who voted in favor of a law expanding the use of the death penalty?



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Tina

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:34 am


Spiritual McCarthyism isn’t the half of it. The RCC is devoting its energies not only to maligning good people, Like Sebelius, who support policies that reduce the need for abortion (policies which, by the way, the RCC does not support) it is also hoodwinking the pro-life public by running boogeyman campaigns, like that against the fictional FOCA, all in the service of keeping us frothed up about a non-issue and not focused on the real issues we should be concerned about; the state of our economy. The best way to prevent abortion is to prevent people from slipping into poverty. Meanwhile, the RCC is sending American Catholics on a FOCA goosechase. It’s not only outrageous and insulting, its immoral. Read the Time article about it out today, it says it all. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1880451,00.html



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Dan

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:53 am


RJohnson, I am not Gerard, but here’s my .02:
War and punishment by death can be justified in some cases. Whether or not the Iraq War and the death penalty in the U.S. is justified is open to debate. Abortion is always evil. It is not open to debate. So, the answer is “no.” I don’t know what Gerard would say, but that’s how it appears to me.
God bless,
Dan
P.S.: My goodness, Tina. Please don’t run to “Time” magazine as a credible objective source. And FOCA is not fictional. Our president promised Planned Parenthood — and you can youtube the clip — that FOCA would be atop his list of priorities. Whether Congress will allow him to fulfill that promise is another question. However, given the chance, he’ll push that through. He said so and he wouldn’t lie!



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 12:24 pm


Dan,
That’s exactly how Gerard would answer it. The church maintains that in certain, exceptional circumstances, the state may need to employ capital punishment, in order to protect the innocent.
RJohnson,
Good Afternoon.
Now, for some long forgotten/ignored facts about the war in Iraq.
The first Gulf War was prosecuted with the support of the United Nations and the legal permission of the US Congress. It was a war to liberate a conquered people. That it also secured the flow of oil, which is the lifeblood of the industrialized world, and prevented the world economy from being held hostage by a madman is also a matter of social justice. The poor are always the first to suffer, and bear the disproportionate burden in such fallout.
The First Gulf War was halted by a cease-fire agreement, in which Sadaam agreed not to persecute Shia or Kurds and to surrender all of his weapons of mass destruction. Any violation of the cease-fire would result in a resumption of hostilities in this legally approved war.
Sadaam immediately violated the cease fire, killing Shia and Kurds, which led to North and South no-fly zones for his military. He had his military lock up allied patrol aircraft with their anti-aircraft radar- a belligerent act of war under a cease-fire agreement.
His people gave the US and UN lists of their WMD. He then embarked on a ten year shell game with UN weapons inspectors. Hans Blix, the UN WMD Inspector, the US, the EU all had the same list of WMD FURNISHED BY THE IRAQIS THEMSELVES.
Ten years and 17 UN Resolutions later, threatening resumption of hostilities unless Sadaam comply with the terms of the cease-fire, we had 9/11.
President Bush needed no further approval, as neither the UN, nor the Congress, ever rescinded the authority for the War, then in its eleventh year.
We ended the brutal regime of a madman who murdered hundreds of thousands of his own citizens, threatened the world with WMD that he claimed to possess, showed the proven capacity to visit cataclysmic destruction on Kuwait’s oil fields, and showed utter contempt for human rights and international law.
I do support wars that take out threats to civilization. So does the Church. I support the ending, once and for all, of Sadaam’s regime. What the Iraqi people do with their new freedom does not purpose our military intervention. If they choose to squander this precious gift bought with the blood of our citizen soldiers, the shame upon their heads.
(All of this before my first cup of coffee.’d better go with decaf. today)
All the Best.



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Your Name

posted February 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm


There is a reason for the separation of church and state in this country….the RCC needs to remember it is a church…and the Governor represents a state (and with luck and proper vetting, will be in HHS). so the RCC really has, IMO, no business telling her what to do when she is acting as the leader of state of Kansas. And if she becomes head of HHS, they again have no business interfering. We had a Catholic president, for those who remember, and he made the statement that the Pope wouldn’t be telling him what to do when it came to running the country. No church/religion has any business telling politicians what to do in their professional life.
As for being denied communion, if I remember from the article, she still attends Mass. Isn’t there something about a Catholic being the one who decides whether they should take communion depending on their conscience? Also remember reading that some priests make up their own minds as to whether they should give someone communion or not. Several Catholic politicians were still given communion by their priests when it was advised by a bishop that they shouln’t.
Gwynddian9: Well said in both posts!
Gerard: It appears that some Cathoics in public and private life are beginning to (or always have held) hold their own thoughts when it comes to personal issues as to abortion.(and other things like female priests etc). The church finds that a bit threatening I expect and tend to fear losing control. Personally I think they have lost some control as at one time a priest was to be almost revered….as were bishops and cardinals and most certainly a pope. After all, don’t they kiss the pope’s ring?? Just like bowing to royality. What with the molesting priest revelations, that has brought folks to their senses…and realizing that those men are just that…men…whose job it is to spread the Catholic doctrines.
The nuns can no longer hit kids in the RCC schools, so that physical threat is no longer there for kids in RCC schools…fortunately.
I know you hold sincere beliefs, Gerard, but I thought I’d put in my 2 cents anyhow. :o)



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pagansister

posted February 19, 2009 at 12:39 pm


OOPS! With the reestablishment of the “code numbers” I forgot to put my name in up top. Post at 12:35 PM 19 Feb. is mine…pagansister.



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Dan

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm


Dear pagansister,
This has nothing to do with church-state relationships. It has nothing to do with control or kissing rings or nuns hitting kids — never happened in my schools, by the way. It has to do with membership in the church. If you want to be a member — be it in a church, a condo board, a knitting circle, whatever — there are rules of membership.
In the church, membership includes a set of beliefs, one of which is the recognition that abortion is the murder of an innocent human being. If you refuse to abide by certain rules and beliefs, you are not a member in good standing. Not being a member in good standing precludes one from recieving the Eucharist — and you’d have to understand the importance of the Eucharist to know why this is more than merely a symbolic act.
What Ms. Sebelius believes in her heart is something left between herself and God — above my pay grade, for sure. What her actions say is another thing. Objectively, she is in conflict with church teaching on a grave matter. So, denial of Communion may be in order. To not deny Communion may tell people that, ‘hey, abortion’s not such a big deal; look, she’s not stopping legal abortion and she can recieve Communion.’ That’s where the scandal comes in. Whether or not you believe in these things does not matter; I’m trying to help you understand the church’s viewpoint.
Ms. Sebelius certainly has the choice to do whatever she wishes. If she chooses to support legalized abortion, she chooses to alienate herself from what she professes is the most important aspect of her life — her faith in God through the Roman Catholic Church. If her relationship with her Creator is truly important, then it will influence her professional life and all aspects of her personal life. Alternately, if she finds that her values are more important and more convincing than those put forth in the Catholic Church, she can find a denomination that more closely meshes with her personal beliefs. She has to decide what’s important to her; it’s her choice. And when the next election rolls around, the voters will choose whether they support her views — as influenced by her faith, her professional affiliations, her background, etc. — and want her to represent them.
God bless,
Dan



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm


Hi Pagansister,
A few clarifications.
Yes, priests may use their own discretion in withholding the Eucharist. However, a priest is ordained as an extension of his Bishop and vows respect and OBEDIENCE to him and all of his successors. The priest is not permitted to abrogate what his bishop dictates.
“No church/religion has any business telling politicians what to do in their professional life.”
Well said!! The Church does not do this. The Church, however, has the responsibility to call the politician on their hypocrisy. Because the politician refuses to work to undo an unjust law, they are using the tools of the democratic process to protect abortion. This is their choice. The Church respects that. However, in so choosing to support the slaughter of over 50 million humans, it is a mockery, a travesty to approach the altar to receive the Body of Christ, as though they are in a state of grace. They are not. Neither are many others whose lifestyle puts them at odds with the moral precepts contained within Divine Revelation. That includes pedophile priests. No kudos for the church throwing these criminals out of the priesthood?
“As for being denied communion, if I remember from the article, she still attends Mass. Isn’t there something about a Catholic being the one who decides whether they should take communion depending on their conscience?”
Yes. True. But according to Church teaching, that conscience must be properly formed by the truth of what the Church teaches. And always, we are under the authority of the Bishop, whose word is definitive and whose judgments, according to Jesus, are binding.
” The church finds that a bit threatening I expect and tend to fear losing control.”
Quite the opposite. Benny, as you call our Pope ; o) , has declared that enough is enough. He prefers a smaller, more faithful Church than the Episcopalian experience of compromise into oblivion.
” After all, don’t they kiss the pope’s ring?? Just like bowing to royalty.”
It’s the ring being kissed, not his…. well, you know. The ring is the symbol of his God-given authority. Kissing the ring is a symbolic bowing to God’s will, an act of humility, like an Orthodox Jew wearing a yarmulke.
Hope you are well.
Gerry



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:47 pm


Dan,
Your post went up while I was responding to Pagansister, with whom I often disagree, but for whom I have come to have high regard.
I love your comments. Well said.
God Bless!
Gerry



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Gwyddion9

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:59 pm


Hello Gerard Nadal,
Your comment:
“Actually, with all due respect, that is the whole premise behind our civil and criminal justice system. Our laws tell us precisely what we may or may not do on a million different topics. Rape is not a ‘choice’ Nor is murder, or stealing, etc.. We understand that humans at every stage of development have rights.”
Actually, Gerard, (may I call you by your first name, there is no disrespect intended towards your or your opinion), the discussion is about Abortion. Rape sometimes applies to the issue of abortion but this is another can of worms, meaning that in the case of rape, Pharmacists who are either RCC or Conservative Christians have refused the next day pill to a woman because it was against their beliefs. I personally take a dim view of this as I firmly stand on the idea that you can hold whatever beliefs you like but that beliefs stop at my nose. If a Doctor or Pharmacist wants to take this stand, fine, but get someone else to distribute the medication. To say “we understand that humans at every stage of development have rights” is a recent religious/political view and is relatively new to the abortion issue. When confronted by conservatives who wish to quote the bible to me about how “God” stands on such an issue, I like to remind them that in the Hebrew tradition, the fetus/baby wasn’t considered to be a human being until it took its first breath, which would indicate having been birthed.
Comment:
“Have you ever noticed that the so-called right to choose is one the only acceptable sentence fragment in the English language. “I have the right to choose.”
Choose what? To go to the movies? Eat Pizza? What?”
We both know what the right to choose means. There is no, nor has there ever been a question to what this phrase means. The subject is a deeply stirring one for all people, regardless of belief, religion or political stance. I don’t think it should be trivialized and forgive me if this wasn’t how it was meant but it’s how I saw the comment.
My comment and yours:
“IMO, the Christian church, whether it is the RCC or any number of Protestant Churches, are about authority, control, and submission to its perceived power.”
One is free to give their assent of faith or not. As Paul notes in his post above,” I honestly don’t think this comment can be questioned as it is the position taken by the RCC and the more conservative Christian churches. Rules, by laws, beliefs pretty much support this view, tow the line or get out and by the way, you’re going to hell for leaving.
Comment:
“You say you are Wiccan. Would you admit as a member one who did not hold to your common core of beliefs? Would they be welcome to participate in your ceremonies if they held them in contempt? Would you consider them members in good standing? Of course not. The same goes with us.” Bolded by me.
Speaking for myself, yes they would still be welcomed as this is between them and the Goddess and God. Actions will reap consequences, either good or bad. To a Wiccan, the only Law, or as it is called the Rede, is; “An it harm none, do what you will.” This is to remind us to review or actions on a physical, spiritual, mental level. Does this mean that people do not break the Rede?, yes but this is between them and the Gods. Does this mean that an individual is going to rejected by the Gods?, no. There is nothing one can do to separate themselves from the Gods. Having to deal with the choices and consequences of those choices, either in this life or future lives remains to be seen but it will, at some point, be dealt with. As you can see, we do not hold the same view. Among Pagans and Wiccans you will find many differing opinions on this issue but what I think you will see is that even though there is a difference in this thought, each will still say it is up to the person to make this choice, whatever the reason.
Comment:
“Sebelius and her ilk are in fearful danger of eternal separation from God for supporting this hideous and barbaric regime, It is the duty of the Bishops to tell them so and to protect the integrity of the Church’s Sacraments from being made a mockery. It speaks volumes about these Bishops’ character that they are willing to be ridiculed as you have done so here, rather than compromise the truth of the Church’s teaching and the integrity of the Eucharist.”
Fear is not a tenant in my religion. As already stated, there is no separation from our Gods. Consequences will come into play for actions taken but even the actions are considered and weighed. There really is no black and white issue on abortion as each circumstance is different from each other. I have no issue with the right of a Bishop to tell a member of their faith what they can or cannot support, believe or say. If you have viewed my comment about the Bishop as being ridiculed, I apologize but I will state it as I see it. I realize that I am seeing this from out side the Catholic church but I do have a working understanding of the religion but is still see this as having to do with control and manipulation, using the threat of refusal to excommunication to get their point/beliefs across to others. This is one of many examples of why I left Christianity, the walk and talk don’t jive together. The Catholic Church as the absolute right to criticize its members and punish however it deems but I hope she will have the courage to look beyond and support a position for all people rather than be cowed into submission.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm


Gwyddion9,
First name basis is always preferable to me, especially when discussing passionate positions. I bespeaks an intimacy and civility that must be the basis for true dialogue. Gerard or Gerry are fine ;o)
“To a Wiccan, the only Law, or as it is called the Rede, is; ‘An it harm none, do what you will.’ ”
Why would this not apply to the baby in abortion?
” This is one of many examples of why I left Christianity, the walk and talk don’t jive together. ”
Tragically, this is all too often the case, which is why I am so proud of Pope John Paul II for having apologized on over 94 different occasions for the church not walking the walk. In your posts, you use the words ‘right’ and ‘rights’ frequently. This is the language of secular politics. It does not encompass the richness of the Christian experience.
In the Church, the Bishops have been entrusted with the Deposit of Divine Revelation, and the authority to preach, teach, and pastor the People of God using the moral precepts contained in that Deposit. Their authority is not ‘power’ in the secular sense. They are not a law unto themselves, but must apply modern realities to the moral norms revealed by God, who is the Divine Law-Giver.
We are therefore bound by obedience to their God-given authority. Of course, we have free will. We may choose to honor that authority ad the One from whom it comes, or not. If eternal separation from God happens, it isn’t because the Pope or some Bishop willed it. It’s because we willed not to walk with God.
God will always honor our free will. If we choose not to walk with Him, he will honor that. We, then, are the authors of our own destiny. The same is true for deciding to walk with the Lord. The choice is ours.
“To say ‘we understand that humans at every stage of development have rights’ is a recent religious/political view and is relatively new to the abortion issue. ”
Actually, even though there has been a progression in our understanding of the biological realities in fetal development, the Church has maintained from the days of the Apostles that abortion is gravely sinful. If there were doubts in the past, our technology shows us beyond a shadow of a doubt that at conception a new organism exists in the first of what will be many developmental stages throughout its life.
Hope that adds a little more clarity. Though I believe in only one God, may he Bless You Abundantly.
Gerry



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pagansister

posted February 19, 2009 at 4:13 pm


Gerard:
Thanks for explaining the ring kissing on the pope’s finger. The reason never occured to me. All I saw was submission to the pope’s authority.
You mentioned that a person has to take or not take communion depending on their conscience. The problem is…that conscience is supposed to comform to Catholic teaching. Does that leave room for actually thinking on their own…ie diagreeing with the church on different things? I know some feel that if a Catholic disagrees they should leave and be..oh, I don’t know, an Episcopal? How does that help progress or change to occur in the RCC? It doesn’t. Does Benny find the idea of change totally unacceptabe? IMO, he does.
I also think that a Catholic woman has a different view than a man on childbearing. She can understand, as a woman, how the possiblilty of an unplanned pregnancy could cause incredible problems…for too many reasons I can go into, and though she herself may not approve, she knows it is not HER duty to deny that right to another woman, especially as a politician.
We won’t agree on this issue but I do appreciate the continued interchanges. Hope things are well with you.
Dan,
Thanks too for your post. The nuns hitting kids is from what I have been told by friends (I’m over 60) who attended Catholic school as children. Most were put off by that and either left the church or stayed but didn’t enroll their kids in a Catholic school. I taught in a Catholic school for 10 years (5 year olds) so I’m really glad that practice by some (I’m sure not all) nuns and teachers is no longer practiced. Actually the time I was teaching there, there was only 1 nun in the school, rest were lay teachers. I’ve been retired for 5 years and there are now 3 nuns teaching there…older ones.
You mentioned that you don’t think the RCC fears losing control. May I ask then, why they threaten people who don’t agree with them with no communion for “breaking the rules”? I tend to call that a control issue. It’s like punishing a child (oops, school again) in front of the whole class so the others will see what happens if they do the same thing. Fear?



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Tom

posted February 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm


“I know some feel that if a Catholic disagrees they should leave and be..oh, I don’t know, an Episcopal? How does that help progress or change to occur in the RCC?”
The same way boycotts, labor strikes, and refusing to support businesses with immoral practices does. If the RC hierarchy are just as powermad as you seem to think they are, then they will bend over backwards to offer their sheep more flexibility on these issues when they see them rushing for the exits.
FYI pagansister, the hierarchy have already lost control long before they ‘threaten’ members by withholding communion. Wouldn’t their powerbase flourish all the more if they just told people they could do whatever the heck they wanted? “Have an abortion, pre-marital sex, recreational drug use! It’s all OK, everybody’s goin to Heaven :-) Just leave your check in the basket as your leaving the pews.”
PS I’m just responding sort of the same way perhaps Gerard and Dan would :-) Our Catholic bullpens are getting deeper and deeper over here at Beliefnet (three-man rotations). I, for one, am proud to see it, as our position has been under-represented for way too long.



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Gwyddion9

posted February 19, 2009 at 9:05 pm


Good Evening Gerard,
Comment:
“”To a Wiccan, the only Law, or as it is called the Rede, is; ‘An it harm none, do what you will.’ ”
Why would this not apply to the baby in abortion?”
There’s nothing to say it can’t apply but it still is up to the woman to make the choice. Her reasoning is her own. Perhaps it’s legitimate, perhaps it’s not but again, this is between her and the Gods. Only she really understands the issue she is currently living. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, only that she must ultimately decide. Sometimes people make mistakes that later in life they regret; again, this is only conjecture. Most people dealing with this issue don’t take the time or care (imo) to find out why or what her issue may be. They simply stand, proclaiming their beliefs. It’s the woman and the fetus that are the ultimate casualties.
Comment:
“Tragically, this is all too often the case, which is why I am so proud of Pope John Paul II for having apologized on over 94 different occasions for the church not walking the walk. In your posts, you use the words ‘right’ and ‘rights’ frequently. This is the language of secular politics. It does not encompass the richness of the Christian experience.”
Yes, this is a good start. There are many who still feel the sting of the past. For some, because they have born the burden all these years as shame. For some, it’s a medal. There are a lot of diverse feelings on this. I know that many Pagans and witches are still waiting for Papal apologies for the past atrocities. Whether or not it will be done is yet to be determined but still, the attempt to apologize for the past is good and opens the door, hopefully for future healing and communication. I also want to mention that in no way am I saying that the ancient Pagan communities are spotless either. Unfortunately, so much of ancient history is unwritten or unrecorded. Also, you can find texts written which support the victors in history and they of course write the history, so how factual, we’ll probably never know.
You mentioned:
“the Church has maintained from the days of the Apostles that abortion is gravely sinful.”
Exactly where is this found? It’s not something supported in the New Testament, as far as I have read. I also realize that the RCC has a version of the Bible it uses which is different than the traditional King James version, which most Protestants use.
I’m also interested in your take on the additional sin that was added to the list of the 7 deadly sins. Yes, I raised an eyebrow to this thinking, speaking for God again, are we? I’m not trying to create problems, just simply would like to hear your take on this. Just curious. Here is the link:
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/Europe/March-April-08/Vatican-Names-Seven-New-Mortal-Sins-
Gerard, I have enjoyed talking to you on this debate. Granted, we come to the table having different takes and beliefs on the issue, but I have enjoyed the talk.
Blessed Be, Ron…Gwyddion9



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pagansister

posted February 19, 2009 at 9:55 pm


Tom, I obviously don’t think that the powers that be should tell the followers to do as they will. Must be a few rules. However, in my experience in life, if you will, I have known those who are Catholic who lived with their future wives/husbands and those who were pregnant when married or even had an abortion. A couple of the students who graduated from the Catholic elementary school (went to 8th grade) got pregnant while in the Catholic high school they went to. Not married and to my knowledge didn’t marry the father. Were those grounds for a denial of communion as punishment? Catholics are just human like all other religions as they have rules too. The difference is the RCC wants to extend their rules (abortion as an example) to everyone. That isn’t their job. (other religions have the same problem :o))
Isn’t offering confession for those sins mentioned above give a Catholic an out? “I slept with my boyfriend, so how many Hail Mary’s do I get?” then they can take communion? The rules are supposed to be totally followed and yet all one has to do is say “Im sorry” and then they can continue doing their own thing, and return to the confessional. How many chances do they get? So, I guess I wonder just how much control the church actually has.
Between the 3 of you…Dan, you and Gerard, the Catholic position is well covered. :o)



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Tom

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:11 am


“The rules are supposed to be totally followed and yet all one has to do is say “Im sorry” and then they can continue doing their own thing, and return to the confessional.”
This may appear to be true, but in reality it isn’t. A person who goes to confession with the intent of committing the same sinful acts doesn’t reep the benefits of sacramental confession (theoretically speaking). They are ex-communicated (de facto) just as much in the spiritual sense as someone who’s openly declared ex-communicated. Typically, open declarations like this are for those who participate in or attend illicit or invalid ordinations. This would be an example of scandal. Estute outsiders such as yourself perceive that Catholics confess their sins and receive communion without any intent of genuine repentance or true contrition. No doubt this has been a common occurence over the past few decades, as the late great Pope John Paul II even said that Catholics’ greatest sin was living out lives considerably different from the knowledge we proffessed to possess. We, the laity, have caused more scandal than the pedophile priest scandal perpetuated by secretive bishops by our seeming inability or unwillingness to live virtuous lives. Therefore, we concealed the truth rather than revealing it, portraying Catholicism as a religion of hypocrites. Incidentally, this is why more rules need to be enforced, and pretend Catholics such as the notorious Gov. Seballis need either to repent or make their homes outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church.
Best wishes to you, pagansister :-)



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Dan

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:22 am


Dear Pagansister,
Of course, there’s forgiveness, but one must be sorry to ask for forgiveness — insincerity pretty much negates any regret. And along with that comes the intent of not repeating the offense — as Jesus told the adulterer, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” So, “I’m sorry” and then continuing to do their own thing doesn’t work. A sincere “I’m sorry” cleans the slate and if it is followed by another slip-up, there is another trip to the confessional and another attempt to master our weaknesses. My son gets discouraged ‘because I keep making the same mistakes.’ I tell him that these flaws are difficult to overcome and that’s why we need the help of Jesus and the instrument of help He gave us, namely, confession. My problem with confession is that I feel like I’m going to hit my head on the ceiling every time I leave the “penalty box,” because the joy is overwhelming and I feel like I’m floating. (Sorry. Another story at another time.)
Catholics want to extend their rules because, obviously, they feel these rules will benefit all. Knowing that abortion is killing an innocent life and knowing the physical, emotional and spiritual damage it does to the mother, Catholics want to right this wrong for the benefit of those involved. Personally, if I don’t practice my faith and I don’t know the pregnant woman getting the abortion, then, hey, ‘it’s no skin off my nose — do what you want.’ But, as a Catholic, I should care and take appropriate action — what is appropriate is another part of the discussion. My vested interest in asserting my views is my hopefully geniune concern for the good of society, not because I want to control the lives of others. We probably get carried away sometimes and lose sight of that and at least appear to be overly controlling. That is not the intent and we should apologize for that. We should not apologize, however, for trying to do what we perceive to be right — and, of course, we are right (ah-hem).
By the same token, everyone who votes or writes their congressional representative or speaks up at the school board meeting is trying to extend their rules to everyone. Just because an individual’s beliefs are more heavily influenced by their faith than by, for example, the slanted views presented on CNN or FoxNews does not make them less pertinent to society’s choices.
I’m sorry — it’s late and I’m rambling. Have to sleep. By the way, regarding your last comment: the church only has as much control as the individual gives it. We all have free choice and can leave the membership of the church. Knowing how limited we are, Jesus gave us some ground rules to help us get through life and to grow intimately in love with Him — which is all He really wants. He gave us a church because He knew we’d outsmart ourselves and get into trouble. We need to be humble enough to accept that, even when it doesn’t always make sense, we need to trust Him and the structure — flawed though it is, because of its members — He established. So, we get as many chances as we want. We just have to come humbly and recognize that we are creatures and He is the Creator and, thus, knows His stuff better than we know our’s. Good night and this time I mean it. :)
God bless,
Dan



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2009 at 10:53 am


Many thanks to you Tom and Dan for your well written and thoughtful posts. Though we don’t agree, you both are sincere in you comments and I appreciate the explanations of RCC doctrine.
Hope you both are having a good day.



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pagansister

posted February 20, 2009 at 10:57 am


Sorry …had to “refresh” my post and obviously didn’t put my name in again. 20 Feb. 10:53 AM is mine, pagansister



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 20, 2009 at 11:36 am


Gwyddion9
Hi Ron,
I too have enjoyed our talk on this thread. I look forward to talking with you more. It’s not hard to find me on Beliefnet. Yes, we certainly come to the table from different perspectives, but with a shared human nature, which provides far more common ground than the perspectives that give rise to our comparatively small differences.
While I look forward to more exchanges in the future, should you have questions between finding each other on different threads, Catholic Answers is a rock solid source of information on the Catholic Church. If you click this link, click on “Ask An Apologist” to submit your question.
http://forums.catholic.com/
Now, to your questions. Abortion has been condemned by the Church, dating back to our most ancient document beside the scriptures, The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles). You will find a wealth of this information on the following link.
http://www.priestsforlife.org/magisterium/earlychurchfathers/fatherscover.html
You raise a point about what the Church teaches relative to what may be found in the Scriptures, and it is a good one. Not everything that we teach is found in the Scriptures. Consider the last verse of St John’s Gospel.
“But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.”
When you think about it, what has been written is a paltry record of a three-year public ministry. The Apostles were the eye and ear witnesses to all that Jesus said and did, whether written down or not. Their teachings are considered by the Church to be a part of the body of Divine Revelation, precisely because they were eye and ear witnesses to all that Jesus said and did. Also, after Jesus’ death, Mary lived with the Apostles (Remember Jesus telling John and Mary from the Cross, “Son behold thy mother. Mother behold thy son”). Mary, too, is an important source of Revelation as an eye and ear witness. We believe that all Revelation ceased with the death of the last Apostle.
Building on that, Jesus gave Peter the leadership role telling him that his decisions would be binding in Heaven. The Apostles were given broad teaching and juridical authority as well as the power to forgive sins.
“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” John 20:23.
The Apostles were the first Bishops of the Church, and chose to whom they would delegate that role as the Church grew. It’s been thus in an unbroken chain of succession down to the present day. Part of that authority given to Peter, to teach definitively is behind the list of ‘new’ sins articulated by Rome that you reference:
“Polluting, genetic engineering, being obscenely rich, drug dealing, abortion, pedophilia and causing social injustice.”
Most of these are pretty intuitive.
Polluting is an affront to God by soiling that which he gives us for our sustenance.
Obscene wealth becomes an issue of power and control at the expense of the destitute, with whom God most identifies throughout the Bible.
Drug Dealing. Enough said.
Abortion. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1890743/posts
Pedophilia. Enough said.
Causing Social Injustice. Enough said.
Genetic Engineering. Good one for me, as I am a molecular biologist. People have been doing genetic engineering for thousands of years. Creating hybrid animals or crops by crossbreeding is genetic engineering. No problem there. When we begin to genetically engineer egg and sperm, we are experimenting on human beings. The New York Times, this past Tuesday ran an article in its Science Times section about emerging data that suggest in vitro fertilization babies may have genetic damage.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/health/17ivf.html?_r=1&ref=science
Whether we like it or not, suffering perfects us. The Church is not suggesting that we seek out suffering, or that we do not advance the fields of preventative medicine or nutrition. But there is a problem with seeking to engineer humans who are without imperfection. I believe that when we do that, we cross the line from charitable forbearance to intolerance. This engineering, while sounding positive and healthy has a very, very dark side.
Because the driving philosophy is avoidance of imperfection, it hardens the heart to real imperfections when encountered. Don’t believe me? 90% of all Down Syndrome babies are aborted. A human life with imperfection is deemed not worthy of continuance. It also frees us from the “burden” of loving and caring. Consider the following excerpt from Thomas Jefferson in a letter to his daughter.
“Every human being, my dear, must thus be viewed according to what it is good for: for none of us,-no not one-is perfect; and, were we to love none who had imperfections, this world would be a desert for our love.”
I love my Church. Our Bishops get it!
Hope to talk with you soon.
God Bless, Gerry



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Elizabeth Sholes

posted February 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm


It has long been this Protestant’s understanding of Catholic faith that every good Catholic needs to look deeply within his or her heart at what the Church teaches then, after deep reflection, needs to act with free will as conscience dictates. In the latter days it seems that is no longer true – that absolute rules dominate as they did in darker and less spiritual times. I question whether someone who is accepting of other people’s deepest beliefs is a sinner. They are not taking this lightly at all, so they are not being hypocritical and merely saying ‘Ooops, sorry’ in confession and going on mindlessly. These are profound principles taken under careful consideration in light of, not in opposition to, their deepest faith. But where is the church on equal sins such as serial adultery practiced by many Catholics still in good standing? What of Catholics supporting, rabidly, the death penalty? It’s that hypocrisy that makes those of us NOT Catholic disdainful of what the Church really believes. And makes us sad because it leaves no room for love, respect, or faithful disagreement with you all.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm


Hi Elizabeth,
May I approach your comments with “love, respect, or faithful disagreement”?
First, what you say about conscience is absolutely true. I add this caveat. When the one with the fully informed conscience decides that they cannot abide what the Church teaches, they act with the understanding that the behavior (abortion in this example) is objectively gravely sinful according to those whom God has ordained to the ministry of Teaching Authority, the Bishops. The penalty applies. That has always been the teaching of the Church.
“Conscience” has come to be regarded by many not fully informed Catholics as a parallel episcopacy. The Jerry Springer, morality by consensus paradigm. It isn’t.
“But where is the church on equal sins such as serial adultery practiced by many Catholics still in good standing? What of Catholics supporting, rabidly, the death penalty? It’s that hypocrisy that makes those of us NOT Catholic disdainful of what the Church really believes.”
A serial adulterer is definitely NOT a Catholic in good standing, despite however much of a show they put on. Should this person die unrepentant, they proceed straight to hell. That’s Catholic Teaching. The same goes for all mortal sins that one does not repent of.
The Church maintains that the state may need to employ the death penalty in certain extreme cases in order to protect innocent life. Those who rabidly support the death penalty may well be in fearful danger of losing their souls, if for nothing else than their lack of charity, forgiveness, and mercy.
Abortion is not an equal sin to Adultery or lack of charity. It is especially egregious because it kills an innocent and defenseless life. It is for that reason that it incurs the penalty of excommunication. In the end, all mortal sin, unrepented will land one in hell. That isn’t juridical rigidity. That is God honoring our free will. We freely will not to love Him, not to walk with Him, to disregard Him. Love is a free choice. If the behavior is compulsive or coerced, it isn’t love. God, who IS Love itself, therefore does not coerce us. If we choose not to walk with Him in life, to abide his Divine Order as revealed, what reasonable expectation do we have of union with Him in death?
Listen to Jesus’ own words.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” Matthew 7: 21-23
Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say that he didn’t know too many people who hated Catholicism, but he knew of millions who hated what they thought was Catholicism.
I hope that for the sake of good witness and honest, sincere dialogue, I may have cleared up a little misunderstanding.
God Bless.



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm


I would have to say that it is the constitutional duty of every American not to vote for any Catholic running for office. We are a free and independent nation, and the thought of electing people who are bossed around by those who take their marching orders from the Vatican (making them foreign agents) is disgusting. Such actions are treasonous. America must never kept under the heel of the pope of Rome.



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pagansister

posted February 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm


Your Name:
Obviously I have no idea how old you are, but should you be old enough to have seen President Kennedy, then you know that Catholic politicians don’t get bossed around by the pope. Kennedy made a point of saying the he made the decisions for this country based on what was best for this country. Speaker of the house Pelosi has her own ideas on things, as mentioned on several sites on Beliefnet, and Vice President Bidden has expressed his personal objection to abortion but doesn’t feel it is his job to tell another woman what to do…ie no canceling of Roe V. Wade. A couple of examples of Catholic politicians who are already in office who don’t let Benny tell them what to do. So your statement to not vote for a person because of they are Catholic is not logical.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm


Dan and Tom,
Great Posts!! Good to know you’re out there. Yes the bullpen is getting deeper, blessedly. I’ve been icing down my fingers every night ;o)
All the Best Guys! God Bless, Gerry
Hi Pagansister,
“Obviously I have no idea how old you are, but should you be old enough to have seen President Kennedy, then you know that Catholic politicians don’t get bossed around by the pope.”
You go girl!!!! Keep this up and Benny’s gonna start sending you Valentine’s!! What planet has that person been living on? I don’t want any politician taking orders from our Pope. But then, he doesn’t issue orders anyway. It would be nice to see Catholic politicians work for justice in ALL areas, in BOTH parties. I hear Louie Armstrong……
“You mentioned that a person has to take or not take communion depending on their conscience. The problem is…that conscience is supposed to comform to Catholic teaching. Does that leave room for actually thinking on their own…ie diagreeing with the church on different things?”
Building on my comments to Elizabeth, “conscience” does not mean that I get to construct my own designer code of morality and conduct. If after fully informing my conscience and taking it to prayer, I still can’t see that I can conform my behavior to the moral norm, then I need spiritual direction. If after that, then the Church reminds me that should I act, the behavior remains objectively sinful. She does, however, recognize that there may be factors in my past or in the present that may mitigate how much subjective culpability is imputed to me, and respects that. That’s what conscience is really about. I still need confession and absolution for the objective sin.
“Does Benny find the idea of change totally unacceptabe? IMO, he does.”
What’s your idea of change?
God Bless!!



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pagansister

posted February 21, 2009 at 8:06 pm


Good Evening, Gerard,
My idea of change? You’ve probably heard all this before…but a couple would be allowing women to be priests, and priests to marry. I know it is totally against the tradition of 2000 years of the church. Just a question…is the tradition of only men as priests due to the fact that Jesus was male? Also since it is thought Jesus wasn’t married, priests can’t be married? Of course if priests could be married, then the celibacy rule would be out. I know that unmarried folks are supposed to remain virgins. (lots of weddings because of baby on the way however). There are many Orthodox churches (all?)that allow priests to marry. Why does the RCC think it is wrong?
Take care.



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Dan

posted February 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm


Hello, pagansister,
Thank you for your kind comments from yesterday — I did have a great day. The Chicago Cubs hold a lottery to determine who gets to throw their hard-earned money at overpriced tickets to see these men play baseball. My number was close to the front of the line and, so, I was able to purchase tickets for more games than I could afford.
In any case, here are two links that can explain the history of celibacy and the “men-only” rule for the priesthood. They are from a site called “New Advent,” which is generally pretty informative.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm – for celibacy and
http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_df76ii.htm – for women’s ordination. Hope this helps.
By the way, I read a quip from a Fr. Dwight Longenecker, who converted from the Episcopal Church — where he was a married clergyman — to Catholicism. He was discussing the number of married clergy converting to Catholicism with an older Irish priest, speculating that the cradle Catholic priests would be jealous of the married clergy who converted. The old priest said, “I suspect that there will be times when I will be jealous of you. I also suspect there will be times when you will be jealous of me.” The other’s grass is always greener.
God bless,
Dan



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 22, 2009 at 10:32 am


Good Morning Pagansister,
Dan beat me to it. The links above are very good. Allow me an insider’s perspective. Along the way on these threads, I’ve mentioned that I was a seminarian for a few years before leaving to become a molecular biologist. That’s a kinda fun story for another day-my life has been a series of 90 degree turns and all for the best.
Anyway, I went to the seminary after having dated extensively. So, quite apart from the stereotype, I didn’t have any problems with women ;o) In the seminary, we were reminded a thousand times that one must feel called to both: Priesthood AND celibacy. Celibacy is not an unfortunate consequence of Priesthood. Many men heeded that advice and left to go on to very contented and productive lives in other vocations and careers. With very few exceptions, the men who stayed embrace celibacy and find great freedom in it
The structure of your average Catholic parish is quite different from your average Protestant congregation. Most Catholic parishes in the cities have enrollment in the thousands. The demands of that many parishioners would simply cut too deeply into the marriage and home life of the Priest. I didn’t miss not being in a relationship during my seminary years. None of my friends and classmates who are now ordained twenty years miss it either. It’s a gift that frees them to be available to all of their parishioners.
Much is often made of the pedophiles and celibacy. There is as much correlation there as eating pizza and the phases of the moon. In truth, most pedophilia in society occurs either in schools (7% of all US students) or in the home, and is heterosexual in nature. Only 4% of our clergy have even been accused in the last 54 years. That means 96% are doing okay. The public should have such great numbers.
Be well. God Bless,
Gerry



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Dan

posted February 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm


Just a follow-up on Gerard’s comments, although he’s in a much more informed position than me:
My niece’s son was baptized recently and, at the baptism, they invited the priest to an afternoon party. He said he would try to be there. He did come, although a few hours after it started. After saying a second mass that morning, he went to visit three parishoners in different hospitals/nursing homes. Then he came to the party, where he stayed for about a half-hour. We packed some food for him to take back to the rectory, which was to be his destination after a visit to a fourth sick parishoner. That is not an atypical day for a priest, unfortunately.
The family life of a married priest would be a disaster for him, his spouse and the children. As it is, people complain that priests can’t counsel married people because they have no experience with the married state. That’s a goofy — sorry, can’t think of a better word at the moment — criticism, but that’s a different discussion. In this scenario, imagine the priest whose marriage dissolves because of his busy schedule — or other reasons. What credibility would he have in counseling married or engaged couples? Plus, there are enough misguided women trying to tempt priests as it is without a married priesthood to make their efforts more “acceptable.”
As I understand it, married priests who convert from, say, Anglicanism are usually not assigned to the typical parish situation. I don’t know what assignments they recieve, but I think — and maybe someone out there knows better — the church tries to put them in a less family-taxing situation.
That’s just my additional .02.
God bless,
Dan



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 22, 2009 at 5:55 pm


Hi Dan,
You’re most accurate in your comments. Parish priests hit the deck running in the morning and don’t stop until late at night. The joke among priests is that for every priest there is a very happy woman: the one they didn’t marry.
Married Anglican priests received into the Church and ordained are usually assigned to institutions such as hospitals and prisons. Great posts brother!
God Bless,
Gerry



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Your Name

posted February 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm


Thanks you, Dan and Gerard, for you lengthy explanations to answer my questions/comments.
Dan, am happy to hear you got those tickets. Looks like you’ll have a good summer watching the Cubs! My father and I were born in Illinois, but Dad and Uncle were Cardinal fans. I left at 6 so really had no interest. Read some of the 2 sites you posted. Would need to reread to understand better. Appreciated the priest joke!
Gerard, you mentioned the pedophile priest scandal and the percentage of those accused/guilty etc. My question is…what is your opinion of how the bishops handled the situations? Moving priests about instead of calling the police in to handle things. After all, they did commit a crime…big time! Cardinal Law from Boston was sent to the Vatican after his miscarriage of the situation. That was, IMO, outragous. That was punishment for his misdeeds? Working and living in Rome at the Vatican? How hard would that be to take?!
I believe you both when you tell me that priests are busy tending to the folks in their churches. I just wonder if the Orthodox priests, who are allowed to marry, have any problems with home, family and church duties? Protestant ministers and Rabbi’s marry and those religious institutions seem to stay running. To a certain degree, I tend to believe a priest could be married and also perform his duties if indeed it was allowed.
The best to you both!



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pagansister

posted February 22, 2009 at 8:53 pm


Yet again when refreshing forgot name!! post above 22 Feb. 8:50 PM mine, pagansister



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 23, 2009 at 1:09 am


Hi Pagansister,
Wow! Got a week to discuss it? It’s a mixed pickle. The media (surprise!) didn’t bother to really analyze this one. So here’s my take.
Some parameters: First, the behavior in question indicates not only mental illness but criminal behavior as well. It may be explainable, but is not excusable.
Next, there are two categories in play here; Pedophilia, which is sex with a prepubescent child, and pederasty, which is sex with an older young person, in their teens.
There are two time periods: Pre-DSM III and Post-DSM III.
We now know that for Pedophiles, those who have sex with prepubescent children, the prognosis is extremely poor. For those who may have sex with older teens, 16,17,18 there is a different clinical picture with what some believe to be a substantially better prognosis. This understanding is more recent.
The Psychological and Psychiatric communities use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders (DSM) as their official diagnostic manual. In 1980, the third edition (DSM III) was released. This was a watershed for many Bishops in how they handled the accused Priests. Prior to DSM III, especially in the 1970’s and earlier, many in the area of sexual disorders thought that pedophilia was a treatable illness. The Bishops sought treatment for their Priests. In some cases, they were advised that the Priest was beyond cure and to laicize them, which the Bishops did. Others went away for months of therapy and were returned to their Bishops for active duty with the following advice. The environmental triggers for the breakdown would still be present in the parish. It would be wise to place the Priest in a different parish with supportive counseling. He should do fine.
We now know differently. In these cases I see the following problems. First, parents often did not want to prosecute to spare the child from having to testify in open court. Absent that, many Bishops in all good faith wished to see the offending Priest healed. They are, after all, brother Priests, and a Bishop is a father to his Priests. Another problem is that the Bishops did not always follow up on the progress of supportive counseling. When the Priest relapsed, that’s when they should have been thrown out. Many were, but not all. So, in the pre-DSM III era the Bishops in all sincerity followed the advice of the experts in the field, and I’m inclined in charity to cut them significant slack.
Things changed with the publication of DSM III. With an officially poorer prognosis, Bishops that shuttled Priests around were doing so without the advice to do so by the sexual disorders community of therapists. These guys knew better. Cardinal O’Connor was very proactive in New York. Priests got no second chances with him, and families were not just paid, but ministered to. The same may be said for many other Bishops. So, there too I see more good than the media reported.
Then there are the few Bishops like Cardinal Law. There is simply no excuse, no good will. Law was lawless, putting the “good” of the Church above justice. Doing justice IS the good of the Church. Rome did not bring him back to avoid prosecution. They got him out of the way and put in O’ Malley, who is a VERY holy man.
Law has no official duties in Rome, so far as I know. I hope he is spending the remainder of his life in prayer and penance for his having betrayed so many young people and their families, as well as his Church.
If we were to buy the media presentation, one would think that Catholic Priests are bogey men and the main threat to children. Tragically, the vicious skew given to the reporting has all but ignored this AP piece that got two day’s reporting on the difficulties faced by the Protestant Clergy with sex scandals,
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/14/america/NA-REL-US-Protestants-Sex-Abuse.php
Nor have the media reported that in US schools, according to the US Department of Education, “nearly 9.6% of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”*
*Shakeshaft, C, “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of the Literature”, U.S. Department of Education, 2004, p26.8
To drive those numbers home, there are currently some 52,000,000 children enrolled in US schools, over 49,000,000 in Public Schools. 9.6% of 52 Million is 4,992,000. That means that an estimated 4,992,000 of the children K-12 today can expect to be the targets of educator sexual misconduct! You taught children Pagansister. This should make your blood run cold.
Comparatively, according to a justice department audit of Priest personnel files in the US dating back 52 years, there have been a total of 11,000 allegations brought against 4% of our clergy. In my Church, ONE is too many. However, do you smell the rancid odor of bigotry on the part of the media? They don’t love the children. They don’t care for the children. If they did, they would be all over the teachers and the Protestant clergy as well. But no. SILENCE.
All they love is their irrational and bigoted hatred of my Church. That hatred has been good for us. It has forced a much needed era of antisepsis. But where is the outrage over the abuse of millions?
Okay, that’s my take. BTW what kind of Irish Breakfast Tea? I enjoy Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea.
God Bless,
Gerry



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Cindy

posted February 24, 2009 at 10:52 am


FWIW, it is my understanding that one can embrace and believe in the Church’s teaching on abortion (it is evil) and can also disagree with the political choices of Pro-Life groups.
There are many ways to stand up against the willful disregard for life, but I cannot say that I can or do throw my lot in with the establishment Pro-Life Groups. I think they distort the facts, misuse the truth, manipulate people who are uneducated about ways to fight abortion and needlessly exploit the babies who’s lives are cut so brutally short.
None of that is in contradiction to the teaching of the Church. And I will not sit silently in a pew and be told that I must conform to the standards of some Political Action Committee as if that PAC somehow stands in for the Church just because there is a convergence in their beliefs on abortion.
Just my two cents.



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pagansister

posted February 24, 2009 at 11:58 am


“Top of the Morning to you, Gerard”,
Twinings is my brand of Irish Breakfast Tea also. Delicious!
As always, your post answered my inquiries and informed me at the same time.
Yes, I did teach children, for over 24 years, the last 10 in a Catholic school. We had rules (as all schools and churches should have) about NOT being alone in a room with a child…and if so, the door was OPEN at all times. I had 5 year olds. I do understand that the RCC isn’t the only group that has problems with misbehaving adults. There are always those that take advantage of their positions of trust. Women have contributed to the situation too, unfortuately. Women teachers that have gone off with their teen age male students…a situation is happening locally with a 22 year old high school teacher and a 15 year old student. Makes my blood boil.
We both totally agree :o) on Cardinal Law!
Take good care!



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 25, 2009 at 1:25 am


Hi Pagansister,
Scary about the female teachers, eh? Are there no absolutes?
Well, now it’s Lent. I get to look long and hard at MY own warts and try to figure out how to eliminate a few more. Always a pleasant experience :o( but well worth the effort.
So we agree on the Tea and Cardinal Law. Who woulda thunk it?
It’s been a great pleasure speaking with you and getting to know you. I look forward to more of the same!!
Pour a nice hot cup and have a great day.
Gerry



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pagansister

posted February 25, 2009 at 4:14 pm


Good Afternoon, Gerard,
I too have enjoyed the interaction…and as you said…We agree on ….Tea and Cardinal Law!!! That’s a plus! :o)
Take good care.
pagansister



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