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From the USCCB

posted by awelborn

Just released (pdf)
(Specifically, over the names of Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy)

In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision knocked down laws against abortion in all 50 states, fabricating a constitutional “right” to abortion that continues to haunt and divide our society. Within two days of that decision, the Catholic bishops rejected it as “bad morality, bad medicine and bad public policy.” We called for a comprehensive response: exploring “every legal possibility” for challenging the Court’s tragic error and restoring legal safeguards for the right to life of the unborn child; helping to pass laws to “restrict the practice of abortion as much as possible” in the meantime; and educating society to the need to safeguard the child and support “more humane and morally acceptable solutions” for women facing problems during pregnancy.
Recently, some have called on the Church to abandon most of this effort. They say we should accept Roe as a permanent fixture of constitutional law, stop trying to restore recognition for the unborn child’s human rights, and confine our public advocacy to efforts to “reduce abortions” through improved economic and social support for women and families.
MORE

Bishop Hermann, Archdiocese of St. Louis administrator:

Judgment Day for us is on its way. Those 47 million children our nation destroyed are still living. We have destroyed their bodies, but their souls are still alive. When our Lord comes again, they may very well be there to judge us. Even worse, Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. We would truly shudder if we heard the words, “I was in your my mother’s womb but you took my life!”
It is quite possible that we might see these children, but, depending upon the choices we have made, we may very well be separated from them by a great chasm which cannot be crossed, much as the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man, during his lifetime here on earth but was separated from him after death. The rich man was in flames, but Lazarus was in the bosom of his heavenly Father.



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Chris Sullivan

posted October 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm


I agree that both approaches to reducing abortions are essential.
But I don’t think many Catholics are actually saying we ought to give up repealing Roe vs Wade.
They’re just saying that, in the current environment, removing Roe vs Wade is not something that’s currently politically feasible.
The path to repealing Roe vs Wade passes through other piece by piece legal changes and practical aid to those in crisis pregnancies which will help create the political environment necessary for repeal.
God Bless



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 21, 2008 at 4:55 pm


They’re just saying that, in the current environment, removing Roe vs Wade is not something that’s currently politically feasible.
What’s “feasible” — indeed almost certain — is that a President Obama would erase all the gains of the past twenty years in limiting abortion through his Freedom of Choice Act.
And the letter is simply awful. It establishes a moral equivalence between opposing legalized abortion and supporting state welfare programs.



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Michael in ArchDen

posted October 21, 2008 at 5:25 pm


Am I the only one who read the conclusion as saying, “BTW, Meet the Press guests (no matter how “devout”) are not likely to steer you correctly on Catholic theology; you’re better served listening to your shepards!”?



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Mark in Spokane

posted October 21, 2008 at 5:39 pm


I’m afraid Rich is right. This is not a very helpful statement, particularly when it comes to making practical decisions about who to vote for. Given the political situation in the country, the bishops have to decide which of the two principles to emphasize as their priority position in the public square.
The facts on the ground are simple. The Republicans are not going to become a social-welfare party. The Democrats are not going to become a pro-life party. Given these facts, the bishops’ argument that the proper political position is equally pro-life and pro-welfare simply isn’t politicially viable. As a moral principle, it might be workable in a perfect world, but we live in a far from perfect world.



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trp

posted October 21, 2008 at 6:48 pm


These are depressing, discouraging times. That so many Catholics are about to vote for one of the most uncomprimising pro-abortion pols is something that I cannot understand. Obama’s not going to leave things as they are: he is going to make them much, much worse, with more public funds for abortion at all stages of pregnancy, and with a freedom of choice act that will reverse all of the gains of the pro-life movement of the past decades.



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Chris Sullivan

posted October 21, 2008 at 7:07 pm


FOCA hasn’t even passed the house yet so Obama may never get to sign it (here’s hoping and praying).
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR03719:
It might not suit the Republican Party and their Catholic supporters, but the Bishops are exactly right that “Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies.”
They are also exactly right that
In light of a wide range of attempts to interpret Church teaching or imply that outside materials represent the
teaching of the Church, we wish to affirm that Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship is the teaching
that has been approved by the body of bishops of the United States.

God Bless



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Jim

posted October 21, 2008 at 7:12 pm


This is proof positive that, despite protestations to the contrary, the USCCB, as well as the U.S. S.Ct., both read the polls.
And, by coincidence, the polls are turning this week.
When I saw the video last week of the Al Smith Dinner, with the Cardinal there in the middle, Obama on the one hand, McCain on the other, it became obvious that the tide was turning.



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katie

posted October 21, 2008 at 7:40 pm


“Some argue that we should not focus on policies that provide help for pregnant women, but just focus on the essential task of establishing legal protections for children in the womb limit legal in the womb….”
There they (bishops) go again –
Who? Exactly WHO argues this!!!!? Never seen it…don’t believe it. It is not the “prolifers” who limit themselves to one facet of the problem – it’s the liberals who find in documents like this a justification for supporting a pro-abortion, pro-PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION candidate. And so, in the end, just as with Faithful Citizenship, you can pretty much follow your gut (formed or unformed).
I am underwhelmed by this letter – one more example of the bishops falsely characterizing the prolife position and minimizing the extremity of those who try to justify the unjustifiable…..



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ohevin

posted October 21, 2008 at 7:58 pm


My brothers and sisters, did not our beloved Lord Jesus say that in the end times “evil will become good and good will become evil.” Our Heavenly Father, seeing the souls of 40,000,000 murdered babies cry to Him for justice, will visit upon this land chastisements that will remind our country, and the world, that the taking of life is for Him and only Him to decide. In other words, politics will having nothing to do with bringing about the sanctity of life within the community of man once again. Satan will be conquered by the all powerful right hand of God thru Jesus Christ our Lord!
We cannot put our trust in men (Bishops) anymore. We must storm Heaven with fasting, prayer, and, if necessary, wearing sackcloths. This and this alone will be required. After all, did not our Beloved Lord say that certain demons that possessed men required great fasting and prayer to be exorcised? Well, there are great demons, let loose by Satan, that have taken possession of men and women to have them murder defenseless babies in the womb. And it will take great fasting and prayer within the Christian Community nationwide, beginning with our Cardinals and Bishops leading in example, to begin this process of exorcising the demons in the body of America. We are way beyond the point of thinking that somehow politics will provide some answer to solve this evil possession in our cultural body of death. Think about this brothers. Think about this.



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marie

posted October 21, 2008 at 8:30 pm


What percentage of people who volunteer in or otherwise substantially contribute to crisis pregnancy centers do you think are currently Democrats? It is a lie to suggest that pro-lifers don’t care about the support of mother and child.



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Mike

posted October 21, 2008 at 10:43 pm


This document is neither as effective as it could be nor as ineffective as some of you assert.
The document would be more effective if it made clear that because of his position on abortion Obama flunks the Catholic test. I don’t disagree with those who argue that the USCCB documents are too vague at one level to persuade any fence-sitting Catholics. The vagueness of the USCCB documents, and the inconsistency in the public positions of American Bishops, offer a ready excuse to those Catholics who want to dismiss the the Church from their voting calculus.
However, the mere fact that the document does not say that Obama flunks the Catholic test does not mean that it is, by definition, ineffective. The document neutralizes a prominent excuse relied upon by many Obama Catholics—that opposition to abortion need not include opposition to the law. According to the USCCB, opposition to abortion must include opposition to the law. Period. In this way, the USCCB document closes one significant loophole.
Readers: what other obvious loopholes should the USCCB endeavor to close in the next 10 days?



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Kozaburo

posted October 21, 2008 at 11:04 pm


I can’t find “sackcloth” anywhere… Kohls, Target, Macy’s… ;-)



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Jim

posted October 22, 2008 at 6:38 am


One way to look at this endless nuancing by the bishops is that they really don’t want to have their tax-exempt status challenged………………a very interesting value choice.
On the other hand, perhaps the issues really are more complicated than a lot of people would like to make them.



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Mary Jane

posted October 22, 2008 at 7:25 am


While I agree that the bishops (and their attorneys) are conscious of their tax-exempt status – thus, the nuancing, I think they’re getting closer to a more direct response. In light of the Democratic candidate’s stated views on abortion and the views of his party which may have strong control over Congress after this election, it is getting harder to skirt the issue.
My personal sense is that the Church will someday lose its tax exemption anyway. Whatever the outcome of this election, do Catholics really think that powerful folks who think the Church is the great obstacle in remaking society will just go away and leave everyone alone because we don’t say a candidate’s name?
We’ll lose the conscience clauses – both individual and institutional – on every contested area. Accreditations and licenses will be pulled. Funding withdrawn. Not necessarily tomorrow, but over time.
And I think all of us will find hard decisions ahead.



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ron chandonia

posted October 22, 2008 at 7:56 am


The Washington Post yesterday crowed that more than half of US Catholics polled (details vague on when/where) now agree that abortion should generally be legal, in line with the latest talking points from the two pro-Obama Catholic groups. Much as I hate to admit it, I suspect they are right. And I think this is only the tip of the iceberg. In Europe there is a big push to remove restrictions on euthanasia. A piece in the Guardian today lambasts opposition to this trend as “religious primitivism.” In the next four years, I think we’ll be hearing the same rhetoric from the self-described “tolerant” crowd over here.



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Rick S.

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:13 am


How can anyone say that it is not politically feasible to overturn Roe v. Wade? If there are one or two more strict constructionist judges put in place of more liberal ones, Roe v. Wade is finished. Obviously, the real work begins at that point. I firmly believe that if we as Catholics pass “Judgement Day” in this election then Roe v. Wade will find itself on the scrap heap.



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CK

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:48 am


Why do they continue to spend more words to repeat what the enemies within and without the Church still can and will use against them because it is still so weak?
The average Joe in the pew these days must be hit over the head with the Truth to acknowledge that he can actually have a hand by his sacred vote, in finalizing the suicide of the soul of this blessed nation.
Are such statements meant to display only some kind of outward dignity to the shepherds?
And its final advice to follow only what is “authorized” by our local bishop has resulted, in my own area, the denial to even use materials of Priests for Life because it might stir up some feelings and cause offense!
JPII announced to the world (which included his bishops!) that we have entered now into a great decisive time, and wished to prepare the faithful to stand strong even to giving their lives for their Faith. What an example of the bishops’ own “obedience” we continue to receive and to have to witness!



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M.Z. Forrest

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:29 am


People overestimate the value of the tax exemption. They need to come up with other cynical rationale. For example and for the sake of argument say that 33% of parishoners are solid Democrats. Now take the angels that are gone to when donations of $100,000 or so are sought. I would imagine at least 1/3 of Democrats are in that angel group. Is there a good reason not to be diplomatic in these statements?
Some might want to reflect that the bishops have greater interests than the outcome of this one election. I think it is a helpful corrective so that everyone is singing out of the same side of the hymnal. If the success of your ideas hinges on one event then you have planned very poorly or have not advanced nearly as far as you think you have. There will be other elections. Pieces of truth shouldn’t be disregarded because doing so will aid a temporary victory. It is a marathon, not a sprint.



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CK

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:33 am


And Wow! Adding to the topic, I just saw this:
http://www.standardspeaker.com/articles/2008/10/22/news/hz_standspeak.20081022.a.pg5.hz22_ttmartino_s1.2032272_loc.txt
“Martino arrived unannounced in the midst of a panel discussion on faith issues and the presidential campaign at St. John’s Catholic Church on Sunday. According to people who attended the event, the bishop chastised the group for holding the forum and particularly took issue with the discussion and distribution of excerpts from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ position on voting issues. The document defines abortion and euthanasia, as well as racism, torture and genocide, as among the most important issues for Catholic voters to consider.
“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” he was quoted as saying in the Wayne County Independent, a Honesdale-based newspaper. “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.”
“Thomas Shepstone, a local businessman and Catholic who spoke about his opposition to abortion rights during the event, recalled Tuesday that Martino also told the audience that he voted against the U.S. Bishops’ statement and described it as a consensus document “written to mean all things to all people.”
“According to participants, Martino expressed dismay that the panelists did not discuss the pastoral letter he directed all priests in the Diocese to read in place of their homilies on Oct. 4 and 5. In that letter, he called on Catholic voters to consider abortion above all other issues, except those he defined as having equal moral weight, like euthanasia and embryonic stem-cell research.
“The only relevant document … is my letter,” he said at the forum, according to the Independent. “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.”
more…including remarks by Kmiec.
Bravo!



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 22, 2008 at 10:28 am


“Awful” is probably too strong. “Weak and full of straw men” is more accurate. Regarding the tax-exemption status issue, I believe there has been only one letter ruling in recent decades, and that involved a group that took out ads against Bill Clinton in the New York Times. And even in that case, the IRS did not revoke the group’s tax-exempt status.



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Mike Petrik

posted October 22, 2008 at 10:51 am


Katie,
You are right. This is classic triangulation. It is an attempt to establish one’s position in the responsible and worthy middle by comparing that position to two more extreme views, one on each side. It is a very effective rhetorical device, but in this case it is somewhat dishonest (and therefore disappointing) for the reasons you suggest.



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Jeanne in Tampa

posted October 22, 2008 at 10:51 am


Sigh. I was 10 when this happened. I still ask the question: why didn’t they do anything before Roe happened?
Shows how naive the church is. Nixon the Republican was President at the time and we were all jayed up on Watergate. I remember it because my cartoons after school were interrupted with hearings.
You know I am right. We had a poor self image blown up with selfishness at the time and most of it was “our president or leaders or (***fill in the blank)” should never be questioned.
The church believes the leaders too much. Don’t put too much stock in what the President will or will not do, but what we can do or have not or have done already.



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 22, 2008 at 11:55 am


“These are depressing, discouraging times. That so many Catholics are about to vote for one of the most uncomprimising pro-abortion pols is something that I cannot understand.”
TRP: Any thoughts AT ALL on why that might be? Any ideas, or are all Catholics just ignorant or disobedient? Maybe that IS your thought. Or maybe you don’t have the imagination to figure out why so many pro-life Catholics cannot in good conscience support the Republican Party anymore.
I agree 100% with you that these are depressing and discouraging times. I hate that my political choices are between pro-death and pro-death and fascism and extreme individualism.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 11:59 am


Where are all the conservative pro-life writers discussing how we got to the point where the passage of FOCA is possible? I haven’t seen one writer commenting on it, except blaming it on Democrats and liberal Catholics (aren’t liberal always to blame) who vote against folks who, after 30 years, still haven’t quite “done the deed” as far as getting the Supreme Court “right,” started a ridiculous war, have nearly lost two wars against stone age guerrilas, and have ruined the economy. These same writers have spent at least the last 15 years with vile and contemptible commentary against “liberals,” using this title as an epithet. And these Catholic conservatives have worked overtime to try to make voting Democrat a mortal sin, and with the same moral effort attempting to give the President an apostolically-derived authority to declare war, just or unjust (“that which one declares bound in earth…”) or naming the “invisible hand” of the market as the Holy Spirit.
The grafting of the pro-life movement to the Republican party has had its consequences. It was a strategic move that may have been in error. This was Plan A. A more fervent approach to Plan A with more Roman collars supporting it is unlikely to work. Lots of folks are tired of conservative bile (“pro-American parts of the country”-come on-this just lets everyone know what the thought processes of these leaders are) and are willing to listen to liberal bile instead.
What does it take for conservatives and their prelates to note error and change? Have there been any recent events in, say the past 6-7 years, that indicate that perhaps these aren’t the strong suits of these aligned groups when it comes to admitting errors in authority and changes in administrative direction? (As someone who has researched conservative thinking over the years as “opposition research” I recommend spending time listening to what one’s enemies says about them-sometimes its sharply insightful.)
The current political strategy of pro-lifism may have failed. This is clearly summed up in winning federal elections (and then altering all the branches of the federal government) and creating citizen change from the top down. And despite the claim otherwise, no conservative commentator really has evaluated the barriers, the difficulties, and an evaluation of the performance of this political strategy. In his or her own words.
Except Kmiec, and he has totally drank the wrong batch of Kool-Aid.
Daniel: Thanks for that, although I’d like to question one assumption (something I will address later today in a post – why did pro-lifers “hook themselves” to the GOP? Because in 1972, pro-abortion rights activists basically took over the Democratic party, that’s why. It was very purposeful and intense and even McGovern and his people fought against it, but the die was cast then. If the Dems had not let the abortion activists determine the platform, we would be having a very different conversation today.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:03 pm


Perhaps the proper verb tense in the “valley girl grammar” in my last sentence should be “drunk.”



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Henry Dieterich

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:37 pm


I’m glad to see there’s one bishop who can take a stand. I pray that all the bishops of this country might do likewise. Somehow I fear too many of them are in love with the present age. As a historian of the Middle Ages, I know that there were a lot like them then, too.
I fear that Mary Jane is right. In fact, that will only be the beginning. Once the Supreme Court nationalizes same-sex marriage–as it will if Sen. Obama is elected, sure as God made little green apples–it will not be long before opposition to SSM is a criminal act. Organizations that refuse to recognize it will be prosecuted. No doubt there will likewise be laws proscribing organizations that do not open all positions to women–like priesthood. Nor is it a very big jump from the “Freedom of Choice Act” to an attack on pregnancy counseling centers similar to that underway in some states. To advocate for Catholic teaching on the family, on marriage, on reproduction, will soon be cause for the individual losing his job and the organization losing its ability to carry on corporate existence.
Be prepared to face harrassment and persecution.
Be prepared to give sacrificially to the Church.
Be prepared to support your brothers and sisters in Christ through serious difficulties.
We have here no abiding city.



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Jim

posted October 22, 2008 at 12:59 pm


If one of the attributes sought out in the selection of bishops is a pristine record of unwillingness to challenge authority, we should not be surprised when our bishops fail to challenge authority.
We could wait until medical science develops spine transplants.



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Mike

posted October 22, 2008 at 1:31 pm


The USCCB document can on one level be seen as a brief in support of the arguments of George Weigel and Archbishop Chaput against Catholic Professors Kmiec, Cafardi and Kaveny.
Anyone who wants to read the back and forth between George Weigel and the Catholic professors can find them here:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/165045



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Kevin

posted October 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm


RCM,
It is a huge difference between not supporting the GOP and supporting a candidate who promises to enshrine abortion into federal law and fund abortions with taxpayer law. Both proven to increase the number of abortions. It does take a lot of imagination to figure out how a faithful Catholic can ignore that.



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Tom Kelty

posted October 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm


It is intrinsically evil to lie a nation into a war, to torture prisoners and to continue the war indefinitely. Add to this the targeting of non-combatants and associated evils.
Why do the Bishops have such tunnel vision?
Common sense tells me that their analysis is based on the poorly understood use of the term intrinsic evil. I am beginning to see that their addiction to absolute power (Martino) blinds them to reality. This election is revealing them as lazy thinkers who prefer jingoism to solid thought and teaching.



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SSR

posted October 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm


The Rigali/Murphy statement is one of the simplest, yet most essential, of many from the USCCB members this election season – or maybe ever – because of its importance to the movement as a whole, locally, nationally, and internationally.
I have had the privilege of serving in every major aspect of the pro-life movement, for a time in your great country, and now back in my own. In the U.S., current efforts to “oppose evil” by protecting the unborn through legislation include: opposition to FOCA; promotion of personhood-from-conception or of incremental roll-backs of abortion ‘rights’ (with an obvious split on ethical and strategic grounds); and conscience protections for professionals and volunteers.
Current efforts to “do good” include: providing information to mothers and couples about what abortion actually entails, what risks she/the couple/the unborn child face, and what resources are available; providing comprehensive practical support to mothers and couples for the continuation of pregnancy and parenthood; and offering both counseling in the crisis and therapy for the long-term, to address the reasons (which aren’t about babies) that pregnancies have been deemed crises and/or abortions have already occurred.
As one’s political involvement grows from petition-signing and letter-writing through to more public action such as rallying, debating, and supporting specific campaigns, the pro-lifer will encounter both hecklers and hand-wringers wondering why s/he isn’t “doing something to help the mothers” instead. While few of us bi-locate, most of us really are “doing good” as well – offering frontline counseling, donating cash and goods, and/or going the distance, whether as matched volunteers or the hosts of shepherding homes.
Likewise, as practical involvement grows from holding signs and participating in baby showers, volunteers and professionals who walk with specific individuals and families become more and more politically motivated. Abortion was sold to women as a choice, but the vast majority of abortion-vulnerable women/couples coming for crisis counseling feel like they don’t have any other choice. It may be that counselees aren’t yet aware of how many people would willingly relate with them as long as needed; in the U.S., CPCs outnumber abortion facilities 2:1, but there’s still so much work to do. It may also be that, physiologically, we are wired to tunnel vision in a crisis, and are less capable of altruism. (This is why we must know whether any given campaign is practical, political, or educational in purpose; the “it’s a baby, it’s a baby” theme might be helpful against Roe v. Wade in the abstract, but “you are good, strong, beautiful and capable, and with support, you can do this” might be more useful against a given abortion decision.) Inevitably, the pro-life volunteer or professional becomes more intimately familiar with the aggregate damage done by abortion, and with the evidence of interaction between abuse, abortion, and family breakdown in the years since we’ve tolerated decriminalized abortion. Then s/he becomes outraged, and motivated to political action complementary to the practical. At the forefront of the best political and practical efforts, we now have the thousands of women and men who are journeying towards recovery from their own abortion experiences, and are sometimes themselves becoming pro-life volunteers and professionals.
Rigali and Murphy are correct that false dualisms have been proposed in the public sphere – most egregiously by MTP guests like Biden and Pelosi. Their statement makes clear that political and practical efforts must go hand in hand: Catholics are expected both to vote pro-life and to ‘be there’ for the most vulnerable among us. (In a thread earlier this month, a commenter disenchanted with our political outcomes suggested that pro-lifers ought to concentrate on prayer, fasting, and mortification instead. Again, the issue isn’t ‘which,’ it’s ‘both-and.’ The pro-life movement needs to commit to ongoing spiritual and political and practical efforts. Each aspect involves sacrifice.)
The pro-life movement can’t waste its energy on false dualisms. We need to redouble our practical efforts, both because they are intrinsically good and necessary, and because our members are otherwise mischaracterized as clueless, judgmental, and mean-spirited. We need to redouble our political efforts, both because they are intrinsically good and necessary, and because, if we concede even an inch of legal ground, we will lose even the ‘right to choose’ to follow our consciences and to offer practical support.
Significantly, on October 21 the (N.O.) Mass readings included this from Psalm 85: “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.” So be it.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 22, 2008 at 8:15 pm


A battle line has been created as noted by Weigel, and this is really because someone with a theological vocabulary stood up to him. And he gets credit only because on occasion he has used this vocabulary on behalf on the unborn, despite the incredible waste of his talents, credibility, and mind on other conservative pursuits.
The line is tougher now with prelates going with the Deal Hudson approach to this all-only a Republican vote can avoid sin is the message.
If the Dems win, what then of the pro-life movement? Will they be able to build bridges? If one needs help, and if less than half the nation votes with you, then your side needs help, can they figure out a way to reach for this help beyond calls for bishops condemning voting other than Republican, and never raising a voice against all of Republicanism that is evil.
If the Republicans win, will they then continue with the hardened battle lines (since the plan “worked”)-still with less than half the US agreeing with them, and many of these in states they will then need to work on to pass local laws against abortion.
The political tactics are weak, and wedded to Republican wins.



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:33 pm


The current political strategy of pro-lifism may have failed. This is clearly summed up in winning federal elections (and then altering all the branches of the federal government) and creating citizen change from the top down. And despite the claim otherwise, no conservative commentator really has evaluated the barriers, the difficulties, and an evaluation of the performance of this political strategy. In his or her own words.
The fact is, pro-lifers have made important gains — parental consent, waiting periods, PBA — that have limited the extent of abortion; gains that would be wiped out by the Freedom of Choice Act. And groups like the Project Rachel and Pregnancy Center have provided on the ground, “bottom up” citizen change.



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Janet

posted October 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm


Maybe this is what Bishop Martino had in mind:
“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not… with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”
Joseph Ratzinger



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John

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:18 am


Given the USCCB track record on abortion, contraception, and same sex marriage, etc., one must sadly conclude that the hierarchs heading up the US Catholic Church today in America — for the most part– are little better than spiritual opportunists. They have no loyalty to the Pope or to the Gospel.
Stephen, the first martyr, comes to mind as he speaks to his captors confessing his faith in Christ. Would the USSCB spoke up for him had they been there at that time to defend him? Or would they blame the martyr for indulging in inflamatory rhetoric and thus excuse the stoners as preservers of public peace and harmony?
Prayer is our best and only answer to counter our betrayers. God will bring good out of evil this time too, as always.



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Chris M

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:22 am


“This election is revealing them as lazy thinkers who prefer jingoism to solid thought and teaching.”
Oh, irony of ironies.



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TerryC

posted October 23, 2008 at 8:16 am


I, for one take issue with the whole concept that Republicans don’t care about social welfare issues. They, we, just believe that the federal government is not the best agency to effect social change. By trying to make the federal government the agency by which poverty, homelessness, single-parenthood and other social ills are solved proponents are attempting to give up their own responsibility to address these issues. They are also, much too often supporting the notion that the government should decide who is successful and who is not. It is not the government’s job to feed the hungry, clothed the naked or tend the sick. Thats is our responsibility. It is my responsibility to give from my excess to help care for the poor, or even to give from my own poverty. It is not the government’s place to take from me to give to the poor.
Has the Republican party done enough to overturn Roe? Absolutely not. Is Roe the only issue where Democrats are on the wrong side? Not in my opinion. The Church has spoken out against Liberation Theology. It is my opinion that Obama and his backers are proponents of a philosophy which in all relevant points are the same as the tenants of Liberation Theology. Capitalism as evil, and capitalism as class war by the rich against the poor, with the added goal of reconstructing our economic system through deliberate manipulation of the system. These are not stupid people they knew what would eventually happen if millions of people were given loans they could not pay off. They know that flooding the office of the secretary of state, of dozens of states, with hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registrations that they cannot check will result in citizens losing confidence in the system of democracy in America. For them if McCain wins but a sizable portion of the electorate believes the vote was rigged its just as good as if Obama wins and a sizable portion of the other side believes the same thing. Their purpose is to undermine our way of life. Most democrats don’t support this, like most abortion proponents they are in denial. It’s not really a baby. A candidate for president couldn’t really be against the kind of civilization we have built in America. They don’t look to close at either situation because it might call into question the kinds of decisions they have made in the past or the decisions of the people they know. Many, especially in the Democratic Party itself, are trying to ride the Tiger. They know what Obama is, but think they can control the situation if he wins, to advance their own agenda. That is the same reason some politicians are pro-abortion. Being pro-abortion gives the the support of the Democratic Party, and the pro-abortion electorate. They don’t have strong moral convictions themselves, being more interested in political power. Hence the old “personally against, but won’t legislate my beliefs” stand. What they’re really saying is “I want to keep my Catholic(Fundamentalist) base, but garner votes(and get money from groups) who are pro-abortion”
I know this is way too long. Just one more thing.
I agree things are going to get ugly. If Obama wins the bishops are going to have to finally speak out more strongly. If they do we will lose the Catholic hospitals (as we have already more or less lost the Catholic adoption agencies.) Practical Catholics will no longer be able to practice medicine, or pharmacy or do social work, because they won’t support, no actually promote, abortion. When the bishops speak out many liberal Catholics will leave. The Holy Father has already said a smaller orthodox Church is better than one which is not following the Holy Spirit. I think he expects it. He also is not a stupid man.



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Daniel H. Conway

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:12 am


“If the Dems had not let the abortion activists determine the platform, we would be having a very different conversation today.”
This isn’t taking responsibility for bad performance. Why is the top down strategy embraced? Why has not a poll in close to 20 years (maybe more) not changed with regard to abortion? Is there an alternative approach? If wedding the movement to power politics of Republicans is the key to success and all the important dramatic gains outlined by Mr. Leonardi, shouldn’t there be somtheing better than the grand fear that enormous losses are in store in the future?
Was this the right set of decisions for ending abortion?
Wedding as tightly to Republicans, in which the face of the movement became Republicans (Santorum, Rove, Bush, Delay-all very “good” to the movement) can be a liability if they turn out to quite poor at the rest of their duties. Which can be argued that they were.
We are discussing tactics. Winning, and not loyalty to a party, should be the goal. And the Republicans may not have been a winning team.
But we can wait until the first week of November and see.



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Jim

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:30 am


You would have thought that the bishops might have learned from the child abuse scandal that pleading as a defense “I was just following the advice of the diocesan lawyers” just makes things worse…..in this case, a lot worse. Fear does strange things to people.



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Caine Thomas

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:12 pm


In all this routine back and forth, I’m not seeing the one issue that has always been the key one in my opinion. Legal acknowledgement of the PERSONHOOD of the unborn.
If a candidate believes that personhood is legal status granted arbitrarily, he has zero common ground with Catholic Social teaching. All percieved similar goals are not built on the same foundation. For a person with such a fatally flawed understanding of the nature and dignity of the human person as Barack Obama, any agreement with Catholic social teaching is a mirage structure of an ethics which easily morphs to suit the dictates of relativism.
On the flip side, if a candidate truly agrees that the unborn human being is a full-fledged person created in the image and likeness of God, that person’s ethics are built on a solid foundation. Out differences can be more honestly debated with that person.
If Obama actually wins a majority of the Catholic vote, and wins this election – given all the messianic and artsy-fascist style his candidacy was adorned with – AND the influence of that vampire George Soros – I’m leaning 40% towards him being the antichrist. Or a antichrist. There’s no arguing this is a shell game of biblical proportions.



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TerryC

posted October 23, 2008 at 12:43 pm


“It is intrinsically evil to lie a nation into a war, to torture prisoners and to continue the war indefinitely. Add to this the targeting of non-combatants and associated evils.”
I’m afraid that YOU have a misconception both about what is intrinsically evil and about the situation of the Iraq war. You don’t agree with the War. Fine. But having spent a good five years between the two Iraq Wars searching ships heading into Iraq, and finding materials whose only purpose was to fabricate weapons of mass destruction I’m afraid I can’t agree that anyone was lied too, at least not by the present administration. Now if you’re talking about the Main Stream Media lying I might agree with you.
The conduct of the war comes under issues which moral Catholics might disagree. I would say that leaving 29 million Iraqis to the mercies of a dictator (who used weapons of mass destruction against his own people) and his psycho sons (one of whom tortured Olympic athletes for losing) is evil.
I also take issue with your contention that anyone in this government or the U.S. military targets non-combatants. Do non-combatants sometimes get hurt in war. Sure. That doesn’t make it ok, but that also doesn’t mean that no war is permissible either.
I won’t disagree that torture is intrinsically evil. The bishops have spoken out against it. Neither candidate in the present presidential election has supported torture. Neither has supported the camps at GITMO, which I expect to see shut down no matter who wins.
Painting all Republicans as torture supporting war criminals because you dislike the present administration is as silly as it would be for me to paint all democrats as Anti-American racist socialists, just because I think there are some Democratic candidates who merit that description.



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm


“The fact is, pro-lifers have made important gains — parental consent, waiting periods, PBA — that have limited the extent of abortion; gains that would be wiped out by the Freedom of Choice Act. And groups like the Project Rachel and Pregnancy Center have provided on the ground, “bottom up” citizen change.”
Well, Rich, I am glad that you can see light when we still have 1 million abortions annually in this country, one of the highest abortion rates in the industrialized world.
Daniel: You are asking REALLY good questions!



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Grace

posted October 23, 2008 at 1:27 pm


Radical Catholic Mom:
Why can’t you see – or even admit for a minute – the fact that the US has THE most liberal abortion laws in the industrialized world has SOMETHING to do with the number of abortions?
Why don’t you even take that into consideration?



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radicalcatholicmom

posted October 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm


Grace,
Why can’t you see – or even admit for a minute – the fact that the US has THE most liberal abortion laws in the industrialized world has SOMETHING to do with the number of abortions?”
I don’t believe I have ever denied that. I know for a fact that we do and I have argued with pro-aborts on my blog over it.
The argument, though, is that EVEN with 35 years of efforts and wrangling and soul searching, and hard work, what we have been doing, STILL results in 1 million abortions a year.
My concern is that the pro-life movement has put all of its eggs in one basket and has significantly alienated many who ARE pro-life but not necessarily politically conservative. It looks like Daniel shares my concern.



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Greg S

posted October 23, 2008 at 7:54 pm


Catholic Mom:
You say you’ve been involved in the pro-life movement for 19 years, yet you can still say the pro-life movement has “put its eggs all in one basket?” Why are you saying that? Have you been doing political work all this time to the exlcusion of all else? Have the people you’ve been working with been obsessed with the political side?
Be honest.
You are talking about now supporting someone and a party that does not care one whit about the number of abortions and are primed and ready to undo 30 years of legislation, the consequence of which will be to increase the numbers of abortions???



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Jim

posted October 23, 2008 at 8:49 pm


Be honest, Greg.
Twenty eight years of putting the bishops in the GOP’s pocket has yielded next to nothing……..and a worsening of the situation, in many ways.
It will be over soon………[or maybe it will take a couple of more election cycles to turn the light bulb on]……and the best thing that could come out of it will be that the bishops may try to focus on a strategy that focuses on results, not on theologically nuanced pronouncements from on high.
Some day the Church will make its peace with democracy. Rome opposed the first democratic movements and has slowly come around to its virtues.



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Tom

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:10 pm


Jim:
That’s funny.
Bishops in the pocket of the GOP.
Evidence?
On what issue aside from abortion have the bishops been on the GOP side?
Be specific, please.
You know that GOP-dominated USCCB staff. Yeah..
And also explain to me how the Democrats welcomed the bishops to share their vision of the culture of life.
Be specific.



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Jim

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:20 pm


Tom:
Nice set of straw men: I said nothing about the USCCB staff (who are mostly not conservative) or the Dems’ sharing of their vision of the culture of life (“culture of life” is a trademarked JP2 buzzword, not a political concept).
The bishops have pushed abortion to the very top of their political agenda and then backed the GOP, election after election, despite the GOP’s lack of results. Lip service from the GOP has been enough, it seems.
And all of that will soon change.



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Curmudgeon

posted October 23, 2008 at 9:28 pm


Thanks RCM!
I got beat up a bit in the last exchange on this topic, so have stayed out until now.
But, I very much share your point of view. We all know what the goal is.
The problem is that it seems heresy in some quarters to discuss the strategy.
I know that some think that the only way to reduce abortions is to make them illegal, but for the life of me, I can’t see how that could happen if people think that they should not be illegal.
I keep going back to a sequence that makes sense to me: support women and children, work at changing the culture, the expectations, the consciousness. Basic PR. Then change the law when the public consensus supports it.
If what we have done hasn’t worked, why keep doing it, with the assumption that sooner or later it will?
I can think of lots of historical situations, from infanticide in Europe to seatbelts and public smoking in America where change in consciousness led to change in law.
And I can think of one example where legal prohibition was a huge failure, namely, of course, Prohibition.
I don’t think it is heresy to change strategy. I really don’t.



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Gramps

posted October 24, 2008 at 12:29 am


Seems like the bishops ought to be able to give something slightly shorter and more straight forward. suggest they study the 10 commandments as a guide. If God was like our bishops, the commandments would still be in the carving state with hundreds of tablets. In the end, thou shall not kill seems to be a reasonable place to start and 50 million dead babies the place to attack first. When I read the bishops letters, although this is some improvment, I always am left with the feeling that they would treat a patient with cancer for a cold first. Until we remove the cancer of abortion from our country, why is anyone amazed when we are at war, drowning in porn, or torturing prisoners. But the bishops want to talk about that cold.



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Glenn Juday

posted October 24, 2008 at 2:21 am


It is most interesting that this issue is becoming a struggle to get Catholics to give up opposing the current legal sanction given to abortion – the unjust taking of innocent human life. Think about it. It gives off the foul smell of defeatism. They say “Catholics, you have failed, you can’t succeed. Just give up. The people who support your position in the political realm are really against you. The people who oppose your position in the political realm are really for you.”
All this inversion is actually a desperation strategy, the strategy of a perspective that knows it will loose when the truth is seen. The only hope is despair – to get those whose hope is the truth to completely despair.
Fear is useless, what is needed is faith. All that can be said for sure is that we will succeed, and that we have not succeeded YET.
I wake up in the morning pro-life. I eat my breakfast pro-life. I do my professional work each day, in however an incrementally tiny way, according to pro-life principles. I ask for supernatural grace from the sacraments to be even more pro-life. And I pray that with the last breath I take in this life I will be giving some pro-life witness.
I’m not moving, I’m not reassessing, I’m not accommodating, I’m plowing straight ahead pro-life. But, you’ve hit a rock, the sophisticated trimmers say. No, I’ve built my life on a rock. And the rock is Christ. He typically accomplishes things exactly when the wise and the reasonable conclude it is hopeless, precisely so that we will see that it was not our cleverness or power or skill that stopped a great evil or accomplished a great good. The situation was so hopeless that it had to be God, and deep down we all know it.
The choice that really matters, the only really true choice that is completely ours, is will we hold fast to the truth that has been handed on to us? The Catholic Church exists to transmit that truth, to strengthen and confirm us in the truth, to call us back when we wander away from truth. The reign of death that is abortion will be overthrown. It will be a mark of of the supernatural grace with which she is endowed that in the future when abortion is overthrown, people will marvel “How, when it looked so hopeless, did the Catholic Church keep at it so long?” And the only answer will be “Catholics had faith that God would empower them to do this.”



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c matt

posted October 24, 2008 at 1:47 pm


The political tactics are weak, and wedded to Republican wins….
Bishops in the GOP pocket…..

So, from one set of we get that the Bishops are Repoblican shills, then from a nother (Michael Iafrate) we get that no, really, only a handful of bishops are – the real good Bishops want us all to vote Democrat.
Frankly, if the Bishops as a group have been in anyone’s “pocket” a stronger case could be made that the American episcopate supports the Dems rather than GOP.
Moreover, for as much as folks decry being wedded to the GOP (which is a fair criticism), I haven’t seen any signs of life in the Dem party. Why haven’t pro-Life Dems done enough to reform the Democratic party which, in all honesty, SHOULD be the pro-life party (if their rhetoric of defense of the weakest is more than mere rhetoric)?



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Dan LaHood LMC

posted October 25, 2008 at 6:12 am


I wrote this as a Meditation/Observation and sent it along with a Miraculous Medal Mother Tersa gave us the night before she spoke to Clinton/Gore in 1994.
Before Pope Benedict came to America to celebrate Mass in New York and Washington, it was revealed that as a young boy in Germany he had had a cousin with Down Syndrome. One day a Nazi doctor came and claimed his cousin for the Third Reich. Taken to be “cared for” at the “hospital” young Karl Ratzinger never saw his cousin again: one of the host of “useless eaters” marked for extermination by that brutal regime.
My wife and I operate St. Joseph’s House, a daycare and respite care home for handicapped children. As it happened one of the children we care for, a wheelchair bound young lady, was chosen along with three other handicapped folks to carry the gifts up to the altar before the consecration at the Mass at Nationals Stadium in Washington D.C. on April 17, 2008. One of these was James, a 30ish man who works in the Officer’s Club at Andrews AFB. James has Down Syndrome. He was chosen to carry the large host which would become the Body of Christ lifted up before the assembled. As James with great ceremony advanced toward the Pope, his native enthusi­asm overcame his reserve and he started to run. Simultaneously the Holy Father leapt from his chair and walked towards James with his arms out­stretched. We have a picture of this moment which I cannot look at without tearing up. What did he see as he gazed so lovingly at James? I believe he saw his cousin. I believe he saw the face of Jesus. And I believe that his great prayer as he elevated that host on that impossibly beautiful day was “As long as you did to these the least of my brethren, you did it to Me.”
The next day April 18th, a boy was born to of all people, the Gover­nor of Alaska. They named him Trig.



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