Archive for the ‘Catholic Teaching’ Category

Varia

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which  I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued a statement regarding the Holy Father’s comment about condoms.  In essence — there were no changes in Church teaching, as any attentive reader would already have understood.
  • Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix revoked the Catholic status of a hospital that approved an abortion (and which has been involved in cooperation with contraception, sterilization and abortion in other cases) and that refused to acknowledge the bishop’s authority to oversee their compliance with Catholic ethics.  Story and Bishop’s Olmstead’s full statement.
  • Rather than humbly submitting to the judgment of the Bishop, the Catholic Health Association has once again wounded unity in the Church by siding with the hospital against the Bishop.  Amazing, since the Ethical and Religious Directives, which is cited as authoritative by CHA, gives the ultimate moral authority to the diocesan Bishop, not to CHA or to the hospital.
  • More facts about the situation, directly from Bishop Olmstead.  For those who want the Canon Law side of the story, check out this analysis.
  • One of the tactics of the same-sex “marriage” movement is to brand us all as “haters”.  The strategy is to “marginalize, privatize, anathematize”.
  • Meanwhile, this headline says it all: “Obama ‘wrestling’ with same-sex marriage”.  Yeah, as if the outcome of that wrestling match is really in doubt.
  • It appears that Sonia Sotomayor is now a leader of the “liberal wing” of our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers on the Supreme Court.  This will, no doubt, become even more evident when the first abortion or “same-sex marriage” case reaches Mount Olympus.
  • A Ugandan Archbishop decries child sacrifice, which is rampant in that troubled nation.  The Cult of Moloch lives on.
  • Speaking of the demon and his devotees, the Temple of Moloch, er, I mean Planned Parenthood, has ejected one of its chapters because they didn’t want to perform abortions.  Oh, but they’re just “pro-choice”, not “pro-abortion”, right?
  • While the Cult of Moloch continues to say that crisis pregnancy centers mislead pregnant girls, check out Kathryn Jean Lopez’s piece on the MTV show “16 and Pregnant”, and you’ll understand how our culture and the abortion industry consistently and blatantly lie to pregnant women.
  • Some useful advice from scientists — really.  If you want your relationship to survive, make sure you speak about “we”, instead of “you and me”.  You could also follow their advice delay sex until marriage, which can strengthen your relationship.
  • What do men want more than anything else from the women in their lives?  To be admired.   Here’s the other side of the story — what women want is to be loved by a man they admire.  Now that’s an agenda for a good marriage.
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)

    Varia

    Friday, December 3rd, 2010

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which  I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • The Holy Father conducted the first-ever world-wide Vigil for All Nascent Human Life.  Here’s an early, unofficial translation of the homily.  And here’s an unofficial translation of the special prayer written by the Holy Father for the Vigil.
  • Opponents of same-sex “marriage” — like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage — have now been labeled as “hate groups” by a prominent advocacy group.  The “sit down and shut up” phase of the debate over marriage continues.  Next will come prosecutions for “hate crimes” and “human rights” violations, based solely on politically-incorrect speech.  Oh, wait — that’s happening already in Mexico.
  • Maggie Gallagher and Robert George respond to having pro-marriage organizations — and traditional Christianity — branded as “hate groups”.
  • The indispensible Kathryn Jean Lopez puts the Holy Father’s condom and sex comments in the context of the importance of marriage and true human sexuality and interviews Fr. Robert Williams and sheds some clear light on the Holy Father’s condom comments.
  • More good news on the stem cell front.  A child has been fully cured from leukemia thanks to treatment by adult stem cells from umbilical cords.  And scientists have “tricked” cells to convert from one kind to another, which may make stem cell research unnecessary.  Reaction from the media:       .
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (and Abortionists) is once again trying to force doctors to refer or perform abortions, under the rubric of “professional ethics”.  Hence the need for a federal comprehensive conscience protection statute.  GOP leaders, are you listening?
  • I’m a Mac, iPod and iTunes user, so it’s nice to know that in return for all the money I’ve given them, the Apple Corporation thinks I’m a bigot, merely because I subscribe to the principles in the Manhattan Declaration.  For a reminder of what’s in this “hate speech” declaration (which is all about defending life, marriage, and religious liberty), go here.  While you’re there, join over 34,000 others in signing the petition protesting Apple’s intolerance.
  • It has become ever more clear that the Administration is failing in its duty to defend the Defense of Marriage Act from attack by same-sex “marriage” advocates.
  • The perfect proof that reproductive medicine treats human life as a commodity:  they’re putting bar codes on IVF embryos.
  • A terrible story about the modern sex slave trade, right here in New York City.  Why is this not a high priority for law enforcement?
  • Interesting how the Times buries a story about how Cardinal Ratzinger tried, as far back as 1988, to streamline the procedures to punish abusive priests.  No room for the story on the front page, where they’ve previously put the “exposes”, although they manage to squeeze in a story about obesity surgery.  It’s not so newsworthy if it’s favorable to the Holy Father, I guess.
  • The Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, publicly rebukes the Catholic governor for his comments that his faith impels him to sign a bill legalizing same-sex “civil unions”.  The governor replies, in classic modern fashion, “I follow my conscience. I think everyone should do that. I think that’s the most important thing to do in life, and my conscience is not kicking me in the shins today.”  He needs a new, authentically Catholic conscience.
  • When the world throws God out the window, there’s no stopping the descent into madness.  A “family law expert” in the UK says that sex offenders should be allowed to work with children, and even adopt or serve as foster parents.  As the Safe Environment Director of the Archdiocese, all I can say is, “over my dead body”.
  • Varia

    Saturday, November 27th, 2010

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which  I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • For some useful analysis of what the Holy Father was getting at in his remarks on condoms, see these commentaries by: Janet Smith, George Weigel, Pia de Solenni, Fr. Roger Landry, and Bill McGurn.
  • For a more humorous — but no less insightful — take on the situation, see Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher.
  • Here’s a quote from the Pope’s book that is not getting any press time, but should — Humanae Vitae was “prophetically right“.
  • There’s some hope that a daily drug regimen may reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Interestingly, the scientists conducting the study found that the key to stopping disease transmission was not medicine or condoms, but changing people’s behavior.
  • Mmm. Does that sound familiar?  It should — the Holy Father has repeatedly pointed out that condoms can’t really prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, that only behavior modification — developing virtue — can do that.  And hey, what do you know — the social science research bears him out.
  • Dioceses around the world are joining the Holy Father in the Vigil for all Nascent Human Life, November 27. For resources, check the U.S. Bishops’ website.  For the parishes in the Archdiocese that are holding Vigils, download the list from the Respect Life Office’s website.
  • The US Senate is up to no good in their “lame duck” session — they may overturn the ban on abortions at military hospitals.  You can go to the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment’s website to send an email to your Senator about this.
  • An expose of the continued dissemination of absurd myths about abortion and the law by the newsletter of the Cult of Moloch, er, I mean the Times.
  • An interview with Archbishop Dolan gives a good view of his agenda and priorities.
  • This perfectly reflects just about everything in the modern brand of cultural insanity — a same-sex couple gets “e-married” over the internet.  So, we have a non-real “marriage” that takes place in a non-real place, to get fifteen seconds of non-real fame.
  • Theresa Bonapartis gives a dead-on description of the awful City Council hearing on the terrible New York City bill to regulate pregnancy resource centers.  For more information about the bill, check my blog post.
  • Here’s a recipe for disaster. Take marriage. Remove the idea of sexual complementarity. Remove the openness to fertility. Ignore the perpetual and unchangeable teaching of the Church that sex outside of marriage is gravely immoral. Consider as valid only the self-interest of the parties. What do you have left? A view of marriage that’s suitable for publication on the blog of Commonweal, an allegedly Catholic publication. It’s also the view of marriage that has been operative in our society for 50 years. How’s that been working out?
  • Wishful Thinking, Objective Morality and Condoms

    Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

    In the Comments box of my previous post about the Holy Father’s remarks about condoms, a friend remarked that some people are interpreting those remarks as justifying the use of condoms if one has a “good intention”. I originally replied in the Comment box, but I think this is such an important point that I want to put it out front here.

    This is a very complex question because it implicates two levels of moral teaching — the objective morality of certain acts, and the subjective culpability of the actor.

    It is clear in Catholic teaching that a good intention alone cannot morally justify an evil act. The most important factor in evaluating the objective morality of an action is the “moral object” — the nature of the conduct. The “good intentions” of the actor cannot turn an evil act into a good one.  For a fuller explanation of this, see the Catechism, sections 1750 and following.

    So, within a marriage, the use of a contraceptive device like a condom is always inherently wrong, because it changes the objective nature of the sexual act from an authentic marital act into something that is contrary to the nature of human sexuality (since it is no longer open to fertility).  Outside of marriage, any sexual act is always objectively morally wrong.  So in either case, no “good intention” can justify the performance of such acts.

    In fact, an appeal to “good intentions” may actually encourage people to engage in morally wrong (and physically dangerous) activity.  Condoms do not provide guaranteed protection against the transmission of disease, and a reliance on condoms is even less effective the more one engages in sexually risky behavior.  Sex outside of marriage is also sinful and has a deeply (even mortally) negative impact on the state of one’s soul.  No amount of wishful thinking about good intentions can protect someone from those effects.

    Nor can an appeal to “double effect” reasoning change this conclusion.  To qualify for that, that the action has to be either morally good or neutral; the bad effect cannot be directly intended; the good result cannot be a direct result of the bad effect; and the good result must be proportionate to the bad effect.  The use of a condom in a marriage doesn’t satisfy this test; it always remains morally wrong, because it changes the nature of the sexual act.  Even if, for the sake of argument, the use of a condom outside of marriage to prevent disease transmission were considered morally neutral or good, it still can’t change the objectively wrong nature of the underlying act of sex outside of marriage.

    It seems to me that no matter how you analyze it, we wind up back at the point the Holy Father made — the use of the condom is not a “real or moral solution” to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    Having said that, however, you also have to consider that the Holy Father was not just talking about the objective morality of the act, but also the subjective culpability of an individual who engages in it. In the case that the Holy Father cited, the use of a condom by a prostitute, the objective nature of the act is unchanged, and is always evil (a sexual act outside of marriage).  However, the individual’s culpability for that act may be lessened by the intention to reduce the risk of disease transmission. I would also note that the subjective culpability of a prostitute may be lessened by many other factors (coercion, addictions, compulsive behavior, legacies of past abuses, social structures of sin, etc.).

    So the question is, can a Catholic pastor or institution affirmatively advise a person in that situation to use a condom to prevent disease — to say, in effect, “be good, but if you can’t be good be safe”?  I can’t see how one could justify that.  If a pastor were to do so, he would be actively encouraging or excusing immoral and risky behavior.  It is a better approach — the “real and moral solution”, as the Holy Father says — to continue to proclaim publicly the teaching of the Church to all, and encourage all to conform their lives to the objective moral law and the nature of sexuality.  Any discussion of a person’s use of a condom under particular circumstances, their personal culpability, and how they are proceeding along the gradual path to conversion, is best left to pastoral counseling or the Confessional.

    In short, none of what the Holy Father said gives any support to the wishful thinking approach that would justify using a condom in marriage, that would lessen the objective evil of any sexual act outside of marriage, or that would encourage the widespread use of condoms, regardless of the alleged nobility of one’s intentions.

    What the Holy Father Did — and Did Not — Say About Condoms

    Sunday, November 21st, 2010

    The media and the Catholic blogosphere have been buzzing about some comments Pope Benedict makes in his soon-to-be-released interview book, Light of the World.  The claim is that the Pope has somehow changed Church teaching on the morality of condom use in the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS.

    Let’s look at what the Pope did and did not say.  But first, let’s make sure we understand the starting point — the actual teaching of the Church on sexual morality.  In a nutshell:

  • Sexual acts are only morally acceptable in the eyes of God if they take place within marriage, and if they always respect the dual nature of human sexuality — promoting the authentic love of the spouses and openness to fertility.
  • Anything that deliberately makes a sexual act between spouses infertile is gravely contrary to the will of God.  This is the core of the Church’s rejection of any kind of device or drug, or any act by the spouses themselves, that intentionally renders procreation impossible.
  • Any sexual act outside of marriage is gravely contrary to God’s will.  This would include any sexual act between persons of the same sex, or between persons of the opposite sex who are not married to each other.
  • The Holy Father did not change any of this teaching because, first of all, it’s true, and secondly because he can’t — it is the will of God, revealed through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and continually re-affirmed by the Magisterium.

    With that foundation, let’s look at what the Holy Father said.  In response to a question about the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, in which the questioner asked him to respond to this provocative statement, “Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms”, the Holy Father replied,

    As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

    There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

    As a follow-up, the Holy Father was then asked, “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?”  In reply, he said:

    She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

    There is nothing in these statements that in any way undermines the Church’s teaching about the morality of sexual acts in general, or contraceptive acts in particular.  Instead, the Holy Father affirmed that the solution to the spread of HIV/AIDS is a return to a true, human understanding of sexuality, which is presented in its fullness in the teaching of the Church.

    He is not saying that intrinsically immoral acts — in this case, sex outside of marriage — somehow become morally acceptable due to the use of a condom.  He is merely saying that the decision to reduce the potential harm to others from an immoral act may in fact reflect the glimmer of awakening in one’s conscience.

    In doing so, the Holy Father presented a humane and optimistic view of the possibility of grace even for those who are deeply enmeshed in structures of sin and their own sins, and who can begin the process of conversion by making small steps towards the truth in the depths of their heart.  All of us who have trod this same halting path of conversion from our sins will recognize this sentiment of mercy.

    There are some who will use the Holy Father’s compassionate words to further their agenda of opposing the Church’s view of human sexuality.  There are others who are scandalized that the Pope would even discuss such a subject as condoms and male prostitutes.  Some would prefer a more black-and-white presentation of morality, rather than a view that looks with kindness into the complexities of the human heart.

    Of course, some said the same things about the Lord Himself, who, as we all remember, liked to eat with tax collectors and prostitutes, to encourage them along the path of conversion.

    The Holy Father Reminds Us of Our Mission

    Friday, November 19th, 2010

    All too frequently, I get wrapped up in the daily whirlwind of all the things that I think are important.  And all too infrequently, I fail to keep in mind the real priorities of life, and what my true mission is.

    Thank God for Pope Benedict, who never fails to make things perfectly clear.  In the introduction to his new document on Sacred Scripture, Verbum Domini, there is a section entitled “That our joy may be complete”, the Holy Father says this:

    I encourage all the faithful to renew their personal and communal encounter with Christ, the word of life made visible, and to become his heralds, so that the gift of divine life – communion – can spread ever more fully throughout the world. Indeed, sharing in the life of God, a Trinity of love, is complete joy (cf. 1 Jn 1:4). And it is the Church’s gift and unescapable duty to communicate that joy, born of an encounter with the person of Christ, the Word of God in our midst. In a world which often feels that God is superfluous or extraneous, we confess with Peter that he alone has “the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). There is no greater priority than this: to enable the people of our time once more to encounter God, the God who speaks to us and shares his love so that we might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).  (emphasis added)

    In these few simple words, the Holy Father has defined the essence of discipleship, and the path to real happiness.

    Thank you, Pope Benedict, for once again making our mission clear.  Now it’s up to me.

    The Feast of Christ the King

    Monday, November 1st, 2010

    On this Sunday before Election Day, we celebrate the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time in the new calendar.  But in the traditional calendar, which is used for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (the Traditional Latin Mass), today is the Feast of Christ the King.

    This is no coincidence.  One of the chief dangers of the modern world, in my opinion, is the excessive emphasis on politics and the government as the focus of all our attention, as if they are the answer to all our problems and aspirations.  This can turn into a dangerous form of idolatry — “statolatry”, if you will.

    The Feast of Christ the King is a healthy reminder to us Christians that we cannot fall into this way of thinking.  Pope Benedict, in his book Church, Ecumenism and Politics, had this to say about the early Christians, who faced the “statolatry” of Rome, but the situation in many ways equally applies to our times:

    The state is not the whole of human existence and does not encompass all human hope. Man and what he hopes for extend beyond the framework of the state and beyond the sphere of political action. This is true not only for a state like Babylon, but for every state. The state is not the totality; this unburdens the politician and at the same time opens up for him the path of reasonable politics. The Roman state was wrong and anti-Christian precisely because it wanted to be the totality of human possibilities and hopes. A state that makes such claims cannot fulfill its promises; it thereby falsifies and diminishes man. Through the totalitarian lie it becomes demonic and tyrannical.

    The world-view of Christians instead holds up authentic hope for man, and allows us to be authentically human and to live in a good way in this world.  As Pope Benedict says:

    The Christian faith destroyed the myth of the divine state, the myth of the earthly paradise or utopian state and of a society without rule. In its place it put the objectivity of reason… True human objectivity involves humanity, and humanity involves God. True human reason involves morality, which lives on God’s commandments. This morality is not a private matter; it has public significance. Without the good of being good and of good action, there can be no good politics. What the persecuted Church prescribed for Christians as the core of their political ethos must also be the core of an active Christian politics: only where good is done and is recognized as good can people live together well in a thriving community. Demonstrating the practical importance of the moral dimension, the dimension of God’s commandments — publicly as well — must be the center of responsible political action.

    And so, as we Americans are about to head to the polls at the end of a seemingly all-consuming political campaign, the traditional liturgical calendar reminds us of the larger picture.  We cannot find our ultimate hope and fulfillment in politics, in who rules us, or what laws are passed.

    The real ruler of the world and our lives is not the temporary office holder who happens to inhabit the White House or the Governor’s mansion, a seat in the Senate or the House, or any other position of secular power.

    The real ruler of our world is Christ the King, and we are his subjects.  It is in Him, and only Him, in whom we can find authentic hope and fulfillment.

    Viva Cristo Rey!

    How Will I Vote?

    Saturday, October 30th, 2010

    In my last post, I outlined the teaching of the Church in regard to voting — the formation of conscience, and which issues to consider.

    To illustrate how this works in practice, let me describe how I will apply these principles in my own voting decision.  Now, I’m not telling anyone how to vote.  I’m just saying this is the way that I’ve worked this decision through for myself.

    (Important Note: I have to repeat again what is said in the disclaimer on the side of this blog — the opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone, they do not in any way reflect an official position of the Archdiocese, nor should they be considered an endorsement of any candidate by the Archdiocese.)

    To me, the fundamental issue is whether a particular candidate has the basic qualifications to hold public office. This is not just a question about their education, experience, and character. It also involves whether this candidate is willing to respect and defend the fundamental principles of our society, that all people are created equal, and that all have “inalienable rights”, most especially the right to life.

    Cardinal Egan once spoke very clearly and bluntly about the qualifications of our elected officials:

    “Anyone who dares to defend that [an unborn child] may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.”

    This boils down to a very simple test, that I try to adhere to, as best I can: If you think that killing unborn children should be legal, then I won’t vote for you. You haven’t earned my vote.  In my opinion, you’re not qualified to hold public office.  I just won’t vote for someone who will promote or permit grave evil.  I don’t subscribe to the principle of the “lesser of two evils”.  All that means is I’m voting for evil, and it still produces evil in the end.  If there’s nobody in a race that fits my standards, I’ll leave the line blank or write in a name.

    When I pick up my ballot on Tuesday, I will see a stark choice between candidates who are pro-abortion, and others who are pro-life.  In fact, several of the pro-abortion candidates are not just mouthing the old “personally opposed but…” sham, but are instead ardent promoters and defenders of the legalized killing of unborn children, and they have strongly campaigned on the issue.  If they are elected, there is a grave danger that the evil Reproductive Health Act will be pushed forward, as well as the legalization of same-sex “marriage”.

    I cannot see how I as a Catholic could vote for such persons.  So for me, the choice is easy — I will vote only for the pro-life candidates.

    I have thought about how to vote very carefully, not just in preparation for this election but over many years.  As I have said, to me the key thing is to vote as a Catholic, to act according to a well-formed Catholic conscience, and to take seriously my duties to the least among us — particularly to the defenseless unborn.

    That’s what I’m going to do.  What about you?

    Voting as a Catholic

    Friday, October 29th, 2010

    Once again, Election Day approaches.  At times like these, I am frequently asked how people can do the right thing as voters, as citizens, and as Catholics.

    According to the teachings of our Church — our Holy Father and our bishops — there are several critical questions involved here.

    The first is the formation of my conscience.  Our bishops have said quite clearly that

    “Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do.” (Faithful Citizenship 17)

    A good, Catholic conscience is obedient to the teachings of the Church, and open to hearing the voice of God.  It considers God’s will more important than any partisan interest that I may have.  It always directs me to do good and avoid evil, and in the case of voting,

    “A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, The Participation of Catholics in Political Life 4)

    Building on the proper formation of conscience, we can then turn to the issues and the candidates.  One thing is crystal clear at this point:  all the issues are not the same, and the defense of human life is the paramount issue for Catholics to consider.  As the United States Bishops have said,

    “This exercise of conscience begins with outright opposition to laws and other policies that violate human life or weaken its protection.” (Faithful Citizenship 31).

    “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.” (Faithful Citizenship 28)

    This means that in evaluating a candidate, we must consider, first and foremost, their position on the defense of human life.  As the U.S. Bishops have said:

    “As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.” (Faithful Citizenship 42)

    Our New York Bishops have said the same:

    “The inalienable right to right of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.” (New York State Bishops, Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty)

    Cardinal Egan once confronted us, in language as plain as possible,with the choice of conscience and discipleship that we face when going into the voting booth:

    Look [at the pictures of unborn children] and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of ‘legalized’ abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.”

    The teaching of our Church is clear:  we must vote pro-life.

    (For more information about voting, including statements by the Archdiocese, the New York Bishops, and the United States Bishops, click here.  For information about the positions of candidates running for office, click here.)

    Varia

    Friday, October 29th, 2010

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which  I send out to some of my friends and contacts:

  • The headline says it all: “Pope says bishops must educate faithful to vote against abortion”.  The Holy Father went on to describe legalized abortion as a betrayal of democracy at its foundation.  Spread this word far and wide.
  • Watch this great new video from CatholicVote.org — “We are the Catholic Vote“.
  • A short overview of the recent Princeton conference, at which pro-life and “pro-choice” philosophers met.  For a flavor of what was said, see this excellent piece on the “moral status of the fetus” from Catholic philosopher John Finnis.
  • Rather than make a decision to stop a dangerous practice, the Iowa medical board has deferred decision on the so-called “Telemed” abortions, where the only contact a woman has with a doctor prior to being given the abortion drug is a video hookup.  Just keep repeating to yourself: “it’s all about women’s health”.
  • A panel of our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers has let stand a resolution by City Council of San Francisco that denounced Church teaching on homsexuality as “hateful”, “insulting”, and “discriminatory” and implicitly threatened to de-fund Catholic charitable agencies unless they defy Church teaching.  Funny how the Establishment Clause doesn’t seem to apply in the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals, which seems to be channeling Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer.  Meanwhile, another Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Ruler has decided that the First Amendment doesn’t apply in Ohio, by refusing to stop the Ohio Election Commission’s effort to suppress the speech of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List PAC.
  • A valuable and important point by Wesley Smith about the ineffectiveness of graphic images in advocacy, including pictures of aborted children.  I whole-heartedly agree.
  • Someone has apparently reminded the President that our human rights come from God, and so he has begun to quote the Declaration of Independence correctly.
  • Meanwhile, the President says that his position on same-sex “marriage” is “evolving” (guess in which direction?).  Not surprising, since he openly stated he was in favor of re-defining marriage back when he was an obscure politician in Illinois.
  • The Temple of Moloch, er, I mean Planned Parenthood, is suing Montana to force the state to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives — for kids.
  • Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review reports on the Minnesota Democratic Party’s side of the story about that anti-Catholic ad from Minnesota.  It’s not a very convincing excuse.  They meant to attack an evangelical preacher who’s running for office — by printing a picture of a guy in a Roman collar.  Oh, so basically you didn’t mean to unfairly attack us, because you were busy unfairly attacking another clergyman.  Thanks.
  • Okaaaaaay.  Has the Times become the Onion?  Exhibit One: Here’s what they consider to be such a significant political trend that it’s worthy of attention one week before Election Day:  the role of transgendered candidates.  Exhibit Two: A “fit to print” op-ed by two “social scientists” in the Times explains that conservative political views stem from a feeling of disgust of germs.  Their “proof”?  People who stand near disinfectant dispensers are more likely to express conservative views.  You just can’t make this stuff up.
  • We talk a lot about politics, these days, but this puts it all in perspective — an awesome video of the ordination of priests in Milwaukee earlier this year.