Thursday, October 30, 2008

Family emergency

I'm on the road, traveling to visit with my step-mother's step-father who has not much longer to live. John and his recently departed wife, Emily, have contributed much to the world of the modern blended family. Some of their books are here.
As physician and psycholgist, they did their best to help in a world which rejects the Physician of souls. May our merciful God grant them both peace, for they certainly did the best with the good will they had.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fascinating "dialogue"

Anita at V-for Victory has some pictures which are an embarassment to our political process, in her post More Liberal Compassion.

a couple weeks ago Rachael Maddow interviewed David Frum on her program. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching. Watch how David turns the tables on Rachael, he's got her dead to rights, and her squirming is palpable.

"given the small plate of responsibility that you personally have, how do you manage that responsibility? The fact that other people fail in other ways, is not an excuse for you failing in your way." david's response to Rachael's trying to equate her lack of respect with convention hecklers yelling "kill Obama."

Watch it here. fascinating.

If you find her self-defense acceptable and her criticism valid, then see Anita's post linked above. the noose swings both ways.

Let's Spread The Wealth

This morning I received this political cartoon (click to see larger view):

This got me to thinking, what about "equal protection" and all that...

I'd like to see started a grass-roots movement to tax political contributions as income! After all, our political contributions are NOT tax deductable, and political organizations are NOT non-profit corporations, so… give ‘em a dose of their own medicine! Tell me why should such wealthy organizations get a complete pass on tax liability?

If the Bush tax cuts expire, the next presidential election should raise an additional $500 million in tax revenue, based on the billion raised in this election.

Hey, the Lotto is taxed at 50% - I say “share the wealth” – let's apply the same standards to the Big Lotto winner as we apply to the little guy who wins a lotto; that would be fair, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Traditions of men

The Calumny that the Catholic Faith is infested with or composed only of the "traditions of men" rather than following the Word of God is often thrown at us; usually by those who follow the "traditions of men," most of which are the spawn of the tradition created by Martin Luther of private interpretation of the bible, a clear violation of Holy Scripture (2 Pt 1:20).

That said, I always see in their faithful, be they Mormon, JW, Moslem, as well as the various stripes of protestantism, a precursor in the Rechabites. Jeremiah, teaches us that we should well be shamed by the adherants of the traditions of men, they are here to teach us something...

Chapter 35
1 This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah:
2 Approach the Rechabites and speak to them; bring them into the house of the LORD, to one of the rooms, and give them wine to drink.
3 So I went and brought Jaazaniah, son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, his brothers and all his sons, the whole company of the Rechabites,
4 into the house of the LORD, to the room of the sons of Hanan, son of Igdaliah, the man of God, next to the princes' room, above the room of Maaseiah, son of Shallum, keeper of the doorway.
5 I set before these Rechabite men bowls full of wine and offered them cups to drink the wine.
6 "We do not drink wine," they said to me: "Jonadab, Rechab's son, our father, forbade us in these words: 'Neither you nor your children shall ever drink wine.
7 Build no house and sow no seed; neither plant nor own a vineyard. You shall dwell in tents all your life, so that you may live long on the earth where you are wayfarers.'
8 Now we have heeded Jonadab, Rechab's son, our father, in all his prohibitions. All our lives we have not drunk wine, neither we, nor our wives, nor our sons, nor our daughters.
9 We build no houses to live in; we own no vineyards or fields or crops,
10 and we live in tents; we obediently do everything our father Jonadab commanded us.
11 But when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, invaded this land, we decided to come into Jerusalem to escape the army of the Chaldeans and the army of Aram; that is why we are now living in Jerusalem."
12 Then this word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
13 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go, say to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem: Will you not take correction and obey my words? says the LORD.
14 The advice of Jonadab, Rechab's son, by which he forbade his children to drink wine, has been followed: to this day they have not drunk it; they obeyed their father's command. Me, however, you have not obeyed, although I spoke to you untiringly and insistently.
15 I kept sending you all my servants the prophets, telling you to turn back, all of you, from your evil way; to reform your conduct, and not follow strange gods or serve them, if you would remain on the land which I gave you and your fathers; but you did not heed me or obey me.
16 Yes, the children of Jonadab, Rechab's son, observed the command which their father laid on them; but this people does not obey me!
17 Now, therefore, says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: I will bring upon Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem every evil that I threatened; because when I spoke they did not obey, when I called they did not answer.
18 But to the company of the Rechabites Jeremiah said: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Since you have obeyed the command of Jonadab, your father, kept all his commands and done everything he commanded you,
19 thus therefore says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Never shall there fail to be a descendant of Jonadab, Rechab's son, standing in my service.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bishop reminds Catholics to remember Judgment Day in the voting booth

Bishop reminds Catholics to remember Judgment Day in the voting booth

St. Louis, Oct 18, 2008 / 08:03 am (CNA).- Bishop Robert J. Herman, the administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has written a column reminding Catholics that their vote will be a decision weighed on the Day of Judgment. He urged Catholics not to treat the unborn as the neglectful rich man treated Lazarus in the biblical parable.

“Judgment Day is on its way,” the bishop wrote in the St. Louis Review. “We cannot stop it. We don’t know when it will come, but just as surely as the sun rises daily, the Son of Man will come when we least expect.”

“For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us,” he continued, referencing Christ’s words of judgment in Matthew 10:32-33:

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Bishop Herman asked the faithful to consider what kind of witness they give to God when they enter the voting booth on Election Day.

“The decision I make in the voting booth will reflect my value system. If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble,” the bishop wrote.

He cited Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, which said outcry on human rights is “false and illusory” if the right to life is not defended to the maximum.

“The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy,” Bishop Herman continued.

“My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion.”

Bishop Herman looked to the spiritual dimension as well.

“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 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.”

Bishop Herman said the “deepest problem” with many Catholics is that they have become accustomed to rationalizing away a “life of sinful actions” headed in the wrong direction.

“My goal is not to engage you in some political party way but to engage you with our Savior and His teachings. We need to constantly challenge our accustomed behaviors in the light of the Gospel,” he wrote.

He said the issues of the coming election could help people learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church and to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“When we do this, both we and the heavens will be filled with joy!” he asserted.

“Judgment Day is on its way,” he repeated, encouraging people to pray the family Rosary daily between now and Election Day.

In a previous column for the St. Louis Review, Bishop Herman urged Catholics not to put politics ahead of the Fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

“Save our children!” he wrote. “More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. All other issues, including the economy, have to take second place to the issue of life.”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eduardo Verastegui's video

Here's a web site called
Eduardo has produced a video to remind us what is truly behind the rhetoric.

Watch the video, and remember, that we are also watched, by a great cloud of witnesses.

"There are few things that can move me to tears; there are even fewer that can make me sob, unabashedly-this video is one of those. I have forwarded it to everyone on my list. - S.M."

This just in...

Here's a plug from Michael Greaney which I am pleased to quote in full:

I'm sending this rather impersonal "blog release" to Catholic blogs to alert them to the publication of my latest book, In Defense of Human Dignity: Essays on the Just Third Way from a Natural Law Perspective by Michael D. Greaney, Economic Justice Media, ISBN 978-0-944997-02-4, $20.00. In my opinion, the current financial crisis has demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt that only sound application of Catholic social teaching with its basis in the natural law can provide a framework for rebuilding a moral and virtuous society.

The majority of the articles in the book were previously published in Social Justice Review, the official journal of the Central Bureau, Catholic Central Union of America in St. Louis, and were personally vetted by the editor, the late Father John H. Miller, C.S.C., S.T.D. They demonstrate the universality of the principles underpinning the Just Third Way of the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ"),, from a Catholic perspective. The book contains in-depth treatments of natural law political theory, distributism, and social credit, and closes with an extended analysis of the principle of subsidiarity.

I serve as Director of Research for the interfaith Center for Economic and Social Justice ("CESJ") in Arlington, Virginia. I was associate editor for and contributor to Curing World Poverty: The New Role of Property (Social Justice Review, 1994), was a co-author of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen (Economic Justice Media, 2004), and am principal contributor to "The Just Third Way" blog. In Defense of Human Dignity can be ordered online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as by special order from major bookstores. Bulk orders are available direct from the publisher, CESJ, at a 20% discount off the cover price, plus shipping. Inquiries should be directed to A free review copy in .pdf is available to bloggers. I had to split it into two "volumes," but the formatting is otherwise similar, and the pagination remains the same. You just don't get the cover designed by a professional graphic artist — but then, you shouldn't be judging it by that, anyway.

Thank you.
Michael D. Greaney, CPA, MBA
Director of Research
Center for Economic and Social Justice

I am a regular reader of Social Justice Review, and recommend a subscription to one and all. The book will need to come next.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Robert Parsons - Magnificat & Ave Maria

From the Robert Parsons Project

Ave Maria

Just cuz...

Oppose the regime!

click image to see full size.

click image to see full size.

The House version of FOCA (H.R. 1964) has 110 co-sponsors. B. Obama has promised he would sign it into law. the Senate version (S 1173 IS) is co-sponsored by Sens. Obama, Clinton, Liberman, and Kerry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Chan we can believe in"

Outside the debate this evening, were individuals carrying posters that said "Chan we can believe in" substituting a picture of Jackie Chan for Barack Obama.

A Google search found the web site source immediately after the debate; hit #1.
However... now, an hour later, Google reports "no results found" for a search on "Chan we can believe in"

Can you believe it; censorship from Google? AH, SAY IT AIN'T SO!

well, Windows XP IE does use a cache, so here it is anyway.

regardless of the political leanings, expressed or implied, by this poster, the creativity is obvious and good for a chuckle. Come on, guys, lighten up!

update 30 minutes later: it's back. hummm...

"It's to die for"

"One does not make the world more human by refusing to act humanely here and now"

In his first encyclical, (Deus caritas est, 31b) Benedict XVI, in a critique of the Marxist critique of charity, makes the clear observation that one does not make a humane world by refusing to act humanely; And just as no one makes a better world by executing all those who stand in the way of his vision of a better world, no woman creates a better world for herself by killing her child in the womb. For as blindingly obvious as this would seem, those who are willing to try, are legion.

Venerable fraud...

Fr. Powell, on the comments of "Former Notre Dame president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, that venerable fraud..."

There's a common type of academic theologian who, when taxed with heterodoxy, replies huffily. "I'm not paid to teach catechism; I'm here to show students how to do theology." In reality, with the rare exception of extraordinary pupils in contact with extraordinary professors -- what is transmitted is not the craft of theology but simply a different catechism: most students quickly learn to parrot those answers (anti-dogmatic formulae, it may be) that win the praise of their betters. By the same token, the clerics of the Hesburgh Generation want us to understand that they left the Catholic ghetto behind; yet the reality is that they still drink in their opinions from the environment -- and that as uncritically as they did as second-graders. That environment is no longer St. Polycarp's parish school in the Bronx or Back of the Yards, but the faculty lounge of liberal upper-middle-class academe: a better class of ghetto, perhaps, but a still a ghetto. It would be as unthinkable for these chameleons to depart from the received opinion on women priests as it would be for them to countenance segregated lunch counters in Mississippi. Catholics in every respect except religion, they just can't understand why the rest of us can't grow beyond belief. Hey, Ted's got no problem with it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gravity is still working...

High Gravity... beginning to understand.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Early snow

Early snow this afternoon, about an inch of wet snow...

but as the leaves haven't fallen yet, the snow weighed heavy on the limbs, and oops, a few came down...

But, can't let that get in the way of BBQ; Fall run Columbia River Coho at $3.99/lb, yes, indeed!

Get a (prayer) life!

Fr Speekman has an excellent post down under, his most excellent homily
28th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year A

So what about Lectio Divina?

Let me firstly give you an image. You're on a railway platform waiting for the train. Are you really waiting for the train? No, you are really waiting for the arrival of the person who is on the train. It would be silly if the train pulled in and we all stood around admiring the train and ignored the passengers.

Admiring the train is what's called Bible Study. Lectio Divina is searching for the passenger.

And you know which passenger I mean, don't you - it's God himself - the God of love - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It's easy to slip from Lectio Divina into Bible Study and its a dangerous confusion. For Lectio Divina you really only need a good Bible with some good footnotes. You can always do some Bible Study at another time. It's important not to confuse the two.

Lectio Divina, as someone once said, is not studying the bible, it's letting the bible study you.
that's a taste, go read it all!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Paul III's Sublimus Dei reaches across 500 years.

There has been much interest of late expressed in popular media and educational circles regarding the native peoples of America when the Spanish first arrived in the New World, as well as the English and French at later dates. Five years ago, I visited Mexico along with a number of other people from Nampa, Idaho, and spent 10 days there, staying in a village called Tizapan el Alto on the largest lake in Mexico called Laguna Chapala [40 to 50 miles south of the city of Guadalajara, State of Jalisco(central Mexico)].
It was a beautiful place--somewhat high desert, not unlike Idaho, mild weather, and a city or municipality [not unlike counties in the U.S.] with approximately 20 to 30,000 people. Approximately one-half the population, I was told, was working in the United States. I met a few people that were an Indian mix, including some that claimed to be the progeny of the Aztecs. (Not a difficult claim based upon the proximity to Mexico City).
Upon my return to the States, I read the "Conquest of Mexico" by the Spanish padre, Juan Diego. That journal of events read like a storybook, commanding my keen interest and attention. The book is to be commended to anyone interested in the earliest involvement of Europeans on the North American continent. Of course, the Catholic Faith flourished after the conquest. Some say that the Spanish treatment of the Indians was terrible. Indeed, many Europeans whether English, Spanish, or otherwise, automatically viewed the Indian peoples summarily as savages, incapable of believing in God and the Catholic Faith, and that as savages, they should be enslaved, their property to escheat to the crown, and freedom denied.
Of course, that is illogical. The Gospel is for all humankind. It knows no bounds. In fact, the Gospel civilized the savages of northern Europe 1200 to 1800 years ago.
To learn history is a life-long task. I am no a history scholar. On the other hand, there is much prejudice regarding the history of the Faith, the Church, and how the Indians were treated. There is no one uniform story, for when people believe in Christ and that His Heart is for all peoples in all times, will largely treat people rightly. Much good was done. However, with human involvement comes evil. No doubt the evil of slavery and ignorance abounded and still does to this day.
Regardless, the Faith was passed on and it is testified that after the Mexican conquest, millions of men, women, and children were baptized into the Catholic Faith.
As an early example of papal admonitions about how to deal with foreign peoples and social justice, the Roman Pontiff, Paul III, issued the following bull "To all faithful Christians" with regard to the treatment of the American Indians demanding that the native folk be respected, that their freedom be honored, and their right to possession of their property. He clearly demanded that the Indians not be enslaved, "should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect."
It still read as a short statement on how to treat people to this day: Respect the person, respect liberty and property, do not enslave.
Here is the bull in its entirety and simplicity, issued on May 29, 1537:

Sublimus Dei

Pope Paul III (Topic: the enslavement and evangelization of Indians)

To all faithful Christians to whom this writing may come, health in Christ our Lord and the apostolic benediction.

The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Christ, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office 'Go ye and teach all nations.' He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith.

The enemy of the human race, who opposes all good deeds in order to bring men to destruction, beholding and envying this, invented a means never before heard of, by which he might hinder the preaching of God's word of Salvation to the people: he inspired his satellites who, to please him, have not hesitated to publish abroad that the Indians of the West and the South, and other people of whom We have recent knowledge should be treated as dumb brutes created for our service, pretending that they are incapable of receiving the Catholic Faith.

We, who, though unworthy, exercise on earth the power of our Lord and seek with all our might to bring those sheep of His flock who are outside into the fold committed to our charge, consider, however, that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but, according to our information, they desire exceedingly to receive it. Desiring to provide ample remedy for these evils, We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.

By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, which shall thus command the same obedience as the originals, that the said Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living.

What to do? in pictures

Mom & dad are on a trip, and have left Joe (16) and his little brother in the care of a friend who is staying at the house. Joe knows he must get up and get Brandon up and to school, this is not the sitter responsibility but his. But at 6AM, responsibility is a hard taskmaster...

So ok, Joe gets up...


The thought of the bus soon arriving helps Joe get started...

Breakfast, not great perhaps, but adequate under the circumstances

everyone brushing... oh yeah, making good progress indeed; they'll make the bus on time!

Joe knows that he must have Brandon to the bus stop on time, or there will be trouble later.

But then the monkey wrench; two open doors, one to outside where duty calls, one left open to the bathroom where, ahem, something else seems to be calling.

The first call (of duty) promises no immediate reward, although there is a promise of the opposite if duty is not met. The second carries an implied promise of something not quite seen, but quite desired. This is not the first moral decision of Joe's day; he had to choose between the bed and getting up, ignoring Brandon or feeding him and making sure he's dressed and ready for school, but now the stakes have risen higher; and Joe hesitates. What would Joe do?

Joe and Brandon are on the bus, but Joe's world is a little upside down,

Because he did what was right, but has left a part of himself behind, trapped in time.

As more and more little parts get stuck in the mire of time, our ability to 'see' and judge decreases with our fragmentation. Enough gets anchored behind, and the way gets lost alltogether. The alternative is true contrition, repentance, and confession, which pulls up the stakes and restores sight and unity of being.

what's my point in this little exercise? Today I awoke at 2AM with the beginnings of a migraine headache, and did the best I could to "offer it up," as we say. Offering up the suffering for the Holy Souls, but also, asking Our Lady to distribute grace where she sees fit. Oddly, the thought of the electorate came to mind, with this little story. For, are we not like the teenage boy, with a clear sight of what needs to be done, but also, distracted by the dangling of the suggestion of a solution to all our national problems, if we'd just go through the door with the candidate? And at another level, our moral choices are clouded in the same way as this little story; we see a dim shape indistinctly which offers us immediate satisfaction, and we compare to the clear call of duty which carries no immediate, but only deferred reward. It surprises me not that we so often choose like Eve did in the garden, or obey Eve like Adam did; heck, we've been told to "stop and smell the flowers along the way" since we were toddlers, of course we often choose what is in front of our nose instead of what is our goal, putting what is seen above what is unseen. Going back to politics, to borrow a phrase from St. Paul, "Hope is not hope if its object is seen." -

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What is commonly meant by the "Tolerance?"

This scene from "Saving Private Ryan" graphically captures it:

This shiboleth of the Zeitgiest, "Tolerance," means: stay quiet while evil destroys you; or, put another way, do not fight against the destruction of souls.

Life or death?

ZE08100205 - 2008-10-02
Cardinal Rigali's Statement for Respect Life Sunday

"We Cannot Tolerate an Even Greater Loss of Innocent Human Lives"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 2, 2008 ( Here is the statement Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, in a statement for this weekend's Respect Life Sunday. The theme for this year is "Hope and Trust in Life."

* * *

On October 5, 2008, Catholics across the United States will again celebrate Respect Life Sunday. Throughout the month of October, Catholic parishes and organizations will sponsor hundreds of educational conferences, prayer services, and opportunities for public witness, as well as events to raise funds for programs assisting those in need. Such initiatives are integral to the Church's ongoing effort to help build a culture in which every human life without exception is respected and defended.

Education and advocacy during Respect Life Month address a broad range of moral and public policy issues. Among these, the care of persons with disabilities and those nearing the end of life is an enduring concern. Some medical ethicists wrongly promote ending the lives of patients with serious physical and mental disabilities by withdrawing
their food and water, even though -- or in some cases precisely because -- they are not imminently dying. This November, the citizens of Washington State will vote on a ballot initiative to legalize doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. In neighboring Oregon, where assisted suicide is already legal, the state has refused to cover the cost of life-sustaining treatments for some patients facing terminal illness, while callously informing them that Oregon will pay for suicide pills. Such policies betray the ideal of America as a compassionate society honoring the inherent worth of every human

Embryonic stem cell research also presents grave ethical concerns. The Catholic Church strongly supports promising and ethically sound stem cell research -- and strongly opposes killing week-old human embryos, or human beings at any stage, to extract their stem cells. We applaud the remarkable therapeutic successes that have been achieved using stem cells from cord blood and adult tissues. We vigorously oppose initiatives, like the one confronting Michigan voters in November, that would endorse the deliberate destruction of developing human beings for embryonic stem cell research.

Turning to abortion, we note that most Americans favor banning all abortion or permitting it only in very rare cases (danger to the mother's life or cases of rape or incest). Also encouraging is the finding of a recent Guttmacher Institute study that the U.S. abortion rate declined 26% between 1989 and 2004. The decline was steepest, 58%, among girls under 18. An important factor in this trend is that teens increasingly are choosing to remain abstinent until their late teens or early 20s. Regrettably, when they do become sexually active prior to marrying, many become pregnant and choose abortion -- the abortion rate increased among women aged 20 and older between 1974 and 2004, although the rate is now gradually declining.

Today, however, we face the threat of a federal bill that, if enacted, would obliterate virtually all the gains of the past 35 years and cause the abortion rate to skyrocket. The "Freedom of Choice Act" ("FOCA") has many Congressional sponsors, some of whom have pledged to act swiftly to help enact this proposed legislation when Congress reconvenes in January.

FOCA establishes abortion as a "fundamental right" throughout the nine months of pregnancy, and forbids any law or policy that could "interfere" with that right or "discriminate" against it in public funding and programs. If FOCA became law, hundreds of reasonable, widely supported, and constitutionally sound abortion regulations now in place would be invalidated. Gone would be laws providing for informed consent, and parental consent or notification in the case of minors. Laws protecting women from unsafe abortion clinics and from abortion practitioners who are not physicians would be overridden.

Restrictions on partial-birth and other late-term abortions would be eliminated. FOCA would knock down laws protecting the conscience rights of nurses, doctors, and hospitals with moral objections to abortion, and force taxpayers to fund abortions throughout the United States.

We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot tolerate an even greater loss of innocent human lives. We cannot subject more women and men to the post-abortion grief and suffering that our counselors and priests encounter daily in Project Rachel programs across America.

For twenty-four years, the Catholic Church has provided free, confidential counseling to individuals seeking emotional and spiritual healing after an abortion, whether their own or a loved one's. We look forward to the day when these counseling services are no longer needed, when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law. If FOCA is enacted, however, that day may recede into the very distant future.

In this Respect Life Month, let us rededicate ourselves to defending the basic rights of those who are weakest and most marginalized: the poor, the homeless, the innocent unborn, and the frail and elderly who need our respect and our assistance. In this and in so many ways we will truly build a culture of life.

"License to Kill"

Freedom of Choice Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 2020 IS


2d Session

S. 2020

To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.


January 22, 2004

Mrs. BOXER (for herself, Mr. CORZINE, Mrs. MURRAY, Mr. LAUTENBERG, Mrs. CLINTON, Ms. CANTWELL, Mr. JEFFORDS, Mr. LIEBERMAN, Mrs. FEINSTEIN, Mr. SARBANES, and Ms. MIKULSKI) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Freedom of Choice Act'.


    Congress finds the following:

      (1) The United States was founded on the principles of individual liberty, personal privacy, and equality. Such principles ensure that each individual is free to make the most intimate decisions free from governmental interference and discrimination.

      (2) A woman's decision to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy is one of the most intimate decisions an individual ever faces. As such, reproductive health decisions are best made by the woman, in consultation with her medical provider or loved ones, without governmental interference.

      (3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized the right to privacy protected by the Constitution and that such right encompassed the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.

      (4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balanced the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the state's interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy is absolute only prior to fetal viability, with the state permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect the life or health of a woman.

      (5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the known hazards that included unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death.

      (6) According to one estimate, prior to 1973, as many as 5,000 women died each year in the United States as a result of having an illegal abortion.

      (7) In countries where abortion remains illegal, the risk of complications and maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.

      (8) The Roe v. Wade decision expanded the opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed that, `[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.'.

      (9) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed a constitutional right to choose whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy, threats to that right remain, including possible reversal or further erosion by the Supreme Court of the right, and legislative and administrative policies at all levels of government that make abortion more difficult and dangerous to obtain.

      (10) 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.

      (11) Legal barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger the health and lives of women.

      (12) Women should have meaningful access to reproductive health services to prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortions.

      (13) To ensure that a woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy is available to all women in the United States, Federal protection for that right is necessary.

      (14) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory rights in areas of legitimate national concern.

      (15) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal protection of the laws.

      (16) Federal protection of a woman's right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because--

        (A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;

        (B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and

        (C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.


    In this Act:

      (1) GOVERNMENT- The term `government' includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official (or other individual acting under color of law) of the United States, a State, or a subdivision of a State.

      (2) STATE- The term `State' means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory or possession of the United States.

      (3) VIABILITY- The term `viability' means that stage of pregnancy when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular medical facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside of the woman.


    (a) STATEMENT OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

    (b) PROHIBITION OF INTERFERENCE- A government may not--

      (1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--

        (A) to bear a child;

        (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

        (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

      (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

    (c) CIVIL ACTION- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.


    If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.


    This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

Another Episcopal response:

The Toledo Blade
Article published Saturday, October 4, 2008
Reject the Freedom of Choice Act

A WEEK ago today, an article was published in The Blade, "Who really is the pro-life candidate?" by Richard A. Gaillardetz, professor of Catholic studies at the University of Toledo.

To teach Catholic studies at a secular university one does not have to be a Roman Catholic, but Mr. Gaillardetz made a specific point of identifying himself as a Catholic in his article. Lest Mr. Gaillardetz's teaching position and self-identification as a Catholic create any misunderstandings, it should be pointed out that his opinions regarding the issue of abortion, and Roe vs. Wade in particular, do not reflect the clear and consistent moral position of the United States Catholic bishops. He suggests that attempts to overturn Roe vs. Wade are problematic and perhaps futile. It should be pointed out that at one time in our nation's history, the abolition of slavery was also considered by many to be problematic and futile, and extremely divisive.

Yet our nation was not content with simply reducing the number of slaves or easing their condition. It was the very institution of slavery that was morally abhorrent and incompatible with the principles on which our nation was founded.

Roe vs. Wade has been responsible for the killing of tens of millions of unborn children. It has effectively rendered the definition of human personhood flexible and negotiable. It has also implicitly excluded unborn children from human status. This morally flawed thinking is now deployed on behalf of physician-assisted suicide, fetal experimentation, and human cloning. Each reduces the human person to a problem or an object.

In 2002, the bishops reaffirmed what has been a consistent moral position. They wrote: "Roe vs. Wade cannot stand as the law of this great nation, a nation founded on the self-evident truth that all people are created with an inalienable right to life. We are committed, no matter how long it may take, no matter the sacrifices required, to bringing about a reversal of this tragic Supreme Court decision. We will speak out on behalf of the sanctity of each and every human life wherever it is threatened, from conception to natural death, and we urge all people of good will to do likewise. … Roe vs. Wade must be reversed" (A Matter of the Heart). Furthermore, "Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. … But being right about such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life" (cf. Living the Gospel of Life, 1998).

I certainly agree with Mr. Gaillardetz that we must also strive to reduce abortions even while Roe vs. Wade remains in effect. This is already happening. Annual abortions in our country declined from over 1.5 million to just over 1 million in recent years. Factors in this decline include a growing public revulsion at abortion - prompted in part by greater awareness of the grisly "partial-birth" abortion method - and the passage of hundreds of modest but effective pro-life laws such as public funding bans, informed-consent laws, laws requiring parental involvement when minors seek abortions, and so on.

Tragically, some lawmakers would reverse these gains and boost the abortion rate by invalidating all such laws, through extreme measures such as the proposed "Freedom of Choice Act" in Congress. Despite its deceptive title, it would deprive the American people in all 50 states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry, and would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. No one supporting such legislation can claim in good faith to be working to reduce abortions.

As the late Pope John Paul II affirmed: "It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop" (Evangelium Vitae, no. 101).

The failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the "rightness" of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.

The Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Doing the math

“Utilitarian thinking.” Not something used in common speech, even if it is a common form of thinking. Yet I see it displayed in the cyclical “election calculus” whereby individuals weigh the value of the lives lost to abortion, and conclude that they are of less consequence than the lives lost, say, in the Iraq conflict, or fortunes lost due to Wall Street financial manipulations.

Now I have little doubt that the average person will agree that they have as much right not to be murdered as does say, Bill Gates. Now Bill Gates may have more money and influence than the rest of us (George Soros excluded), and his murder would impact many more people than would yours or mine, but we would still reasonably conclude that the value of his life and our lives is intrinsically the same; not measured by what we have but by what we are. Put another way, we would rise to the defense of our own lives quicker than we would leap to sacrifice our lives for Bill Gates. And, this is to be expected.

Now what about if the comparison is between myself and my child? If I am a good parent who loves my child, I would give my life to save the life of my child; my life has been spent and my decisions made, my child’s life lays open before him. Love makes one willing to sacrifice for the good of the beloved.

Oddly, I see a utilitarian calculus come into play both at the beginning of life and the end of life. Those at the end are sometimes judged as a burden which the rest should not have to support, a classic utilitarian calculus which is the same as that which resulted in the elimination of the German handicapped and “unfit worthless eaters” in the 1930s, a sentiment, sadly, promoted in England today by Baroness Warnock, who speaking on the duty to die, says "I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down." Hitler would be proud.

Ok, what about the other end of the spectrum? Here I see the comparison made that the loss suffered by an abortion is so little, because so little has been lived, compared to the loss of the life of someone who is a noncombatant tragically killed as a consequence of armed conflict. This is the sort of Utilitarian calculus which weighs one as large, and one as small.

If I were a math teacher, I’d grade this calculation with an “F,” for the value of the loss is not loosing what you have, but the lost opportunity to have. That this is the proper calculation is intuited by the instinctive anguish at the accidental death of a child or young person, rather than someone on the backside of the prime of life. “He had his full life ahead of him.”

On top of this we’ve already established that what we compare is an intrinsic value, not the value of added worth. Me & Bill, member? The value of a soul is does not increase or decrease, it simply is constant. Line them up. Would you kill 1.5 million Americans and confiscate their goods to pay the deficit off? Of course not. Why then is it ok to kill 1.5 million unborn babies this year? Their souls are worth just as much as those other 1.5 million.

Perhaps the objection is that this is a “religious argument,” souls and all. Be glad, because it is the only thing between the state and your life.
To quote Fr. Majewski, "People have complained that I am only concerned with one issue; I say 'Are you out of your mind? no one cares more about people in all aspects of life than the Catholic Church!'"

Monday, October 06, 2008

Try to understand...

"Social Justice."

What does that mean to you? If you speak of what Jesus asks of us, you speak well. He asks us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and take the homeless into our homes. He does not ask us to transfer that task to the community, but rather to DO IT. these are the tasks of charity, which you and I will be judged on. The man who has taken me into his home and provided me with a place to stay, receives my prayers on his behalf; this is the realm of charity, it is social in that it involves interaction between people; it is just in that the Lord Jesus commanded us to "love one another."

As we move up the level of social entity, things can be done in Justice which the previous level was incapable of doing, and as Leo XIII through JPII wrote in their Social Justice encyclicals, only those things which cannot be done at the lower level should be done at the higher level. This we intuit when we acknowledge that law enforcement is not the domain of the private individual, but the state. To reiterate, Jesus never asked that the state perform the tasks of charity He set before us, He asked us to do so.

I cannot imagine you would support a politician who supported a host of popular social programs, but also strongly advocated that children should be allowed to euthanize their retired parents who were an inconvenience or in danger of spending all their retirement and leaving nothing to their children, but being a burden instead. What a horrible thought! Yet the position many advocate is morally equivalent. I don't expect you to accept that or even understand it, so I'll end with the definition of abortion - "Abortion is the willful termination of a human life in the earliest stages of development." Put aside all the arguments and chew on that till it sinks in what it is that you find so unimportant.

Scrupulosity and the Rule

Tom at Disputations is offering reflections on the Rule for the Dominican Laity.

While the Dominican Rule for the laity is noted for the fact that it's practices are not binding under sin, there is little reason to pledge fealty to a rule, if one does not have some desire to be united to the Order, and accepts that the practice of the rule in the government of life, will assist one in the journey of salvation. That said, circumstances of life may conspire to prevent one from fully living up to the rule, and, while not binding under sin, certainly there is a moral obligation to make the effort, and to have a good reason when the rubber has not met the road, so to speak.

It can be a source of worry if the regular observances are not met, and to grasp how this can be viewed, I'd like to look at our Lord's words in Matthew for a moment:

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
(Mt. 5:27-28)Do you not see how that the intention of the heart, which is the seat of the will, carries the conviction of the act? And that even the act may not carry the intention of the will, and be without merit?

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."
(Mt 6:5-6)I know that even if I had unlimited time and no other obligations, the exact observance of the rule would be difficult, because the intrusion of self-will always is creative enough to find a reason to oppose it; but the vow is made and the resolution, at times weak, still is there. Asking for assistance, the grace to persevere, is the lesson each time by our own strength we find ourselves failing, for the rule is like all other aspects of the Christian life. So like what Jesus says about adultry in the heart, let Jesus find us guilty of desiring to fulfill the rule, even when we have not. And be at peace.

Watching my step

This is the Coeur d'Alene Salamander, which lives in northern Idaho (and Western Montana).

So what was it doing, going down my hall at 2am in the morning? and I didn't have slippers on, I shudder to think of what it would have been like had I stepped...

--Edited 10/21/08--

Received following identification from John Larsen PhD, University of Washington:

The salamander in this excellent photo, from the location collected, appears to be the Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum), probably the northern subspecies (krausei).

I live within the range of the long-toed salamander, so mystery turned out to be an error in identification. Lesson? restoration of Christian unity means letting go of errors; pride is the obstacle.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Will the real St. Francis please stand up...

On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of his death, Piux XI wrote an encyclical on St. Francis, ON ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI (Rite Expiatis)

This is a long and loving discourse on St. Francis, but Pius XI apparently was preaching to the birds, as most haven't listened...

3. Notwithstanding the long time that has elapsed since the death of the Seraphic Father, the admiration for him, not only of Catholics but even of non-Catholics, continues amazingly to increase for the reason that his greatness appears to the minds of men with no less splendor today than it did long ago. We, too, most ardently pray for the strength of his virtues which have been so powerful, even at the present hour, in remedying the ills of society. In fact, his work of reform has permeated so deeply Christian peoples that besides re-establishing purity of faith and of morals it has resulted in this, that even the laws of justice and of evangelical charity now more profoundly inspire and guide social life itself.

40. Especially in our days franciscana have been studied more profoundly by the learned and a great number of works printed in various languages have seen the light of day. The talents, too, of artists who have made works of great artistic value have succeeded in arousing an almost limitless admiration for St. Francis among our contemporaries despite the fact that sometimes this admiration is not based on a true understanding of the Saint. Some admired in him the character of the poet by which he so wonderfully expressed the sentiments of his soul, and his famous Canticle became the delight of learned men who recognized in it one of the first great poems of the early Italian language. Others were taken by his love of nature, for he not only seemed fascinated by the majesty of inanimate nature, by the splendor of the stars, by the beauty of his Umbrian mountains and valleys, but, like Adam before his fall in the Garden of Eden, Francis even spoke to the animals themselves. He appears to have been joined to them in a kind of brotherhood and they were obedient to his every wish. Others praised his love of country because in him Our Italy, which boasts the great honor of having given him birth, found a more fruitful source of blessings than any other country. Others, finally, honor him for that truly singular and catholic love with which he embraced all men. All of this is quite admirable but it is the least that is to be praised in our Saint, and it all must be understood in a correct sense. If we stop at these aspects of his life and look upon them as the most important, or change their import so as to justify either our own morbid ideas or excuse our false opinions, or to uphold thereby some of our prejudices, it is certain that we would not possess a genuine picture of the real Francis. As a matter of fact, by his practice of all the virtues in a heroic manner, by the austerity of his life and his preaching of penance, by his manifold and restless activity for the reformation of society, the figure of Francis stands forth in all its completeness, proposed to us not so much for the admiration as for the imitation of Christian peoples. As the Herald of the Great King, his purposes were directed to persuading men to conform their lives to the dictates of evangelical sanctity and to the love of the Cross, not that they should become mere friends or lovers of flowers, birds, lambs, fishes or hares.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Diocese of Scranton: finding Christ's voice

At the direction of the Most Reverend Bishop, this letter is to be read by the celebrant at all Masses of Obligation on Respect Life Weekend, Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5, at the time of and instead of the homily.

Moreover, a copy of the letter should be circulated with all parish bulletins on this same weekend.

Respect Life Sunday

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

The American Catholic bishops initiated Respect Life Sunday in 1972, the year before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States. Since that time, Catholics across the country observe the month of October with devotions and pro-life activities in order to advance the culture of life. This October, our efforts have more significance than ever. Never have we seen such abusive criticism directed toward those who believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death.

As Catholics, we should not be surprised by these developments. Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI predicted that widespread use of artificial contraceptives would lead to increased marital infidelity, lessened regard for women, and a general lowering of moral standards especially among the young. Forty years later, social scientists, not necessarily Catholics, attest to the accuracy of his predictions. As if following some bizarre script, the sexual revolution has produced widespread marital breakdown, weakened family ties, legalized abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, same-sex unions, euthanasia, destruction of human embryos for research purposes and a host of other ills.

It is impossible for me to answer all of the objections to the Church’s teaching on life that we hear every day in the media. Nevertheless, let me address a few. To begin, laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind. They rest on several false claims including that there is no certainty regarding when life begins, that there is no certainty about when a fetus becomes a person, and that some human beings may be killed to advance the interests or convenience of others. With regard to the first, reason and science have answered the question. The life of a human being begins at conception. The Church has long taught this simple truth, and science confirms it. Biologists can now show you the delicate and beautiful development of the human embryo in its first days of existence. This is simply a fact that reasonable people accept. Regarding the second, the embryo and the fetus have the potential to do all that an adult person does. Finally, the claim that the human fetus may be sacrificed to the interests or convenience of his mother or someone else is grievously wrong. All three claims have the same result: the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it.

Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”

Even the Church’s just war theory has moral force because it is grounded in the principle that innocent human life must be protected and defended. Now, a person may, in good faith, misapply just war criteria leading him to mistakenly believe that an unjust war is just, but he or she still knows that innocent human life may not be harmed on purpose. A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases.

Furthermore, National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.

In saying these things in an election year, I am in very good company. My predecessor, Bishop Timlin, writing his pastoral letter on Respect Life Sunday 2000, stated the case eloquently:
Abortion is the issue this year and every year in every campaign. Catholics may not turn away from the moral challenge that abortion poses for those who seek to obey God’s commands. They are wrong when they assert that abortion does not concern them, or that it is only one of a multitude of issues of equal importance. No, the taking of innocent human life is so heinous, so horribly evil, and so absolutely opposite to the law of Almighty God that abortion must take precedence over every other issue. I repeat. It is the single most important issue confronting not only Catholics, but the entire electorate.

My fellow bishops, writing ten years ago, explained why some evils – abortion and euthanasia in particular – take precedence over other forms of violence and abuse.

The failure to protect life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit’ – the living house of God – then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation [emphasis in the original]. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right – the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics, 23.
While the Church assists the State in the promotion of a just society, its primary concern is to assist men and women in achieving salvation. For this reason, it is incumbent upon bishops to correct Catholics who are in error regarding these matters. Furthermore, public officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. As I have said before, I will be vigilant on this subject.

It is the Church’s role now to be a prophet in our own country, reminding all citizens of what our founders meant when they said that “. . . all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Church’s teaching that all life from conception to natural death should be protected by law is founded on religious belief to be sure, but it is also a profoundly American principle founded on reason. Whenever a society asks its citizens to violate its own foundational principles – as well as their moral consciences – citizens have a right, indeed an obligation, to refuse.

In 1941, Bishop Gustave von Galen gave a homily condemning Nazi officials for murdering mentally ill people in his diocese of Muenster, Germany. The bishop said:

“Thou shalt not kill!” God wrote this commandment in the conscience of man long before any penal code laid down the penalty for murder, long before there was any prosecutor or any court to investigate and avenge a murder. Cain, who killed his brother Abel, was a murderer long before there were any states or any courts or law. And he confessed his deed, driven by his accusing conscience: “My punishment is greater than I can bear. . . and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me the murderer shall slay me” (Genesis 4:13-14)”
Should he have opposed the war and remained silent about the murder of the mentally ill? No person of conscience can fail to understand why Bishop von Galen spoke as he did.

My dear friends, I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI said that “God is so humble that he uses us to spread his Word.” The gospel of life, which we have the privilege of proclaiming, resonates in the heart of every person – believer and non-believer – because it fulfills the heart’s most profound desire. Let us with one voice continue to speak the language of love and affirm the right of every human being to have the value of his or her life, from conception to natural death, respected to the highest degree.

October is traditionally the month of the Rosary. Let us pray the Rosary for the strength and fortitude to uphold the truths of our faith and the requirements of our law to all who deny them. And, let us ask Our Lady to bless our nation and the weakest among us.
May Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Lord of Life, pray for us.
Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.Bishop of Scranton

Telling it like it is; finding Christ's voice

Vatican official attacks U.S. Democrats as “party of death"

Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.

For those Catholics who disagree, or otherwise find this offensive, I suggest a careful reading of EWTN's "A Guide to Catholic Teaching and Voting", and if that is too much for you, Fr. Phillip Neri Powell O.P. has written a Dick and Jane explanation for us; PAY ATTENTION! ON Conscience (and Pecan Pies)

If you have read this material, and you complain that all of this is a dodge to drive Catholics into the hands of the Republican Party, I would respond that the policies of the Democratic party have driven out those of us who are Catholic and take our faith seriously and try and live by God's will.