More on the Catholic conundrum

posted at 1:15 pm on August 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

In thinking further on my earlier post, I want to clarify why many practicing Catholics cannot accept Douglas Kmiec’s strange rationalization for voting in support of a pro-abortion candidate. I’ll try to move this away from a specific issue with the current presidential candidates, which is why I’m writing this as a separate post.

Kmiec offers a formulation used often by Catholics when voting for such candidates:

Douglas W. Kmiec, a conservative Catholic legal scholar at Pepperdine School of Law, said that although the formal teachings of the American Catholic bishops put primacy on the sanctity of life, including fetuses and embryos, doctrine allows for voting on other grounds, including the Iraq war, which the Vatican has opposed from the start.

Mr. Kmiec, a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan, said he was supporting Mr. Obama because his platform met the standard of justice and concern for the poor the church has always defended. This year, Mr. Kmiec was denied communion by a priest at a gathering of Catholic business people because of his support for Mr. Obama. Mr. Kmiec said, “The proper question for Catholics to ask is not ‘Can I vote for him?’ but ‘Why shouldn’t I vote for the candidate who feels more passionately and speaks more credibly about economic fairness for the average family, who will be a true steward of the environment, and who will treat the immigrant family with respect?’ ”

Issues of cconomic fairness do appear in the Catholic catechism, although only in general terms. The teachings do not prescribe a certainty of policy as Catholic or un-Catholic. Paragraphs 1938, 1941, and 1947 emphasize the need for action by Catholics to reduce sinful inequalities between the rich and the poor, but generally casts this in rather stark terms, with little resemblance to the quality of life of those deemed poor in the US:

  • 43% of the poor own their homes, and the average home is a three-bedroom house with a garage and 1.5 bathrooms
  • Over two-thirds of households have two rooms per occupant, which belies the notion of overcrowding
  • 80% of the poor have air conditioning
  • Almost 75% own one car; 31% own two or more
  • The average living space for the American poor is larger than the average space for all people in Paris, Vienna, and London, among other cities in Europe

Furthermore, the catechism talks mostly about personal work to resolve sinful inequalities, not the establishment of a government mandate that operates under a redistributionist policy.  It doesn’t forbid it, either, and that’s really the point.  Both parties want to help Americans live well, but have different philosophies on how to get there.  Voters in general should support the candidate who best represents their own approach to these issues, but that has nothing to do with Catholicism.

Neither does the Iraq war.  While the Vatican disagreed with it, war itself does not violate Catholic doctrine (para 2309).  The catechism does explicitly call “indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas” a violation of doctrine, but the US has not engaged in that kind of warfare in decades, and not ever without substantial provocation (para 2314).  Nor is it even applicable in this context, since the war in Iraq is over, and both candidates support an expansion of the war in Afghanistan.  Once again, voters have to rely on something other than Catholic teachings to cast their vote.

However, as I pointed out earlier, the doctrine on abortion leaves no room for such subjective application of other values.  Paragraph 2271 plainly casts “every procured abortion” as a “moral evil”, and reinforces that by stating plainly that this teaching is irrevocable.  Paragraph 2272 calls “formal cooperation” in abortion a “grave offense”, meaning a mortal sin.  Why?  Here, science and faith intersect.  Scientifically, an embryo has life at the moment when the cells divide, if not a few minutes earlier at conception.  Further, the embryo is innately human, with unique DNA specific to humans — and is therefore human life, regardless of its level of convenience to the mother.  Catholicism teaches that human life, especially innocent human life, is sacred and “must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.”

Anyone who formally cooperates in abortion, therefore, sins, and cannot honestly receive the Eucharist until they repent.  That conclusion is inescapable from the catechism in paragraphs 2271, 2272, and 2274, and explicit in 2322:

From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a “criminal” practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.

Regardless of how Catholics feel about economic “fairness” or the Iraq war, that trumps all else for observant Catholics.  Formal cooperation with abortion means excommunication, which indicates just how foundational this issue is for the Church and its members.

Many Catholics maneuver around this by simply ignoring it, and they’re free to do so.  Membership in the Church is voluntary, after all, and people can leave the Catholic Church if they disagree with its catechism (and strictly speaking, they should do so under those circumstances).   However, it’s either a gross misrepresentation or self-delusion to argue that abortion is simply one issue among many for observant Catholics and that economic policy or foreign affairs can outweigh it.

Update: The Anchoress wrote a column on this topic last month that is well worth the read.


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I go to a mainline Protestant church that welcomes homosexual couples to services that deal exclusively with Biblical teachings. It’s growing too.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 3:45 PM

So do I, but I don’t delude myself about why and what’s going on. You seem to.

Jaibones on August 7, 2008 at 4:46 PM

The thing is, they haven’t existed for 2000 years. For instance, the modern Catholic position on abortion (it’s murder any time after conception) is nearing its 140 year anniversary.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:44 PM

.
I believe that the book of Exodus is somewhat older than 140 years of age.

Think_b4_speaking on August 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Homosexuality is a sin. Opting to be a practicing homosexual (i.e. living a homosexual lifestyle and emphasizing sexual orientation as a key part of their identity) is most definitely a choice.

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 4:43 PM

So are lying, cheating, stealing, coveting oxen and other property, etc. You don’t hear churches railing on about these day and night; in fact, some “evangelical” churches have recently turned quite a good business based on the promotion of coveting. My point is that misplaced priorities drive a lot of people away. The culture war is getting tiresome.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM

I believe that the book of Exodus is somewhat older than 140 years of age.

Think_b4_speaking on August 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM

I’m talking about Catholic teaching. Go ask Pope Pius IX if you’re interested.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:55 PM

For instance, the modern Catholic position on abortion (it’s murder any time after conception) is nearing its 140 year anniversary.

But these positions don’t change due to attempts to reach out to the younger population. Besides, what young people are interested in today, is rarely what young people tomorrow are going to be interested in.

I don’t want a church that sways with fads and trends. I’ll join a bowling league if all I want is social interaction.

NoDonkey on August 7, 2008 at 4:55 PM

So are lying, cheating, stealing, coveting oxen and other property, etc. You don’t hear churches railing on about these day and night

That’s a good point. I agree that many churches unfairly highlight one sin will ignoring the others as though there is some sort of hierarchy of sins.

Esthier on August 7, 2008 at 4:58 PM

I’m talking about Catholic teaching. Go ask Pope Pius IX if you’re interested.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:55 PM

.
Hmm, maybe not…

“He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and kills her, is guilty of willful murder… But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a philtrum, if the man that takes it dies upon it; so are they who take medicines to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway, and rapparees” (Basil the Great – First Canonical Letter, canon 2 [A.D. 374]).

Think_b4_speaking on August 7, 2008 at 5:14 PM

If you’re looking for an example of a reason why some people are being driven away from religious groups, just take a look at the whole UCF communion controversy, in which a student walked out of Mass with a consecrated wafer and started getting death threats from Catholics for “desecration of the host”. Here’s Bill Donohue to provide the Catholic League’s perspective:

“For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage—regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance—is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.”

This quickly expanded to include a public argument between Donohue and atheist provocateur P.Z. Myers, who threatened to obtain and desecrate a “host” on his blog and subsequently received numerous death threats and complaints from Catholics asking for his University’s administration to fire him. From a non-Catholic perspective, this seems a bit crazy, and can’t be good for recruitment.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 5:20 PM

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:55 PM –

Canon Law is not a moral code, it is the administrative, civil, jurisdictional, procedural and penal law of the Catholic Church.

And, it would appear from my limited study of Canon Law, that Sixtus V in 1588, was the first Pontiff to rule as a matter of Canon Law on the subject of abortion. It had pretty much always, since the foundation of the Church been a moral issue.

Pope Gregory XIV brought into play the “animation” of the fetus, based on Aristotle’s and Aquinas’ arguments regarding “when” life began. The general accepted period was not less than 40 days after conception, and remained so until 1869.

In 1869, Pius IX rescinded the animation exception. Thus, next year’s 140th “anniversary” of Pius IX’s Canon Law ruling.

In all cases, the “remedy” was excommunication from the Church of the person performing the abortion and those who assisted that person. The mother, in none of these Papal edicts of Canon Law, was to be excommunicated.

As a moral argument, however, rather than a Canon Law argument, this is something that Catholic theologians have been discussing and debating probably since the earliest beginnings of the Church. The discussion within the Church continues, but not that often, it seems. Many Catholics simply make it a matter of personal choice or preference. Most Catholics do not.

None of us are without sin, and some more than others and a lot a good bit less than others…but, unlike the current trend…I have XYZ-ism so I can’t be held responsible, or I am a victim, I can’t help it…one would hope that people of Faith don’t take an easy cop out, and instead look to the origin of any sin or sinful act, and try to see why they did X,Y, or Z and what steps they can take in the future, following the teachings of the Church, to avoid doing X, Y or Z ever again.

[Sister Radell used to admonish us that it was we should avoid "the near occasion of sin" not "the near occasional sin."]

But, there are those, who view something like abortion as a totally secular matter, and they beleive they can be perfectly good Catholics and still support civilly sanctioned abortions, through their active support for certain candidates, or their lobbying for more or enhanced availability of abortion.

This is taking the “render to Caesar” admonition a bit over the line.

If we choose to act or make our decisions strictly on temporal or civil grounds and do not allow our moral foundations to have influence on our actions or decisions…why be a mamber of the Church at all? Or is morality something just for Sunday morning? If so, what guides us the rest of the week?

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Well stated, Ed.

AbaddonsReign on August 7, 2008 at 5:26 PM

I have a couple more observations and questions based on some of the responces here.

It’s been said by quite a few here that religions don’t simply change to accomodate the changing of times and views, and I wholeheartedly agree. I said in my earlier post that either you are with it or not, and if not why bother with it at all. What I find interesting is that this arument is made in relation to Christianity yet argued in the opposite when it comes to Islam. Someone above had said that the bible set the standard for things over 2000 years ago, and I agree with that, however so did the tenents of Islam regarding their religion.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not equating denying communion or excommunication for having an abortion or using contraceptives and such to beaheading, cutting off hands or stoning to death for whatever calls for it Islam, there are obvious differences, what I’m alluding to is the similarities of argument for NOT changing the practices:

We have been doing it this way for millenia, it is the way we did things then, it’s the way we do things now and we are not going to change for people that disagree with us.

If this IS the argument of the religious to the non-practitioner (unbeliver) then the argument that Islam should not allow bigamy/polygamy or stoning apostates is invalid. They will not stop doing these things because their religion says to, it said so then, says so now and not believing as they do means nothing to them. It doesn’t matter that I think it’s barbaric and wrong, I’m not part of their religion. I can choose to not be one of them as so many here have argued for those that disagree with the Christian tenents of their religion not to be a part of theirs. So if not ‘getting with the times’ when it comes to contraceptives (which I don’t think I’ve ever heard any say the bible deals with directly) is fine with Catholics, shouldn’t not ‘getting with the times’ with bigamy/polygamy be equally as fine for Muslims? If not, why not?

A lot of people have been calling for and hoping for a reformation of Islam to break away from some of the more barbaric and dated practices and policies so that they can better fit into a more modern world, I happen to be one of those people, but it seems a bit disingenuous when you argue against changes in your own religion that would allow for it to also come into the modern world. Especially in instances like birth control where there is no real or direct harm by allowing its use. Particularly when it involves consenting, married adults.

I get a lot of what has been said and argued, and agree with quite a lot of it, but some parts are absolutely confusing to someone on the outside looking in. Again, I’m not trying to pick things apart or slam anyone or any beliefs, I’m honestly looking to understand points of view.

Thanks for the honest replies to my earlier posts, and thanks in advance for any others to this one.

Grunt2Jag on August 7, 2008 at 5:28 PM

So in order to receive communion, you have to support laws that force non-Catholics to live in accordance to papal decree.

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 5:37 PM

If you’re looking for an example of a reason why some people are being driven away from religious groups,

sorry, accomodating everyone isn’t what christianity is all about. and far more people are attracted to the unchanging message and morality than are put off.

sorry, christianity wasn’t meant to accomodate every passing fancy of the world. if it does, then it is no longer christianity.

right4life on August 7, 2008 at 5:39 PM

Someone above had said that the bible set the standard for things over 2000 years ago, and I agree with that, however so did the tenents of Islam regarding their religion.

thats why efforts to reform islam are doomed to failure.

but it seems a bit disingenuous when you argue against changes in your own religion that would allow for it to also come into the modern world

then who decides what it takes to ‘modernize’ a religion?

right4life on August 7, 2008 at 5:42 PM

then who decides what it takes to ‘modernize’ a religion?

That seems to be the question of the day, and why I posted the statement.

If the people that compose the religion themselves aren’t allowed or are able to suggest and attempt to enact changes, who does? I assume with Catholics its the Pope and/or a delegation of the priesthood (which reminds me of a funny South Park episode) and with Mormons it would be their President and their priesthood, etc. I get that, the problem I see is that too often people don’t change things SIMPLY because “it’s the way we always did things” versus “there may be a better way of doing it”. I obviously can’t speak from a religion point of view on it, but after over ten years in the Army I can tell you I found it rampant there. The ‘Old Crusty’ CSM’s and such always seemed to have an ‘older’ way of doing things versus a ‘newer’ way, and even in the face of evidence that it might actually be better, held to their way just because that’s the way they like it. I simply wonder how much of that mentality affects the decisions of those in power of the religious faiths.

Grunt2Jag on August 7, 2008 at 5:55 PM

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 5:37 PM –

To receive Communion, the Eucharist, we have to follow faithfully the teachings of the Church. This is a matter of personal choice.

As for forcing anyone, non-Catholics, to do anything…where do we do that?

Not a lot of ululating rabid Catholics swarming the central square beheading non-believers of late that I know of.

Catholics are admonished to follow civil law, to promote civil order, and in our society that means paying taxes and voting, and obeying laws. It also requires us, just as the UCMJ requires members of the military to not follow illegal orders, to not follow unjust laws. If Congress passed a law next November that stated we had to round up and forcibly deport all Moslems simply because they are Moslems, I’d be at the barricades making sure that enforcement did not happen in my neighborhood. It would be an unjust law. Though my Church admonishes me to follow civil law, unjust law is a matter for morality to kick in.

We do not, cannot, force anyone to follow civil laws that are in accordance with Papal Decree. In this country there are no such laws. If that happens, Papal Decree determining laws within the United States, I will be right up front of the line of many who will be exiting the country, or storming Capitol Hill with torches and pitchfork, .308′s or whatever is handy. Why? Our Nation was built on something else and should remain so. If our laws are in accordance with Canon Law or the teachings of the Church, then it is not by design but by common sense and the vote of the People. For me, a much prefered method of enacting laws.

Ihis is why I was very upset when Pat Robertson made a run for President a number of years ago and quite a few on the Right thought it might be a good idea. It was and will remain a terrible idea.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Rigid? Yes. Being Roman Catholic is never, and never has been, easy.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 1:55 PM

At first, I scoffed at the comment that lead to your rebuttal (I won’t repeat it because it reeked of immaturity and dishonest rhetoric) however, your thoughtful and intelligent retort was . . . AWESOME!

geckomon on August 7, 2008 at 6:44 PM

If Congress passed a law next November that stated we had to round up and forcibly deport all Moslems simply because they are Moslems, I’d be at the barricades making sure that enforcement did not happen in my neighborhood. It would be an unjust law

interesting..why? I think one of the founder’s biggest mistakes, and a mistake of the west in general, was to not recognize that islam is incompatible with western civilization, with our concept of freedom and rights. we are going to end up like europe, and become a sharia republic, if we are not careful.

right4life on August 7, 2008 at 6:57 PM

That’s a good point. I agree that many churches unfairly highlight one sin will ignoring the others as though there is some sort of hierarchy of sins.

Esthier on August 7, 2008 at 4:58 PM

There is: I John 5:16 – If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

I can’t explain it all, but there is a hierarchy of some sort. This is not meant to invalidate Big S’s point of selective preaching.

Spirit of 1776 on August 7, 2008 at 7:18 PM

As a former Catholic, I’ll first admit I never was a very good Catholic in the first place. What really started my dislike of the catechism was the stance on birth control – I wondered why it was a sin to take the Pill to correct my body’s imbalances (not to prevent pregnancy). My priest informed me that God made my body the way it was, and I should learn to live with it. It wasn’t the only reason why I left, but it didn’t help matters any.

Anna on August 7, 2008 at 2:51 PM

While I am always saddened when I hear of people leaving the church I was especially troubled for what was the catalyst for your departure; gross misinformation.

Your priest advised you something that is neither taught nor is doctrine. In fact, I am more inclined to believe that you may have misinterpreted what he told you as sometimes some look for what most fits what one wants to hear in times of contention. But I am being assuming here.

As for what you were told: it is neither anti-Catholic nor a sin to take ‘the pill’ for medical reason abstinent of the intentions for birth control.
For what it’s worth: Humane Vitae

Lawful Therapeutic Means
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19)

geckomon on August 7, 2008 at 7:37 PM

*snip* As for forcing anyone, non-Catholics, to do anything…where do we do that? *snip*

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 5:59 PM

I think you missed the part where you get refused communion if you support candidates that allow non-Catholics to make their own moral decisions about abortion. It’s your church, so it’s none of my business. I just think it’s a dumb rule.

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 8:00 PM

right4life on August 7, 2008 at 6:57 PM –

Simply for being Moslem…

And how about Jehovah’s Witnesses? Maybe Mormons?

If they are American citizens, or legal immigrants, or resident aliens, and have broken no laws, have engaged in no unlawful activity, you would have Moslems deported simply because they are Moslem?

You would have bigotry enshrined in our laws?

Sad. Truly sad.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 8:00 PM

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 8:00 PM –

You join a social club, it costs you a good fee upfront. You are handed a set of rules and customs and traditions of that club. You are admonished to follow those rules. You agree, as a condition of membership. Yet, on your own, you decide that it is perfectly OK to violate those rules, openly and publicly go against established traditions and customs of that social club, and they ask you to leave. Your reaction would be?

As to being refused Communion because you voted for or supported a pro-abortion candidate, how is this known to the Church? Now, if you were/are publicly active in your support, actively campaigning for a candidate who is openly pro-abortion, this is a different matter entirely. As a matter of Canon Law, the Bishop of that Diocese makes the call. A number have done so.

To let something like this to pass, because the candidate or the supporter is a nice guy, otherwise, undermines Canon Law, and undermines the Communion of the Faithful. Being a nice guy is not a defense under Canon Law, nor under Civil Law.

At some point, not following the rules requires an appropriate reaction.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 8:17 PM

You join a social club, it costs you a good fee upfront. You are handed a set of rules and customs and traditions of that club. You are admonished to follow those rules. You agree, as a condition of membership. Yet, on your own, you decide that it is perfectly OK to violate those rules, openly and publicly go against established traditions and customs of that social club, and they ask you to leave. Your reaction would be?

I’m not saying you can’t make up your own rules. Feel free. I’m just saying that this one rule – the rule that you can’t let people who aren’t in your club make their own rules – is dumb. There’s a difference between being pro-abortion and being pro-choice.

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 8:33 PM

“you can’t let people who aren’t in your club make their own rules” People who are not in my “club” can make any rule they wish.

Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote an extensive elaboration of the roll of Catholics in the Democratic political process:

http://www.catholic.com/library/ChurchDoc1.asp

It is a lengthy article.

But, a good read nonetheless.

If my community, my state or the federal government passes a law making it perfectly legal to obtain an abortion on demand, the community, state or country is completely free to do so. That I chose to not do so, as a moral matter, that Catholics as a Communion of the Faithful are not permited to do so under Canon Law and as a matter of Faith, is somehow not letting people who aren’t in my “club” make their own rules?

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 8:44 PM

So are lying, cheating, stealing, coveting oxen and other property, etc. You don’t hear churches railing on about these day and night;

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Churches don’t support any of those activities either so you are essentially saying churches should just ignore the sin of homosexuality because you are tired of being confronted by it as part of the “culture war” (whatever that means to you)?

I’d say now is precisely the time for churches to take a stand. Love the sinner but hate the sin. Welcome homosexuals to congregations but don’t condone homosexual behavior by legitimizing same sex marriage, calling homosexuality normal, etc.

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Neither does the Iraq war. While the Vatican disagreed with it, war itself does not violate Catholic doctrine (para 2309).

The Vatican strongly opposed the Iraq war. Some wars being OK doesn’t make them any less opposed to the Iraq invasion. If a Catholic felt that one of the candidates was more likely than the other to repeat an act of war that was, according to the Vatican, “morally unjustified” and a “defeat for humanity” they could weigh that along with the abortion issue.

Further the Vatican is against the death penalty for many of the reasons that it opposes abortion. Since the death penalty is “a clear offense against the inviolability of human life” and “shows contempt for the Gospel teaching on forgiveness” the Vatican voiced opposition to the execution of even Saddam Hussein.

Many Catholics endeavor to be good Americans and good Catholics but balancing the two is sometimes more an art than a science.

dedalus on August 7, 2008 at 9:08 PM

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 8:51 PM –

The Church doesn’t take much of a supportive stand on my wanton heterosexual licentous libertine lifestyle either… /s

Morality and how one conducts themselves are choices. Being homosexual may for many be genetic, there is ample evidence to indicate this is so, but acting on negative impulses, that is a choice. Thus, I have no problem at all with gays in my congregation. The many I know are normal everyday Americans. They are, however, going through a lot of deep contemplation and thought as to how they fit in in the Community of the Faithful. Me? I treat them as any other member of the Church. However, should any choose to openly engage in San Francisco values, especially openly in relation to the Church…that’d be a different horse entirely.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 9:10 PM

dedalus on August 7, 2008 at 9:08 PM –

Going back to Augustine of Hippo, the “Just War” discourse has run up to the current day. There are two parts to “Just War.”

jus ad bellum Justice Before the War, is how one views the rationale for going to war. Has every avenue been taken to avoid war? Would not fighting a war result in injustices overall that far outnumber the justice of not fighting a war? Questions of that nature are legitimate for discussion by all Catholics.

Jus in bello Justice during the war, that is how soldiers are to behave, primarily. Wanton destruction of unarmed civilians, cities, poisoning of foodstocks and water, use of weapons of mass destruction, all fall under Justice during the war. Questions of fighting unjustly are pretty plain to understand for most.

It is possible for a nation to fight a just war yet fight it unjustly. It is possible to not fight a war and be unjust in not fighting that war.

When one tries to simplify the matter…saying the Church finds all war unjust, or that fighting in a war is unjust…it merely conflates a number of Catholic teachings on the nature of war. I cannot recall the Biblical citation, pretty typical for a Catholic, but there was one that said [very roughly paraphrased] from the New Testament, “If your brother does not have a sword, sell (whatever) and get him one.” Seems to indicate Jesus was a pragmatist on certain issues.

It ain’t easy being Catholic.

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Being homosexual may for many be genetic, there is ample evidence to indicate this is so, but acting on negative impulses, that is a choice. Thus, I have no problem at all with gays in my congregation.
coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 9:10 PM

Exactly! It would be wrong to turn away homosexuals from a congregation. They just need to understand what the faith says about the sin of homosexual behavior. It’s not being unwelcoming to be honest about what the Bible says on the subject.

IMO, the reason mainstream protestant churches are losing membership is because they’ve ignored the tenets of faith and focused in on social justice and “inclusion.” For the Episcopalian Church and more recently the Presbyterian Church was the ordination of practicing homosexuals.

In the case of the Presbyterian Church is was a backdoor move that circumvented the usual process of putting the measure to a vote and simply rewrote the rules to let local congregations ordain whomever they wanted. In theory the church still doesn’t condone gay clergy but in practice they gave the so-called progressive churches the ability to ordain homosexuals to positions of leadership. It is a move that backfired. Here in Southern Louisiana, the denomination has lost well over half of its pre-Katrina/Rita membership as congregations vote to disaffiliate from the church and re-affiliate with other denominations (mostly the Evangelical Presbyterians). It is the faithful taking back their faith from the moneychangers of the national church who are de-facto lobbyists for a liberal agenda.

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 9:43 PM

As a Catholic I know better than to waste my time reading the comments…here’s the deal: abortion is murder…murder is a mortal sin. Easy enough?

DCJeff on August 7, 2008 at 9:55 PM

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Good points. And great posts above too.

dedalus on August 7, 2008 at 11:25 PM

Neither does the Iraq war. While the Vatican disagreed with it, war itself does not violate Catholic doctrine (para 2309).

No, war itself doesn’t, but the invasion of Iraq sure did. By my count, it didn’t meet any of the 4 standards for just war. But that’s a sidebar.

Anyone who formally cooperates in abortion, therefore, sins, and cannot honestly receive the Eucharist until they repent.

Erm, do we have any candidates who are also abortionists? It’s a stretch to argue that support of legal abortion constitutes “formal cooperation” in abortion. There are a great many things that are or should be legal that the Church calls sinful. Prostitution, being privately drunk, private drug use, and many other self-destructive behaviors. I disagree that abortion is one of those things (that should be legal), but reasonable people believe otherwise. I don’t call that “formal cooperation” in abortion, any more than anyone who isn’t pushing to make “drinking to excess” illegal is guilty of formal cooperation in drunkenness.

Mark Jaquith on August 8, 2008 at 1:02 AM

Nice post. Spot on as far as this Catholic can tell.

For all those wondering about what “formal cooperation in abortion” means, it’s usually understood to mean performing, procuring, or helping someone else to perform/procure an abortion. Voting badly does not qualify for excommunication although it may well be a damning sin (and not just about abortion).

For all those wondering about whether artificial birth control is worse than abortion, the answer is no. Abortion has all the wrongitude (?) of contraception, but it is also child murder. Double plus ungood.

And finally to the dude who posted the “twins paradox” (about embryos, not relativity), it is not a case of science contradicting the Church at all. On the contrary it is clear that the original embryo is a human being (i.e. a whole living being with human parents/DNA), and additional embryos that may develop from the first are additional human beings. None should be deliberately killed unless you want your inalienable right to life to become a matter of someone else’s choice.

So Morissey, does this mean you’ll retract your excited post about being accoladed by Playboy Magazine, seeing that they are not only purveyors of smut but also big-time supporters of the abortion industry?

Gaunilon on August 8, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Very good post explaining Catholic teaching on social policy as well as abortion. I say that as someone that has been studying this stuff very carefully for about 6 months.

Yes, Obama will have a problem with real, salt of the earth type Catholics. The problem is I’ve seen studies that show that somewhere between 75-80% of Catholics in this country don’t even go to Mass. Among that group its probably a toss-up, Obama may even edge McCain out among them.

That 20-25% that are real practicing Catholics though…he’s going to get stomped in that group.

Dwilkers on August 8, 2008 at 7:56 AM

‘Why shouldn’t I vote for the candidate who feels more passionately and speaks more credibly about economic fairness for the average family, who will be a true steward of the environment, and who will treat the immigrant family with respect?’ ”

But will continue to support the slaughter of the unborn. Seems like everything except human life is a priority for this Kmiec guy.
I’m not a Catholic – I am a conservative Southern Baptist. I really wish I could vote for Obama because I’m not impressed with McCain. But Obama and the socialist/democrat party stand diametrically opposed to everything I believe in and stand for, the right to life just being one of those values. Socialism is not justice for the poor, because it makes everybody equally poor and dependent upon the government for handouts. That’s not justice that’s slavery.
I dont like not having a choice in the election, but that’s where I am. McCain really is the lesser of two evils in this election but I’ll support him because the other guy is worse.

abcurtis on August 8, 2008 at 8:45 AM

Homosexuality is a sin. Opting to be a practicing homosexual (i.e. living a homosexual lifestyle and emphasizing sexual orientation as a key part of their identity) is most definitely a choice.

highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 4:43 PM

So are lying, cheating, stealing, coveting oxen and other property, etc. You don’t hear churches railing on about these day and night; in fact, some “evangelical” churches have recently turned quite a good business based on the promotion of coveting. My point is that misplaced priorities drive a lot of people away. The culture war is getting tiresome.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM

My church, a conservative Baptist church still “rails” against those things because like homosexuality they are still sins. The “evangelical” churches you’re talking about promoting “covetousness” are the prosperity preaching name-it-and-claim-it churches. This so called “doctrine” is pure heresy. There is no such gift as name it and claim it in scripture, and Jesus never made anybody rich materially. Joel Osteen is one of the slickest promoters of the prosperity gospel. The only people this “gospel” is working for are the false teachers teaching it.
As far as being tired of the culture war, it will go on for a long time yet.
A true Bible teaching church will still preach against sin, all of it, including homosexuality. And I agree with highhopes – it’s a choice like the other sins you mentioned.

abcurtis on August 8, 2008 at 9:06 AM

church I was especially troubled for what was the catalyst for your departure; gross misinformation.

No, what drove her from the Church was her narcissistic desire to spread her legs without repercussion. And I’d rather have her leave so she can be a whore elsewhere than be yet one more cafeteria Catholic.

rightwingprof on August 8, 2008 at 9:59 AM

It’s a stretch to argue that support of legal abortion constitutes “formal cooperation” in abortion.

Mark Jaquith on August 8, 2008 at 1:02 AM

I disagree, Mark. The legal enablement of abortionists is the first step to the murder of millions of innocents. Surely you see that?

How is that not “formal cooperation in abortion”?

Jaibones on August 8, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Wonderful post, Ed. As a practicing Catholic, I feel you have done a great job of clarifying the issues.

I also have to say that the comments have been thoughtful and interesting. I generally hesitate to read comments in any post anywhere about Catholicism because the inevitable anti-Catholic bashing that emerges is depressing and a complete waste of time. I have been pleasantly surprised this time.

So are lying, cheating, stealing, coveting oxen and other property, etc. You don’t hear churches railing on about these day and night; in fact, some “evangelical” churches have recently turned quite a good business based on the promotion of coveting. My point is that misplaced priorities drive a lot of people away. The culture war is getting tiresome.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM

I think the difference in emphasis is probably that no group is currently trying to re-define lying, stealing, cheating, etc. as normal behavior and denying that there are any negative consequences to those behaviors as homosexual activists are trying to do with homosexual marriage. The Catholic Church accepts all people but not all behaviors and is firm in its opposition to homosexual activity (not homosexuals) and, consequently, homosexual marriage so the Church, along with many other Christian denominations, is active in its opposition to this current movement. The Church’s priorities are teaching the faith and leading the faithful not focusing on what position to take to make herself popular.

inmypajamas on August 8, 2008 at 10:41 AM

And I’d rather have her leave so she can be a whore elsewhere than be yet one more cafeteria Catholic.

rightwingprof on August 8, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Proof of why being Catholic doesn’t automatically make one pious.

Contrary to your personal hangups, all sinners [reluctant repentant including] are welcome to the Church, as well as those who make comments like yours.

Your words show that you, indeed, are also a work in progress. Should the Church, too, be as unforgiving for your imperfections?

geckomon on August 8, 2008 at 10:55 AM

And finally to the dude who posted the “twins paradox” (about embryos, not relativity), it is not a case of science contradicting the Church at all. On the contrary it is clear that the original embryo is a human being (i.e. a whole living being with human parents/DNA), and additional embryos that may develop from the first are additional human beings. None should be deliberately killed unless you want your inalienable right to life to become a matter of someone else’s choice.

Gaunilon on August 8, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Which of the two twins is present the original fertilized egg? It would seem like the single cell is potentially both but actually neither one.

dedalus on August 8, 2008 at 11:03 AM

I disagree, Mark. The legal enablement of abortionists is the first step to the murder of millions of innocents. Surely you see that?

How is that not “formal cooperation in abortion”?

Jaibones on August 8, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Not sure where the line might be drawn. Currently, a president has to follow the Supreme Court. Should the line for the church be:

1.) Presidents must have a litmus test for SCOTUS judges?
2.) That litmus test must be for SCOTUS to rule abortions are murder–not merely to turn it over to the states?
3.) President must favor, if needed, a Constitutional amendment.
4.) President must not favor a federalist approach.
5.) Governors and mayors must work against federal rights to prevent the operation of abortions within their jurisdictions.
6.) Realtors must not lease or sell facilities to groups who perform or aid abortions.
7.) Police & fire departments should not provide support for the continued operation of facilities, unless other human life is at risk.
8.) Power utilities must not provide electric, gas or oil to facilities.
9.) Investors shouldn’t own stock in utilities that power facilities.

With Obama and McCain there is a pretty clear difference but I’m not sure on principle where the Catholic church is drawing the line. Should someone be denied communion for supporting McCain in the primary given that McCain hasn’t been a firm supporter of a human life amendment or because of his views on stem cell research? Was Huck the only way to vote in the primary and remain a Catholic in good standing?

dedalus on August 8, 2008 at 11:25 AM

coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 8:00 PM

whats truly sad is your inability to argue the issues or even comprehend them. all you can do is call me names, like a typical left-wing wacko.

Europe is becoming islam, and their freedom and democracy is ending. we fought against tyranny being imposed upon us from without, but you have no problem being imposed upon us from within. thats truly sad.

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 11:59 AM

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 11:59 AM –

So you have no problem whatsoever with the rounding up of all Moslems (citizens and legal immigrantgs and resident aliens alike)and forcibly deporting them? Even non-swarthy, white American Moslems? Just because they are Moslem?

Who is next?

If you take the reference to bigotry being enshrined in our laws as “name calling” so be it.

Bigotry is bigotry.

Paranoia is paranoia.

Neither has a place in a nation built on Law.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 12:05 PM

So you have no problem whatsoever with the rounding up of all Moslems (citizens and legal immigrantgs and resident aliens alike)and forcibly deporting them? Even non-swarthy, white American Moslems? Just because they are Moslem?

given the alternative of sharia law, no I don’t. look what is happening in europe. again all you can do is call me names, you cannot debate the issues.

so you have no problem with sharia law I take it? you would have had no problem with Hitler taking power either, now would you?

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Where in America is sharia law taking over civil law? In Canada? Yes, and in a very limited scope, and something the Cnadians are dealing with. Here?

Your jejune attempts to somehow extrapolate my desire for the rule of law to prevail here in America as being somehow a desire to see Hitler take power is laughable.

And congratualtions for being the first poster on this thread to validate Godwin’s Law. Reductio ad Hitlerum indeed.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Where in America is sharia law taking over civil law? In Canada? Yes, and in a very limited scope, and something the Cnadians are dealing with. Here?

yeah no one in europe 10 years ago would have thought that either.

your precious ‘rule of law’ seems to have no problem with the imposition of tyranny. and the point about Hitler is valid, he was elected, according TO THE RULE OF LAW….so you wouldn’t have a problem with that, obviously.

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Lame. Simply lame.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Was Huck the only way to vote in the primary and remain a Catholic in good standing?

dedalus on August 8, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Yes.

SaintOlaf on August 8, 2008 at 12:35 PM

the point is valid. your inability to argue the issue is the only thing that is lame.

we will follow canada, and europe, first with ‘hate crimes’ so that no muslim can be ‘insulted’ at any time, then with local versions of sharia, as in Britain..then….

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 12:36 PM

We will follow Canada and Europe? How little regard you have for the average American. How little regard you have for the Constitution on which this nation is based.

Over the past year there is growing concern and efforts on the part of the people and the law makers regarding the inroads Moslems have forced upon Europe, not a lessening of concerns and efforts. The answer is not in wholesale deportations, which merely validates Islamists screeds about the West, but in application of law to pull the rug out from those who would use their religion to control our democratic processes. IF, and I emphasize IF, sharia law were taking over the United States, why are not civil authorities turning a blind eye to such things asd honor killings instead of prosecuting them as murders, leaving the religious context totally out of their prosecutions? If sharia is taking over, why am I still free to exercise my religon or not exercise my religon?

Start wholesale deportations and the Islamists will have more ammunition than they need to revitalize a failed and failing Islamist propaganda effort around the world.

But, this thread is about Roman Catholicism, not Islam.

Perhaps your going over to The Gates of Vienna blog would be a better venue for you.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 12:49 PM

The culture war is getting tiresome.

Big S on August 7, 2008 at 4:49 PM

So we should surrender then?

SaintOlaf on August 8, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Geckomon, thank you for your answer. I wish I had misunderstood, but I did not. Words like that will stick with ya for a long time.

This thread has been most interesting, and I’m glad I took the time off from whoring to read it.

Chort. The more I get judged around here, the more special I feel. I love you all. ; )

Anna on August 8, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Yes.

SaintOlaf on August 8, 2008 at 12:35 PM

So you would have been refused the Eucharist for voting for McCain in the primary and then reinstated if you voted for McCain in the general? Sounds like a lot of coordinating with your diocese and that your eternal salvation is very dependent on picking the right candidate in each election.

dedalus on August 8, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Anna’s not a whore… she’s just a confused atheist/pagan goddess according to her blog.

SaintOlaf on August 8, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Why shouldn’t I vote for the candidate who feels more passionately and speaks more credibly about economic fairness for the average family…?

There is no passage in the Bible that says governments ought to help the poor. That’s clearly the job of the Christian & the Church.

jgapinoy on August 8, 2008 at 1:36 PM

jgapinoy on August 8, 2008 at 1:36 PM

Right on!

geckomon on August 8, 2008 at 2:04 PM

We will follow Canada and Europe? How little regard you have for the average American. How little regard you have for the Constitution on which this nation is based.

uh we already are…and given obama’s pandering to europe, (is mccain any different) what signs do you have to think we won’t??

Over the past year there is growing concern and efforts on the part of the people and the law makers regarding the inroads Moslems have forced upon Europe, not a lessening of concerns and efforts.

oh so I DO have a valid concern, and I’m not just paranoid and bigoted huh?

The answer is not in wholesale deportations

I never mentioned wholesale deportations, thats your idea. my point was a bit different, our founders should have recognized what islam was all about, since the europeans had about a thousand years of experience with it, and banned islam from this country…but they didn’t. deportations wouldn’t happen now, although it would be a good thing. how many of these mosques are preaching bin-laden style hatred of this country? given what is happening in europe we should be VERY concerned about what will happen once a critical mass of muslims is reached here. look at Nigeria..whenever muslims grow to a certain level, there is conflict, until one side or the other wins.

why are not civil authorities turning a blind eye to such things asd honor killings instead of prosecuting them as murders, leaving the religious context totally out of their prosecutions? If sharia is taking over, why am I still free to exercise my religon or not exercise my religon?

these things start small…as they have done in europe, canada, and as they are doing here. it takes a while to get the power to impose sharia…but that is the goal of many, not all, muslims. In Britain, sharia law is said to be spreading and even said to be unavoidable

Start wholesale deportations and the Islamists will have more ammunition than they need to revitalize a failed and failing Islamist propaganda effort around the world.

uh yeah sure, the same was said about our war in iraq and afghanistan…to people like you fighting back is the only real sin.

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 2:12 PM

You assume so much, too much. I spent most of my adult life “fighting back” as a matter of my high regard and love for my Nation, a nation built on the rule of law not on whomever the personality sitting in the Whit House is at any given time, and as a matter of professionalism in uniform and out. That I do not hold your pessimistic (and I may add, simplistic) world view, and base my views on facts and realities, not wholesale assumptions, means that I am one of those “people like you fighting back is the only real sin?”

Indeed.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 2:21 PM

That I do not hold your pessimistic (and I may add, simplistic) world view, and base my views on facts and realities,

first you call me paranoid and bigoted, and then you admit I have a valid point.

it is you who are simplistic about the threat radical islam poses to this country, and freedom around the world. you may be a great military hero, even a legend in your own mind, but it does not keep you from being naive about what islam is all about.

the fact and reality is that europe is becoming islamic, canada is following, and there are signs we are too. the question is, what do we do about it?

according to you, nothing.

right4life on August 8, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Ya know, if you want to go over the Captain’s Quarters and cruise the archives, you will understand fully how I view the Islamist threat here in America and globally.

This thread is about Catholicism and the cunundrum many many Catholics face when trying to live their faith in a secular world. It is not about Islam, or jihad, or Islamicist threats to the world.

Were it thus, I would freely and deeply engage on that topic.

As for Islam…what do we do about it? Nothing? Not at all. We use our Constitutionally based legal system and law enforcement to root out and identify those who commit wrongful acts, or are conspiring to commit such acts, and bring them to justice. Overseas, we maintain a free down range understanding that ANYONE who stands up and fires on us or sets off IED’s or other lethal means is dead…and anyone who is passing ammunition to them is likewise dead. And their supply trains…equally dead. Their leadership? Dead as well. No Mirandizing, just a few ounces of lead injected at high velocity into their heads, or a precise targetting of a Hellfire.

And with that, I endeth my comments on Islam…and would like to get back to a decent discussion about being Catholic in America and being active in the American political process without sacrificing one’s Beliefs and Faith along the way.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 3:06 PM

This paragraph summed it up perfectly. One additional thing to point out is that “Catholics” who try to be pro-choice by circular logic are not going to be saved in the end. It is utterly impossible to be a faithful Catholic and pro-choice at the same time.
highhopes on August 7, 2008 at 2:37 PM

I would agree that they place themselves at serious risk of damnation, but you have zero basis for making such a definitive statement. The Church claims ignorance on the eternal fate of the overwhelming majority of humans that have lived in the past, are currently alive now or will live in the future. This includes even the most notorious character for Christians: Judas Iscariot. His status and that of everyone else rests in God’s hands, not the Church’s. To claim otherwise not only treads dangerously close to the sin of presumption, but also of turning the Gospel into the very legalism that Christ condemned the Pharisees for. Remember that the pope and all Catholic bishops are vicars of Christ, not the God-Man themselves.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 4:56 PM

In the realm of intrinsically evil acts, there is no room for conscience, context, or intention. Leftists typically abuse the notion of conscience to render all moral principles open to interpretation, but the Church teaches no such thing.
jeff_from_mpls on August 7, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Bearing in mind CCC#2370 and most polls I’m aware of on Catholic laypersons and birth control, that leaves about 10% of the Church not guilty of “intrisic evil”. Or, at least in this one area… I hardly think the more conservative elements of the Church constitute only 10% of the whole. This of course also means that as far as birth control goes, liberals aren’t alone in ignoring Church teaching about this matter.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:05 PM

As a former Catholic, I’ll first admit I never was a very good Catholic in the first place. What really started my dislike of the catechism was the stance on birth control – I wondered why it was a sin to take the Pill to correct my body’s imbalances (not to prevent pregnancy). My priest informed me that God made my body the way it was, and I should learn to live with it. It wasn’t the only reason why I left, but it didn’t help matters any.

I disagree with the Catechism on birth control, but you misunderstood what it says and the priest you spoke with was incorrect. If your use of the Pill was solely for medical reasons unrelated to preventing pregnancy, than no sin was committed – even if one believes contraception is morally evil.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:09 PM

Birth control has been a thorn for several decades. I’m one of those who believe in the broken window doctrine. If you have a house on your street with one broken window, and no one repairs it. The possibility of a second broken window rises. If not repaired, soon many broken windows may appear. After a bit of time, other houses may suffer broken windows, and then the residents either stand up and fix the neighborhood, or move out. Birth control has been our Catholic broken window in so many way over the years.

How to fix that broken window is way way beyond me and my meager intellect.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Pope Gregory XIV brought into play the “animation” of the fetus, based on Aristotle’s and Aquinas’ arguments regarding “when” life began. The general accepted period was not less than 40 days after conception, and remained so until 1869.

In 1869, Pius IX rescinded the animation exception. Thus, next year’s 140th “anniversary” of Pius IX’s Canon Law ruling.
coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 5:25 PM

I oppose abortion myself, but I’m genuinely curious: was this decision based on what was known scientifically at the time? If so, could that exception ever be reversed for some reason? Someone posted about zygotes and stuff earlier which sparked my curiosity in reading your post here.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:17 PM

So in order to receive communion, you have to support laws that force non-Catholics to live in accordance to papal decree.

RightOFLeft on August 7, 2008 at 5:37 PM

Cute. No, you cannot support laws which maliciously violate the Gospel of Life like abortion does.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:19 PM

Mr. Kmiec, a Republican who served in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan, said he was supporting Mr. Obama because his platform met the standard of justice and concern for the poor the church has always defended.

I have not yet read through the previous comments but I have to post this first (regarding that quote ^^ and those lies by that, well, guy): BLASPHEMY, Baa, crap, garbage.

That quote, right there, is the essence of a person being misled by lies, following “the false light” to their doom and encouraging others to do likewise (in Christian and Judaism, a very grave sin).

Obama “represents” USERY of “the poor,” among, also, the gravest of sins.

I’ve read several “Cafeteria Catholic” opines on behalf of Obama — they all defame me as “not really a Catholic” which is nonsense, but that’s what Cafeteria Catholics do, they defame Catholics who are more closely following what the Vatican requires and not following socio-political persons and trends otherwise — and they all try to USE these same, baseless, misleading positions as does that professor (quoted above).

About “the war,” (War in Iraq, specifically), Pope Benedict declines support for ALL WAR, while not choosing “sides” (not anti-American, not anti-others), but the act of war is the issue. THE GRATUITOUS USE OF VIOLENCE is what the Vatican opposes and well it should (and which I also agree with, which is yet another reason why I am a Catholic and not of the Cafeteria kind). The Pope has made it clear that unnecessary violence needs to end and should not be supported.

Thus, certain Cafeteria Catholics USE THIS supportable position to again EXPLOIT THE CHURCH — that to be “Catholic” is to oppose THE WAR IN IRAQ, which LIBERALS deem “illegal” (their attempt to associate with the goodly Vatican as the Pope speaks in opposition of GRATUITOUS or UNNECESSARY violence — the Left again worms into the concept by again exploiting it toward their anti-American emotional, and most often, non-”spiritual” positions).

There is NOTHING “wrong” or untoward or sinful about defending onesself, about exercising whatever force is necessary to defend and protect onesself and/or others.

The Left AGAIN USES the highest values of the Vatican to exploit them and thus, to defame Christ. This professor SUBJUGATES THE VERY ESSENCE OF HUMAN WORTH to support his baseless (and disgusting) rationalizations about “voting for Obama.”

He places Obama’s pro-abortion positions (and therefore, abortion and the human life involved) as secondary to his human NEED to be poltical, to exercise ego. AND THAT’S WHAT OBAMA IS ALL ABOUT AND WHY HE’S APPEALING TO OTHER EGOISTS. It’s a surge of humanists pressing up their huge egos in defiance of…well…in defiance of God, the Highest Order of thought and value and…reason.

I’m disgusted by these people who parade themselves as (Cafeteria) Catholics and mislead others to equal doom, just disgusted by them.

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:24 PM

If Congress passed a law next November that stated we had to round up and forcibly deport all Moslems simply because they are Moslems, I’d be at the barricades making sure that enforcement did not happen in my neighborhood. It would be an unjust law. Though my Church admonishes me to follow civil law, unjust law is a matter for morality to kick in.
coldwarrior on August 7, 2008 at 5:59 PM

In general I agree with you here but never underestimate how terrible times can change things. I don’t recall the Church taking a stand against Japanese-Americans during WWII being sent to internment camps, nor large numbers of Catholics refusing to go along with FDR’s order. One or two nukes going off in American cities and I wager most Catholics here would ignore such a view like yours – probably you included.

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:25 PM

geckomon on August 7, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Ah, I should have known someone else would have replied to Anna. Good job! :-)

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:27 PM

JohnAGJ on August 8, 2008 at 5:17 PM –

By no means am I a Catholic theologian, not even close, but it is my understanding that life begins at the moment of conception.

Was this animation exception based on scientific knowledge at the time? Probably. Poor as “science” was at the time. But unless one has access to data showing the high rate of spontaneous abortions, miscarriages and such, not much to go on in that regard from an historical perspective.

In many many countries then, and qwuite a few even today, having high infant mortality, the rule of thumb in many was (and in a few countries today) to not Christen a child until after the first year of life.

Any educated Catholic theologians out there? I’m not one. Sure could use one about now.

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Goes to the Just War doctrines in many many ways. At what point does the evil of going to war become overshadowed by the evil that would be rampant if we did not go to war?

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 5:29 PM

In a nutshell, I think I can reasonably sum-up the “values” by the Left (and pro-Obama’s):

(1.) “It’s NOT O.K. to use violence/force against a man/woman/other person throwing a giant rock at the heads/persons of others, or otherwise, against anyone who is in the process of attempting mortal threat upon others; but,

(2.) “It’s O.K. to take the life of the most defenseless human beings while in the womb when they’re literally trying merely to survive to independence outside of the womb, if at all possible.”

The Left using their sliding-scale of value-of-life arguement is ongoing, but about “the poor,” it’s the same exploit. Obama wants to render everyone poor, that’s what Obama wants, so he “can be President.”

Egomania of the Left never ceases to surprise me, their need to be right by whatever rationalization they can imagine. Fools always eager to subjugate the most dear for the most profane so they can “feel good.”

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:33 PM

SaintOlaf on August 8, 2008 at 1:08 PM

First sign of the apocalypse: SaintOlaf defended me. : )

To those that addressed my issue, two things here: one, that my gandparents took me to a very conservative church, and that the priest was a family member (cousin or something twice removed). Things have changed, both with me and that church. Back then, in a small town, there was only one reason for a young girl (14) to go on the Pill – there were lots of misconceptions floating around. I guess I just wanted to throw that out there to get a third-party opinion. I generally have a lot of respect for Catholics – I agree it’s hard work to be a good one. It’s no longer for me. I’m also glad another misconception has been corrected here… that it’s possible, downright logical, for a Catholic to be Republican.

Anna on August 8, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Has anyone read “VOTERS GUIDE FOR SERIOUS CATHOLICS“? Look it up. The Left (including Cafeteria Catholics) freaks-out whenever presented with it. I came upon this document/site/link while reading comments on another website and noted that Liberals on that site were particularly hateful about the whole thing (thus, it is obviously challenging to the Left — including Cafeteria Catholics — to be confronted with these aspects of Christianity as Catholicism) (also challenges most of who Liberals are, socio-politically).

This part is intensely interesting:

3. If I think that a pro-abortion candidate will, on balance, do much more for the culture of life than a pro-life candidate, why may I not vote for the pro-abortion candidate?

(Answer):
If a political candidate supported abortion, or any other moral evil, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia, for that matter, it would not be morally permissible for you to vote for that person. This is because, in voting for such a person, you would become an accomplice in the moral evil at issue. For this reason, moral evils such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are examples of a “disqualifying issue.”

Another thing about Obama and that is he was just pumping up the “homosexual agenda” the other day — congratulating homosexuals on getting ‘married’ — and that’s yet another spit in the face of Christ and Christianity and certainly the Catholic Church (the Church does not recognize “marriage” in relationship with homosexuality and speaks demonstratively against it).

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:41 PM

“Which of the two twins is present the original fertilized egg? It would seem like the single cell is potentially both but actually neither one.”

Answer:
Since the zygote is a whole being (i.e. not a piece of someone like a muscle cell), and is human, it follows that he/she is a human being. Let’s assume the zygote has a pair of X chromosomes so I can stop saying he/she and just say she.

At this age (1 to several days) she is composed of totipotent cells (i.e. they can turn into any specific kind of cell). Originally she is just one cell, which is clearly just one being. After some multiplication and an embryonic collapse/split she may generate another being and it might be hard to tell which one was the original, but the fact remains that a human being existed as soon as a whole being existed.

Ramifications:
That’s the philosophical argument. You might find it unconvincing and that’s fine, but without being certain that the zygote is not a human being one must err on the side of caution and not kill her for convenience.

As I understand it both arguments underpin the position held by the Catholic Church, and given to us as ethical guidance for difficult questions. It’s a tough job but some earthly entity has to be delegated to do it.

All of this affects the ehtics of things like the morning after pill which cause the embryo to die by preventing implantation. However most abortions occur after a couple of months, by which time the baby already has a heart beat, brain waves, toes, etc. At that point it’s fairly obvious just from the outward features that the baby is a baby.

Now I will finally shut up:
Anyway, the post was about Catholics voting according to conscience on matters like abortion versus matters like war. As Morissey correctly pointed out, going to war is not intrinsically wrong; one has to make a judgement on a case by case basis. In this there is room for disagreement in good conscience so good Catholics will go either way. However abortion, being deliberate killing of an innocent person, is intrinsically wrong. No circumstances can justify it, period. This is why Catholics cannot in good conscience vote pro-choice when there is a good alternative. It would be like voting for a pro-rape politician – unjustifiable.

Gaunilon on August 8, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Goes to the Just War doctrines in many many ways. At what point does the evil of going to war become overshadowed by the evil that would be rampant if we did not go to war?

coldwarrior on August 8, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Jesus Christ and God the Father do not condemn self protection and protection of life.

“War” can be a defensive action and it often is provoked by defensive concerns.

If a person goes to “war” because they love and lust for the blood of others, to destruct wantonly for whatever reasons, that’s another story, that’s GRATUITOUS USE OF VIOLENCE OR WAR for profane reasons.

There is nothing sinful or wrong, inherently, in taking up arms to defend and protect others and onesself. In fact, it’s a responsibility before God to protect and defend life.

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:46 PM

And GRATUITIOUS VIOLENCE, essentially, defines an act of murder. Which everyone ought to know God most decidedly condemns.

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:47 PM

This year, Mr. Kmiec was denied communion by a priest at a gathering of Catholic business people because of his support for Mr. Obama.

I agree, that’s awesome. More power to those Priests and Bishops among us Catholics who behave likewise. I wonder who it is, exactly, gives Holy Communion to Nancy Pelosi and why they do.

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:49 PM

So the liberals in the Catholic church want to vote for the candidate that most TALKS about the poor, rather than the one that might actually HELP the poor? Makes sense.

doodleduh on August 7, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Exactly.

S on August 8, 2008 at 5:54 PM

The catechism does explicitly call “indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas” a violation of doctrine

And why would a secular society care what Catholic doctrine says? Unless an individual has the capability to ‘destroy whole cities or vast areas’, methinks the Vatican is severely overstepping its boundaries in the desire to see individual human beings’ souls saved by Christ’s resurrection for our sins….

ThackerAgency on August 7, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Thacker, the key term there is INDISCRIMINATE DESTRUCTION.

Which I again emphasis represents the key distinction between “gratuitious” or “wanton” (sinful, wrong, not supported, condemnable) with protection and defense of life (not condemnable).

God reads our hearts, condemns our behaviors accordingly, the concept of judgement is based upon our individual conditions. IF a person goes to “war” which is in defense and protection of life (not condemnable), but runs around murdering (wanton destruction of life), they’re engaging in murder, condemnable, dreadfully sinful acts.

But the war itself isn’t an act of murder, when and if it’s in defense and protection of life.

The Left ROUTINELY DENIES the issue of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, I emphasis, by deeming “the war in Iraq” as they call it, “illegal” and in the “religion of the Left,” that means, it’s “wrong”. They have their own form of religion and it is their politics, their socio-political needs and ambitions.

Thus, they run roughshod with the most important aspects of Christianity, in my view, by refusing the issue of personal responsibility and behaviors by individuals that are condemnable versus what they “prefer”: Liberal ideology.

We can all generalize throughout time that “all” “war/violence” is wrong and loathesome — it usually has been and probably always will be — but sometimes hard work like that is necessary to protect and defend, and that’s what’s important, the distinction that counts. The INTENTION and motivations involved are the primary issues, because the hard work involved is oftentimes gruesome, no doubt about it.

By comparison, the Left wants “more money” (taken away from defense) to grow more Liberals and bloat. Which, in my experience, rarely actually does anything for “the poor,” but the Left uses “the poor” like it uses microphones.

S on August 8, 2008 at 6:03 PM

We can all generalize throughout time that “all” “war/violence” is wrong and loathesome — it usually has been and probably always will be — but sometimes hard work like that is necessary to protect and defend, and that’s what’s important, the distinction that counts. The INTENTION and motivations involved are the primary issues, because the hard work involved is oftentimes gruesome, no doubt about it.

TYPO…I do not believe that “all war…is wrong…” but that the CONCEPT of violence in that extreme is not desirable, is “wrong” as to what anyone would prefer to happen. But that in some circumstances, the war that results is justified and although not necessarily “right” in preferences (we’d all prefer to live and let live), it’s sometimes necessary.

S on August 8, 2008 at 6:06 PM

If a political candidate supported abortion, or any other moral evil, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia, for that matter, it would not be morally permissible for you to vote for that person.

But let’s talk about the specifics of this election. Obama is clearly pro-murder of unborn life. McCain isn’t the polar opposite, taking the position that he personally disagrees with abortion, rights of the states, has to work within the framework of the law….etc. In short, McCain is the more pro-life candidate but it isn’t an issue where he has a clear record of voting against the murder of unborn life.

Is it morally justified to vote for a candidate who is simply ambiguous on the issue and not a staunch defender of unborn life? Does “political expediency” trump the tenets of faith?

Obviously, America doesn’t elect politicians solely on the basis of where they stand on abortion or any other issue. It is impossible to simply apply the tenets of faith and arrive at a conclusion in a multi-theistic society. For that reason I would suggest that in places where morality runs into political challenges the answer is not to rely on the politician to do the right thing. One should vote for the least morally reprehensible politician but use the political process to apply pressure to the legislative process in general to act in a morally correct manner.

highhopes on August 8, 2008 at 8:17 PM

Both parties want to help Americans live well, but have different philosophies on how to get there.

There you go again, ED, attributing good intentions to the democrat party that don’t exist. The democrats are about nothing but power and will oppress to get that power. They are about class envy and hatred and deviding Americans to conquer Americans. They are the direct cousins of those who sent human beings off to concentration camps in germany, the gulags in siberia and the rice fields of cambodia. It’s a load of post modern, moral relativist crap to say the denmocrats are good Americans. They hate our form of government, our economic system and our history. You need to stop talking to these people in the green room. They are clouding your objectivity.

peacenprosperity on August 9, 2008 at 9:02 AM

Wow, so Catholics aren’t simply people misguided on one particular issue. They are definitionally deranged lunatics and single-issue voters, whose views on that issue demonstrably contradict science.

Sounds like someone got rejected by a cute Catholic girl.

Mormon Doc on August 9, 2008 at 6:43 PM

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