South Carolina diocese stands firm on priest’s warning letter

posted at 11:40 am on November 16, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

A South Carolina priest who sent a letter warning parishioners who voted for Barack Obama that they may have placed themselves outside of the communion of the Catholic Church has received the backing of his diocese.  The Diocese of Charleston agrees with Fr. Jay Scott Newman’s letter despite the controversy it generated, which brings the debate over “formal participation” into a new context:

A Greenville priest who told parishioners those who cast ballots for President-elect Barack Obama risk placing themselves “outside of the full communion of Christ’s church” is simply enunciating church teaching and has the full support of the Diocese of Charleston, a spokesman said Thursday.

The provocative letter from the Rev. Jay Scott Newman to members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church has sparked some controversy and yet another conversation about faith and public policy.

“Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil,” Newman said in the letter posted on the Greenville church’s Web site, www.stmarysgvl.org, “and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law.”

Newman said that those who did not choose the anti-abortion candidate, in this case U.S. Sen. John McCain, “should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”

Calling Obama “the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate,” Newman went on to say Catholics must pray for the newly elected chief executive.

“Let us hope and pray that the responsibilities of the presidency and the grace of God will awaken in the conscience of this extraordinarily gifted man an awareness that the unholy slaughter of children in this nation is the greatest threat to the peace and security of the United States and constitutes a clear and present danger to the common good,” Newman said in the letter.

Most Catholic bishops have stopped short of this conclusion.  They have focused their criticisms on self-proclaimed Catholic officeholders who vote to enable abortions, calling those votes “formal cooperation” with the intrinsic evil of abortion.  According to the catechism, in paragraph 2272, formal cooperation in abortions constitutes an automatically excommunicating event:

Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

So far, the church has not officially applied 2272 explicitly to the act of voting for a pro-choice candidate.  They’ve had enough trouble rousing the energy to apply church teachings to politicians such as Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.  They’ve only been interested in doing that much for just a few years, but this letter is the next logical progression if the church wants to assert its beliefs more clearly in the parishes.

Catholic Democrats objected to the statement:

“Father Newman is off-base,” said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. “He is acting beyond the authority of a parish priest to say what he did. … Unfortunately, he is doing so in a manner that will be of great cost to those parishioners who did vote for Senators Obama and Biden. There will be a spiritual cost to them for his words.”

It’s an odd moment indeed when someone accuses a parish priest of being off-base for quoting the catechism.  Krueger appears to have more concern with membership statistics than the reason for belonging to the church in the first place.  As far as the “spiritual cost” for talking about abortion and the church’s position, one might wonder whether Krueger doesn’t concern himself with the “spiritual cost” of supporting abortion.  On what basis would a Catholic conclude that the spiritual cost of discussing the catechism would outstrip that of abortion itself?

Will the church broaden its definition of “formal cooperation” to explicitly include supporting abortion rights and voting for pro-abortion candidates?  If so, Krueger’s prediction that many Democrats may leave the church will probably come true.  However, the church has to apply its beliefs rather than worrying about popularity contests.  Matthew 7:12-14 warns:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.  Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The point of the church is to provide the truth and light the narrow road, so that as many as possible can find it.  The church does not exist to endorse the broad road simply because many people insist on following it, or to mislead people into thinking that the choice of road doesn’t matter at all.  Priests do no favors to their parishioners when they avoid teaching the difference, and the spiritual cost of willful silence on the subject of abortion far outstrips the cost of speaking the truth.

Update: Via Tom Shipley, the statement of Monsignor Laughlin seems less than a full endorsement of Newman’s letter, and the spokesman or the reporter got it wrong:

This past week, the Catholic Church’s clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion has been pulled into the partisan political arena. The recent comments of Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., have diverted the focus from the Church’s clear position against abortion. As Administrator of the Diocese of Charleston, let me state with clarity that Father Newman’s statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.” The Catechism goes on to state: “In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.”

Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.

The pulpit is reserved for the Word of God. Sometimes God’s truth, as is the Church’s teaching on abortion, is unpopular. All Catholics must be aware of and follow the teachings of the Church.

We should all come together to support the President-elect and all elected officials with a view to influencing policy in favor of the protection of the unborn child. Let us pray for them and ask God to guide them as they take the mantle of leadership on January 20, 2009.

That sounds like a vacillation, not an endorsement.  On one hand, Laughlin repudiates Newman, but on the other hand, notes that church members have to follow church teachings on abortion.  Laughlin says that anyone who thinks they have a clear conscience can take communion, and yet the “teachings of the Church” clearly state that anyone who formally cooperates in abortion is automatically excommunicated, whether they feel guilty about it or not.

This, unfortunately, has been the kind of double-talk that leads people to believe that abortion is compatible with the Catholic faith, when the church itself teaches that it fundamentally is not.


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[DeathToMediaHacks on November 16, 2008 at 9:06 PM]

I’m not absolutely positive the Church is, on the whole, anti-statist, but I only skimmed. Even so, it doesn’t look good for the statists, or the socialists, either.

Let us know if that’s wrong.

Dusty on November 16, 2008 at 9:55 PM

I remember during the height of the Catholics in Boston, the priests would not come out against the likes of Kennedy, Kerry, regarding abortion as they either, did not want the money to dry up, or, they were enjoying the social life. The democrats threw the likes of me away as I was a Catholic that believed in the sanctity of life. The current generation sees abortion as the equivalence to a tooth being pulled. It is taught in school as a normal action. Some go on like it was nothing and others are haunted for all eternity. As the country becomes more secularized, and what is deemed to living the good life is the money or stuff one accumulates, then the more robotic we become.
Truth be told, a nice ugly recession might be the best thing to ever happen to this country. We are not defined as “human”, by how much stuff we have, or how wonderful was our education or what great job we had, in the end it is how we treated one another. What did we do for out fellow man,in the end that is all that matters. It is also why extreme Islam will fail. When “men” purport to want to kill the unborn, or want to snuff out the life of someone like Terry Shiavo, then you know that the men are nothing but boys. Men, innately, want to protect those that cannot protect themselves. That is the job of being a man. I wish our leaders would be “men” with bigger stones who would stand up to the feminazi’s who seem to have the bigger balls, lately.

tessa on November 16, 2008 at 9:57 PM

you will learn that abortion is an intrinsic evil, meaning that there are no circumstances where voluntary abortion is not evil.
neuquenguy on November 16, 2008 at 9:13 PM

Isn’t artificial contraception also an intrinsic evil? If Catholics can find a candidate who will roll back the availability of artificial contraception is it important for them to prioritize their vote on that issue?

dedalus on November 16, 2008 at 10:04 PM

DeathToMediaHacks on November 16, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Let’s try this one more time.
You said:

The Catholic Church and the pope has not made a distinction between the death penalty and abortion. Death is death according to dogma.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 16, 2008 at 8:32 PM

I explained that that statement is erroneous, it is debunked by the catechism and by the current Pope himself:

POPE BENEDICT ON WAR, DEATH PENALTY, ABORTION AND EUTHANASIA

BENEDICT AT THE BASILICA

The Pope speaks to Catholic bishops in Washington, D.C.

04/17/2008

“There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion, even among Catholics, about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” H.H. Benedict XVI.

You still try to paint faithful catholics as hypocrites because they give much more weight to the issue of abortion than to other social issues. The church as stated in hundreds of different ways that the pro-life issues are of primary importance. Again, if you understand the concept of sin and evil in catholic doctrine, you will know that not all sins are equal. Sins defer in their gravity, in their ascribed culpability and in the fact that some actions are intrinsically evil and some others might be evil depending on circumstances. None of this means that Catholics only have to listen to the church on grave sins. They must always avoid all types of sins because all of them in one way or another endanger their mortal souls.
As the Pope said, catholics can have legitimate differences of judgment on the application of the death penalty and the conduct of war but the issue of abortion is not debatable, catholics cannot support abortion without separating themselves from the church.
I hope this clarifies it, because I need to go to bed :)

neuquenguy on November 16, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Isn’t artificial contraception also an intrinsic evil? If Catholics can find a candidate who will roll back the availability of artificial contraception is it important for them to prioritize their vote on that issue?

dedalus on November 16, 2008 at 10:04 PM

First let me say that I brought up the concept of the intrinsic evil of abortion to answer an erroneous statement that the Pope and the Church make no distinction between the death penalty and abortion.
With respect to contraception. It is an intrinsic evil but does not raise to the level of abortion in that it does not take the life of an innocent human being. In most of the statements from the bishops discussing the abortion issue during the elections, the emphasis was on protecting the life of the innocent as the primordial right of every human person.
My personal opinion is that contraception is in a particular way detrimental to society because it can diminish the intrinsic value of human life by making children just one among the many goods people balance and compromise along with financial stability, material possessions, comfort, etc. Notice that I say it “can” have this effect and that it is my personal belief, I don’t see it as a political issue.

neuquenguy on November 16, 2008 at 10:40 PM

Isn’t artificial contraception also an intrinsic evil? If Catholics can find a candidate who will roll back the availability of artificial contraception is it important for them to prioritize their vote on that issue?

dedalus on November 16, 2008 at 10:04 PM

One real issue in the political arena regarding contraception refers to the right of people and private institutions not to be compelled to act in ways that contravene their religious beliefs. For example as a catholic I would not support a candidate who promises to force private store owners to sell contraceptives.

neuquenguy on November 16, 2008 at 10:47 PM

What if that candidate was up against the ghost of Saddam Hussein?

Greenhelmet on November 16, 2008 at 11:02 PM

Dusty on November 16, 2008 at 6:03 PM

If I can summarize what you’re saying, it’s that there is no doubt that Obama is far worse for the pro-life cause than McCain or any pro-life candidate, and that this is probably true of any pro-choice or Democrat candidate. And that this difference outweighs any other differences on foreign or social policy. And you’re probably right. It’s hard for me to say what I think for sure because I don’t share the fundamental Catholic value.

But there are some Catholics who agree fully with the Church on abortion and voted for Obama. They would disagree with your claims that Obama is clearly worse overall given the Church’s values. They may be wrong or misinformed, and it may be obvious that they are wrong, but my only point is that their sin is not that they disagree with the Church on values, but that they’re making the wrong evaluation/decision based on those values.

And I can see why they’d be offended that the Church is calling a calculation that is based on the same values a sin. But I can also see why both you and the Church see the benefit of calling it a sin — both for practical purposes and because accidentally committing a sin is still committing a sin.

Finally, just out of curiosity: I accept your explanation on the specific issue with respect to Obama and Democrats in general. What about my hypothetical, though? There’s always a history, it’s not always clear what effect a policy will have in the future. Obviously there are many cases where experts will argue each side, or where experts will say they just don’t know. In such a case, if the Church happens to take a side, is it okay for them to call those who disagree with them sinners? I can see why it might be, but I’m curious what you think.

tneloms on November 16, 2008 at 11:16 PM

I find it interesting that you are belaboring a point that was created by the liberal influence on the Catholic Church. So what you ar4e saying is that the Church should be condemned for its liberal abuses. But now when the conservatives try to clean up the Church, we should not understand that and hold them responsible.

Yeah, right.

Hawthorne on November 16, 2008 at 7:12 PM

I am sorry that you are so challenged in your application of simple logic. You statement really does not speak to any points or considerations I raised. But I’ll respond thusly:

I find it interesting that you think one comment and one reply are belaboring. I also find it interesting that you too seek to minimize sex crimes under Church authority.

Is it liberal or conservative when a church or parish or diocese covers up a sex crime? Here’s a hint. God doesn’t care. The crime and the welfare of the victims should be the focus.

I appreciate any protections afforded unborn children. They are literally the voiceless victims of society’s hedonism and moral depravity. I don’t need a priest to confirm this for me.

IMHO the Catholic church took some huge divets in its moral standing in many people’s eyes. You may disagree or defend or minimize that sentiment. God gives you that choice, enjoy.

Oh yeah. Read my initial comment or stay out of my grits.

The Race Card on November 16, 2008 at 11:27 PM

Both Benedict and John Paul II have been clear about their opposition to war in Iraq as well.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 16, 2008 at 8:48 PM

Yes, they have, but they have also indicated that this is another case for the informed conscience.

In other words, I can be a good Catholic and support the Iraqi war. I have, using a well informed conscience, determined that Saddam Hussein and his regime were unjust aggressors, and needed to be stopped. The war was carried out with regard for innocent life. Hence, in my mind, the Iraq War was a Just War.

I would apply the same reasoning to Darfur, as Mr. Obama once indicated he would. When one stands by and allows evil to transpire, one is evil too.

That said, here is the interesting portion of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with respect to the death penalty.

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

Which is one reason why I am, like you, deathtomediahacks, opposed to the death penalty. Once the state has immobilized the person and neutralized their ability to do evil, under Catholic teaching (which I honor) there is no need for the death penalty. As an example, once Saddam Hussein had been captured and imprisoned, there was no need to kill him. Note that this does not preclude a resort to deadly force per the first paragraph, if that is the only way to stop an evil in progress.

In this country, where we pride ourselves on the quality of our justice, there is still the possibility of mistake, even with regard to a capital crime. Execution prevents justice in those cases, and I’d rather err and keep the person “on ice” and then have to pay them some large sum of money for their lost years, rather than to take all of their years away from them and later find that the state had done so unjustly.

unclesmrgol on November 16, 2008 at 11:28 PM

BTW, you are wrong about the use of effect vs affect.

You’re talking about the verb. I used the noun:

they believe that neither candidate will have much of an effect

The noun “affect” means something completely different; the noun “effect” is correct here.

tneloms on November 16, 2008 at 11:30 PM

One real issue in the political arena regarding contraception refers to the right of people and private institutions not to be compelled to act in ways that contravene their religious beliefs. For example as a catholic I would not support a candidate who promises to force private store owners to sell contraceptives.

neuquenguy on November 16, 2008 at 10:47 PM

Thanks. Always appreciate your thoughts. Agree on the point about private store owners.

dedalus on November 17, 2008 at 12:25 AM

In case of twins, two children are murdered.

JonRoss on November 16, 2008 at 7:49 PM

With the MZ twins there is only one zygote, only one body. It is indistinguishable from a zygote that produces one baby. I understand how it is potentially 2 people but don’t see how it is two people a day after conception, unless two people can simultaneously inhabit a single body.

dedalus on November 16, 2008 at 8:43 PM

dedalus,

That is not how it works. I’ll explain.

In Human Embryology, the in vivo (inside mother’s body) developmental stages of the human being are divided into two main parts, clinically speaking.

1) The embryonic stage, which begins at conception-fertilization and continues until the end of the eighth week, Post Fertilization (PF)

2) The fetal stage, which begins at the ninth week, Post Fertilization, and continues till term (approximately 40 weeks, PF) or birth.

To point out the context of the terms being clinical terms for reference, and for developmental stages, in vivo, please remember that some babies are born earlier than others. By developmental age one born at 35 weeks, is younger than another baby who is born at 38 weeks, PF, yet the older baby, who is still inside the womb, is considered a “fetus” while the baby born earlier, at 35 weeks, is no longer called a fetus.

In other words, “fetus” is a human baby who is still inside the womb, even though he or she is a human being, and even more developed than another baby who has just been born a few weeks earlier than he or she is. Embryo and Fetus are merely clinical reference terms used while baby is still inside the womb. At birth it is unusual for someone to tell a mother “Keep pushing. You’re almost there! I can see your fetus now. Your fetus’s head is out. All you have to do is push your fetus’ shoulders through and then you can hold your fetus.”

Baby does not “become a human being” suddenly because they are no longer labeled a “fetus.”

During the embryonic stage of development, we witness a rapid division of cells and rapid development of the new person, with such mile markers appearing quickly such as the immediate development taking place in the neurological system, the clear distinction between the rostrum and the caudal regions, and the appearance and detection of the heartbeat, occurring as early as 18 to 21 days, PF. Of course, in the case of some systems, such as reproductive systems, neurological systems, etc., development does not end or achieve completion until as late as adulthood.

By the end of the Fetal Period (Conception-Fertilization till the end of the eighth week, PF) baby has all her major organs formed, and she will continue to mature and develop throughout her time inside the womb, through the fetal stage, and even beyond birth, into adulthood.

During cell division, sometimes some cells might separate from the rest of the embryo. When this happens, if the cells still have the ability to do so, if they are totipotent, meaning they have the ability to become any cell, for any tissue, for any organ, for any system in the human body, they can also have the ability to also become another, second embryo, another living human organism, another person. This is asexual reproduction, for it does not require a sperm and oocyte to meet in order for this second, third, or other individual to begin his or her life.

In other words it is not necessarily that the new single celled human embryonic zygote is a twin. The twinning may take place a bit later as the cells are dividing.

As a point of fact, monozygotic twinning, using one zygote which resulted from sexual relations, using sperm and oocyte, should be differentiated from fraternal twinning, which employs sexual intercourse using more than one sperm and more than one oocyte, and results in more than one zygote.

In twinning resulting from multiple zygotes, a woman might have released more than one oocyte during her menstrual cycle. If these oocytes are available inside the fallopian tube when sperm reach them, and if a different sperm reaches each oocyte, on a one to one basis, then there can be multiple zygotes, each different from the other.

Monozygotic twinning results in identical twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc., from one, single human embryonic zygote which resulted from one sperm meeting one oocyte, whereas fraternal twinning, resulting from different sperm meeting different oocytes, more than one oocyte in one cycle. These fraternal twins are not identical twins, triplets, etc., as monozygotic twins are. Of course, I am referring to in vivo sexual and asexual reproduction, not ex vivo reproduction in this case.

Does that help clear it up for you?

Also, as a matter of fact, two or more human beings can, and do, inhabit one body. This is what we are talking about above regarding twinning. Furthermore, the woman and her single baby, in cases that do not include twinning, are inhabiting one body, although the baby is a temporary inhabitant of mother’s body.

William2006 on November 17, 2008 at 12:38 AM

Correction:

In my post above, explaining monozygotic twinning, etc., I accidentally used the word “Fetal Period” when I intended to use the term “embryonic period.”

Here is the paragraph in which I placed the wrogn word “Fetal.”

“By the end of the Fetal Period (Conception-Fertilization till the end of the eighth week, PF) baby has all her major organs formed, and she will continue to mature and develop throughout her time inside the womb, through the fetal stage, and even beyond birth, into adulthood.”

William2006 on November 17, 2008 at 12:38 AM

Here is the corrected paragraph, using the proper term “embryonic period,” which extends from conception-fertilization, till the end of the eight week, Post Fertilization, in place of the term “Fetal period.”

“By the end of the Embryonic Period (Conception-Fertilization till the end of the eighth week, PF) baby has all her major organs formed, and she will continue to mature and develop throughout her time inside the womb, through the fetal stage, and even beyond birth, into adulthood.”

William

William2006 on November 17, 2008 at 12:46 AM

Quoting William:

“Fact: It is a scientific fact that normally a human being’s life begins sexually (man and woman, with sperm penetrating the zona pellucida of the woman’s oocyte), in vivo (inside the mother’s body) at conception-fertilization and continues until death. Also a fact, monozygotic twinning, triplets, etc., occurs in living human beings, hence, human beings do also begin their lives as twins, triplets, etc., asexually (without sperm and oocyte), in vivo (inside mother’s womb).

William2006 on November 16, 2008 at 6:55 PM

“unclesmrgol” said:

Twinning requires conception to have occurred also. It is not asexual in origin. Other than that, agree with what you say.

unclesmrgol on November 16, 2008 at 7:15 PM

“unclesmrgol,”

There are more than one form of twinning.

1) Monozygotic Twinning is the which results from one, single, human embryonic zygote. It occurs (in vivo) when, during cell division during the early stage of the embryonic stage (embryonic stage extends from from conception-fertilization till the end of the eighth week, Post Fertilization (PF)), some cells might separate from the embryo. If they have the ability, or are totipotent, having the ability to become any type cell, to make up any type of tissue, to make up any type of organ, to make up any system in the human body, they also might have the ability to become another, new human embryo.

In this case, there is no union of sperm with oocyte, or sexual reproduction, which is why it is referred to as asexual reproduction, because it is not produced sexually like the original embryo was.

True, the original oocyte was produced sexually, via the union of the genetic material of the father, via his sperm, penetrating zona pellucida of the woman’s ooctye, but since this process is different and does not require sperm and oocyte, it is asexual reproduction, not sexual reproduction.

Fraternal twinning is different from monozygotic twinning.

In cases in which the mother releases more than one oocyte into the fallopian tube during one menstrual cycle, and also, at the same time, the case in which more than one sperm from the father reaches each of these oocytes, penetrating the zona pellucida of each oocyte, resulting in new human beings, we don’t have monozygotic twinning. We have multiple zygotes.

These multiple zygotes will not be identical like monozygotic twinning produces (identical twins, triplets, etc.)

In some cases these fraternal twins, resulting from different zygotes, can be born several days, and occasionally a week or more apart.

Nevertheless, in Human Embryology, father’s sperm penetrating the oocyte of mother is sexual reproduction, in vivo, whereas monozygotic twinning, in vivo, is asexual reproduction.

William2006 on November 17, 2008 at 1:07 AM

Newman did well and gave a clear, specific teaching to those in the Catholic Church. Then this Loughlin character puts out a video that almost seems like an exercise in double speak.

Kudos to Newman and shame on Loughlin!

PS
I have mailed a donation to Newman and a letter condemning Laughlin’s emasculated flimsy response.

TheMightyQuinn on November 17, 2008 at 1:39 AM

Christ gives us freedom to explore our own conscience and to make our own decisions while adhering to the law of God and the teachings of the faith. Therefore, if a person has formed his or her conscience well, he or she should not be denied Communion, nor be told to go to confession before receiving Communion.

This fellow needs tutoring. I think Pope Benedict has a firmer view on this matter.

thegreatbeast on November 17, 2008 at 3:21 AM

Abortion is murder, condoning abortion is condoning murder. One of the reasons I left the Catholic Church is the refusal of the Church to hold its parishioners accountable for the murder of helpless, unborn children, who cannot defend themselves in any way. Those that condone such an act should be ex-communicated.
Leftist most want those who cannot defend themselves to be eliminated because leftists are the most crass cowards on the planet.

nelsonknows on November 17, 2008 at 5:51 AM

This, unfortunately, has been the kind of double-talk that leads people to believe that abortion is compatible with the Catholic faith…

Sounds like another weak-kneed Church official, someone who has lost his focus on the Gospel. The Church does not offer a smorgaborg

Zorro on November 17, 2008 at 7:00 AM

This, unfortunately, has been the kind of double-talk that leads people to believe that abortion is compatible with the Catholic faith…

Sounds like another weak-kneed Church official, someone who has lost his focus on the Gospel. The Church does not offer a smorgasbord where you get to pick and choose what you like and dislike. Abortion is wrong.

Zorro on November 17, 2008 at 7:02 AM

“… They may be wrong or misinformed, and it may be obvious that they are wrong, but my only point is that their sin is not that they disagree with the Church on values, but that they’re making the wrong evaluation/decision based on those values.

And I can see why they’d be offended that the Church is calling a calculation that is based on the same values a sin. ….”

[tneloms on November 16, 2008 at 11:16 PM]

Well, for one, that is why Fr Newman forewarned them, so they would prioritize their values properly and not make the wrong evaluation/decision. Because, in the end, what you are implying, since all (Catholics) are presumed to be “basing” their evaluations/decisions on the same values and yet choose differently, then the prioritization is wrong for some.

Now, be aware, the Church hardly ever intervenes so assertively, strenuously and narrowly in the general tumult of decision-making by it’s members. It is exceptional.

“… In such a case, if the Church happens to take a side, is it okay for them to call those who disagree with them sinners? I can see why it might be, but I’m curious what you think. ….”

No, not if they disagree, but, yes, if they act in concert with that disagreement.

Dusty on November 17, 2008 at 9:21 AM

[thegreatbeast on November 17, 2008 at 3:21 AM]

Anyone passing Logic 101 would have a firmer view on this matter. Aw, heck, why beat around the bush, everyone not in the “not to decide is to decide” camp will have a “firmer” view than Laughlin.

Dusty on November 17, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Also, as a matter of fact, two or more human beings can, and do, inhabit one body. This is what we are talking about above regarding twinning. Furthermore, the woman and her single baby, in cases that do not include twinning, are inhabiting one body, although the baby is a temporary inhabitant of mother’s body.

William2006 on November 17, 2008 at 12:38 AM

My only focus is on MZ twins and the first few days after conception. As you indicate there is only one zygote prior to twinning. What is the definition of person or individual life where that zygote could be identified as multiple people? Certainly, it is potentially multiple people but a day or two after conception it is something different than twins in their third trimester who have separate physical bodies. Very different, also, than a baby and mother where the baby is a distinct organism inside the mother.

dedalus on November 17, 2008 at 10:33 AM

Personally, I’m tired of all of the a la carte Catholics. The entire reason the Catholic church has survived 2000 years is because it *doesn’t* change with the whims of society.

We don’t need another schism, we’ve already had one, thankyouverymuch. If you don’t like the rules, leave. No one is forcing anyone to be Catholic. And there are plenty of “less restrictive” religions out there ready and waiting to take a former Catholic’s time, money and whatever else it is they call faith.

Rock. Peter. Unbroken line. 2000 years. Beat that. Plllpppttt.

asta on November 17, 2008 at 11:01 AM

[DeathToMediaHacks on November 16, 2008 at 9:06 PM]

I’m not absolutely positive the Church is, on the whole, anti-statist, but I only skimmed. Even so, it doesn’t look good for the statists, or the socialists, either.

Let us know if that’s wrong.

Dusty on November 16, 2008 at 9:55 PM

Well, I finished reading the article, even if you didn’t. some choice excerpts:

“… In apparent contradiction, however, to much of the foregoing argument are the considerations put forward by numerous schools of “Christian Socialism”, both Catholic and non-Catholic. It will be urged that there cannot really be the opposition between Socialism and Christianity that is here suggested, for, as a matter of fact, many excellent and intelligent persons in all countries are at once convinced Christians and ardent Socialists. …

If it be found on examination that the general trend of the Socialist movement, the predominant opinion of the Socialists, the authoritative pronouncements of ecclesiastical and expert Catholic authority all tend to emphasize the philosophical cleavage indicated above, it is probably safe to conclude that those who profess to reconcile the two doctrines are mistaken: either their grasp of the doctrines of Christianity or of Socialism will be found to be imperfect, or else their mental habits will appear to be so lacking in discipline that they are content with the profession of a belief in incompatible principles. ….”

and,

“The trend of the Socialist movement, then, and the deliberate pronouncements and habitual thought of leaders and followers alike, are almost universally found to be antagonistic to Christianity. Moreover, the other side of the question is but a confirmation of this antagonism. For all three popes who have come into contact with modern Socialism, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X, have formally condemned it, both as a general doctrine and with regard to specific points. The bishops and clergy, the lay experts on social and economic questions, the philosophers, the theologians, and practically the whole body of the faithful are unanimous in their acceptance of the condemnation.”

And lastly, the concluding paragraph:

To sum up, in the words of a capable anonymous writer in “The Quarterly Review”, Socialism has for “its philosophical basis, pure materialism; its religious basis is pure negation; its ethical basis the theory that society makes the individuals of which it is composed, not the individuals society, and that therefore the structure of society determines individual conduct, which involves moral irresponsibility; its economic basis is the theory that labour is the sole producer, and that capital is the surplus value over bare subsistence produced by labour and stolen by capitalists; its juristic basis is the right of labour to the whole product; its historical basis is the industrial revolution, that is the change from small and handicraft methods of production to large and mechanical ones, and the warfare of classes; its political basis is democracy. . . . It may be noted that some of these [bases] have already been abandoned and are in ruins, others are beginning to shake; and as this process advances the defenders are compelled to retreat and take up fresh positions. Thus the form of the doctrine changes and undergoes modification, though all cling still to the central principle, which is the substitution of public for private ownership”.

There are in my mind more damning excerpts but after reading this and barring what I placed in bold, above, I cannot fathom how anyone could call themselves a Catholic Democrat, considering the state of the Party. It would be like hanging out in Hell in the belief that by doing so, they could make it heaven, if they said it was so often enough.

Dusty on November 17, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Is it liberal or conservative when a church or parish or diocese covers up a sex crime? Here’s a hint. God doesn’t care. The crime and the welfare of the victims should be the focus.

I would not speak for God at that level.

What is certain, there is a big difference between committing a crime, and making a heinious behaviour legal.

Committing a crime is the sin on an individual

Obama had the rare distinction of leading the argument against giving medical care, food and drink, solace, and warmth or even human touch to a baby born alive gasping, perhaps whimpering, perhaps hoping for a mother’s touch. Such tiny innocent victims were put in a back room, to be held until their pitiful death by a nurse who dared disobey orders to leave them to die alone.

Obama argued that the law requiring medical attention to babies born alive in late term abortions would be a mistake because it would give those babies rights as human beings.

Hitler legalized mass action against unwarranted human beings who were interfering with progress or othersie contaminating the nation. He is considered the sorse war criminal of his nation

I appreciate any protections afforded unborn children. They are literally the voiceless victims of society’s hedonism and moral depravity. I don’t need a priest to confirm this for me.

The priest acted because it os his role as priest to represent the moral authority of his Church to his parishoners. The priest is the shephard of his flock.Otherwise, his job is to stand aside and hand out bingo catds, maybe say a few things at weddings and funerals.

Since many Catholics belonged to organizations working to elect Obama, it was his real duty to warn them of the consquences of voting for the man who fights for infanticide of the cruelest form.

One must be right with God to participate in Communion at that church.

If a man stomped on a babiy’s skull outside the church and then demanded communion, would the priest be correct to refuse?

Infanticide is not permissible for Catholics, even if it leads to a better health care system and free college.

IMHO the Catholic church took some huge divets in its moral standing in many people’s eyes. You may disagree or defend or minimize that sentiment. God gives you that choice, enjoy.

Not addressed to me, however, the Catholic Church took a huge moral leap in my eyes when it lived up to its own Cathechism. The priest stood with the great martyrs because he would not allow parishioners to take an action, without understanding the moral consequence of that action

The priest had a choice to look the other way, or warn his flock that if they facilitated the greatest proponent of infanticide in the Senate they would fail the requirements of their faith.

Oh yeah. Read my initial comment or stay out of my grits.

The Race Card on November 16, 2008 at 11:27 PM

Is this poster warning the reader of consequences?

entagor on November 17, 2008 at 2:25 PM

anyone who formally cooperates in abortion

First of all, you’re quoting the Catechism incorrectly. It is not “formal cooperation in abortion,” it is “formal cooperation in an abortion.” Some examples that come to mind:

- Knowingly and deliberatelyl paying for your wife or daughter’s abortion abortion.
- Encouraging someone to get an abortion.
- Working in an abortionist’s office.

Voting for abortion to simply be legal is not “formal cooperation in an abortion.”

Voting for a candidate who thinks abortion should be legal is not “formal cooperation in an abortion.”

Every candidate supports the legality of certain types of sin. I didn’t hear either candidate push for making private drunkenness illegal. If you voted for any candidate on the ballot, is your soul in jeopardy for providing “formal cooperation” with the sin of drunkenness? Fornication? Unjust war? The death penalty?

We have to render to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s. In other words, our political judgements don’t have to come from the Bible or the Catechism. It is not our job as Christians to enact Sharia.

Mark Jaquith on November 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

First of all, you’re quoting the Catechism incorrectly. It is not “formal cooperation in abortion,” it is “formal cooperation in an abortion.” Some examples that come to mind:

- Knowingly and deliberatelyl paying for your wife or daughter’s abortion abortion.
- Encouraging someone to get an abortion.
- Working in an abortionist’s office.

Voting for abortion to simply be legal is not “formal cooperation in an abortion.”

Voting for a candidate who thinks abortion should be legal is not “formal cooperation in an abortion.”

Mark Jaquith on November 17, 2008 at 3:14 PM

I get your point, but I think when it comes to a politician who has the power (through Executive Orders) to render all abortions more readily available, that is cooperating in an abortion (which is a subset of all abortions).

From NARAL’s web site:

Following the Supreme Court’s closely divided and bitter decision upholding the Federal Abortion Ban, it is clear that the right to choose is facing a new level of assault. That’s why the pro-choice community is working to guarantee the right to choose through the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) – a measure that will codify Roe v. Wade and guarantee the right to choose for future generations of women.

It seems to me that if a Catholic voter voted for Obama knowing that he intends to repeal FOCA as soon as he takes office, that voter has cooperated with an/all abortions to the same extent as someone “working in an abortionist’s office.” Both are facilitating the performance of abortions.

Y-not on November 17, 2008 at 4:22 PM

It seems to me that if a Catholic voter voted for Obama knowing that he intends to repeal sign FOCA

sorry, brain cramp!

Y-not on November 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM

The Race Card on November 16, 2008 at 11:27 PM

Maybe you missed my point, but that is OK. The intention, however unclear it may have been, was to point out the attempts to divert the subject. The Church has dealt with the wayward priests. They have been prosecuted and many are serving jail time. While this episode in the history of the Church was not good for the image of the Church, it was dealt with appropriately. Condemning the Catholic Church for this is like condemning all Americans because some of us are criminals.

Your attempts to bring this subject up are like saying it doesn’t matter if somebody criticizes a killer for murdering your son because their neighbor was a pervert. While the priest who abused children deserve all the punishment they get (in this life and the next) it is a distraction from the real issue.

The bottom line is that the Catholic Church treats abortion as a mortal sin according to the catechism. It is not forgivable. Therefore it is a higher offense than other things that are mentioned here. After blasphemy against God, it is the highest offense that a person can commit.

Some people bring up contraception as an issue as well. That is not the same because it prevent conception. Since the Church recognizes conception as the moment where a human life is created it is not the same. While it is also against Church doctrine, it is not murder and not a mortal sin.

So you can criticize me for dismissing your straw dog if you choose. I do have the right on these forums to comment whether you appreciate the comments or not. So please explain what you intend to do if I continue to get into your “grits.”

Hawthorne on November 17, 2008 at 6:48 PM

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