Dems may have a Catholic pro-abortion VP candidate

Apparently Democrat Presidential "hope"full Barak Obama, the short-term senator from Illinois, has chosen as his VP running mate long-term Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.

Sen. Biden is pro-abortion, but against partial-birth abortion. 

On Meet The Press he said that he believes that life begins at conception:

Q: You have changed your position on abortion. When you came to the Senate, you believed that Roe v. Wade was not correctly decided and that you also believed the right of abortion was not secured by the Constitution. Why did you change your mind?

A: Well, I was 29 years old when I came to the US Senate, and I have learned a lot. Look, I’m a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.

Q: Do you believe that life begins at conception?

A: I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith. That’s why the late-term abortion ban, where there’s clearly viability.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series Apr 29, 2007

NARAL scores him at 36%.

NRLC scores him at 0%.

He voted against a ban on human cloning and for expansion of embryonic stem-cell research.

I would remind you only of what Archbishop Burke recently reiterated so clearly about the obligation of charity and denying Holy Communion to Catholic pro-abortion politicians.

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109 Responses to Dems may have a Catholic pro-abortion VP candidate

  1. Thomas says:

    Practicing Catholic? What do you suppose he might mean by such a statement?

  2. Fr. Angel says:

    Another pro-abort Catholic disgracing the Faith and giving the example of sacrilegious Communions as he fought to keep good pro-life judges off the Supreme Court.

    What he learned from his youth is that you don’t get the Democratic 30 pieces of silver unless you betray the Faith and the babies to Pilate Planned Parenthood.

    I’m surprise the announcement wasn’t accompanied by a preemptive message from the Democrats along the lines of: “for this election, we really would like the Catholic Church to shut up and not stick its nose in the personal business of Catholic politicians as they seek common ground with pro-aborts of all stripes and persuasions.”

    Oh well, here we go again.

  3. Brian says:

    So life begins at conception, but abortions are ok so long as there is no viability. that logic makes my head hurt.

  4. Hidden One says:

    Hmmmm… maybe Pope Benedict XVI should promulgate an encyclical – written by Abp. Burke – which slams psuedo-Catholic politicians and other political figures and institutions, in a generally Mit Brennender Sorge style.

  5. Edmund Dean says:

    I understand that NARAL has given him a 100% score in each of the past four years. 2003 was the year he got the 36%. He is indeed against partial birth abortion and federal funding for abortions, stances he might have to modify under the more liberal Obama. A couple interesting facts: John Kerry courted him as a running mate in 2004, but Biden recommended…get this…John McCain. His (Biden’s) 1988 campaign for presidency was wrought with controversy due to his purportedly unintentional plagiarism both in his campaign speeches and in an essay he wrote at law school.

  6. Calleva says:

    The funny thing about Biden’s plagiarism for us in the UK was that it concerned a speech by the then Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, whose prolixity was of near comic proportions.

    If Biden’s views are congruent with those of a ‘practicing’ Catholic (the spelling error somehow says it all), then I dread to think what he would expect from a lapsed one.

  7. Cornelius says:

    This is a gift: a “practicing” pro-abort “Catholic” on a national ticket will again make this scandalous inconsistency a matter for renewed public (Catholic) attention and put the HEAT back on the U.S. Bishops to speak clearly on this scandal.

  8. Fenton says:

    First off, let me say that I’m a pro-life, trad Catholic who sometimes finds Fr. Z a bit too accommodating to liberals. Bona fides out of the way, let me say that – every four years – I’m troubled by the nature of this discussion. Now, I don’t have a problem with denying communion to pro-abortion politicians. They SHOULD be denied, particularly because they are leading social figures who some (no longer me) expect to lead by example. But what troubles me – what really, truly troubles me – is that this quadrennial discussion about who should be denied communion, and why, is pretty much only limited to the abortion issue. We don’t extend it to gay marriage. And we don’t extend it to the death penalty which – by my understanding – is as serious a mortal sin as abortion. I ask you, Father Z, should a politician be denied communion for supporting the re-instituion of the death penalty, say, in Minnesota? My humble feeling is that yes, he or she should. But, for some reason, folks like Archbishop Burke never bring it up. And there are just so many more important, doctrinal, Catholic issues that should be black and white for Catholic politicians, that we just never bring up. To my mind, it does a disservice to the faith to focus on this one issue, as if it’s the only one that matters to us.

  9. LCB says:

    Fenton,

    This ought to help you, from the hand of then-Cardinal Ratzinger to the USCCB entitled, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion”:

    3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. 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.

    It is discussed so much because 50 million babies have been killed since Roe, and 1.3 million more die each year.

  10. Fr. Z,

    Truly relevant to this discussion, especially with a “practicing Catholic” chosen as a Democratic VP running-mate…

    If you get a chance check out this article by Sandro Magister: How to Conduct Politics as Catholics. The Denver Memorandum.

    It’s about Chaput’s book and Magister has some great excerpts and other info on it.

  11. David2 says:

    Fenton is in error when he suggests that the death penalty is always sinful. As the Pope wrote, as head of the CDF “..if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment.”

    Now some people suggest that a couple of lines in an encyclical about abortion and birth control (Evangellium Vitae) trump 2 millenia of Catholic teaching on the death penalty. Now, some people fall into the error of magisterialism, that is substituting the prudential judgment of the some members of the current magisterium for the authentic and binding teaching of the Church.

    Now, Catholic Answers has published the Voting Guide for Serious Catholics:

    http://www.saviorquest.com/news1/catholicvoters.htm

    Read it yourselves, but the general gist is this:

    1. There are 5 non-negotiable issues; viz, 1. Abortion, 2. Embryonic Stem Cell Research 3. Euthanasia 4. Human Cloning 5. Gay “Marriage”.

    2. The 5 non-negotiables are intrinsic evils, and cannot be supported, under penalty of mortal sin.

    3.Other issues, such as the death penalty, the war in Iraq, are not intrinsic evils. Catholics can support them in good faith without sinning, in accordance with the teaching of the Church.

  12. David2 says:

    Indeed, one could argue that if you’re wrong on even one of the 5 non-negotiables, you are unwothy to receive Communion, and indeed unworthy to receive votes of Catholics.

    Incidentally, I remember that Justice Anotin Scalia wrote a piece called “God’s Justice and Ours” wherein he argued the liciticy of the death penalty from a Catholic perspective, and pointed out that one of the criticisms always directed at St Thomas More (patron of lawyers and politicians!) at the Court of Henry VIII was that as Lord Chancellor, he was far too willing to impose the death penalty!

    Sorry for the run-on comments Father, I don’t want to take over the discussion, I just submitted too early!

  13. David3 says:

    David2 – I am very uncomfortable with the suggestion that there are five – and only five – issues that are inviolable for Catholics, and everything else is open for discussion. Read Ratzinger’s statement as quoted in LCB’s comment … defensive war is open for discussion, but aggressive rapacious war is not. The five points you post are not the work of the Vatican, but of well-intentioned folks who could be over-ruled with the swipe of a pen. I think Fenton is concerned with the Church becoming too closely alligned with a political party. Trad Catholics have more in common with the GOP when it comes to Life, but we need to be careful about crossing into partisanship, and that we don’t allow politicians to turn their back on our other Catholic values while they court us with pro-life positions. Life is a moral issue that extends beyond saving the Unborn. It is a way of approaching the world.

  14. Andrew says:

    Do you believe that life begins at conception?

    A: I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith.

    Doesn’t this add fuel to the argument of “don’t push your faith on me”? Why do we need “faith” to know that life begins at conception? Does a farmer “believe” that he plants corn or does he “know” what he’s planted? And when it sprouts, what sprouted if not corn? I’d like to see how quickly I would wind up in jail if I destroyed fertilized turtle eggs and tried to argue with the judge that they where not yet turtles.

  15. TNCath says:

    “Look, I’m a practicing Catholic, and it is the biggest dilemma for me in terms of comporting my religious and cultural views with my political responsibility.”

    In other words, don’t let what you know is right interfere with getting elected and staying in office. Sad. It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Bishops handle this one.

  16. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    The Catholic Answers tract is a very unfortunate document. I remember when it first came out. Mr. Keating insisted that things like torture were not included in the document, because no candidate was in favor of torture. Of course that was before many Republicans adopted the position of being pro-torture. That Catholic Answers does not put torture as one of the non-negotiable just goes to show that there are many Catholics on the right ready to take the Republican’s thirty pieces of silver. I would also add that while Cardinal Ratzinger said that a politician could disagree on decision to wage war, he is NOT free to disagree on the principles that are used to make the decision. Few Republican (or Democratic) candidates have ever showed that they adhered to the principles of Church concerning a just war. Unfortunately, many have confused this issue, because war is not intrinsically evil. Waging an unjust war, is a worse sin than allowing abortion. In one you force men to murder under the threat of capital punishment, in the other you allow a person to murder. BTW, most Republicans and many conservative Catholics are for the federal government allowing their citizens to murder, as long as it is decided at the state level, by a vote of the people. Very few Republicans are for a Federal ban on abortion (heaven forbid if the lives of children interfere with States rights).

  17. Ronald Webber says:

    I have read that Catholic Answers document before and found it rather difficult. It does not leave the door open for personal conscience and it does not recognise the well established principle that conscience can be genuine yet wrong. The last line seems to leave the door open to that possibility, but like many documents on such issues it fails to make the Church teaching clear in the hope of scaring people in to simply complying with the Church. Very unfortunate.

  18. David2 says:

    David3, and Christopher Sarsfield, re the Catholic Answers document, points taken. I agree.

    We do need to clearly define what is and what is not an intrinsic evil. Abortion is intrinsically evil, ol’ sparky is not.

    The point that I was making in response to Fenton is this. Unlike Abortion, capital punishment and just war in accordance with established Catholic principles are not intrinsic evils.

    No priest is entitled to deny Communion to a Catholic merely because they support the death penalty in certain serious circumstances, or a what they in apparrent good faith consider to be a just war.

  19. David2 says:

    Re the Church becoming associated with one political party… The source of the problem is that in the modern Democratic Party one cannot win nomination for major office unless you’re in practice, willing to sign up to the whole “Planned Parenthood” agenda. How does a faithful Catholic get Democratic nomination for high office? To all practical intents and purposes, it’s impossible.

  20. BobP says:

    Seeing that one of McCain’s choices is a person like Joe Liebermann, a pro-death
    candidate, this election may end up being a total wash. And McCain isn’t whom
    many would consider completely 100% conservative either, no matter what he says.
    This is going to be a tough election if your only consideration is a pro-life candidate.

  21. Ronald Webber says:

    I agree with BobP on that last line. I would be inclined to think that hardline American Catholics simply want each Catholic to rundown each candidates policies against a copy of the catechism and then add up their scores as it were. This would be a very mechanical and inhman way to do things.
    Let’s remember as well, with the Catholic Answers publication, that the US Bishop’s Conference has refused to give it official weighting. That fact speaks volumes.

  22. Johnny Domer says:

    OK, McCain might not be the most conservative guy ever, but his pro-life voting record in the Senate is absolutely PERFECT in 20-something years. Not just really good, PERFECT. So that is one thing to take into consideration…I think his campaign is floating this pro-choice VP thing to see what the reaction would be, and the reaction has been uniformly negative; he won’t pick Lieberman.

  23. Kevin Kelly says:

    Biden’s 36% rating from NARAL was *ONLY* for 2003. Here are the annual ratings since 2000.

    2007 NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Senator Biden a grade of 75.

    2006 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.

    2005 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.

    2004 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.

    2003 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 36 percent.

    2002 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.

    2001 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent.

    2000 Senator Biden supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 90 percent.

  24. Matt Q says:

    Hidden One wrote:

    “Hmmmm… maybe Pope Benedict XVI should promulgate an encyclical – written by Abp. Burke – which slams psuedo-Catholic politicians and other political figures and institutions, in a generally Mit Brennender Sorge style.”

    )(

    Been there, done that. No amount of printed paper in the world is going mean anything to those people. The Church speaks until She’s blue in the face, and no one listens. At the same time, that’s all the Church does, talk. As long as things are left up this person, this bishop, this blah blah blah, no, nothing ever will corrected.

    ======

    David2 wrote:

    “David3, and Christopher Sarsfield, re the Catholic Answers document, points taken. I agree.

    We do need to clearly define what is and what is not an intrinsic evil. Abortion is intrinsically evil, ol’ sparky is not.

    The point that I was making in response to Fenton is this. Unlike Abortion, capital punishment and just war in accordance with established Catholic principles are not intrinsic evils.

    No priest is entitled to deny Communion to a Catholic merely because they support the death penalty in certain serious circumstances, or a what they in apparent good faith consider to be a just war.”

    )(

    David2, you are putting the period in the wrong place. While what John Paul said about the death penalty is true in certain circumstances, he ALSO said that in the modern society we live in now, such an application is and SHOULD be extremely rare. He himself has always appealed for clemency on death penalty cases, and each time was never listened to.

    In this, one may enter into the sin of pride when taking on a point at which the DP may be used because it becomes accepted every time it is used merely because “there are exceptions.” The death penalty has also taken on a form of vindictive retribution in which people cheer it on, and completely failing in charity. Keep in mind, the Church holds for Herself the definition of when such an application is “justified,” but in every case the Church pleads against it. Failing to argue with the Church and continue to insist the other side be rammed home, again, smacks of pride. It is, in effect, demanding the penalty be carried out in every event, that every case is justified. This is a complete bastardization of Pope John Paul’s words.

    This is a life issue. We pray for and demand respect for life, from conception until NATURAL death. There’s no caveat for the death penalty in there.

  25. Ronald Webber says:

    Can this foreigner ask for an explanation of NARAL and this rating please?

  26. anonymous says:

    Lovely — The Dem convention will be showcasing dissolute Catholics at every turn — Joe Biden and “Sister” Catherine Pinkerton, allegedly a “devout” nun (not). If nothing else, these choices should clarify the parameters for sincere Catholic voters.

  27. David2 says:

    And McCain’s position on Fetal Stem Cell Research would rule him out, too, if one were to apply the Catholic Answers criteria strictly!

    But speculation about his VP pick is just that, speculation.

    Ronald Webber, re the USCCB, as Fr Z says here: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/04/wapo-r-novak-for-pro-choice-politicians-a-pass-with-the-pope/ Cardinal McCarrick watered down the Cardinal Ratzinger document on denial of Communion for USCCB consumption. The USCCB doesn’t want to touch the whole issue of denial of Communion to politicians / voting for pro-abortionists with a 10 foot pole. It’s only a handful of brave bishops who draw the line in the sand. I don’t think you can draw many conclusions about the USCCB’s refusal to take a clear position on a controversial issue, unless they be about the effectiveness of the USCCB itself. That said, I consider the other criticisms of the CA document to be good ones.

  28. mariadevotee says:

    Not only is a pro-abortion Catholic hard to swallow, Obama/Biden is hard to say. A little too much buh-buh-buh.

  29. David2 says:

    Ronald Webber, NARAL = National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Post Roe v Wade, they advocate abortion on demand, and oppose initiatives to limit, reduce, or make abortions difficult. They oppose Judges who don’t support Roe.

    They also “rate” politicians based on their votes in favour of or against abortion “rights”.

  30. Calleva says:

    Anyone remember Geraldine Ferraro, picked as running mate to Walter Mondale in 1984?

    She played on her Catholic roots, much as John Kerry has.

    I remember her as saying she supported a ‘woman’s right to choose’ although she personally would not have an abortion ‘but if I were raped, I’m not sure I’d be that self-righteous’. I don’t have the exact quote and it’s over 20 years since I read it, but I remember thinking that the word ‘self righteous’ was very revealing.

  31. David2 says:

    Matt Q, yes, but the Angelic Doctor himself, in Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 3, Chapter 146 held that the state has not only the right, but the duty to protect its citizens from enemies, both from within, and without. For those who have been appropriately appointed, there is no sin in administering punishment. For those who refuse to obey God’s laws, it is correct for society to rebuke them with civil and criminal sanctions. No one sins working for justice, within the law. Actions that are necessary to preserve the good of society are not inherently evil. The common good of the whole society is greater and better than the good of any particular person. “The life of certain pestiferous men is an impediment to the common good which is the concord of human society. Therefore, certain men must be removed by death from the society of men.”

    Now, all I said about JPII, was that in his prudential judgment, the death penalty was rarely, if ever, necessary. Catholics can, in conscience differ as to whether the death penalty is appropriate in a particular case. In a jury of 12 Catholics, you might get several different, orthodox opinions formed in good conscience. None of that is pride. There is always a place for clemency and mercy.

    “But in every case the Church pleads against it.” – In every case the former Pontiff pleaded against it. Catholics can respectfully differ without falling into sin.

  32. David2 says:

    OK this is my last comment, then I am off to bed… Sorry Father, for the numerous posts.

    Matt Q, Justice Scalia’s take includes this:

    Unlike such other hard Catholic doctrines as the prohibition of birth control and of abortion, this is not a moral position that the Church has always – or indeed ever before – maintained. There have been Christian opponents of the death penalty, just as there have been Christian pacifists, but neither of those positions has ever been that of the Church. The current predominance of opposition to the death penalty is the legacy of Napoleon, Hegel, and Freud rather than St. Paul and St. Augustine.

    Here’s the link: http://www.prisonerlife.com/articles/articleID=41.cfm .

  33. John Womack says:

    Well then, perhaps we should PRAY for our errant brother Joe. Whaddya think, folks?

  34. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Domer,

    McCain is pro federal funding of stem cell research, and pro contraception (even abortificients) and rejects the Church’s teaching on just war principles. He also holds the exceptions to abortion ie rape, incest, etc. I have no problem with Catholics voting for McCain, but I do have problem with them giving him their unqualified, enthusiastic support. If you are voting for McCain, it should be clear that you are voting for him because he wants the government to allow less babies to be killed, but he also wants the government to command more soldiers to commit murder in unjust wars. McCain is anti-abortion in some instances, but a very far cry from being pro-life. Obviously, any Catholic voting for Obama, must also only give qualified support, and Catholics that refuse to vote for either should be left alone by both camps.

  35. Howard says:

    Not long ago, I ran across a news article with the phrase “conception begins at birth”. I wasn’t able to find it again, but a Google search shows that it has been coming around periodically like a bad penny. Perhaps some of our politicians, not being expert biologists, reconcile abortion with “life begins at conception” by also accepting “conception begins at birth”.

  36. Lindsay says:

    As a Delawarian (though not a native), it will be interesting to see where this goes locally. We have a brand new bishop in our diocese to be installed September 8th, and boy, what a tough position politically he is in (if he would have had any inclination to ask Biden to avoid receiving before Obama chose him as running mate). The current bishop has never publicly denied Biden communion while celebrating numerous masses with the senator present.

    Regarding his claim to be a “practicing” Catholic, this is precisely where my own frustration was upon hearing the announcement. He *is* practicing, more so than other politicians who haven’t been to mass in years but go receive communion on the side at some prestigious event (like the papal mass). He attends mass regularly (and publicly receives regularly), and therefore, it seems he is more of a public “example” of a Catholic than other politicians who seem to fall in the CINO category.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but he seems to give the appearance more of a “real” Catholic, and I think that it saddens me more to see him publicly take this stance if only for the reason that he *should* know better. I am not sure that a person who hasn’t “practiced” their faith in years would be expected to have the same sort of grasp regarding the sacrilege they have committed (though, their bishop certainly should!).

  37. Matt Q says:

    David2, who decides what the common good? Many places past and present have decided the common good is to be rid of the Catholic Church. Her followers are put to death. Common good, right?

    Saint Thomas Aquinas’ statement was also relative to the context of life as it was when he was alive. In our times, once the person is in jail, it’s done. Society’s “common good” continues.

    Insofar as “Catholics can respectfully differ without falling into sin,” you mean like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, etc.?

    In the end, you have to stand before our Lord Jesus Christ and justify your relishing of another’s death.

  38. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    David2,

    I would leave the theology to someone better qualified than Scalia. His statement about the current opposition to the death penalty, if he is speaking of the Vatican’s opposition, is ridiculous. If he is only speaking of the secular’s world’s, it might very well be true. I can not tell with precision from the brief quote what he is saying. The tradition of the Church, has usually tended toward mercy. And there have been bishops in the past that have refused the Sacraments to civil leaders that refused to show clemency to the condemned.

  39. Lindsay says:

    And yes Joe, I decided this morning at adoration that my stress over the issue should result in definite prayers for his soul and a change of heart!

  40. Lindsay says:

    Pardon me, John. I guess that was a slip for obvious reasons!

  41. Luke D. says:

    All I have to say is that voting for McCain would be equally wrong when it comes to social justice, just war, and a whole host of issues that are still very important. It’s like saying I have to vote for someone like Hitler just because he is the only pro-life runner. If Catholics can’t vote for Obama, then Catholics need not vote at all this election.

  42. Father Totton says:

    DAVID 2

    NARAL kept the acronym, but changed thier name after Roe v. Wade, which essentially repealed abortion legislation. They are now called the National Abortion Rights Action League.

  43. TJM says:

    Luke D, You mean when John McCain adopted children from Mother Theresa that did not constitute an act of social justice? Nor when he supported sensible immigration legislation consistent with the USCCB’s approach? By the way, a prominent Jesuit at Georgetown gave a very lucid presentation as to why the Iraq War constitutes a Just War under Catholic Doctrine. At the end of the day, the Church does defer to the civil authorities on that issue as a prudential matter. Your arguments are not serious, so I suspect you are a Democrat trying to justify why you’re going to vote for a Party and candidate which supports an intrinsic evil to the nth degree. Tom

  44. Sean says:

    Is the fact that McCain is not necessarily considered a strong Republican a bad thing? I think there are a lot of issues that the Republican party should be better at. Rather than that being an indictment of him maybe it is more reason to consider him?

  45. John Enright says:

    Christopher Sarsfield said “I would leave the theology to someone better qualified than Scalia. His statement about the current opposition to the death penalty, if he is speaking of the Vatican’s opposition, is ridiculous.” I have to disagree entirely. According to the November, 2005 USCCB statement A Culture of Life and the Death Penalty, the position of the Church is clear:“In Catholic teaching the state has the recourse to impose the death penalty upon criminals convicted of heinous crimes if this ultimate sanction is the only available means to protect society from a grave threat to human life. However, this right should not be exercised when other ways are available to punish criminals and to protect society that are more respectful of human life.” Accordingly, while the death penalty ought to be avoided wherever possible, there are circumstances in which it can be applied morally.

    As a Supreme Court Associate Justice, Mr. Justice Scalia is not entitled or empowered to look into questions concerning the availability of lesser appropriate penalties for those persons under a sentence of death. His only job is to determine whether the application of the penalty was constitutional. There being no legal or morally compelling reasons to outlaw the death penalty in all circumstances, he doesn’t have the authority to interfere in the application thereof.

  46. Hidden One says:

    Matt Q: “Been there, done that. No amount of printed paper in the world is going mean anything to those people. The Church speaks until She’s blue in the face, and no one listens. At the same time, that’s all the Church does, talk. As long as things are left up this person, this bishop, this blah blah blah, no, nothing ever will corrected.”

    MBS actually got quite a reaction in Germany.

  47. Louis E. says:

    You’re still two name changes behind on NARAL…they became the National Abortion & Reproductive-rights Action League,and now “NARAL Pro-Choice America” with the initials no longer representing words.

    eSCR and cloning are of course entirely modern issues that the Catholic Answers people elevated to the “five non-negotiables” based on applying older teachings.I still haven’t heard the “Catholic answer” as to whether a woman pregnant with a clone would have to have an abortion.

    (The only ones of the “non-negotiables” I agree with Catholic teaching on are euthanasia and same-sex “marriage”.To allow the false presumption that an individual’s life has a specific point of beginning to lead to the intrinsic moral evil that is anti-abortionism is very sad.)

  48. Howard says:

    Many of the comments here have assumed there are only 3 choices in the upcoming presidential election: (a) McCain, (b) Obama, (c) don’t vote. Depending on your state, though, there are other choices, such as (d) Chuck Baldwin, the candidate of the Constitution Party, and (e) Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman who is the candidate of the Libertarian Party. Both are pro-life, unlike Obama, and anti-war, unlike McCain.

    The argument always made against such candidates is “they can’t win”. Well, if no one votes for them, of course not, but if everyone DID vote for them, they’d obviously win in a landslide. “OK, but they WON’T win.” Probably not; but by that argument, there are only 2 kinds of candidate: Those who can’t use my vote, because they’ll lose even with it; and those who don’t need my vote, because they’ll win even without it.

    But let’s say McCain chooses Tom Ridge as his running mate and loses the popular vote by 3% (and loses in the electoral college) in a race where Barr gets 4% of the vote. It would serve as a warning to Republicans coming after him not to take the pro-life side for granted. WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO PLAY HARDBALL. That’s the way the abortion and gay rights communities have taken over the Democratic Party. On the other hand, the pro-life community has spent the last 36 years voting for the “lesser evil”, and this has got us …? “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8)

  49. John Hudson says:

    Biden ‘takes it on faith’ that life begins at conception? Why doesn’t he just read a first year biology text book?

  50. Joshua says:

    Joe Biden was 29 when entering the senate? How can that be, 30 is the minimum age in the constitution.

    BTW, I find it perturbing that retribution is left out of discussions of capital punishment. Retribution is the primary end of punishment, not protection of society, and alone can justify the punishment.

  51. Louis E. says:

    Biden was born in December 1942,elected in November 1972,and entered office on January 3,1973.

    Retribution is I would think forbidden by the Golden Rule.Prevention of harm to society can justify punishments,but to engage in deliberate retribution is generally considered sinful.Only the minimum force needed to restrain the would-be evildoer is justifiable.

  52. Woody Jones says:

    Maybe the long-awaited (or dreaded?) social encyclical will include a clear condemnation of the “personally opposed but…” view that all these folks like Biden, Cuomo, et al. seem to take.

    If not, then see again my questions in the closed combox on the first “no communion kneeling” story several days ago.

  53. At risk of being flamed, I’ll make this point:

    It is simply not realistic to convey the full sense of the moral questions at issue in voting for and supporting candidates in a series of bullet points or blog comments.

    Yes, certain issues are of far greater moral weight than others.

    Yes, it’s not only about a single issue or several issues.

    Yes, some issues are “non-negotiable” and they involve intrinsic evil, while others do not: war is evil when it’s unjust, but can be justified in some cases; while others involve prudential choices: for or against a particular remedy to poverty.

    Yes, there are grave problems with the presumptive nominees of both parties.

    And no, just because one major party candidate is worse does not mean the issues with the other candidate no longer matter. At that point, I think it becomes a prudential choice, either to vote for a candidate with fewer problems, or to decline to vote for either major candidate.

    On this latter point, there are those who turn the obligation not to give ones endorsement to Candidate Zig into a positive moral obligation to endorse Candidate Zag, which is fallacious.* There is never a moral obligation to vote for any particular candidate, let alone someone you concede endorses evil–but who you believe endorses somewhat less of it.

    And, as I said, even my bullet points can’t say all that needs to be said, let’s just stipulate that?

    *This very argument was advanced, rather nastily by some, in one of these threads some time back, ultimately devolving into selective misquoting (of my words) by another poster.

  54. Thomas says:

    “I am prepared to accept my church’s view. I think it’s a tough one. I have to accept that on faith. That’s why the late-term abortion ban, where there’s clearly viability.”

    Happy horseshit! He tries to paint the start of life as a matter of faith so he can turn around and justify his pro-abortion stance on the grounds of not forcing his religious beliefs on others.

    How about you ask an embryologist when life begins, Senator? How about you use your (probably impaired) reason to think about when life begins?

    That life begins at conception is an indisputable fact of science and reason. That’s why the Church, “your” Church, teaches what she teaches. Not because it’s some Divine Revelation that requires the assent of Faith. This isn’t the Real Presence or the Holy Trinity we’re talking about.

    God, I’m so sick of making the same arguments all the time. People of Faith are accused of being opposed to Reason, and yet it’s the secularists who constantly stuff up their ears, close their eyes, and ignore the obvious conclusions of sound argument. What a myth that the secularists and atheists are the reasonable ones.

  55. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Enright,

    I am sorry I was unclear. My point was if Scalia believes the Vatican’s opposition to capital punishment is based on Hegel, Freud, and others, he is being ridiculous. Second, I am not a legal positivist like Scalia. I believe that he could write a decision to protect the unborn, or commute a sentence of death, that fit within the bounds of the American legal system. He refuses to, because he is more committed to a theory of legal interpretation, than to the lives of the unborn. Let’s be clear, Scalia would find for a woman to kill her unborn child if the state allowed it, and in so doing, I do not know how he would escape ex communication, for directly aiding in an abortion. To be fair, perhaps he would refuse to hear the case, because of of the penalty his Church would impose, but either way, Scalia is no hero to the unborn. [This entry is not about positions of sitting Justices of the Supreme Court.]

  56. Dieterich Buxtehude says:

    To be quite honest, I feel everyone is up a creek in regards to the next election. Obama’s pro-choice stance is most unfortunate, but McCain is SO dangerous. I cannot in good conscience vote for that man, and I fear so many die-hard conservative Republicans will do so anyway. Who is the lesser of two “evils”? If McCain is elected, does anyone seriously think that Roe vs. Wade will be limited/overturned? I’m interested in everyone’s opinions, as I’m struggling quite a bit with this.

  57. Louis E. says:

    As a strong supporter of abortion rights,I fear very much the consequences of McCain being elected. [And I fear for your immortal soul.] Does that make you feel better about voting for him? [This thread is not about the Republican Presidential candidate. It is about the Dem VP candidate. But if it were about Sen. McCain, one could see that he has a significantly better, though not perfect, record concerning life issues.]

  58. Breier says:

    Christopher,

    You’re being silly. If we’re commited to the rule of law and not the rule of judges, Scalia can no more legislate good law from the bench than I go up to an altar and celebrate Mass. Does my refraining to do so mean you care more about notions of the laity than the Eucharist? It’s the priests job to celebrate Mass. It’s the legislatures job to write laws. The notion of distinct roles and powers in governments has nothing to do with legal positivism.

    Breier

  59. Breier says:

    Christopher,

    You seem to take the position that laws are unnecessary. Because if you believe in the value of law, than you have to admit the possibility that not everything that is immoral is going to be illegal. You also recognize that recognizing that something has not been made illegal is not to say that it isn’t immoral.

    Example: Desecration of the Blessed Sacrament, or Blasphemous Words

    Grievous immoral, a mortal sin, and outrage. But not illegal. A judge that simply recognizes what the law is is doing his job, even if you think the law should have been different. If you think laws become too permissive, that work to change the laws. Of course, the problem today is that laws protecting the unborn are not being respected, because of Roe. v. Wade.

    Your view of the law, apparently, is the same view that gave us Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand. Rather than pine for a conservative “Roe v. Wade” that will invent a pro-life law that is not in the constitution”, you should instead work for changing the law through legitimite procedures.

    That would start by:

    1. Overruling Roe v. Wade
    2. Working on the state initiatives to curtail abortion
    3. A National Right to Life Ammendment

    The idea that you’re just going to have judges do #2 and #3 for you is a legally destructive view, and a pipe dream.

  60. ALL: If you drag this thread into rabbit holes, I will lock you out.

  61. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Sorry Breier, but that is not the Church’s opinion on the matter. They also have something to say about legal theory. If you remember when Spain was taken over by the socialists, they were insistent that Catholics in places of responsibility not cooperate in the issuance of “marriage” certificates to same sex couples (many conservative American protestants were shocked by this, as you would seem to be). An unjust law is no law at all, and a Catholic judge must recognize that fact. You and Scalia might not like the position of the Church on the matter, but your opinions really do not matter. If you were a judge and you ruled to allow a woman to kill her unborn child, you would be excommunicated. End of discussion. Finally, your opinion on legal theory is only one of many in the US, and one that liberal judges reject in order to further their agenda. I would suggest you do a search for Vatican instructions to judges, and then move on to legal theory books written by Catholics from a Catholic point of view. I think you might be quite surprised. [Rather than simply launch this at him, how about doing everyone service and post a link you think especially useful?]

  62. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Sorry Father, I saw your last post after I had already posted mine. And I apologize to the list for the “rabbit hole.”

  63. mpm says:

    Fr. Fox,

    “Comment by Fr Martin Fox — 23 August 2008 @ 12:06 pm”

    I stand not to flame Fr. Fox, but rather to claim his statement as my own.
    Well said!
    ;>

  64. Canonist Ed Peters just posted on this topic, as well.

    About Biden, lets ask the right questions well…

    It’s going to be interesting to watch the experts navigate this issue.

  65. RBrown says:

    As a strong supporter of abortion rights,

    You mean to say that you’re a strong supporter of abortion, killing the unborn. To link it with “rights” is to adopt the Confederate euphemism to defend slavery–”States Rights”.

    I fear very much the consequences of McCain being elected. Does that make you feel better about voting for him?
    Comment by Louis E

    I will be mostly voting against Obama, not for McCain.

  66. mpm says:

    Diane,

    The Ed Peters commnent on Biden is actually located here:

    http://www.canonlaw.info/2008/08/about-biden-lets-ask-right-questions.html

  67. Brian says:

    According to The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform website: http://www.abortionno.org/Resources/fastfacts.html

    Number of abortions per year: 1.37 Million (1996)
    Number of abortions per day: Approximately 3,700

    During three consecutive years, Obama voted in the Illinois State Senate against a law that would define a child who survives abortion as a “person.” He explained that he voted that way because calling the child a “person” would suggest the child was viable, thereby threatening the legality of abortions. That reverse reasoning is as terrifying as it is ugly and repulsive and evil.

    I know that sophisticated, enlightened Catholics insist that it is caveman-like to be a “single issue” voter and miss all the subtle nuances of the social and geo-political issues of the day; but if 1.37 million innocent lives per year doesn’t trump everything else for you, I fear that you are spiritually and morally dead.

  68. Ronald Webber says:

    *You mean to say that you’re a strong supporter of abortion, killing the unborn. To link it with “rights” is to adopt the Confederate euphemism to defend slavery—”States Rights”.*

    I am in favour of murder, rape, wife-beating, torturing wayward children, stealing, and many other evil things. Those things are my “rights.” In fact, I might say that I am pro-choice in those matters. I am speaking in jest naturally, in support of the above statement.

    (we will just forget though that the Church was once in favour of slavery. Arguably, abortion too.)

  69. EJ says:

    Biden’s lack of certainty for when life begins, especially since he labels himself publically as a practicing Catholic (which OBama reiterated just a few hours ago when they both appeared together in IL) – is one of the most troubling things about him to me. I wonder how many other issues, life issues and others, he’s not quite sure about? What a cop-out! The Diocese of Wilmington,DE and its bishop will have to make its mind up about this very uncertain “practicing Catholic” under its spiritual care (since the cowardice of the Archbishop of Washington, and the USCCB headquartered there, in these matters is already well-known). And I hope that this diocese takes the advice of Archbishop Chaput, which he articulated quite well in his new book about Catholics and politics. I hope too that the republican VP nominee is strongly pro-life.

  70. Jason Keener says:

    When religious people (Catholic or otherwise) discuss the evils of abortion, religious people often appeal to their religious faith as the primary reason for their beliefs about abortion.

    I think it is often a better idea to engage the world in the abortion debate by pointing out that abortion is not necessarily a religious or Catholic issue. Any person of good will who is open to the truth should be able to come to understand that abortion is radically contrary to the common good of society. One does not have to be a religious person to understand that abortion is wrong just like one does not have to be a religious person to understand things like rape and stealing are wrong.

    I bring this up because both secular-minded and religiously-minded people sometimes wrongly believe that abortion is soley a matter of religious or Catholic Faith. In reality, abortion is a matter of the natural law that concerns every person who cares for the common good of society.

    Moreover, when religious people use the strictly philosophical arguments against abortion to defend their positions, religious people will have a much better chance of being listened to.

  71. Ronald Webber says:

    *When religious people (Catholic or otherwise) discuss the evils of abortion, religious people often appeal to their religious faith as the primary reason for their beliefs about abortion.

    I think it is often a better idea to engage the world in the abortion debate by pointing out that abortion is not necessarily a religious or Catholic issue. Any person of good will who is open to the truth should be able to come to understand that abortion is radically contrary to the common good of society. One does not have to be a religious person to understand that abortion is wrong just like one does not have to be a religious person to understand things like rape and stealing are wrong.

    I bring this up because both secular-minded and religiously-minded people sometimes wrongly believe that abortion is soley a matter of religious or Catholic Faith. In reality, abortion is a matter of the natural law that concerns every person who cares for the common good of society.

    Moreover, when religious people use the strictly philosophical arguments against abortion to defend their positions, religious people will have a much better chance of being listened to.*

    Excellent point.

  72. Atlanta says:

    He is pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is a difference.

  73. Thomas says:

    “He is pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is a difference.”

    He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. – Matt. 12:30

  74. Atlanta says:

    Proof-texting, Thomas? Again, I am not going to argue. If any of you want to talk to me privately, you can find me on Fr. John’s profile on Facebook, just look for me in his friends list and send me a message. That goes for you too, Nick, if you are reading this.

  75. Brian says:

    “He is pro-choice, not pro-abortion. There is a difference.”

    There is a distinction without a difference.

    How can one morally defend allowing a “choice” to take 1.37 million innocent lives per year? This is the position of a spiritually dead man. Spiritually dead men, lacking Sanctifying Grace, should not receive the Body and Blood our Lord in Communion.

  76. RBrown says:

    (we will just forget though that the Church was once in favour of slavery. Arguably, abortion too.)
    Comment by Ronald Webber

    It is necessary to distinguish between domestic and industrial slavery. In the Roman Empire domestic slaves had a better life and a higher social standing than did poor freemen.

    I don’t know of any instance where the Church favored abortion.

  77. RBrown says:

    BTW, I find it perturbing that retribution is left out of discussions of capital punishment. Retribution is the primary end of punishment, not protection of society, and alone can justify the punishment.
    Comment by Joshua

    An excellent point that has been made by more than one theologian.

    And that is why in the text concerning CP that the word unjust is never used. It is also why it is not correct to link opposition to CP with moral issues likes abortion or contraception.

  78. Atlanta says:

    Ok Brian. I respectfully disagree with you and I am not trying to start a fight.

  79. Deusdonat says:

    Ronald Webber – (we will just forget though that the Church was once in favour of slavery. Arguably, abortion too.)

    The church was never in favour of abortion. How you could make this comment is beyond me. Slavery is a much more complex issue which stems from the fact that it was an institution which of course preceded Christianity by millenia, and was of course in place at the time St Paul wrote “slaves obey your masters.” But to equate the type of slavery which occured in the early part of Christianity to the racially justified slavery whoch began at the age of exploration which the church condemned as soon as it began (in the canary islands, as a matter of fact) is both dishonest and unjust.

  80. michael says:

    Ronald Webber – (we will just forget though that the Church was once in favour of slavery. Arguably, abortion too.)

    Yes please read the Didache. You can read it online http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/didache.html

    There might be better sources to read it but this is where I refer to it.

  81. Deusdonat says:

    Michael – thank you for that. And for those who are maybe not aware, the Didache was written in the late 1st/early 2nd century as it what we could consider the proto catechism. It states very clearly in Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born.

    Pretty freakin’ clear there.

  82. Luke D. says:

    TJM,

    Please be polite. As for the issues, I am more inclined to take the view of the Vatican on the illegal war in Iraq than a Jesuit from Georgetown.

  83. CK says:

    Now that we know what is expected of the laity – to not receive Communion in such circumstances, what sin then does the priest himself commit when he knows the rules, knows the public scandal of the figure coming before him to receive and still, for whatever personal reasons, gives him the Eucharist? EEMs may believe that they on their own do not have the authority to refuse the Eucharist unless instructed by the priest in charge of the parish where they have the EEM position. They may feel that they are not up to snuff on the exact present circumstances of the person and his/her relationship to the Church. There should be more explicit instruction to the priest re: his communication of this procedure to his ministers…more responsibility placed on his role in this matter. And does he have to wait for instruction by his bishop re: any particular public person within his parish, or visiting his parish in such circumstance? Some people may just not be aware if someone has publicly recanted his position.

    And what about the Catholic public figure who also uses his position/influence as a legislator to promote more funding for contraception? Same consequences?

  84. David2 says:

    Matt Q, the Church regognises something called “prudential judgment” – there are matters upon which Catholics can respectfully disagree. Abortion is not one of them. The death penalty is.

    Nobody here is “relishing the death of another human being”. Indeed, I pray for the day that the death penalty is never needed; just like I pray for world peace. Experience of man’s fallen nature is such that neither situation is likely to eventuate soon, absent divine intervention.

    But you, and Christopher Sarsfield are overlooking two millenia of Church teaching on the matter, scripture, tradition, and numerous saints, in favour of something that arguably originated in the thought of Cardinal Bernadin and his “consistent ethic of life”.

    In the days that Popes were temporal rulers of the Papal States, the death penalty was regularly applied.

    To compare Catholic support for the death penalty to Pelosi and Biden on abortion is fellactious and trite, and quite frankly the product of a mind that refuses to make distinctions always made by the Church.

    On protection of society: When looking at the history of criminal justice practices in probations, paroles and incarcerations, we observe countless examples of when judgements and procedures failed and, because of that, murderers harmed and/or murdered, again. History details that murderers murder and otherwise harm again, time and time again — in prison, after escape, after improper release, and, of course, after we fail to capture or incarcerate them. Reason dictates that living murderers are infinitely more likely to harm and/or murder again than are executed murderers. We know that some criminals don’t murder because of their fear of execution. This is known as the individual deterrent effect. Unquestionably, the incapacitation effect (execution) and the individual deterrent effect both exist and they both defend society by protecting innocent life and offer enhanced protections over imprisonment. A defending society position supports more executions, not less.

    Most telling is the fact that Roman Catholic tradition instructs four elements to be considered with criminal sanction:

    1. Defense of society against the criminal.
    2. Rehabilitation of the criminal (including spiritual rehabilitation).
    3. Retribution, which is the reparation of the disorder caused by the criminal’s transgression.
    4. Deterrence

    Retribution by lawful authority, or “justice” is not the sin that you make it out to be.

    St Dismas declared his own execution appropriate. What about Ananias and Saphira?

    “In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die (Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10, referring to Ex 21:17; cf. Lev 20:9). (Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, 10/7/2000)

    And, not only do the teachings of Saints Thomas Aquinas and Augustine concur, but both saints also find that such punishment actually reflects charity and mercy by preventing the wrongdoer from sinning further.

    St Pius V in the Catechism of the Council of Trent 1566), states that executions are acts of “paramount obedience to this [Fifth] Commandment.”. Paramount obedience!

    The point is that JPII’s arguemtns against the death penalty are based on modern society, and the nature of the modern prison system. They are not, essentially theological arguments, and if they were, the logical conclusion would be that morality can “evolve with society”. Whereas we know that God does not change. The argument that the Angelic Doctor’s arguments were a “product of his times” is the same one used by Pelosi et al to dissent from Church teaching on abortion, birth control and anything else. So much for me being like Biden or Pelosi; it is opponents of the death penalty who have adopted their premises!

    The Saints are declared by Holy Mother Church to be worthy of emulation; I feel more secure following St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, St Pius V, St Thomas More, St Dismas, and St Paul than the USCCB, which, inevitably, is a deeply flawed institution.

  85. David2 says:

    From the Catechism

    2266 The State’s effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.

    That would seem to suggest that “retribution” is the primary reason for criminal penalties, and is very difficult to reconcile with the novel position that imposition of the death penalty is “rarely, if ever, appropriate”.

  86. A video of Obama’s chosen running mate…Joe Biden… answering a question regarding Obama as our future President ( I love his answer when asked the same question on John McCain :)

    http://www.johnmccain.com/HomeLogged.aspx

    (click on MORE after first video )

  87. Larry says:

    It sounds like Sen. Biden clearly knows what is true and is terribly conflicted in his attitude. This of course does not make him innocent. It actually makes him more of a coward because he listens only to the voices of those who can speak and ignores the voices that this procedure silences. Pray for Sen. Biden, his soul may well depend on our prayers. Let us also pray tht Sen. McCain gives us a very strong pro-life individual as his VP. Does anyone know how Sec. of State Condy Rice stands on the abortion issue? Just thinking.

  88. Brian says:

    “I’m not pro-abortion; I’m pro-choice” is just the type of sophistry and rationalization that Pilate engaged in when he seemed to believe he could wash his hands of the matter and allow the crowd to choose to kill our Lord. He was not pro-cross he was pro-choice. He was an immoral coward; as are Catholic politicians who allow the taking of millions of innocent lives.
    Brian

  89. David2 says:

    The Baltimore Catechism puts the whole question very succinctly (as usual):

    Q. 1276. Under what circumstances may human life be lawfully taken?
    A. Human life may be lawfully taken:

    1.(1) In self-defense, when we are unjustly attacked and have no other means of saving our own lives; 2.(2) In a just war, when the safety or rights of the nation require it; 3.(3) By the lawful execution of a criminal, fairly tried and found guilty of a crime punishable by death when the preservation of law and order and the good of the community require such execution.

    What some people here struggle to recognise is that the deposit of faith is much more than just the writings of the late John Paul II and the pronouncements of Cardinal Mahoney and the USCCB.

    Yet they simply ignore that the consistent Catholic teaching is simply against them. So Matt Q writes:

    “There is a great danger, that “slippery slope” as it were to use such arguments to maintain the death penalty. What you have is man determining the value of life. Just as man determined it was a legal to kill the unborn, it was also man who decided being Catholic, Jewish, Gypsy and impaired were illegal and against the common good. Another self-determined common good. Thus the camps went up, millions were dragged off to their deaths. Yes, you’ve won the argument favoring the death penalty.”

    That is an utterly specious argument.

    The Church alows lawful authorities to make such jugments provided they do so consistently with the teachings of Christ and his Church

    An illustration of its obvious fallacy is that it can be used to argue that incarceration is wrong (watch me< Matt Q!):

    “There is a great danger, that “slippery slope” as it were to use such arguments to maintain the punishment of imprisonment. What you have is man determining the value of individual liberty. Just as man determined it was a legal to lock Jews in Dachau, or imprison men for attending Mass, it was also man who decided being Catholic, Jewish, Gypsy and impaired were illegal and against the common good. Another self-determined common good. Thus the camps went up, millions were dragged off to their deaths. Yes, you’ve won the argument favoring imprisonment.”

    In fact, the whole argument can be used with equal force against any penal law not specifically mentioned in scripture! It’s the same argument that Protestants use when they say that Catholic teachings are “laws of man, and not of God”.

    Man has to make these sorts of prudential judgments all the time; the point is he must do so in line with the authentic teachings of Christ’s Church.

    So on my side, we have scripture, tradition, Church Fathers, St Thomas Aquinas, numerous Saints and Holy Popes (including every Pope up to JPII).

    In Matt Q’s corner, Cardinals Bernadin and Mahoney, the USCCB, and a prudential judgment of John Paul II based on the same sorts of arguments used to dissent against the Church’s immemorial teaching on birth control and abortion.

    What is the true deposit of faith, I wonder….

  90. Crusader says:

    Obama Biden
    Obama Bi…..den
    OBAMA BInlaDEN
    Osama BinLaden

    Will Obama Biden protect us from the terrorists? Or will they cooperate with them?

  91. Deusdonat says:

    Will Obama Biden protect us from the terrorists? Or will they cooperate with them?

    Considering the way the Bush family kow-tows to their Mohammedan overloards, I sincerely don’t think Obama-Biden could do a worse appeasement job than what we have now. We now know that on the terrorism front, the Bush administration absolutely invaded the wrong country (i.e. Iraq, when they should have invaded Saudi Arabia, since that’s where the majority of the terrorists were from).

    Not trying to take this thread down a rat hole, just trying to add a bit of perspective here.

  92. Ronald Webber says:

    RBrown, Deusdonat, Michael

    Regarding the Church’s stance on abortion through the ages. I am familiar with the Didache. But I am also familiar with the positions of Augustine, St. Jerome, Pope Innocent III, Pope Gregory XIV. The latter even revoked a papal bull prohibiting abortion. None of these to my knowledge ever said that abortion was alright in all circumstances (which is why I said ‘arguably’) but all (and others) have said that it was okay in certain circumstances. This was probably tied up with the ‘ensoulment’ debate so one might claim that they were not advocating abortion as we understand it today. But such a termination would at least (in terms of culpability and intent) be contraception. And when you factor in the fact that the ensoulment question has never been authoritatively pronounced upon, you have a picture of a teaching on abortion that has not been as consistent as we might like to think. I am certainly anti-abortion, but it is an interesting point.

    RBrown, regarding domestic slaves. Yes, Roman domestic slaves were well treated but that doesnt make it alright. Its still wrong. Also, the Church’s support for slavery went far beyond Roman doestics as you well know.

  93. As a classicist, I really must interject some sanity into the Roman slavery question.

    Admitting, first, that we’d have to talk about 1) where in the Empire and 2) when in Roman history we mean before we start making sweeping brush strokes about slavery, let’s keep in mind that slaves in Rome were always under the threat of legal torture and execution (by crucifixion, usually). Obviously the latter threat was often never carried out because of the economic loss involved for the owner, though there are several documented cases of entire slave households being mass-executed because of the crime of one. Female slaves were always subjected to the threat of rape. Freedmen, no matter how impoverished, did not face such realities. Painting a rosy picture of Roman slavery is problematic at best.

  94. I once read a newspaper article in which the author said abortion was necessary and morally justifiable to keep gas prices down, because the world is overpopulated. I wrote in to the paper and said, in a letter, that (according to his theory) he should kill himself. After all, if he says we can kill innocent lives because the world is overpopulated, than why should he not be the first one to go? If he truly believes his own dogma, he should kill himself. But the newspaper “neutered” my letter. They took out the heart of the argument. They knew it would expose the pro-abortionist as a fool.

  95. Larry says:

    Deusdonat,

    Since Saudi Arabia is our strongest supporter in the Arab world it would be kind if idiotic to attack the nation because several of it’s citizens are kooks. However if you can settle and old score with your Dad’s arch enemy AND get a whole bunch of kooks to fight you in their own back yard instead of your own maybe it makes a little more sense. Plus you get to take down a really creepy little thug who has done terrible things to his own people…it may not be virtuous; but, it’s not the worst thing we we’ve ever done either…like murdering 4,000 babies a day so we can be comfortable.

  96. TJM says:

    Luke D,

    The Vatican has NEVER proclaimed the Iraq War an unjust war in light of Catholic Doctrine. Why? Because Catholic doctrine leaves the decision to go to war up to the prudential judgment of the civil authority. Frankly I would be surprised that the Vatican would ever state any war, no matter how justified, is a positive thing. Churchmen do not and should not do that.

    Moreover, do you think for a minute an Italian cardinal might not be the slightest anti-American just like other European elites? Although they are Churchmen, they are still men and susceptible to prejudice. What I find strange about certain Vatican cardinals is that they appeal to the UN as the final arbiter of these matters as if it were Olympus, another organization, which supports intrinstic evil, i.e. abortion. I don’t know how they square that
    with their Catholic Faith. I doubt St. Thomas Aquinus could resolve that contradicition. By the way, if you have an open mind, look at the American Thinker article on the Iraq War published in the last couple of days. It pretty much justifies the prudential end of the war.

    By the way, I don’t think I was being “impolite” when I factually dismantled your arguments about McCain. You must be a Democrat!

    Good day.

    Tom

  97. Deusdonat says:

    Larry – Since Saudi Arabia is our strongest supporter in the Arab world it would be kind if idiotic to attack the nation because several of it’s citizens are kooks.

    First, I don’t know on what basis you say KSA is our strongest supporter in the Arab world. the fact that the US get oil from them? The fact that the US sends “guest workers” pumping their oil from them? The KSA supports the US economically, yes. But not in rhetoric or in any moral way. I would say the strongest supporter is actually Lebanon. Also, you say it’s idiotic to attack the nation because several of its citizens are kooks. This shows you really have a vast ignorance of the situation. These “kooks” number in the hundreds of thousands and permeate the Saudi royal family (i.e. their own government). Osama Bin Ladin and his infrastructure could not exist were it not from the help he gets from his own country.

    Maybe it’s time for you to stop cozying up to Mohammedans and believing their propaganda just so you can fill up your tank. Just a thought. Complacency is hardly patriotic.

  98. Re: Politicans supporting abortion rights has a long disreputable history in American politics. Sen. Biden’s “dance” around the truth isn’t original, and as some have suggested it is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s “job” is to determine if a law is legal. As an American, I have to take issue with that proposition. The members, en total, have one predominant obligation, to determine if a law is constitutional. That may sound the same as being legal, but legality doesn’t come close to constitionality. Here, in America, Judges rule all the time on issues which are nowhere to be found in our constition. Abortion is but only one.
    Since Roe vs. Wade, which gave women the right to an abortion, although the figures differ, some say 40, others 50 million children have been euthanized. Sometimes, the evil we do takes generations to make an impression; since that infamous decision we have been inundated with 30 million illegal immigrants looking for work (and finding it, in most cases). Would they be here if abortion had been ruled the other way?
    Please, pray for pro-life candidates in whatever country you live in. What has taken place here could create the same problems in your part of the world, next. The genie is out of the bottle and the great deceiver rejoices continuously. Thank you

  99. BobP says:

    If I knew McCain was such a pro-life person and made of such high moral fiber, I wouldn’t have voted or Ron Paul in the primary. Interesting that all of a sudden McCain is such a pro-life person, especially after John Kerry wanted him desperately as a running mate. As well as Biden being open to being McCain’s. I’m going third-party again. I can’t stomach Republicans any more, and my conscience won’t let me vote for Obama, who may indeed be the better leader.

  100. RBrown says:

    RBrown, regarding domestic slaves. Yes, Roman domestic slaves were well treated but that doesnt make it alright. Its still wrong.

    OK, now compare domestic slavery to military conscription in WWII and Vietnam. Young men graduated from high school, were taken in the military involuntarily, and in many cases were dead within a year. Compared to that the life of a domestic slave in the Roman Empire was nice.

    Also, the Church’s support for slavery went far beyond Roman domestics as you well know.
    Comment by Ronald Webber

    Not really. Mostly, it was a question of what to do with conquered primitive people.

  101. RBrown says:

    Admitting, first, that we’d have to talk about 1) where in the Empire and 2) when in Roman history we mean before we start making sweeping brush strokes about slavery, let’s keep in mind that slaves in Rome were always under the threat of legal torture and execution (by crucifixion, usually). Obviously the latter threat was often never carried out because of the economic loss involved for the owner, though there are several documented cases of entire slave households being mass-executed because of the crime of one. Female slaves were always subjected to the threat of rape. Freedmen, no matter how impoverished, did not face such realities. Painting a rosy picture of Roman slavery is problematic at best.
    Comment by Dr. Lee Fratantuono

    I don’t think I painted a rosy picture. I pointed out that socially domestic slaves had a better life and higher social standing than poor freedmen.

    Although there was the threat of rape for a domestic slave, the life of a free woman was not much better. We both know that in Rome prostitutes often were the widows of freemen. When their husbands died, they had no means of support.

  102. Ronald Webber says:

    RBrown said:
    *Not really. Mostly, it was a question of what to do with conquered primitive people.*

    Still doesn’t make it okay! Even if that were true. Mostly, it was a question of empire building. What you do with conquered primitive people is rather simple: you leave them where they are. Better still, maybe you dont conquer them in the first place. And please dont say that the primitive people were the aggresors. There may be isolated cases you can point to, but by and large it is not the case.

    Dr. Lee Fratanruono, thank you for your post on Roman slaves. That is a very telling point, which a few hours of research seems to confirm. I would add to those comments, in response to RBrown, that even if that kind of slavery was well established at the time of -whatever- it is still not right. wrong is wrong, and thats that!

  103. Ronald Webber says:

    I did not read RBrowns last post before posting the above

    *I don’t think I painted a rosy picture. I pointed out that socially domestic slaves had a better life and higher social standing than poor freedmen.*

    *Although there was the threat of rape for a domestic slave, the life of a free woman was not much better. We both know that in Rome prostitutes often were the widows of freemen. When their husbands died, they had no means of support.*

    So our support for slavery was okay, because other people were being treated even worse than them? So morality is now relative? Interesting!

  104. BobP says:

    >By the way, a prominent Jesuit at Georgetown gave a very lucid presentation as to why the Iraq War constitutes a Just War under Catholic Doctrine.<

    So you’re saying it is ok to kill and enjoy killing pregnant women, infants, children, elderly, etc. given the right justfication? And to force the taxpayers with consciences to pay for it besides?

  105. athanasius says:

    Wait a minute,

    McCain is in favor of stem cell research, and Biden is AGAINST it? Or did I miss something.

  106. Jordanes says:

    BobP said: So you’re saying it is ok to kill and enjoy killing pregnant women, infants, children, elderly, etc. given the right justfication? And to force the taxpayers with consciences to pay for it besides?

    I guess you’re a pacifist then, one who holds that no war is ever just?

    Ronald Webber said: we will just forget though that the Church was once in favour of slavery. Arguably, abortion too.

    As others have pointed out, the Church has never been in favor of abortion, but has always said it is gravely immoral, intrinsically evil. However, the Church has never been entirely opposed to slavery, no, not even today: the Church takes no absolute stance against “enslaving” convicts in prison, for example. Slavery is an evil, but it is not always and everywhere evil.

  107. Asserting that some Roman slaves had “higher social standing” than the poorest freedmen runs counter to the wonderful surviving evidence, starting with the poet Horace, who celebrates the fact his father…however poor…was at least free.

    The Romans placed a very high premium indeed on freedom. The poet Martial is full of wonderful allusions to how slaves…no matter how many gold bracelets or silk robes you put on them…were still slaves who could be killed without question.

    As for freedwomen and rape, just as the wealthiest Roman matron could be violated (and sometimes without much consequence, depending on who the violator was), so any Roman woman could suffer rape…but whereas for a slave there would be no consequence under Roman law, for a freedwoman there could indeed be consequence.

    Indeed, we shouldn’t even refer to slaves as “Roman slaves”…they were human chattel with next to no rights whatsoever…even if they sometimes were dressed in finery and ate better than the poorest of the free. They could still be crucified without much fanfare, for all their apparent comfort and alleged “social standing”.

  108. As for “conquered primitive people”, again, we must avoid the broad brushtrokes that oversimplify and gloss over difficult realities.

    Some of the “conquered” peoples that netted slaves for the Romans were very advanced indeed. “Primitive” gives the wrong impression indeed.

    Even some pagan Roman writers and philosophers were aware of the problematic nature of the slave economy of Rome. Pity the founders of the USA, for all their classical education, didn’t take heed of some of those ancient concerns and make a tremendous advance over their classical forebears.

  109. Jordanes says:

    Dr. Fratantuono, RBrown’s “conquered primitive people” was a reference to the Church’s past support for slavery, not to ancient pagan Rome’s social institution of slavery. Due to the Church’s influence, in law and custom the medieval Christian servus (whence the word “serf”) was of a different order than the ancient Roman servus. The lot of the Christian servus wasn’t very good, but he wasn’t a chattel, unlike his ancient Roman counterpart. The revival of chattel slavery was in large part a result of the revival of Roman law during the Middle Ages and Europe’s increasing departure from Christianity beginning in the Renaissance and greatly accelerated by the Protestant Reformation.