As a dog returns to his vomit…

Listening to Senator Biden today on Meet The Press made me think of a verse from Proverbs:

As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly. (Prov 26:11)

Given the scandal Speaker Pelosi and Senator Biden have caused on Meet the Press about the Church’s teaching on the beginning of human life and abortion.

It is good to trace back to the sources of the bad arguments pro-abortion Catholics make and the disastrous conclusions they produce.  Where do they get this justification for their position that you can be privately against abortion but then act publicly for it?

An old Pastor’s Page of the great Fr. George Welzbacher, pastor of St. John’s in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a marvelous resource.

Here I reproduced from Fr. W back on 4 May 2008.

___________________________

Pretty often the "pastor’s page" of parish a parish bulletin offers pretty thin gruel indeed.

At times, however, they can be truly useful tools. 

Here is an offering from Fr. George Welzbacher

My emphases and comments:

Pastor’s Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
  
May 4, 2008

  Thoughts on Pope Benedict’s "Journey of  Hope"

   Many years ago, if memory holds true, there was a television game show in which contestants were asked to identify which of  the two or more candidates claiming, each of them, to be a certain particular person was "the real McCoy". At the end of the contest, after each candidate had made his pitch, the program’s impresario announced in stentorian terms: "Now will the real ["Mr. Smith", or whoever] stand up?" I was reminded of this during Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the United States. While watching his appearances and listening to his words, and comparing what he was saying with what the exponents of a revisionist, "progressive" Catholicism have been saying for lo! these many years, I kept hearing a voice in the background saying "Now will the real Catholic Church stand up!", as Pope Benedict’s face, humbly and serenely smiling, filled the screen.

   Pope Benedict’s basic message, a message of "the real Catholic Church," is a message of hope, a hope based on Christ’s promise that ‘The truth will make you free" (John 8:32), the truth, that is to say, taught by Christ and transmitted by His Church under the everlasting guidance of the Holy Spirit, an eternal and unchanging truth that reflects the unchanging nature of God and the unchanging nature of man. [authentic "liberation theology"]  This is the truth that "progressive" Catholics have sought to "revise," particularly as it governs sexual behavior. When Humanae Vitae (the encyclical letter Pope Paul the Sixth signed on July 25, 1968 ) reasserted the age-old teaching of the Catholic Church that the use of the sexual power is restricted to the union of husband and wife in the life-long commitment of marriage and that the procreative potential of the sexual power can never be actively obstructed, a gang of rebel priests publicly rejected this papal teaching, led by such intellectual mediocrities (though widely applauded demagogues) as Father Charles Curran, a professor of moral theology at Catholic University whose shabby thinking , a perfect match for his sloppy prose, is on display forever in his book entitled Absolutes in Moral Theology? Joining Father Curran Father Richard McBrien, whose two-volume work entitled Catholicism was quite properly censured by America’s Catholic bishops for its multitude of errors. The errors referenced by America’s bishops for correction have survived, uncorrected, in the work’s subsequent editions.

   Such priests as could claim for their false teaching the prestige of an academic chair were soon seconded by a bold chorus of parish and religious order priests, who moved perhaps by a desire to be compassionate, though in this case such compassion would be a compassion falsely defined, swiftly set up a counter-magisterium to their own liking – one is reminded of Aaron’s revolt against Moses – according to which the practice of contraception was enthusiastically praised as the "responsible" choice. Once this initial repudiation of a single teaching of Christ’s Church had gained widespread acceptance, abetted by legions of priests who with a spectacular lack of courage in defending the truth began to counsel their parishioners privately to judge the matter for themselves, rather than to rely on the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking within Christ’s Church, very predictably the rest of the precepts governing sexual morality were successively allowed to fall one-by-one into oblivion. Soon what used to be called (and is still rightly considered to be) "living in sin", that is to say cohabitation without life-long commitment, came to be regarded by many as an acceptable practice. And once the separation of the sexual power from its procreative purpose was taken for granted, approval of sterilization and homosexual lifestyles soon inevitably followed. Finally – again in the name of compassion – approval of abortion began, timidly at first and then with gathering speed, to find support among Catholics, Catholics, that is to say, who are disposed still to identify themselves as Catholic but for whom the voice of St. Peter’s successors, charged with obeying Christ’s mandate to "establish the brethren", has come to count for very little. The coup de grace for a united Catholic front against abortion came with the assurances given to Catholic politicians by [pay attention] Jesuit Father Robert Drinan, for ten years, though without the required ecclesiastical permission, a representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, who taught that one may cast a vote to promote abortion with a clear conscience, as long as one is "personally opposed" to abortion; one cannot you see, impose his own religious scruples on the public domain. In the interests of accepting so sophistical an excuse for mass murder a blind eye has to be turned to the basic truth that a directly intended attack on innocent human life violates the natural law, the law that governs all of mankind, whatever one’s religious convictions, the law that is "written on the hearts of men" (Romans 2:15), the law that expresses itself in the spontaneous judgment that certain acts are so disordered as to be always and everywhere evil. Therefore to act in response to that spontaneous, moral judgment is not to impose the peculiar precepts of a particular religion or a culture; particular  culture; it is to bow to the dictates of a universal law rooted in the very nature of man. Whether one is Roman Catholic or Buddhist or a card-carrying atheist, the directly willed murder of the innocent is something human beings instinctively recoil from, since it fundamentally violates the dignity of man and, by depriving him of life, deprives him of all other rights.

   In his First Letter to Timothy St. Paul refers to a certain Hymenacus and Alexander, two Christians about whom we otherwise know nothing, who "by rejecting conscience … have made shipwreck of their faith." (1 Timothy 1:19). In that same first chapter of 1 Timothy St. Paul gives examples of the kinds of sinners whose sins will cause them to suffer shipwreck in the faith: "manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatsoever else is contrary to sound doctrine." (1 Timothy 1:10). In effect St. Paul is telling us that if we fail to shape our behavior in accord with our faith, we will very soon shape our faith to accord with our behavior. That formula fits the so-called "progressive" Catholic quite well. As St. John tells us in his Second Letter: "Anyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son" (2 John :9). There is a kind of "progress" that means turning our backs on God.

   Pope Benedict has come to our shores to rescue those who have suffered shipwreck in the faith, or at least to rescue those who are willing to accept the terms that will permit such rescue. Such terms of rescue call fundamentally for a return to the "sound doctrines of which St. Paul speaks, the doctrine protected and proclaimed in Christ’s Church ("the pillar and bulwark of the truth"-1 Timothy 3:15) by the Holy Spirit against the devil’s ceaseless attempts to subvert that doctrine. As Pope Benedict announced, "A people of hope is a people willing to make a change," a people willing to make whatever changes in their lives may be needed to bring them into harmony with Christ’s truth. Whatever may have been the previous course of their lives, if they are willing now, under the grace of God, to change course and and to take Christ’s teachings as the only true compass, they can find their way home to safe haven through "all of life’s tempestuous seas." That is his message to us.

   Pope Benedict invites each one of us to examine his conscience and to make whatever changes in our lives need to be made. Let us pray that we will do so, and let us pray for those in whose confused and sin-darkened minds the voice of Peter, speaking through Benedict, has perhaps stirred some awareness that through an obedient return to sound doctrine a new way of life can open up, a new way of life that offers hope.

That, my friends, is how it is done.

WDTPRS solemn high kudos to the great Fr. W!

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55 Responses to As a dog returns to his vomit…

  1. James the Less says:

    I believe the political justification for the private/public distinction can be traced back to Mario Cuomo’s 1984 speech at Notre Dame. His rhetoric was seductive to many. Perhaps that speech needs to be eviscerated as sophistry as well.

  2. Tito Edwards says:

    Fr. Z,

    What a concise and accurate synopsis of the travesty of the position that Senator Biden holds. One cannot serve two masters.

  3. Al says:

    In his homily Sunday, Bishop Morlino came down hard on the Bishops (US & Candian) priests & theologians who are responsible for providing the faulty arguements Pelosi & Biden are using.

  4. Losing faith in Virginia says:

    I’d be happy if we had a yearly pastor’s column. our tiny parish pastor doesn’t even have “time” for that, let alone catechising.

    “Too busy” and “No” are his auto-responses when asked about teaching adults, adding Latin to the Mass, or improving the music…but we have time for a Catholic-Presbetyrian Picnic.

    Signed & sighed,

    Losing faith in Virginia

  5. Rob says:

    Personally Opposed, but…

    Who was the first prominent American Catholic to announce that he could not impose his views on other citizens? (Hint: He wasn’t a professional politican)

    Sadly, this is the defacto rationale of nearly three generations of “Catholic”
    politicians that still hold to the myth of “Camelot” and the youthful,progressive ideals that were (and remain) associated with it.

    A report in Catholic World News December 2003 noted the following:

    “Early in the summer of 1965, the Massachusetts legislature took up a proposal to repeal the state’s Birth Control law, which barred the use of contraceptives. . . . In a state where Catholics constituted a voting majority, and dominated the legislature, the prospects for repeal appeared remote. Then on June 22, Cardinal Cushing appeared on a local radio program, ‘An Afternoon with Haywood Vincent,’ and effectively scuttled the opposition. Cardinal Cushing announced: ‘My position in this matter is that birth control in accordance with artificial means is immoral, and not permissible. But this is Catholic teaching. I am also convinced that I should not impose my position upon those of other faiths’. Warming to the subject, the cardinal told his radio audience that ‘I could not in conscience approve the legislation’ that had been proposed. However, he quickly added, ‘I will make no effort to impose my opinion upon others.’ So there it was: the ‘personally opposed’ argument, in fully developed form, enunciated by a Prince of the Church nearly 40 years ago! Notice how the unvarying teaching of the Catholic Church, which condemned artificial contraception as an offense against natural law, is reduced here to a matter of the cardinal’s personal belief. And notice how he makes no effort to persuade legislators with the force of his arguments; any such effort is condemned in advance as a bid to ‘impose’ his opinion. Cardinal Cushing conceded that in the past, Catholic leaders had opposed any effort to alter the Birth Control law. ‘But my thinking has changed on that matter,’ he reported, ‘for the simple reason that I do not see where I have an obligation to impose my religious beliefs on people who just do not accept the same faith as I do’. . . . Before the end of his fateful radio broadcast, Cardinal Cushing gave his advice to the Catholic members of the Massachusetts legislature: ‘If your constituents want this legislation, vote for it. You represent them. You don’t represent the Catholic Church.’ Dozens of Catholic legislators did vote for the bill, and the Birth Control law was abolished. Perhaps more important in the long run, the ‘personally opposed’ politician had his rationale.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/features/index.cfm?recnum=26364

    Other Reading:

    http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/may/cultural&ecclesial64-67.htm

    http://www.ignatius.com/Magazines/CWR/campbell.htm

  6. Rob says:

    The writing of Fr. John C. Murray, S.J. (1904-1967) was profoundly influential in his views regarding Catholics in public life. I understand Cardinal Cushing was advised by Fr. Murray regarding an appropriate Catholic response to legislation that stood to liberalize Birth Control laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1965. Humanae
    Vitae was only two years away.
    Sadly, what we see today with likes of Pelosi, Biden and company is only the “smoking gun” of which they believe is a morally acceptable approach to public life; however, flawed. The rest is history.

    http://woodstock.georgetown.edu/publications/report/r-fea33.htm

    http://woodstock.georgetown.edu/library/Murray/1965F.htm

    Another revealing read:

    AMERICANISM: THEN AND NOW
    by Russell Shaw

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/AMERICAN.TXT

  7. David says:

    “Where do they get this justification for their position that you can be privately against abortion but then act publicly for it?”

    This type of liberalism stems from the ideas of the French Revolution, which insists on the separation of Church and State. Those in authority in the State must not impose the Catholic religion on the rest of society.

    The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty affirmed the idea that the tenets of the Catholic Religion must not be imposed on non Catholics through the mechanism of the State. Is it surprising that Cardinal Cushing made such a statement in the wake of this Council?

  8. Phillip says:

    Biden knows what the Divine Law is, yet he disregards it and opposes it. Ergo, one cannot say Bide “isn’t sure” or “uninformed” about being “pro-choice,” ergo, in my humble opinion, is this not grounds for denying him communion?

  9. Losing faith in Virginia

    There is always HOPE
    HOPE will help you cope.

    just hang in there and pray for your pastor as well as all clergy.God doesn’t sleep and He knows exactly what is going on. OLD STAN doesn’t sleep either but we have to just keep our eyes on the Lord.

  10. Losing Faith In Virginia: Can you change parishes? If what your pastor is, or is not doing, is what is causing you to lose your faith perhaps you should think about it. However, (and I hope I can phrase this so as not to sound completely idiotic) it is not always, solely, what our pastor does, or does not do, that gives us our Faith it’s what WE do. A wise priest I know once said “Sure, Father can come down the aisle on a pogo stick and you can think he’s a clown and dislike the way he prays the Mass but what is in YOU?”

    That said, I agree that it sure helps if you have a great priest but I reverted in spite of my poor catechesis and atrocious “Masses”. I still sit, on occasion, thru some dubious stuff but it does not change what I now know to be Truth.

    You are in a good forum. Stay here.

    Father Welzbacher touched on this topic again in his bulletin column from this Sunday just past, Sept. 7, 2008. He writes a good column, but he is also a great homilist. He’s as straight-on in the pulpit as he is on the page. If anyone on this blog is ever in St. Paul they should stop in at the Church of St. John. Tell him Father Zuhlsdorf sent you! :-) Father Welzbacher is one of the few priests around here who hears Confessions before every Mass so why not stop by? Maybe some of our politician friends should too, eh? :-)

  11. mpm says:

    An excellent summary by this good pastor. St. Thomas, speaking in the Summa
    about the supernatural virtue of faith, explains very clearly that when we sin
    against the faith by rejecting any single doctrine the Church teaches
    authoritavely, we reject that faith formally, i.e., in rejecting the Church’s
    teaching we cease to possess the supernatural virtue of faith. Without that
    there can be all this “cultural Catholicism”, “ghetto Catholicism”, “ethnic
    Catholicism”, but none of it rises to the level of supernatural faith.

    That’s where many of my contemporaries, friends and family, are right now –
    in the Wasteland between supernatural Faith and human allegiances. Only the
    Mercy of God can bring them “back”.

  12. David says:

    The Church has always defined death as the point at which the soul departs from the body. If we are to accept the Church’s dogmatic statement that abortion is a form of homicide, then we have to accept that God has already created a soul for a cell formed by the union of sperm and egg, even if that cell has not been implanted as of yet. Whether God has in fact created a soul for such a body and united it to that body, is clearly not provable through human reason. It is a religious dogma proclaimed by the Church, and rejected by persons of other religions, many of whom do so in good faith.

    The 2nd Vatican Council allows for the Cushings, Cuomos and Bidens, to claim that other people have no obligation to accept the doctrine revealed by God through the Catholic Church. It is called Religious Liberty.

  13. johnny b says:

    I think Joe needs to go with Nancy
    when she meets with Bishop Niederauer.

    Actually, they REALLY need a third
    party there,(Bishop Chaput)so they
    BOTH (Bishop Niederauer and Nancy) can be
    held accountable.

  14. Maureen says:

    Thank you for posting the info about Cardinal Cushing, back in 1965.

    My goodness, I wish it’d been a call-in show. Anybody got a cellphone
    that can call 1965? Or a clue-by-four?

  15. Jordanes says:

    David claimed: The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty affirmed the idea that the tenets of the Catholic Religion must not be imposed on non Catholics through the mechanism of the State.

    You’re dead wrong about that. Dignitatis Humanae says all men have a moral obligation to accept the Catholic faith, but says no one may be coerced into converting to the faith.

    The Church has always defined death as the point at which the soul departs from the body. If we are to accept the Church’s dogmatic statement that abortion is a form of homicide, then we have to accept that God has already created a soul for a cell formed by the union of sperm and egg, even if that cell has not been implanted as of yet. Whether God has in fact created a soul for such a body and united it to that body, is clearly not provable through human reason. It is a religious dogma proclaimed by the Church, and rejected by persons of other religions, many of whom do so in good faith.

    You seem to be as confused about abortion and religious liberty as Pelosi and Biden are about abortion and the old, obsolete ensoulment debate. That abortion is a form of homicide is not a dogmatic statement of the Church, but is something all men know through natural reason. The objection to abortion is rooted in natural law, not Catholic faith. Whether we have souls (something else that can be known through reason, not dogma) and when the soul is infused, are questions that have no bearing on the immorality and criminality of abortion.

    The 2nd Vatican Council allows for the Cushings, Cuomos and Bidens, to claim that other people have no obligation to accept the doctrine revealed by God through the Catholic Church. It is called Religious Liberty.

    Wrong, Vatican II says exactly the opposite of what you claim. You’re confusing “obligation” with unjust coercion. Just because coerced conversions are not conversions at all, that doesn’t mean all men are not obliged to believe what God has revealed. Anyway, as I said, the immorality of abortion is not something that is known only through revelation, but is knowable through human reason unaided by revelation.

  16. Matthew M. says:

    For what it’s worth, Joe Biden was at the center of opposition to the Supremem Court nomination of Robert Bork, and of Clarence Thomas.

    If Bork had made it to the court, there would at this time be enough votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    Thanks to our ‘Catholic’ Senator Joe Biden, we have to hope for yet another leftist vacating the court, and also hope that the next Presidential administration can nominate a ‘stealth’ pro-life jurist who will somehow run the gauntlet of a heavily Democratic, pro-abortion Senate. Thanks, Senator Biden!

  17. Michael J says:

    Jordanes,

    Unfortunately, Dignitatis Humanae does not state this nearly as clearly as you have. It is quite understandable that so many have gotten it wrong.

  18. CPT Tom says:

    Archbishop Chaput has responded to Senator Biden and “Catholic” politicians in general

    http://www.archden.org/repository//Documents/ArchbishopChaputCorner/Addresses/PublicServants&MoralReasoning9.8.08.pdf

    the final two paragraphs, and, far as I’m concerned, “money” quote:

    In his Meet the Press interview, Sen. Biden used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t “impose” their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion. And the senator knows very well as a lawmaker that all law involves the imposition of some people’s convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law. American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their “pro-choice” beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades.

    If we claim to be Catholic, then American Catholics, including public officials who describe themselves as Catholic, need to act accordingly. We need to put an end to Roe and the industry of permissive abortion it enables. Otherwise all of us – from senators and members of Congress, to Catholic laypeople in the pews – fail not only as believers and disciples, but also as citizens.

  19. Louis E. says:

    Jordanes,what the Catholic Church teaches is the proper understanding of natural law is not what everyone believes is the proper understanding of natural law.I believe that abortion is no more a form of homicide than eating nuts is a way of cutting down trees. [Silly.]

  20. Jordanes says:

    Louis E. said: Jordanes, what the Catholic Church teaches is the proper understanding of natural law is not what everyone believes is the proper understanding of natural law.

    Yes, many do not properly understand natural law and do not use their rational faculties correctly. So what?

    I believe that abortion is no more a form of homicide than eating nuts is a way of cutting down trees.

    Your personal belief is not grounded in anything that we know from reason. Human life is not plant life. Trees may be cut down, and nuts may be eaten, and it isn’t necessarily a sin (indeed usually it isn’t), but at no stage of development may an innocent human life be taken. (“Homocide” means “killing a human,” and at no point in development is a human life anything but human.)

  21. Jordanes says:

    Michael J said: Unfortunately, Dignitatis Humanae does not state this nearly as clearly as you have. It is quite understandable that so many have gotten it wrong.

    I disagree: DH says it very clearly, but many haven’t bothered to read DH, or they’ve taken the parts of it they like (or don’t like) and ignored the rest.

  22. Louis E. says:

    Jordanes:
    So,an example of failure to use rational faculties correctly constitutes the teachings of the Catholic Magisterium.
    The fallacy of a putative life-beginning-at-conception is that nto much changes at conception…the gametes that combine are just as human and just as alive as the zygote,and the zygote is no more capable of independent existence than the gametes.Only through development can the “new life” become “A” life that is not wholly dependent on a particular human who is necessarily less than its equal if its continued existence at her biological expense is an obligation forced upon her by the state.If her CONSCIENCE tells her she can’t abort then fine…but the state is not entitled to.

  23. wsxyz says:

    Louis: There is are fundamental differences between human gametes and a human zygote. The fertilized egg contains a complete individual human genome, unlike the gametes. The fertilized egg is capable of growth, development, and progression through all stages of human life, unlike the gametes. It is a scientific, not theological, fact that a new living human individual comes into being at the moment of conception.

    Contrary to your unsupported, naked assertion, the state is, and always has been, entitled to forbid abortion. It is a historical fact that governments have forbidden (and still do forbid) abortions. In most countries, the idea that the state had no authority to do so would be considered ridiculous. Furthermore, as abortion is a grievous offense against God, and God is the source of all authority, governments have every right to forbid abortion.

  24. Jordanes says:

    Louis E. said: So,an example of failure to use rational faculties correctly constitutes the teachings of the Catholic Magisterium.

    Wrong on two counts: 1) a correct use of reason would lead to one agreeing with the Catholic magisterium, and 2) one need not consult the Catholic magisterium to know that human life must be protected from its very beginning, not just from birth onward.

    The fallacy of a putative life-beginning-at-conception is that not much changes at conception…the gametes that combine are just as human and just as alive as the zygote,and the zygote is no more capable of independent existence than the gametes.

    I’m afraid you need better inform yourself about what happens at conception. As wsxyz said, gametes lack a human genome, but the zygote has a complete genome, distinct and individual from that of the parents’ gametes. They are living human cells, but they are not living humans: they’re no more “just as alive as the zygote” than any other human cell that makes up an individual’s body.

    That the zygote is not yet able to exist independently is irrelevant, because newborns cannot exist independently either: they’re entirely helpless, and unless someone feeds them and cares for them, they will die in just a few days. Qualitatively that is no different from a zygote that would die in a matter of moments if deprived of the needed environment of the mother’s womb.

    Only through development can the “new life” become “A” life that is not wholly dependent on a particular human who is necessarily less than its equal if its continued existence at her biological expense is an obligation forced upon her by the state.

    If our rights hinge on the degree to which we are dependent on others, then no one has inalienable rights.

    Your “necessarily less than its equal” rationale is exactly that which justifies slavery and racism. You should be bothered by that.

    If her CONSCIENCE tells her she can’t abort then fine…but the state is not entitled to.

    Right and wrong is not dependent on the individual conscience.

  25. BobP says:

    How quickly we forget that Biden and several other Democrat Senators were responsible for approving Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. [Absolutely untrue.] They did it at great political risk to themselves and one of them, Senator Dixon ended up losing to a real pro-death Senator. It is so sad when the very party responsible for bringing us Roe vs Wade, the Republicans themselves, have somehow managed to make all these accusations against the Democrats stick.

  26. Chris M says:

    BobP, some politicians make it easy for us by changing their beliefs to garner more votes. At this point, it’s not a GOP vs Dem issue. Biden is wrong. Pelosi’s wrong. If you’ll recall, Catholic Republicans led the charge against Giuliani for the same reason.

  27. David says:

    Jordanes, et al,

    The truth, which has been revealed by God through the Church, that God has united a newly created human soul to a fertilized egg, is not proven by naturalistic logic or observable facts. The fact that there is a “complete genome” does not prove that there is a soul, and therefore does not prove that there is a human life.

    Please note that in this Pelosi saga, the bishops have criticized her for her mangling of Catholic doctrine about when life begins. They have never, over the last 40+ years, been willing to criticize the basic “pro-choice” Catholic position which basically goes as follows…

    “I am Catholic, I believe what the Church teaches about … – but I cannot impose the beliefs of my religion on others through the mechanism of the civil government.”

    Now, please read Dignitatis Humanae and try to show where the pro-choice position is not in effect exactly the same…every person has, and must have, the civil right to form his own conscience according to his own sincerely chosen religious beliefs, and act in accordance with it. Even the true doctrine of the Catholic religion cannot be imposed on others.

    Otherwise, please explain why the pro-choice Catholics have remained, AND CONTINUE TO REMAIN, in perfectly good standing with the Church for such a long, long time.

  28. Did not Speaker Pelosi commend Fr. Drinan when he died some time ago?

    Let’s just trace the line of teaching…….

    -KJS

  29. mpm says:

    “…the gametes that combine are just as human and just as alive as the zygote,and the zygote is no more capable of independent existence than the gametes.” — Louis E.

    The fallacy you fall into here is this: gametes do not have the potency (i.e., potential) to
    develop into human beings
    ; but the zygote does have that potency (i.e., potential) and by nature will so develop unless prevented from doing so from without itself.

    That is both a logical and a biological fact, i.e., something both fields can deal with.

    “Independent existence” is not something any human being experiences (i.e., at least since Adam lost his rib).

  30. RBrown says:

    How quickly we forget that Biden and several other Democrat Senators were responsible for approving Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. They did it at great political risk to themselves and one of them, Senator Dixon ended up losing to a real pro-death Senator. It is so sad when the very party responsible for bringing us Roe vs Wade, the Republicans themselves, have somehow managed to make all these accusations against the Deocrats stick.
    Comment by BobP

    Biden, the man you said was responsible for approving Clarence Thomas as a SCOTUS Justice, voted against his confirmation.

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=102&session=1&vote=00220#name

    Further, Biden led the charge against Robert Bork. If Bork had been confirmed, Roe would have been overturned.

  31. Jordanes says:

    David said: The truth, which has been revealed by God through the Church, that God has united a newly created human soul to a fertilized egg, is not proven by naturalistic logic or observable facts.

    No, there are logical arguments for the existence of the human soul. When ensoulment takes place cannot be discerned by unaided logic or by natural science, but even apart from divine revelation one can reason to the existence of the soul.

    The fact that there is a “complete genome” does not prove that there is a soul, and therefore does not prove that there is a human life.

    Nonsense. If a living organism has a complete human genome, it is a living human being. That’s what science tells us. The question of the soul is irrelevant here.

    They have never, over the last 40+ years, been willing to criticize the basic “pro-choice” Catholic position which basically goes as follows… “I am Catholic, I believe what the Church teaches about … – but I cannot impose the beliefs of my religion on others through the mechanism of the civil government.”

    You obviously haven’t been paying any attention. The bishops have repeated criticised and rejected that rationalisation.

    Now, please read Dignitatis Humanae and try to show where the pro-choice position is not in effect exactly the same…every person has, and must have, the civil right to form his own conscience according to his own sincerely chosen religious beliefs, and act in accordance with it. Even the true doctrine of the Catholic religion cannot be imposed on others.

    I’ve already read DH, and I can see that you don’t understand it. DH is irrelevant to the question of abortion, which is a matter of natural law, not divine revelation. The Church has always insisted that no one can be forced to accept the Catholic religion, but it just does not follow that they cannot be compelled by the State not to take the lives of innocent human beings.

    Otherwise, please explain why the pro-choice Catholics have remained, AND CONTINUE TO REMAIN, in perfectly good standing with the Church for such a long, long time.

    Because during and after the Second Vatican Council, there was a breakdown of Catholic discipline in the Church, one from which we have not yet recovered. DH has got nothing to do with it.

  32. Rob says:

    I loved Father W.’s reference to the old game show. I think it was an apt analogy.

    If I’m thinking of the same show he was, there were three contestants. Each would claim to be an actual person of some minor repute or accomplishment. ‘Minor’ meaning nothing so widely celebrated that anyone outside of their hometown or actual field of endeavor could be expected to recognize them (remember, this was a pre-cable TV, pre-internet era). The four panelists would ask a limited number of questions of the contestants about the subject in question. The panelists, not knowing much about the subject in question, would then evaluate the answers on the basis of plausibility and if the contestant seemed to be knowledgeable, in an attempt to discern who was the real ‘celebrity’. Hmmm… La plus ca change…

    The program’s title? To Tell The Truth ;^)

    I’ll echo Jordanes – “Right and wrong is not dependent on the individual conscience.” – and offer this: The informed (and well-formed) conscience must be able to recognize right and wrong.

  33. Joseph says:

    BobP

    (Trying to restrain myself) I think that I just might choke on my own vomit if I see you post -yet again – how many times is it now on this board? — that somehow we owe a debt of thanks the the esteemed Sen. Joseph Biden for the confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Is that an attempt at sarcasm? Are you kidding? Where do you get this hooey and why not look up what Thomas himself says in his memoirs before you try this yet one more time. I think you are getting the kid glove here as this is a Catholic Blog; I recommend that the backlash would be far less polite elsewhere.

    Sorry, Bob for the brusque tone, but this is just too egregious.

  34. Louis E. says:

    wsyxz,
    obviously we differ as to whether abortion is an offense to God.
    Jordanes,
    right and wrong are indeed not matters of individual conscience,and the teachings of the Catholic Church on abortion are objectively wrong and enforcement of them against unbelievers is a moral evil.
    Jordanes and MPM,
    a newborn,because born,can be supported by ANYONE.Before birth the foetus is inseparable from the woman,and involuntary support an unreasonable burden.

  35. LCB says:

    Louis E.

    Please demonstrate how and why the teachings of the Catholic Church on abortion are objectively wrong.

  36. Louis E. says:

    Like the legal decisions forcing enactment of same-sex “marriage”,Catholic teachings on abortion declare to be equal what is inherently not equal.
    It is no more “murder” to prevent a birth,than it is chopping down an oak tree to grab a fallen acorn and dispose of it. [This is, I think, the second time you have used this truly vile argument in defense of the destruction of innocent life.]

  37. TDJ says:

    Where do they get this justification for their position that you can be privately against abortion but then act publicly for it?

    The answer is Fr. Robert Drinan, as Fr. George Welzbacher correctly points out.

    I blogged about Fr. Drinan on the occassion of his call to account before the Lord back in January 2007. He was the one who provided the pseudotheological fig leaf that today covers the shame of Catholic pro-abortion politicians. This is what I posted:

    Former Congressman, pro-abortion activist Father Robert Drinan, S.J., dead at 86 – http://vivificat1.blogspot.com/2007/01/former-congressman-pro-abortion.html.

    -Theo

  38. Jordanes says:

    Louis E. said: a newborn,because born,can be supported by ANYONE.

    But nature intends for the mother to care for her child: her body begins to produce milk that provides exactly what the baby needs, and the mother and child psychological bond to each other. What those things don’t happen, we know something has gone wrong. In the same way, something has gone wrong when an expectant mother is unwilling to carry her baby to term, but instead seeks to destroy her baby.

    Before birth the foetus is inseparable from the woman,and involuntary support an unreasonable burden.

    No, it is not unreasonable to expect a pregnant woman to support the child growing in her womb, it’s perfectly natural. What is unreasonable is for her to interfere in the normal operation of nature by taking the life of her developing baby.

    Like the legal decisions forcing enactment of same-sex “marriage”,Catholic teachings on abortion declare to be equal what is inherently not equal. It is no more “murder” to prevent a birth,than it is chopping down an oak tree to grab a fallen acorn and dispose of it.

    Here you have done what you say the same-sex “marriage” laws do: declare to be equal what is inherently not equal. Humans and oak trees are in a completely different class. No one can “murder” a plant: it is only possible to murder human beings.

  39. Michael J says:

    Jordanes,

    I think we should leave our discussion about the effectiveness and clarity of DH for another time.

  40. LCB says:

    Louise,

    You’ve asserted your conclusion.

    Now please support it by demonstrating how and why you are correct and the Church is wrong.

  41. wsxyz says:

    I think we should leave our discussion about the effectiveness and clarity of DH for another time.

    Why is that? According to your flawed understanding of Dignitatis Humanae Catholics are permitted in good conscience to support publically any moral evil whatsoever: Contraception, Abortion, Infanticide, Euthanasia, you name it — because otherwise Catholics would be illicitly “imposing the doctrine of the Catholic Church on others.”

    Your position is evil and by publicly advocating it you make yourself a tool of the Devil.

  42. David says:

    “A breakdown of discipline in the Church” – this is laughable! It is the bishops job to impose discipline!!!

    The bishops who told us in Dignitatis Humanae that every person has the right to form his conscience in accordance with his own religious beliefs, and to act accordingly, apart from state or any other form of coercion, are the same bishops who continue to give and to authorize their priests to give “pro-choice” Congressmen, Senators, and Governors Holy Communion. They do not view it as a grave sin for Catholic politicians to support the legality of abortion.

    You need to pay attention to the actions as well as the words of the bishops. The “pro-choice” position of liberty of conscience was written by them at V2 and those who espouse it are given Communion by the bishops themselves.

  43. Jordanes says:

    No wsxyz, it’s David who has made that claim, not Michael J.

  44. Jordanes says:

    David said: “A breakdown of discipline in the Church” – this is laughable! It is the bishops job to impose discipline!

    I disagree: the breakdown of discipline in the Church is not laughable, it’s sorrowful.

    The bishops who told us in Dignitatis Humanae that every person has the right to form his conscience in accordance with his own religious beliefs, and to act accordingly, apart from state or any other form of coercion

    DH says no such thing. It says every person is obliged to accept the Catholic faith. Stop cherry-picking the teachings of the Church, David, and accept ALL that She teaches.

    are the same bishops who continue to give and to authorize their priests to give “pro-choice” Congressmen, Senators, and Governors Holy Communion.

    Wrong. Only a few of the Council Fathers of Vatican II are still alive. The bishops continue to shirk their responsibility to discipline pro-abortion Catholic politicans were shaped by the post-conciliar experience, which has been a mixed bag to say the least, but they are not the bishops who approved DH.

    They do not view it as a grave sin for Catholic politicians to support the legality of abortion.

    Maybe some of them don’t, but as I said, DH has got nothing to do with it. Abortion is a matter of natural law, not divine revelation — the State may not coerce anyone into feigning a conversion to Catholicism, but the Church is clear that the State has an obligation to use coercion if necessary to prevent the death of the innocent.

  45. RBrown says:

    The truth, which has been revealed by God through the Church, that God has united a newly created human soul to a fertilized egg, is not proven by naturalistic logic or observable facts. The fact that there is a “complete genome” does not prove that there is a soul, and therefore does not prove that there is a human life.

    You’ve missed the point. The argument in favor of delayed ensoulment has ALWAYS been based on the embryo not being yet human. The fact that all the genetic material is present from the moment of conception destroys that argument.

    Feel free to advance an argument in favor of delayed ensoulment.

    Please note that in this Pelosi saga, the bishops have criticized her for her mangling of Catholic doctrine about when life begins. They have never, over the last 40+ years, been willing to criticize the basic “pro-choice” Catholic position which basically goes as follows…

    First, let’s be a bit honest. The choice to which you refer is not a decision about boiled vs fried shrimp, or a Ford vs a Toyota, or the Army vs the Air Force.

    The choice is abortion. A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N.

    Pro-choice means pro-abortion.

    Second, various documents re abortion laws:

    Evangelium Vitae:
    20. To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin”. (Jn 8:34)

    73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.

    The above is re-affirmed in
    SCDF, Doctrinal Note re the participation of Catholics in political life:
    John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a «grave and clear obligation to oppose» any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them

    “I am Catholic, I believe what the Church teaches about … – but I cannot impose the beliefs of my religion on others through the mechanism of the civil government.”

    See above: grave and clear obligation.

    Now, please read Dignitatis Humanae and try to show where the pro-choice position is not in effect exactly the same…every person has, and must have, the civil right to form his own conscience according to his own sincerely chosen religious beliefs, and act in accordance with it. Even the true doctrine of the Catholic religion cannot be imposed on others.

    Your interpretation of the text contradicts itself: A Catholic’s “sincerely chosen religious beliefs” by definition include the faith and morals of the Church. Thus formation of a Catholic’s conscience must be according to Catholic doctrine.

    Otherwise, please explain why the pro-choice Catholics have remained, AND CONTINUE TO REMAIN, in perfectly good standing with the Church for such a long, long time.
    Comment by David

    According to various documents of the Church, you are dangerously wrong.

  46. RBrown says:

    Like the legal decisions forcing enactment of same-sex “marriage”,Catholic teachings on abortion declare to be equal what is inherently not equal. It is no more “murder” to prevent a birth,than it is chopping down an oak tree to grab a fallen acorn and dispose of it.
    Comment by Louis E.

    I think I said this once before, but it bears repeating.

    In Estate Law the unborn have rights. Further, there is precedent of people who have killed their pregnant wives who have been convicted both of 1st degree murder of the wife but also 2d degree murder of the unborn child. cf. The case of Scott Peterson

  47. RBrown says:

    The bishops who told us in Dignitatis Humanae that every person has the right to form his conscience in accordance with his own religious beliefs, and to act accordingly, apart from state or any other form of coercion, are the same bishops who continue to give and to authorize their priests to give “pro-choice” Congressmen, Senators, and Governors Holy Communion. They do not view it as a grave sin for Catholic politicians to support the legality of abortion.

    1. As I noted above, if someone is a Catholic, then “his own religious beliefs” are those of the Church–and his conscience must be formed in accordance them.

    2. JPII saw it as a grave sin. See the above mention of “grave and clear obligation”.

    You need to pay attention to the actions as well as the words of the bishops. The “pro-choice” position of liberty of conscience was written by them at V2 and those who espouse it are given Communion by the bishops themselves.
    Comment by David

    Using your criteria that principle follows action, it was OK for bishops to move homosexual priests who were abusing young men to other pastoral assignments.

  48. Gil Ferguson says:

    “As a dog returns to his vomit…”

    My dear Rev. Father:

    I have always enjoyed learning from your site, the religious contacts, quest for tradition, etc., and the in-sight you have. Lately, the site has become to me as highly political (almost a mouth-piece for the “G” party). I’m neuter in those matters
    and feel offended by some, seemingly to me, a growing ferocity in the matter, even if the opposition are wrong in Catholic dogma. I thought we were to love our enimies?

    [HUH? Sp far, I haven't been very political. I am laying out principles. But you must suit yourself. Best wishes.]

    Forgiveness asked, Father, but I shall back off reading the site until after the election, this sort of discussion the cause.

    Pax Christi in Aeternum:
    Gil Ferguson
    Richmond, VA

  49. RBrown says:

    Gil Ferguson,

    Although I think Joe Biden is probably a decent guy, we now live in times where his faith demands more of him.

    If someone were to write “Profiles in Catholic Courage”, there would be few Catholic politicians mentioned in the book.

  50. Michael J says:

    wsxyz,

    I think that there has been a mis-communication. For the record, I agree with Jordanes and you that Dignitatis Humanae *does not* assert the \”right\” to religeous liberty as commonly understood. Nobody has the right to choose any religeon other than Catholicism.

    I also agree that many people, both inside and outside of the Church, *think* it teaches otherwise.

    The only disagreement, as far as I can tell, is the source of this common mis-understanding, but that discussion (who is to blame, in other words) is, I think, an un-necessary derailment of this particular discussion.

  51. wsxyz says:

    Jordanes: No wsxyz, it’s David who has made that claim, not Michael J.
    Michael J: I think that there has been a mis-communication

    I apologize for the mixup, Michael J.
    I am really sorry about it.

  52. David Kastel says:

    Michael J and wsxyz,

    Archbishop Lefebvre insisted on the doctrine that you have stated above, that all men have a strict right to the Catholic religion (only). He protested forcefully at the Council, and continued for the rest of his days arguing against the false ideas of religious liberty and liberty of conscience which are clearly expressed in DH. For instance,

    “Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.

    It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. {Here’s the coup de grace} In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.”

    “At the same time, the Christian faithful, in common with all other men, possess the civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their consciences.”

    This document, Dignitatis Humanae, needs to be sent into the trashbin where it belongs.

  53. Jordanes says:

    Well, it can’t be sent into the trashbin, but it will in time be superceded by other documents, which hopefully will be clearer. However, DH isn’t the topic of this discussion (nor is Archbishop Lefebvre’s opposition to DH after he signed it) — it’s only being mentioned because someone else has been misinterpreting it in order to claim that the Church’s doctrine as found in DH gives Catholics permission to support legal abortion, which is outrageous nonsense.

  54. David says:

    There is nothing to misinterpret. The plain meaning of the entire text is that, while people have a moral obligation to be Catholic, religious doctrines (even of the Catholic religion) are not to be imposed on those who do not accept them, and that those who do not accept them are not to be impeded by any human power (including the state) in acting on their own [false] beliefs. And there are other people who believe, though the teaching of their own religion, that human life begins with “ensoulment” which, they believe, does not occur until some point after fertilization of the egg (whether it be implantation, initial movement of the fetus, initial heartbeat, or some other point.)

    Even if, as you insist, natural science disproves their religious beliefs, then according to DH, they have a moral obligation to accept the truth, but still, the state cannot force them to accept it, or to act differently than their religious beliefs tell them. The “pro-choice” Catholics can safely rely on the plain meaning of this text for support for their position.

    It is not true that every statement of every document of every ecumenical council of the Church is an infallible statement of doctrine. DH proves that for sure.

  55. Jordanes says:

    David said: The plain meaning of the entire text is that, while people have a moral obligation to be Catholic, religious doctrines (even of the Catholic religion) are not to be imposed on those who do not accept them

    Yes, that has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    And as I have said, that abortion is a crime is not a religious doctrine. And as RBrown has pointed out, Catholics may not use religious conscience as an escape clause here, since Catholics are bound to form their consciences in accordance with the Church’s teaching that abortion may never be legalised. Therefore there is nothing in DH that can give aid and comfort to Catholics who want abortion to be legal.

    Even if, as you insist, natural science disproves their religious beliefs,

    There is can be no disputing that.

    then according to DH, they have a moral obligation to accept the truth, but still, the state cannot force them to accept it, or to act differently than their religious beliefs tell them.

    According to DH 7-8, the State cannot force them to change their minds about abortion, but the State can and should punish them if they commit the crime of abortion. The State cannot force someone to confess, “I believe that stealing is wrong,” but the State can send thieves to jail. The State cannot force someone to believe that sacrificing human beings in religious ceremonies is wrong, but the State can and must forbid anyone from committing the crime of human sacrifice.

    According to you, however, the Catholic Church teaches that human sacrifice and stealing and abortion may not be outlawed for those who believe, or claim to believe, that their religion allows or requires such things. Pardon me for any offense, but that idea is just stupid. DH obviously says no such thing.

    The “pro-choice” Catholics can safely rely on the plain meaning of this text for support for their position.

    No they can’t. The plain meaning of DH includes not a shred of support for pro-abortion Catholics.

    It is not true that every statement of every document of every ecumenical council of the Church is an infallible statement of doctrine. DH proves that for sure.

    Yes, not every statement of a Council is infallible, but it is certainly true that all Catholics are bound to assent even to the non-infallible teachings. Anyway, since you’ve shown that you do not understand what DH says, I’m not sanguine on the likelihood that you can correctly distinguish between a fallible and an infallible teaching of the Church.