The Problem With Toning Down the Rhetoric – And Why We Probably Won’t Do It

The Problem With Toning Down the Rhetoric – And Why We Probably Won’t Do It

Some of my Catholic friends have been urging me and others on the Catholic right to tone down the rhetoric when it comes to discussing issues related to the Notre Dame scandal, or Notre Shame as time is showing it to have been.  They want us to tone down our “harsh rhetoric” on issues such as abortion, President Obama and other Catholics who support him. These friends insist that they respect my right to my point of view, and they assure me that they, too, oppose abortion. However, they argue that many tactics of the Catholic pro-life movement are “negative” (e.g. showing pictures of aborted fetuses) and therefore counter-productive. They argue further that these tactics – which include protesting Notre Dame’s bestowing an honorary doctorate of law on President Obama – actually exacerbate tensions and divisions within the Catholic Church and within society at large.  Finally, they charge that such tactics are spiteful and otherwise uncharitable.  We on the right would say “sinful,” but these friends of mine don’t use that language.

I am not impervious to these criticisms. I don’t like being thought of in these terms, though I confess I sometimes accept their judgment with a touch of mischievous relish. I don’t know anyone on the Catholic or Christian right who wants to be thought of as using language that is counter-productive, divisive and spiteful.

Okay, maybe Ann Coulter, bless her.

But when it comes to their suggestion to tone down the rhetoric, I think we shouldn’t, and I doubt we will.

First of all, there’s history. No matter how earnestly these Catholic friends of mine insist that they oppose abortion, when I think about what they want us not to do, I am forced to conclude that they just don’t see the symmetry between the abortion issue and other moral tragedies in recent history, such as the Holocaust and racial segregation. Would my Catholic friends today not applaud those German, Austrian and Italian Catholics who risked their lives to speak out in the strongest terms against the racial policies of Hitler and Mussolini, even though in doing so they used language that their friends thought was counter-productive, divisive and spiteful?

And why can’t these friends of mine cast themselves in the role of American whites who, during the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s, urged those few outspoken Catholic priests, sisters, and laypeople who rode freedom buses and were arrested during sit-ins to tone down the rhetoric, because it was counter-productive and divisive?

Is it me, or is the outrage of these Catholic friends of mine over the recent murder of the abortionist George Tiller, and the blame they hurl at the “extreme rhetoric” of pro-lifers for his death, not analogous to the anger of those white Catholics in the 60’s who blamed civil rights activists for instigating the Watts and Detroit riots?

My second reason for not toning down the rhetoric on abortion follows from the first. When and why did the abortion issue cease to be a “justice and peace” issue? Answer: when it became a women’s issue.

Have you noticed that there’s something about opposition to abortion that gives the creeps to “progressive” Catholics?

By the way, they hate to be called “liberals” or “left-wing” Catholics; they think of themselves as just plain, ordinary Catholics.  We aren’t to label them, but they freely label us.  This is what “liberal” now means.  For liberals, pro-lifers are “single-issue Catholics” or “single-issue voters”, a label intended to accuse us of ignoring all the other life issues in the “seamless garment” that makes up their precious “consistent life ethic.”

QUAERUNTUR: When was the last time you saw a “consistent life ethics” Catholic instead of simply assuring you that, yes, they too oppose abortion, actually speak out loudly against abortion? Do you know any “consistent life ethic” Catholics who seriously weigh a candidate’s position on abortion when deciding how to vote in an election?

No. For progressive Catholics it’s okay, even respectable, not to get upset about abortion to the point of voting against legislators who support it. Abortion is the issue that gets left off of “peace and justice” agendas. Progressivist Catholics associate abortion with sexual ethics, not with human life ethics. They complain that pro-lifers do not care about the other “life issues” such as capital punishment, war, poverty and health care. Never mind that no one really knows what pro-life Catholics think about these issues! But “peace and justice” Catholics only mention abortion when they are clucking their tongues at the pro-life movement.

I suspect that behind this “peace and justice” Catholic vs. pro-life Catholic tension is the divide between Democrat and Republican Catholics. I’m not saying that all pro-life Catholics vote for Republicans. I know a few who don’t. But let’s be honest, it’s hard to find pro-life Democrats holding public office. Progressivist Catholics know this too. Their loyalty to the aims and leadership of the Democrat party accounts for part of their opposition to the rhetoric of pro-life Catholics.

My third reason for not wanting us to tone down the rhetoric is a sense I have, a feeling not easy to pin down.

I am sensing a kind of Zeitgeist in the air which censures the use of “harsh rhetoric.”

I’ve been told by my progressivist Catholic friends that people today are turned off by the kind of angry, abrasive, “us v. them” rhetoric that reached a fever pitch during the Notre Dame controversy.  Just think!  American bishops were publicly critical of Notre Dame’s president. Pro-life protesters disrupted the graduation ceremony while President Obama was present, and some of them – “outsiders” as they were called – were arrested for trespassing on Notre Shame’s property.

Can you hear on the wind, on the waves, that whiny “why can’t we all just get along” mantra, scolding us for disrupting the feeling of harmony and comity we’re all supposed to be feeling in this Obama, post-political era?

These friends of mine praise Pres. Obama for his search for a “common ground” and his insistence on “dialogue,” even as they accuse pro-life Catholics of engaging in juvenile, discourteous rhetoric and of pursuing short-sighted, unrealistic and divisive political goals. What’s worse, in their eyes we are dragging this political conflict over abortion into the Church itself, where everybody should feel welcome, regardless of their views on abortion. Priests who preach about abortion are accused of alienating people in the pews. The new sin is making someone, anyone, feel uncomfortable because of his or her views or “lifestyle”.

But the net effect of this unrelenting censorship from the left is that the pro-life (yes, read: anti-abortion) message is ground down, silenced under the rubric of “it’s all right that we agree to disagree about this issue.”

Homosexual activists have a saying, “silence equals death.”  What they know, what the Catholic left doesn’t, is that all rhetoric aimed at effecting social and political change must, above all, be heard.

In the meantime, how many progressivist Catholic media shills will complain next week that this week’s G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, was disrupted by protesters advocating on behalf of the global poor or the environment?

You see, it’s not all acerbic rhetoric that merits labeling as counter-productive, divisive and uncharitable. It’s just pro-life rhetoric.

And that, in the end, is why we probably won’t tone it down.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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168 Responses to The Problem With Toning Down the Rhetoric – And Why We Probably Won’t Do It

  1. Tertulian el Mexicano says:

    DO NOT turn down the rhetoric. The head of the Serpent is very slippery. Once one opens the door to a snarling dog, ther is at least the chance it can be held at bay by shutting the door on the rest of its body. With the Serpent, once the head is through the door, the rest of the body can also slither in.

    For the sake of babies in the womb, the Liturgy, and many other issues dear to Traditional Catholics, do not stop the rhetoric. If anything, it needs to be turned up.

  2. problem says:

    Excellent analysis.

    I would only make this point. The rhetoric of the left is to charge others with using rhetoric (read propaganda). This is verbal slight of hand that the left very effectively uses. The proper response is simply to pretend as if you are not using rhetoric and charge them with using (insert your adjective) rhetoric.

  3. Clinton says:

    Yes! For so many people I know the fact that abortion is an issue involving justice and human rights truly is an “inconvenient truth”.

  4. Thomas in MD says:

    Amen, Father. If I had a dime for every time I heard that sort of rot from my wife and some of our friends, my parish would have a brand new Adoration Chapel.

  5. Origen Adamantius says:

    Tone down the Rhetoric?? If this means, stop calling a spade a spade and a sin a sin, or saying things that challenge people’s conscience-then never. True rhetoric is the ability to persuade others to the truth.

    However, I an always wary of justifying behavior because the other guy is doing it. When rhetoric is reduced to misogyny and misandry, to ad hominum attacks and to desiring harm, to seeking condemnation rather than conversion, then yes-stop the rhetoric empty of truth.

  6. Justin B. says:

    Is it possible to talk about other issues of peace and justice while still firmly holding the necessary conviction that the abortion issue should have the primary place on any Catholic social agenda?

    Or would a WDTPRS blogpost exclusively dedicated to the poor in Africa be a gesture of defeat? An acknowledgement that “progressive” ideology has infected our leader, Fr. Z?

    I feel like the answer to these questions would be a yes.

    Let the culture wars continue.

  7. James the Less says:

    Are tactics like these to be condemned as well?

    “It is the responsibility of the Church and of all humanity to do everything possible to come to the aid of a woman who is under pressure to have an abortion. For this reason, on the 15th of October in 1984, 1 announced from the pulpit of this cathedral, and I have repeatedly stated ever since although this gets little press, that any woman, of any religious persuasion, of any ethnic background, of any color, who comes to the Archdiocese of New York under pressure to have an abortion and not having any money, we will give her complete medical and hospital care free of charge. If she wishes to keep her baby after the baby is born our legal staff will help her do so, or they will help her to have the baby adopted.”

    -Cardinal O’Connor

  8. Hermeneutic of Reform says:

    You’re not making any sense.

    What is curious, however, is that the Lord Jesus reserved his harshest words–and they were few–for the “religious” folk such as the Temple leadership (= Sadducees) and the rubricists (= Pharisees).

    Your platform is fully justified, Fr Z. But like people who watch movies where the “F-word” is said in every other sentence, our audience will soon become dull of hearing–it is easy to tune out harsh rhetoric. What should rouse the opposition is not the harshness of language, but the force of Truth which is always a stumbling block. Otherwise we waste more energy on venting rather than preaching. This, I would suggest, is where we occasion sin–it becomes about us, about my peeve rather than justice and Truth. What you are doing, Fr Z, is promoting yourself and your ideas rather than the Truth of Catholicity.

    We cannot afford to let ourselves get in the way of the Church’s mission. We must become transparent, and the Church’s doctrine must become opaque.

  9. FOD says:

    Fine, don’t tone down the rhetoric. No one listens to screaming buffoons anyway. I take the pro-life movement seriously, but I certainly do not give the time of day to people who insist of comparing abortion to the Holocaust. If you are unable to see the obvious difference between the Holocaust which was outright destruction of life and abortion, where the mother’s well-being is at stake, then you don’t deserve to be taken seriously, and as far as I am concerned I do not consider people like you worthy of my time. [ I rest my case. ]

  10. Dominic says:

    When we tone down the rhetoric, bills like I-1000 get passed in Washington state!

  11. Jeff says:

    Is that yours, Father?

    Your best post ever. Terse, well-reasoned, and beautifully written.

    And spot on!

    I don’t know that’s it true that we WON’T. I think it’s true that we SHOULDN’T. But if we lose badly enough, we will be forced to tone it down.

    Those of us who don’t will be the bearded, smelly guys with signs on the street corners. And I’m not sure how much longer there will be rooms for such guys any more.

    And we shall see…I wonder if the next crisis of conscience for orthodox American Catholics is that the Vatican will be concentrating on keeping an even keel politically and will find serious pro-lifers annoying. There IS no pro-life movement in Europe. They’ve given up.

    I think we may tone down our rhetoric because the Church is increasingly retreating from the public domain…or simply concentrating on setting its own house in order and defending itself against aggressive secularism and Islam.

  12. jamie says:

    I think we need both sorts of rhetoric. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of captatio benevolentiae. Both approaches — that is, toned-down and harsh — have merit. Sometimes it’s necessary to coax someone you’re trying to persuade, and other times it’s necessary to use language that’s clear, direct, and forceful.

  13. James the Less says:

    “Counterproductive”… “Divisive”… “Spiteful”…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvWG2MOQHsY&feature=channel_page

    http://sistersoflife.org/vm.html

  14. Jeff says:

    Good comment, Jamie. I agree.

  15. LCB says:

    Fr. Z,

    I feel that pictures speak a thousand words.

    Fr. Hesburgh didn’t think “toning down the rhetoric” and such was appropriate for racial segregation. I think this picture says all that needs to be said about this issue, because it shows us precisely where Fr. Jenkins and the liberal Catholics *aren’t* standing, and it shows us who they today refuse to be in solidarity with.

    The unborn.

  16. Hildy Johnson says:

    Do you know any “consistent life ethic” Catholics who seriously weigh a candidate’s position on abortion when deciding how to vote in an election?

    Yes, I certainly do, but I can count them on one hand and still have enough fingers left to hold a beer stein steady. The great majority (whether Republican, Democrat, or other) seem to pay only lip service to the unborn and are content with same from the politicians they vote for.

    We need more and stronger voices for the voiceless — it’s only “rhetoric” if it’s empty, and it is anything but empty — and we need more immediate, practical, compassionate support for women in crisis situations, that doesn’t make a false and spurious distinction between the well-being of a woman and the well-being of the child she carries.

  17. catholicmom3 says:

    Tone down the rhetoric? They mean stop accosting them with the Truth. They can plead ignorance if we shut up and then they are not complicit with the evil that is abortion. Fr. Z you have never made this about you as suggested above. You simply provide a voice and a forum for so many that feel we have no voice in today’s progressive world now led by BO. Don’t stop. Keep up the good fight.

  18. Luis says:

    First,
    Let me say that you hit another one out of the park, Father Z. As for Hermeneutic of Reform and FOD, I find it exquisitely ironic how they are fully critical of your “rhetoric” (well reasoned arguement) Father Z while they hurl their own “rhetoric” (name calling) at you! This of course proves another point. The left isn’t critical of all criticism… just criticism aimed at the left! Hilarious! “No one listens to screaming buffoons anyway.” That’s just priceless! And “the Catholic Church’s doctrines must be opaque.” You mean invisible. Thanks Father Z and for the assist FOD and H of R!

  19. Frank H. says:

    FOD –

    Let’s see…Holocaust – 6 million killed. Abortion, USA alone since 1973 – 30 million+ killed. I’d say they are comparable.

    And the “mother’s well being” is not always at stake, but the unborn child’s is.

  20. David says:

    Fr. Z,
    A. MEN.

    FOD: If you are unable to see the parallels between the Holocaust and abortion, then I propose you have no clear concept of why the Holocaust was evil. If you disagree, I’d would be interested in hearing it.

    Regarding the importance of clear language when addressing matters of grave importance, might I suggest to everyone an interesting article recently published by the Hudson Institute? : http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/46506232.html

    Empty, shallow language that casts our current Holocaust as a ‘women’s rights issue’ is disingenuous as best and diabolical at worst (very much the product of Screwtape’s Philology Wing).

    Lastly, I would like to suggest that calling abortion a grave abomination is not ‘rhetoric’, but truthful. We ought to be discussing not whether or not our ‘rhetoric’ is appropriate for civility, but whether or not the fetus is an innocent human person and thus abortion, murder.

    To criticize faithful Catholics on their ‘rhetoric’ is a dodge of the heart of the matter, in my opinion.

  21. Origen Adamantius says:

    FOD
    What is abortion if it is not outright destruction of human life?

    In regards to the “well-being” of the Mother, the Church recognizes that the principle of double effect (good action, commensurate consequences, no intention of evil etc..) applies in many cases if by “well-being” you mean the life of the mother.

  22. Steve says:

    Father Z,

    I ran into the whole “single issue voter” thing two general elections ago. As a member of a labor union I was challenged for sticking to my pro-life views and actively promoting that a pro-life vote is really a pro-worker vote. I was told that being a single issue voter was bad. My response, (to which they had no answer) was that they didn’t really have a problem with someone being “single issue” (which btw, I’m not), their problem was that MY single issue was not the same as THEIR single issue.

    The left doesn’t want dialogue, they want submission.

  23. Londiniensis says:

    Father, those friends of yours who urge you to tone down the rhetoric have obviously never perused those websites, often describing themselves as “traditional Catholic”, nomina sunt odiosa, where the torrents of vituperative, self-satisfied abuse can only with difficulty be described as rhetoric at all.

    Your arguments are sound, necessary and timely, and your rhetoric is fine. Keep it up!

  24. Well said, Father! Judging these trees by their fruits, I often find it difficult to take seriously the claims of the “progressives” that they are really pro-life. Certainly, they show little enough dissatisfaction with their pro-abortion Democrat leaders.

  25. Justin B. says:

    Luis, I know that you’re not addressing me, but I also left a comment that was critical of Father Z, and I was hoping that you, or someone, could respond to it. Not all who disagree with Father Z on some of his posts are name-callers.

    I’ll reiterate my question in a slightly different and more direct way – why is it that, since I’ve been daily following this blog for the last 6 months, there hasn’t been a single post about Africa except for those which immediately concerned Benedict’s trip there in March?

    Let me state right off that I agree that abortion should far and away retain primacy of place on any Catholic social agenda. I’m not arguing that point.

    It just seems that the lack of discussion about Africa or climate change or the urban poor in America isn’t a result of our (rightful) focus on abortion, but rather that many who follow this blog have joined an ecclesial subculture where these issues can’t even be discussed for fear that we will have become too “progressive.”

  26. Brian Walden says:

    FOD, were you serious when you wrote: “I take the pro-life movement seriously, but I certainly do not give the time of day to people who insist of comparing abortion to the Holocaust. If you are unable to see the obvious difference between the Holocaust which was outright destruction of life and abortion, where the mother’s well-being is at stake, then you don’t deserve to be taken seriously, and as far as I am concerned I do not consider people like you worthy of my time.”?

    I respond to you with an equally absurd statement:
    I take the anti-Holocaust movement seriously, but I certainly do not give the time of day to people who insist of comparing the Holocaust to abortion. If you are unable to see the obvious difference between abortion which is outright destruction of life and the Holocaust, where the well-being of racially pure Germans was at stake, then you don’t deserve to be taken seriously, and as far as I am concerned I do not consider people like you worthy of my time.

  27. Thank you, Father!!

  28. I personally get rather annoyed when Progressivist commenters tell me to “shut up”.

    They also don’t get the holocaust connection very well. Hitler got his main support from Liberals, and certainly not from practicing Catholics. Now many progressives supported the Communists instead, but that is not a good alternative.

  29. Steve K. says:

    Steve “The left doesn’t want dialogue, they want submission.” – yes, in fact “dialogue” as they mean it is a tool to gain the submission of their opponents.

    Reading HoR and FOD’s remarks, I immediately was reminded of “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you.” Pray for them.

  30. Sal says:

    No need to tone down the rhetoric.

    But seriously, why is abortion a “justice and peace” issue?

    Why isn’t it simply a “moral” issue?

  31. Brian says:

    This would be a good time to reread Uncharitable? Divisive? Strident? Recovering the Art of Christian Polemics by David Mills in the October 2002 New Oxford Review. It is posted at http://listserv.virtueonline.org/pipermail/virtueonline_listserv.virtueonline.org/2002-November/004333.html

  32. Hidden One says:

    Excellent post, Father!

    rhetoric. n. 1. a. The art of using language so as to persuade or influence others; the body of rules to be observed by a speaker or writer in order that he may express himself with eloquence.
    (In the Middle Ages rhetoric was reckoned one of the seven ‘liberal arts’, being comprised, with grammar and logic, in the ‘trivium’.)

    2. a. Elegance or eloquence of language; eloquent speech or writing. Obs.
    b. Speech or writing expressed in terms calculated to persuade; hence (often in depreciatory sense), language characterized by artificial or ostentatious expression.
    c. pl. Elegant expressions; rhetorical flourishes. Also, rhetorical terms.
    d. in ironical or jocular use.
    e. transf. and fig., said esp.
    (a) of the expressive action of the body in speaking; (b) of the persuasiveness of looks or acts; (c) of artistic style or technique.
    3. Skill in or faculty of using eloquent and persuasive language. Obs. (Definitions taken from the Oxford English Dictionary online.)

    He who gives up on pro-life rhetoric and attacks those who do not is charged (with justification) not only with cowardice but also with treason – against all pro-lifers, against the Church, against God Himself.

  33. Daniel says:

    “It just seems that the lack of discussion about Africa or climate change or the urban poor in America isn’t a result of our (rightful) focus on abortion”

    Because some of us believe climate change is trojan horse Catholicism. Do not confuse leftist causes with genuine Catholic causes.

  34. Luis says:

    Justin,
    Usually when posited by progressives, those issues are just entres into moral equivalences which suggest that abortion is just as important as climate change. I would also argue that I doubt we could get these other issues straightened out if we fail to protect the most vulnerable unborn life. Societies that can’t figure out that abortion is evil are not going to be much help with poverty in Africa. Those issues are paid lip service in order to obtain political power. Once those who would argue for abortion rights and ending poverty shouldn’t be trusted lest they implement the “final solution” when they achieve unchecked power.

  35. Justin B. says:

    Daniel, comment accepted, kind of.

    But what about poverty?

  36. I believe some of you are missing the point.

    Father Z is not advocating mindless screaming, pharisee, Sadducees
    talking practices. He is saying to speak up and not ‘Sit Down and Shut-up’. To equate those that voice their
    pro-life stance as Sadducees and Pharise is disengenuous to say the least.

    Straw man arguments like this is just another way of..well… saying ‘Sit-Down and Shut-up’.

    It isn’t going to happen.

    With charity and love, but with firm conviction, Standup and defend the church’s teachings!

  37. Jeff says:

    FOD,
    You state that “If you are unable to see the obvious difference between the Holocaust which was outright destruction of life and abortion, where the mother’s well-being is at stake, then you don’t deserve to be taken seriously,…” A mother’s well being is at stake when an abortion is medically necessary in order to save her life or as the result of rape or incest. I can only assume that is what you are referring to as “well-being”. As it stands, the majority of abortions are a matter of choice not medical necessity, rape or incest. Abortion, depending upon when it is performed, is the termination of at least 1 potential human life. How can the termination of millions of potential lives not be deemed a holocaust. It is outright destruction. If by “well being” you refer to the “emotional trauma” of an unwanted pregnancy, I believe that the unwanted consequences of a conscious decision that have now resulted in pregnancy cannot be fairly called “well-being”.

  38. David E. Dowd says:

    Dissent Against Humanae Vitae spread like a virus through our seminaries and colleges. Follow the career path of Richard McBrien and you will get a sense of “follow the money” in the corruption which follows where he went… Boston College, St. John Seminary, Notre Dame.
    The tragedy is a generation of priests and religious sisters were swept up in false teaching. Just today, Cardinal George Cottier, 87, former papal theologian, is praising Obama’s stand on abortion.
    Restoration of our Traditional Latin Mass and rediscovering our true Catholic heritage is needed.
    Pray for our good priests upon whom the weight of modernism falls squarely upon their consciences. Pray the Holy Spirit gives them strength and consolation to carry on!
    In Christ,
    Under the mercy,
    Dave Dowd
    Westbrook, Ct

  39. Daniel says:

    What about it, Justin? Talking about it isnt going to make it go away. Father Z’s lack of comment on it doesnt effect Catholic relief efforts to assist the poor.

  40. mbd says:

    The claim – so often repeated during the past few months – that the opposition efforts of the pro-life movement is counter-productive is patently untrue. Besides the recent poll results showing a gradual movement in the pro-life direction, it is significant that most candidates that favor liberalized abortion policy have been advised for the last several years to avoid making this an upfront issue in their campaigns for the very reason that it is often a major negative for them. It was no accident that the Obama campaign carefully avoided the issue in general appearances and in messages aimed at the general voting public(a strategem that was abetted by the media in all of the debates, as well as by his opponent who failed to emphasize the divergence in their two positions) and focused the presentation of its position on the subject solely to groups in sympathy with it.
    Those Catholics who counsel silence – or, at least, a significantly lowered volume – by opponents of the pro-abortion agenda of the administration have already cast their lots with that administration for one reason or another. Putting the glare of public attention on this agenda causes these counsellors of silence acute embarassment since many of them purport to be in accord with the Church’s moral teaching and would rather not have to explain why they are – at least indirectly – abetting policies clearly at odds with it.

  41. Bill in Texas says:

    There is plenty of harsh rhetoric on both sides. There are plenty of hard faces and obstinate hearts (to borrow from this past Sunday’s first reading in the OF) on both sides. We hear from rebellious Catholics who only want to do what they want to do, and we hear from ultra-rigid Catholics for whom nobody, save themselves personally, does what is pleasing in God’s sight. The arrogant and the proud.

    Until the shepherds, the bishops, speak up with one, clear, voice of authority — and until they make it stick through enforcement of whatever sanctions canon law provides, supported by proper catechesis and consistent guidance from the priests — we are going to be in exactly the position we are in. What position is that? Politically speaking, that position is called “marginalized.”

    “Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
    for we are more than sated with contempt;
    our souls are more than sated
    with the mockery of the arrogant,
    with the contempt of the proud.”

  42. Justin B. says:

    Luis, I appreciate the response. Thanks for that.

    My question then becomes: if the the plight of the poor is in the hands of liberal quacks whose destructive ideology cannot be accepted by Catholics, then what must the Church do to become a body capable of fruitful ethical discourse about poverty?

    Certainly we shouldn’t ignore the suffering poor just because liberals are always talking about them?

  43. David E. Dowd says:

    Dissent Against Humanae Vitae spread like a virus through our seminaries and colleges. Follow the career path of Richard McBrien and you will get a sense of \”follow the money\” in the corruption which follows where he went… Boston College, St. John Seminary, Notre Dame.
    The tragedy is a generation of priests and religious sisters were swept up in false teaching. Just today, Cardinal George Cottier, 87, former papal theologian, is praising Obama’s stand on abortion.
    Restoration of our Traditional Latin Mass and rediscovering our true Catholic heritage is needed.
    Pray for our good priests upon whom the weight of modernism falls squarely upon their consciences. Pray the Holy Spirit gives them strength and consolation to carry on!
    In Christ,
    Under the mercy,
    Dave Dowd
    Westbrook, Ct

  44. Gus says:

    Father,
    This is one of the best columns you have ever written (except the part about Coulter, I think she is too acerbic). I wish this could be published in the National (anti) Catholic Reporter and America.
    I find it laughable when people criticize pro-lifers as being divisive for showing pictures of aborted unborn children and Obama getting his “honorary degree” from Notre Shame. What is really divisive is murder and selling out. I guess deep down they are ashamed of what they have done and what to hide the ugly truth.
    So keep up the good work and if you ever get around to it, please write a column on how the most progressive position is not to be pro-choice or willing to compromise on this issue in some service to “common ground” but rather to be streadfastly pro-life. To be progressive is all about valuing the individual and especially the most vulnerable individuals; what then can be more progressive than to value the unborn and defend their right to life?
    Pax et Bonum, Gus

  45. Hidden One says:

    Justin, nigh every reader of this blog has an awareness and understanding of those issues about which you have spoken.

    As you have read Fr. Z’s blog for at least awhile, you are no doubt unaware that the reverse is not true on pr-life issues. Further, I might add that this is a blog dedicated to proper Latin translation that has come to fill other related services… which are and/or were otherwise unfilled. Can it be said that there is a lack of people discussing the poor, climate change (which is hardly, of itself, a Catholic issue,) etc.?

    No, no it can’t.

  46. Jim Dorchak says:

    Fr. Z

    This is the best blog entry you have written in the past YEAR!

    Just outstanding!

    You have litteraly spoken the words that were in my soul on this issue.

    Thank you

    Jim Dorchak

  47. Joe says:

    wonderful post, Father. Thank you.
    Our first priority is not to be successful, it is to be faithful (I think I am quoting Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta). Those who criticize the use of pictures, for example, as being counterproductive, might be making a good point, but not the most important one.

  48. Excellent comments, Father! Thank you so much, as always!

    I think it comes down to how willing we as Catholics are to live out the prophetic mission we receive at baptism. As we heard just yesterday in the scripture readings, being a prophet is pretty much certain to bring ire upon our heads, even (especially?) from those closest to us. Being prophets means putting ourselves on the line. It’s hard. It can be terrifying. Even deadly.

    Nothing hits nerves in our society quite like abortion does. I can understand why some people just want to hush it up, wish it away, pretend like we can somehow peacefully co-exist with it and with our society. Life is much safer and more comfortable that way. But it’s the wrong way.

    I don’t know why any Catholic would expect life to be safe and comfortable for them. Christ guaranteed that we’d have to follow in His footsteps of suffering. No servant is greater than his Master. And it’s not the safe and comfortable Catholics who have received magnificent crowns in Heaven.

    I’d just like to add that “negative” tactics are not always counter-productive. Sometimes they reach people when nothing else can. They shock from complacence. They grab attention and compel. I know. It was images of aborted children that changed my mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  49. Jim says:

    I detest the “right wing” label. I am an orthodox Catholic. I would probably would be a Democrat but for the fact that the party is controlled by extreme pro-abortion forces. I have serious disagreements with many within the Republican party. Neither party represents my point of view.

    Opposition to abortion is no different than opposition to Nazi death camps. It’s just that little ones in the womb are silent and cannot be heard. Out of sight, out of mind so to speak?

    Father Z, there is no way to stand up for the rights of the unborn without being vocal and “divisive” if need be. This is, after all, the ultimate “peace and justice” issue.

  50. Frank H. says:

    Excellent post, and a lively discussion. Keep up the good work, Father.

    I am heading over to visit the donation button…

  51. James Christian says:

    This whole conversation is pitiful.

  52. I am not Spartacus says:

    Flannery O’Connor: To the hard of hearing you shout and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”

    G.K. Chesterton, Lepanto: The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,

    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,

    The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,

    And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in …

    Those lines lept to my mind as I read your flat out, spot on, stand-up post.

    Fr. Z. Thank God for you and your courage, and may God Bless you for your courage and eagle eyes. This is not idle flattery. I really do think that because of who you are and because of the Mass you truly love you have been given a greater level of spiritual discernment than most Priests.

    And I am not the only one who has noticed :)

  53. ED says:

    All the Bishops, Priests and Laity need to do is to tell others that JESUS=SAVIOR and you must be united to him with the Sacraments and Catholic Church he left when he ascended into Heaven. Then tell them the “hard saying” which people don’t like to hear but which has been defined dogma OUSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, NO SALVATION (EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS) JESUS can’t be divided the Catholic Church and him are ONE (THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST) You either follow the narrow path that HE chose to get to Heaven or you will die in your sins original and actual and spend eternity in HELL. Remember always that phrase from Holy scripture “…. and narrow is the road that leads to (ETERNAL) life and FEW THEIR ARE THAT (EVEN) FIND IT. PONDER THAT AND MEDITATE ON IT!!!

  54. Phil Atley says:

    Justin: “But what about poverty?”

    Justin, my dear, no one is unconcerned about poverty. For you to suggest that some of us don’t care about the poor is insulting.

    There just happen to be good faith policy disagreements among honest Catholics and honest decent people of all faiths about how best to overcome poverty. “Right-wingers” care about poverty. They think the way to overcome it is different from the way “left-wingers” think it must be overcome.

    We can debate these issues civilly.

    But stop it already with the insinuation that any faithful Catholic cares nothing about the poor. You discredit yourself out of the box when you resort to that sort of cheap innuendo.

  55. PS says:

    I agree with every point you make but still think that we must choose our words carefully. More to the point, I can talk about how more infants have been murdered in this country than Jews were by Hitler until I am blue in the face, but, to paraphrase Lincoln, “the people that like that sort of thing are the people that like that sort of thing.” The problem, as I see it, isn’t that the point isn’t being made stridently, strongly or powerfully enough, but that we’ve got, when it comes to abortion, two groups of people who have grown up speaking, as it were, two different languages. Or something like that. That is, when I say the word “abortion,” I would bet that most of the people here would immediately think of a) an image of a fully-formed fetus and b) murder; our progressive friends would immediately think of a) a woman, either notional (probably poor or abused or the like) or someone they know, and b) that woman being abused in some way. For this reason I can agree with an atheist progressive friend that the sex trade is a horrific evil, but even when doing so I am talking about something which I see plugged into a network of pornography, birth control and the de-humanization of sexuality, and he finds the same thing to be part of a nebula populated with things like patriarchical oppression of the feminine, sexual control and the like.

    And this is more than a matter of bad catechesis on this specific topic, I’ve come to think. The sort of moral architecture on which our world views, theologies, etc. hang are deeply important to us. This is why it’s not so simple as flying pictures of an aborted fetus or the like about college campuses. When we ask a progressive to consider the unborn at least as morally important as the mothers who bear them we aren’t just asking them to change their mind about one thing, but to sit down and re-consider their entire “moral architecture.” How many people are willing to do that sort of thing? Very few, I’d wager. I bet you it may even be worse than that too: I bet you that in all the various dialects of progressivism, there may not be any way of describing abortion as the murder of a child. I don’t think harsh rhetoric should always be verboten, but I think we must be prudent in its use. It takes a long time of ministering to people (if I can use that word) to get them to see the light. It requires a radically re-positioning. I think shouting at someone isn’t a good idea here because, frankly, it’s a waste of _our_ time and because it’s awfully imprecise (again, I think this issue is obvious to us, so I suppose the need for precision might seem odd. For progressives, the issue isn’t very obvious at all – indeed, part of the reason most progressives aren’t pro-life is because sloppy thinking and the like have confused this issue for them).

  56. Venite says:

    I must say, Father, when I got the link I was a bit anxious, because there are some issues in the Church nowadays where I do think we could do with a little less rhetoric.

    Abortion is not one of them. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    Hindsight is 20/20. I sometimes think, as a blonde, blue-eyed Western European, that I actually wouldn’t be so sure what I would have done in 1933, whereas now I don’t have any problems with condemning the holocaust as strongly as I can.

    May it be that in sixty years young people worry whether they would have been able to see abortion for what it is instead of following the blind masses.

  57. paul c says:

    Father,
    You are at your strongest when you are fully factual. It is impossible to effectively argue against the truth.
    You lose some of your moral authority when you resort to name calling and demonizing.
    Continuing to refer to Notre Dame as Notre Shame doesn’t add anything to your argument and to me, makes you sound less intellectiual and professional than normal. You can speak out more effectively and with higher moral authority by staying professional.
    This in no way compromises your ability to state the truth. It just eliminates the distraction caused by the name calling.

  58. PS says:

    Justin – you are correct that poverty rarely comes up here. I can’t imagine why it necessarily needs to (and you haven’t said why it should either). When was the last time we had to worry about voting for a president who might try to shut down Catholic Charities or delimit missionary work? It’s been a while and it doesn’t seem like it would be likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Indeed, the struggle against poverty is largely an on-the-ground battle. We can argue about what fiscal policies work best to alleviate poverty, but that’s not a particularly Catholic argument is it (which is to say, why need it show up on a Catholic blog)?

  59. The Masked Chicken says:

    At the risk of painting everyone with a broad brush and rashly, this is a pretty simple issue, in a way. The peace and justice crowd are trying to build a world of peace and justice by toning down the rhetoric on abortion in much the same way that a rocket scientist might be trying to build a rocket while trying to tone down the cries from behind the window telling him that the nose cone is being put in backwards. Firing up the rocket will cause it to explode. Trying to build a world of peace and justice that starts from an injustice (for that is what abortion is – the first injustice that can be thought of for any individual) will, likewise, one day explode into either rage or pitiful acquiescence. If a rocket exploding has the potential to kill five men and certainly calls for screaming to stop it, how much more does does putting the nose cone on the wrong way in designing society (which is what abortion is) call for shouting?

    That having been said, the problem isn\’t in the sound level. The problem is in who seems to be calling the shots. There is an old saying I once heard many years ago from a radio talk-show host (Bill Balance) which, sadly is, in the short term, true. He said: those who love the least in a relationship are in control. He is correct in a worldly way. The pro-abort crowd do not really understand love and as such, they are in worldly control. This is what the world recognizes.

    What Christians realize, beyond this, however, is that love is not the equal of control, it is its master. One can have a world of peace and justice – a controlling, cold, mechanical world, where the peace is the peace of the machine and the justice is the justice of the relentless – and yet not have a world of love. There is a reason that St. Thomas ranks charity as the highest virtue, for without charity, peace and justice are without humanity. Charity is judged by how it treats the weakest. In other words, the peace and justice types who waffle on abortion want peace and justice not for the weak, even though they claim to. They really want peace and justice for the strong and they are deafened by the roar of the crowd calling for the blood of the weak. Ironically, they hear us loudly protesting for the weak and fail to see that they are, even weakly and without recognizing it in many cases, protesting for the strong.

    No, the problem isn\’t in the sound level, at all. It is in the orientation of the ears. Ears turned towards a mother\’s womb will hear the cry of the unborn. Ears turned away, will not.

    How do you turn someone\’s ears towards you? By shouting? Yes, if one is in a loud room. I would estimate (purely a guess), that only about 1/3 of arguments about abortion occur in a loud room. The other 2/3 occur in private moments, face to face. In those cases, it is best to whisper. That will turn the ear.

    Many people who are for peace and justice but want to tone down the rhetoric on abortion do not do so because the rhetoric is too loud, but because they are afraid of those who might have to listen – afraid, I say. They are afraid, not that we will lose the battle for the hearts of the listeners, but that they will be excluded from the companies of the strong. People who belong to a country club often resent people trying to warn the management that their clubhouse is built on quicksand and that a rainstorm is coming.

    Should the pro-life rhetoric be toned down? No. But no revolution in the minds and hearts of men was ever accomplished by shouting at the crowd, alone. Shouting at the crowd is just to get their attention. Conversion is still an individual act and a private one. If the words cannot get to the ear, they cannot change the heart.

    The correct rhetoric for the pro-life movement is like the opening of Beethoven\’s Fifth Symphony. It started off big, to shock the listener and grab his attention, then it became intimate, to hold the listener and draw him in.

    Make if this what you will and I apologize to whomever I might have unjustly offended in my short and probably incorrect analysis.

    The Chicken

  60. Phil Atley says:

    Paul c., I see nothing whatsoever in Fr. Z’s post that demonizes or call’s names. Notre Shame is not name-calling if one believes that honoring Obama was a shame. Name-calling (ad hominem argumentation) occurs when one has no argument but merely a label. Notre Shame encapsulates a longer argument: that awarding an honorary degree was shameful, especially when Arizona State University chose not to honor the same commencement speaker with a degree.

    Would you be satisfied if Fr. Z. had said, “Notre Dame’s Shame”? That’s the point of it all, after all. Notre Shame is a rhetorical contraction.

    I thought Fr. Z’s analysis was sober, trenchant, succinct. He arguments were quite effective. Yeah, they would still be that minus “Notre Shame.” And if he wanted to drop those two words, I’d not object. But your whole case rests on those two words. Where else did he demonize? Methinks you are the one who has seized on a tiny, minor point in the absence of compelling demonstration of where, in this particular posting, Fr. Z. indulged in over-the-top rhetoric. That’s exactly what he did not do.

    Which points to the real problem: we are accused of over-the-top rhetoric on specious, ad hominem grounds by those who refuse to engage the substance of our case.

    Not to put too fine (to untoned-down) a point on it: those calling on us to tone it down are themselves the ones making the discourse toxic. They rely on their supposed superiority as Olympian oracles of civil discourse to think they can hurl the accusation without being held accountable for their own rhetoric, e.g., your accusation of “demonization,” the same term Fr. Jenkins used. That’s a strong term and you, being so sensitive to tone and level of rhetoric, ought not use it so lightly. It becometh thee not.

  61. Ann says:

    Jesus didn’t tone down his message. His Saints did not tone down their sharing of His message. WE should NOT tone down our speaking out the message!

    Truth and Right are what we are speaking and this should never be silenced no matter how great the numbers of the enemy and no matter how much we are hated for it. After all, Jesus was crucified and who are we to think that we can avoid being hated and persecuted for His sake?

    We have had a long time of relative peace in this country, and perhaps it is time for the pendulum swing of time to bring in the next period of martyrdom? If God permits this, we must embrace it.

    The Apostles nearly all died martyr’s deaths, the early Popes and other Bishops died martyrs deaths, and when faced with the evils of our times we should be willing to die a martyrs death if it be needed for God’s truth to triumph. After all, the church grew from the blood of the martyrs.

    I think we are heading into a time where it will take the courage of a martyr to stand up for Truth and it is best we face that fact and accept it now so that we are not surprised in the future.

  62. Domini Cane says:

    paul c… you should stick to your facts and realize phrases like ‘Notre SHAME’ do not detract one iota from the argument, and merely serve to point out the truth. They have decided that being politically correct is more important that speaking out against murder of the most innocent, on a scale never seen in the history of man, and that is, in fact, shameful. Stop trying to spin your lies onto the problem and issues.

    Anyways, idiotic evil manipulations aside, I would like to know what has happened to the Jesuits… Have they all lost their minds…

  63. The Masked Chicken says:

    One more silly thing that occurred to me. In another thread people talked about Obama’s rhetorical point about reducing the need for abortion. Since there is never a need for abortion, the actual need is zero. To reduce something below zero is to make something a negative number. Since the negative of abortion is procreation, if we were to hold Obama to strict mathematics, then we should tell him that his rhetoric is really insisting that people have more babies :)

    Starting from an assumption and arriving at a contradiction is a great way to show that the original assumption was either wrong or made no sense. Obama’s axiom set includes an axiom to the effect that there is a need for abortion. Since the Catholic axiom set (which we call The Faith) excludes the need for abortion (ignoring double effect), in the same way that we exclude the need for lying, it seems to be impossible for a consistent Obama and Catholic discussion to end up as anything but a contradiction.

    Thus, Obama seems to be skilled at covering over a contradiction with a cloak of dialog. Who needs to dialog when you put the batteries in the machine backwards?

    You want to completely upset a discussion on the need for abortion, restate the sentence using the word, “lying”. This is like running a computer diagnostic for your listener. Abortion and lying are both related to consequences. I have a suspicion that those who think that lying is okay in certain circumstances will think that abortion is, too.

    More useless words from The Chicken.

    The Chicken

  64. The fact that anti-abortion rhetoric is the only rhetoric that needs to be attacked is so true and it is sickening. If you look at so much of the mainstream news and liberal sites, you will see so much of this. Just look at the formerly powerful and conservative Little Green Footballs and you will read about how out of control the pro-life movement is since the murder of Tiller. Not a peep about the women who die from legal abortion or the babies in the womb. Not a peep…

    One issue…one vote. Deal with it.

  65. Ros says:

    I wouldn’t argue with Catholic friends about abortion. I would ask them a simple question. Do they meditate on,and pray the Rosary daily? If they do,I cannot see how they would fail to be changed in their attitudes towards fundamental Catholic teaching. I have been praying it for seven months.Mary is,with absolute grace,turning my previously very confused,sometimes condoning thinking around.No shouting,just a quiet unfolding of raw truth,and a beginning(emphasis beginning) of knowing when to speak up,and when to keep my naturally loud mouth quiet.I do believe we should pray for courage in these times.I think it will become necessary for all true Catholics.Regarding being thought less of by friends,colleagues etc,it is only the opinion of Christ,regarding us,that matters.His Presence,experienced will negate the need for worldly popularity,totally.Let yourself be changed by Him,through the Rosary.The rest will follow.

  66. Chris Pemberton says:

    Jesus didn’t tone down the rhetoric in John 6, so I don’t see why we should.

    Well spoke Fr Z. I would also add that what people think about vocal pro-lifers really doesn’t matter. Its the truth that matters.

  67. Richard Jacobs says:

    The “peace and justice” crowd can opine all they want about being “pro life.” Their record is checkered, at best, on pro-life issues, coming up with all sorts of nuances and subtlties to dance with the devil. What the peace and justice crowd has not been challenged about are the billions of dollars that have been spent (for the most part, by the USA) to solve hunger, homelessness, and other such evils like AIDS. The plight of the poor, the homeless, and people experiencing other such evils like AIDS has not been abated, actually not even dented even with those billions of dollars invested to “rid the world of systemic evil.” Yet, the peace and justice crowd opines that Catholics should “tone down the rhetoric.” Jesus certainly didn’t against the Pharisees, Saduccees, and other Jewish religious leaders of his day. “You hypocrites!” Jesus said three times.

  68. Carl H. Horst says:

    The reasons they want you to tone down the rhetoric is (1) your voice is being heard; (2) your arguments are persuasive and compelling; and (3) they are losing the war. Mind you, we are at war (and I do not mean Iraq or Afghanastan) and this is a front of the cultural war. Timidity never won any war; either the real kind, or the intellectual kind. Now is the time, more than ever, to be bold in proclaiming the arguments which challenge the acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, etc.

  69. Bruce says:

    There is another reason not to tone down the rhetoric, my conversion. It was because of people like Fr. Z that a former pro-choice atheist like myself is now a pro-life Catholic.

    “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

    Saint Augustine

  70. Mike says:

    Bravo Fr. Z! I have little to add to your post, other than to add a quote which I keep finding appropriate in the abortion “debate” by Catholics:

    “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” — Thomas Paine

    We can’t get over the “superficial appearance of being right” if we don’t call it wrong.

  71. Rancher says:

    Fr. Z OUTSTANDING!! We have gotten to this place precisely because for over 40 years the so-called leadership of the U S Catholic Church failed to speak forcefully not only on the abortion issue but many other important matters of faith and morals. The failure to speak directly and forcefully (not in the mealy mouthed manner of our “progressive” brethren) is daily being interpreted by others as a sign of weakness. We are called to give witness to the truth and with the truth there is no dialogue, no discussion, no “common ground” unless that common ground conforms to true teaching.

    Our faith is really not all that complicated. We are called by God to seek the truth as taught by the Church and to OBEY the moral precepts which she teaches. It is the obedience part that several generations of Catholics, including too much of the clergy, seems to have missed.

    It has been noted on this blog before that perhaps what we are headed towards is a smaller, leaner, but more orthodox RCC in this country. If that is to be the case better it be populated by those who have the intestinal fortitude to speak, harshly if necessary, on the points that really matter. I’ve likened the true Church to the Marine Corps in the past and if you buy that analogy there is nothing mealy mouthed about a Marine Corps D.I.

  72. Peggy says:

    Barack Obama: “Yes, we can.”

    My response: “No, we won’t.”

  73. avecrux says:

    paul c – Arresting an 80 year old Priest for praying the Rosary in defense of human life on a Catholic campus – if this isn’t shameful, nothing is.
    A Roman Catholic Priest is trespassing on a Catholic campus? Father is simply stating the facts when he uses the phrase “Notre Shame”.

  74. Heather says:

    Once again we have the false analogy between abortion and segregation. I’d hardly place the good Catholics who were in favor of a gradual approach to the ending of segregation, in the same league as the lukewarm Catholics who think abortion should take a back seat to more pressing issues like the environment, healthcare, or [fill in the Democratic party platform du jour.]

  75. Gloria says:

    Pray for FOD and others of the same opinion. You, Father, rather, We, can not tone down the rhetoric. We must influence, persuade, cajole, orate, teach, preach, use visual aids, radio, TV, the pulpit, public assembly, prayer – before the right to do so is denied. And that’s what’s on the horizon. If anyone thinks this is exaggeration he or she is not reading, watching, hearing the voices of those who really hate and want no opposing views expressed. This is a time I never expected to see in this country. Abortion and homosexuality are the “in the news,” but the agenda is broad. These subjects serve to give impetus to the plans to change the way we all live our lives. And yes. I think this is as dangerous a time as that leading up to Europe’s shame in WWII. If we don’t speak up, loudly, firmly, confidently, and with the weight of the influence of The Church (whose bishops need to LEAD this – and some of them finally are), Catholics and other Christians and Jews of strong morality and faith will be silenced. We won’t know the land in which we live. The American jihad is only one enemy. We can’t ignore the others, apathy or antipathy from our friends and an overreaching government. It has been said that this is a time for Great Saints to appear. Speak out, encourage your pastors, receive the Sacraments frequently and pray, pray, pray the Rosary.

  76. Latekate says:

    The “Progressives” don’t like “harsh rhetoric” (their shrieks and squealings are never “rhetoric”, of course) because they do not like to hear the truth. Truth is what they object to, it is “mean”, “unkind”, “divisive”, “offensive”, “negative”, “counterproductive”. This is all name calling to evade the real issue of whether or not the truth is what matters, is truth. Christ told us he brings a sword, not peace, not unity. He tells us He pits family members against family members. This is to be expected, understood, the condemnation of the “Progressives” should be cherished. The “Progressives” worship a different lord and do not like being reminded of their departure from the One True God and their conforming to the world, their compromise for the sake of collective “other issues”, they require everyone to share their false faith. Their objection reflects their discomfort and the impact of the truth.

    That being said, it is a mistake to count on the sword, the courts or the government to right the wrong of abortion. The fight will only be won by changing the hearts of the people. The Progressives” understand this well and have excelled at it via the media and “schooling”. Roe vs Wade was simply a reflection of that, it would never have passed without societal norms and values first being eroded. Concentrate on changing the hearts of people and the rest follows. If the people think Roe is wrong (and more and more do) then they can pass all the abortion promotion programs they want and it won’t matter, people will avoid them.

  77. ssoldie says:

    \”common ground\” on the wonton MURDER of the most innocent of human beings at the rate of 1 million a year. B.O. and those who espouse such drivel is in my estimation evil……..

  78. Andrew says:

    I am going to have to agree with Heather the analogy between abortion and segregation is a false one. Civil disobedience is anti-Christian. Man cannot break a just law to protest an unjust one.

    for more background read Dr. Fleming’s Credo for conservatives:
    1:http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/index.php/2009/06/26/a-credo-for-authentic-conservatives-and-other-sane-people/

    2nd part posted (goes to the heart of it in article and comments): http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/index.php/2009/07/03/credo-for-conservatives-part-iii-order-tradition-and-loyalty/

  79. TerryN says:

    Thanks Father – and please, never tone it down.

  80. Ed Colbert says:

    Pro-Lifers, who have faced this argument for decades, understand well that it is not about being radical – but being effective. A starting point still needs to be that if we believe that babies are dying, we sure better act like it.

  81. Mr. H. says:

    Great post!

    The truth about abortion is by nature inflammatory. What they are really saying is what we are saying is making people uncomfortable and rocking the boat. They do not want the boat rocked.

    Plus, many I know have placed such an aura around Obama, that they get very uncomfortable when confronted with the fact that he may have a grievous fault. It ruins the “fairytale,” so to speak.

    Also, many tell me they are opposed to abortion, but there is no passion in what they say and no evidence in how they act that proves they believe what they say.

    mr. H
    As exemplified by the case of Cardinal Cottier, I am continually amazed at how many people form their judgments about President Obama based on his speeches and words as opposed to his actions and record.

    Mr. H
    http://www.allhands-ondeck.blogspot.com/

  82. Lurker #59 says:

    I would suggest that progressive, whether Catholic or non, are wholly consistent in their seamless garment constant life ethics. The thing is that for them, consistency means viewing life as not meaningful. The progressive mindset views human anthropology as unexceptional where as a true Catholic mindset views human life as exceptional. They are consistent in finding abortion to be ok because the life of a child is not viewed to be a totally exceptional creation of God. They are consistent in finding euthanasia to be ok because the life of the old and infirm is not viewed as something exceptional. Homosexuality is viewed as ok because marriage is not viewed as exceptional. Equality and multiculturalism are promoted because no person or persons or culture are viewed as unique and exceptional. Feminism is promoted because females and males are unexceptional. Universal healthcare is promoted not because they think that everyone should get medical care, but rather because everyone should get the same medical care.

    The list goes on and on because its an anthropology issue.

    A point that I would like to make though and its important. Progressive Catholics are never ever sound in their theology. This is because human anthropology can only be understood correctly in the light of Revelation, particularly in the light of the God-Man, Christ our Lord and Savior. An incorrect human anthropology is also an indication of an incorrect understanding of God.

    Let me suggest that the rhetoric needs to be toned up a bunch and never down. What is needed is to say the black and do the red as Fr. wonderfully says. People are aborting their children because they do no know Christ anymore. Once people know Christ again, they will have not thought of aborting their exceptional children.

  83. LCB says:

    Andrew,

    You may wish to consult the Catechism on this matter.

    2242 “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community.”

    Since all citizens have a responsibility for the common good, civil disobedience in a democracy is most certainly justified in regards to a matter like abortion.

    I hope this helps.

  84. Larry says:

    I would like to make a couple of points that I think are relevant and have a very strong bearing on the moral underpinnings of the arguments on both sides of the abortion issue.

    I cousel outside abortion mills regularly. I have had the opportunity to meet many, many women and men who have made the decision to destroy (murder, kill, dismember, etc., ad nauseum, literally) their child. There is a fundamental conceit on the part of pro-aborts that significantly colors the debate on abortion, and I see it creeping into some of the pro-life arguments against, as well.

    That is this: that the women who seek abortions are somehow in extreme situations that drives them to seek to kill their child. Be it poverty, an abusive relationship, rape, a medical emergency, or whatever, there seems to be the idea that women seek abortion under some kind of extreme duress. A corollary to this belief is that women who have abortions only do so after much painful soul searching and always with a very heavy heart (this argument is regularly used by the President).

    Based on several years experience talking with and trying to counsel women not to have an abortion, I can say that the first argument applies in maybe 50% of the cases, and probably less, and that many, many women do not struggle with the decision to have an abortion until a long time after the fact, if ever.

    Sorry to say, many of the women who obtain abortions do so for reasons that can best be described as convenience. They may want to maintain an affluent lifestyle, or keep partying, or simply not be “drug down” by an infant, but they are certainly not under duress.

    I think it’s important to keep this in mind when discussing the abortion issue. I am not advising we comdemn women for their reasoning in getting an abortion, but I do think we also don’t need to let the pro-aborts try to browbeat us into thinking that our activities in trying to stop women from having abortions will lead to either greatly increased suffering in women*, or tens of thousands of back alley abortion deaths a year. If the availability of abortion went away, the large majority of women who obtain them now would not do so in an environment where it is illegal.

    All of the above is only based on my personal experience.

    * – in my experience, when counseling couples, it is often the men who are less enthusiastic about the abortion than the women.

  85. Racjax says:

    The fact you are making some people “uncomfortable” means you are on the right track! Don’t change. The truth must be spoken.

  86. Domini Cane says:

    “reasons that can best be described as convenience”

    modern day child sacrifice. plain and simple

  87. Fr. Z,

    I appreciate your post mostly because it drives me crazy when people fear to speak their minds.

    I also vehemently disagree. My rationale is simple: There is strength in numbers.

    This is of course different than saying their is truth in numbers. Love it or hate it, we live in a democracy, and therefore, to effect ultimate change on abortion policy or any like position, there is a need to appeal to ‘numbers’.

    Sharp rhetoric divides–truly, not an evil unto itself. However, when style of delivery retards the message and prevents the formation of a critical mass–this mass being the key to successful civil rights movements–then your cause becomes counter-productive.

    Perhaps the most apt comparison is that of Catholic just war theory. Pardon my analogy, but I would compare sharp rhetoric to war (a verbal war of sorts). To wage war justly, the Church teaches that there must be some probability of success. Success in a democracy requires a majority. Ergo, if certain rhetoric prevents the formation of a majority, it should be abandoned.

    This is not to say priests should avoid the topic in their homilies. The American people has a keen eye for the lines between church and state. They understand a principled attack on abortion from the pulpit does not cross that line (if done appropriately), but they will not tolerate the use of religious logic in the increasingly secular public square.

    The rhetoric need not fade; but it must be allowed to find its audience.

    Please check out my full essay at: http://theblueanchorblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/hey-howd-obama-get-cake.html.

    God Bless

  88. Kat says:

    Great post, Father, thank you.

    While you’re at it, I’d appreciate our priests speaking out more about contraception, too. Embracing the contraceptive mentality is the first step to accepting abortion. Divorce intercourse from the creation of life, and it is easy to disregard life itself. After 12 years of Catholic education, I contracepted for years. It is only when I learned the scientific and theological truths of what I was doing that I realized (with horror) the terrible error of my ways. The “soft” approach does NOT work – proclaim the truth loudly and often so that our ignorance falls away, and we can truly live.

  89. I received this from a reader. I have slightly anonymized it in order to let her, when she wants, post in her own name. In the meantime, she said I could post this:

    I stand opposed to toning down the rhetoric on abortion. I’m getting ready to RAISE the tone…as a post-abortive woman who has gone through all the ugliness o f abortion, returned to the sacraments, gone through the healing process (still am…you never get over it), working as a volunteer in the pro-life movement, and now serving as a regional coordinator for [...]. My face and testimony will be all over the internet, God help me! But once you see abortion, you simply must stand against it. There are lives (and souls!) to be saved.

  90. The Masked Chicken says:

    Heather wrote:

    Once again we have the false analogy between abortion and segregation. I’d hardly place the good Catholics who were in favor of a gradual approach to the ending of segregation, in the same league as the lukewarm Catholics who think abortion should take a back seat to more pressing issues like the environment, healthcare, or [fill in the Democratic party platform du jour.]

    and

    Andrew replied:

    I am going to have to agree with Heather the analogy between abortion and segregation is a false one. Civil disobedience is anti-Christian. Man cannot break a just law to protest an unjust one.

    In order for there to be a proper analogy, there must be some similitude between attributes of the two objects. In fact, segregation, which is the offspring of an incomplete anti-slavery movement, is an attempt to form separate classes of individuals – one lower than the other and less deserving of equality than the other (the whole, “separate but equal,” argument was a rationalized nonsense from the beginning). Abortion is, likewise, an attempt to form separate classes of individuals – one lower than the other and less deserving of equality than the other. In fact, abortion goes beyond lowering equality to demanding the non-existence or death of the other. For those who were not around in the day, such talk was whispered in certain segregated parts of the country for Blacks, as well.

    There is ample similitude to say that abortion and segregation have a similar outlook on humanity, with abortion being the more extreme case. It is not a lame analogy, although it is not the strongest analogy. The abortion argument is also really an argument partially from eugenics and so shares elements not only with segregation, but also every despot who has ever tried to make the kingdom in his own image, starting at least with Herod.

    As for those laws…It used to be a law in the United States that the mentally retarded could be forcibly sterilized (as part of a eugenics movement that gained favor since the time of Francis Galton in the 1890′s). It was unjust, but this was only seen in retrospect and we had to fight a World War to see the limits of applied eugenics. An unjust law is a form of abuse which is a form of violence (see the Catholic Cathechism). An arbitrary law that says that one cannot interrupt a government to protest is just that. I know of no Catholic teaching that says that one may not resist an unjust law. That is what civil disobedience is. Heck, we just celebrated Independence Day. Are you saying that this Country was founded unjustly? Should we, then, give it back?

    There are certain times when it is just and moral to resist an unjust law, even if the local law says one may not. Certainly, attempted homicide (which is what abortion really is) should be one of those times. If not then, when? The only thing civil disobedience must do is follow the rule of just anger – the response must be reasoned and proportion. Civil disobedience which kills to obtain its goal is always wrong (war is a separate case), but there is a civil disobedience which is ordered morally.

    Although legitimate authority is ordained by God and must be followed and respected, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:

    2242 “The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community.”

    The Chicken

  91. Mark VA says:

    In an unintended way, the progressives’ request to tone down the so called “harsh rhetoric” is a compliment of sorts to the effectiveness of Father Z’s blog. Actually, it is something to be proud of, since to earn such a request from the left requires more than an average amount of right effort.

    Perhaps there should be a new blog category – blogs most feared and despised by the progressive movement.

    But seriously, they are dreaming if they think that our voice on behalf of the unborn will be muted to their liking. We should continue speaking truth to their political power in a charitable way, to win all people to our cause.

  92. Domini Cane says:

    “attempted homicide”

    what do you mean, ‘attempted’, chicken… Do tell

    btw, may God bless her Fr.Z

  93. The Masked Chicken says:

    Okay, incomplete class specifier in my descriptor… (not every abortion is successful)

    Should read:

    If

    a) Certainly, attempted homicide (which is what an attempted abortion really is)…

    or

    Else

    b) Certainly homicide (which is what a completed abortion really is)…

    Use a or b as context warrants

    End

    The computer-looping Chicken

  94. Johnny Domer says:

    I will say the following about the kind of rhetoric. I am a pro-life ND student who was very involved with protesting President Obama’s speech:

    I think that people on our side of this cultural battle need to understand there’s a difference between being strong in our rhetoric and in fighting for our principles, and being recklessly moronic in support of what you think. Let me take the ND case as an example.

    There were really TWO protests that took place at ND: one that was led by the students, one that was led by Randall Terry. Randall Terry got less than a few hundred or so people to come to his protest, and was universally mocked in the press for using such tactics as covering baby dolls in strollers with stage blood, and then being disruptive and getting arrested. Not a single student at ND joined his protest. He also used some honestly violent-sounding rhetoric on his website that did nothing to convince anyone of his position.

    The students, under the umbrella group NDResponse, organized an excellent rally that drew 3000 people ONTO THE CAMPUS ITSELF in protest of the University’s OWN DECISION, a rally at which Fr. Pavone and Bishop D’Arcy of Ft. Wayne-South Bend spoke, an event attended by a host of students, faculty, parents, family, friends, and local folks from South Bend. We waged the intellectual war on the campus itself, we presented our arguments to the public and the national media in a reasonable and coherent fashion which nobody could criticize for its tone. It was intellectually serious and, certainly at Notre Dame, I think it was relatively effective. Randall Terry’s group, however, stole away a disproportionate amount of the national media spotlight (relative to the number of supporters he had), because the media was obviously more interested showing images of the pro-lifers who were acting like radical extremists than they were in showing the pro-lifers who were acting in an intelligent but NO LESS PRINCIPLED fashion. We were more effective in our protest than Randall Terry was in every way possible, and we didn’t have to get arrested or look like idiots to do it.

    Basically what I’m saying is that you can be principled, you can be forceful, you can be intellectually coherent in your fervent opposition to the soft-on-abortion position of left-wing Catholicism, while not making yourself look like an ass. Behaving as Randall Terry does only gives the left more ammo in the PR battle.

  95. Spot on, Reverend Father Zuhlsdorf !

  96. Susan says:

    Fabulous post Fr. Z. In my humble opinion, abortion is the seedbed of violence. A culture that allows abortion will never solve its problems of injustice. We allow murder as a solution to a “problem,” and then we have the temerity to be shocked when our children turn to violence to solve their problems, i.e., school shootings, etc. We have already taught them that life is expendable. Why are we shocked? A fetus is only a baby if his/her mother deems him/her to be so. How can we actually expect that that same attitude will not carry over into every other aspect of our thinking? No – on the issue of abortion, we must speak out. It is murder, and it is wrong. Keep up the good work!

  97. LEM says:

    The debate between Dr. Robert George–Prineton and Dr. Douglas Kmeic–Pepperdine with Mary Ann Glendon as moderator is a must see for every Catholic. Even the body language of these 2 men is insightful. Dr. George very clearly laid out in his arguments where Obama stands on abortion. Obama is not interested in limiting the number of abortions, but rather the need for abortion. Dr. George shows that Obama has narrowed the field of options to the point that there is no authentic “common ground” upon which to dialogue.
    George shows where those who justify their position in alignment with Obama through a disordered empathy get off track. Excellent!

  98. Domini Cane says:

    “not every abortion is successful”

    I doubt that is what you meant…

  99. Phil Atley says:

    Johnny Domer: Introducing Randall Terry into this discussion is a red herring. Fr. Z. is not a Randall Terry type nor are most of those pro-life advocates whom the “progressive” Kmiec-Catholics are telling to tone down their rhetoric.

    I make no brief for Randall Terry. I do make a brief for Fr. Z. Bravo Father Z.

  100. LCB says:

    Domini,

    If you think he was being deceptive after making a detailed pro-life posting, then call him on it. Otherwise I’m inclined to take him at his word, since the overall meaning is plain and clear.

  101. Domini Cane says:

    LCB,

    I did, and will do the same to you. To clarify, I don’t think that was a ‘detailed pro-life posting’. It was more of a weasel post and an attempt at a pathetic methodology to provide excuses. “attempted homicide” in case you forgot…

    Perhaps you can provide statistics on how many babies survive abortion.

  102. wmeyer says:

    As has twice been pointed out, 2422 from the Catechism makes plain that civil disobedience is not only not un-Christian, but in some circumstances, may even be obligatory to a Catholic.

    As someone raised in the traditions of the Church, but not in Catholic schools, nor even with catechism classes, at my present age (60) it is most disturbing to find how many Catholics — even catechists charged with presenting RCIA — seem either not to have studied the Catechism, or have elected to choose which of the doctrines they support.

    If you would add a brick of your own, study your faith. Remove any ignorance of the Church’s teachings.

  103. shoofoolatte says:

    I came to this site because of an email saying that it was voted the best Catholic blog, and I was curious to see what it was like.

    I was disappointed to find more of the divisive so-called “Catholic” discussion that goes on so many places on the web. No insight, no dialogue. (I am so glad that my fellow Catholics at Mass do not hold me to a “side”)

    Fr. Z is a smart man, but he is not wise. [LOL!]

    I read in this blog comments of people from both “sides”, hurt at being called “right” or “left” – not “Catholic” enough.

    The truth is, we are all different, with slightly different perspectives. Not one of us has the whole truth. The divisiveness we see on this blog reflects the division in our souls. We heal each other, not by dividing up into camps, but by opening our hearts to the truth that the other brings to us.

  104. Subvet says:

    Bravo Father. There’s no need to tone down the rhetoric on the prolife side, especially as it continues to rise with the proaborts. Think that isn’t the case? Check out the commentary from proaborts sometime.

  105. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Dominic Cane

    You wrote:

    I did, and will do the same to you. To clarify, I don’t think that was a ‘detailed pro-life posting’. It was more of a weasel post and an attempt at a pathetic methodology to provide excuses. “attempted homicide” in case you forgot…

    Perhaps you can provide statistics on how many babies survive abortion.

    I have no idea what you are talking about nor what you are asking. I was commenting on two posts above mine. The first said that the analogy between abortion and segregation was false. I attempted to argue that it was not, although not, perhaps, not the best analogy.

    My second point related to whether or not civil disobedience were always unjust.

    I was not attempting to give a detailed methodology or logic for the pro-life position. I hardly think I had to, given that this is a Catholic blog. I used no weasel words. I simply wasn’t complete. There are, in fact, some attempted abortions that do not wind up killing the baby. That is a fact and there is at least on famous speaker who survived such an attempt.

    I also have no idea what you thought I was trying to excuse. If you read my post, in fact, I was trying not to excuse two points. My methodology was not an excuse for an argument, either. I know a lot about analogy from a theoretical standpoint and my point about civil disobedience is supported by the CCC.

    I won’t be able to respond further, tonight as I am going to bed. If it appeared to you that I was anything other than vocal in standing against abortion, then perhaps I need to write more clearly and you need to stop judging rashly.

    The Chicken

  106. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    The one thing I disagree with is the the use of pictures of aborted babies. They have their place, but I do not feel their place is on the street corner. First off, they are not anything I would want a small child seeing, as it could be the cause of some serious nightmares and other problems.

    I think more appropriate would be a more screened usage. show them to individuals, to groups that you know are old enough.

    Not to mention that if you do it on a more individual basis, you have a chance to explain that that is the arm of an aborted child found in a trash can, as opposed to just seeing a bloody gory picture that you see fly by at 50 mph

  107. Hidden One says:

    @Domini Cane

    Come on. It was an unfortunate choice of words. Get over it.

  108. Bravo Father Z! Abortion is the deliberate taking of the lives of the most innocent among us. Calls for civility and dialogue on this issue are mere smokescreens for those Catholics who wish to vote for pro-abort politicians and who really do not give a fig about the unborn.

  109. Domini Cane says:

    shoofoolate,

    ” about me
    beth
    gypsy. geek and poet, contemplative and activist, I prefer silence and solitude, and long talks with good friends. I like darkness and early mornings, the place of promise and no-answers. ”

    yeah, that’s funny, you like darkness…and don’t even look like a ‘louie’…

  110. Andrew says:

    to LCB: I believe you are misunderstanding my definition of civil disobedience which, I would differentiate with what Thomas Fleming calls conscientious refusal. Maybe this quote from a comment he made on this article from him ( http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/index.php/2009/07/03/credo-for-conservatives-part-iii-order-tradition-and-loyalty/ ) will clear things up.

    According to Dr. Fleming “Civil disobedience–as opposed to conscientious refusal to obey and immoral command–is the refusal to obey goo (sic) and/or legitimate laws either because one disagrees with the traditional enforcement of, for example, borders, or because one disagrees with something else the regime is doing, e.g., on(sic) invades private property in order to protest abortion or refuses to pay taxes to a regime in which slavery is legal. ”

    This is why I object to civil disobedience as above defined. Please read the articles and comments before attacking me. The article clearly states that one does not have to obey an unjust law (ex: you must abort your child), and one would be justified in refusing to obey this law.
    Thus, I believe my position is the Catholic one and that civil disobedience as defined above is anti-Christian.

  111. Domini Cane says:

    hidden one, (lol)

    “Come on. It was an unfortunate choice of words. Get over it.”

    Nothing to get over, really. attempted homicide is tough to spell by accident though… You don’t bother me one bit, weak as you are. [ad hominem attacks will result eventually in locking you, and others, out of the blog. Have a nice day! o{]:¬) ]

    Salvatore,

    “The one thing I disagree with is the the use of pictures of aborted babies.”

    I think the larger picture here, and the point of all the rhetoric, is that we speak out against those who are making such pictures possible. Like atheism, there really is no excuse…

  112. I vehemently disagree. My rationale is simple: There is strength in numbers.

    This is of course different than saying their is truth in numbers. Love it or hate it, we live in a democracy, and therefore, to effect ultimate change on abortion policy or any like position, there is a need to appeal to ‘numbers’.

    Sharp rhetoric divides—truly, not an evil unto itself. However, when style of delivery retards the message and prevents the formation of a critical mass—this mass being the key to successful civil rights movements—then your cause becomes counter-productive.

    Perhaps the most apt comparison is that of Catholic just war theory. Pardon my analogy, but I would compare sharp rhetoric to war (a verbal war of sorts). To wage war justly, the Church teaches that there must be some probability of success. Success in a democracy requires a majority. Ergo, if certain rhetoric prevents the formation of a majority, it should be abandoned.

    This is not to say priests should avoid the topic in their homilies. The American people has a keen eye for the lines between church and state. They understand a principled attack on abortion from the pulpit does not cross that line (if done appropriately), but they will not tolerate the use of religious logic in the increasingly secular public square.

    The rhetoric need not fade; but it must be allowed to find its audience.

    Please check out my full essay at: http://theblueanchorblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/hey-howd-obama-get-cake.html.

  113. Heather says:

    Civil disobedience is only justified in extreme cases, ie, the civil authority cannot force us to kill our own children. Requiring persons of different races to ride in separate train cars does not compare to abortion.

    Racial segregation may be out of fashion (at least when it’s whites doing it) but it is not now, nor was it ever, intrinsically evil.

    It is not helpful, or fair, to equate Kmiec Katholics with those Catholics who preferred to be more prudent regarding racial integration.

  114. Mark says:

    Has anyone pointed out yet that last Sunday’s Gospel reading featured this statement about people’s reaction to Jesus: “And they took offense at him.” Jesus offended people. He didn’t tone it down when it came to doing the Father’s will. Jesus was divisive not by intent by by effect because his Word forced people to choose one of two ways: grace or sin. Christ’s mystical body should abandon the fantasy that if it chooses the right rhetorical approach or organizing strategy it will usher in the eschaton. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”

  115. Hidden One says:

    @Domini Cane

    “Nothing to get over, really. attempted homicide is tough to spell by accident though… You don’t bother me one bit, weak as you are.”

    I said nothing about spelling. Aside from noting it, I’ll ignore your ad hominem against me, but I must say, your off-topic and generally weird and otherwise incomprehensible attack (so I assume, you may correct me) on shoofoolate was rather out of line and (if it was meant as some form of attack) you should apologize (and regardless, should not be posting something so incredibly offtopic).

  116. LCB says:

    Andrew,

    I am sincerely sorry if my post seemed as an attack. In the future I will try to be more clear so as to avoid confusion. Thank you for your link and reply.

    Heather,

    You may find it fruitful to consult the Catechism on this matter:

    1935 The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.

    Segregation is, was, and always will be morally wrong.

  117. Carl says:

    Salvatore,
    soft people like you [Stow that, please. Leave out the ad hominem attacks.] are the problem with the western world today. you actually think that potentially giving someone a nightmare is worse than aborting a baby?

  118. little gal says:

    I am no expert in the prolife or prochoice movements, but as a social worker, I do encounter women who have unplanned pregnancies. Rather than rhetoric of any kind on any side or what I consider insipid actions like filling baby bottles with pennies, I would suggest that the prolife folks do something powerful that is inconvenient. Create places where girls and women who are pregnant can go to have their baby. Help them make the choice to keep the child or adopt the child out. Assist them with vocational training etc. Mother Theresa said,

    “I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: “Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.” So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: “Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.” And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child -

    When discussing the issue of abortion with a priest once, he stated that he didn’t like those who took a militant approach to prolife issues. I made the suggestion that an empty building on the parish grounds could be turned into a “home for unwd mothers.” Needless to say, he just looked at me.

    I do not mean to diss anyone, but we need less rhetoric by everyone and more love expressed thru action. The Church of yesteryear answered real problems with practical solutions. We should heed their lessons.

  119. Andrew says:

    LCB: I probably overreacted a bit. so don;t worry about it. I just thought you misinterpreted what I was saying.

    Let me know what you think of the article. You should probably also read the first part of his Credo which I posted in my first comment.

  120. Domini Cane says:

    “when style of delivery retards the message”, you could say that again. what were you saying?

    Now, blueanchorwhatever here, this guy is sorta dangerous. “Strength in numbers” and the “just war theory”? Wow. How far are you willing to go?

    Is this some majority rules, democrazy is the best, so we shouldn’t speak out against murdering children, speech? Tell me you’re smarter than that. Tell me you’re not really trying to get us to shut up because of CNN tv politics, and wolf blitzer might not like how we respond to child murderers… Hmm? “Murdering children is ok, but don’t you dare tell us we’re doing something bad?”

    God help me…

  121. Joe Magarac says:

    Heated rhetoric is great if our goal is to vent frustration. [I don't think we should get bogged down in the issue of "heated rhetoric". Rhetoric is a tool, used to achieve an end.] And there is certainly frustration to vent: until Roe v. Wade is overturned, pro-life Americans will not have a chance to express our convictions in the voting booth.

    But heated rhetoric [There it is again.... "heated rhetoric".] does little or nothing to persuade “moderate” Americans to join our cause. If the goal is persuasion, then a calm tone is essential.

    The pro-lifers who tried (and succeeded) in getting a pro-life bill passed in South Dakota found this out firsthand when they actually tried to get people to vote for them: http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2006/11/post_18.html Hopefully more of us will do the same.

  122. Phil Steinacker says:

    Paul C,

    Who made you the arbiter of what’s kosher in this regard? Give it a rest with the judgmental attitude, already.

    Using the term “notre shame” is merely rhetoric. In this case it saddles onto the school’s name the consequence of its shameful position as a so-called Catholic institution. ND deserves to get slammed this way; it is THEY who have shamed themselves, and such rhetoric over time heaps more pressure on them by heightening people’s awareness of their crime against the Faith.

    It’s the Catholic Church version of “where’s the beef?” – mocking a candidate’s empty position not backed up by substance. It’s part of everyday discourse, and lecturing Father over it does not reflect well on you. Such attacks make the critic appear pedantic and infantile.

  123. Heather says:

    LCB, that obviously didn’t come from the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

    If that were to be taken seriously, (or at least your reading of it) all the Catholics who move to the suburbs because the schools are better “cough” whiter “cough” “cough”, would be in a state of sin.

    The Southern bishops were not cooperating in evil because they favored prudence. [Oh really?] I can’t same the same for the Fr. Jenkins crowd.

  124. Domini Cane says:

    Joe,

    What tap dance works then? I couldn\’t tell from the article. Lot\’s of \’don\’t do this, don\’t say that\’ with no alternatives whatsoever, is very telling…

    \”Doctors perform only about 800 abortions annually here, almost all in one squat brick clinic near this city\’s main shopping mall.\” Isn\’t saying much, at all (disgusting as that sentence is).

  125. Domini Cane, you crack me up buddy.

    Does it frustrate you that I can present a logical argument contrary to your own?

  126. LCB says:

    “If that were to be taken seriously, (or at least your reading of it) all the Catholics who move to the suburbs because the schools are better “cough” whiter “cough” “cough”, would be in a state of sin.”

    I don’t disagree.

    “The Southern bishops were not cooperating in evil because they favored prudence. I can’t same the same for the Fr. Jenkins crowd.”

    Individuals may prudentially disagree about how to go about ending a specific evil, and I have not asserted otherwise. Merely pointing out that racism and segregation are morally wrong. While the Southern Bishops were trying to preserve the status quo, Cardinal Ritter threatened excommunication for Catholics who fought desegregation.

  127. Salvatore Giuseppe says:

    Carl,

    That’s not what I meant, what I meant is that in a 3 year old’s mind, there isn’t a difference between a picture of an aborted fetus and the newest R rated slasher film. And I don’t want him to see either.

    it isn’t going to convince them of anything at that young of an age.

  128. Domini Cane says:

    Blue,

    nope, I know what you\’re doing \’buddy\’ (no, you are no friend of mine).

    Can we get back to the topic? If \”harsh rhetoric\” is the problem, what works then? None of you, and I\’m talking to you, too, blue, have presented an alternative. What should we say or do? What would work. Speak up…

  129. Domini Cane says:

    Salvatore,

    How can you bring up 3 year olds in such a context? Why would you do that? Is someone showing pictures of aborted babies to your 3 year old child, or are you unable to protect your child?

  130. Good call. Much ought be said. Here’s an excerpt from my blog post on the March for Life: http://theblueanchorblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-pro-lifers-ruined-my-weekend.html. One element I know, but a start.

    Look, I have been to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. two years in a row. It’s cool. 300,000+ people (mostly youth) gather to protest abortion. The event is full of energy and life.

    But somebody, somewhere doesn’t know a thing about event planning. It’s a damn good thing that the March centers around an issue as controversial as abortion because otherwise nobody would show up.

    Politics has the whole thing by the throat.

    Everyone gathers around 12 for the rally. Ok cool, a rally… No, not cool, a rally… The ‘rally’ has been emceed since the beginning of time by Nellie Gray, the founder of the March. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Gray’s dedication to the pro-life movement is second to none. However, given the average age of the event participants, a new emcee is in order.

    But good-willed old people are fine; boring, but fine. The real problem is that for two and half hours, senator after senator, and representative after representative, fill the air with the same monotone, brow-beaten speech that they’ve given since they took up politics. Do some them care? Yes. But I’m sure if we could see some of their day-books, the schedule would look something like this.

    * 9 o’clock: Morning Briefing
    * 10 o’clock: Meeting with Senator X to discuss Y
    * 11 o’clock: Respond to emails
    * 12 o’clock: Appease the pro-life voting bloc
    * Et cetera

    The evidence is in the passion the pour (or don’t pour) into their speeches.

    The “rally” should run something like this.

    1. Introductory remarks by hip, energetic Emcee
    2. Keynote address
    3. Update on Pro-life successes/battles/legislation
    4. Impassioned speeches by no more than two politicians/leaders
    5. March

    If those involved with the pro-life movement find the courage to let go of their personal agendas and look at the goal, the event will take on the professional, attractive glean that has the potential to push this cause deep into the hearts and minds of this nation.

    Where\’s my head?

    The murder of George Tiller has epic consequences because no one who has the potential to unify the pro-life movement has risen to the task. As long as people like Randall Terry are featured in leading news stories about events like the Tiller murder, pro-life causes will suffer. The same dearth of leadership (or at least lack of self-awareness) allows bill board-sized pictures of aborted babies to litter the sidewalks of Pennsylvania Avenue along the March’s route. Someone, maybe a politician, but someone worthy of representing this cause needs to step up and take control.

    It’s obvious and it should be easy. Young people respond to attractive messages and young people have the necessary energy to drive this movement forward. Only when pro-lifers learn to cater to their greatest hope can change be effected.

  131. Carol says:

    thumbs up Father.

  132. Bookworm says:

    Johnny Domer makes an excellent point — there is a BIG difference, which not everyone seems to grasp, between being firm and unwavering in defense of one’s convictions and simply trying to attract attention at all costs. Unfortunately, it’s the protesters who act like jerks and do anything to get attention, that get most of the attention.

    I’m going to repeat a point I just made over on another blog. Abraham Lincoln is the president who gets credit for having ended slavery, and he never wavered in his conviction that slavery was a terrible evil. However, most abolititionists in the 1850s and early 1860s thought Lincoln was too “soft” on slavery because he did NOT insist upon its immediate abolition everywhere. He believed that slavery would die out on its own if it were not allowed to spread beyond those states in which it was already legal, and if slaves who made it to free territory were allowed to remain free.

    Moreover, Lincoln’s anti-slavery rhetoric was not nearly as harsh as that of abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, who publicly burned a copy of the Constitution and called it “a covenant with death and an agreement with hell”. Lincoln didn’t condemn Southerners or slaveowners as evil people, nor did he often use religious arguments against slavery. Instead he appealed to reason, logic, and the principles already enunciated in the Declaration and in the Constitution. He tried to win over people who did not agree with him rather than just “preaching to the choir”.

    In comparison to people like Garrison, Lincoln’s rhetoric on slavery was considerably “toned down.” But in the end, it worked, at least in the sense that it got him elected president. I believe and have for a long time that the pro-life movement could learn a lot from studying how Lincoln approached the slavery issue and how he argued against slavery effectively.

    So should pro-lifers “tone down the rhetoric”? It depends on what the question means. If it means “Don’t talk too much about abortion because the topic makes people uncomfortable,” the answer is, of course, no. But if it means “Stop insisting that everyone who disagrees with you is evil and unworthy of respect,” then I would say the answer is yes.

  133. Al says:

    Earlier today I wrote a post for my blog to put up on Tuesday in response to what someone said that we shouldn’t use the word murderer when describing abortionists. Much on a similar vein as some odf what was said here.

    IMHO the toning down of the rhetoric is a code for trying to get us to quit saying the truth because people don’t want to hear it. Just like they were offended by what jesus said & tried to silence Him.

  134. Larry says:

    In response to little gal:

    I agree, to a certain extent. I do not think the only way to fight abortion is to create women’s facilities that help them deliver their babies and provide assistance to them, but it’s one of the better ones. Here in Dallas, we have the White Rose Women’s Clinic, which is funded by the Dallas CPLC. It’s right next door to the Routh Street mill, where I most frequently counsel. We send all of our “saves” to White Rose, and it is a wonderful place. I wish we had more money to fund more White Rose facilities in the Dallas diocese, but we’ve got the one, at least, on a solid financial footing, now.

    I highly encourage everyone here opposed to abortion to provide monetary support to their local Catholic Pro-Life Commitees, if they aren’t already. It’s also a very good idea to get your local KoC Council to support the pro-life activities in your diocese.

  135. LCB says:

    Whenever someone says “Tone down the rhetoric” in regard to abortion, I ask them a simple question:

    “Please tell me, precisely, what it is you don’t want me to say.”

    And it always comes back the same, “Stop talking about murder. Abortions don’t take a human life, and they’re not wrong.”

    I usually recognize that as an admission from the person that they are really trying to silence the opposition, and are just attempting to be nice about it.

  136. Bookworm says:

    Also, one big reason there is allegedly “no pro-life movement in Europe” may be because those nations established their abortion laws via democratic process through their parliaments or legislatures (not via judicial fiat imposed on the people by unelected judges) and have arrived at a point where MOST (not all, of course) of the populace feels there has been a suitable resolution to the issue.

    That point, however, is considerably farther to the “right” than in the U.S. — most European countries allow abortion on demand only in the first trimester, and only for very serious medical reasons after that point; and some countries insist that any woman contemplating an abortion receive counseling from a third party that does NOT have anything to gain from whichever decision the woman may make (this would exclude the kind of “counseling” done by Planned Parenthood in the U.S.)

    In contrast, a regime of abortion on demand for any reason up to the moment of birth has been imposed upon Americans by a small group of influential jurists, and all efforts to attain anything resembling a “compromise” on this issue have been snuffed out by judicial actions striking down even the most rudimentary restrictions such as the partial-birth ban, parental consent, etc. Hence no real resolution has ever been attained here.

  137. Larry says:

    Bookworm –

    Lincoln was forced to pragmatism by the exigencies of the Civil War. The battle of Antietam and the need to prevent the entry of European powers on the southern side precipitated the Emancipation Proclamation. But Lincoln was no “moderate,” on slavery. His election single-handedly brought about the secession of the southern states, because they feared his, and his party’s, rhetoric on slavery.

    I don’t think Lincoln is a very apt analogy, at least in the way you intend it. The “heated rhetoric” of the abolitionists precipitated the war, of which Lincoln was at least a part, which in turn brought about the end of slavery. I would argue then, that the abolitionists accomplished their goal through their heated rhetoric, although the cost was truly ghastly. If the southern states had truly been placated by Lincoln’s moderate tone, they would not have seceded, and slavery might have survived for decades to come.

    The main reason for Lincoln’s election had little to do with any change in his rhetoric on slavery, but turned almost entirely on divisions in the democrat party and the pro-slavery side.

  138. Fr. Z,

    I often wonder: who’s minds are busily at work, researching and planning the dissolution of this grave evil? And will they have coffee with me? Does anyone really understand the whole “economy” of abortion, and I don’t mean that in just a monetary sense, but in the sense of grasping the whole dynamic system of interrelated causes, which would provide a basis for a focused, directed (non-violent) attack.

    I love the blog, by the way. God bless you for writing.

  139. Matt Q says:

    This is great, Father Z. I’ve had no intention of toning down anything either. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

    A very self-centered and very slimy tactic used by the Left is that the Right, the Conservative anythings and those who speak on the subjects they don’t like should tone it down, don’t make waves, we should all just get along and all these others things which just induces one to vomit. Do they tone down their rhetoric? No. Do they ask others of their own ilk to tone it down? No. As long as one agrees with them, they’re all nicey-nice. Go against the Left and you can just watch the colostomy bags of hate and viscious invectives fly. That is what they do. That is all they can do because they know they are wrong and can’t fight back with reason and intellect because their very positions can’t be supported by true reason or intellect.

    This brings up another point. Let someone from the good Opposition do the same and suddenly that someone is “hateful,” “mean,” “extremist,” and blah blah blah. They can dish it out but they can’t take it, yet people let them get away with it.

    Tertulian el Mexicano wrote:

    “DO NOT turn down the rhetoric. The head of the Serpent is very slippery. Once one opens the door to a snarling dog, ther is at least the chance it can be held at bay by shutting the door on the rest of its body. With the Serpent, once the head is through the door, the rest of the body can also slither in.

    For the sake of babies in the womb, the Liturgy, and many other issues dear to Traditional Catholics, do not stop the rhetoric. If anything, it needs to be turned up.”

    )(

    Amen to that!

    = = = = =

    Hermeneutic of Reform wrote:

    “You’re not making any sense.

    What is curious, however, is that the Lord Jesus reserved his harshest words—and they were few—for the “religious” folk such as the Temple leadership (= Sadducees) and the rubricists (= Pharisees).

    Your platform is fully justified, Fr Z. But like people who watch movies where the “F-word” is said in every other sentence, our audience will soon become dull of hearing—it is easy to tune out harsh rhetoric. What should rouse the opposition is not the harshness of language, but the force of Truth which is always a stumbling block. Otherwise we waste more energy on venting rather than preaching. This, I would suggest, is where we occasion sin—it becomes about us, about my peeve rather than justice and Truth. What you are doing, Fr Z, is promoting yourself and your ideas rather than the Truth of Catholicity.

    We cannot afford to let ourselves get in the way of the Church’s mission. We must become transparent, and the Church’s doctrine must become opaque.”

    )(

    You’re the one not making any sense. Truth of its own nature stands on its own, but it also needs to be proclaimed and fought for as vigorously as possible. I can imagine in your alternate universe you’d stand there on the sidewalk with a basket of fresh-baked muffins when the enemy comes stomping down the street pulling people out of their houses. Couldn’t rely on you to yell “F-YOU. Hell No.”

    = = = = =

    Steven K wrote:

    “Steve “The left doesn’t want dialogue, they want submission.” – yes, in fact “dialogue” as they mean it is a tool to gain the submission of their opponents.”

    )(

    This is true, Steve. It’s just like in politics. What the Left means by “bipartisan” is that the Right has to agree with them. Never does it mean they cooperate or make concessions to the other side.

    = = = = =

    Sal wrote:

    “No need to tone down the rhetoric.

    But seriously, why is abortion a “justice and peace” issue?

    Why isn’t it simply a “moral” issue?”

    )(

    Sal, the gravity of abortion goes beyond just a “moral issue” because it is not merely a concept or a philosophical construct of a possible event. It’s here and now and it’s ongoing murder. Millions of innocent people are being murdered and nothing but rhetoric abounds. Not only is it affecting the millions of innocent being murdered but it is affecting the whole of society. As Fr Pavone always says, once the child in the womb is no longer protected, there is nothing morally or legally to stop the evildoers in power from coming after anyone else. All it takes is just right legislation to make it happen, and the right people appointed to the courts to back it up. Already take a look at embryonic stem cell research, invitro fertilization, CLONING… All these thing which devalue human life is on the rise. Yes, this makes abortion a justice-and-peace issue.

    With all of the abortions going on added to the fact a majority of women are foregoing having any children at all, where does that leave the present society? How will it preserve itself if there are fewer and fewer babies being born to take the place of those already here? Whom then grows up to run the country, grow the food to feed the populace or manufacture the necessities of life? How does this build a society? It doesn’t. It is the slow creep of death.

    Italy is a prime example of this. Italy has the lowest birthrate in all of Europe. Italy’s own statistics show more people are dying of old age than there are births. Who is left?

    It is said the ones having their babies are the Islamics. The demographics in Italy are changing. I’ve heard this on the radio, that if Italy doesn’t turn around her birthrate within the next fifty years, the Italians ( by race ) will be a token minority in their own country, whereas the Muslims of Arabic and North-African extraction will be the new Italians–by geopolitical designation as citizens of a defunct country called Italy. At this point then, they will be the ones being elected. They will be the ones being appointed to “Italian” courts, etc. They will be the ones decreeing the ancient patrimony of Rome no longer needs preserving and cutting off the money for just such preservations… or goes ahead and pulls them down anyway. Hey, they’d be in charge then. Who’s going to stop them? Just watch. As the Italian parishes die off from lack of parishoners, who then is able to take over the churches? Catholics? Who’s left? People may think this some “Dr Who” scenario, but it isn’t. It’s a marked reality and is quite possible in our own lifetime. The turmoil which will result before or as this occurs will have dire consequences to everyone else. Yes, Sal. This is why abortion is a justice-and-peace issue.

  140. Phil Atley says:

    To Shoofoolatte,

    Fr. Z\’s blog has had more political content (church political and general political) in recent months than it used to have. Some of his readers have complained about this, others, obviously, don\’t mind or like it, hence the results of the Catholic new media polls.

    Why the shift? I would suggest that it has to do with the, in my view, accurate perception by Fr. Z. and 80 or more bishops and many Catholic lay people that with the election and inauguration of President Obama some things changed in our situation as Catholics in America and, to some degree, in the world.

    But you would be unwise (and not even smart) to judge this blog merely by this thread. Navigate through the archives and you\’ll discover a priest with wide-ranging tastes (both literally and figuratively).

    WDTPRS was voted Best Catholic Blog for real (and valid) reasons. Don\’t sell yourself short. Find out the full range of reasons why so many of us come here many times a day.

  141. sharon says:

    “I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

    http://www.nps.gov/liho/historyculture/debate4.htm

    I was quite shocked to read that quote from Abraham Lincoln. Maybe that changes the perspective a bit on the abortion/slavery issue, at least as it regards Lincoln.

  142. Maryanna says:

    “I say then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immortality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, HATREDS, RIVALRY, JEALOUSLY, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another. PAX

  143. Scott W. says:

    Whenever someone says “Tone down the rhetoric” in regard to abortion, I ask them a simple question:

    “Please tell me, precisely, what it is you don’t want me to say.”

    My favorite comment out of the lot. Always ask for specifics. If they give them to you, they will likely betray the whole 3-card monte word-game they have going. If they don’t then you can take the “tone down the rhetoric” talk as baloney and rather like cockroaches scurrying for cover when the lights are turned on.

  144. Kimberly says:

    I was teaching my granddaughter how to use the Bible the other day and had her look up Jeremiah 1:5. She read it, stopped and thought and said, “Nana, people must not know this, we need to tell them.” I told her that people do know it. She said, “Then we need to shout it from the rooftop”.
    If this is rhetoric, then let the games begin!

  145. observer says:

    I think we are in a very critical time/age. Never before in the build up of the last few decades has it become absolutely clear that we are being asked, by heaven, to declare just what side we stand with – good or evil. Pope John Paul II alluded to this existential challenge to believers – that preparation for the purification that must come before the Eucharistic Era of Peace, as prophesied by the early Church Fathers. We are being sifted; brother against sister, friend against friend, child against parent and vice versa, etc. And beyond the rhetorical challenges we are now witnessing what will become more outright persecution of true believers. Are we ready for THAT?

    Unfortunately the ecclesial powers of entire dioceses also forbid the strong (graphic) presentation of the reality of the killing of human life – and just how it is accomplished. We could not even present material offered by Priests for Life – it was held to be too divisive and perhaps offensive to some (those who consciences might just be jogged enough to begin the process of reparation). And yet these same forces would say nothing about the graphic presentations that came to the dinner table during, for instance, the Viet Nam war.

    I believe that things have come to such an unstoppable crescendo today that only prayer and sacrifice can keep even the good in a strong state of grace so that they will be able to withstand even their own surrounding ecclesial forces that enable evil to grow. Talk about “white martyrdom” – how to bear, in patient charity, the ignorance of weekly “pastoral guidance”!

  146. Chris M says:

    “Fr. Z is a smart man, but he is not wise.”

    What a terribly judgemental thing to say about anyone, especially a Priest. [don't fret about that sort of comment. It substitutes for substance. And who is really wise in this world?]

    Almost the definition of unwise..

  147. DarkKnight says:

    Isn’t it ironic that the people who wish us to “Tone down the rhetoric” are the same people who accuse Pope Pius of not being vocal enough in opposing the Nazis?

  148. LCB says:

    DarkKnight,

    If you haven’t read Chesterton, you would enjoy him greatly. His insight into how the enemies of the Church say opposing things about the Church is wonderful. The Church is “too strict” on sex, just look at all that sexual morality. In the next sentence the Church is “too lax” on sex, we must control the population and the Catholics must stop having children!

    “The Church must shut up on social issues!” followed by “Why wasn’t the Church more vocal on the biggest social issue of all?!”

    Observer,

    You make a critical point. When the left wants to advance their cause, bloody images are beamed into the living room during the evening news and at dinner. When something hurts the left, beaming images in is absolutely forbidden.

    But I would caution that one must be careful with the use of abortion images, because they both desensitize and shut doors for dialog at key situations. For example, images don’t belong outside abortion mills because they will discourage women from talking to counselors. Same goes with signs.

  149. Latekate says:

    LCB: “Segregation is, was, and always will be morally wrong.”

    Segregation forced by law is morally wrong. However, people are entitled to freedom of association and have the right to voluntarily segregate, associate with those who they are more comfortable around. Forced legal segregation is immoral. Schoolkids are segregated by age, kept from elders most of the day. The planned forcing of churches/religious groups to hire homosexuals and others who they view as sinful is immoral.

  150. Jim says:

    Fr. Z and many of the others here, there are people who are not Catholic (like myself) who sincerely believe that the Bible does not say anything about abortion.

    Call us evil all you like, but we will similarly call you and the Catholic Church evil for twisting the words of the Bible to your political ends. ["Political ends".... okay, that is merely a talking point distributed to political activists in defense of the Democrat Party line and Pres. Obama's agenda. Kind of a cheap shot that gets a lot of mileage. People who think more clearly about this don't have party politics in mind.]

  151. Rene says:

    Right on! Father Z. Don’t tone done the inconvenient truth.

  152. Michael J says:

    Jim,

    Who has called *you* evil? Certainly nobody here. Can you truly not see the distinction between an action and an individual? [DNFTT.. just leave it.]

  153. LCB says:

    Latekate,

    People do have the right to voluntarily segregate themselves, but to do so for reasons of negative racial bias (“I don’t want to live around “) would be sinful. To do so for positive reasons (“I want to live in the Italian neighborhood because I’m Italian and I like the folks over there”) would obviously be morally permissible.

    You write, “The planned forcing of churches/religious groups to hire homosexuals and others who they view as sinful is immoral.”

    I agree.

    I hope this clears up the ambiguity of my previous statements.

  154. Kimberly says:

    Jim – I was just on the comments shortly before where my 10 yr old granddaughter read Jeremiah 1:5. If HE knew us before we were “knit in the womb”, do you really suppose that HE would create us and then not want life for us? I do not believe that is twisting the Bible. [DNFTT.]

  155. Girgadis says:

    Jim

    With all due respect, what do you find political about humans not wanting other
    humans to kill their own offspring in-utero? I don’t believe there is another
    living species that willfully kills its progeny before it has had a chance
    to be born. That is a hideously ugly truth no matter which way you look at it.
    Women have been duped into believing that abortion will bring them equality and
    freedom. In fact, it is a plague beneath our dignity to the tune of 50,000,000
    snuffed-out lives. The Bible did not specifically address concentration camps
    yet I’m sure you’d agree they were evil. Think about what an abortion does to a
    human being and you won’t need a Bible passage to tell you that it’s a sin against
    God.

  156. Okay folks… the “Jim” rabbit hole is now closed. I have deleted a few well-meaning comments which merely serve to “feed the troll”.

  157. It was sickening and depressing to see a Priest have one of his Brothers in the priesthood arrested.

    Trust me, the guilt will eventually eat away at people like that.

  158. Gabriel Austin says:

    I fear there are several points which have been overlooked.

    On harsh rhetoric, I suggest a reading of Thomas More. He certainly would not be allowed on some of the genteel television programs.

    I rather like Ann Coulter. I refrain from criticising a woman when she gets annoyed. ["Liberals who are afraid to muss their hairdos, or break a fingernail"].

    On protests, the German wives of Jewish husbands marched in Berlin in 1943 demanding that their husbands be returned. [Hitler was savvy enough not to deny them].

    There is little investigation into the cause of “unwanted” pregnancies. Babies are not delivered by storks. Men who are pro-choice [pro-abortion] attempt to avoid responsibility.

    Believing, as I do, that women have free will, I weary of the images of “the poor little girls” who have been sweet-talked into copulation [a roll in the hay"]. I have yet to meet a woman who is not far more intelligent than most [all?] menn.

  159. Red Dog says:

    One comment that has been missing is the lack of conformity, or unity in doctrine that Catholics used to pride themselves on. In todays’ modern era, Catholics are more divided than ever on many issues, including abortion.

    You have accused Protestants of not having any uniformity or cohesion in our doctrine. This is certainly true to an extent, but there is more agreement on basic issues, than sometimes appears in the Catholic Church. You need to practice what you preach about having the truth solely existing in the Catholic Church. “Unity” and “Scandal” seem to be foreign terms in the post Vatican II Church.

    While dissent and criticism have their place, eventually the truth must win out. There cannot be two sides to the abortion issue. Science, technology, research all confirm what Christian orthodox teaching has been saying for 2,000 years.

    A small “c” catholic.(Protestant)

  160. Greg Smisek says:

    Origen Adamantius wrote: In regards to the “well-being” of the Mother, the Church recognizes that the principle of double effect (good action, commensurate consequences, no intention of evil etc..) applies in many cases if by “well-being” you mean the life of the mother.

    I’m not sure “the Church” recognizes the principle of double effect, although many ethicists and moral theologians promote it. Even if it were an adequate moral principle (which I’m not conceding), what “many cases” of the well-being of the mother does it address with respect to abortion? I’m aware of two such cases: removal of the diseased fallopian tube with a fetus within it (ectopic pregnancy) and a medically necessary hysterectomy even if a fetus is present. Direct abortion can never be justified, even by the double effect principle, because “direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being” (Evangelium vitae, n.62).

  161. R says:

    As someone opposed to abortion, but also opposed to the partisan Us vs. Them crap that I see constantly on TV, I think you’re a pretty awful person. [ROFL!]

  162. R says:

    Just to be clear, it’s the vilification of The Other Political Party that I find awful, wherever I see it. And I see it everywhere these days. It didn’t seem to be like this a few years ago. Is it a culture war like they say or is the world itself just becoming gradually more awful? Ah, well.

  163. Good points, all and well=written.

  164. Broadsword says:

    Days before the election this past November my wife and I stood with signs apiece at a couple of prominent intersections here in St. Paul, (Summit & Snelling, and Summit & Lexington). We had posters made by my wife with a photo of Obama, a bloody dead foetus and the words, “A vote for Obama is a vote for dead babies.” (No one threw anything more fierce than screeches.) But one or two civilians objected to the photo. “Well” I said, “We tried to find clean, pretty pictures of dead babies…”

  165. Wyllian says:

    Yes, don’t tone it down. Continue to look like idiots and damage your own cause. People don’t hear the message; they see your anger and rage and it works for the left. The 80 year old priest being arrested at Notre Dame should not have been there if he wasn’t willing to be arrested. [Hmmm... take a moment and reread that. "The priest should not have been there if....] It doesn’t change minds. Yes, help out pro-choicers by continuing to be loud mouthed and obnoxious. [What is included in loud-mouthed and obnoxious?] And then you will complain when people don’t hear your message…dumb of you, but typical of the right wing.

  166. Red Dog says:

    TO: Wyllian: Your comments make no sense whatsoever. Most pro-lifers are not angry or hostile. If you have ever been on a protest, the peaceful serene attitude is quite evident. It is always the pro-choice side who express anger and outrage. Of course they always get a favourable report from our secular subjective mainstream media.

    We need not be violent or nasty, as science, research, and technology now SUPPORT the pro-life side. We need to be rationale, and more sophisticated when it comes to dialogue, because technically the pro-life side has already won the battle.

    We will never give up, and we remember that Wilbur Wilberforce fought for nearly 50 years with the anti- slavery movement

  167. Fr. John, fight on, shout from the rooftops that abortion is MURDER MOST FOUL. Now that America knows where Kenya is, since we have given you a pro-abortion Prisident, these so-called pro-choice murderers have brought an abortion Bill, through the Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA)- an Organizarion which is anti-family – to be passed by our Parliament. The Bill allows children from 10 years to take charge of their sexuality, experiment with sex and if the parents interfere, they will have committed a criminal offence!! Children from that age on, can obtain contraceptives without authority from the parents, demand abortion if they get pregnant and get it without the knowledge of their parents. In short the Family, as set up by God Himself, will be destroyed. Another repulsive section of this Bill gives husband and wife freedom to use their sexuality as a personal human right and can have affairs with whoever they want and the other spouse has no right to question the offending one. DEATH OF THE MARRIAGE INSTITUTION!!! If a woman feels depressed by a pregnancy, as we all do during the first 3 months of the pregnancy, she can go ahead and procure an abortion without informing her husband. That is exercising her human right about her sexuality. Finally, the most horrible section of that Bill, which is heavily financed from the US, allows all Government Hospitals and Clinics to procure abortions for poor women and then sterelize them without their authority or knowldege. That is, all poor people are undesirables and MUST BE ELIMINATED from the society. Isn’t that even beyond Hitler? If that is not Satan’s work, then dear faithful Catholics, do tell me what it is. And since our Parliamentarians are ,they will surely be bribed to pass the Bill into Law. The only saving chance we may have is if our President, who is a committed Catholic, refuses to assent to the Bill. But even here, we are doomed, because our Law provided that after 3 months, Parliament can vote by amajority of two-thirds to overturn the President’s ruling and pass the Bill into Law. All you God-loving people, pray for our Church in Kenya. Through our Shepherd John Cardinal Njue, we are collecting one million signatures to present to Parliament to reject the Bill. Our Protestant, Muslems and Hindu Kenyas are with us in rejecting this Bill. So I plead with all of you who love life and obey God, fight with everything you have against these agents of Satan. May the Holy Spirit win this war for us. Amen

  168. jojo says:

    You hit the nail on the head when you say that anti abotion rhetoric became taboo when it became a women’s issue. There is a tabbo in America against telling any American woman that she is wrong about anything…..especially when a man tells her. A man is “sexist” or “Mysogenistic” if he makes any chastening remark toward a woman, and immediately the conversation is shut down….often by other “men” who are present. The FACT is we are a nation of murderers of children….as a repentatnt muderer, I can face this fact….and I URGE you to speak out against aboriont in those terms. Say to women,
    “You have co-operated in the MURDER of your baby. Deep inside, you know that what I say is true…..by voting for people who want to uphold and expand this mass murder, the blood is on your hands for the murders of more innocent babies. The ONLY way for you to save yourself from the inevitable spiritual results of your deed is to admit you rguilt in the process, confess this sin, adn do Penance by actively working against it. You will feel better and your conscience will be clear.” Say these words quietly, sincerely, cheerfully, adn with conviction, and let the chips fall where they may.