Bp. Finn on the eve of the election: “Woe to those…”

In the wake of the election and its results, I want to share a sermon given by His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City, MO.

A preview:

The Freedom of Choice Act will mark the beginning of a great persecution against religious liberty, because it will require tax payer money to be used for abortions. You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.


My emphases and comments.


Homily for the Eve of the Election
November 3, 2008 – St. Therese North Parish
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Judges 7:1-22
Revelation 11:19; 12: 1-6, 10.
Matthew 10: 26-33

Dear friends,

Over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We will make decisions about amendments and propositions. This is a wonderful process and privilege of citizenship in a country that values the ideal of freedom.

But let us have no doubt about this: through this process we are more than participants in a democratic process. We are becoming participants in life and death. The candidates we choose do not arise merely on their own. We place them in office. [He shifts the ground.  Our actions have deeper implications than merely who takes office.]

Clearly, all these leaders are imperfect men and women like ourselves. They will make decisions day by day, and many of the circumstances of war and domestic work are not able to be known until they happen. Nonetheless, when they tell us specifically what they will do and we are therefore able to foresee some of the likely consequences ["when they tell us what they will do"… good point] of their leadership we share in the responsibility of their acts. In this sense an election is about even more than physical life and death. It is also about your eternal salvation and mine. [Our actions have implications for our salvation.  Remember… the purpose of life is ultimately not to build a worldly utopia.] This is the first reason to pray. Pray that we will take seriously – that every other voter will take seriously – the meaning of our choices. In a country where we have made choice an absolute, we must remember that underlying every choice is a value; that flowing from every choice is a consequence; that we must give an accounting to God for what we decide.

Our Lord instructs us in the Gospel we have heard, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” The enormity of this election is founded, in part, on the radical determination of some who would lead our country deeper than ever before into the darkness of the culture of death. This is a path that would certainly mean the death of countless more innocent lives. As shepherd of this Diocese I am also deeply saddened by the prospect of the cost in people’s souls, [He takes the cura animarum seriously.] the souls of those who would place a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity above the life of the most innocent of our brothers and sisters.

Most perilous is the fate of those Catholics who, with hardened hearts, decide to create for themselves, and preach to others, a false gospel that the “right” to an abortion must not be challenged, or that the humanity of the child need not be protected.

Most fraudulent are those Catholic leaders, or alliances of Catholics, that insist that the radically evil injustice of abortion need not be directly opposed, but rather, that somehow solving the dilemma of the poor in a sweeping act of charity will cause the foundation of this monstrous crime to crumble.

Why is this so terribly amiss? Because the foundation and cause of abortion is not poverty but a blind disregard for personal responsibility, a heinous denial and disrespect for human life, and an idolatrous worship of personal convenience. This is why even in the wealthy countries of Scandinavia the highest rates of abortions are followed by rampant euthanasia.  [Wow… the liberals are going to hate this guy for a looong time.]

Friends, the poor do not hate their children any more or less than the rich. The poison of which abortion is the most dreadful manifestation is the sinful suffocation of selfishness, and it can and does affect all strata of society. Woe to those, particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their “choice” of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience[A bishop who uses a phrase… with deadly seriousness… "Woe to those…"] God have mercy on those who exude freely this salve for their partisan cooperators. I fear that they will bear a greater responsibility than most. Against them will come not only the cry of millions of human lives savagely destroyed, but the souls of those they have sucked down with themselves. This is the very definition of scandal, and the reason that so many have spoken out with such urgency to announce the authentic teaching of the Church.

Part of the damage we have been promised is encapsulated in the Freedom of Choice Act, which has been held at bay the last eight years. When all the reasonable limits on abortion, gained in the last 35 years have been summarily swept away: parental notification, waiting periods, counseling and informed consent, the number of those killed will grow by more than 100,000 a year.

The Freedom of Choice Act will mark the beginning of a great persecution against religious liberty, ["a great persecution against religious liberty"] because it will require tax payer money to be used for abortions. You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.

And what of our Catholic hospitals? If we are forced to provide such destructive services under the Freedom of Choice Act, we will have to refuse. Catholic health care workers, and other men and women of good conscience, will risk losing their jobs [It is going to become very real, folks.] when their conscience exception is lost and they are pressured to participate. I read a letter recently in our daily paper: The man said, “If you don’t want an abortion. Don’t have one.” Under a regime of such change, you and I will not have such an easy choice. By paying, it will become “our abortion.” Lord, have mercy on us, and on our country.

In the light of these clear and present dangers, [A "clear and present danger" for the Church and souls.] I chose tonight’s Gospel, in part, because four times it tells us, “Don’t be afraid!” Let us not be afraid, dear flock. You are worth so much to God; more than sparrows, more than an election, more than any man can measure. Our first goal is this: we must get through tomorrow with our eternal souls intact. We know that God will take care of the rest.

A week ago, I wrote our diocese a letter hoping that it would be heard by all as a necessary call to prayer. Many of our pastors read it to their people. Some, I am sure, suffered a bit from doing so. Thank you, dear brave priests.

I also know that it wasn’t heard by all. Let us not be too hard on those who, for fear or even disagreement, have shrunk back even from the call to pray! It takes time for us to learn to carry our burdens, our obedience, our responsibility. I want you all to pray that – at the hour of greatest need – none will step back from the sacrifice that makes us most like Jesus Christ.

In the first reading, God tells Gideon that He is going to win a great victory. So that Gideon and the People of Israel don’t get too big a head, God determines to go against the hundreds of thousands of the enemy with only three hundred men. He even proceeds to choose those who are perhaps the least sophisticated of all, “those who lap up their water like dogs.” God certainly doesn’t pull any punches!

St. Paul says something similar when he announces that God chooses those whom the world considers foolish to shame the wise. (1 Cor 1:27) Dear friends, there is hope for us! God can use us – few and unsophisticated as we are to win the victory of life. God can choose “the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something.” (1 Cor 1: 28)

I pray this reading from about Gideon’s lopsided battle will remind God and us of the kind of victory He can win for His people. May He grant us this same mercy these days, all in accord with His will and plan; all for the glory of His name; all for the protection of human life.

In the second reading we have the image of Mary, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and the crown of stars on her head. Mary, we cry out to you, O Mother of life, O Empress of America, O Star of the New Evangelization, O Immaculate patroness of our Diocese and our country: Gather us under the mantel of your maternal love. Mary, Lady of the Rosary whom we have invoked so often, particularly in the last month, “Pray for us sinners!” You, O Queen and our Mother, “despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever-glorious and blessed Virgin.

Dear friends, over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We are called to be participants in life and death. May God guide us to choose life. May He make us his fearless apostles, and use us to construct a civilization of life and love.


What the bishop said is certainly the case.   Those who will refuse to participate in the widening culture of death are going to be persecuted.  The vaunted freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution will be shoved aside in favor of wicked policies.

Having moved this onto the field of religious liberty, I am moved to ask another question.

The Council’s teaching on religious liberty is a point of contention for the SSPX against the Holy See.  

But it is often a rather dreamy discussion, very theoretical.

We are going to have more experience of the practical implications soon.

Isn’t it time for our ranks to close?


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  1. Chris says:

    This is a fantastic sermon and one that should be repeated in every church.

    I do want to point out, however, that today there is millions of taxpayer dollars going to abortion with every dime that going to Planned Parenthood — the single largest murderer of children.

    The only thing Bush took away from them was their overseas money — the policy known as the Mexico City Language.

    So what we need to actually say is that even more federal funding for abortion could be on the way.

  2. Jason Petty says:

    If anyone’s interested, here’s the text of the Freedom of Choice Act as it reads on Congress’ website: FOCA.

  3. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Thank you Father for posting this excellent to-the-point sermon.

    Our taxes already pay for things I wouldn’t normally support. This is just more. This also appears to be more blatant arrogance and entitlement to funding of the unethical with other people’s money.

    I guess this is a facet of the ‘spread the wealth’ socialism that so many fear is upon us.

  4. TomG says:

    “Minds of all, it is true, are affected almost solely by temporal upheavals, disasters, and calamities. But if we examine things critically with Christian eyes, as we should, what are all these compared with the loss of souls?”

    (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno)

  5. LarryD says:

    “The only thing Bush took away from them was their overseas money—the policy known as the Mexico City

    And Obama will lift that restriction his first day, you can take that to the bailed out bank.

  6. Brian Mershon says:

    As long the proper interpretation of religious liberty is reserved for the public teaching of the one and only true religion–I’m certain the SSPX would have no problem with it. However, as you well know Father, DH equivocates, just like Gaudium et Spes.

    The further complication is that the entire world views the understanding of liberty and freedom to mean license. It really doesn’t matter what the Church teaches or clarifiesa about religiosiou liberty.

    When are priests going to lead their lay Faithful through the streets of the the dwontowns where they live following the Feast of Christ the King? I know of one such priest in both of the Carolinas who did so–and guess which priestly society he is part of?

    It is really time for all of us–including myself and especially myself–who are orthodox and traditional Catholics to stop being such wimps in the public square.

  7. Scott W. says:

    Naturally I am sympathetic to not paying taxes, but wouldn’t render-unto-Ceasar apply here? I shudder at the possibilities of what the money Jews gave to the Romans paid for.

  8. Tim Ferguson says:

    Scott, the difference is, we live in a Federal Republic, run on Democratic principles – WE are Ceasar in the US. So we are complicit in the destruction of the lives that our taxes go towoard killing.

  9. John says:

    Thank you Brian Mershon for pointing out the proper interpretation of religious liberty. Father’s question makes it sound as though everyone should just compromise so that we can close ranks. Ranks can be closed on the basis of an attack against life, Father, but not on the basis of an attack against Catholic doctrine. It is not a dreamy, theoretical discussion at all – the deliberate obscuring of this doctrine has resulted in disaster.

    Bishop Finn’s sermon is a great pearl. I almost wish he had named names, like Douglas Kmiec.

  10. questioning catholic says:

    [Fr. Z says: This is a good example of the sort of person Bp. Finn is talking about… and to.]

    Is there any possibility of relieving a bishop for mental delusions? Just wondering as it is clearly evident in His Excellency’s sermon. Everyone who voted for Obama is going to Hell? Please… pray for His Excellency’s mental health; pray for those sheep charged to such a wounded shepherd.

  11. David Andrew says:

    I’m in dispair.

    It’s more than just a choice between taxes and jail.

    Must I stop shopping at stores where the owner is pro-abortion? If I don’t know, should I ask? If they won’t tell me, should I shop there? Must I ask my telephone company, cable company, energy company, cellphone company, grocery store, drug store, personal physician, dentist, surgeon, optometrist, chiropractor, personal trainer, accountant, lawyer, mail carrier, bank teller, mortgage broker, coffee shop owner, shopping mall vendors, gas station worker, car dealer, car repairman, the guy who changes my oil . . . do I ask them all? If they (or someone in their employ) support abortion, can I in good conscience patronize that store or service?

    What about my landlord? Do I live in an apartment of a landlord who supports abortion? I don’t know. I pay rent monthly and I haven’t clue one what my landlord does with the money. Should I ask? Do I need to pack my bags right now if I find out that the answer is “yes?” What about the plumber, electrician, painter, contractor? Do any of them support abortion? If they do, then my rent money somehow, in some way, goes to pay their salary, from which money is collected that may go to fund abortions.

    Am I being too extreme in asking these questions? I’ll admit I’m begin half ascerbic, but I’m also dead serious. If my soul is at stake as the bishop has clearly stated, I want to know, to the point of scrupulosity, just how far I must go to save it.

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    “I also know that it wasn’t heard by all.”

    Beyond a simple observation of fact, I wonder to what degree that may have been a comment on the numbers of the faithful that aren’t weekly communicants or the number of pastors that declined to relay his message.

  13. James Capaldi says:

    Brian Mershon is absolutely correct. On the Sunday of the traditional feast of Christ the King, our SSPX priest led us through the streets of Eddystone, PA. He carried the Blessed Sacrament. I will be curious to see how many Novus Ordo parishes do the same. I will be watching later this month.

  14. Concerned says:

    My concern about FOCA is not about it being passed. I am more concerned about our sense of relief when it isn’t. For I believe that FOCA is intended to be symbolic and few in Washington expect it to pass. Putting aside its obviously problematic content, it is a badly written law (act). It is too vague, too sweeping and too lacking in substantive definitions. Needless to say if it is passed, it would be horrible in that it wipes out every gain made since Roe v. Wade plus more. But I don’t think that most of its knowledgeable supporters expect it to pass. They, too, know it is bad law.

    My concern is that if it gets defeated, all pro-lifers will breathe a sigh of relief and then be thankful when only a few of its major provisions get passed. We will all be led to believe that we are lucky for it could have been much worse. And that’s what the supporters of FOCA are hoping for. It’s like being led to believe they were going to detonate a nuclear bomb over New York and being thankful that they only took out a few boroughs with conventional weapons. [Please excuse the horrible example.] We must always be mindful of the endgame. Remember, politics is the art of the possible.

  15. David Andrew says:

    The point of my rant above, which some may find provocative, is simply this:

    High-minded rhetoric is one thing, putting our money (literally) where our mouths are is another.

    We have, ever since abortion became legal in the country, had the right to choose whether or not to support every aspect of the machine that runs the abortion mills, through just the kinds of “boycotting” I’ve described above.

    Why is it only now that it becomes a challenge to the vaunted liberties of religious freedom and such an immediate issue of the salvation of our souls?

  16. Michael says:

    Oh, for a bishop like this. Our new bishop just issued his first pastoral letter — defending the rights of illegal immigrants. It will be passed out at Mass in a couple of weeks for all of us to “study”. I fear we’ll never hear anything like the above from him.

    Different priorities… shouldn’t saving souls be Job One?


  17. TMG says:

    I love Bishop Finn’s focus on the word “soul” and I hope the emphasis on our need to work toward the salvation of our souls gains momentum throughout the Church. I waited in vain for twenty years or more hoping to hear some mention of it at my parish church. It wasn’t until Summorum Pontificum’s leading me to the Traditional Latin Mass that my yearning to once again be taught traditional Catholic teachings was quenched. Some may not approve, but it was Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum itself which started me on a spiritual journey to find a Catholic church where the priest spoke about our souls and their salvation, and which ultimately led me to the TLM at a Society of St. Pius X chapel where I once again heard the word “soul”.

  18. TNCath says:

    The hymn “Faith of Our Fathers” is just as relevant today in the United States as it was during the persecutions of the Church in Great Britain and Ireland. I think we need to get ready for some “dungeon, fire, and sword.” Thank you, Bishop Finn.

  19. Craig says:

    Like many of you, I’ve been disheartened by the results of the election and have been struggling with all of this.

    You’re all aware of the many stated wicked goals of this administration…but instead of despairing…if I may make a suggestion…please prayerfully reflect on the deeper meaning of this election.

    I’m not suggesting we ignore our grief and sorrow over the results, but I do hope and pray we do not submit to hate or despair.

    God is doing something here and is speaking to all of us…are we listening? Maybe for some it’s a greater call to prayer and penance, for others trust, for others focus and resolve. In the last 24 hours I’ve thankfully found a state of peace with the acceptance that God has allowed this to happen so that some greater good may come of it.

    God Bless,

  20. LCB says:

    There is no greater rallying cry against the Culture of Death than the Gregorian Rite, and its brother Rites in the East.

    Let us consider this article, on the Green Martyrdom (http://www.hli.org/sl_2007-10-12.html)

  21. Jacob says:

    Lord have mercy upon us all.

    I just finished ‘Father Elijah’ after a night and a day of reading broken only by sleep. I went to bed after finishing up last night and wake up to find Bishop Finn’s homily…

    Are the End Times upon us?!

    I need to wake up more.

  22. TJM says:

    I think there should be a reprise of this sermon at the USCCB by Bishop Finn. It would be great to have a Catholic bishop remind other bishops
    of their obligations in defense of life. Tom

  23. A Random Friar says:

    While I am disappointed in the election results, I keep in mind that our Lord is the God of History, and He will make use of whatever human foolishness we do for His own good. The ultimate Victory is His alone, even if we have some “mop-up” battles to face.

  24. JP says:

    The good Bishop fails to mention a third option for resistance: to reduce one’s income to point you don’t owe taxes.

  25. PMcGrath says:

    Bishop Finn to succeed Cardinal Egan in New York?

    Now that would be a message from Rome.

  26. I think Scott W and David Andrew are on the right track as regards the tax thing. The fact that this is a democracy doesn’t change things unless we concretely participate in shaping these evil policies. You could just as easily have suggested (as many did in Jesus’ time) that we should rise up in rebellion. That wasn’t our Lord’s way, and it shouldn’t be ours.

  27. Matt Q says:

    “Is there any possibility of relieving a bishop for mental delusions? Just wondering as it is clearly evident in His Excellency’s sermon. Everyone who voted for Obama is going to Hell? Please… pray for His Excellency’s mental health; pray for those sheep charged to such a wounded shepherd.

    Comment by questioning catholic”


    The bishop, especially a bishop of this caliber, is a bit more knowledgeable about what can send people to Hell than you.

    When Hitler was elected, no one knew what is deeper intentions were. Would your statement then be just as valid if people knew what Hitler had planned and voted for him anyway? Obama is alive and well and will take the White House January 20, and wants to sign the FOCA bill the second he walks through the door. We knew that before the election. Singing the praises of which one then is the greater evil?

  28. Romulus says:

    Am I being too extreme in asking these questions?

    I don’t think so, David. I have asked myself the same questions.

    For me, the answer is not to withdraw from the world — something impossible for most of us. The answer is to radically limit our consumption, so that less funds will flow to the enemy, and more will remain to support godly causes.

  29. Dan H says:

    I would love to see Bishop Finn take over from Cardinal Egan. I know that the archdiocese would love him.

  30. Jacob says:

    Why is it only now that it becomes a challenge to the vaunted liberties of religious freedom and such an immediate issue of the salvation of our souls?
    Comment by David Andrew — 7 November 2008 @ 9:44 am

    David, I agree with your assertion here to a point. But I would point out that up until now, all we’ve had to deal with is Roe v. Wade from the SC. We’ve been able to take the fight to the states and work to curb abortion as much as possible.

    But with the new legislation, all that will be swept away and we will all live under one Federal boot.

  31. tertullian says:

    It’s great to applaud the Bishop for his stand, but where is this going? I mean, a prime example of the type of Catholic the Bishop is speaking of is found right here, posting on this blog, making sure to post in such a way as to link to her own blog,where she writes in stark contrast to everything the Bishop stands for.

    And if you challenge her, she immediately casts herself as the victim.

    Ultimately, this is a challenge not to our Bishops but to the Holy See itself, and it requires a response from the Holy See.

    I was offended the Church even allowed the group that called themselves “Catholic Democrats” to operate using the word Catholic.Trying using the word Disney in some well-intentioned activity and you’ll be met by a phalanx of lawyers.

  32. Mitch says:

    If Bishop Finn was the Archbishop of NYC he would be a great voice for the Church in America with the best stage to lead from. This sermon still amazes me. I wish all our bishops, priests, and deacons would give sermons like this.

  33. Brian says:

    questioning catholic,

    Ask yourself some questions:

    Would Catholics have endangered their salvation if they voted for Hitler?

    Would Catholics endanger their salvation if they voted for a candidate who promised to enable families to kill their disabled family members, and did so by the millions?

    Would Catholics endanger their salvation if they voted for a candidate who supported a law to allow parents to kill their own children under the age of seven? how about under the age of three? how about under the age of two months? how about the day they are born? how about the day before they are to be born?

    Do Catholics endanger their salvation if they vote for a candidate who supports a allowing a mother to choose a procedure during which their unborn infant will be partially born, all but their head; then a physician will puncture their unborn skull with scissors and suction their brains out?

    Question to Obama: What us your view on the decision on partial-birth abortion and your reaction to most of the public agreeing with the court’s holding?

    Obama’s answer: I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don’t make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy. And I think that’s where most Americans are. Now, when you describe a specific procedure that accounts for less than 1% of the abortions that take place, then naturally, people get concerned, and I think legitimately so. But the broader issue here is: Do women have the right to make these profoundly difficult decisions? And I trust them to do it.

    As long as they don’t take it casually, and they feel depressed, Obama trusts mothers who struggle with this profoundly difficult decision to savagely murder their precious, innocent, defenseless infants.

    Clearly, anyone votes for a person who supports such horrific evil, and blindly believes that their salvation is not at all in question is suffering from “mental delusions.”

  34. Lauren says:

    Hi Father! Thank you for the work you do in our community. It’s amazing how many “Catholics” are so quick to abandon church teaching. I just read a great article on a similar blog that this reminds me of: http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2008/11/05/a-black-mark-on-our-history/

  35. Volpius says:

    Here is an idea if not paying taxes becomes necessary. Get up to your tax free limit and then stop working for pay and go spend your time working for Christ until a new year comes round. Imaginethe difference millions of full time Pro Life Catholics would make.

    Yes I know this will involve embracing poverty, God never said it would be easy, but what an example of holiness and a sign of contradiction we would become.

  36. Supertradmom says:

    My family has tried to boycott stores which support Planned Parenthood for years. The lists are available online. Catholics will need to look at their finances, their investments, their spending habits AND TAXES in the days to come. If we practice the hard truth and cooperate with grace daily, we shall make the right decisions when crunch time comes.

    Yes, people will suffer, go to jail and probably be martyred. But isn’t this why we are here? The modern hedonistic and selfish society has influenced so many of our modern religious leaders to think that somehow the Kingdom of God is some sort of utopia.

    The City of God is not the City of Man……

  37. Maureen says:

    God bless Bishop Finn.

    Re: illegal immigrants

    Hey, it’s all code. Babies are illegal immigrants, if their parents don’t want them. If we fight for babies that way, we might actually give them some rights. :(

  38. The other David says:

    “Naturally I am sympathetic to not paying taxes, but wouldn’t render-unto-Ceasar apply here? I shudder at the possibilities of what the money Jews gave to the Romans paid for.”

    Seems to me the idea of an unjust law not being binding may apply here. We would be required to pay what we justly owe for just taxes, but not for the unjust. Under this, we would be giving to God what belongs to God.

    Of course separating the just action from “I hate Obama so I won’t pay taxes at all” needs to be done

  39. Kevin A. says:

    “the foundation and cause of abortion is not poverty but a blind disregard for personal responsibility”
    I think he really hit the nail on the head here. Far too often, abortion is seen as a form of birth control. And as much as people try to say abortion “empowers” women, many times the father of the child doesn’t want the responsibility and pressures the woman into going to the clinic.

  40. David Andrew says:

    We’re ignoring a very important point here.

    Bishop Finn has suggested that our immortal souls will be in grave danger if we fail to engage in civil disobedience. He is suggesting that our immortal souls will be in grave danger if we don’t refuse to pay taxes and accept the consequences of going to jail.

    You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.

    So, we stop paying our taxes, put our ability to support our spouses and children in jeopardy and go to jail for tax evasion (a felony), thus forfeiting the ability to ever participate in the public franchise of voting ever again, even for politicians and policies that would support our own cause.

    It seems to me that he’s advocating something that would effectively give the secularist liberals exactly what they want: the elimination of opposition.

    After we’ve been silenced through imprisonment and the loss of our franchise, we’ll not be able to save one more Innocent . . . BUT, our consciences will be clear because we’ve saved our immortal soul by demonstrating our civil disobedience.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like this bishop, I voted for all pro-life candidates and I oppose abortion on all fronts. I’m seriously confused by the moral implications of what he has said.

  41. Jason Keener says:

    I live in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and I would like to see a similar statement from Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. Throughout the year, Catholic households in our archdiocese receive different mailings and letters from the Archbishop regarding the Annual Stewardship Appeal, etc. Perhaps in the next election cycle, Archbishop Dolan and all bishops could use a direct mailing as a method to inform Catholic voters in their dioceses that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is not consistent with the Catholic Faith. The bishops should be sure to point out in DIRECT and FORCEFUL language that voting for a pro-abortion candidate seriously jeopardizes a person’s eternal salvation.

    Please, Your Excellencies…We need CLEAR, DIRECT, and FORCEFUL teaching.

  42. Gregory Nagy says:

    How far does one go to not support the abortion supporters? Well, for starters one gets their own life insurance from fraternal insurance organizations that in turn do not support pro-abortion groups. Many of them are also Catholic organizations. At the risk of this becoming looked at as an ad, the Knights of Columbus is one such group.

  43. mamaosa says:

    I’d hold off on the Knights of Columbus for a while and see what they do with this: http://www.knightsforobama.org/
    If they can’t get their house in order, don’t support them.

  44. eyeclinic says:

    How about this for a solution? Since most of our bravest bishops live in “red” states, they should start advocating(and supporting) large Catholic families. When the populations of those states skyrocket, so will the restructured electoral votes. Then the looney left coast and northeast will become inconsequential. I know, too simplistic, but I can hope, can’t I…

  45. Doug says:

    questioning catholic,

    Why is it so odd to think that intentionally promoting a candidate who supports abortion could endanger your soul? I agree that there are other issues of importance and that we should not be single issue Catholics. I don’t think the Bishop is being a single issue Catholic though. He is simply pointing out that the grave blot of abortion cannot be supported without grave consequences. How could it be otherwise? I won’t presume to speak for His Excellency. So, I’ll just say that, in my opinion, a vote counts as support.

  46. mrzoom says:

    Problem with the Bishop’s tax resistance proposal: Most of us have our federal and state taxes withheld by our employers from our paychecks, and my understanding is that they are REQUIRED to do that unless we reasonably expect to have $0 liability. It seems to me that is a huge brick wall in the way of any proposed protest.

  47. Chris says:

    questioning (un)catholic:

    You don’t think voting for a pro-abort like Obama could lead to your loss of eternal salvation, even though you are personally helping women procure abortions?

    Then, following your logic, as a man, I wouldn’t lose my eternal salvation by paying for and driving my wife to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion?

    Of course I would. And me paying for that abortion is the same as someone voting to allow others to have abortions.

  48. Breviarylover says:

    If all our Bishops would speak out like this, we would most likely have a Pro-Life President Elect. We must pray for our Bishops that they would speak out even stonger like His Excellency Bishop Robert Finn.
    God bless him!

  49. David Andrew says:

    I think we’re all pretty clear that “questioning Catholic” is very much mistaken about our moral obligation to vote our consciences in this matter.

    I still haven’t heard any truly compelling arguments regarding His Excellency’s call for a “tax revolt” and the connection he draws between the condition of our immortal soul and our willingness (or lack of willingness) to participate in civil disobedience.

    I will continue to ask this question, over and over again, until someone can give me compelling Magisterial teaching that supports His Excellency’s assertion that I may endure eternal torment for failing to enter into a tax revolt should FOCA pass.

    I’m also wondering why nobody has taken a bite out of my assertion that, absent living in a commune with a self-sustaining farm, etc., every single money transaction we engage in, regardless of who it’s with, carries with it the potential for providing indirect funding to the abortion cause.

    Given that, is there any hope that we can avoid the eternal torment, the grave peril that His Excellency warns us of? Or does promoting a tax revolt become nothing more than the current cause celebre?

  50. mk says:

    Very interesting article. Let me start off by saying that I am not religious, though that’s not what I am here to write about. My question is that as an atheist, couldn’t I claim that I also should not be paying taxes if they are going to be used as funding for faith-based initiatives? I’m looking forward to reading your sincere and constructive responses.

  51. William Tighe says:

    Sweden has had publicly-funded abortions since the 1930s, Britain since 1967, Canada since 1968, and France since 1975. In none of these has the Church demanded or counselled faithful Catholics to eschew paying taxes, or to practice civil disobedience. Why should things be any different in the United States?

  52. Chris says:

    David, I’m trying not to focus on H.E.’s tax revolt or on his false understanding of “religious freedom.”

    I still pray for Papal States and a return to a monarchy as every Catholic should.

    I’m just trying to focus on the positive message in this and realize what it is — a fantastic statement for a modern bishop.

  53. Brian Day says:


    Allow me to take a stab at your question regarding funding for faith-based initiatives. First of all, which initiatives are you talking about? How would you characterize them? Are they initiatives that feed the poor, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless?

    If that is so, then does government funds that do objective good equal government funds that do objective evil(abortion)? You can agree or disagree whether public funds are used for good through secular or faith-based methods, but you can never agree to use public funds to do evil.

  54. Soli Deo Gloria says:

    I agree with Romulus and Volpius. I’ll limit my income, and consumption (I’ll start gardening). How do the Amish do it?

  55. Is it worth pointing out that most Americans don’t have a choice about paying taxes? Taxes are withheld from their paychecks; they never see the money, so they can’t choose not to pay. Ought they to stop working? What then becomes of their tremendous duty to support their family? Likewise, with purchases, taxes are included in the price of the purchase. You can’t avoid paying the tax, unless one refuses to pay any more than the price and thus risks prosecution for shoplifting. Very interesting…


  56. mrzoom says:

    Thanks, cmpt – that’s exactly what I asked above, except you said it better.

  57. David Andrew says:

    I think there’s more to consider here.

    His Excellency writes:

    And what of our Catholic hospitals? If we are forced to provide such destructive services under the Freedom of Choice Act, we will have to refuse. Catholic health care workers, and other men and women of good conscience, will risk losing their jobs when their conscience exception is lost and they are pressured to participate. I read a letter recently in our daily paper: The man said, “If you don’t want an abortion. Don’t have one.” Under a regime of such change, you and I will not have such an easy choice. By paying, it will become “our abortion.” Lord, have mercy on us, and on our country.

    Not just the doctors and nurses will be faced with quitting, but the interns, “candy-stripers”, receptionists . . . even the janitors, the companies that provide the laundry and janitorial services . . . any person in the employ of or associated with any healthcare facility will be morally bound to quit or be guilty of every abortion that is performed, because they in some way have facilitated the action. It’s not enough that we’re paying. Every action that fails to prevent an abortion becomes complicity. What about the insurance companies? Not just the adjusters and the upper-level decision makers. The mail room clerks, the receptionists and typists, everyone will be guilty by association.

    If we’re to escape the tribulations and risk of hell His Excellency is preaching, we must do more than engage in tax revolt. Following Bishop Finn’s moral argument to its logical conclusion, we must overthrow the government and the society that’s bound to it.

    Fr. Z said, “It’s going to become very real, folks.” Have I painted a “real” enough picture?

    Indeed we have tough decisions ahead of us.

  58. TerryC says:

    I would remind everyone that there was a time when being a Christian meant that every time a new emperor decided that he deserved oblation that every inhabitant of the empire would have to give worship to this supposed godling. Failure meant death, not only for the Christian but for their family too.
    It was such a little thing. Throw a bit of incense and mumble a few words without meaning, yet hundreds, perhaps thousands of Christians died rather than do it.
    And here we sit worrying about jail time in a place with cable TV and a better law library than Standford Law, because a bishop has called us to do what we should have done in 1973.
    Of those who think the bishop is mentally deranged for suggesting it, I would refer them to St. Paul.

  59. TerryC says:

    A separate entry to comment on the Knights. It is impermissible for a knight to carry politics into the assembly. We have supported many causes, life protection of life, in a non-partisan way for decades. That a group of Knights would support a pro-abortion candidate is appalling. That they would support any candidate goes against our rules. That they would support a pro-abortion candidate is a sin carried to the level of a public scandal.

  60. Doug says:

    I think TerryC makes a good (and kinda scary) point. Christians have had it pretty good in the west in recent times. You have to wonder if the horrible state of the church in America, Britain, France, etc. owes something to a lack of trials and trying times. It’s not much of a stretch to attribute low church attendance, slack adherence to church teaching and a dim view of church authority to a flabby faith seldom exercised due to easy times and a spiritual diet lacking in moral fiber.

    The point is, maybe dark times are exactly what we need. We were given the promised land…namely a land of freedom. What did we do with it? Did we use it wisely? Uh. No. We mucked it up. We got comfortable. And now we find ourselves where we are, abortion on demand, euthanasia, sex education by schools instead of parents, “Xmas” instead of Christmas, blah, blah, blah.

    If we had daily reason to get on our knees and beg God for our own safety and that of our families.If we had to hide in order to pray, would our collective character likely gravitate toward such things? Unlikely. Maybe we could do with a little adversity. Maybe our generation will finally have to live the faith for real instead of mostly in theory.

  61. pjo says:

    Polish most conservative politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke has just started blogging for Americans. Check this out!

  62. aalex1 says:

    With “friends like this who needs enemies:

    Bishop of Los Angeles says California voters ‘ignorant’ about homosexuality
    Thursday, 6th November 2008. 6:29am

    By: George Conger.

    The Bishop of Los Angeles has challenged California voters who backed the successful ballot initiative to ban gay marriage to examine their consciences and banish their ignorance on homosexuality.
    Bishop of Los Angeles says California voters ‘ignorant’ about homosexuality

    In a statement released on Nov 5, the Rt Rev J Jon Bruno (pictured) called upon Californians who supported Proposition 8 “to make an honest and dedicated effort to learn more about the lives and experiences of lesbian and gay humanity whose constitutional rights are unfairly targeted by this measure. Look carefully at scriptural interpretations, and remember that the Bible was once used to justify slavery, among other forms of oppression.”

    With 99 per cent of precincts reporting, voters backed Proposition 8 by 5,376,424 to 4,870,010 votes, or 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Proposition 8 amends the state constitution to specify that only marriages between one man and one woman would be recognized as valid in California — overturning a May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

    Bishop Bruno and the bishops of San Diego, California, Northern California, El Camino Real, and the bishop of the provisional diocese of San Joaquin lent their support in September to the “no” campaign.

    Support for the ballot initiative was tantamount to “religious oppression,” Bishop Bruno charged as Proposition 8 was “a lamentable expression of fear-based discrimination that attempts to deny the constitutional rights of some Californians on the basis of sexual orientation.”

    However, Bishop Bruno stated he was placing his trust in the courts to nullify the will of the people. “It is only a matter of time” he said, before the “narrow constraints” of Proposition 8 “are ultimately nullified by the courts and our citizens’ own increasing knowledge about the diversity of God’s creation.”

    On Nov 5 three activist groups, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court asking the court to invalidate Proposition 8.

    They argued the ballot initiative violated the right of equal protection under law as it sought to eliminate a “fundamental right” to marry from homosexuals. It also undermined the prerogatives of the courts, they charged, by preventing the judiciary “from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities.”

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Equality California and six same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday’s election. The plaintiffs had filed a similar petition before the Nov 4 vote asking the court to strike the initiative from the ballot, but the court dismissed the petition.

    “If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution, said Jenny Pizer, an attorney for the Lambda Legal.

    “Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw – it removes a protected constitutional right – here, the right to marry – not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” she said.

    Elizabeth Gaff, an attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, said the question of gay marriage should not be settled by the people but by the legislature. “A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities. Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the constitution itself, only the legislature can initiate such revisions to the constitution,” she said.

    Bishop Bruno commented that “too often the road to justice is made deeply painful by setbacks such as Proposition 8, which nearly half of California voters rejected.”

    Citing President-elect Barack Obama’s election night speech to the nation, Bishop Bruno called upon Californians to support gay marriage and “summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.”

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