Caroline Kennedy… can. 915

This is what Caroline Kennedy said during her address to the Democrats Convention:

KENNEDY: His commitment to women is about even more than economic rights. It’s about health care, reproductive rights and our ability to make our own decisions about ourselves, our families, and our future. When it comes to what’s best for women, there is only one candidate in this race who is on our side, Barack Obama.

As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously. And today it is under attack. This year alone, more than a dozen states have passed more than 40 restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care. That’s not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters. Now isn’t the time to roll back the rights we were winning when my father was president. Now is the time to move this country forward.

More tax-payer paid abortions!  Hurray for Barack Obama!

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  1. dominic1955 says:

    I wish these people could just be honest. Why not just say, “As a godless secularist woman…”? That’s who you’re pandering to, after all.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    “As a poorly catechized Catholic woman…”

    Qualifiers are important, after all.

    The Chicken

  3. Supertradmum says:

    As adults, we are responsible for our own catechesis. Caroline could afford private daily tutoring on the CCC. I volunteer!

  4. Bryan Boyle says:

    Masked poultry: You have the chutzpah to actually CRITICIZE a Kennedy? Wow. I didn’t think anyone was allowed to criticize the royal family in public.

    What I find funny to the n-the degree is that the demoncrats would depend on a member to stand up for so-called ‘woman’s rights’ from a family that 1) made its fortune by manipulating the financial system, 2) ran booze during prohibition, 3) is famous for the manipulation and use of women from the patriarch down through the current generation, 4) has left a trail of dead women in its wake from accidents, murder, abuse, neglect, etc,…

    Except for mindless drones…does anyone REALLY care what these people say? I place most politicians (of both stripes…or all stripes) in the same intellect development category as Snooki on the ‘Jersey Shore’ TV show. My criteria is ‘who professes beliefs closest to Catholic teaching’ followed closely by ‘who will do what they say that is consistent to those beliefs and do the least harm’ to our constitutional republic.

    I am not enthusiastic about the choices this year. The Wun is not even a consideration. The other? I’ll hold my nose tightly while pulling the lever.

  5. Facta Non Verba says:

    Ms. Kennedy really had no good reason to add the qualifier “as a Catholic woman.” It added nothing to her point.

  6. I am wondering why they continue to refer to abortion as reproductive healthcare? If they are all for it – why are they afraid to say the word? They are all so brave – let them stand up there and say, “I want to make sure my daughters and your daughters can get an abortion when they want one!”. I don’t tell the story of my “reproductive health care choice.”. I tell the story of the abortion that I had.

  7. nykash says:

    Except for mindless drones…does anyone REALLY care what these people say?

    I agree completely. As pointed out above, most Catholics are equally as poorly catechized and feel that they Church should change and make itself more modern. But for the grace of God, there go I! With all of the activity surrounding the ‘Fortnight of Freedom,’ and few peeps afterwards, you would think the mandate was overturned. Action is needed. Can 915 for those in the public spotlight causing scandal would be a good step.

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    Oh, dear Lord (that’s a prayer). What a shallow view of man she has. What a brainwashed materialist she is. Reproductive health and abortion used in the same sentence for the same thing violate the Law of Noncontradiction, since health of body is useless without health of soul and for reproductive health to be health-giving, it must first off not violate the commandments of the One who gives life (and I don’t mean Obama).

    On a linguistic level, I refuse to engage such silly people. The concept of, “pro-choice,” makes about as much sense a being “pro-blue sky.” The sky will be blue whether you like it or not. Likewise, you will always have a choice to make with regards to life issues, whether you like it or not. God didn’t ask whether or not you approved of his gift of free will. You have it. You will make choices. Being pro-choice to anti-choice is silly, since, in the end, to be a human with free will guarantees that you will choose. No government can take away your free will or your freedom to live life within the love of Christ. In this sense, the notion of, “pro-choice,” is insulting to the English language. I never use the label.

    Let us be clear, Moses did not ask the Isrealites to be pro- or anti-choice. He simply told them they had to choose. So-called pro-choicers should say what they mean – they want the right to choose to kill – a right which, they have, by the way, since anyone can sin who has a free will.

    No, what they really are is pro-no consequences. They want to sin with impunity, but contraception and abortions are actions that have consequences, whether they believe it or not. In this matter, they have no choice. The consequences are set into motion with the act. They want to pretend this reality does not exist. They should, rightly, be called the “choices without consequences,” group. Seen in this light, they are truly silly. Silly and sad.

    All of this could be put on the table clearly if only the Church would define that human life begins at conception. This whole thing is a civil war of definitions and until there is some axiomatic definition of life, the battlefield will be a battle among greys instead of black and white.

    Along those lines, in 1854, in Ineffabilis Deus, when Pope Pius IX announced the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, he wrote:

    “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”[29]

    did he not define the corallary that the soul is imparted at conception, since one cannot have Original Sin without a human soul? If Mary’s soul had been added say, at the 40th day after conception, would the doctrine not have been written to reflect that? It says, “at the first instance of her conception…” [Nostra declaramus, pronunciamus et definimus, doctrinam, quae tenet, beatissimam Virginem Mariam in primo instanti suae Conceptionis fuisse singulari omnipotentis Dei gratia et privilegio, intuitu meritorum Christi Iesu Salvatoris humani generis, ab omni originalis culpae labe praeservatam immunem, esse a Deo revelatam, atque iccirco ab omnibus fidelibus firmiter constanterque credendam.]

    I don’t claim to know if this interpretation is correct – it may well not be (I’m sure I’ll be corrected – be kind – I think my heart’s in the right place), but the wiggle room of holding that a blastocyst has no soul and so disposing of it is of no consequence has allowed untold millions to parish. Make no mistake, until people are brought back to face consequences, these things will continue. To not desire the consequences of one’s action is the dream of every little spoiled kid. To believe that there will be no consequences is to be either inhuman or insane. So, Caroline Kennedy wants the right to be either inhuman or insane? In either case, such people should treated with at least temporary restraints and rubber walls, but, then again, isn’t that what modern politics has become – the refuge of the inhuman or the depraved?

    Oh, dear Lord…

  9. JohnE says:

    You captured pretty much what I was going to say. “Reproductive healthcare”. Why the most obscure and oblique reference to murder? Because even though the voice of their conscience is weak and small, they can still hear it, and it tells them that murder is wrong.

    But I guess they’ve gotten used to choking off weak and small voices. Rather than admitting “Yes, it’s murder, it’s wrong, and I’m sorry”, I seem to hear more people saying “Yes, it’s murder. So what?”

  10. teomatteo says:

    “Ms. Kennedy really had no good reason to add the qualifier “as a Catholic woman.” It added nothing to her point.”
    I kinda agree but with this thought: maybe Catholicism matters in our day. Did we hear anyone tell the audience “…. as a Methodist…”, or “…as a Quaker…”? I dunno. I didnt see the entire convention. But it seems to me that her mentioning this fact was telling America that being/catholic matters. Maybe i’m twisted up here… probably.
    What was it about her father thing? I think her uncle was pro-life until like 1974 or so. No?

  11. JonPatrick says:

    “All of this could be put on the table clearly if only the Church would define that human life begins at conception. “

    See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270. The Church has already done so.

  12. Papabile says:

    @The Masked Chicken

    You raise an interesting point regarding the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

    I too used to raise that as an issue when I was younger, but most theologians would not assume that the Holy Father was teaching ensoulment at conception. In 1857, the AMA defined life beginning at conception, and that actually had some impact on the debate surrounding the potential dogma in the 1880’s. People saw it as removing a potential obstacle, particularly in light of the Catechism of the Council of Trent’s teaching regarding the ensoulment of Christ in Part I, Article 3 on the Creed.

    Relevant extract:

    But what surpasses the order of nature and human comprehension is, that as soon as the Blessed Virgin assented to the announcement of the Angel in these words, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word, the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.

    Again — and this should overwhelm us with astonishment — as soon as the soul of Christ was united to His body, the Divinity became united to both; and thus at the same time His body was formed and animated, and the Divinity united to body and soul.

    With that said, one can now see, as they did in the 1880′,s that they misunderstood nature at the time of the publishing of the Catechism, resulting in a new understanding that ensoulment occurred at conception.

    But, the Dogma’s point about the ensoulment of Mary at conception was really a corollary to a new understanding of the natural law.

  13. SKAY says:

    The Kennedy name is still somewhat magic within the Democrat party I suppose.
    It sounds like Caroline is a true ” Kennedy Catholic”.

    “That’s not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters.”

    That kind of sounds like Obama’s comments about not wanting his daughters punished with a child..
    Very sad.

  14. The Masked Chicken says:


    CCC 2270 doesn’t say that human life begins at conception. It says that whenever human life comes into existence, it must be protected. It doesn’t explicitly say that human life begins at conception, but rather that the human life exists in potentia at conception and must be given the respect of a human being from that point onward, not that a human is ontologically human at conception.

    2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

    From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.71


    Not sure I understand you. I know that delayed ensoulment was held at Trent, although I don’t think it was defined as dogma, but as a theologoumenon, only. They said, according to them, the body (read, embryo) of Christ was immediately formed and then the soul added after some time in order to give the Holy Spirit a work to do – this is really a gloss of what, “Be it done to me,” possibly meant. Of course, since the Holy Spirit is not limited by time, the verb, “to do,” does not enjoy a strictly material interpretation in this context.

    The problem in dealing with these concepts is that a materialistic science cannot test for the presence of a soul, so people who are materialists at heart (as many secularized people are) will keep backing the timeline up closer and closer to conception, but can never be offered the proof that would convince them in terms they would understand. Natural Law, while correct, has some metaphysical fuzziness at extremes of time and space. For instance, at smaller than Planck time (about 10^-40 seconds), the arrow of time ceases to have physical meaning, so in strictly material terms, it looks like cause can precede effect. This is one reason I hope that quantum mechanics is someday replaced.

    In any case, do you think it not a good idea to use the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as a means to evangelize at least some pro-choice Catholics? Would they just ignore you? There must be some way to reach a Caroline Kennedy. The thirst for souls which any Christian should have demands that we try.

    The Chicken

    P. S. Is this a rabbit hole. Not a good hangout for a Chicken

  15. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I was gonna talk her talk apart, but it’s been pretty well dismantled above already.

  16. Indulgentiam says:

    Caroline Kennedy is no more a Catholic than Pelosi. They are protestants. Considering how much liberal crud the Kennedy’s were able to inject into the Cathlic mindset during the 60’s obama is probably hoping that history will repeat itself. As for ensoulment, I think the Gospel of John, read after every Mass, has the answer. “…who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jn. 1:
    Life does not originate with us. Ensoulment IMHO is not the question. The question is do we have the right to murder? To kill a defenseless human being that the Creator clearly has called into being ? Commandment # 5 answers that real clear. Easy peasy

  17. Panterina says:

    On a linguistic level, I refuse to engage such silly people.
    I respect your personal stance, but I think that we really ought to engage them on the linguistic level. The 1% who are coming up with these euphemisms are confusing and leading astray the 99% who subscribe to their views.

    Everytime they say “pro-choice” we should turn it back to them as say “pro-abortion”. Everytime they use “reproductive healthcare”, we should correct them and say that what they really mean is “infanticide.” You get the picture. “The word is mightier than the sword.” When we begin to lose the battle on linguistic grounds, we’re going to lose the war.

    Nobody in their right mind will admit that they support infanticide. But when you start using “reproductive healthcare” (and then conveniently drop “reproductive”), who’s going to say that they are against that? Let’s not let ourselves be fooled.

  18. Papabile says:

    @The Masked Ckicken

    I think you misunderstand me. I agree with you almost completely here.

    My point was that the proclamation of the Dogma was much more a corollary to a better understanding of natural law, and that the issue of the conceptus being ensouled follows logically from natural law, not the dogma itself.

    My point in mentioning the Catechism from Trent was not to suggest that the issue of delayed ensoulment was a dogma, but based on a misunderstanding of natural law. It was a commonly held probable theological proposition (not of simply individual opinion as indicated in the Catechism), but ultimately an incorrect one.

    With that said, I doubt those who believe in abortion would be persuaded by an argument from dogma regarding the conceptus. I just think its probably a step too far. The vast majority probably don’t believe in the dogma anyway if they are willing to relativize their faith with respect to the mass slaughter of the unborn.

  19. jflare says:

    “Ms. Kennedy really had no good reason to add the qualifier “as a Catholic woman.” It added nothing to her point.”

    Not so fast there.
    That qualifier actually DOES have a point, from a certain point of view.
    I’ve never been terribly swayed by identity politics, but I’ve never been terribly impressed with the Democrats overall point of view. Many millions of others HAVE.

    Don’t forget, there have been efforts within the Church for a long time to sway Church teaching or practice based on one’s circumstances in life:
    “I’m a woman and I believe that the Church discriminates against me because it won’t allow me to be ordained a priest, it refuses to mention me in prayer (because it doesn’t explicitly say “men and women”, and those MEN in Rome won’t allow me to contracept.”

    That’s merely one example, I’m sure we’ve all seen many.
    Whether it makes sense or not or holds any bearing on what the Church actually teaches has little relevance.

    Then too, Ms. Kennedy, being the daughter of the late President–whom we all know suffered assassination–would theoretically have a greater understanding of The People’s needs than might others.
    Certainly her comments will resonate with many a Catholic who either hasn’t been properly catechized or who hasn’t yet accepted the Church’s teaching fully.

    Yes, she’s pandering, quite a lot. Trouble is, it may help achieve their ultimate goal of re-electing President Obama.
    That could easily be why they did it.

  20. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Caroline Kennedy is a prime example of the Magisterium of Celebrity (the secular counterpart to the Magisterium of Nuns).

    By virtue of her celebrity/holiness as a Kennedy/member of the elite/etc., when Caroline Kennedy identifies herself as a “Catholic,” she’s speaking in a place of authority. Granted, that authority is truly only in her own mind and the minds of the masses who adore her. The same goes for Pelosi, Biden, Sibellius and the others of their ilk.

    So when I, a member of the unwashed masses, affirm Church teaching on one of the hot topics du jour with someone, telling them that that one cannot be truly Catholic and support abortion, gay marriage and so on and refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Kennedy’ll be one of the “Catholics” whom those that disagree with me will point to and say, “You’re wrong. [Insert name of famous lower “c” catholic] is Catholic and s/he is pro-choice (or gay marriage, or whatever).”

  21. Laura98 says:

    As a Catholic woman, … How much damage has been inflicted by that one little phrase, when used for evil? The truth is, Caroline Kennedy meant to influence other poorly catechized Catholics by soothing their conscience. She meant to reach out to them and say, ‘See… I believe it’s okay to be “Catholic” and to allow abortions… you can too!’ Yes… you can still be “Catholic” like the Kennedy’s and be Pro-Choice/for Gay Rights/Green/(Fill-in-the-Blank). You can insert any number of items on the Democratic Party platform or what other “catholic politicians” have spoken out in favor of. This phrase allows for disobedience to the Church and her teachings. That is the evil of that small phrase as used.

    I pray for her and her family’s souls in any case.

  22. CatholicMD says:

    Where’s Fr Jim? I’d love to hear what he has to say about this.

  23. The Masked Chicken says:


    Okay, I think we agree. I always thought Dogma + Natural Law was a pretty unbeatable combination, but logical proofs seem to be something only mathematicians and odd geeks (I was going to say ducks, but that would be insulting to my near kin) seem to have the patience to follow these days.


    I agree that he who controls the meaning of words controls the debate, but there are two ways to deal with definition-hoggers: 1)painstakingly insist on a consistent use of words, or 2)refuse to be pulled into the definition at all. Both methods have their place. The epistemological basis for the actions of many people, these days, seems to be a fuzzy feeling, nothing more. It is really hard to get them to think dispassionately. Sometimes, the only way to stop a child from acting out is to hold him in place until he calms down. People who are emotionally invested in, “Choice,” language are doing so in order not to have to think too deeply about what it really means. They are acting out of a rationalization. Refusing to engage them will, at first, arouse them to anger, but may later cause them to calm down and think. Some people, however, really do want to do the right thing and are simply ignorant of the truth. For them, polite re-framing of the language is an act of mercy. I see more of the former than the latter because I teach college students, but older people might be more amenable to the latter, since older people tend (I say, tend) to be more reflective, since life has usually forced them to be.

    Dr. Peters,

    What is missing that Can 915 should already have been applied to Caroline Kennedy? This is about as harmful to the Faithful as one can get. Her speech was scandal, pure and simple.

    Thunderstorm outside…must go

    The Chicken

  24. poohbear says:

    This is exactly why the US Bishops need to make a joint statement speaking the true Catholic teachings. They need to do it every time some political catholic makes a statement that leads people to believe the church teaches something it doesn’t. They need to do it over and over and be ‘in your face’ about it until the media takes notice. It needs to be published in every church bulletin (mandatory) and read at every Mass (mandatory).

    The majority of the people in the pews have no idea what the church teaches, and if they never get any correct information all they have to believe is hogwash like this. The politicians most likely won’t change, but the average catholic needs to hear the truth to be able to make the informed decisions they need to vote correctly.

    I have lost faith in our Bishops and am quickly losing respect for them as well. They need to speak the truth, not just once, but continuously.

  25. aviva meriam says:

    @ Sicilian Woman…
    THANK YOU for your point regarding the magisterium of celebrity and its hold on the hearts and minds of many….

    @ Poohbear…
    I agree that the Bishops need to speak the truth, continuously…. and while I agree that many failed to do so throughout the years, not all failed. The numbers who courageously speak the truth (Like Cardinal Dolan at the DNC) are growing and deserve our support. You are absolutely right that every time a “political catholic” proclaims error in an effort to mislead the faithful.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Each one of the personal bishops of those dissident Catholics who spoke at the DNC owe it to the Catholic Church in America to line up and publicly excommunicate each one and give the reasons why. It does not matter if these women and men are automatically excommunicated or not, this must be clarified.

    The silence weakens the Church daily. And, souls are at stake.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    and, I just read this on Newsmax: Carl Rove states Caroline attacked the Catholic Church and I ask,where are the defenders of the Catholic Church? They are silent.

    “Rove reserved his harshest criticism of the convention for Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, calling her comments on Republican efforts to restrict abortion rights nothing short of “an attack on religious liberty that’s masquerading as an expansion of . . . choice.”

    “I mean, it’s going out of her way to say I disagree with the values of my church,” Rove said of Kennedy’s speech Thursday night.

    “No one is seriously talking about ending abortion,” Rove declared. “What [Republicans] are talking about is the administration’s effort to expand the realm of choice by — for example, requiring churches to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees — regardless of the fact that it violates the deeply most-held tenets of that faith.”

    O’Reilly also expressed “stunned” disbelief at Kennedy’s comments.

    “She’s evoking her Catholic faith, which clearly condemns abortion, and using that as some kind of springboard into criticizing the restrictions on abortion that many states have passed,” he told Rove. “Maybe I’m wrong on this, but that made my head snap back.”

    Rove agreed.”

    And I add again, where are the shepherds defending the sheep? They are silent. Souls will be lost.

    “It’s gratuitous when people of any faith go out of their way to basically say: I’m a . . . Catholic and I’m telling you that I disagree deeply with the Catholic Church’s opinions, and I’m going to do so in a political sphere in order to make it easier for people who share my particular faith to, you know, disregard the teachings of our church,” Rove said.

    Read more on Rove: Caroline Kennedy’s DNC Speech an Attack on Catholic Church
    Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama’s Re-Election? Vote Here Now!

  28. snoozie says:

    I can’t believe I’m actually agreeing with Karl Rove on something.

    Is Cardinal Dolan not her bishop? Does this blatent in-your-face kind of public scandal not merit a public statement of excommunication?

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Caroline Kennedy has two houses and may, therefore, have two bishops. (Discussion on parish registration here waived.)

    Cardinal Dolan is her bishop of her New York apartment on Park Avenue, and Bishop George W. Coleman is her bishop the address of her estate in Aquinnah, Massachusetts. They are both here invited to make a public statement for the sake of the entire Church in America.

  30. Luvadoxi says:

    Infinite Grace–I never thought of it that way but I agree. “Reproductive health care” is using weasel words. The very phrase shows knowledge and cover up of something a person knows is wrong.

    And as for “as a Catholic woman”—ick. Just ick. I can’t believe people are falling for this. It’s sickening.

  31. Luvadoxi says:

    oops. The Lord is using others to convict me tonight. Nykash….I used to be pro-choice and completely blinded about it (ignorant and brainwashed). So I guess I’d better be careful in my impatience. :::grrr::::

  32. Bryan Boyle says:

    Supertradmum expounded: “Cardinal Dolan is her bishop of her New York apartment on Park Avenue, and Bishop George W. Coleman is her bishop the address of her estate in Aquinnah, Massachusetts. They are both here invited to make a public statement for the sake of the entire Church in America.”

    I’m thinking we will never hear the thundering public slapdown we so tirelessly wait for…our shepherds, except for some notable exceptions, are more interested in being photographed with them or being invited to their cocktail parties than speaking truth to lies. Those *crickets* are too loud, aren’t they? I guess they’re quietly ‘dialoguing and discussing items of common interest’ or some such.

    My spiritual director echoes the good Fr. Z here…and said last night that while he will have enough to answer for (saying, tongue in cheek ‘Jesus, if you don’t bring that thing up, neither will I’), he would not want to witness the particular judgement of a shepherd of souls who was more interested in nuanced engagement than actually taking the scarlet color of their robes as an example of what they were called to do.

  33. Girgadis says:

    Can you imagine a militant vegetarian standing up and saying ” As a lifelong PETA member, I take pate de foie gras seriously” ? She made as much sense as my hypothetical, which is obviously a trivial matter compared with the intrinsic evil of abortion.

  34. Papabile says:

    @Bryan Boyle

    I am genuinely interested in which one is her domicile and which is her quasi-domicile; or are quasi domiciles? Perchance you know?

  35. Elizium23 says:

    It is with distaste that this reminds me of a recent conversation on Wikipedia, where it was suggested that we should be more careful with categorical statements beginning with, i.e. “Catholics believe that…” because the Church teaches one thing, and yet the vast majority of Catholics believe something quite different. Wikipedia strives to strike an absolutely neutral point-of-view, and it is telling that it would be regarded as inaccurate to claim that “Catholics believe abortion is wrong” when there are so many catholics who believe it is a God-given right.

    I counseled the editors there that we should stick to wording such as “The Catholic church teaches that…” except in extraordinary cases where it can be clearly documented that the belief of individual Catholics is at variance with the Church teachings. Such as the 98% of us who supposedly use contraception.

    Yes, the bishops are silent on Canon 915. I feel that they regard it as a nuclear weapon and have been unwilling to set a precedent for its use. I feel they are rather justified in reserving it because think of this: if the nation begins to perceive that Catholics are indeed led by our bishops, and not by our own political interests, how many voters do you think will vote for a Catholic rather than a good Mormon or Jew? How many Catholics will hold office once it is understood that Rome is in charge of the United States? Furthermore, how many hearts and minds will truly be changed by withholding this spiritual morsel from resolute unbelievers? How many of the dissenters will say that it is simply those silly old men in dresses being stubborn again, and laugh as they ignore us? To me, it really makes no sense to escalate this.

  36. Elizium23 says:

    I know it runs counter to the partisan Republican mindset, but there are Democratic politicians who are doing some good in our world. We need Catholic Democrats to temper the raging conservatism that would overtake our country and leave social justice in the dust. We need Catholics in the party to stand up and make their voice heard on behalf of the Church, we need the pluralism of both parties to espouse a truly Catholic view of the world that does not fit nicely into one party platform. My parents are good, faithful Catholics and nominally Democrats. I was a Democrat myself until I could not bear the “reproductive health care” rhetoric any longer because I am so fiercely pro-life. My atheist sister is a Republican, bless her heart. But if every faithful Catholic suddenly stopped being a Democrat then the world would inch a little bit closer toward chaos. I don’t think we want that.

  37. Phil_NL says:

    @Elizium23, 1:21:

    I believe the only way the Democratic party will mend its ways is by being subjected to a strong bout of chaos – and perhaps a decade or two of being out of power. As it stands right now, they have decided that to get 50%+1, they don’t need faithful Catholics, or even people who take faith seriously. Only when the dems realize that this will be a permanent impediment to the rest of the agenda will all those who don’t give a …. about life (long a majority in that party) grudingly expand their tent enough that pro-life democrats become a possibility again.

    As a staunch conservative, I must say I wouldn’t mind that chaos taking the rest of my lifetime, or the dumping of the democratic party for a new alternative, but I can imagine that such would be extremely frustrating to those who are pro-life but otherwise lefties.

  38. Supertradmum says:

    Elizium23 and Phil_NZ, All parties must come back to the Truth that there is a God and He is in charge of all nations. Until both parties and all other parties acknowledge natural law, that there is only one true religion-the Catholic Faith-and that relativism in both religion and politics causes death of nation, communities, families, we shall have chaos.

    In Catholic teaching, there is no separation of Church and State. Those who believe in the pseudo-religion of Marxism understand what takes the place of religion. Without religion, we just pick up another ideology from which to make our personal decisions and from which the political parties make their decisions in our names. Only adherence to God and the One, True, Holy and Apostolic Church will we avoid chaos. No other way.

  39. Phil_NL says:


    Sorry, but there (“In Catholic teaching, there is no separation of Church and State”) I draw the line. There is a separation, and it’s a vital one, namely that the vast majority of the decisions of the state are within the realm of prudential judgement (and therefore ideology, which is in its essence nothing more or less than a set of principles used to guide policy). And because it’s a matter of prudential judgement, it is therefore not subject to the authority of the Church. Not to mention that direct government by the Church was, and always will be, nothing short than a disaster (“chemins d’enfer”, anyone?), if only for the fact that the characteristics that make a man a good shepard of souls tend to make him a lousy administrator and policymaker.

    As for politics, it is required that the persons involved in politics adhere to God, or at least don’t work against those that do. That is vital and indipsensible. The rest – including the conversion of those that need it to the Faith – is solidly not in the realm of politics, let only party politics, let alone government.

  40. Supertradmum says:

    From Our Pope Benedict XVI: politics and faith meet. Faith by its specific nature is an encounter with the living God-an encounter opening up new horizons extending beyond the sphere of reason. But it is also a purifying force for reason itself. . . . This is where Catholic social doctrine has its place: it has no intention of giving the Church power over the State. Even less is it an attempt to impose on those who do not share the faith ways of thinking and modes of conduct proper to faith. Its aim is simply to help purify reason and to contribute, here and now, to the acknowledgment and attainment of what is just.

    . . . if reason is to be exercised properly, it must undergo constant purification.

    The Church’s social teaching argues on the basis of reason and natural law, namely, on the basis of what is in accord with the nature of every human being. It recognizes that it is not the Church’s responsibility to make this teaching prevail in political life. Rather, the Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. Building a just social and civil order, wherein each person receives what is his or her due, is an essential task which every generation must take up anew. As a political task, this cannot be the Church’s immediate responsibility. Yet, since it is also a most important human responsibility, the Church is duty-bound to offer, through the purification of reason and through ethical formation, her own specific contribution towards under-standing the requirements of justice and achieving them politically.

    [Catholic social doctrine] has no intention of giving the Church power over the State.

    The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State. Yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice. She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper. A just society must be the achievement of politics, not of the Church. Yet the promotion of justice through efforts to bring about openness of mind and will to the demands of the common good is something which concerns the Church deeply.

    29. . . . formation of just structures is not directly the duty of the Church, but belongs to the world of politics, the sphere of the autonomous use of reason. The Church has an indirect duty here, in that she is called to contribute to the purification of reason and to the reawakening of those moral forces without which just structures are neither established nor prove effective in the long run.

    As citizens of the State, [lay persons] are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity.

    The direct duty to work for a just ordering of society, on the other hand, is proper to the lay faithful. As citizens of the State, they are called to take part in public life in a personal capacity. So they cannot relinquish their participation “in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.” The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility. Even if the specific expressions of ecclesial charity can never be confused with the activity of the State, it still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as “social charity”.”

    Other Popes were more pointed and you can google such results.

    Previous Popes all the way back to Pius X, who saw the separation as the de-Christianization of Europe, have said that it is the duty of the State to protect the Church and the duty of the Church to inform and purify the State.

    These are not supertradmum’s ideas but those of the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.

    Complete separation of Church and State is a Protestant concept born out of the Protestant Revolt, the French Revolution and the Italian secularist revolutions under Garibaldi. The only one to understand the Church’s position on these things from the outside is Gramsci. He “got it”, that the Church, as a physical and spiritual institution, is the greatest prophet as well as teacher, and sometimes enemy of the State.

  41. Phil_NL says:


    The interesting thing is that what you describe, is what I’d call a separation of Church and state – the Church letting the state deal with matters that are proper to it (and vice versa too). This does not mean that the individuals that by necessity form the state – as the state is not an entity on its own, it is a derivative construction based on – hopefully – its citizens, and otherwise from those in power – are free from moral considerations, also when making political decisions. In that sense the Church should very much be part of the public square. (and what you call “Complete separation of Church and State” is what I would regard as a banishment of the Church from the public aquare, which goes well beyond what I mean with the term)

    But it is something altogether different than what some would consider the only permissible expression of catholic teaching on the matter, namely that the state is confessional, favors materially the Church, and would in effect give the Church a veto on every decision, perhaps even under a catholic Monarch rather than a democracy, or in extremeis the resurrection of the papal states. You must forgive me, but with your nickname here I’d read your statement in that light, especially since it also seemed to me that you would call for adherence to the catholic Church to be a part of all party platforms…

  42. David Collins says:

    …what some would consider the only permissible expression of catholic teaching on the matter, namely that the state is confessional, favors materially the Church, and would in effect give the Church a veto on every decision, perhaps even under a catholic Monarch rather than a democracy…

    Sounds good to me. Can we vote on this?

  43. Jane says:

    Mary, Help of Christians Pray for us, and please grant the conversion of Caroline Kennedy.

  44. Supertradmum says:

    Phil_NL I am giving you Benedict VI’s view, which is somewhat a departure, but must be seen in context of Pius X.IX. XI. XII and Leo XIII. I myself go for the stricter view.

    Why not? If all Truth is found in the Catholic Church alone and if Christ who is God instituted it on earth, why not the latter? Democracies are flawed in that the power is in the people NOT God.

    Bring back God-run Catholic countries. Either we believe or we do not
    “…what some would consider the only permissible expression of catholic teaching on the matter, namely that the state is confessional, favors materially the Church, and would in effect give the Church a veto on every decision, perhaps even under a catholic Monarch rather than a democracy…’

  45. Phil_NL says:

    To wrap up the point, I believe there cannot be a “God-run catholic country”, since till the Second Coming, we’ll only have man-run catholic countries. Those need, by the very nature of man, checks and balances that maintain freedom – man can and does constantly err in figuring out what’s right, which necessitates freedom so that those who are right may not be oppressed. Freedom from a human government – and we have no other – that think it knows best is essential. If that government is run by Obama or a proper churchman would then only be a difference of degree – mistakes will be made, and will tarnish, yes in the longer term even destroy, the faith in many if not nearly all. As I see separation of Curch and state, it’s also a much needed mechanism to protect the Church. We all know that it has more than enough on its plate already due to the human condition. Direct involvement in politics would only make it worse, She is not infalliable in that – in fact, on the whole grossly ignorant.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    Fr. Z,

    One of my comments got selected for moderation. Does that mean I’ve won something? I mean, I’ve always thought that moderation was the path to virtue, by the way :)

    The Chicken

  47. Supertradmum says:

    The Masked Chicken. I think it means, as this happens to me, that 1) you have had too many posts, as I do sometimes; 2) the computer does not like your name; 3) you have some word in your post the computer finds offensive and thinks you are a terrorist; 4) Fr. Z. is on a plane reading all of the Summa in Latin again and was so involved he forgot to check the posts….

  48. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Phil_NL,

    She is not infalliable in that – in fact, on the whole grossly ignorant.

    That may be true now. Still, it is even acknowledged by secularists that back in the day when the Church did run some governments (modo exceptionis; it was always clear that the secular power principally and primarily belongs into secular hands), that then “under the crook, there is good living” (unterm Krummstab ist’s gut leben).

    Just saying.

  49. The Masked Chicken says:

    “2) the computer does not like your name;”

    The computer doesn’t like me, sniff…

    The Masked Fowl former known as The Chicken

  50. Imrahil says:

    As to my parenthesis: And of course a Catholic monarch would be secular hands.

    Still, as to monarchism, we must differentiate: Monarchy can only gain felt legitimacy by tradition. There can, for all foreseeable time, not be a monarch in the United States or in Switzerland. Theodor Herzl looked for a Davidide for his Jewish state but did not find one, and hence discouraged monarchy. On the contrary, there could of course be a monarch in Bavaria [if we set aside the problem that it is hardly feasible to have a kingdom as a part of a federal republic, and that contrary to some opinions a German dynasty does not exist] – as it is His Royal Highness the Duke, right now, is addressed within Parliament by the Archbishop with precisely these titles, and fufils a couple of semi-official offices of patronage, and the state-run elite program for boys (the Maximilianeum) is accompanied by the dynasty-run elite program for girls (the Wittelsbacherstiftung). And of course, only for completeness, there is already a monarch in the Netherlands, whom we want to convert to Catholicism just as much as anybody else… although it would then make less sense to sing “den Koning van Hispanje
    heb ik altijd geëerd… In Godes vrees te leven heb ik altijd betracht, daarom ben ik verdreven, om land, om luid’ gebracht” in case this (as I think it does) refers to the fact that the Spanish King was not Protestant.

    That the state is confessional is the official program of the Catholic Church (Immortale Dei). No, the II Vatican Council did not chance that, it only, rightly, extended a bit the realm of tolerance which by a (nowadays largely theoretical, but perhaps not so theoretical as one might thing) Catholic state is to be shown to the other religions and confessions.

    That the Church has a veto on every matter is the official policy of the Catholic Church even now, given that the Church claims, and rightly, the right of final arbitration in the realm of morality, including the question which questions are questions of morality… (I might even think that this includes practically any interesting political question, but that aside…) Of course, these are also barriers that the Church is bound not to step over. But it is not to the State to decide when they have been stepped over.

    That the State favors materially the Church is something very advisable at least to the extent that the Church favors materially the State (Church-run schools, charity organizations that the State need not run, a generally better psychological public health, in not Kulturkampf-ridden countries also the marriage registrary which no state officials need to do…). For this reason (and as compensation for the 1802 robberies), the Church is right now favored materially (though less than secularists think) in Germany.

    While these were mere annotations, on one thing I really want to (friendly) contradict you. The vast majority of the decisions of the state are within the realm of prudential judgement, and therefore ideology. Granted that they are prudential issues (though I’d figure that the really interesting and controversial questions, those apart from mere administration technicalities, are more often not than so), but prudential issues are the precise contraries of ideology. Prudential issues are by definition issues of how to best apply a given ideology. (I use the word “ideology” without negative connotation.) The ideology itself is no prudential issue. (And on the other hand I think that elections mostly are about ideology.)

    Another thing, now back to the realm of annotations: I do not believe the characteristics that make a man a good shepard of souls tend to make him a lousy administrator and policymaker. I think Cardinal Mindszenty, prince-primate of Hungary one of the best politicians Hungary brought forth last century, and at the same time he was a model of a shepherd. I think Bishop von Ketteler one of the outstanding politicians of the 19th century, and he surely was quite a good shepherd as well. Of course, a good shepherd is a lousy intriguer, but then, let’s face it, a good intriguer is, or should be and is in the long run, a lousy politician. Let alone Bl. Clemens von Galen!

  51. robtbrown says:

    Masked Chicken says,

    The problem in dealing with these concepts is that a materialistic science cannot test for the presence of a soul, so people who are materialists at heart (as many secularized people are) will keep backing the timeline up closer and closer to conception, but can never be offered the proof that would convince them in terms they would understand.

    Actually, in this case science affirms the Catholic morality. The concept of successive ensoulment reflected the science of its time. For example, an embryo that manifested only vegetative powers was not capable of being united to an animal soul, the same is true of a rational soul. Genetics, however, says that the entire human genetic material is present from the first moment of conception.

    Natural Law, while correct, has some metaphysical fuzziness at extremes of time and space. For instance, at smaller than Planck time (about 10^-40 seconds), the arrow of time ceases to have physical meaning, so in strictly material terms, it looks like cause can precede effect. This is one reason I hope that quantum mechanics is someday replaced.

    What is important is ontological priority, not priority of duration–don’t assume that the principle of causality assumes inertial frames of reference. As an unrepentant Thomist I am very comfortable with the idea of Space-Time distortions on the Quantum level.

  52. VexillaRegis says:

    @The Masked Chicken: No no, the problem is not the chicken-poultry-fowl-gallinaceous bird-part of your alias, it’s the word Masked! In these war-on-terrorists times, Mask is probably considered a synonyme for burkah and such equipment, and you are under suspicion for plotting against …..

  53. Supertradmum says:

    I am trying to read a book quickly, as it does not belong to me and needs to go back to its owner tomorrow. Fundamental Speeches from Five Decades by Joseph Ratzinger, from Ignatius Press. In one, the Pope writes something which is connected to this discussion on Caroline et al.

    “Faith does not replace politics, but it creates something decisive without which politics, for all its safeguards and considerations, comes up empty: conscience, which makes a man trustworthy. Faith ensures that, despite appearances, there are always men who one can trust and who themselves live by trust. In this respect, faith in the next world, of all things, is the prerequisite for being able to inhabit this world. Precisely because it is other-worldly, faith is also this worldly, and where it loses it other-worldly character, not only does faith itself become an empty spectre; then this whole world, too, becomes a haunted house where the spirits of cynicism and fanaticism go in and out.”

    Wow, cynicism and fanaticism are the result of a lack of Faith. Look at the DNC and the speech of Caroline. We see the loss of Faith leading to fanaticism. This is from “The Salvation of Man–This Worldly and Christian”.

  54. jflare says:

    For whatever reason, be it the computer’s filter or Fr Z’s “uh-oh” meter, a comment I wrote earlier this morning didn’t make it through, so I’ll try again.
    I find your comments regarding Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals..problematic. Due to family connections, you would seem to suggest that one can only exercise faith even a little by way of Democratic Party intentions; Republicans being contemptuous of morals or indifferent. I think it worth noting that even if the Republicans–or conservatives–have been much less concerned about morals than I would like, they have not actively advocated in favor of practices that I consider starkly immoral, such as abortion. On these grounds, I find it VERY difficult to justify voting for Democrats.
    There’s also the matter of social justice to address. If business and corporate interests can pose serious risks to human dignity, I contend that government solutions provide no greater a virtue. Both will be “manned” by human beings; both pose the same concupiscent nature and are inclined toward sin. If the conservative/Republican side tends toward being more callous to human need than is strictly wise, the opposing viewpoint over-emphasizes the need for government intervene in every problem imaginable.
    Put more starkly, if we need to have a safety net to protect the poor, we need to be very clear about what we’re protecting the poor FROM, not to mention emphasizing that people need to take care of themselves as much as they possibly can.

    On the whole, I’m strongly inclined to distrust government answers far more than corporate. If corporations and businesses can be intolerant of human needs, they at least are subject to market forces. Government solutions, on the other hand, answer only to political market forces, which usually don’t change easily at all. Unions tend to demonstrate similar difficulties.

    Ultimately, if we want genuine social justice, we’ll need for our clergy to speak Truth from the pulpit and hold the faithful, politicians in particular, to account. If we simply allow clergy to accomplish all the negotiating “in private”, not subject to lay discussion, we need to be surprised when we wind up with lousy social policy.

  55. jflare says:

    Uh, that last sentence should’ve read “…we need NOT be surprised when we wind up with lousy social policy.”
    My goof.

  56. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Robtbrown,

    You wrote:

    “What is important is ontological priority, not priority of duration–don’t assume that the principle of causality assumes inertial frames of reference. As an unrepentant Thomist I am very comfortable with the idea of Space-Time distortions on the Quantum level.”

    While ontological priority works from a possible world logic point of view (I use this in my research on the logic of humor), nevertheless, it is clear that in the Summa, at least, Aquinas’s efficient cause implies motion or action (arguments 1 and 2 of his five ways), which implies time.

    The Chicken

  57. robtbrown says:

    Masked Chickie wrote,
    While ontological priority works from a possible world logic point of view (I use this in my research on the logic of humor), nevertheless, it is clear that in the Summa, at least, Aquinas’s efficient cause implies motion or action (arguments 1 and 2 of his five ways), which implies time.

    That is a common misunderstanding of the the Quinque Viae. If it were as you say, then St Thomas would have thought that it is necessary that the world would have been created in time. In fact, he held the opposite.

    I refer you to ST, I,Q. 46, esp Art 2. You might also want to look at Gilson’s The Christian Philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas.

  58. robtbrown says:

    Also: For St Thomas motion (thus causa efficiens) refers not merely to the various types of material motion but ontological motion (i.e., from potency to act) that is found in every finite being. Thus, there is motion in angelic substances, even though they lack any matter. The foundation of the Quinque Viae, therefore, is that finite being (i.e., that which in some way is in potentia) cannot be the cause of itself.

  59. Cathy says:

    While conception is the natural beginning of human life, there are points when natural conception may result in one cell which by a-sexual splitting may become more than one person as in the case of identical twins, and I believe has even gone as far as identical quadruplets. In addition, artificial reproductive technology, IVF, cloning, and even taking a cell back to an embryonic state, if, going forward produces a man, it is a man and has a right to us in life. By right, I mean, we are responsible for this man’s life. Our responsibility for human life, is not only the determination of when a man’s life begins, but also the manner proper to the propagation of human life-the one flesh union of man and wife in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, not a laboratory. It is so strange, on the one hand, to have rape conceived children who, in offering a defense for their right to life, have somehow been labeled to be those who support the act of rape, while those children who have been created in an artificial environment are told they have no right to their biological parentage or siblings and are told that their concerns regarding ART should be considered as ingratitude for the gift of their lives. Caroline Kennedy’s speech deserves a response from the bishops, she deserves the response as well as the laity. SOS, Salvation of Souls, are in the balance, why the silence?

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