What’s up at pro-abortion Fishwrap these days?

“What’s up at Fishwrap?”, you ask.

Try this.

Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) is openly pro-abortion now… probably because the staff is solidly Dem or Marxist.  We’ve known that for awhile, but they aren’t hiding it, either.

There is a piece at Fishwrap by one Susan Vogt, who seems to have been a “family life minister” in a couple of dioceses and an adviser to the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family from 2000-2002. Heaven only knows what she advised. If this article at Fishwrap is any indication it wasn’t good.

Being pro-life is a messy affair during a presidential election

I am a pro-life Catholic. But before you put me in an ideological box and assume you know who I will vote for in November, let me complicate the issue.

First of all, you have a right to know where I stand. I am opposed to abortion on both a personal and spiritual level. Catholics are taught not to take the life of an unborn child.

Catholic or not, this is a moral decision that women facing an unwanted pregnancy have to wrestle with. Even a person with a rigorist conscience might pause when faced with incest, rape or the risk of death to the mother.

So where can a conscientious person of faith stand without being a hypocrite or naive? Ever since Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1983 coined the phrase “consistent ethic of life” Catholics were reminded that being pro-life also includes being opposed to euthanasia, the death penalty, assisted suicide and unjust war.

Today, we build on Bernardin’s seamless garment thesis that all human life is sacred by working to prevent premature deaths. People shouldn’t need to die from hunger, lack of affordable health care, gun violence and other societal injustices.


You see where this is going.


Although theoretically, the goal would be to eliminate the need for a woman to choose abortion, the first step is to reduce the number of abortions. Two approaches are:

Repeal Roe v. Wade

In my opinion, repealing Roe v. Wade is a flawed strategy. It will drive many abortions underground, especially for poor women who don’t have the money or means to travel to a more permissive state. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem — an unwanted pregnancy.

Prevent the need for abortion

Some basic starting steps for this approach are:

Educate our children from a young age about the advantages and wisdom of delaying sexual intercourse until marriage. Many chastity programs already do this — but not everyone listens or is compliant.
For those who won’t buy the “wait till marriage” approach (and there are many) provide reliable contraception. This could range from natural family planning, which is approved by the Catholic Church, to contraceptives such as birth control pills or condoms.
Research indicates that 75-90% of Catholics support the use of contraceptives.


She was a “family life minister”.


Promoting these proactive steps might help a societal consensus emerge. Until that day, we rely on the overarching Catholic moral principle: primacy of conscience.


Very slippery.

So, Fishwrap has just given cover for a pro-abortion position under the umbrella of a “seamless garment” view. They won’t like that it is identified as being pro-abortion. They will claim that it is isn’t and that they are pro-abortion. But that’s what it is. Libs always demand that you deny reality. That what this piece does even from the title.

No, “Being pro-life is a messy affair during a presidential election” is not, in fact, messy, during an election cycle or not. Being pro-life means, FIRSTLY, supporting the right of the unborn to be born. That is non-negotiable. All the other other issues that are raised under the shadow of the “seamless garment” approach involve contingent moral choices which admit of varying views and approaches about which people can debate. The one point upon which all are required, but human decency and divine will, is the right to be born into a world which admittedly has problems.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. teomatteo says:

    Yes. Slipperier than the roads around Nice (on Stage One)

  2. When I read ” we build on Bernardin’s seamless garment thesis that all human life is sacred by working to prevent premature deaths”, I quit reading. Just that name and his thesis make me ill and I figured where this was heading. I can’t get those seconds back.

  3. Unless a woman is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy (you have to remove part of the tube, not take any pills) or the pregnancy for some reason is causing sepsis/septic shock (deadly) that baby deserves to be born. That’s it.

  4. Bob says:

    “Research indicates that 75-90% of Catholics support the use of contraceptives.”

    So what. The Church is not a democracy so it’s teachings do not change at the whim of its members. We have a magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit to keeps its teachings on the straight and narrow.
    And for those who refuse to accept the Church’s teachings then consider this: Luke 10:16; “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me. Sounds open and shut to me.

  5. Charles E Flynn says:

    As slippery as a wet fish.

  6. NOCatholic says:

    If you really want to be pro-life, it’s not a messy issue at all. Mixing up being pro-life (which does include opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide) with only distantly related issues such as capital punishment which Father Z has defended) and “unjust war” is not honestly facing up to what being pro-life means: Opposing the intentional killing of innocent human life.

    There is only one obstacle to casting a definitive pro-life vote during this Presidential election: the glaring defects, in the eyes of many (going far beyond his three marriages, going into his psychological fitness to be President) of the pro-life standard bearer in this election.

    It is telling that Ms. Vogt didn’t even address that issue. She was, as others have said, “slippery.”

  7. Bob says:

    “It is telling that Ms. Vogt didn’t even address that issue. She was, as others have said, “slippery.” ”
    It is slippery but only for those who have no tread or traction in their faith otherwise pro-life is solid ground.

  8. tho says:

    I draw a comparison with the Democrats and their call for socialism. Bernie and the squad would lose the election, perhaps big time, so lets nominate Sleepy Joe, and bring it in while he is napping. The truth is a malleable weapon in the hands of people like Ms. Vogt.

  9. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – You’re resorting to psychoanalyzing a man you haven’t met and ignoring everything Trump has actually already done to support the Pro-Life movement over the past 3 years, including being the first President to actually address the March for Life. I’ve personally talked to leaders in the Pro-Life movement who have, to their surprise, personally talked with President Trump. They were originally very skeptical when he was elected – they have changed their tune. Whether you think he’s done enough or not, the sad, indisputable fact of the matter is that President Trump has done more for the Pro-Life movement than any other president. Trying to somehow cast that into a doubtful light is disingenuous. Especially in light of the alternative.

    You continue to try to build a case against Trump with predictions and guesses and phantoms and conjectures, all the while trying to downplay all of the facts tied to Biden. I’m pretty sure you’re not fit to judge the psychological fitness of the current President (even if you are a certified psychologist, you would be outside the Goldwater Rule), so I suggest you leave that out of your line of argument.

    I’m not sure what your personal beef is with Mr. Trump, but it really does come across as something personal and not genuine concern for the Pro-Life movement.

  10. Kent Wendler says:

    Sigh… I’m hearing a similar sort of argument from some near and dear to me. To them, the thought of four more years of Donald Trump as POTUS is far worse then essentially endorsing the abortion (and other pro-death) regime. Which we are probably going to get anyway because since 1973 a majority of the SCOTUS have deemed themselves as superior in moral judgment to God.

  11. NOCatholic says:

    @WVC: I have nothing personal against him, but I’ve had deep concerns about Donald Trump since 2016. If you want the appraisal of a psychologist who actually knows him, you should check out Mary Trump’s book. Longtime Republicans who have worked for him, like John Bolton, have stated their own concerns. Conservative sources like nationalreview.com and thedispatch.com have echoed concerns as well.

    Trump has had some good, even great positions and accomplishments, including his pro-life appointments, but for the person who exercises the awesome powers of the President, character counts. I can’t ignore that. I won’t vote for Biden, I don’t downplay the bad things a Biden administration could do, but I can’t vote for Trump. When it comes to issues, being pro-life is of paramount importance, but electing a President, the Commander-in-Chief of the US military, the Leader of the Free World, is not just about issues, but about the character of the person running for the most powerful elected office in the world.

    If Hillary Clinton were as dishonest as we know her to be, but a pro-life conservative, not pro-abortion, would you have voted for her? I hope not.

    Sounds like your support for Donald Trump is firm. I’m sure you have arrived at your position with prayerful consideration. So have I.

  12. Oh, how finely nuanced and progressive to be so able to seemingly weave non-sequiturs into what looks like a linear argument to support the position.

    Ol’ Scratch is smiling with pleasure as to how he’s succeeded in at least this one heart.

  13. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – Trump has already been President for 3 years. Your pretending that he will somehow launch nuclear missiles at the world if he gets reelected are completely baseless.

    Mary Trump (apart from breaking the Goldwater Rule herself) is not a reliable, unbiased source, especially given her personal history with the Trump family. Neither are the neocons, er, I mean “conservative sources.” John Bolton?? Surely you jest!

    I’m actually not much of a Pro-Life supporter, at least not in political terms, but that’s neither here nor there. I assume, as a baseline, that ALL POLITICIANS are dishonest. And I only assume this because it’s been born out by history time after time and is consistent with the doctrine of Original Sin. I think your personal problem with Trump might be that you have an unrealistic image of previous Presidents being somehow of a superior character to Mr. Trump. Have you heard the recordings of foul-mouthed LBJ? Do you know Abraham Lincoln was well known for his dirty jokes? Do you know what JFK did with Marylin Monroe? Sure beats what Mr. Clinton did in the Oval Office. Do you know much about George H.W. Bush’s past as a CIA operative? Have you been following the amazing Obamagate scandal where his administration used falsely obtained FISA warrants to spy on political opponents? It makes Watergate look mild by comparison.

    I’m not sure why anyone should expect Trump to hold to a higher standard than his predecessors. However, to be honest, given how rabidly the media has sought for scandals with Trump, both in his current administration and in his past as a business man, I was extremely surprised to find that he’s a much more honest fellow than I gave him credit for. He’s probably run one of the most transparent administrations in my lifetime.

    Do I personally like the man? Not really. Is he a saint? Heck no. Am I disappointed with some aspects of his first term? Absolutely. And I wouldn’t want to have dinner with him, and I wouldn’t want to entertain him in my home. However, “being nice” or “polite” aren’t the highest requirements on my list for being President, especially at a time like this where we need men who are ready to fight. If I could fault Trump for anything, it’s that I wish he was twice as much bite as he is bark.

  14. NOCatholic says:

    @WVC: My opposition to Trump has nothing to do with his not being “nice” nor about his not being “perfect” which no fallen human is. That is a misunderstanding of my concerns. It also has nothing to do with the frenzied opposition from the Left and the media that Trump has received. Their reasons for opposing Trump are wholly different than mine, and wrong, having much more to do with the positions he holds than any real issue with his character. (The Left are lousy judges about character).

    I don’t really want an extended debate, which would likely be futile. Neither of us will change our minds. But there is more than one position a faithful pro-life Catholic can hold about Donald Trump. Decisions about candidates for office are prudential decisions, not choices about faith and morals taught authoritatively by the Church’s magisterium.

    The peace of Our Lord be with you, my friend. Now let’s let others talk about the Fishwrap and their opposition to Catholic teaching about life.

  15. NOCatholic says:

    Speaking of Fishwrap, how can they still call themselves “Catholic” over the objections of several bishops in their home city of Kansas City?

  16. Pingback: TVESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  17. JonPatrick says:

    “Being pro-life in an election year is a messy affair”. Translation – we really want to support Biden and the Democrats because they promote all those great Socialist principles we favor but there is is problem that they are “pro choice” – is there some way we can nuance that?

  18. Everyone: Remember… JUDGES and SCOTUS.

  19. Semper Gumby says:

    Good points WVC, JonPatrick, Bryan D. Boyle et al.

    NOCatholic wrote: “…capital punishment which Father Z has defended…”

    Well, Fr. Z is Catholic, and capital punishment is Catholic.

    “unjust war”

    That’s right, Hitler and Stalin should not have invaded Poland in 1939.

  20. Hellenist says:

    You can’t *repeal* a court decision. Where do these people learn to read and write?

  21. robtbrown says:

    I never had much muse for John Bolton when he was on Fox News. He was a typical interventionist neo-con (Hello, Woodrow Wilson).

    A question I would like to ask Generals James Mattis and Herb McMaster: Can the US continue with so many military commitments around the world without a draft?

  22. RosaryRose says:

    Ms. Vogt left out another option: be Catholic.

    Be Catholic: God will never give us more than we can handle. Be there for someone considering abortion or give to someone who can be there.

    Be Catholic: many people fear being poor. Realize that the Holy Family was poor. God Himself embraced poverty. Understand that if your action is for God, and pleasing to God, know that God will care for you. My family was in the poverty level, but my parents were devout Catholics and we lived a very Catholic life with a firm belief that God loves us and we are His, no matter what happens. Romans 8:28 (that’s a Bible verse reference btw)

    Be Catholic: so many arguments for abortion focus on this world. Yes Learn your faith so you can help people understand that this life is preparation for the next life. The next life matters. Your soul matters. The unborn baby’s soul matters.

    Be Catholic. We are not a people of fear and death. We are a people of hope. We are a people sent by Christ to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. Good news! God is alive, He loves you and the baby. Let’s get it born. Let’s give you hope.

    No matter who wins the election, Trump or Harris, I will keep fighting for life.

  23. WVC says:

    @robtbrown – please, don’t give them any ideas. The next draft will include our daughters, guaranteed. I’d rather avoid that for as long as possible.

  24. NOCatholic says:

    @robtbrown: Agree or disagree with John Bolton, he has worked for and observed for 3 Presidents: Ronald Reagan and George W Bush as well as Trump. You can take his observations about Trump as informed.

    @RosaryRose: Very well said!

  25. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – You should note that your esteemed Mr. Bolton declined to give testimony about Trump under oath, especially on the verge of an impeachment in the House where his allegations might have actually had some sort of political impact. Seems dubious, especially if his concern for the safety of the nation was as legitimate as you claim. Also, there are plenty of informed opinions about John Bolton from many folks, including Patrick Buchanan, who knows a thing or two about politics, served in Nixon’s administration, and whose opinion on Bolton can be taken as informed. It’s not that folks disagree with John “I haven’t met a a needless foreign war I haven’t liked” Bolton – it’s that many folks do not believe he is a reasonable or stable individual himself. Hardly someone whose judgment on anyone’s personal integrity should carry much water.

    And here I thought you were laying off the Trump attacks?

  26. GregB says:

    I can’t see why anyone would view John Bolton as good source of information. In his own public comments he still thinks that the Libya botch was a good thing. In the post World War II era the USA has had wars where the military operations had little relationship to a coordinated political strategy. One almost gets the impression that military action is too often used as a substitute for sound political strategy. Win the war and squander the peace as it were.
    As to President Trump’s character there is one huge area that is too little mentioned, and that is keeping campaign promises. Trump has kept many campaign promises. Too often the well spoken Republican politicians make big promises on the campaign trail and then renege on them when in office. I’m sick of well spoken rent seekers. Trump has been willing to embrace positions that are deeply unpopular with the Republican rent seeking class. The rent seekers practice unilateral disarmament when threatened with the loss of their access to their rent seeking positions and perks. Trump is willing to challenge the cancel culture. Like General Grant, he fights. The current rules of engagement were set down by Saul Alinsky in his “Rules for Radicals.” He is a major part of the DNA of the political left. Trump is making them live by their own rules, that greatly preceded the Trump presidency. To me the establishment elites in the media, academia, and other establishment elite organizations define the state of the art in demagoguery.

  27. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic: There is a distinction to be made between Bolton’s roles in the Reagan and Bush administration and his role as National Security Advisor.

    Likewise, there is a distinction to be made between books by an unhappy relative and a former advisor, and Victor Davis Hanson’s “The Case for Trump” which is likely to address your policy concerns.

  28. NOCatholic says:

    @WVC: “And here I thought you were laying off the Trump attacks?”

    I though this unvarnished discussion of Trump was over. But several here have attacked John Bolton, as though his having policy disagreements with others, somehow discredits his observations.

    @GregB: Here is a signature Trump promise that was made to be broken: “We’re going to build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for it!” What happened to that promise?

    @Semper Gumby: Unlike Victor Davis Hansen’s book (at least as you present it), Mary Trump’s and John Bolton’s books were not about policy, but Trump’s character. Trump’s character, not Trump’s policies, are my concern. You may want to refer back to my question about Hillary Clinton.

    Not every faithful pro-life Catholic is going to be “all in” for Trump (and no, I’m not supporting Biden). I don’t know why that is so hard to accept. This is a prudential issue, not a doctrinal one.

  29. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic wrote: “My opposition to Trump has nothing to do with his not being “nice” nor about his not being “perfect”…”

    You also wrote on 30 August in a previous post about Trump:

    “…whose leadership during the COVID pandemic and the racial tensions was abysmal.”

    You are vacillating. You are also not grasping the point why books written by an unhappy relative and a former advisor are problematic. You are again referred to Victor Davis Hanson’s book where several things are going on.

  30. NOCatholic says:

    @Semper Gumby: Leadership is a function of character. No vacillation at all. The books I cited only confirmed what I could already see, and what I saw as far back as 2016, in Trump’s public behavior and what it revealed about his character. I cited them for your benefit, not mine. The question I referred to you was this: Would you vote for a candidate with Trump’s positions, but with the evident character flaws of Hillary Clinton? Trump’s flaws, while different, are every bit as serious as Clinton’s. That has been the dilemma of Trump’s candidacy for all of us as pro-life Catholics,

    To bring this back to the original topic, it is one thing to find fault with a pro-life candidate. It is quite another to do, as Susan Vogt has done, to twist the pro-life cause to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate. I think we are agreed that she is in the wrong. We should leave it at that.

  31. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic: “Leadership is a function of character.”

    Do not presume to lecture about leadership.

    “I cited them for your benefit, not mine.”

    Do not presume that others are unaware of the content of those books.

    “The question I referred to you was this: Would you vote for a candidate with Trump’s positions, but with the evident character flaws of Hillary Clinton?”

    Do not presume that others are obligated to answer your question.

    “Trump’s flaws, while different, are every bit as serious as Clinton’s.”

    Do not presume that others must agree with your perspective.

    “That has been the dilemma of Trump’s candidacy for all of us as pro-life Catholics”

    Do not presume that you speak for all Pro-Life Catholics.

    “We should leave it at that.”

    We’ve heard this “edict” from you before on 31 August:

    “Now let’s let others talk about the Fishwrap and their opposition to Catholic teaching about life.”

    Then, when a commenter disagreed with your John Bolton assertion, you resumed.

    To your vacillation let’s add argumentative and tilting at windmills: “Not every faithful pro-life Catholic is going to be “all in” for Trump (and no, I’m not supporting Biden). I don’t know why that is so hard to accept.”

  32. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – I’m going to have to agree with Semper Gumby – please don’t include me in “dilemma of Trump’s candidacy for all of US as pro-life Catholics.” I don’t have any dilemmas in voting for Trump. Semper Gumby is also correct in that your comments are now listing in the direction of untoward presumptions. I also personally have a significant amount of experience in the leadership field. I’m not keen to be lectured on it by others.

    I sense things are about to go South in this conversation/debate. I’ll try to offer some perspective in the hopes it helps conclude this back-and-forth satisfactorily. You clearly have some personal reasons you dislike Trump. That, in and of itself, is fine, but you continue to try to convince folks here in the comments that your reasons are objective, valid, and that we should all understand them, even if we disagree with them. We’ve made it pretty clear that we do not. We’ve offered copious amounts of reasons, examples, sources, and legitimate arguments to counter the points you’ve made. You won’t find any vindication, confirmation, or validation for your personal objections to Trump here. I think a careful reading of most if not all of the comments in response to your points would show they are fair and represent significant responses to the issues you’ve posed (as in they’re not the typical “you = bad; me = good” type of argument one commonly sees on the internet).

    We don’t (let me emphasize this) think that you are a bad Catholic for holding Trump in such disdain. I know other Catholics whom I esteem who, for personal reasons, hate Trump. I think they are wrong, but I would be a fool to let Donald Trump stand in between me and that person’s friendship. Those of use who truly believe Biden winning the election would be an irreversible catastrophe for the country would certainly love the support of anyone and everyone, but I think that’s understandable.

    The only thing I will say about Trump with regard to this whole exchange is that we understand that you claim to see significant character flaws in the man of some order of magnitude greater than anyone else who has ever held the office of President. We do not see those flaws. Speaking for myself, what flaws I see are either insignificant or, in specific cases, feigned by Trump as part of his public persona which he knows works in the media-driven world we inhabit. That is it’s part of his strategy, a strategy that reflects more on the sickness of our modern world more than it does on Mr. Trump. Just as I wouldn’t mistake the foppery of Bertie Wooster as a true flaw in Hugh Laurie’s character, I don’t confuse “Reality TV Star Trump” with “I’m here to get business done Trump.” Confessions from folks with axes to grind (as Semper Gumby and others have explained) hold little water with us because those folks clearly represent a biased perspective during a hyper-biased time. For every confession of a fired staffer or disgruntled family member you could offer, I can counter with a testimony from the recent RNC (which, if you haven’t watched it, there really are some fantastic speeches given my some very earnest people, several of which are Democrats – at the very least go watch the over-the-top fireworks display at the end – it’s really quite the spectacle).

    I would even point to the recent Axios on HBO interview – Trump held his own, without any advisors, against an incredibly insulting and hostile interviewer. Apart from his typical Queens bluster and very human moments of awkwardness, he actually had surprising command of a wide range of topics, and made some extremely salient points that the interviewer completely ignored. No other president in living memory has subjected himself to that kind of a public grilling by someone they knew, long before the interview, was going to be biased against them. When it got difficult, he didn’t walk out. After it was all over, he didn’t throw a fit but was professional and cordial with the interviewer who, for 30 minutes, had been about as unprofessional and petty as an interviewer could be. As someone who honestly thought little of the man before his 2016 election, he has done nothing but improve my opinion of him since he has taken office.

    I think this is a good place to end it. As you’ve said before, neither side intends to give way.

  33. GregB says:

    NOCatholic: I did not specifically address my message to you. It was more of a general comment reminding people about Bolton’s views about Libya. With the example of Libya, why would any country give up a nuclear weapons program like Libya did? Talking about Libya like Bolton does is like leading with a glass jaw. It shows questionable judgment. As to the wall, Trump is building it, the only point in question is getting Mexico to pay for it. For a lot of people the wall construction is more important than its funding source.

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