Digest of Today's Posts (31 October 2008)
(Digest of Wednesday's Posts (29 October 2008))
Labels: Digest of Posts
Labels: Digest of Posts
Deacon Keith Fournier writes at Catholic Online:
An October 29, 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times entitled “The end of the Catholic vote” made quite a stir. Written by Tim Rutten, it made these observations: “It's an article of faith in U.S. politics that, when it comes to the popular vote at least, Catholics determine the winners in our presidential contests. In fact, with the notable exception of George W. Bush eight years ago, no candidate in recent memory has entered the White House without securing a majority of the votes cast by Catholics, who now make up more than a fourth of the U.S. population. Until Ronald Reagan came along and created a new political category -- "Reagan Democrats" -- Catholics also were a reliable constituency in the party of Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt. That had been true since the 1840s, when the first great waves of Catholic immigrants essentially were pushed into the Democrats' arms by the anti-immigrant sentiments of the Know Nothings and Whigs, most of whom ended up in the new Republican Party. Much has been made through the years of “the Catholic vote,” and its influence in presidential politics in the United States of America.”(emphasis added)
The political air is filled with talk about the “Catholic vote”. It happens every four years. I have spent a great amount of time, prayer, time and energy seeking to mobilize Catholic citizens, no matter what their political affiliation, to vote in a manner consistent with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. That wonderful body of teaching offers truths and principles for all men and women which, if actually applied, will assist in building a truly just society for all and serve the real common good. I have done all I can to encourage my fellow Catholics and other Christians to read what the Catholic Bishops have offered in their letters on the implications of our "Faithful Citizenship” on how we vote. I am convinced of the extraordinary potential that a properly catechized and effectively mobilized Catholic constituency could bring to the corroded political and policy landscape of our beloved Nation.
As we approach what many proclaim is “the most important election of our lifetime” it is possible that Catholics could indeed decide this election. However, when I read editorials like the one found in the LA Times I feel I must, like the little boy in the story of the emperor with no clothes, expose the façade. There is no Catholic vote, in the sense of a monolithic bloc of voters. The debate can continue as to whether there ever truly was such a "Catholic vote". I think the patterns were attributable to the demographic realities of the Catholic community in the last part of the last century. It did not reflect the presence of a truly informed and engaged group of faithful Catholic citizens who voted in a manner which was informed by the teaching of the Magisterium (teaching office) of the Catholic Church.
There is a need for a new form of “Catholic Action”, an issue focused Catholic movement which follows the clear directives of the Second Vatican Council, the encyclicals of the Popes and the treasury of Catholic Social Teaching compiled in the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic church”. However, such a movement does not now exist, at least in the United States of America. Instead there are voices, some using “Catholic” in their organizational name, which are seeking to influence Catholics to vote in certain ways. In some instances, what they are proposing is at odds with the foundational principle of all Catholic Social Teaching, the inviolable dignity of absolutely every human life at every age and stage. Without that principle, the entirety of Catholic Social Teaching unravels and the entire infrastructure of human rights is placed at risk.
Social structures themselves, including their economic components, are to be ordered toward human persons and families, and promote human flourishing and solidarity. The claim that the taking of innocent human life by someone in a more powerful position - whether that life is embryonic, middle aged or elderly, healthy, wealthy or wise - could EVER be called a “right” in any just society is repugnant and absolutely NOT in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Yet some Catholics in the political debate are now trying to persuade fellow Catholics that it might be acceptable to vote for a candidate who says just that with their errant appeals to “proportionality”. There simply is no proportionate reason which can justify voting for this candidate who supports lethal legislation such as the “Freedom of Choice Act” because an alternative choice is on the ballot. Since there is such an alternative choice, it should be made.
The fact that such an aberration of the Moral teaching of the Catholic Church is being espoused by people such as Constitutional Law professor Doug Kmiec who formerly defended the exact opposite of what he now espouses proves how desperate the hour has become. Doug’s reasoning is an incorrect presentation of important principles involved in moral decision making and human action in Catholic moral thought. However, rather than accurately explaining what is involved in finding a proportionate reason he now espouses a form of “proportionalism”, a theory which has been roundly condemned in Papal encyclicals such as “The Splendor of Truth” and is rejected right within the Catholic Catechism. However, since there is a substantial lack of understanding concerning the true moral teaching of the Catholic Church, his arguments have gained ground. Correcting this will take a lot of work.
The American Bishop’s letters have been helpful. However, as this current election has shown, some people (especially lawyers it seems) can take the words of such letters, parse them out of context and then with sophistry lead the faithful to the opposite position of what they plainly state. The number of letters, statements and articles from the Bishops of the United States defending the truth concerning our obligation to vote in a manner which defends all human life show their courage as our moral teachers. They bode well for the future, as we build a new Catholic Action which puts legs on that moral teaching. However, as this election approaches we need an honest self assessment; few Catholics have read the Catholic Catechism or the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church and many are not listening to the Bishops.
[Read the whole thing]
Tom McFeely writes at National Catholic Register:
Catholic backers of Barack Obama argue that little progress on reducing abortion has been made through electing candidates who are formally “pro-life.”(emphasis added)
So, pro-Obama Catholics insist, it matters little that Obama is completely committed to the expansion of abortion rights and to appointing Supreme Court judges who will uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. What counts in terms of saving unborn lives is Obama’s pledge to enact social policies that allegedly will cause fewer women to choose to abort their unborn babies.
That assessment is dead wrong, according to a comprehensive analysis of the effects of pro-life legislation over the last two decades.
“However, an examination of the history of the pro-life movement and a careful analysis of abortion trends demonstrate that these arguments are deeply flawed,” reports Prof. Michael New, assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama and a visiting fellow at the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton. “In fact, the success of pro-life political candidates has resulted in substantial reductions in the abortion rate.”
New’s research demolishes the Democrat claim that reductions in America’s rate of abortion in recent years are a consequence of social policy changes introduced in the 1990s by Bill Clinton.
Instead, the decline in abortions was due to two factors.
One was the passage [of] an increasing number of incremental restrictions on abortion access by legislatures controlled by pro-life politicians to abortion. The other was the development of a more pro-life-friendly Supreme Court as a result of the inclusion on its bench of justices appointed during the Republican presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush.
Sometimes election years produce more policy myths than good ideas. This year one myth is about abortion. It goes like this: The Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision is here to stay, and that's fine because laws against abortion don't reduce abortions much anyway. Rather, "support for women and families" will greatly reduce abortions, without changing the law or continuing a "divisive" abortion debate.(emphasis added)
Various false claims are used to bolster this myth. It is said that over three-quarters of women having abortions cite expense as the most important factor in their decision. Actually the figure is less than one-fourth, 23%. It is said that abortion rates declined dramatically (30%) during the Clinton years, but the decline stopped under the ostensibly pro-life Bush administration. Actually the abortion rate has dropped 30% from 1981 to 2005; the decline started 12 years before Clinton took office, and has continued fairly steadily to the present day.
The steepest decline is among minors. Is it plausible that economic factors reduced abortions for teens but not their older sisters, or their mothers who support them?
The reality is this: In 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde amendment, and federally funded abortions went from 300,000 a year to nearly zero. With its decisions in Webster (1989) and Casey (1992), the Court began to uphold other abortion laws previously invalidated under Roe. States passed hundreds of modest but effective laws: bans on use of public funds and facilities; informed consent laws; parental involvement when minors seek abortion; etc. Dr. Michael New's rigorous research has shown that these laws significantly reduce abortions. In the 1990s, debate on partial-birth abortion - kept in the public eye, ironically, by President Clinton's repeated vetoes of a ban on this grisly late-term procedure - alerted many Americans to the violence of abortion and shifted public attitudes in a pro-life direction, just as growing concern over AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases was giving new force to the abstinence message for teens. Now the Court has upheld a partial-birth abortion ban, and signaled that other laws to save unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion may be valid. If Roe is reversed outright, that will allow more laws that can further reduce abortions.
By contrast, a pending federal "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) would knock down current laws reducing abortions, and require public programs for pregnant women to fund abortion. No one supporting that bill can claim to favor reducing abortions.
Many women are pressured toward abortion, and they need our help. The pressures are partly, but only partly, economic in nature. Women are influenced by husbands, boyfriends, parents and friends, and by a culture and legal system that tells them the child they carry has no rights and is of no consequence. Law cannot solve all problems, but it can tell us which solutions are unacceptable - and today Roe still teaches that killing the unborn child is an acceptable solution, even a "right." Without ever forgetting the need to support pregnant women and their families, that tragic and unjust error must be corrected if we are to build a society that respects all human life.
(Hat tip: Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex)
One can argue that every presidential election is a “historic” election. But some are more historic than others. Daniel Henninger had a provocative column yesterday making a strong case that this one is a “tipping point” between America continuing as an entrepreneurial society or going the way of the European “social democracies.” He cites the late Senator Pat Moynihan who said the big difference between Europe and America is that the former gives priority to equality and the latter to liberty. I’m not sure that Henninger is right in saying there would be no turning back after four or eight years of President Obama and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress imposing their passion for a government-directed program of redistribution and social coordination, but the future he depicts is both plausible and ominous.My Comments:
There is another dimension of this ideological passion for the expansion of government control that is at least equally worrying. It has to do with the freedom of religion in the American constitutional order and the indispensable part that religion plays in checking the ambitions of the modern democratic state. Obama has said that he thinks it is “tragic” that the Supreme Court has declined to advance the cause of redistributive justice. That refers, of course, to economic redistribution. But the language of healing divisions and bringing us all together—under government auspices—applies also to the social dynamics of American society.
There are several issues, all closely related to religion, on which Obama, for all his undoubtedly sincere talk about his own faith and the importance of religion in public life, is manifestly hostile to the vibrant diversity of American life. The first is abortion, of course. The protection of innocent human life should not be seen as an exclusively religious concern, for it is grounded in scientifically-informed moral reason that should be compelling to all. Nonetheless, the pro-life cause is largely driven by the religiously motivated.
Obama makes no secret of his intention to shut down that cause and disenfranchise the millions who are committed to the abolition of the abortion license imposed by Roe. This is evident beyond doubt by his repeated and enthusiastic endorsement of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would, among other things, eliminate all state regulation of abortions—such as informed consent and parental notification—and provide government funding for abortions. FOCA aims to extinguish once and for all the single issue in American public life on which the free exercise of religion has had greatest potency in the last several decades of our history. Similar dynamics are in play in the court-imposed laws favoring same-sex marriage, of which Obama has expressed his approval, such as the California ruling now being fiercely contested in a referendum.
(Hat tip: Cranky Con)
As a Conservative, I Must Say I Do Quite Like the Cut of this Obama Fellow's JibMy Comments:
By T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII
Columnist, The National Topsider
Membership Chairman, The Newport Club
... But I've taken a good measure of this Obama fellow, and I must say I like the cut of the man's jib.
How can I say this, you ask? One look at this Obama chap is all the answer you need. Suave, tanned, unflappable, Harvard connections; it's obvious that here is a man to the conservative manor born. One imagines him at the helm of the Ship of State, basked in the sunlight diffusing through the seaspray over the bow, like some beautiful rugged Othello from a rapturous Ralph Lauren catalog, calmly issuing instructions to the deck crew in that magnificent mellifluous baritone of his. It's that easy-going, almost effortless grace that has all the A-list conservatives like David Frum and Kathleen Parker whispering Reaganesque in hushed tones. Even Peggy Noonan -- the Grand Dame of Gipperism -- has succumbed to Obama's undeniable conservative charms. Just last month I listened to her wax poetic about the Adonis of Chicago between chukkers at the Newport Club polo tournament final. "Why Peggy, you old dowager," I quipped, "I believe you just had an orgasm."
Amy Welborn refutes another straw man argument (namely, that anti-abortion voters are “cultural warriors ... all about making abortion a wedge issue for the GOP and nothing more”):
... The assumption behind the questions about anti-abortion activity and the GOP is often strained and incorrect, though, because the assumption is that, absent a 3rd-party option, that the anti-abortion movement actually has a choice regarding its frequent alignment with the GOP. That the Democrats are just, you know, waiting to welcome them with open arms, but the stubborn, unthinking, loyalists just won’t budge. Because it’s really not about abortion for them - it’s about the Republican party. Which they love, blind to the possibilities of the Dems.
Forgetting the inconvenient truth that in 1972, the Democratic party embraced the abortion rights cause as its own, and hasn’t let go since.
It all came to a head in 1972, as most of us know, but even if you do know, [Mark] Stricherz’s account [in Why the Democrats Are Blue] of the 1972 convention is helpful and even riveting at times. What’s most interesting to me is that the abortion issue more or less came out of the blue. It was only the feminists who wanted it and McGovern’s people were actually rather frantic that it not become a part of the platform, knowing full well what it would do to the traditional party base.
It really is quite amazing to consider the transformation in the priorities of the Democratic party in just those few years - who in 1964 could have imagined that gay rights and abortion rights would become such a focus just a decade later.
In 1980, Carter and his supporters worked against pro-gay rights and pro-abortion rights planks in the platform but were handily defeated, on the latter, by a margin of 2-1 voting in support of planks supporting unrestricted abortion and taxpayer-funded abortion, the vote achieved in great part by maneuverings and decisions made over the previous years to enact a quota requiring a 50-50 female-male split on delegates.
And then came Reagan.
Gee. I wonder why the pro-life activists starting doubting the Democratic party was open to their concerns.
Deal Hudson has compiled a list of over 100 Bishops who have, either individually or jointly, spoken out during this election season to emphasize the priority of abortion and other life issues for Catholic voters.
Writing at The Curt Jester, Jeff Miller takes issue with this piece by Deal Hudson:
... The USCCB could have published Faithful Citizenship with one line saying "Abortion is the preeminent issue of our time." and they would still have found wiggle room with a Clintonesque meaning of "is". Like Vatican II we have a "spirit of Faithful Citizenship." It does not matter what the totality of a document says, they will strip it out of context.
The main things about many dissenters is that they are basically liars...
As to Faithful Citizenship itself it certainly is not without flaws. It is way to wordy, long and, repetitive. Obviously written by a committee and not having a strong editor to clean it up. Though that is kind of the nature of USCCB documents in the first place. It does though have some of the clearer statements on abortion and that it is not just one issue of many and it much better than the documents released in 2000 and 2004.
Somebody who understands how horrific an evil abortion is, is not going to read Faithful Citizenship and say "Wow, I guess I can vote for Obama if I want to." People who are willing to overlook abortion, ESCR, euthanasia, cloning, and homosexual marriage are not likely to be swayed by a USCCB document anyway.
Besides how many average people in the pew have actually read Faithful Citizenship anyway. Or in fact any USCCB document. I have never seen a bishop's document passed out or on a table as you enter a church. Sure wonks such as myself read all the documents coming out of the Vatican and USCCB, but surely this is not common. Probably the average Catholic knowledge on these documents is often third hand if at all. So I think blaming the Faithful Citizenship is a bit of hyperbole...
Labels: Digest of Posts
Deacon Keith Fournier writes at Catholic Online:
... I assert that in our own age there is a new “Know Nothing” movement which really feels the same way, at least as it relates to serious Catholics who refuse to compromise on truth. Ironically, some of its leaders are Catholics themselves. In fact, Catholics in Public Life who openly oppose the infallible teaching of the Church on the dignity of every human life as well as the truth concerning the nature of true marriage.(emphasis in original)
On June 3, 2003 the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, issued a directive entitled “Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal recognition To Unions Between Homosexual persons.” Along with millions of Catholics I received it with gratitude. I remember stopping to pray after my first reading of the document. I thanked the Lord for the clarity, wisdom, pastoral concern, and proper exercise of authority demonstrated by the Catholic Church in addressing one of the most vital issues of our day. The document presented nothing new concerning Marriage and rejected any effort to give equivalent legal status to homosexual unions. It restated the unbroken tradition of the Catholic Christian Church for over two thousand years. It sought to help Bishops and direct Catholics in Public Life: “The present Considerations do not contain new doctrinal elements; they seek rather to reiterate the essential points on this question and provide arguments drawn from reason which could be used by Bishops in preparing more specific interventions, appropriate to the different situations throughout the world, aimed at protecting and promoting the dignity of marriage, the foundation of the family, and the stability of society, of which this institution is a constitutive element. The present Considerations are also intended to give direction to Catholic politicians by indicating the approaches to proposed legislation in this area which would be consistent with Christian conscience”.
There is a social and cultural revolutionary movement underway in the United States and beyond. One of its goals is the complete redefinition of the word Marriage and the building of some sort of brave new world. It is led by those on the fringes of the homosexual activist community who want to force legal recognition of homosexual unions and then enforce an equivalency with true marriage using the Police Power of the State. They will stop at nothing less than this legal “equivalency” between homosexual unions and true marriage. In fact, having learned from the evil of the movement to make the taking of innocent life in the womb through abortion “a right”, they are masters with words. They have reframed this anti-marriage movement as a movement for “marriage equality” much like the proponents of abortion succeeded in calling killing the unborn a “choice”. This movement undermines true marriage and the family founded upon it. It is destructive to the civil order and to the common good. However, Catholics must be brutally honest about some in our own house. Purporting to speak for the Church or to promote some “new way”, certain Catholic voices, (some deeply confused or misinformed, others deluded or disingenuous, and still others overtly rebellious) undermine the teaching of our Church, do violence to the truth, cause scandal, injure the common good and put their own souls in jeopardy. The most recent example of this was the action of the candidate for the U.S. Vice Presidency on the Democratic ticket, Senator Joseph Biden. Senator Biden is a Catholic. He appeared on the "Ellen" show, called California Proposition 8 "regressive" and "unfair", indicated he would oppose it if he lived in California and then added that he and running mate Barack Obama opposed a similar initiative nationally.
This was one more example of the infidelity demonstrated by Senator Biden to some of the teaching of his own Church. Already having been corrected for his absolute error in supposedly recounting the Catholic position on when life begins, he has chosen to oppose the Church again on another essential truth, the Catholic commitment to protecting true marriage. He is one of a number of unfaithful Catholic politicians who have already hidden behind a self erected “public/private” dichotomy in rejecting their absolute duty to defend life. They now want to do the same thing by failing to defend true marriage and family. They also engage in sophistry to explain away their error. In taking both of these positions, these Catholic politicians are not only being unfaithful to the truths proclaimed by their own Church, they are undermining the common good. The directive could not have been clearer in speaking to these folks: “When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favor of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications. When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”
The Vatican directive made it clear. Just as Catholic politicians MUST unequivocally support the right to life for unborn persons, they must also support true marriage: “When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral”. Catholics should ask Senator Biden, “What is it about this binding directive from the Holy See that you do not understand?”
[Read the whole thing]
Here's a snippet:
... I've been thinking about what I'd have to believe in order to make a jump like that:My Comments:
10. That two years as the chief executive of a state is less relevant experience for the presidency than two years as a back-bench senator with no major legislative accomplishments.
9. That a man who is revered as a "maverick" because he pisses off social conservatives is never allowed to do anything that pisses me off.
8. That the man who included his time in elementary school and his undergraduate degree in international relations among his presidential qualifications knows more about foreign policy than a war hero with two and a half decades in the Senate, or even more than a woman who for two years has received intelligence briefings on Russian incursions into Alaskan airspace.
7. That McCain's pandering to the base of the Republican party is more dangerous than Obama's pandering to the base of the Democratic party.
Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, responds to statements made by Sen. Joseph Biden published in the October 19, 2008 edition of the News Journal:
October 24, 2008(emphasis added)
In his interview with the News Journal published on October 19, 2008, Senator Biden presents a seriously erroneous picture of Catholic teaching on abortion. He says, “I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years,” and he goes on to claim repeatedly that the Church has a nuanced view of the subject that leaves a great deal of room for uncertainty and debate.
This is simply incorrect. The teaching of the Church is clear and not open to debate. Abortion is a grave sin because it is the wrongful taking of an innocent human life. And the Church has always opposed abortion. The Church received the tradition opposing abortion from Judaism. In the Greco-Roman world the early Christians were identifiable by their rejection of the common practices of abortion and infanticide. The “Didache,” probably the earliest Christian writing apart from the New Testament, explicitly condemns abortion without exceptions. It tells us that there is a “way of life” and a “way of death” and that abortion is a part of the way of death. This has been the consistent teaching of the Church ever since. It was also the position of Protestant reformers without exception. It was the teaching of Pope John XXIII as well as Pope John Paul II. It is the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops of the universal Church, including myself as shepherd of this diocese.
Some ancient and medieval theologians did see a difference between early abortions and ones that occurred later in term because under the limited medical knowledge of the time they did not know then what we scientifically know now—that a fetus is a living human being from the time of conception. Nevertheless, they universally condemned all abortions.
And of course we now know that a fetus is a living human being from the very start. Thus abortions take innocent human lives no matter when they occur. Since there is no “gradation” in the Church’s teaching on abortion, there is no way that the medically obsolete division of pregnancy into three trimesters by Roe v. Wade can have any bearing on the rightness or wrongness of abortion. Taking an innocent life in the womb is equally wrong at any stage of pregnancy.
The Declaration of Independence lists as God-given rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Life is listed first and it is the principal function of the state to protect the lives of its citizens. This understanding of the state’s primary obligation to protect human life is also fundamental to the Catholic social doctrine to which the Senator points. Without life all other rights are meaningless.
This Sunday all the parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington will pray the Litany of St. Thomas More, martyr and patron saint of statesmen, politicians and lawyers. In that litany we will ask St. Thomas More to intercede so that all statesmen and politicians may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life. We hope that Senator Biden will carefully listen to the Church’s 2000 years of testimony on abortion and that he will join in the defense and promotion of the sanctity of life.
Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
(Hat tip: Creative Minority Report)
Just Look(emphasis added)
The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.
Have you any doubt that it is a human being?
But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a "human being" is, what a "person" is, what it means to be "living," and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us "Roe v. Wade" address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining "human being," defining "person," defining "living," and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who "chooses" to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.
It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that "killing" and "choosing to kill" are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of "human being," "person," "living," and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is "part" of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her "because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body."
[Read the whole thing]
What needs to happen for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential aspirations to remain viable? Primarily, at least 2 things:
ROMNEY ANTI-PALINLet me repeat what I said above: lest there be any confusion about the likelihood of my ever voting for Mitt Romney, it ain't gonna happen. Not ever. It wasn't going to happen if he had won the nomination this year, so don't bother trotting him out in 2012 because I'm not going to vote for him then, either. The man is a liberal wolf in conservative sheep's clothing. His record as Governor of Massachusetts (as well as his "pro-choice"/pro-gay political rhetoric prior to his decision to run for the GOP nomination for president, at which point he suddenly decided he was a social conservative) reveal him to be untrustworthy on issues of import to social conservatives. I don't trust him, and I won't vote for him. Under any circumstances. I'd vote for Rudy before I'd vote for Romney. And, as my involvement with Catholics Against Rudy indicates, I'd never vote for Rudy for President. So, that shows you where Romney rates in my book.
Former Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffers, some of whom are currently working for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin's bid for the White House, have been involved in spreading ant-Palin spin to reporters, seeking to diminish her standing after the election. "Sarah Palin is a lightweight, she won't be the first, not even the third, person people will think of when it comes to 2012," says one former Romney aide, now working for McCain-Palin. "The only serious candidate ready to challenge to lead the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. He's in charge on November 5th."
Romney has kept a low profile nationally since being denied the vice presidential nomination. He is currently traveling for the National Republican Congressional Committee in support of some House members, and has attended events for a handful of other House members who have sought his support, but he has traveled little for the McCain-Palin ticket. "He said the only time he'd travel for us is if we assured him that national cameras would be there," says a McCain campaign communications aide. "He's traveled to Nevada and a couple other states for us. That's about it."
Should McCain-Palin not win next week, Romney is expected to mount another presidential run, though it isn't clear that he has handled himself particularly well since losing the nomination. He failed to support or espouse conservative positions on the economic bailout bill in an effective or meaningful way, and he has turned down opportunities to endorse and work for conservative candidates in House or Senate seats unless they were assured of winning.
The most glaring oversight was Romney's refusal to do a phone recording for Massachusetts Republican Jeff Beatty, who is challenging Sen. John Kerry. "Mitt supposedly cares about Massachusetts, but won't even return phone calls asking for help," says a conservative working for Beatty in Boston. "It's a tough race, but the least he could do is help. He's showing his true colors."
Some former Romney aides were behind the recent leaks to media, including CNN, that Governor Sarah Palin was a "diva" and was going off message intentionally. The former and current Romney supporters further are pushing Romney supporters for key Republican jobs, including head of the Republican National Committee.
(Hat tip: Kathryn Lopez)
From ABC News:
ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala reports: Near the hometown of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin guaranteed a come-from-behind victory for the McCain-Palin ticket in Pennsylvania.
“This morning we were in Ohio, we were in the home of Joe the Plumber,” Palin said to a crowd of supporters packed onto the football field of Beaver Area High School near Pittsburgh, Pa., this evening. “And now, we are here in Beaver County, Pa., home of Joe the Quarterback.”
Palin was referring to former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who was born and raised in nearby Beaver Falls, and led the underdog Jets to an upset win in Super Bowl III over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, after Namath had guaranteed a win three days before the game.
“Now, Joe Namath is probably a little bit before your time,” Palin said to the high school students in the crowd. “But do you remember, though, in the biggest game of his life, all the experts had Joe Namath and the Jets written off to defeat? They were up against the elite team that had all the money, and they were held in awe by the media. And Broadway Joe replied, 'we’re gonna win the game, I guarantee it.' And they won.
“And I hope Joe won’t mind if I paraphrase him some in this state, his home state, Pennsylvania, with your help, we’re going to win this state. I guarantee it,” Palin said to wild applause...
Labels: Digest of Posts
At American Catholic, this outstanding effort from Darwin takes issue with those on the Catholic left criticizing the over 60 Bishops who have issued clarifications regarding the USCCB's Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship:
... More than sixty bishops have thus far issued letters or statements in which they have provided further guidance on how Catholics should apply their judgement to the principles articulated in Faithful Citizenship — mostly with a mind to emphasizing the important of “life issues”. The Faithful Citizenship document was approved by 250 of the bishops in session, so clearly, the document as it stands represents a wide consensus of the Catholic bishops in the United States. And yet, with more than sixty bishops issuing their own explanatory documents, there is clearly some sort of disagreement going on.(emphasis added)
... Rather than accusing the bishops of not being “fully atuned to the responsibilities of collective ownership” I think it would behoove American Catholics to ask themselves: are the bishops trying to tell us something about the document they themselves wrote?
The bishops gave us a document in which they discussed at length the way in which a Catholic with a well formed conscience should weigh all of the different concerns which we are faced with as US citizens during this election. As is appropriate for such a document (and as you can expect given that the 250 bishops involved obviously had varying judgements on the relative weight of various issues in the current political landscape) it very much focused upon the principles of how Catholics should weigh the different types of issues, and provided no judgements as to how one ought to use this intellectual framework to reach a decision. This is, I would say, just as it should be. And while the document is frankly rather longer and more involved than the average lay Catholic will have patience to read and digest, it is I think a very good document.
However, as soon as the document came out, a number of highly partisan Catholic writers (Mornings Minion very much among them) immediately set to work to make the case that the document should be taken to mean that one not only could vote for a pro-abortion politician (which given sufficient proportional reasons, one certainly may in certain circumstances) but that the document practically could have been titled, “Faithful Citizens Should Vote For Obama.”
Clearly a number of the bishops believe that issues such as abortion should weigh very heavily in people’s thoughts as they consider the political landscape this year, and given that the bishops are intended to be our shepherds in faith and morals it certainly doesn’t seem appropriate to me that lay bloggers should be blasting back, “You gave us a document we can conveniently twist to mean whatever we want, now shut up and let us tell you what you meant.” Since the bishops are our pastors, the very least that we can do as laity is listen respectfully to what they say.
Those, like MM, who don’t like the political implications of what the bishops have been saying should consider that perhaps much of this outspokenness is of their own making. I know that I’ve been receiving 2-3 emails a week at my DarwinCatholic blog email address from groups such as Catholic Democrats, Catholics United and Matthew 25 Network – each email repeating claims that the moral and intellectual structure laid out in Faithful Citizenship means that I must vote for Obama. Over at Vox Nova, MM has been cranking out posts of a similar tenor.
If one does not want to be chastised by the bishops, one should endeavour not to use their collective authority to support a view which many of them do not in fact hold.
[Read the whole thing]
Lest Professor Gaillardetz’s teaching position and self-identification as a Catholic create any misunderstandings, it should be pointed out that his opinions regarding the issue of abortion, and Roe v. Wade in particular, do not reflect the clear and consistent moral position of the United States Bishops.Again, the reason so many Bishops have, like Bishop Blair, spoken out to clarify the meaning of Faithful Citizenship is because so many have twisted their words for political objectives.
(Hat tip: Creative Minority Report)
... But I do remember a few things with startling specificity - usually, as you might expect, things with particular personal resonance or of great interest to me.My Comments:
Take January 23, 1993. I remember that. Okay, so I didn’t remember the date until I looked it up, but I did remember it was the Saturday after Clinton’s first inauguration. And I was attending a workshop for catechists. In attendance at the workshop was an older religious sister. At one point, we were sitting next to each other and the new administration in Washington came up.
The sister was dismayed. “Did you hear what President Clinton did?”
(If by chance, you have forgotten: Jan. 22: President Clinton reverses years of pro-life progress by issuing five executive orders reversing Title 10 regulations banning abortion referral by federal employees, repealing the Mexico City Policy restricting federal funding of international organizations that work to reverse countries’ abortion laws, negating the ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants, ordering military hospitals to perform abortions, and asking the FDA to “review” the import ban on RU 486.”)
Yes, I’d heard about that.
“I just can’t believe he did that,” Sister continued. “I don’t understand why he would do those things. I supported him.”
I was surprised, but not really. I tried to point out to Sister that President Clinton had run on an abortion rights platform supported in word and funds by abortion-rights groups, and reversal of these policies was a stated and clear goal of these groups.
She just shook her head again. “I still can’t believe it.”
This will lose her some support from some Catholics on the right (take it up with the Bishops, folks), but kudos to Gov. Palin. By the way, don't look for her to get any credit for her stance from the Usual Suspects on the Catholic left, either.
Governor, let me ask you about immigration. How many undocumented immigrants are there in Alaska?Apparently, Gov. Palin also said this:
I don't know, I don't know. That's a good question.
As governor, how do you deal with them? Do you think they all should be deported?
There is no way that in the US we would roundup every illegal immigrant -there are about 12 million of the illegal immigrants- not only economically is that just an impossibility but that’s not a humane way anyway to deal with the issue that we face with illegal immigration.
Do you then favor an amnesty for the 12 or 13 million undocumented immigrants?
No, I do not. I do not. Not total amnesty. You know, people have got to follow the rules. They’ve got to follow the bar, and we have got to make sure that there is equal opportunity and those who are here legally should be first in line for services being provided and those opportunities that this great country provides.
To clarify, so you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?
I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.
We secure our borders first. But then with a comprehensive approach we must deal humanely with those who are here, and we must allow the steps to be taken to protect the families of those who are here, maybe as illegal immigrants today.Some will say that Gov. Palin is merely parroting the top of the ticket. But knowing what I know about Gov. Palin, I do not find it hard to believe that she would support a "path to citizenship" approach as the most humane method of addressing the issue of undocumented aliens.
(Hat tip: American Papist)
... I take it as an iron law of controversy that when three tenured law professors like Nick Cafardi, Cathy Kaveny, and Doug Kmiec fret in print about "intellectual siren calls" and "elegant theorizing," something other than real argument—moral argument or policy argument—is afoot. A serious, bipartisan, national debate about the ways in which people of goodwill in both political parties can work together to build a culture of life in 21st-century America would be welcome. Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec are not making the contributions to that argument of which they were once capable. Indeed, as the Most Rev. Charles Chaput, archbishop of Denver recently put it (speaking, he emphasized, as a private citizen), "To suggest—as some Catholics do—that Senator [Barack] Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred 'pro-life' option is to subvert what the word 'pro-life' means."(emphasis added)
Why? Because the public record amply demonstrates that Senator Obama is not the abortion moderate of our professors' imagination, but a genuine abortion radical. In the third presidential debate, Obama described Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that obliterated the abortion law of all fifty states, as "rightly decided"—a judgment with which Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec have all disagreed in the past. Moreover, Senator Obama's defense of Roe extends far beyond anyone's "elegant theorizing." Support for Roe was Obama's stated reason for opposing Illinois bills aimed at providing legal protection for children who survived an abortion. Support for Roe buttressed Obama's criticism of a Supreme Court decision upholding state partial-birth abortion laws. The full implementation of the most radical interpretation of Roe would seem to be the goal of Obama's support for the federal Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA], which, by stripping Catholic doctors of "conscience clause" protections currently in state laws, would put thousands of Catholic physicians in jeopardy.
In short, there is very little, if anything, in Senator Obama's public record to suggest that he agrees with Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec that abortion is a "tragic moral choice." On the contrary, the 2008 Democratic platform removed language that described abortion as "regrettable" from the relevant plank. Do Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec imagine that they have a better grasp of Senator Obama's views on the life issues than, say, the National Reproductive Rights Action League [NARAL], or other pro-choice Obama supporters?
... Should Senator Obama be elected president, Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec will enjoy a brief moment of satisfaction. That moment will likely be followed by the discovery that they have far less credit in the new administration's bank than NARAL and other longtime Obama supporters.
[Read the whole thing]
From the October 26-November 1 issue of National Catholic Register:
The time approaches when we must vote again. That means that pro-lifers are once again receiving two pointed criticisms: “You shouldn’t be a single-issue voter” and “What’s the point in voting pro-life when neither party is going to change the legality of abortion, anyway?”
They are both fair questions. We would like to address both by examining the alternatives. What other kinds of voters are there, and what are their track records of success?
1. The No-Issue Voter
Many voters, truth be told, aren’t single-issue voters or multi-issue voters. They are “no-issue” voters. They may vote for the candidate who seems most “presidential.”
2. The Partisan Voter
Americans tend to pick, and cheer for, our party affiliations in much the way we pick our favorite teams...
But political parties aren’t like teams. They embrace policy positions on matters of life and death.
Instead of being loyal to parents’ party preference, we should rediscover what principles led them to embrace a political party. Those principles might be worth our loyalty, even if the party no longer is.
3. The Single-Issue Economic Voter
Often, when someone says, “Don’t be a single-issue voter,” what they really mean is: “Make the economy, not abortion, your single issue.”
To be fair, not all economic voters are concerned about their own wallets. Some want their votes to help the poor. But the problem with both is that economic issues are more complex than our votes make them out to be.
4. The Single-Issue Right-to-Life Voter
And so we come to the single-issue abortion voter.
If we tend to over-simplify the economy to justify our vote for a candidate, we tend to over-complicate the right to life. We would never vote for someone who was pro-slavery, simply because slavery is wrong, no matter what. Abortion is like that.
NOTE: This is the third of what will be 13 daily posts from various members of the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance (SOB Alliance) on why Barack Obama is a dangerous, objectionable, and objectively unfit candidate to be president of the United States. Parts 1 and 2 of this series are linked below.
WOMAN: Senator Obama, I’m afraid. In March, you told America:
OBAMA: “I’ve got two daughters. If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
WOMAN: Punished. I’m afraid because I’m a mother and I can’t imagine what this country would become if its President could look upon a baby as a punishment. And I’m afraid, because those children that you spoke of as a punishment would be your very own grandchildren.
ANNOUNCER: What happens when we elect a President who has disregard for human life? Please, America, let’s never find out.
Anyone interested in Senator Obama's record on abortion and related issues should simply read Prof. Robert P. George's Public Discourse essay from earlier this week, ''Obama's Abortion Extremism,'' and his follow-up article, ''Obama and Infanticide.'' They say everything that needs to be said.In a nutshell, Professor George points out that