Catholics For Choice Whine To The Huffington Post: Everyone Leaves Feeling Gratified

Jon O’Brien, el Presidento of that fantastic institution known as “Catholics For Choice” has made the equally fantastic claim that “Nobody Gets to Say Who Is and Who Is Not Catholic”. This is first and foremost odd, for if no one gets to say who is Catholic, then Jon certainly can’t name his institution “Catholic”. But he has, which means somebody — namely him — can say who is Catholic. (I do hope he — in his benevolent authority — will allow me to continue my use of the modifier.)

But Catholics for the Choice of Happily Making Choices Declared Bad Choices by Catholicism (previously known as The You Can Totally Be Something Without Being What That Something Is Clique) are no strangers to the oxymoronic. The last time we checked in with them they were expressing the massive support they receive from minority Catholics by purchasing stock photos of African-American couples – previously found on 80′s R&B compilation albums – for their Facebook ads. I suppose this wasn’t awkward enough, so now they’re writing to The Huffington Post all sad and oppressed-like about getting ruler-smacked by a nun. Cue O’Brien:

My organization, Catholics for Choice was the subject of a bizarre attack from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week.


Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the director of media relations for the USCCB, took to her blog in a pathetic attempt to discredit CFC as a legitimate voice for Catholics in the United States. She expressed concern that “sleepy editors” or “inexperienced journalists” would be taken in by us, simply because we describe ourselves as Catholic. She said that we are not Catholics and we don’t know Catholicism. Walsh is sadly wrong on both counts. Any cursory visit to CFC’s website will give a reader the opportunity to learn more about Catholic teaching and church law about reproductive health than would a visit to many diocesan websites. And as to my Catholicism, perhaps I’ll send her copy of my baptismal certificate, though I doubt she’d be appeased.

This may be a difficult bit of logic, but I swear by all things holy, I’m close to having it tattooed on my chest: If a man claims communion with the Catholic Church — communion which requires the statement “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God” in order to be obtained — and then proclaims the specific lack of belief in that which the Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims regarding human sexuality, then that man’s claim to communion is false.

Yes, a baptism is forever, and in that sense O’Brien is a Catholic. Communion with the Catholic Church is not necessarily forever. And the last time I checked, the abstract institution “Catholics For Choice” received no baptism, and has only dissented from Church teaching. Thus, however emotionally painful and “bizarre” it may be, the big, scary Sister is absolutely correct in saying that there is nothing “Catholic” about Catholics For Choice, though O’Brien insists on pretending she was questioning his personal baptism.

Her appeal to guarding the “brand” of Catholicism is simply crass. The Catholic church is not Apple or Google, global corporations that zealously police the use of their brand, siccing corporate lawyers on anybody who dares use their name in vain. The church’s brand control over individuals ends the minute a person is baptized.

Her control ends the minute some one is baptized? Is this real life? To be absolutely clear, this has all the implication that before some one is baptized the Church has brand control over them. In O’Brien’s alternative universe:

“I’m a Hindu.”

“Sorry, no, you’re a Catholic. You haven’t been baptized, see, and thus we have brand control over you.”

“Oh, word? I’ll just convert then. I’m a Catholic.”

“We can neither confirm nor deny this.”


“Yeah, sorry. The [C]hurch’s brand control over individuals ends the minute a person is baptized.”

“Oh. Wow, I feel dumb. Where in the Catechism is that?”

“The what?”

I’m sure O’Brien had no intention of saying this, or perhaps he operates on a deeper level than myself, so we’ll forgive him and move onwards:

From that point forward, we have the right — and the responsibility — to speak as Catholics on matters of social justice, including those that involve sex, sexuality and reproduction. Understandably, this makes Walsh and her bosses nervous because all too often, the bishops haven’t said or done the right thing on these issues.

 The “right thing” being what the arbiter of the Catholic faith — Jon O’Brien — believes to be the right thing, namely the acceptance and toleration of human beings being killed in utero.

We base our support for access to reproductive health services on the long-standing traditions within Catholicism.

Oh, like:

Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops — who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine — I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. (Evangelium Vitae 62)

At least the Church is clear on what she believes, a thing that can not be side of CFC. O’Brien, entirely petrified of saying that he supports abortion and contraception, insists on giving us all the “reproductive health services” nudge-and-wink, as if the Catholic Church radically opposes gynecology and functioning ovaries.

We are part of the great majority who believe that the teaching on the primacy of conscience means that every individual must follow his or her own conscience — and respect the rights of others to do the same. As Catholics we take seriously our obligations to know and thoughtfully consider Catholic teaching.

But O’Brien, you’ve got it all mixed up! Primacy belongs to conscience, yes, and conscience — if it is a well-formed, which it has the obligation to be — faithfully follows the Magisterium of the Church. Let’s look, ever so briefly, at what the Church actually teaches:

From the Catechismparagraph 2039: “Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.” So right there, you’ve got an issue.

Why? Because, as Vatican II put it, “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium), and obeying it, receives not the mere word of men, but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Th. 2:13)…The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.”

This “sacred teaching authority” is entrusted to the bishops, and it is you and I — if we are to follow our conscience — who must be guided by it. We don’t simply note the Magisterium, as one turns his nose at the broccoli in the cafeteria line. We follow it, for it is not a human word, but “the word of God”.

Again, as the Second Vatican Council put it: “Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses of divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.”

At what point amidst all this readily available Church teaching did the kids over at Catholics For Choice decide dissent was a-ok? What about the bishops’ decision that “direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being” are you letting guide your conscience?

And in coming to our positions on abortion, family planning and other issues we have done so, and continue to do so. We didn’t make this up. We’ve got saints, cardinals, theologians and millions of Catholics on our side.

Saints that support abortion?

 As somebody intimately familiar with the ways of the church, Sister Mary Ann knows that nobody gets to say who is and who is not Catholic. Not the priests, not the bishops and not the pope. One is a Catholic after baptism. Period. She might have her own opinions about who is a good Catholic or a bad Catholic, but her claims that we aren’t Catholic needs some fact-checking.

O’Brien makes the mistake of not reading Sister Mary Ann’s critique of his organization. She says, quite rightly, that “some agenda groups who oppose one or more Catholic teachings, for example, use the name “Catholic,” even when there seems little evidence of Catholics in their ranks and no evidence that they represent Catholic teaching.” She never questions O’Brien’s right to call himself a Catholic. He certainly may, in the sense that Martin Luther — or any heretic — may call himself baptized Catholic. She questions Catholics For Choice — the institution — being labeled as “Catholic”, a question O’Brien oh-so-cunningly does not address.

The good sister may be jealous of the media attention we get. She may be upset at the quality of our arguments. She may find the statistics that we use disconcerting. I would, if I were her, as they show that the positions taken by the bishops have been resoundingly rejected by Catholics in the pews. But it’s interesting that she chose not to, or more likely couldn’t, address the basis of our arguments. So she resorts to demonizing us. 

Sister Mary Ann’s rant was addressed to the new public editor at the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan. It seems that she thinks that a senior editor at the Times will be intimidated into ignoring the legitimate and widely supported arguments of those who are not granted the bishops’ blessing. We know that we speak for the majority in the church. And we are happy to continue to forge our path, knowing that it is one that will be well-traveled by our fellow Catholics for choice.

As to Ms. Sullivan, and her many fine colleagues in the Fourth Estate, I am pretty sure they know that if they want the U.S. bishops’ opinion on something, they can give Sister Mary Ann a call. But when they want to know what Catholics think, they know to call somebody else. CFC will always be happy to take that call.

And so we come to the end of another adventure in self-congratulation. The value of Catholics For Choice comes entirely from the fact that the media can use them to spin stories on the Catholic Church, and that the majority of uncatechized Catholics agree with their claims. This, apparently, is popularity enough to revel in. They have accidence without substance, fad without truth, and popularity of opinion without the ability to back up their “Catholic” claim with Church documents. They’re cool in the way Nickleback is cool: More people listen to them than listen to Johnny Cash, but they’re still full of crap.

Pray for their conversion, and an end to the injustice of abortion.

Fury and Catholicity
The Difference Between a Martyr and a Victim
Why This Catholic Girl Is Praying For a Schism Part 2
Catholic Hospital Claims Fetus is not a Person!
  • KM


  • KM
  • Lauren

    Arrgghh this guy makes me so mad…who told him that the Church approves of what he’s doing?

  • Tom

    Excellent post, as always. I still can’t get over CFC. Boggles the mind. It’s like “Muslims for Pork” or “Baptists for Alcohol”.

    • Tom

      Oh, also, I think one of my “favorite” parts of O’Brien’s article was this: “We’ve got saints, cardinals, theologians and millions of Catholics on our side.”
      I kinda stopped taking him seriously after that. He seriously thinks there are saints that supported abortion?

      • JoFro

        Apparently there was this saint, an abbess in Ireland who, when realising that one of her fellow nuns was pregnant with child, prayed that the woman may not have the child so that her name would not be ruined. The woman’s baby bump soon disappeared. This story has been used by pro-choice folk as evidence that this saint – I think it was St Bridget – allowed for an abortion or prayed for an abortion. Yeah…

        • Tom

          From the little research I have done just now, It doesn’t seem like there is much to the story. I do believe only one or two biographies of the time include it, while others don’t. Hard to say. Lives of the saints weren’t strictly written down in days past and it’s easy to see how an abortion lobby could take such a story and twist it’s meaning.

        • ZSK

          It’s important to realize that people also didn’t understand pregnancy back then as much as we do now. Even when Roe V. Wade came out, the understanding and technology was much different than it is currently.

    • pagansister

      Then there is “Jews for Jesus”. Different points of view apparently from CFC and mainline Catholics. :o)

    • Dave

      indeed. No catholic has ever had an abortion. It’s a fact.

      • silicasandra

        I’m always surprised when anyone thinks that Catholics don’t know that we commit all kinds of horrendous sins. What do you think we need all those confessionals for?

      • Proteios1

        Fail. Catholics sin. That’s why we confess. The difference is we don’t demand that our sins be accepted by the church and that doctrine change accordingly. Gee, it’s almost as if you know nothing about us Catholics.

      • Valde

        Being Catholic is easy.

        Commit all sorts of sins, repent, and go to Heaven.

        It’s like a get out of jail free card.

  • Edmund Mitchell

    That guy…so hideously illogical I pooped my shirt.

    • Gail Finke

      How did you manage that? Most people poop their pants…

      • AttentionDeficitCatholic

        That is how illogical he was.

  • Meg

    “But when they want to know what Catholics think, they know to call somebody else. CFC will always be happy to take that call.”-

    I wanted to know what O’Brien “Catholics” think; I wanted to know, so I posted something along the lines of: “I choose to follow church teachings in the catechism, is this okay?” on the facebook page. Catholics for choice didn’t like my choice…

  • meg

    “But when they want to know what Catholics think, they know to call somebody else. CFC will always be happy to take that call.”

    I wanted to know what O’Brien Catholics think; I wanted to know, so I posted on their wall something along the lines of: “I choose to follow the teachings of the church through the catechism, is this okay?” Catholics for choice didn’t like my choice and blocked me….apparently they’re not happy for those calls at all…

  • Ryan

    Almost had a brain aneurysm while reading this…the president of Catholics for Choice is just so stupid…

    • Justin Jurek

      You might not to read the comments section by the “sometimes it’s necessary” heretic up there. You’ll suffer a stroke.

  • Jay E.

    “I suppose this wasn’t awkward enough, so now they’re writing to The
    Huffington Post all sad and oppressed-like about getting ruler-smacked
    by a nun.” Yeah, pretty much. Someone’s gettin’ defensive here… *smirk*

  • Paige

    I think if people want to know what Catholics think, they should contact YOU, Marc. For the reals.

  • Nathan

    The bishops have been rejected by those in the pews? Clearly this should only taken as a rebuttal of the bishops. No other possible interpretations, there, nosiree Bob.

  • Obliged_Cornball


    • Joan of Arc

      I see what you did there

  • Irk

    My question for people like o’brien: would jesus be okay with abortion?
    Clearly, to me, the answer is no, and so the Church, in fact ANY Jesus following church, must oppose abortion. Call urselves catholics, christians, fine; you’re going to have to answer before God eventually for the choice you made and the “choice” u supported

    • Inglip

      I like how you start out asking a question about what Jesus would say, then answer for him, then state that people who don’t agree with you will “answer before God.”

      Isn’t it a bit arrogant to presume to speak for the Son of God?

      • Tom

        That’s what the Apostles did after Pentecost (and before it). That’s what the Early Church Fathers did. And it’s what the Catholic Church, as the only Church established by Christ Himself, presumes to do for all of time. And I think you’ll find that from the very beginning, the Church has condemned abortion.

        • Inglip

          “the only Church established by Christ Himself”

          Well, no. According to written history, Jesus [supposedly] established a church just under two thousand years ago, which schismed quite frequently – with each particular branch claiming to have correctly interpreted his words (conveniently written in a different language that could be meant several ways) in such a way as to make themselves the legitimate church that he intended.

          • Tom

            A branch comes off of a main trunk. The Catholic Church is that trunk. It can trace it’s lineage through the bishops and the BIshop of Rome right down to the first Apostles. No other “branch” can claim this (certainly no Protestant churches. Orthodox are a little different story).

          • Inglip

            That’s a great argument. “Some guy 1600 years ago won an argument against some other guy. The first guy claimed to be the successor of Peter, so obviously he was right.”

          • Tom

            I can’t even respond to that as it’s a crass over-simplification of apostolic succession. Here, this should do it:

  • Mary Liz Bartell

    I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard from one of your blogs, your snarky bites back at O’Brien and CFC were awesome and I love that Pulp Fiction pic. I have been having this same discussion with 2 or 3 of my own fellow parishioners who think Obama is the answer to all their prayers regardless of his stance on abortion and gasp contraceptives. To them being a good “Catholic” is a person who goes to Mass once a week, kneels at all the appropriate times, and says all the right words in response to the priest. Then they leave church, go out into the world and vote for Pro-Choice, have casual sex, or what have you and pretend that they are good people for not having shot anyone themselves. It’s scary to think that so many buy what O’Brien’s CFC organization are touting especially since he’s not clergy, he’s not a pope, and therefore not infallible in declaring doctrine, and he’s practically excommunicating himself for lying about the Church and denying the evil that he touts. Liberalization of the secular world has made him thus an even more cocky SOB than ever because he has so many cheerleaders from the Liberal Left. Sick! I will pray for him to have conversion, for those who listen and swallow the garbage he shovels to have conversion and to repent and VOTE PRO-LIFE, and to abstain from sexual activity until they are married to the one person who God intends them to spend the rest of their natural lives with. I will also pray that your post brings clarity and direction to those meandering in the fog of media coverage that distorts the Church and her teachings. God Bless you for the awesome job you are doing at retorting to this madman’s claims. Way to go.

    • mare

      Bravo and well said Mary Liz.

  • Kate

    The thing that always gets me: Even if you DO think that there is no immortal soul in an unborn child, (I don’t hold this belief, I back up the Church 100%), then you must also consider the fact that there very well COULD be a soul.

    So basically, you’re taking a chance that you could or could not be a murderer. It’s like handing someone a gun and saying “Shoot this body bag– there might still be a living person in it, but I doubt it.” Abortion doesn’t obey logic, let alone morality.

    Needless to say, this guy’s gonna have a heck of a lot to answer to God about…

    • Valde

      Whereas it’s clear a woman does have a soul, yet you prefer to treat her as nothing more than an incubator.

  • Jennifer Sypal

    Marc…seriously, you are the best Catholic blogger out there.

  • Joe Cool

    “…the positions taken by the bishops have been resoundingly rejected by Catholics in the pews.”

    Except that, when you account for the fact that three-quarters of Catholics don’t even attend Sunday Mass, the Catholics who actually do fill the pews are generally in agreement with the bishops.

  • James Germain

    Well, as a vegetarian who enjoys a hamburger on a fairly regular basis, i think i can empathize with CFC. After all, just as not eating meat isn’t what makes you vegetarian, simply agreeing with the magisterium doesn’t make you Catholic.

    • Christine

      Nice blogpost, man. :)

    • Christian Gjernes

      Vegan, it’s VEGAN, a more extreme form of vegetarian.

  • Paul O’Brien

    Can we please stop calling him O’Brien? It makes me feel bad. Let’s stick with Jon. Or Jonny.

  • smich

    Seriously??…..The amount of time that abortion gets discussed in the Catholic Church on both sides, and the amount of money that gets spent criticizing opposing opinions in this country is ridiculous. Whether it’s right or wrong, regardless of what the church teaches, the sad fact is that abortion will always happen. Legally or illegally. Doesn’t mean it’s right. More time and money and effort should be spent finding ways to support single/struggling families who are expecting, or advocating adopting/foster care!! Life should be just as precious outside the womb. Pro-Life should be just that….Pro-LIFE, not just Pro-Birth, where the fate of the child is left uncertain. Similarly, Pro-Choice does not always equate to people not valuing life….they just see the value in a different spectrum….valuing the mum who can’t afford to feed another mouth, valuing the health of the mother, or the 12 year old girl who was raped…

    I bet you if every Catholic family out there decided to adopt or foster at least one child, we would already have less of a problem!! I bet you if we take the finances used to protest either side to support a woman to decide to keep her baby, there would be less of a problem.

    Critical thinking on the issue is important but not as important as actually DOING something that’s more tangible to help….instead we have people constantly bad mouthing each other and arguing who’s right or wrong…C’MON GUYS!!

    • DudeBro

      Smich, the fact is that the money the Church receives DOES go to those very families and single mothers that you’re describing. There are a multitude of Church organizations out there that are dedicated to helping those that are in need. But that does not remove the responsibility of the Church leaders to teach about the evils of abortion. In fact, owing to the suffering out there on the part of pregnant single mothers out there (and those that had abortions and regretted it), it is even more important that they decry the false morality that put these women in the situation in the first place — and the false teachings that made them believe abortion was morally sound choice.
      As it regards right and wrong, Catholics everywhere have a responsibility to stand up for what is right. There never is any case where murder is justified or considered the “right” thing to do. If your understanding of Jesus’ teaching is such that unborn children are not of value, you need to go back and read the Gospel because clearly we’re not talking about the same thing.
      As for your last point about Catholic families taking responsibility and adopting a child from a mother that can’t provide for him or her, I sympathize with you. It is our responsibility (again) as Catholics to take it upon ourselves to care for our neighbors, friends, strangers, and yes, even enemies. However, deciding to adopt a child is a big responsibility that should never be taken lightly. So it’s not something that is necessarily commonplace. That said, it is unfortunate that there are not more Catholic families out there adopting children from single mothers unable to provide for them. When three quarters of all Catholics don’t make it to regular Sunday mass, all I can say is maybe that we have adopted too much of the world’s idea of how life ought to be lived life and less of God’s idea of how we should live.

      • smich

        Hi there, please refer to my response to JoAnna.

    • Inglip

      “Critical thinking on the issue is important but not as important as actually DOING something that’s more tangible to help”

      Critical thinking doesn’t put money in the collection baskets, nor generate a favorable political environment for the Religious Right.

      Such thoughts are dangerous to the Church and should be avoided, comrade.

      • Tom

        Critical thinking is dangerous to the Church and should be avoided?
        St. Thomas Aquinas would like a word with you…

        • Inglip

          “Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is
          declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational
          arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot,
          he need only fall back on revelation.” – Bertrand Russell

          Equally relevant to Thomas Aquinas and to this blog.

          • Tom

            That quote actually doesn’t really discredit Aquinas as much as you would think. Aquinas freely admits that he cannot give complete philosophical proof of some parts of the Catholic faith, such as the Trinity. It’s no weakness to admit when it’s no longer possible for a particular course of action to continue.
            Furthermore, you kinda missed my point. Your statement said that critical thinking was dangerous to the Church. Such is not the case when some of the greatest minds in history (Aquinas and Augustine, to name just two) have lent their critical thinking skills in service of the Church.

          • Gregory Arblaster

            So you agree that people and entities should be defined by those who oppose them?

    • Joe Cool

      “I bet you if every Catholic family out there decided to adopt or foster at least one child, we would already have less of a problem!”

      If only there were that many babies available to foster. Every year, 500,000 couples in the United States apply for adoption, but only 20,000 babies are placed for adoption.

      • smich

        Hi there, please refer to my response to JoAnna.

    • Christine

      Who are the people who run pregnancy centers that donate diapers and baby clothes to women and their babies? Pro-life people. How can you factually say that they are only pro-birth? Look into it a little deeper.

      • smich

        I really don’t think the ONLY people who donate these things are people who are pro-life…there are plenty of pro-choice people who are just as charitable….

        • Justin Jurek

          Not really, seeing as how they would deny LIFE to the unborn.

    • Melanie

      Smich- As a young woman who has chosen to devote her life to the pro-life cause, I am more than a little insulted by your insinuation that pro-lifers only care about the child before it is born. This is an unfounded opinion that I hear often from people who are completely uninformed.

      Let me start with whether abortions will always happen- it is certainly possible that some abortions will continue after Roe V. Wade is overturned. However, the number will dramatically decrease, saving millions of lives. In addition, we will then be living in a country which upholds the dignity of life- something we cannot currently claim.
      Secondly, I am sorry that you are unaware of the millions of people who work daily to provide support and resources for mothers and women in crisis pregnancy. While the other factions of the pro-life movement (all of which are necessary) are more visible, this is in my opinion the most important.
      Thirdly, it is ridiculous to say that pro-lifers do not value the ability to feed your child, the health of the mother, or tough circumstances on rape (by the way, read/listen to Rebecca Kiessling on that topic- very enlightening).
      As for the adoption comment, the problem is actually not that there are not enough families willing to adopt unwanted babies- in fact, the opposite is true. Only about 1% of unwanted pregnancies today are given for adoption, and there is a major ‘shortage’ of babies for adoption in the U.S.- why do you think it is so common to adopt overseas?
      The pro-life movement is active, vibrant and growing- most importantly, it is doing all it can to help women and families in crisis pregnancies and beyond. We are the ones improving on the current adoption system, exploring the the option of guardianship agreements, providing women with the housing, education, financial, legal and emotional support to carry out their life-giving choice. We are pro-LIFE.

      • smich

        Hi Melanie, my apologies. Maybe I didn’t articulate myself clearly, but I didn’t actually say that all pro-life people are just pro-birth. I am aware that there are many who are concerned about life outside the womb. Neither did I say that pro life people do not value the ability to feed a child, the health of the mother etc.

        The point I was trying to make (which I probably could have articulated more clearly) is that BOTH sides sometimes seem to have preconceived notions about the other party and how they value life, and its not always true.

        I am also writing from the perspective that most people I know who want large families very often consider adoption as a last resort. Yes there may be a shortage of babies, but there are older children, there is foster care and yes, there are overseas adoptions.

        All of them are not easy choices, however I believe that the church could certainly expand their catechesis to encourage these options more and provide support in that area. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of churches I’ve come across to provide that option and support. They talk about life a lot, but more resources would be nice to encourage more people to take that step.

        Also, you are assuming that I am not pro-Life. I am. My impatience comes from articles like this….title “Catholics for Choice whine”…this is what we waste our time on.

        Catholics should definitely stand up for what is right. Educate, donate, adopt, argue, etc…..not put thousand dollars on makeshift graveyards of unborn babies outside abortion centers, or hire blimps saying ‘Baby Killers’. Or petty articles about people who disagree… This article is useful, but it doesn’t need to treat someone with a differing opinion as negatively as it does.

        • WSquared

          Smich, I’m afraid that Mr. O’Brien’s opinion speaks for itself: given what Catholics profess to believe in the Credo every Sunday– namely the Incarnation– and also what we profess to believe on the Eucharist, his opinion is simply untenable.

          One isn’t Catholic because one has simply “received all the Sacraments.” Receiving the Sacraments of Initiation certainly initiates you into the Body of Christ, whereby you are subject to Canon Law. But after that, one must be in Communion with Christ via the Eucharist received worthily.

          Persisting in a state of mortal sin and claiming to be Catholic– i.e. choosing for His Church (yes, it is Christ’s Church, not anyone else’s, and it exists for His sake)– are mutually opposed to each other. You can’t have it both ways. Sr. Mary Ann Walsh doesn’t have to say that he’s not Catholic; the logical implications of his actions based on basic Catholic sacramental theology speak for themselves. It’s just that the good sister is kind enough to clarify what being Catholic actually means in a world where the likes of Nancy Pelosi can publicly call themselves a “devout Catholic” (anyone who has ever seriously tried being devout knows that they try and fail daily, and wouldn’t even pass the St. Francis de Sales litmus test for being devout). One can’t mince words here, this is serious. And if it sounds “negative,” so be it. Catholic teaching is quite clear, and it is obvious to anyone who takes the Eucharist seriously. There is no “nice” way to put this.

          If logic can’t appeal to Mr. O’Brien and his ilk, then perhaps sarcasm might. You’re not going to convince someone who insists on dissent by being “nice” in any sentimental fashion. But if gentle sarcasm pisses them off, then it might get under their skin and the skin of others like them just enough to cause them to rethink; perhaps not now, but that’s up to God, who always gives them as well as us as many chances as we need.

    • Jake E

      Straight up terrible logic. “People will do meth if we say it’s ok or not ok so we might as well say it’s ok”

      • smich

        I don’t believe I said that we might as well say it’s ok. What I meant was that the resources that are being used to make blimps that say ‘Baby Killers’ for example, could be put to better use….

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      There are 2 million couples in the US waiting to adopt. It’s not willingness that’s the problem, but rather beauracracy. The cost of adoption can be onerous and the state guidelines difficult to meet.

      • Christopher Buchholz

        Are they willing to adopt sick kids? Downs syndrom kids? Kids with impulse control and mental problems? Black kids? Kids who were abused and need lots of patience? Those are the ones who need help and adopting. I don’t see 2 million people lined up for them

        • silicasandra

          Many people are, but there is still a massive amount of bureaucratic red tape to go through even for the most “horrific” cases. Through her blog, JoAnna actually helps raise money for families to adopt special needs kids from outside the USA. Keep in mind that many people may wish to adopt these children, but their circumstances do not allow for it (for example, they do not have the finances, or they have other children so adopting a child with severe mental problems may be a safety risk.) I am not as active in pro-life activities as some, but I have seen enough to know that pointing accusing fingers at pro-lifers, insisting that they are not trying hard enough to find homes for kids who need them, is wildly off-base.

        • Valde

          Black babies are still going un-adopted and the price is set lower so that people will adopt them.

          No, those 2million want healthy white babies.

  • Inglip

    If they’re intellectually honest enough to dissent from the lockstep that is Catholic “thinking”, they should not call themselves Catholics.

    Ditch it and be proud of it.

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Spoken like someone truly ignorant of the rich wealth of Catholic thinking. Ever read St. Augustine? St. Ignatius? St. Catherine of Siena? St. Thomas Aquinas? Newman? Chesterton? Etc.?

    • De Gaulle

      Pride is what is at the bottom of all this, people refusing to accept that they might actually be sinners. It is one thing to sin, the great majority of us are sinners, it is a whole other ball-game to insist that what you do isn’t sin-with this you really are siding with Lucifer, whose first sin, also, was Pride.

    • AttentionDeficitCatholic

      I dunno, while I disagree with your condescending quotation-marking of “Catholic “thinking”” as you put it, I find myself agreeing with your opinion that if you disagree with Catholic teaching, you should probably abandon it (after careful consideration about why you disagree, of course).

  • Laura

    Dear Mr. O’Brien,
    Ok, this is a little awkward. Your brand of Catholicism is old and stinky and none of us want it anymore. If you keep giving it to us, we’re just going to throw it away.
    K thx bai.

  • Joe Cool

    Nobody Gets to Say Who Is and Who Is Not Vegan
    Hugh Jass
    President, Vegans for Meat

    My organization, Vegans for Meat was the subject of a bizarre attack from the United States Vegan Council (USVC) this week.

    Ms. Cary Ann Schmaltz, the director of media relations for the USVC, took to her blog in a pathetic attempt to discredit VFM as a legitimate voice for vegans in the United States. She expressed concern that “sleepy editors” or “inexperienced journalists” would be taken in by us, simply because we describe ourselves as vegans. She said that we are not vegans and we don’t know veganism. Schmaltz is sadly wrong on both counts. Any cursory visit to VFM’s website will give a reader the opportunity to learn more about vegan practices and healthy eating than would a visit to many other vegan websites. And as to my veganism, perhaps I’ll send her copy of my last grocery store receipt, though I doubt she’d be appeased.

    But this is not just about VFM. It’s about Schmaltz presenting herself as the arbiter of who’s a vegan. It’s kind of like letting the Tea Party decide who’s American, isn’t it? Just like them, Schmaltz doesn’t let the facts get in the way of her message. With her ham-fisted blog, Schmaltz insults the hundreds of groups and millions of vegans who choose to remain vegan while raising legitimate voices in support of eating meat.

    Her appeal to guarding the “brand” of veganism is simply crass. Veganism is not Apple or Google, global corporations that zealously police the use of their brand, siccing corporate lawyers on anybody who dares use their name in vain. The USVC’s brand control over individuals ends the minute a person begins eating. From that point forward, we have the right — and the responsibility — to speak as vegans on matters of health, including those that involve meat, eggs, and other animal products. Understandably, this makes Schmaltz and her bosses nervous because all too often, the leaders of the USVC haven’t said or done the right thing on these issues.

    We base our support for eating meat on the long-standing traditions within veganism. We are part of the great majority who believe that the teaching on the primacy of appetite means that every individual must follow his or her own taste buds — and respect the rights of others to do the same. As vegans we take seriously our obligations to know and thoughtfully consider vegan practices. And in coming to our positions on eating meat, animal products and other issues we have done so, and continue to do so. We didn’t make this up. We’ve got vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores and millions of vegans on our side.

    As somebody intimately familiar with the ways of veganism, Ms. Cary Ann knows that nobody gets to say who is and who is not a vegan. Not the cooks, not the chefs, and not the food critics. One is a vegan after eating a vegetable. Period. She might have her own opinions about who is a healthy vegan or an unhealthy vegan, but her claims that we aren’t vegans need some fact-checking.

    The good ma’am may be jealous of the media attention we get. She may be upset at the quality of our arguments. She may find the statistics that we use disconcerting. I would, if I were her, as they show that the positions taken by the USVC have been resoundingly rejected by ordinary vegans. But it’s interesting that she chose not to, or more likely couldn’t, address the basis of our arguments. So she resorts to demonizing us.

    Ms. Cary Ann’s rant was addressed to the new public editor at the New York Times, Maggie Sullen. It seems that she thinks that a senior editor at the Times will be intimidated into ignoring the legitimate and widely supported arguments of those who are not granted the USVC’s blessing. We know that we speak for the majority of vegans. And we are happy to continue to forge our path, knowing that it is one that will be well-traveled by our fellow vegans for meat.

    As to Ms. Sullen, and her many fine colleagues in the Fourth Estate, I am pretty sure they know that if they want the USVC’s opinion on something, they can give Ms. Cary Ann a call. But when they want to know what vegans think, they know to call somebody else. VFM will always be happy to take that call.

    • Mackman

      Can you repost this at the original Huffington Post article, please? This is literally the best comment I’ve ever read.

    • John C. Wright

      Brilliant! Bravo! Author, author! Hear, hear!

    • Dan Wegner

      I’m speechless.

    • musiciangirl591

      i was having a really crappy day… until i read this comment, thank you! :)

    • Proteios1

      Sign me up to your newsletter. It’s is awesome! Do you do requests? I have others I’d like to mock for self contradictory behavior…

    • Cameron

      THE BEST! CFC makes me *facepalm* errrytime!

    • Natasha

      Win. Winwinwinwinwinwinwinwin. I almost NEVER comment on blogs but I will break my silence just to say – this was an amazing comment.

    • Micaela

      Best. Comment. Ever. I double dare you to post that on the HuffPo article!!

    • Debby

      This is entirely misconceived. “Vegans for Meat” would be an oxymoron because eating meat goes against the fundamentals of what it means to be vegan. At this point I’m going to start getting backlash, but please bear with me. I believe the fundamentals of Catholicism (and Christianity) are openness, love and compassion. Of course, the taking of a life goes against the religion. And I am not going to attempt to argue that an unborn child does not constitute a life. I don’t think it’s wise to split hairs between just-conceived or six weeks old or nine months… But the very reason why abortion is such a controversial and difficult issue is that there are sometimes good reasons for an abortion, even if it conceptually goes against our value for the human life. For example, the mother may be unable to raise the child – whether due to economic or social or personal circumstances. And not all societies/communities have the support system for children to be adopted by more able parents. Of course it is very easy for an outsider to judge: Then why did she have sex, the child should be born and raised no matter what, etc. But there are also sound Catholic values in the argument that compassion and sympathy should be exercised before we judge the mother’s choice.

      Also, what about Catholics who go to war? Maybe you’re saying “well I wouldn’t go to war, and a lot of Catholics also don’t take part in it”. Or is it because the Church just hasn’t taken that strong a stance against it, because it’s politically dangerous? But I’m not saying we should all support the war, or abstain from it, or support abortion, or be against it. When faced with difficult issues, Catholics – just like everyone else – ought to be able to choose their belief. We should be allowed to disagree on these things, because there are just no black and white answers.

      • Miss Doyle

        Er Debby, what exactly are you trying to say?
        For the record, if anyone calls themselves Catholic, they’ve already chosen their camp. If I put myself out there as a Catholic, it’s because there’s something different about my belief’s than say, a Hindu. Otherwise, I’d be a Hindu. Does that make sense?
        You don’t say, I’m a Catholic, now wait a minute while I work out what I believe and what I don’t. I’m going to assume that you’ve called yourself a Catholic because you’ve already thought about what being a Catholic is all about and you’re ok with that.

      • Nicholas

        Nope. The Catholic Church has, since the first centuries, had a psecific creed. In the spirit of St. James it declared any creed not it to be not it. Simple logic. You didn’t hear Arians or Manicheans claiming to be Catholic. They had different beliefs, and they were logical enough to realize this.

        The Catholic church differs from a lot of religions because it declares with absolute dogmaticness what it believes. You can either believe it, join another religion or start your own. If you declare yourself a Roman Catholic then, well, unless you want to try to break the principle of non-contradiction, you have to be a Roman Catholic. Not a heretic or schismatic.

        If you want to believe that there are no black or white answers, you need to find another religion. The Church teaches dogmatically that there are actions which themselves are extremely evil, regardless of the actor’s guilt.

        The essential principles of Roman Catholicism are that She is infallible.

    • Beth


  • Melanie

    So can anyone explain what the precedence/rule for excommunication is? And what has the Church done to make it clear that CFC is not actually a Catholic organisation?

    • kristen in Dallas

      You can’t excommunicate an organization, because a organization was never really a “member” of the Catholic church in the first place. Some organizations which adhere to the faith can be officially recognized by the church, which takes a bit of work. That recognition can then be revoked, if the organization bends too far off it’s original mission. But a group like CFC never had the recognition in the first place, and doesn’t seem to care too much about getting it. It’s just any other secular group, using a really really obnoxious name.

  • Silver S. Parnell

    I really love this blog post. First of all, the writer unveiled the illogic stance of CFC, layer by layer. Nice work with that onion! Mr. O’Brien is a sad but all too common example of someone who tries to overlay modern Democratic political practices onto the Catholic Church, rather than bringing Church teaching into the society! Like many westerners, it appears that humility is in short supply. It should be obvious that the Catholic Church is much older than Mr. O’Brien and knows more about itself than he does. If Mr. O’Brien and his cronies do not believe in the tenets of the faith and, in fact, insist upon lobbying AGAINST the tenets of the faith, then they should find another faith….or start their own, like all the other PROTESTants that came before them.

  • James

    What most liberal dissenters do not understand is that our difficulties in following Church teaching does not make Church teaching untrue.

    If the Church’s more difficult teachings are like broccoli, not surprisingly, many Catholics will turn their noses up at it. This is sin and we all do it at some time or another.

    The dissenter, however, says that broccoli isn’t good for you and that you really don’t need to eat it. The dissenter doesn’t deny doctrine as much as the dissenter denies sin. And in denying sin, they deny reality.

    They want to lowering the bar so more people can clear it. But in lowering the bar, they deny the fullness of the faith and are spreading a false message.

  • Ceckiz Gzz

    Besides why on EARTH would Sister Mary Ann would want full exposure like CFC?? Gladly she is humble and meek and not a pop-star wanna be like CFC.

  • irws

    Hmmm, I wonder if CFC realize that ice water is not served in hell!!

  • John Coon

    Based on Canon Law, CFC is either a organization of heretics or a schism.

    From: The Code of Canon Law,

    Can. 750 Those things are to be believed by
    divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it
    has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single
    deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time
    proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the
    Church, or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, which is
    manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the
    guidance of the sacred magisterium. All are therefore bound to shun any
    contrary doctrines.

    Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or
    doubt, after baptism, of a truth which must be believed by divine and
    catholic faith. Apostasy is the total repudiation of the christian
    faith. Schism is the withdrawal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or
    from communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

    Can. 752 While the assent of faith is not required, a religious
    submission of intellect and will is to be given to any doctrine which
    either the Supreme Pontiff or the College of Bishops, exercising their
    authentic magisterium, declare upon a matter of faith or morals, even
    though they do not intend to proclaim that doctrine by definitive act.
    Christ’s faithful are therefore to ensure that they avoid whatever does
    not accord with that doctrine.

  • John Coon

    My single post on “Catholics for
    Choice” FB page in response to Mr
    O’Brien’s article has been deleted and I am blocked from future comment.

    I posted no opinion. Simply two lines from scripture and Jon O’Brien felt it had to be deleted. I wonder why?

    Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” – Jn 6:60

    As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. – Jn 6:66

    Perhaps these lines from scripture might cut to the heart and that certainly won’t be allowed.

  • The Other Weirdo

    This has all the earmarkings of a schism in progress. Well, good for the Church, I say. She gets complacent without an apocalypse every century or so.

    Seriously, though, what’s the big deal? So he’s come up with a new Catholicism, so what? The Church redefines itself every 250 years anyway. Some decades back, it was considered appropriate to castrate boys to give the Pope light musical entertainment. They also used to forcibly take Jewish children away from their parents to raise them Catholic. Centuries before, the Church was still claiming that the Earth was at the centre of the universe and the sun revolved around it, and then burnt people at the stake for saying otherwise. It doesn’t do those things anymore. Hell, it’s even changed its stand on evolution.

    Today, the big boogaloo is something different, that’s all, and the cycle is starting all over again. There are arguments and fights, people are being metaphorically roasted at the stake, but eventually the Church will adjust its stand to the majority popular opinion, claim that it has always believed thus, excommunicate anyone who dares suggest otherwise and then move on.

    • Micha_Elyi

      Some decades back, it was considered appropriate to castrate boys to give the Pope light musical entertainment.
      The Other Weirdo–

      What you claim wasn’t “considered appropriate” by the Church. Popes are on record from more than a few decades back opposing castration.
      What else are you wrong about? Look around. Take inventory.

  • Dmikem

    Catholics for Choice ‘shtick’ would work will in a ‘comic book’. O’Brien laughingly says, “The good sister may be jealous of the media attention we get. She may be upset at the quality of our arguments. She may find the statistics that we use disconcerting.” When I read this I nearly choked laughing:

    1. Statistics: CFC always lead with the statistics that state the majority of Catholics accept contraception, circumstantial abortion etc. and conclude that the Church is wrong and must change. The statistics are right but don’t tell the whole story. When presented with Church teachings, scripture, apostolic tradition, Vatican I and Vatican II documents that clearly condemn these things CFC folks try and hide behind thier conscience. Ooooo they say, I have to follow my conscience…it is primary over all other things. But when presented with the quite right Catholic teaching that a well-formed conscience must be formed in communion with the Magesterium of the Church and give them supporting references….they gasp for air and start tossing back invectives, like suggesting that the Catholic Church is part of the Forth Estate……lol.
    2. Quality of their arguments: They only have one argument….the statistics! They can’t argue on the basis of faith because truth isn’t subject to a vote. When this is raised in discussion the CDF folks immediately invoke the changing times argument and insist the Church is behind and must change in order to catch up current culture. But when the fact that truth is immutable and doesn’t change on the basis of pop-culture and relativistic views is raised…..yup, you guessed it….here come the invectives.
    3. Media attention: O’Brien claims the sister may be jealous of CFC media attention. This is hysterical because CFC gets little to no media coverage on their own. They are usually tagged in a story about some other disreputable organization like SNAP or Voice of the Faithless or Women Priests, but rarely if ever on their own. In fact the membership of CFC, VOF and SNAP together wouldn’t fill up a Village in Pancake house. On their own I doubt the CFC could muster enough members for a two table bridge game.

    In my opinion these errant, false, agnostic Catholics puff out their chests and hope no one notices that they are few in number and are considered as extremists by everyone but their fellow errant, false and agnostic Catholics.
    I would agree that Baptism leaves and indelible mark on the soul and one is a Catholic from birth…but so what? Hitler was a Catholic, so was Robert Mugabe, Augusto Pinochet, Papadoc Duvalier, Francisco Franco and Ferdinand Marcos. What I am saying that claiming to be Catholic is different that being a faitful practicing Catholic. Which of the following groups do you think the CFC would be more comfortable in; the company of St. Thomas Moore, St. Teresa, Mother Teresa ect. or the listed famous Catholic vilains? Personally I don’t believe the CDF fits into either. Clearly they don’t measure up to these famous saints……..and they will never gain the notoriety of these horrible Catholic rulers. I think they fall between them…..they are irrelevant and in a few years they will be but a memory…..but they better think about life after death because while Christ extends infinate mercy to those that repent….he is also The God of justice and will see that CFC members ‘pay every penny”

    • Alejandro Rodríguez

      The problem with the Church (and this is what Catholics for Choice (a dumb name by the way) oppose) is that it’s telling us to live by an impossible ideal, specially since its non-married men telling women to live this way. I’m pretty sure if they were married, they would start to reconsider the teaching on contraception and abortion. This is probably why the church is so opposed to clerical celibacy now that I think about it.

      • Dmikem

        Alejandro Rodriguez,
        Celibacy has absolutely nothing to do with this issue. The Catholic Church and all its clergy cannot support contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage, cloning, embryonic stem cell research because of Church doctrine……not marriage. The Church teaches that the things listed above are non-negotiable intrinsic evils…..none of them can be changed without ignorning Scripture, Apostolic Tradition or the teachings of the ordinary and universal Magesterium.
        The Church’s teaching on celibacy is not unchangable but is held because the Church wants its ministers to focus on the flock non on his immediate family.

        • Alejandro Rodríguez

          I know that, however the Church as of lately has gotten very defensive on this issue to the point of not even wanting to discuss it, that’s why I made mention of it.
          I would also like to point out that the church actually hasn’t been always completley against some of those teachings. Abortion was solidified until the 16th century I think, and Peter of Spain is suspected to be Pope John XXI, who wrote on effective methods of contraception that were quite popular in Europe. Then you have other teachings that are not acceptable today but were before like not only the shunning of heretics, but the use of torture and even death to them. You also had indulgences which is basically buying your salvation, and during the crusades, martyrdom. The Church has changed many teachings and hasn’t been consistent with others too, for that matter it is not wrong to challenge her when one thinks she is wrong.

          • Dmikem

            Alejandro Rodriguez,
            The Church first condemned contraception and abortion in the 1st Century Writings of the Twelve. So these intrinsic evils have always been condemned and have always been condemned by Scripture and the teachings of the Magesterium.
            Throughout Church history it has always had some ‘bad fish’ within it. Look at today’s ‘bad fish’, Hans Kung and Fr. Richard McBrien (I could give you a much longer list). They however do not speak for the Church.
            The Church has had a few bad popes as well. However none spoke from the Chair of Peter to OK abortion or contraception. No the Church has always taught these things were evil. And if you think about it……they definately are.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            The twelve didn’t touch either topic, what are you talking about? Maybe you are referring to the Church Fathers, which some of them like Saint Augustine were okay with torturing heretics. And you ignore John XXI, who developed contraceptive methods that were quite popular at that time. And when you think about it, contraception and abortion are not completley wrong. Again, tell, me if a mother is about to die and can be saved by aborting, are you going to deny that? Letting the woman dies is just as equally immoral. And tell me what about married people with AIDS or other incurable sexually transmitted diseases? Do they have to stop having sex completley? Also, not using contraception produces overpopulation, sure abstinence can lead to the same, but to make married people be abstent is almost impossible, and I would argue that it runs contrary to what God would want from married couples.

          • Dmikem

            Alejandro Rodriguez,

            Of course the Writings of the Twelve (contained specifically
            in the Didache, speak directly to contraception and abortion). Here is the specific citation:

            “And the second commandment of the Teaching;
            You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you
            shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you
            shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder
            a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.”

            Obviously the condemnation of abortion is clear and cannot
            be misconstrued. What is interesting is
            the clear description used to equate murder to abortion. In the case of contraception you need to
            understand what words magic/witchcraft means as used in the Didache. Here is the common understanding: “In a
            restricted sense magic is understood to be
            an interference with the usual course of physical nature
            by apparently inadequate means (recitation of formularies,
            gestures, mixing of incongruous elements, and other mysterious
            In other words creation of potions or other formularies designed to
            prevent conception or kill the fetus.

            With respect to St. Augustine
            and Pope John XXI; in the first case St. Augustine’s
            beliefs doe not reflect the beliefs of the larger Church. Pope John XXI did not speak from the Chair of
            Peter and therefore his views are those of an errant man. He was pope for only 1 year and died
            tragically when the ceiling of the library fell down upon his head. Perhaps he should have promoted the teachings
            of the Church instead of his own.

            With respect to your view that contraception and abortion
            are not completely wrong is ‘completely wrong’.
            God is the author of life and only God can determine when a person will
            die. The problem I have with your view
            is that you apparently think it is OK to kill a baby (a separate and distinct
            person with unique DNA) based upon your emotional view. So if it’s OK to save the mother what other
            forms of murder will you support?
            Euthanasia of the infirmed or the mentally challenged or old people or
            the terminally ill, infanticide (Dr. Peter Singer’s view that up to 30 days old
            parents should have the option of killing their baby), embryonic stem cell
            research where embryos are destroyed in the name of science, IVF where the
            weaker fetuses are killed. My point is
            once you start down the road of rationalizing and justifying the denial of life
            for any reason will ultimately lead you to these other things.

            The emotional nature of your logic is a bit disturbing
            also. There have been nearly 53 million
            abortions in the United States
            since Roe v Wade. How many were done
            because of the circumstances you outlined?
            It is much more likely the pregnant woman is doing it for very selfish
            reasons……can’t afford the baby, will interfere with school, doesn’t want a
            child to interfere with life style, doesn’t want to be pregnant on vacation;
            the family wants her to have an abortion, etc.
            There are just as many examples of women who have courageously and
            willingly died to bring a child into the world….I guess they are stupid. How about the woman who refused to have an
            abortion to save their life and they and their child survived…..amazing. What about the emotional toll abortion takes
            on a woman after she has an abortion?
            The abortion is not an emotional issue…it is a moral/natural law


            You view that NFP is contrary to what God would want from
            married couples is just wrong……NFP is always open to conception and it involves
            planning and sacrifice on the part of the parents. It is also scientifically more efficacious
            than the pill or condom.

            You view of overpopulation is another canard; mankind is
            using but a tiny, tiny fraction of earthly resources. Overpopulation concerns have been put out
            there since the beginning of time.

  • Margaret

    Has he heard of excommunication? Pretty sure that means you’re expelled from the body of Christ, i.e. Catholicism…Kinda like someone saying “who is and who isn’t Catholic”. Pretty sure the Pope can do that, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of it now-a-days.
    I dunno, I figure if you don’t like what the church teaches, leave. [Not that we don't want you in the church, but make up your mind!] Why be torn in half trying to say you’re Catholic while not believing what a the church of the same name believes? Why look foolish trying to be “Muslims for Pork” or “Baptists for Alcohol” as Tom put it? Clearly, you don’t like the discipline the institution demands, or you don’t know what it means to be Muslim/Baptist/Catholic.

  • Alejandro Rodríguez

    Abortion is not a complete injustice. There are cases where it is legitimate, and this are the reasons why women want to allow it. Of course the way they want to legalize it is excessive, but that still doesn’t change that there’s nothing wrong with a woman aborting when her life and health is at risk.

    • ATT

      There’s nothing wrong with it – other than the fact that she happens to be killing another human person.

      • Alejandro Rodríguez

        But who said that she is doing it willingly. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but you sound as if she will abort like nothing, when that certainly wouldn’t be the case, specially if the woman was eager to have a baby.

        • Alexander Turpin

          Killing an innocent human person is always an offense against justice. It’s that simple. Furthermore, as the Holy Father affirmed, in accordance with the natural law, “And so we will stand up every time that human life is threatened. When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life.”

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            I will put you an example. Remember the brazilian mother who was excommunicated for having her little girl abort due to her being impregnated with twins by a rapist? If she hadn’t aborted, the girl could have died, so you allowed the death of an innocent there. Abortion goes both ways, that’s why its the mother is the one who should decide in this matters. Darth Ratzinger is hardly trustful, as many of the popes in the history of the church. As Tina Beatti said, speaking of his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, its “apparent indifference to the suffering of sexual bodies….. it makes no
            mention of HIV/AIDS and it is silent on questions of maternal mortality
            and women’s reproductive health, despite the fact that an estimated
            536,000 women die every year from causes relating to pregnancy and
            childbirth, 99 per cent of them in developing countries. These are
            startling omissions.” And his opposition to abortion even in cases of life and death is also jarring because again its a huge burden on mothers all over the world.

          • Marcus Absent

            There is a big difference between “the girl COULD have died” and choosing to commit an abortion. Namely, in that one is a deliberate choice and one, while being terribly tragic, is no one’s direct fault. Remember that abortion is specifically choosing to end the child’s life: if it’s not willing, it’s not an abortion. So I suppose the best way to sum up your comparison would be death by accident/complications vs. death by murder. While neither is desirable, one is much more preventable.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            But if its an abortion only when committed willingly, then why women who abort unwillingly are considered sinful? Are you going to tell me that the Brazilian mother and the doctors who performed the abortion did it willingly?

          • Alexander Turpin

            Obviously – if they weren’t willing to abort, the child wouldn’t have been aborted. Stop mincing words.

          • Alexander Turpin

            Go back to the first thing I wrote. “Killing an innocent human person is always an offense against justice. It’s that simple.” The end cannot justify the means. Ever.
            BTW, the quote was from the late Holy Father, Bl. John Paul the Great. The statement he makes is philosophically sound – it has nothing to do with his “trustworthiness.” It rests on strong ethical and moral principles. Analyze the statement itself – if you can’t argue against it, don’t distract from it by bringing up something else he may have said. The fact of the matter is this: abortion is the unjust taking of innocent human life. If you don’t care about that, that’s fine; but at least acknowledge the fact that abortion is killing an innocent human being, regardless of any other factor.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            It’s only unjust when its done for selfish needs like only have sex for pleasure without the burden of getting pregnant, but just as taking a life can be justified sometimes, like in self defense, so is the killing of the unborn to save a woman. What trad catholics don’t analize is that the both lives are interconnected, with the baby depending on the woman to survive. But the fact is, again, with the example of the 9 year old who was raped, what to do in that case? Most likely she couldn’t have an operation to save her and the children without risking her life, so the only course of action is abortion, unless you think that the girl in that case should have died along with the unborn. Please, think again, in Africa, for example, where it is likely that operations to save both the mother and the children is impossible, abortion is what a doctor is probably going to do due to lack of tools and resources. In that case, is it wrong? Or what about an ectopic pregnancy that can damage a woman for life if not outright kill her for letting the baby grow there? The baby may as well die before getting put into the uterus and in that case severely damage the health of the mother.
            Also, tell me, would you save a child or someone else with your body if given the chance? If you say yes, then why don’t you donate some organ like a kidney that someone else needs? And would you criticize a man who doesn’t do it? For that reason, unless you have done that, you don’t have any right to criticize a woman who aborts to save her life.

    • jeff65

      no abortion is legitimate, period. Rape, incest, possible death. These are not legitimate reasons for the murder of an innocent being.

      • Alejandro Rodríguez

        I never mentioned rape or incest. But how for you is possible death not a legitimate reason? Are you the mother suffering for example? Pretty sure that if you were on the same position you’d do that. And I agree that the death of an innocent is a tragedy, but sometimes its inevitable.

      • Christopher Buchholz

        Two dead people is not better than one dead.That is just emergency room triage, which happens all the time. You can’t save everyone , so you save who you can. To sit there wringing your hands saying “I wish I could save both but I can’t, so I’ll save neither” is not ethical in the slightest, it is just fear.

        • Alejandro Rodríguez

          So what, you let the mother die?

    • Tom

      If there are cases where abortion is legitmate, please complete this sentence: “The killing of an unborn human being is ok when……”

      • Alejandro Rodríguez

        Okay, so a woman who is suffering and could die if she doesn’t abort is a-okay for you? How is letting a woman die good either?

        • Alexander Turpin

          So, you admit that abortion is the killing of an unborn human being? Letting a woman die is not good – but we can never willingly take an innocent human life. Is that so hard to understand?

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            Because you are also damaging and potentially killing another innocent person too. You seem to ignore that. Again, how is letting a woman die for saving the child without her consent any better? The killing of the unborn is something that is not good, that’s true, but as I said, it is inevitable sometimes.

          • Alexander Turpin

            “The killing of the unborn…is inevitable sometimes”? Seriously? That’s all I needed to hear, thanks. You totally didn’t even read what I’ve written: taking the life of an unborn child is always immoral. Even if someone else is suffering, this doesn’t justify ending another life. Come on, bro.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            Except that if you don’t kill the unborn, you can lose another life, which is also immoral.

          • Justin Jurek

            Are you actually listening? Or are you just obtuse? Enjoy your thirty pieces of silver.

        • Tom

          Letting a woman die isn’t good either. I never said it was. It’s a tragedy, a terrible tragedy. But what you’re proposing is to perform an intrinsically evil act (direct abortion) in order that good may come from it (someone continuing to live), which is never justified.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            So how you save a woman then if the only thing that can save her is an abortion?

          • Tom

            FIrst, of all, it is EXTREMELY rare that a DIRECT abortion is needed to save a woman’s life (i.e. stopping an ectopic pregnancy is not a direct abortion). Then, you do all that is medically possible to save a woman’s life without harming another person (which is unethical by any standards). And, if you can’t cure her (as is very much the case sometimes), then, unfortunately, the woman may die.
            Put it this way: Say the only way to save a woman is to kill another person and take their heart and give it to the woman. Of course you find this abhorrent Why not so with abortion? The action and results are the same (One person dies, one lives as a result of the other dying), yet, to you, abortion seems like a viable alternative. What is the difference? The difference is that you don’t consider the unborn child a human, hence you find it okay to kill what you consider a non-human. That’s what all abortion discussions come down to: Is this fetus a human being? All other discussions are strawmen.

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            Of course you find this abhorrent Why not so with abortion?

            Except that I do find it abhorrent, just that in this case it is necessary.

          • Tom

            Same question: Why is it necessary in one situation but not the other?

          • Alejandro Rodríguez

            That’s implying that only the baby must be saved and not the mother. The mother should be the one to choose whether to save herself, her baby or both, but not be forced to in any case.

        • Justin Jurek

          Stale as century-old hardtack. Find a new canard.

    • Shawn

      Well over 90% of abortions performed in the US are for birth control reasons and not because of health reasons.

      • Alejandro Rodríguez

        You seem to ignore the part where I say that the way they want to legalize it is excessive. Birth control is included in that.

  • Bud Hewitt

    If you’re baptized you’re a Catholic? Doesn’t CFC realize that many if not most Protestants are baptized and that is recognized when one of them converts to Catholism they are not baptized again even conditionally if the baptism is documented.

  • musiciangirl591

    “brand of Catholicism”, whenever i hear that phrase, i always think of cereal for some odd reason :P

  • MikeN

    Agree completely. Anybody rejecting the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, abortion, contraception or pre-marital sex should not get to call themselves Catholic- and of course should not be counted as Catholic by anyone else, either. Thus, Cardinal Dolan should be introduced as “leader of a denomination composed of about 2-3 million people in the US” or “speaking for a Church comprising less than 1% of the population”- and should receive equivalent news coverage.

    • Ben McCall

      Thanks for picking up that point. If everybody that does not follow the Vatican to a “T” is not a Catholic, then there are not many of them out their, (including a big chunk of their clergy).

      • Miss Doyle

        Oh Ben, there’s a difference between outright rejection and ignorance.
        I would posit that most who don’t ‘get’ Church teaching don’t know what they propose to reject.

  • Michael Jarman

    At one time in history, the “majority of baptized Catholics” were Arians. If a “majority of baptized Catholics” at any one time in history were the repository of our Lord’s promise of inerrancy to his Church, then that means Mr. O’Brien needs to become an Arian. But, then, I doubt he even knows who Arius was.

  • Fortuna Veritas

    It’s so cute how you still think a bunch of Old White Men have any kind of authority over God’s Will.

    • Tom

      I don’t understand this comment. What do you mean by it?

      • Justin Jurek

        A bizarre version of the Race Card.

    • Andrew Patrick

      It’s cute how you think age, race, and gender are in any way relevant to the truth of a statement.

  • Christopher Buchholz

    When bishops stop threatening to excommunicate nuns who advocated an abortion to stop a mother from dying (as happened in Arizone) i.e. excommunicate someone who would rather save one life than lose two, and start threatening excommunication of those who advocate the death penalty, i.e. almost every Republican politician out there, then I’ll start taking their positions seriously. As it is, the church doesn’t give a darn about its own teachings, so why should Catholics.

    • Tom

      You act as if only the bishops are bound to follow Church teaching and that if the bishops don’t you shouldn’t have to either. The exact opposite is true: if you find your bishop isn’t following Church teaching, it’s all the MORE reason for you to do so!

      • Christopher Buchholz

        Oh yes, we should still try to be good people all the time. But my point is the church has lost moral authority to determine for everyone else what “good” is, if it ever had the authority. I have never believed the idea some Bishops have that they can basically
        speak God’s will, and we have to obey. But some bishops think they have
        that power, and the doctrine of infallibility says the Pope has that
        power. The church didn’t always believe in infalliblity.

        But Marc here is advocating idolatry, putting the will of men first, and making those men equal with god. He is saying, you cannot disagree with the men who lead the church. what has that to do with goodness and morality? nothing at all. He is saying you have to follow these men. Most Catholics would rather follow God. Most non catholics would rather do what is good.

        • Tom

          “But my point is the church has lost moral authority to determine for everyone else what ‘good is, if it ever had the authority”
          “And the gates of Hades will not overpower it…..and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” – Matthew 16: 18-19
          “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me” – Luke 10: 16
          Well, looks like bishops do have some kind of authority and that we ought to listen to them. My, this is awkward…

          Marc isn’t advocating making these men equal with God. He’s saying we ought to listen to these men who speak as part of the Church Christ founded as opposed to men who speak to the contrary and then claim what Jesus’ Church teaches is false. If you’re not going to believe that the bishops, by merit of their office (not them being men), have the divine authority as set down by Christ to proclaim on matters of faith and morals, then First Protestant Church of Anytown USA down the street would be glad to have another member of their congregation.

    • Shawn

      The death penalty isn’t against Catholic teaching (CCC 2267), and it isn’t on the same level as abortion. Abortion is a grave sin that takes the life of innocent human beings.

  • alithea

    Love this blog! Sorry to hijack but I just really need to spread the work about the launch of an exciting new pro-life organisation for readers in the UK Prayers appreciated from the rest of the world!

  • Mo

    The best Catholics are honest Catholics. And honest Catholics will probably refer to themselves in two ways: “practicing” (as in not perfect), and “beginner.” It is difficult for me to articulate how fed up I am from being told how I should feel about homosexual marriage or contraception or abortion, and whether or not I am “in full communion.” From Santorum and the Al Qaeda Catholics who want to impose Sharia on all including non-Catholics, to stuck up intellectuals patronizing me about how my views are not as evolved as theirs. And, yes, even from punk-a** college kids who write wonderful essays. (But please keep doing it anyway, I do so enjoy and look forward to your entertaining and provocative essays.)
    I’ll keep showing up to practice and try to treat all of you knuckleheads with aloha. After all, we are all just Bad Catholics.

  • Timon Piccini

    “They’re cool in the way Nickleback is cool: More people listen to them than listen to Johnny Cash, but they’re still full of crap.”

    Drop the mic. Walk off the stage. You win!

    As always insightful, BA, and orthodox! Thanks man!