Quote of the day

“Members of our church work, pay taxes, are charitable and responsible, take care of their children, participate in their communities and government, and serve in military.  The state should be interested in religion for this purpose: We produce good citizens. So stop attacking us. We are in every way a blessing for this country. We feel attacked for our fundamental convictions as if we’re a detriment to our country. And that is a lie.”
– Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the Luthern Church-Missouri Synod.
He testified in opposition to the HHS mandate on contraception.


  1. Fiergenholt says:

    This statement is absolutely in line with what I predicted several blog-streams back. If Roman Catholic voices — both ecclesiastical and lay — keep their argument against the HHS ruling focused on Constitutional issues of Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion and secular government staying out of the doctrinal affairs of religion — then a very broad and probably unexpected groundswell of support would surface throughout the religious spectrum.

    If the LCMS supports our fight here, and so does Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, it will only be a matter of time before the Mennonite/Amish community will chime in as well.

  2. Thank goodness other religions have finally leant their voices to this battle. We also had the ruling here in NYC that Church Groups can’t rent out space in public schools, to hold services on Sundays. Yet other groups are free to rent out space for whatever reasons they want, no questions asked.

    There is something evil at work here. I am not suggesting that Obama and Bloomberg are as bad as Hitler and Stalin, their intentions are different, but they both want to strip power away from organized religion. They want to take control of the services religion provides, smother their voices in the public arena, and have people totally reliant on the State. Woe unto us if we have no where to turn but the State.

  3. Fiergenholt —
    I think in general our bishops are doing just as you suggest. Unsurprisingly, Obama’s supporters keep trying to make it be about contraception. As we’ve seen, lots of people have fallen for their deception. All we can do is keep pointing out what the real issue is and hope that eventually they’ll get it.

    This testimony is very important both because it shows that we are not alone in trying to defend our freedom and because it illustrates the real issue by connecting the dots with the school case recently decided by the SCOTUS, in which the Obama administration took the most extreme anti-church position possible.

  4. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    A number of columnists and writers have called the Obama Administration’s policies toward religion “soft totalitarianism.”
    This is quite apt.
    History sure does provide some breathtaking turn-arounds. For in the early years of our nation it was Catholics who were suspect of not really supporting religious freedoms and liberty. And virtually all Protestant Churches by the time of the Bill of Rights with its First Amendment supported the a very broad freedom of religion.
    Now the whole thing is reversed. A number of mainstream Protestant Churches and spokespersons quickly came out in favor of government coercion of the Catholic Church and strongly believing Catholics.
    (While many evangelical Protestant and Jewish leaders defended the First Amendment’s defense of religious freedom.)
    The great tragedy is the number of Catholics (mostly because of liberal media brainwashing) who virtually endorse the scrubbing of the 1st Amendment from the Bill of Rights.
    And now that analysis of the media’s news coverage of this issue is
    coming out, it is fast becoming clear how the media distorted and twisted some polls and left out other polls that didn’t fit their “spin.”
    Along with that, it is almost unbelieveable how much the First Amendment issue is being ignored in coverage. If there is such a thing as “blanket non-coverage” or “wall-to-wall non-coverage”–that is what the First Amendment is receiving from the media.

  5. I think the Church – and faithful Catholics can take on that battle on both fronts – religious liberty AND contraception. The outright dismissal of Catholic beliefs on contraception are part of the reason that this has so much traction in an increasingly secular society. As has been mentioned many times in the debate surrounding this – the Church – leadership and lay people, have failed to teach to this issue effectively. Until the reasons for the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception are reasonably and consistently explained – and until people stop erroneously attributing this stance to the masochistic power trip of Bishops and The Pope – we’ll never adequately address it.

  6. misogynistic power trip that should read – kids distracting me while I post!!

  7. Deacon Norb says:

    Deacon John:

    “Along with that, it is almost unbelieveable how much the First Amendment issue is being ignored in coverage.”

    That must be a local issue in Massachusetts. I could never use the word “ignored” in describing the reaction of the press (in several places of the country where I have connections) to the “First Amendment” twist of HHS controversy. I will admit, however, that media coverage it is probably 60/40 “contraception-dispute” over “First Amendment dispute.” Frankly, the “contraception-dispute” tactic will likely continue to get media attention (witness the complaint: “There are no women here!”) but let me remind the readers of this blog something I also read in a different stream here on The Bench: media attention, by its very nature, has a very short “shelf life.’

    IMHO, the attention by the blogging community maybe even more intense . . . but may have an even shorter “shelf life.”

  8. Paul Stokell says:

    Quite a refreshing view from the LCMS, as opposed to the ELCA, whose in-house policy (at least at one time) funded contraception and abortion.

  9. I know I will be attacked for this but I have read and reread Humanae Vitae since this issue erupted in a sincere attempt to understand it. I am coming to the conclusion that it is a flawed document and internally inconsistent. I am waiting to hear a rational sound theological reteaching of HV. I am failing to see the basis of HV’s conclusion that it is within the “natural order” to abstain from sex when the woman is fertile. If sex is a procreative union then having sex at the fertile time is within the “natural order” and abstaining is not natural but instead is an artificial means to regulate birth. Since HV accepts the morality of regulating birth there is no basis to distinguish between artificially abstaining during fertile periods which is not within the natural order and a condom. The statement that it is natural to abstain during a fertile period is conclusory as far as I can see.

  10. The details of the theology is not what’s at question here. What’s at question is the dictatorial power grab of an atheist administration to run rough shod over religious freedom and more specificly the first admendment. This isn’t just at Catholic issue, as you can see from the quote of the day. Leftists have been marginalizing religion for decades. This is the logical end of your side of the political aisle.

  11. The details of the theology is very important to me.

  12. Are very important.

  13. Hear, hear! The left have been marginalizing religion now for decades. This attack by this administration is the attempt to put a final blow in the ability of religious organizations to have any say in public debate. If this suceeds, this will be the reduction of religious to freely express their beliefs in a secularly dominant society. If this precedent stands, the first admendment guarentee of religious liberty will be destroyed. Not only must this be defeated in the courts to uphold that right, but this administration must be defeated to set an example so that no future administration will have the guts to follow suit. If the first admendment is over ridden, the cominig atheist majority will attempt to reduce us to ghetto enclaves and with no power. This is a life or death locking of horns between religion and atheism. Yes, I believe it’s that big an issue.

  14. They’re important to me too, and I would be inclined to agree with you on the use of condoms, but what’s at stake is far greater than difference of opinion over that.

  15. Atheist majority? Name me ONE lawmaker at the federal level who is an open and avowed atheist. The problem the secular majority is having with you these days is that you have defined the freedom to “freely express your beliefs” as a requirement that you hold an absolute monopoly on the public space and private lives. If your bottom line for having your say in public debate is to have the only voice, or the one that holds a veto over all others, then yeah, that’s going to be an insurmountable problem. The bottom line demand is that Catholicism, or at least a Catholic-Evangelical consensus, be encoded and enforced in civil law. Anything less, and you’re being “persecuted.” Can anyone here honestly tell me that they, (and more importantly the bishops), would be willing to leave the contraception issue rest of they won a concession to avoid the mandate?

  16. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    Deac. Norb–I read somewhere that those who control the headlines in the media control the debate(because 90% of people read or pay attention to the headlines, but don’t pay attention to the ensuing story.).
    When the HHS issue heated up, one web site–to show how hot it had become–listed the headlines from all the major mainstream news media outlets. And not one–as in 0%– used words like “First Amendment,” “religious liberty,” or the like in its headline.
    You’re right about Ma. media being more biased than the media in many other states. That is because the radically liberal Boston Globe (owned by the NY Times) is the only major statewide newspaper here and all the other media (except talk radio) march in lockstep with what the Globe says should be the major stories of the day and how they should be spun.
    Consequently it is hard to escape whatever drum the NY Times’ Globe
    is beating and get other points of view to help in decision making.
    Yet in this highly educated state it is not uncommon to find people who brag about only reading and only needing the Boston Globe. In a sense they brag about their own self-induced narrowly liberal minds while frequently accusing other people of having narrow minds who disagree with them–people who are frequently reading or listening to other voices as a corrective to the Globe’s inescapable influence and bias and sometimes out and out lies.
    How narrow-minded is the Globe?? One example: They have a whole stable of dozens of columnists and only one can be considered “conservative.” And even his columns have headlines –written by others–which sell the Globe’s spin on whatever topic the writer (Jeff Jacoby) has written on.

  17. Manny it really is very important to the debate. The bishops are saying as a matter of religious doctrine that artificial birth control is immoral and people should not be required to do pay for something that is immoral. But the basis for saying it is immoral seems to me deficient. So then there is no religious conscience issue. It seems to be that the overwhelming sense of the faithful that at least some forms of artificial birth control is not an intrinsic evil and I think there needs to be a serious and honest discussion about this in the Church.

  18. Are not. I seem to be having verb issues tonight. Sorry for the typos.

  19. “Name me ONE lawmaker at the federal level who is an open and avowed atheist.”

    My sentence was set in the future tense.

    The rest of your argument doesn’t hold water. No one is pushing the abolition of contraception from the general population. The issue at hand is over riding the first amendment and forcing religious institutions to pay for things they find repugnant.

  20. Barbara, I hope you see this. I have to keep replying to myself in order to talk to you. Why does the reply end at some point?

    Sure, there needs to be a discussion, but don’t hold your breath. Church magisterium goes back way to church fathers on this, and while I agree with you on condoms, such a change to dogma is not in the cards, ever. Taylor Marshall in this blog traces the history of Catholic opposition to contraception, here:
    http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2012/02/6-reasons-why-contraception-is-sinful.html. Very insightful and has adjusted my thinking on it.

    Still, you can’t possibly think that abortive contraceptives are a good thing.

    Nonetheless this takes veers off the real issue of first amendment religious freedom. If one wants to buy contracpetives, let them buy them on their own. They are not that expensive.

  21. Barbara, first of all, church teaching is that you should have a very good reason not to have your married life open to God to create life. Choosing not to have children with a very good reason and using NFP keeps God in your marriage. The man and woman and God all make the sacrifice using NFP. The man and woman abstain or make the sacrifice of sexual relations during fertile times and God sacrifices creating life. Of course God can overrule and create life around NFP, a condom, or birth control pills if He so desires.

    “It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”
    ― Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary

    NFP is all about understanding the entire process and using what God gave the woman to understand her fertility and many who have problems with having children in fact use this natural method to insure they are having relations during the best times for life.

    If you forget God in your review of Humanae Vitae or anything else in life in faith, you will come up with confusion and doubt and probably make the wrong choices. Pope John Paul II Theology of the Body takes up where Pope Paul VI left off and I understand that as a Cardinal, Karol had a lot to do with the writing with Paul VI.

    With artificial means, you are saying to God, wait outside while we have sex and it takes a lot away from His gift to humans. When we think of our sexual relationship as a Gift from God that is part of the sacrament of marriage between man and woman, and we do not think of sex as only some form of runting gratification as with animals, we begin to see the entire beauty of what God created in His Image. His first miracle was at Cana marriage where he took empty jars and had them filled with water and turned it into wine. In our marriage, God wants to have us become one with him, both emptying their jars and filling them with new life in each other which he turns to wine in creating new life.

    I would sacrifice the rest of my life for another hour with Greta. God never left us in all the years we were married. We never failed to say a prayer together on going to bed for all the gifts he gave us. It made our relations much more filled with love. Now she is with God and I am sure negotiating with him for forgiveness of all my sins so one day I might be with her for eternity. Hope this helps.

  22. Kenneth, none would admit it today. But name me one that would have supported legalizing abortion or gays in the military or gay marriage or changing the first amendment understanding of relgious liberty to separating religion from government in 1946? Our moral values and attitude toward relgion have completely collapsed in this country under the constant and unrelenting assult on every front in the 60 or so years since then starting with the idiotic change to the religious liberty right listed first in the bill of rights before speech and freedom of the press. They did so because it was the most essential right to sustaining the type of government that was being established. Every time in history when the moral fabric that holds society togehter is trampled, you have a total breakdown of society leading to a tolatarian state. That is what Obama would like if you listen to him say if Congress does not do what he wants he will use powers to make what he wants happen and ObamaCare has given a huge power to the executive branch to do just that. The patriot act was a grave error by Bush and should not have been allowed, but it was far less intrusive to all americans as ObamaCare. The courts have overreached their role in the government as well when they started legislating rather than judging on the written text. Each of these actions have remove part of our freedom. So yes, I think in the very near future, you will have someone admiting what most believe is true of Obama today, that he is not a person with any real faith. I have never believed he was a muslim, but a person who believes government is god and he is government.

  23. Norb, I would have agreed with you but now I do think this one is going to have some shelf life because many of the other religions have joined in support of the Catholic Church on the issue that this entire matter has a huge impact on religious freedom. That includes many faiths that were not that favorable toward the Catholic Church. I think they clearly understand that if Catholics now, they will be next on something else and that it is not just the HHS issue alone, but other attacks as well.

    Another factor is Cardinal Dolan. He is a person with strong media skills and a large number of friends in many other religious faiths. He does not come across and mean or nasty but kills with a smile and kind word with the right twist. He has a firm hand in driving the USCCB and is close with the Pope. I have no dobut that there have been discussions and strategy on this issue. Unless Obama backs down completely, which the abortion crowd has insured would kill him with the left, I see this going right up to election day and the Bishops using the pulpit on a regular basis to get the message out that this is something unlike anyone has seen in their lifetime for religious liberty. I also think they will put the squeeze on with a new voter guide and much more.

    I think this has done more to unite the Bishops and other faiths to the Catholic Church than anything in my lifetime and could prove to be a total disaster for not only Obama, but will slowly bleed the chances of other Democrats. If the polls change by a few points, you will see internal pressure to fix this by Democrats and it will leak out to the media fearing a landslide. In our parish, we are seeing many register for the first time and others who have not voted in years planning to vote. Obama said it best, when times get tough, many cling to their religion and he has made it a challenge to those in the pews.

  24. I think hitting the last reply in the thread posts the comment at the end. I will read the link you posted. In this case I believe that the Church’s position on ABC will be modified over time to recognize regulating births in a marriage may include ABC that does not induce abortions. Just as I believe in a strong federal government :) I believe that there needs to be a Magisterium. But the Magisterium needs to be able to discern the Holy Spirit working in the sense of the faithful.

  25. Fiergenholt says:

    Barbara P.

    Being a Church Historian is a role I did not seek but somehow it has been thrust upon me.

    Everyone seems to know the social and ecclesial “fallout” from HV but few have read the easily found documentation on how the theology of that encyclical was developed. You will conclude that the creation of that document was far more complex than a lot of folks want to know.

  26. Mark it is hard to rly to your comments when they are so long. My point is that NFP is not natural so your comment begs the question. I agree that marriage should be open to life but sometimes that may be irresponsible or dangerous so the Church accepts as moral regulation of birth. I did not forget God in my review of HV. I think having sex only at infertile times does the exact same thing as some forms of ABC. You were blessed to have a marriage that was so full of love for each other and of God and I pray that you find God’s comfort and healing. I think married people who use ABC can still have the same openness and love of God as people who use NFP and there is no distinction between a woman using a thermometer to figure out when she is fertile or a man using a condom.

  27. I have read something about the history. I understand there was a committee that included theologians and lay married couples- women too- and that the committee recommended that ABC be acceptable in certain circumstances but Pope Paul rejected that. I think it is time to revisit this whole issue including its history.

  28. Mark I answered you in the wrong spot – see my comment above.

  29. Pete Stark is a fairly important member of the House of Representatives who is an avowed atheist.

  30. For Barbara P @ 7:14am.

    That’s a small part of it. There’s more. But for starters do the following:

    –Create a time-line on the various “natural” methods advocated by Roman Catholicism: When they came to the surface as “approved” for laity to when they died off. (BTW: there are at least three methods in this 60 year time-line — make sure you get them all!)

    –Create a similar timeline from when the first oral contraceptive was developed; to when it was approved; to when it was marketed. (Be sure to note that one of the developers of the very first Oral Contraceptive to be approved by the FDA was a devout Roman Catholic. He had consulted with his bishop about any moral implications and was give a go-ahead. When HV was finally published, he became very bitter about what he considered “treachery” and renounced the Catholicism of his heritage.)

    –Then add the time-lines of the respective study committees empowered by Pope Paul VI (BTW — there was not one committee but THREE).

    –The add the promulgation date of HV.

    That should keep you busy for a while.

  31. That is quite an assignment! But I am interested in this history and will try to find the time to review it. But you have to give me some help getting started – how do I find the timelines?

  32. Maybe so, but he’s still 217 votes shy of a majority.

  33. The pro-lifers are absolutely pushing to outlaw contraception for the general population. They have defined most forms of hormonal birth control as an abortifacient, or a likely abortifacient, and are maneuvering to outlaw it on that basis. All of the various “personhood begins at conception” ballot initiatives and legislation in various states would absolutely outlaw contraception on that basis. The sponsors of these measures try to downplay that, but they have never denied it.
    I would like to believe that the coalition of the RCC and Evangelicals are just trying to defend the exercise of their own consciences and pocketbooks. I see every indication of a much bigger agenda. If they were truly content just to live and let live, they would not be spending millions of dollars to lobby against gay marriage. That is an issue where nobody has ever asked the churches to underwrite financially, to accept in doctrine, or to participate in any way. Separation of church and state is needed to protect the state (and us, ultimately), from the churches, as much as the converse.

  34. If you want to talk about totalitarianism and overreach of state power and intrusion, here’s one to ponder: The Virginia legislature is passing a measure that would force women seeking abortion to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound “to determine the gestational age” of the fetus. Not just any ultrasound, but the most invasive, degrading method available. With no medical necessity and no option to refuse, that’s basically mandating a medically supervised rape as a tool to humiliate and discourage women from exercising a legal, if controversial decision to abort.

  35. I’ve never seen anyone say that condoms need to be outlawed to the general population, not even Catholic Bishops.

  36. I’ve come to the conclusion Kenneth that your sole purpose in being here is to spit out talking points for the left. I see no Catholic in you whatsoever.

  37. That’s not terribly reassuring. Nor does their lack of declaring an intention to ban condoms mean they wouldn’t do so given have a chance. They were illegal in Ireland until the late 70s. At any rate, the clear intention to eliminate access to contraceptives for the general population gives us no incentive to trust them, or sympathize with them on the mandate issue.

  38. Your observation is quite correct in one aspect: I am not Catholic. I was raised and educated in that faith, but no longer follow it or belong to it. I try to be very upfront about that, so at the least, you can respect my honesty. I am not a “cafeteria Catholic” at the least….

  39. Joe Mc Faul says:

    I have to say I don’t agree with the quote.

    The LCMS is a religious organization that believes the Pope is the antichrist and requires its members to believe in Young Earth Creationism. Michelle Bachmann resigned her membership in this organization because she knew she’d be unelectable as a member.

    The organization is theologically heretical and scientifically illiterate. I disagree that they are an unqualified force for good in the US. In fact, wed be better off without them.

    In return for their divisive use religion and abuse of science, they offer that they produce good citizens–the minimum expectation of any group. I have served in the military and noted that many of our good citizens are gay, of different religions and often of no religion at all. LCMS has no special privilege or accomplishment to its name.

    So, no they are not an unqualified blessing. I urge them to reconsider their extremely faulty fundamentalist theology that is unfit for the twenty-first century. A self-identified religious belief is not above ridicule and “attack” in the public square. “Free- exercise” does not mean that others must refrain from criticism. LCMS is not under attack

    Here is an example of “attack:” http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/atheist-girl-in-rhode-island-faces-stream-of-death-threats/

    How many death threats has this LCMS pastor received?

  40. Barbara, sorry the response was long although if you read Humanae Vitae and digested it prayerfully, it takes quite a bit of time.

    “NFP is not natural”. Not sure where it is not natural. God created woman and seems to have created a perfect part of that development for mankind to determine fertile times. No chemicals of any kind are used. Do artificial means of any kind are used. OK so far? Now in marriage open to life and God, which you seen to agree is the right way to go, we unite with God or sacrifice with God in how we choose to have sexual relations. Again, nothing artificial to allow sex whenever we desire leaving God out. I assume we are in agreement to this point.

    Now, something is wrong and a woman cannot conceive a child without grave risk or during something like a cancer where treatment would harm the baby. The Church allows us to say no to God in NFP and we unite with God in shared sacrifice. When and if the situation passes, we again become open to life. You say that somehow using chemical means so we can have sex when we want and shut God out is OK. That never happens with NFP. Our lives are united with God in a perfectly natural and loving way.

    NFP like any gift can be used improperly and if a couple wants to shut God out without strong reason, the Church sees that as wrong as well. But birth control using chemical or artifical means is always wrong as it shuts God out all the time.

  41. The Pope always seeks input and various committees are formed so that before a decision is made by the Pope and becomes a Magesterial teaching, that he is well informed. He also has to take into consideration Church teaching and tradition. Natural law always plays a part in that this is how God created the world and man. Some think to believe that Church teaching should be by committee and the Pope simply sign off on whatever they come up with changing with the times. No committee is protected as infallibale. When Pope Paul VI took all the information and prayed about it, he produced a wonderful document in Humane Vitae with proof in the amazing accuracy of predictions contained in the document. It is an infallable teaching which makes searching through input committees kind of a waste of time. The teaching has survived now through 3 Popes if you count Pope JPI and it will continue to survive in the face of the impact ignoring it has had on our world and the faithful. It’s full understanding and beauty is why Pope JPII developed and gave us Theology of the Body which many predict will be the document in time that will return many Catholics back to the fold from the grave sins now being committed as a result of ignoring Catholic teaching.
    Infallibility is hard to ignore if one’s goal is heaven. Staying on the side of that which Christ has blessed seems like a good idea. In other matters that are not matters of faith and morals or given to us from the chair of Peter to be accepted by all Catholics, we can pay attention to various opinions of which the Pope should be an important one.

  42. Mark respectfully reading your comments is a little different from reading HV! Unfortunately we aren’t in agreement at all. I don’t get your theological concept that God sacrifices for the will of humans. He sacrificed once – on the Cross. I also think it is inconsistent to say that sex is a procreative union and then say it is natural to abstain at fertile times and that it is okay to use artificial methods to determine the fertile period. I am the mother of two children with speciIal needs. Their father and I worked and sacrificed a great deal to raise them and provide them the support and services they needed to be able to meet their challenges and have the opportunitiesnthey now have open to them. Through the Grace of God we were provided our daily bread. But there were some diificult emotional and financial times when we were spread very thin. I know I had as many children as I was able to raise.

  43. Kenneth, do you ever try to stay on point in a discussion when someone answers your point with another or just ignore it and throw out something entirely off base?

    The reason for the Virginia legislature to do what they are doing is because there are laws (stupid in my opinion) when the mom can have her baby killed. The use of this ultrasound is to determine the exact age and condition of the baby at this young age and this method of ultrasound is the most accurate.

    Kind of like the courts bending over backwards before we kill someone convicted of a horrible crime. We want to make sure we have all the facts before we kill someone by our very laws. sometimes it takes 10 years or longer and millions of dollars to look at every possible angle before we inject them with poison. So if we have to have an ultrasound to protect the laws as to when we can kill a baby, does not seem like to harsh a treatment before we OK the mom having her baby killed. Seems like we own the innocent child due process of law if we have a law in place about age and viability on the books.

    But those in favor of a godless state who looks at life of human beings in a different way depending on age and location would see this as rape and invasion and that those who are jews should have no rights..sorry, wrong human beings being deprived of rights..should have been the baby in the womb. Margaret Sanger would have been proud of this argument as she saw a lot of human beings not up to her or the elites and the others like blacks, handicapped, or a fetus to have no right to life. Frankly, I do not see this as anything but what should be done when another human beings life is at stake and in Virginia, obviously they have laws about the age they allow for slaughtering some human beings.

  44. So we go from naming one to needing 217 more.

    Kenneth, I see why you left the Catholic Church. You have a hard time with logic and development of a well formed conscience. It also explains why one who chose to leave something because of total rejection spends time hanging around Catholic blogs. What is that Kenneth, longing, guilt, or anger?

  45. Mark Humanae Vitae has not survived three Popes. The overwhelming sense of the faithful is that it is not valid in all its conclusions. I agree there is a beauty to its teaching that raises the dignity of human relationships. However it is wrong in its underlying assumption that people in a marital relationship can not make prayerful choices and that birth control would cheapen marital relationships in all circumstances. Flying in an airplane is not natural to man but just because planes can be used to kill people doesn’t mean their use should be prohibited.
    I also think you might want to give some more prayful consideration to the Church’s social justice positions that you feel comfortable rejecting. Jesus spoke a graet deal about our duty to care for the poor and marginalized and said nothing about contraception. Mark you and I disagree about many things but I know we are united in our love for Christ.

  46. Longing, guilt or anger? None of the above. Just a realpolitik realization that I have to share the civic space with Catholics and that their involvement with public policy questions has direct implications for my own life.
    You may notice that I never get involved in what might be termed “purely Catholic” issues. I don’t get involved in “insider baseball” issues of the faith, nor do I ever ridicule people for holding beliefs I don’t share. I get involved only to the extent the practice of these beliefs impacts my own ability to live according to my conscience or in cases where your actions relative to your beliefs offend my own sense of justice (ie gay marriage).
    I’m also well familiar with your insinuation that I must not have any logic or a “well formed conscience.” That’s the central argument of Catholic apologetics: Anyone whose conscience and reason don’t lead them to Catholicism is an idiot (or malicious). Needless to say, I’m unimpressed by that. My own journey out of the Church was not rooted in an un-formed conscience nor in ignorance. I had 12 years of Catholic education, including a very rich and challenging curriculum by some very decent and scholarly Carmelites in high school. Earned the Ad Altare Dei and was considered by some to be a good candidate for the seminary.
    I didn’t leave out of ignorance nor anger, but because my search of 25 years led me to a different place. I will answer for the fruits of my conscience to my gods and ancestors and those who live with my moral choices, not you.
    I am also unimpressed by most of what passes for apologetics and logic among contemporary Christians. I rarely, if ever, get a direct on point engagement of the issues and arguments I raise. The usual response is for someone to call me “anti-Catholic” or “liberal” or an “atheist”. Some of the more well-read folks will at least toss off an all-purpose pithy quote from C.S. Lewis which usually has nothing to do with the issue at hand. In many cases, the angriest Catholics betray an obvious ignorance of their own Catechism.

  47. If you want to outlaw abortion in this country, than do so in a legitimate and above-board manner. Work to change the society’s consensus on when life begins and create a political and judicial culture which will create the findings in law necessary to do so.
    Forcing women to undergo a protracted, painful and invasive medical procedure for no medical reason is grotesquely immoral. It is grotesquely immoral regardless of whatever noble justification one tries to attach to it. It is a forcible and Orwellian invasion of someone’s body for the purpose of inflicting the private moral convictions of one group of people against another.
    I raise that in this discussion because it goes directly to the point of the nature of the debate over Obama’s mandate. The bishops and other opponents are trying very hard to spin their position as “live-and-let-live” reasonableness. All we ask, they say, is that you don’t use the force of government to encroach upon our conscience. Don’t make us pay for contraception, and we’ll all go our separate ways. The mandate, they say, is un-American, because forcing one group’s morality upon another is un-American.
    That all seems reasonable until we look closely and see the enormous disconnect between the words and actions of this movement. They are not merely asking for an opt-out to paying for contraception. They are actively working to outlaw it for all Americans for all time. In the case of the Virginia ultrasound law, it is clear they are also quite willing to enforce their moral convictions upon others through any means necessary, including physical invasion of women’s bodies in a way calculated to inflict physical and psychological pain. It is a law which uses pain and humiliation and back-door tactics to gain compliance with an agenda that cannot be achieved with overt legal means.

  48. Joe:

    “Michelle Bachmann resigned her membership in this organization because she knew she’d be unelectable as a member.”

    WRONG ANSWER. Michelle Bachmann and her husband were long time members of Salem Lutheran Church in their home town. That is a congregation attached to a even more obscure denomination known as the “Lutheran Church Wisconsin Synod.”

    The LC Wisconsin-Synod folk believe that the LC Missouri Synod folk are all screaming liberal heretics and will have nothing to do with them.

  49. Barbara P —
    I think you have to look at it from a slightly different angle; and I think Bl. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body gives us that angle. He shows us that the marital act is designed as a physical image of the loving total self-giving of the Persons of the Trinity. As we heard on Sunday, God’s word is not yes and no, but yes. Artificial contraception says no to the total self-giving, whether it is the woman deliberately and directly destroying her fertility or the man preventing his sperm from reaching her ova. But with NFP the couple give all they’ve got, and they haven’t reduced themselves. In NFP they give themselves as they are; in AC they reduce themselves, thereby falsifying the image of God.

  50. joe mc faul says:

    My mistake about Bachmann. I mis-remembered and knew that after I posted, but didn’t feel it was worth the effort to correct it. She was with the WELS not the LCMS.

    If you’re not a member of either, it’s a distinction without a difference. It’s difficult to keep track of these protestant sects without a scorecard and they are often still merging and splitting over obscure points of doctrine. Both are declining in numbers.

    As to Mr. Harrison’s comment, I reject his claim that his religion is an “unqualified good” or produces better citizens than other religions or even those who are non-religious.

    He sounded off in front of politicians who are restrained by civility and cameras not to return fire in kind. Instead of being “attacked,” he was given a forum. He should have used it more wisely.

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