Do Pro Abortion Catholics Lack Essential Integrity?

It represents a lack of integrity for a public official to expect others to accept the premise: “What I do publicly contradicts who I say I am religiously, but that doesn’t make any difference.” 

 Bishop Lawrence Brandt of Greenburg Pennsylvania, issued a pastoral letter recently in which he raised an important issue about Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Aside from the question of whether or not these politicians should take communion, (he thinks they shouldn’t) he raises the a more fundamental question, at least for non-Catholic voters, which is Can we trust them?

His reasoning here is simple. If someone will play false with something as basic as their faith, how can we believe them about anything else?

It’s an interesting question. The point of this question is not whether or not they are pro abortion. It’s also not whether they are Catholic. It’s their stubborn insistence that they are Catholics in full communion with the Church when even a cursory reading of the Catechism would tell them that they are not. The point is the arrogance and the lie.

What line of reasoning leads people to this? Cradle Catholics are among the most devout people I know. However it’s been my experience that converts are far less likely to be pro abortion Catholics than those who were born and raised in the faith.

This makes sense. After all, converts chose the Catholic faith, usually after a period of discernment and education about what it means to be Catholic. Most cradle Catholics have a good understanding of their faith as well, but it’s easier than it would be for a convert for some of them to just fall into their Catholicism without understanding or choosing it actively.

I wonder if there is something in that which predisposes them to this kind of wrong-headed view of their faith. How do they manage to see themselves as wholly and fully Catholic, even while they ignore the teaching authority of the Church on an issue like the sanctity of human life?

I have a theory that, in some way that makes sense to them, they see being Catholic as more genetic than religious.

I know quite a few Jewish people who feel this way about their Jewishness. I know Jewish people who have never been to Temple in all the decades I’ve known them and who have even less knowledge of their faith than I do, yet they are confident that they are, in fact, Jews.

I wonder if these pro abortion Catholic politicians see themselves the same way. If they do, I think they are basing their belief on a mistaken assumption about what it means to be Catholic, or Christian of any denomination. Christianity is not a genetic faith.

I believe that true Christianity always involves an active assent, a personal “yes” to God. It is that essential “yes” that we give voluntarily and from our hearts that shapes our faith and our subsequent actions.

Somewhere, in all the haze of being cradle Catholic and the many pressures to conform their faith to their politics, these politicians have lost that understanding of their faith. Rather than seeing it as a core commitment which will determine their values and actions, they see it as a social obligation which requires that they show up for mass and answer the responses. They are cultural Catholics rather than religious Catholics.

It appears that their understanding of themselves as individual human persons who must stand before God alone one day and account for what they did with their time in this life is lost to them.

They seem to have slipped right past that and into a sort of corporate we’re-catholic-as-a-group-and-that’s-all-the-fidelity-we-must-live view of their Catholicism. Instead of becoming part of a body of believers, they see themselves as part of an ethnic designation. Instead of a Community of Faith, they have defined their church as a consortium of adherents.

Whether it happened because of political accommodation or daffy religious formation, these people have lost the meaning of faith, and with it the meaning and the charge of what it is to be Catholic.

Bishop Brandt asks us if we can trust such people, not just with abortion, but with anything. I think this is a question we should consider carefully as we approach next week’s election.

Here is what he said on this matter:

“Any individual who says he can advocate for and enable the practice of abortion and claims that he can still be a Catholic in good standing, has a very serious problem with integrity which any community can ignore only at its own peril.”

Politicians who live in such a disintegrated way are a matter of concern not only to Catholics, but to “society itself,” Bishop Brandt said.

“It is a cause of very serious concern for all the citizenry about a matter of integrity. It is a very serious concern about placing public trust in a person who has demonstrated public misrepresentation.” (Read more here.)

  • http://ackans.com Mr. V

    Wow. That’s a powerful statement from the bishop. I never thought of the issue in that light, but I think he’s right. If one can stand up and present a false image of what his faith is and what his core values are, then how indeed can we trust anything they say?

    It may be as you say, Rebecca, that perhaps they’re cradle Catholics with a skewed idea of what it really means to be Catholic, but that almost makes it worse. That makes everything about them a lie…they’re not only misrepresenting the faith in public, they’re lying to themselves. They’re so divorced from truth that they might not be able to recognize truth for what it is.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I agree Stephen. I wasn’t trying to excuse it. I may not have worded it clearly. What I mean — and I’ll do another post if the confusion seems widespread — is that they’ve missed the boat about what it means to be a Christian altogether.

  • Tom Stewart

    Many great points were raised in this blog, Ms. Hamilton, and I would like to offer a view from a cradle Catholic who supports cantidates who support a womans choice to have an abortion.
    In the history of two party politics in the United States, for me, the greatest coupe ever won was by the platform committee to the 1980 Republican nominating convention. 1980, for the first time since Roe V. Wade became law, a political party took a stand definitevely on one side of this debate. At that moment, Catholics found a line in the sand. Did they continue to vote for cantidates who were advocates of the poor, the elderly, the imprisoned, and all other who found themselves disenfranchised, or did they vote for the cantidates who oppressed the disenfranchised citizens yet advocated the religous belief that life begins at conception. Not only do these cantidate believe that life begins at conception but they want to legislate that religous belief to all. As a practicing cradle Catholic who went through formation in a religous order, who teaches R.E., who serves on a parish council , I still wrestle this issue. I voted againt Al Gore because of his Supreme Court litmus test.
    I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that life begins at conception and ends with natural death. I believe that in these United States I have the right to believe these things. I also believe that others have the right to believe their way. I come from the church of the crusades but I am not a crusader. I believe that if I pray for an end to abortion and vote to help educate the poor, vote to help create good jobs that pay living wages, and foster a society where love dominates the landscape, I will have done more to end abortion and foster the dignity of all human life than any vote for an anti-abortion cantidate will ever do.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Tom, I agree with you that we should be advocates for the poor, the elderly, the imprisoned, etc. Where I don’t agree is the idea that killing a child is a matter of belief. Abortion kills a living child. That’s why it’s wrong, and why it is not just a matter of choice. The “choice” in question is a choice to kill.

    • http://ackans.com Mr. V

      Tom,

      I understand your viewpoint, and I respect your opinion. I must say, though, that on the issue of abortion, our bishops and indeed the Pope as well have stated that abortion is an intrinsic evil that may not be supported. They have stated that no matter what a politician may profess in regards to helping the poor, it does not excuse being pro-abortion. To vote for a pro-abortion candidate makes us just as much to blame for the evil of abortion as is the politician that promoted it, and the people that physically carry them out.

      You may disagree with me, you may disagree with Rebecca, you may disagree with other lay people about the topic of abortion. Ultimately, though, your conflict is with the Holy Mother Church and whether or not you are going to hold fast to the beliefs and teachings handed down through her by our Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. If you cast a vote that in any way supports abortion, you will be guilty of enabling an intrinsic evil in the eyes of the Church and in the eyes of God. Even if no one else is aware of your vote, and you participate in Church and receive Communion, it will avail you nothing, for God will be aware of the evil in which you have participated.

      I will pray for you Tom, that God opens your eyes before it’s too late.

    • KidDoc

      Tom,
      There does not exist Catholic Church teaching about when life begins. That is a common and incorrect assumption in these debates. Rather, the Church recognizes biological fact (a unique human life begins at the moment of conception, biologically distinct from mother and father), and goes on to teach what obligations flow from there. What the Church teaches is how to treat our fellow human beings, even when hidden by the shroud of the womb. When life begins is not about opinion. Those who wish to continue killing 4000 babies surgically each day have tried to make it so, but that doesn’t change reality. While we can have prudential arguments about how best to help the poor (and I do not believe either party has a monopoly on the best ideas here, but this is only my prudential judgment), the political candidate who endorses the murder of over 1 million defenseless children each year in this country disqualifies themselves from receiving my vote. Please pray for me as I will for you.

    • Frank

      While you are “helping”, over 6000 innocent lives are killed each week, only 3% due to rape, invest or the life of the mother. Voting for a party that has abortion on demand in their platform is an anathema to the Christian faith. It’s quite simple really. Jesus puts it even clearer, you are either with me or against me.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com neenergyobserver

    The integrity thing is a biggie for me. In the Lutheran Church we have a useful doctrine, the two kingdoms, the kingdom of the left is the government and it doesn’t really matter the faith, if any, but integrity is everything there also. The Kingdom of the right is the church and there the correctness of faith is paramount. But integrity is always the most important.

    The problem with abortion, secularly, is that we have allowed a pseudo-right to privacy to trump the right to life, from which all of our civil rights flow. In addition, I know of very few if any churches that absolutely allow abortion, my pretty liberal ELCA teaches against it, although allowing contraception, which is a stand that while I may (and do) disagree with, I can understand.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You hit on what I was going at here. The question of the integrity of pro choice Catholics is an issue to consider for everyone, whether they are Catholic or not.

  • Ted Seeber

    I think anybody who thinks of themselves as a “good person” but is anti-life, and who is currently alive, lacks integrity.

    Cradle Catholicism is not the point here; a lack of understanding of LIFE is the point.

  • Sus

    I read something interesting today regarding pro-life candidates vs pro-choice candidates.

    http://ncronline.org/news/politics/which-presidential-candidate-truly-pro-life

    “Obama’s Affordable Care Act does not pay for abortions. In Massachusetts, Romney’s health care law does. ” “But let’s not stop there. Obama does not financially profit from the abortion industry. Romney does. Bain Capital, in the time Romney was listed as its legal head and even when he was attending Bain board meetings, was an owner of Stericycle, a major disposer of the dead bodies of aborted children in the United States. (See: Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show.) Bain owned a share of Stericycle until 2004, selling its interest for a profit in the tens of millions of dollars. We can parse what Romney’s 1999 “retroactive retirement” from Bain means, but he still gets an annual payout from the firm. To the extent those dollars are part of Bain’s Stericycle profits, a strong argument exists that Romney is an abortion profiteer. How pro-life is that?”

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      The answer is: neither of them are pro-life to any meaningful degree. I do not believe Romney cares about abortion one way or the other and thus he struggles to say the right things since the whole issue is just an afterthought to him; Obama definitely is not pro-life and doesn’t claim to be.

      As terrible as it is, I am probably going to vote for Romney for the following reasons:
      1) He will appoint better justices than Obama. (Not good, but not frighteningly bad)
      2) When Romney does the same stupid and evil things that Obama does (like killing people with drones, just for one example), the media will jump all over him instead of ignore it.
      3) There’s a chance that Paul Ryan could become President, and by all accounts he is a straight shooter, and completely pro-life.
      4) There’s a very good chance that he will spend money at a slightly less obscene rate than the current occupant of the White House. (As I’ve heard it said, he’ll speed us over the cliff at 40 miles per hour instead of 80 miles per hour. This MIGHT give us a chance to stop the car, though I doubt it)
      5) He has promised to overturn the HHS Mandate.
      6) He will overturn Obama’s presidential orders using US funds to bankroll abortion overseas.

      I think they should change our election system so that “Neither” is an option. If “Neither” votes outnumber the votes for any candidate, then the parties have to submit new candidates, and a new election occurs a month later. This would allow for up to 3 voting iterations, after which, if there is no winner, the House would select a President (I say the House because that creates the most accountability*.)

      * – Each House member “represents” almost 750,000 citizens, when it was about 30,000 originally, so yeah…that’s another problem.

  • http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com Rob Barkman

    The same applies to anyone who claims to be opposed to abortion, not just Catholics. It is a shame that so many of us can have a mental knowledge of the sinfulness of abortion and yet not live it out in very aspect of our lives. Another example, I believe,is when we make allowance for rape, incest and life of the mother…. if abortion is truly murder how can we justify murder under any circumstance? Just my thoughts. Lord bless you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Rob. I agree completely.

    • Ted Seeber

      Ok, playing the devil’s advocate for a second. While I agree with you on rape and incest, triage is not murder. But then again, removing the infant from the mother through surgery to save the life of the mother and placing it in an incubator isn’t abortion either, even if that child isn’t viable and dies or has great challenges with disability because of it.

    • ds

      The justification comes from the notion that a woman’s responsibility for the pregnancy and to some degree the consequences of the pregnancy should at least partially determine if she should be forced to continue that pregnancy. This is not a generally discussed but still widely held belief about abortion. And of course it is not legitimate reasoning.

      Raped? How horrible, we shouldn’t force that woman to have that baby.

      Danger to her health? Well, yeah she should have the baby, but we don’t want her to DIE, right?

      Married? Shouldn’t you be having babies anyway?

      Single? Shoulda thought of the consequences, slut. Now you gotta have that baby.

      Of course, any restriction on abortion implies that women do not know what the best decision is, and the state must make it for them to the point of forcing them to carry a child even if they don’t want to.

      I do belief in life from the point of conception. But the state limiting a person’s choices of what to do with their own body really bothers me. I see intrinsic evil in legal or illegal abortion.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        If I may interject, my thinking on this is quite a bit different from what you describe. I only oppose abortion because it kills a child. But, since it does kill a child, then I can’t be for it, even in the cases you mention. I would never call any woman by those names. In fact, I’m only allowing you to use that word (this one time) because you are using the word to make a point. I generally delete any comments that use misogynist names for women.

        If you believe in life from the point of conception, I would suggest that you need to join with me and other people who share your concern for the woman and who also believe that human life begins at conception in working for just and humane ways to end the misogyny that feeds abortion and help women; all without killing the baby.

        There is no evil that I can see in choosing life. There is, however, great evil in the sexual double standard, which I believe is at least part of what you are referencing with your comment.

        • ds

          There is no evil in choosing life, but there is evil in the state controlling women’s bodies. For a ptegnant woman to choose.life there is no evil. ,but fot the state to force her, thats at least a bbit evil. Nobody gets killed, but theres still evil in the bargain. Thatz my dilemma. But god always gives us a choice to choose no evil, not just less evil, right?

          • howard van

            DS,
            The state controlling/preventing us from performing certain acts by itself is not evil. There are laws against murder, drunk driving, pedophilia…etc that most would agree are not evil. Equating laws against abortion as intrinsically evil is incorrect.

          • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

            Change “women” to “soldiers” or “criminals” or “schoolchildren” and you will realize that you are talking gross nonsense. Of course the State can and does, in different ways, control the bodies of people; whether to herd them to school, or to train them for war, or to punish them for crimes committed. “The magistrate wears the sword, and SHOULD wear the sword”, says ST.Paul. To imagine that women somehow have an exemption from this natural condition of human life is to imagine that they are less than human, since, as the philosopher said, man is a zoon poleitikon – a pack animal, an animal who lives in groups, an animal whose natural sphere of life is in tribes and states and nations along with and under the government of other men.

  • BDW

    I’m pro-choice not pro-abortion. I think that would apply to most tolerant human beings. Radical Catholics do not represent the majority.

    I hope they never do.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I understand that there are people who are, in fact, pro choice in that they do not so much favor abortion as fear the consequences to women of making it illegal. There are other people who refuse to consider any other option besides abortion and who are flat-out pro abortion. I accept your designation of yourself in this matter.

    • AE

      Amen.

      I am Catholic. A practicing, mass attending, praying devout Catholic. I am also a convert from Lutheranism (being a convert has actually made me more, not less fluid, in my faith). My undergrad is in Theology from Steubenville (though I have drifted from those days) and I am a graduate student in Religion at a major Jesuit university. So I have seen all sides.

      I am pro-choice. I wrestled with this issue for a long time, honestly and sincerely. But what made me pro-choice was becoming a mother. Being pregnant made me realize what a mystery the beginning of life is; it isn’t black and white, it isn’t an instantaneous moment, it is a process, and it belongs to the woman. And GETTING pregnant and learning all the ins and outs of pregnancy, talking to other pregnant women, learning about how complicated pregnancy is frankly brought me to the conclusion that no, an early term embryo is not a “person”.

      If human chromosomes are all that it takes to make you a person, then what is the status of a blighted ovum? Of the 50-70% of fertilized eggs miscarried by the end of the first trimester not by some biological accident, but because they were so dysfunctional, so incapable of ever growing into a baby even under the most pristine conditions that the body rejected them? What is the status of a 16 or 17 week old fetus with all of the organs growing outside of the body, and should a woman be LEGALLY forced to carry something so incompatible with life, at risk to her own health and future fertility and sanity, just to satisfy some Thomistic convolution about legitimate ends and means, even if she is not Catholic?

      There is a reason that pregnancy takes time, that most religions and philosophers historically did not consider human beings “ensouled” until quickening. That even the Bible, in its only hint at the moral status of fetal life, proscribes a far lower punishment for causing the death of a fetus than of a born human person, which would imply that fetuses are not persons with the same moral standing. There is nothing in modern science to disprove that idea of a delayed ensoulment…if anything the very lack of sentience and the disposability in nature of early term embryos and fetuses would seem to confirm that they are not yet fully “human” or “personal”, and that it takes more than a human genetic code to make you a human person. If the God of Exodus and the God who made embryonic life so disposable doesn’t seem to ascribe human personhood and full rights to the unborn, then why should I hang my entire faith and my political choices on prenatal life, at the expense of the poor (who the Bible very explicitly commands to help), of peace, of the rights of women to bodily integrity, of the BORN?

      One look at an 8 week embryo on an ultrasound and no, my first reaction was not “That is a person” but “That WILL BECOME a person.” Having had both an early miscarriage and a live child, the first was a small loss, a disappointment, a sense of frustration at the time wasted, something on the order of “better luck next month…argh.” Every women who has had two pink lines on a stick knows you don’t get excited about a pregnancy, don’t start telling people and calling it “your baby” until you are past the first trimester, because it is not your baby yet and may never become your baby. It is a growing bundle of cells that could very well turn out to not be viable. Could turn out to never have been viable. Could turn out to be an empty blastocyst with a unique genetic code.

      But if I lost my child, my born, fully living, named child, I don’t know if I could go on. If I lost her at 24 or 30 something weeks pregnant it would have been devastating, because yes, somewhere between the bean with flippers and viability, something changes. The “pregnancy” becomes a “person”. It’s a mystery. I know people who like black and white theological definitions usually don’t like mysteries, but it is. That is part of the dignity of being a woman – to be a part of the mystery, to have authority over it, to carry it, to give it your free “Yes or No,” to feel that moment where you can sense another presence. To be not just a passive, accepting receptacle, but a co-creator with God, emphasis on the “co” part, which requires a “fiat”. Getting the law involved with early pregnancy violates that mystery. Every woman OWNS that mystery of the beginning of life herself. Nothing convicted me more of that than my own pregnancies, Catholic or not.

      I respect the sincerity of pro-lifers. I used to be pro-life. I’ve been on the March for Life. But I do not agree anymore, and I am not going to leave the Catholic Church over it. I think this issue needs a real, respectful conversation, with an assumption of honesty and sincerity on both sides.

      • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

        What a convenient doctrine. And appealing to the Bible, too. Yukk.

  • Christopher Lake

    BDW,

    You say that you are “pro-choice but not pro-abortion.” What do you believe that abortion is? What do you believe that it does?

    To apply your reasoning to another subject, would you say, “I an personally opposed to genocide, but I think that other people should have the choice to commit it if they want?” If you would not say that, why not?

  • BDW

    You can’t equate abortion to genocide. I am personally against abortion, but I would never take that right from a woman. It’s her body and her choice. Pro-lifers have a weird idea about when a fetus becomes a person.

    You become a person as you grow and mature and experience life. You’re not instantly a person the moment you’re conceived. Catholics don’t see it that way, I know. But we can’t have Catholics running this country. Unless of course, it is an open-minded Catholic like Joe Biden. Not a narrowminded fanatic like Paul Ryan.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      My “weird” idea about when a fetus becomes a person is from that pesky science. If you look at any science textbook, you’ll see that the new human being is formed at conception. From that time on, all the DNA is present, and the being simply continues to grow. I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to say that all human beings are persons. At the very least, no one can know with certainty that any human being is NOT a person.

    • Ted Seeber

      I certainly call 54 million human beings dead merely because they were “unwanted” or “unplanned” a genocide- and a bigotry as ugly as any other I’ve ever come across.

  • Mary

    I am Catholic and have never met anyone who is “pro abortion”. No one pumps their fist in the air with excitement and joy about getting an abortion. No one likes it. Pro choice people believe it should be a private matter between the woman and her doctor, and that does not mean they think abortion is wonderful and great. If people were responsible and practiced birth control or abstinence, there would be no abortion. I personally wish there wasn’t any abortion.

    Now, as a Catholic, I am saddened that the Bishops and clergy ignore the despicable Republican platform of gutting funds for the poor, mocking the poor for being moochers and losers, telling people who receive food stamps and unemployment checks to stop feeding off the government and somehow it is their fault for falling on hard times. The Republican party’s contempt for the poor is absolutely disgusting. And these very same Republicans want to take all the money they strip from the poor so they can give more tax breaks to the wealthy. It is disgusting beyond words and yet the Bishops endorse these Republicans. It is very disappointing and may explain the ever growing disconnect between the clergy and their parishoners.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Mary, how does the sin of ignoring the poor justify the sin of abortion? I don’t see that.

      • Mary

        Rebecca,

        I am not saying the sin of ignoring the poor justifies abortion. I am saying that the Bishops are upsetting many Catholics by supporting the Republican party when the policies put forth by Republicans treat the poor like dirt under their shoe. Did you see me say that the Bishops should tell everyone to vote for Democrats? Nope. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that the Bishops should support the Republican party when their policies show utter contempt for the less fortunate.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          I feel like the bishops have been very good about calling out the actions of both parties when they are wrong. Maybe it’s different with your bishops, but mine have always been just as willing to support a legislation that is line with Church teaching when it is authored by a Democrat as when it is authored by a Republican. I feel this is also true nationally. I think the trouble is that the Democrats have totally jumped the shark in the past year. When it comes to corporatism, the Republicans have jumped a different shark. I don’t think we need to castigate the bishops for saying the truth. We need to reform both these two political parties. That is our job as citizens.

        • howard van

          Mary,
          Who is the less fortunate? The unborn child or the woman and her 5 kids not having cable tv. Please don’t tell me about her kids going hungry or not having money for school. In America, we have what is called the 1st world problem of not having an Iphone or a nice car. I am all for women’s rights, but the right to life is more important. It is more important and sacred than every other rights in existence.

          • Mary

            Howard,
            Go up to Appalachia and tell me if you see poor people with iPhones or cable. These people can barely put food on the table and their children’s teeth are literally starting to rot. Yet the Republicans want to cut funding to help these poor people so they can give tax cuts to the rich. It’s vile and goes against the teachings of Christ. We have an infant mortality rate in some inner cities right here in the Unites States that is on par or actually slightly worse than Bangladesh. I have yet to hear any “pro life” Republicans speak out about this travesty and try to do anything about it. Instead, they pass policies to take funding from the poor and give it to the rich. By the way did you see the exit polls from the election? Obama won the Catholic vote by 2 percent.

            I completely understand the Bishops speaking out against abortion, but their silence on speaking out against Republican legislation that hurts the poor and outright contempt that Republicans have for poor people is just as upsetting to many parishioners as the abortion issue is.

            • Rebecca Hamilton

              Mary, neither the bishops nor the Church is silent about the poor. The bishops have spoken out against budget cuts that hurt the poor, the Pope has spoken against corporatism. Winning the Catholic vote by 2% when you consider that most Hispanics voted Republican due (I think to attacks on Hispanics by that party) is not bad at all.

              There are things to criticize about the Church, but “the is on speaking out against Republican legislation that hurts the poor” is not among them.

            • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

              “Their children’s teeth are starting to rot”. So you would kill them in the womb to prevent their teeth rotting.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      “despicable Republican platform of gutting funds for the poor”

      Whoa, I wasn’t aware that the Catholic Church mandated large federal governments, even when the nation’s Constitution delegates the power to the states. I must have missed that part of the Catechism.

      We are so far down the road that few people even question that the federal government should be this all-consuming behemoth. According to this type of reasoning, the US government was evil for about the first 150 years.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        I think this is getting into an area where people can legitimately disagree. There is not question that the poor must be served. There can be legitimate discussion as to how this is accomplished. I think there are good arguments on both sides of the question here. I the reason why there are good arguments is that there are major faults with both viewpoints when they are taken as absolutes. Government certainly does have a legitimate role in providing for the social welfare. On the other hand, much of what passes for government-funded social welfare programs are over-larded and unable to deliver on their mission. I think we are spending too much on some of these programs, however, I don’t think the way these cuts are being done will in an way have a positive effect on that. It will simply cut services to the poor. The reasons for this are somewhat complex, but believe me, when Republicans get in power they spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. They are not fiscally responsible.

        Now, have I confused the issue enough? :-) That’s what happens when I try to talk about complex things in a small space.

        Just remember: You can disagree on this and both of you be good, well-intentioned, caring people. Treat one another that way.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          I totally agree. My only point was that it is an incorrect assumption that someone who wants FEDERAL spending cut across the board is in violation of Catholic teaching. Now, someone who wants to continue funding the military, wars, etc. full-tilt ahead while cutting programs for the poor, you could argue that this is evil.

          Even then, though, one must consider that the military is at least justifiably a federal matter, as the Constitution explicitly lays out (though I’m in complete agreement that the LEVEL of spending and the wars undertaken are both immoral). For helping the poor, I believe it would be done more personally, lovingly, and humanely (and with more accountability) at a much lower level of government (probably not even state level, but even lower in most cases, would be optimum.) At most, the federal government’s involvement should be to fund some poorer states/counties with grants to run their programs.

      • Ted Seeber

        ” even when the nation’s Constitution delegates the power to the states.”

        No it doesn’t. The States are expressly forbidden from using tariffs and currency creation to create a separate economy to care for the poor in Article I Section 10, just as they’re forbidden to form armies for self-defense.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          Huh? The federal government, in the Constitution, is strictly limited in its powers and all other powers are delegated to the states in the 10th Amendment . Article I, Section 10 says nothing about the poor, and I said nothing about tariffs, currency creation, or a separate economy. I’m not sure why the creation of a currency or a separate economy would be necessary in order to care for the poor.

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            Just a point of clarification. The states have two easy ways in which they can care for the poor. One is federal pass through monies. That is when the federal government sends money down to the states for a program such as Medicaid. The states then have the right to allocate these monies among state entities or even private contractors. They can also regulate the rules for how the monies will be disbursed to individuals.
            The second way is through the monies the states have garnered by means of their own state taxes. The states can pretty much spend this any way they want, including for the welfare of the poor and disadvantaged.

    • Ted Seeber

      How is it helping the poor to tell the pregnant woman at the soup kitchen that she can’t feed her four children until she aborts the fifth?

  • BDW

    I’m not going to split hairs as to what is and what isn’t a person. It’s up to the woman to choose. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  • Peg

    I respectfully disagree. Abortion is very similar to genocide. The number of lives lost is in the millions. Unfortunately we have deceived women especially that this is a choice not a life. It is not the woman ‘s body that is being brutally murdered. We must also realize that when conception results from crimes of rape and incest that there are now two victims.
    I once agreed with the other side until I visited the holocust museum in DC. Some of the same arguments were used in Germany that we use today regarding life issues. It’s very sad.

    Circumstances may not be the same but lives are devalued and irrevocably lost. Is self deportation any less cruel than governmental deportation?

    By your logic, a one year old child is less valuable than a 10 year old and a 10 year old less than a 30 year old. This is a slippery slope to danger if any government were to decide our value based on arbitrary terms of maturity and experience. The SLED argument by a micro biologist makes the best points here.

    These issues are not just religious. They are basic human and civil rights. Please don’t assume that all who are prolife are fanatics or republicans or single issue limited. It’s the liberal in me that respects the sanctity of human life and the constitutional right it upholds. It’s the Catholic that assents to God as the author of life by both faith and reason.

    My Buddhist brother wishes more Catholics to be like Biden too without seeing the stark contradiction between belief and practice or caring about the lies regarding HHS. He may be sincere in his opposing beliefs but one can be sincerely wrong and that can cause tragic consequences.

    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      Your brother does not understand Buddhism either, if he thinks it does anything but damn abortion and those who practise it to the very deepest pits of Hell. Remember, Buddhism believes in reincarnation. There is no doubt THERE about the status of the human souls being killed in the womb.

  • Ken

    1. You cannot be pro choice and be true Catholic.
    2. This nonsense about a woman’s right to choose is pure hypocrisy. Those on the liberal left that support abortion and doesn’t want the government to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body, ignore the fact that prostitution is illegal. So let me get this straight, the left believe that a woman controls her uterus (so abortion is ok) but that the government controls her vagina (can’t sell it – prostitution illegal?) makes no sense.
    3. In this country it is illegal to kill the fertilized eggs of the American Bald Eagle. You go to jail for this if convicted Why?! Because those eggs grow up to be Bald Eagles. But it is ok to kill the fertilized eggs of humans in womb? Again the hypocrisy is alarming. Those fertilized human eggs grow up to be humans, like you and me. Whether they are wanted or not is irrelevant. Life is life!! Otherwise, infantacide starts to make sense.
    This is not about some stupid choice of a woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body, otherwise the left would be out pushing the right for a woman to choose to sell her vagina as prostitution. We must defend life at all costs. It is clear that President Obama and his administration is anti-life. Vote Romney Ryan!

  • BDW

    “I certainly call 54 million human beings dead merely because they were “unwanted” or “unplanned” a genocide- and a bigotry as ugly as any other I’ve ever come across.”

    Surely you don’t mean to imply that without legal abortions, we would have 54 million more people in this country. Your definition of genocide is a true insult to real victims of genocide. By this I mean the people who were living meaningful lives and those who lost them.

    And you asked me to finish the phrase: choose what?

    The answer is it is a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to carry a human being to full-term and into this world. It’s her choice, not yours, not mine, not the government’s. That’s the way it is now and that’s the way it should stay.

    I can’t see what you fail to understand in the logic of that statement.

    • howard van

      BDW,
      What is your definition of meaningful life? A lowly roach would fight and scratch its way to safety to be able to live. A billionaire’s life and that of a poor kid in the slum of India have the same net worth.

      If the 54 millions were carried to full term, I would imagine at least half that number would still be alive and voting today. 27 million people are more than the population of Texas. Is the number too small to be called a genocide?

  • Mary

    Ken says vote for Romney. The same Mitt Romney that invested in a medical waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/romney-bain-abortion-stericycle-sec

  • http://catholibertarian.com/ Teresa Rice

    Excellent points Rebecca! Unfortunately pro-abort Catholics and those who claim to be faithful Catholics but aren’t in what they believe have a flawed view of Christianity, Catholicism and what it means to be a Christian and a Catholic. I think these people also have a problem with authority, respecting it and what the Magisterium tells them they are to believe as Catholics. IMO it seems like they think that they know better than the Church.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Good points Teresa. I think you may be right.

  • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

    About your point about the abortionist pseudo-Catholics taking Catholicism to be an ethnic identity: remember that the identity of the Catholic Church in the USA owes a lot to Ireland. And in Ireland, for three hundred terrible years, the Catholic Church and the Irish nationality struggled together against extermination and cultural annihilation. They became identified, to the point where you now cannot convince an American Catholic of Irish descent that there are such things as Protestant Irish, even if their descent in Ireland goes right back to ancient kings. That is the attitude that prevails in America, and that is why people talk of “lapsed Catholics” – a meaningless phrase, if Catholicism is understood as a belief. In Italy, I can tell you, it’s different. I am a Catholic; my own brother, grown in the same family and climate and exposed to the same experiences, is not, for reasons that seem good to him. He would never dream of calling himself a “lapsed Catholic”, and I would think less of him if he did. He is a very good man who has done a lot of good, and if he ever converts I shall be very happy – though I doubt it will happen.

  • Manny

    “Do Pro Abortion Catholics Lack Essential Integrity?”

    I cannot see how one can be a Christian, let alone a Catholic, and be pro-abortion. I know a nun who is actually pro-abortion, GOD HELP HER SOUL. The answer is yes.


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