The Meaning of Marriage and Sexual Difference

Same sex marriage is one of the lightning rod issues of our day. The Catholic Church has stood firm in its 2000 year commitment to marriage as a sacrament between one man and one woman. This costly fidelity has focused the rage and hatred of fair number of people on the Church and on all Catholics.

Since people in a number of states will be voting on same-sex marriage today, I’ve decided to post the discussion about it that I found on the USCCB website.

Please read it prayerfully.

The Meaning of Marriage & Sexual Difference

Marriage: What’s a good starting point?
To understand what marriage is, the best place to start is with the human person. After all, marriage is a unique relationship between two specific persons, one man and one woman. We must ask, “What does it mean to be a human person, as a man or as a woman?” First, men and women are created in the image of God (see Gen 1:27). This means that they have great dignity and worth. Also, since “God is love,” (1 Jn 4:8) each person – created in God’s image – finds his or her fulfillment by loving others. Second, men and women are body-persons. The body – male or female – is an essential part of being human. Gender is not an afterthought or a mere social construct. The body shapes what it means to love as a human person. To sum up, when we think about marriage, we must think about who the human person is – created with great dignity, and called to love as a body-person, male or female.

Where does marriage come from?
“God himself is the author of marriage” (GS, no. 48). When God created human persons in his own image, as male and female, he placed in their hearts the desire, and the task, to love – to give themselves totally to another person. Marriage is one of two ways someone can make a total self-gift (the other is virginity, devoting oneself entirely to God) (see FC, no. 11). Marriage is not something thought up by human society or by any religion – rather, it springs from who the human person is, as male and female, and society and religion affirm and reinforce it. The truth of marriage is therefore accessible to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Both faith and reason speak to the true meaning of marriage.

What is marriage?
Marriage is the lifelong partnership of mutual and exclusive fidelity between a man and a woman ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children (see CCC, no. 1601; CIC, can. 1055.1; GS, no. 48). The bond of marriage is indissoluble – that is, it lasts “until death do us part.” At the heart of married love is the total gift of self that husband and wife freely offer to each other. Because of their sexual difference, husband and wife can truly become “one flesh” and can give to each other “the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love” (FC, no. 14).

Marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman is a sacrament. This means that the bond between husband and wife is a visible sign of the sacrificial love of Christ for his Church. As a sacrament, marriage gives spouses the grace they need to love each other generously, in imitation of Christ.

Why can’t marriage be “redefined” to include two men or two women?
The word “marriage” isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships. Instead, “marriage” reflects a deep reality – the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. Just as oxygen and hydrogen are essential to water, sexual difference is essential to marriage. The attempt to “redefine” marriage to include two persons of the same sex denies the reality of what marriage is. It is as impossible as trying to “redefine” water to include oxygen and nitrogen.

What is sexual difference?
Sexual difference is the difference of man to woman and woman to man. It affects a person at every level of his or her existence: genetically, biologically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Sexual difference is an irreducible difference. It is unlike any other difference we experience, because it – and only it – allows for the total personal union between husband and wife that is at the heart of marriage. The difference between men and women is for the sake of their union with each other. It is what makes spousal union possible.

Isn’t marriage just about love and commitment between two people?
Of course love and commitment are important for marriage – as they are for many relationships. But marriage is unique because the commitment it calls for is better described as communion, where “the two become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Only a man and a woman in marriage can become a “one flesh” communion. The unity of husband and wife is so intimate that from it can come a “third,” the child – a new life to be welcomed and raised in love. No other relationship, no matter how loving or committed, can have this unique form of commitment – communion – that exists in marriage, between a husband and a wife.

Why does a person’s gender matter for marriage?
Gender matters for marriage because the body matters for love. My body is not simply “the shape of my skin.” Instead, my identity as a person (my “I”) is inseparable from the reality of my body – I am a body-person. As John Paul II said, the body reveals the person. It is a deeply personal reality, not just a biological fact (see TOB, sec. 9.4). The body is “taken up” into every human action, including the most important task of all: loving. Loving as a human person means loving as a man or as a woman. Marriage, the “primary form” of human love (GS, no. 12), necessarily involves the reality of men and women as body-persons. Marriage is intrinsically opposite-sex. To “write off” the body, and gender, as unimportant to marriage means treating the body as inconsequential or, at best, as an object or tool to be used according to one’s pleasure, instead of as an essential – and beautiful – aspect of being human and loving as a human person. Such a write-off would ignore the very essence of what marriage is.

How is the love between a husband and a wife irreducibly unique?
The love between a husband and a wife involves a free, total, and faithful mutual gift of self that not only expresses love, but also opens the spouses to receive the gift of a child. No other human interaction on earth is like this. This is why sexual intimacy is reserved for married love – marriage is the only context wherein sex between a man and a woman can speak the true language of self-gift. On the other hand, sexual behavior between two men or two women can never arrive at the oneness experienced between husband and wife, nor can these acts be life-giving. In fact, it is impossible for two persons of the same sex to make a total gift of self to each other as a husband and a wife do, bodily and personally. For this reason, such sexual behavior is harmful and always wrong, as it is incapable of authentically expressing conjugal love – love which by its nature includes the capacity to give oneself fully to the other and to receive the other precisely as gift in a total communion of mind, body and spirit. Therefore, no relationship between two persons of the same sex can ever be held up as equal or analogous to the relationship between husband and wife.
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What is complementarity?
“Complementarity” refers to the unique – and fruitful – relationship between men and women. Both men and women are created in the image of God. Both have great dignity and worth. But equality does not mean “sameness”: a man is not a woman, and a woman is not a man. Instead, “male and female are distinct bodily ways of being human, of being open to God and to one another” (LL, p. 10). Because men and women are “complementary,” they bring different gifts to a relationship. In marriage, the complementarity of husband and wife is expressed very clearly in the act of conjugal love, having children, and fathering and mothering –actions that call for the collaboration – and unique gifts – of husband and wife.
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Why does the Catholic Church care so much about marriage?
The Catholic Church cares about marriage because marriage is a fundamental good in itself and foundational to human existence and flourishing.
Following the example of Jesus, the Church cares about the whole person, and all people. Marriage (or the lack thereof) affects everyone. Today, people all over the world are suffering because of the breakdown of the family – divorce, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and so on. Marriage is never just a “private” issue; it has public significance and public consequences. One only has to think of the connection between fatherless families and young men in jail to know that this is true. In addition, the proposal to “redefine” marriage to include two men or two women is really a proposal to “redefine” the human person, causing a forgetfulness of what it means to be a man or a woman. This is a basic injustice to men and women, children, and fathers and mothers. Marriage is truly one of the most important social justice issues of our time.

Where can I learn more about marriage?
Please visit www.marriageuniqueforareason.org for videos and companion guides on the promotion and protection of marriage. For a list of relevant Church documents on marriage, click here. For more information on strengthening marriage, visit foryourmarriage.org.

The Catholic Vote and Following Christ.

One in four American voters is Catholic. That makes us an important block of votes.

The Church has consistently been nuanced and honest in its teaching about elections and civic responsibility. Despite pressure from more-Catholic-than-the-Popes on one side and holier-than-Christs on the other, the Church has refused to repudiate any part of the Gospels of Christ.

Social Justice Catholics and Pro Life Catholics are both right in advocating for their causes. They are both wrong, grievously so, in claiming that it is holy to ignore the plain call of Christ to support life AND social justice, not one or the other. These ridiculous assertions are nothing more than attempts at self-justification and dishonest claims of righteousness vis a vis their political opponents.

Those who claim that Jesus loves the poor and supports killing innocent people are liars. Those who claim that Jesus opposes killing the unborn but supports corporatism and the economic enslavement of whole populations are liars. They are both trying to re-create Jesus in their own image. They are demanding that the Lord follow them, rather than following Him.

One message of Public Catholic is that we should follow Jesus Christ, not the phony christs of public manipulation.

The easiest way to do that is to follow the teachings of the Church. Our great Church suffers the slings and arrows of both sides of this political divide and steadfastly continues to call us to the totality of the Gospels and the true holiness of following Christ. The Church asks us to choose Christ, and Him alone in the face of partisan pressures.

I am proud of my Church. I am proud of our bishops. I support them absolutely in their fight for religious freedom, to save the family, protect the sanctity of human life and work for a human-being-supporting economy. Unlike a lot of Catholics, I have already taken my turn at trying to decide for myself what is right and wrong. I laid waste my own conscience in the process.

I urge everyone to follow the Church, stand with Jesus and to lean not on your own understanding with these great moral issues. I know from experience that being your own god only leads to regret.

One downside of a Church that teaches the whole Gospel rather than a cherry-picked version of the gospels that has been trimmed to fit a partisan pattern is that the Church does not give us a cooking-recipe set of instructions on how to vote. Even though we follow Christ, believe His Church and try to adhere to her teachings, we still have to think for ourselves.

God gave us minds as well as souls and it our responsibility before God to use them for the elevation of humankind. That’s a tough bogie when we are confronted with candidates who each have such deep, deep flaws. I have felt all along that what we have is a choice between bad and worse.

I originally thought that I would not vote in the presidential election. I planned to confine my choices to further down the ballot and leave the boxes unchecked beside both these two men. But I had a dream the night before I voted, a dream so compelling that I wonder if it wasn’t more than just a dream. Then, when I had the ballot in one hand and the pen in the other, I knew that I would vote for one of the two men on the presidential ballot. The Holy Spirit touched me, and I knew.

It’s happened to me before, these unbidden moments of clarity that I knew were from the Holy Spirit. But the other times it was votes I cast as an elected representative. This is the first time it has ever happened with my private vote as an American citizen.

Based on my own experience, I am asking each of you to pray before you vote. Give your vote to God. Then, do your best to pick the bad instead of worse when you have that ballot in your hand. I believe that God will guide you.

Ted Kennedy’s Widow Comes Out Against Euthanasia in Massachusetts

This op-ed piece from Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward Kennedy, is from the Cape Cod Times.

Question 2 Insults Ted Kennedy’s Memory

By ColumnCredit
VICTORIA REGGIE KENNEDY
October 27, 2012
There is nothing more personal or private than the end of a family member’s life, and I totally respect the view that everyone else should just get out of the way. I wish we could leave it that way. Unfortunatelyh, Question 2, the so-called “Death with Dignity” initiative, forces that issue into the public square and places the government squarely in the middle of a private family matter. I do not judge nor intend to preach to others about decisions they make at the end of life, but I believe we’re all entitled to know the facts about the law we’re being asked to enact.

Here’s the truth. The language of the proposed law is not about bringing family together to make end of life decisions; it’s intended to exclude family members from the actual decision-making process to guard against patients’ being pressured to end their lives prematurely. It’s not about doctors administering drugs such as morphine to ease patients’ suffering; it’s about the oral ingestion of up to 100 capsules without requirement or expectation that a doctor be present. It’s not about giving choice and self-determination to patients with degenerative diseases like ALS or Alzheimer’s; those patients are unlikely to qualify under the statute. It’s not, in my judgment, about death with dignity at all.

My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life. Question 2 turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life. We’re better than that. We should expand palliative care, pain management, nursing care and hospice, not trade the dignity and life of a human being for the bottom line.

Most of us wish for a good and happy death, with as little pain as possible, surrounded by loved ones, perhaps with a doctor and/or clergyman at our bedside. But under Question 2, what you get instead is a prescription for up to 100 capsules, dispensed by a pharmacist, taken without medical supervision, followed by death, perhaps alone. That seems harsh and extreme to me.

Question 2 is supposed to apply to those with a life expectancy of six months or less. But even doctors admit that’s unknowable. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, he was told that he had only two to four months to live, that he’d never go back to the U.S. Senate, that he should get his affairs in order, kiss his wife, love his family and get ready to die.

But that prognosis was wrong. Teddy lived 15 more productive months. During that time, he cast a key vote in the Senate that protected payments to doctors under Medicare; made a speech at the Democratic Convention; saw the candidate he supported elected president of the United States and even attended his inauguration; received an honorary degree; chaired confirmation hearings in the Senate; worked on the reform of health care; threw out the first pitch on opening day for the Red Sox; introduced the president when he signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act; sailed his boat; and finished his memoir “True Compass,” while also getting his affairs in order, kissing his wife, loving his family and preparing for the end of life.

Because that first dire prediction of life expectancy was wrong, I have 15 months of cherished memories — memories of family dinners and songfests with our children and grandchildren; memories of laughter and, yes, tears; memories of life that neither I nor my husband would have traded for anything in the world.

When the end finally did come — natural death with dignity — my husband was home, attended by his doctor, surrounded by family and our priest.

I know we were blessed. I am fully aware that not everyone will have the same experience we did. But if Question 2 passes I can’t help but feel we’re sending the message that they’re not even entitled to a chance. A chance to have more time with their loved ones. A chance to have more dinners and sing more songs. A chance for more kisses and more love. A chance to be surrounded by family or clergy or a doctor when the end does come. That seems cruel to me. And lonely. And sad.

My husband used to paraphrase H.L. Mencken: for every complex problem, there’s a simple easy answer. And it’s wrong.

That’s how I feel in this case. And that’s why I’m going to vote no on Question 2.

Victoria Reggie Kennedy is an attorney, health care advocate and widow of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Tomorrow is Election Day and We Have Already Won

Tomorrow is election day. 

Let me say that again. Tomorrow is election day.

We’ve said that our freedom to vote is bought with blood so many times that it’s become a cliche. What we haven’t said is that this simple act of voting is also power. There’s a reason why all these candidates have been driving us crazy with ads, polls and debates for the past year.

We have the power. We can pick who we want to lead this great country. We get to choose.

We don’t have to explain, justify, or even reveal our choices when we vote. It is our power and we can use it however we wish.

Tomorrow is election day.

We have before us a choice between two men for president, a number of people who want to serve in the United States Senate, several governors, many state legislators, sheriffs, county commissioners, judges, court clerks, and, of course, the entire United States House of Representatives. Pretty much the entirety of American electoral power is in our hands.

Our vote will determine the future of America for at least the next two years. It will also shape what happens in much of the rest of the world. We are voting for ourselves, for our children and for people who have not been born yet. We are also honoring the men and women who fought in the Revolution, gave their lives at Gettysburg, died on Omaha Beach and whose lives have been wasted by corrupt politicians in the unnecessary skirmish wars we the people should not have allowed. We are the culmination of those who crossed the prairies, climbed the mountains and who, all too often, ended in unmarked graves along the way.

America is my home and I love her with all my heart.

I am part of We the People. The American People. Tomorrow, the fate of our country is in our hands. This great experiment in republican democracy has churned through more than two tumultuous centuries. It has changed the world, revamped the universal understanding of government and the value of human beings in the process. Even America’s critics judge us by American standards.

These standards have their foundation in the words of a poor carpenter and miracle-worker who lived in a tiny corner of a great empire a long time ago. He taught us that we matter. He took the concept of what it means to be human and lifted it out of the pagan mire of the human-sacrificing, enslaving, individuals-don’t-matter muck that was the ancient world and set it on a hilltop of aspiration and hope. “Even the hairs of your head are numbered,” He said. You matter. You. You. Your own individual self, matters to the God who made everything there is, everywhere.

That is the philosophical foundation on which the concept of human rights that grew up in the Western world is based. It is why the concept itself is a Western concept. Because it came from Christ. Because it is part of the Kingdom that is both here and coming when His will shall be done on Earth as it is in heaven.

America is a grand experiment in self-government by millions of people who vote and then, no matter how they vote, accept the outcome of the election. Tomorrow, we will elect a lot of people to office. At least in the presidential election, it is certain that about half the people of this great land will be unhappy and dismayed by the outcome. But the power to decide is ours. The responsibility to accept the outcome and, if necessary, begin again in our work for what we believe, is also ours.

Go Vote tomorrow.

But remember: The Ultimate Victory will never go to the R or the D. The Ultimate Victory was achieved by that poor carpenter on Calvary. Christians, all 2 billion of us, are the living embodiment of that Victory. Our eternal lives, of which these times are the beginning, is the reality of it.

We are not the R or the D. We are Christians. No matter the election tomorrow. We have already won.

Support for Traditional Marriage Growing in Key States

We’ll know Wednesday if it was enough, but polls indicate that support for traditional marriage is on the rise in states which will vote on it tomorrow.

A recent CNA article says in part:

Washington D.C., Nov 3, 2012 / 08:47 am (CNA).- Recent polls show increasing support for marriage being the union of one man and one woman in states that will soon cast ballots on whether to legalize “gay marriage.”

“Our opponents are hugely outspending us and had a jump start on us when it comes to getting the message across, though they failed to move the needle much their direction,” explained Thomas Peters, cultural director for the National Organization for Marriage.

“Now that we are on the airwaves as well, we are having success in changing hearts and minds,” Peters told CNA on Nov. 2.

In the final days before the election, the National Organization for Marriage is working with other marriage supporters to reach and mobilize 10 million voters through a robocall campaign in key states.

The calls – which will be placed in both English and in Spanish – will reach out to voters of various political beliefs who support marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage is an important issue this year for voters in four states.

In Minnesota, voters will have the chance to approve a state constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Citizens in Maryland and Washington state will be faced with referendums to approve or reject recent laws legalizing same-sex “marriage.” In Maine, advocates of redefining marriage have placed a measure on the ballot to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

A number of recent polls in these states have suggested that the measures are in a dead heat, with defense of marriage on the rise.

A poll conducted Oct. 26-28 by SurveyUSA found the Minnesota amendment as being too-close-to-call, with marriage defenders leading those who wished to redefine the institution by one point, within the survey’s margin of error.

A Washington survey found the percentage of voters committed to defending marriage has risen in recent weeks, as the gap of undecided voters narrows.

The Elway Poll, an independent, nonpartisan analysis of public opinion trends, found in its Oct. 24 analysis that support for redefining marriage in the state dropped by two points from September to October, falling below 50 percent.

Meanwhile, opposition to redefining the institution has risen by eight points within that same time, bringing the ballot measure to within four points.

In Maryland, an Oct. 20-23 poll conducted for The Baltimore Sun indicated a dead heat, while a poll that it commissioned a month ago showed proponents of redefining marriage with a 10 point lead – 49 percent to 39 percent.

The newspaper reported that in late September, a majority of the African American community supported redefining marriage, while the most recent poll found that 50 percent opposed it and 42 percent supported it. It attributed this shift in black opinion to the efforts of religious leaders.

Peters agreed that “in Maryland special credit goes to the African-American pastors and leaders who are informing their community” about the importance of defending marriage.

Contributing to these efforts is the Coalition of African-American Pastors, a national group that has been working to raise awareness and support for marriage at the grassroots level.

Rev. Williams Owens, president of the coalition, recently spoke out against an ad aimed at African American Christians that encouraged them to follow President Barack Obama’s lead by voting to redefine marriage in Maryland.

“This ad is the worst attempt at pandering and manipulating the Black community to ignore their own pastors who rightfully uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage,” he said in an Oct. 31 statement. (Read more here.)

John Paul II and Tuesday’s Election

Blessed John Paul II is one of my favorite thinkers. He said quite a few things which I think are worth pondering in light of Tuesday’s election. I’ve listed some of them below for your prayerful reflection.

Have a blessed Sunday.

The Value of Human Beings and Human Life

“The commandment you shall not kill even in its more positive aspects of respecting, loving, and promoting human life, is binding on every individual human being.”~Evangelium Vitae-Gospel of Life Pope John Paul II-1995

“While it is true that the taking of life not yet born or in it’s final stages is sometimes marked by a mistaken sense of altruism and human compassion it cannot be denied that such a culture of death, taken as a whole, betrays a completely individualistic concept of freedom, which ends up by becoming the freedom of ” the strong” against the weak who have no choice but to submit”.~Evangelium Vitae

“Man’s life comes from God: it is his image and imprint, as sharing in his breath of life. God therefore is the sole Lord of this life: Man cannot do with it as he wills.”~Evangelium Vitae

‘The Gospel of life must be proclaimed and human life defended in all places and all times.”~Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics- National Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States) 1998

 

The Family and Same-Sex Marriage

“It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this [gay marriage] is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man.”

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

“Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church. ”

“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”

“The family, as the fundamental and essential educating community, is the privileged means for transmitting the religious and cultural values which help the person to acquire his or her own identity. Founded on love and open to the gift of life, the family contains in itself the very future of society; its most special task is to contribute effectively to a future of peace.”

 

Abortion

 “The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.”

“Finally, true freedom is not advanced in the permissive society, which confuses freedom with licence to do anything whatever and which in the name of freedom proclaims a kind of general amorality. It is a caricature of freedom to claim that people are free to organize their lives with no reference to moral values, and to say that society does not have to ensure the protection and advancement of ethical values. Such an attitude is destructive of freedom and peace. There are many examples of this mistaken idea of freedom, such as the elimination of human life by legalized or generally accepted abortion.”

“Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to order, as it were!”

 

Euthanasia

“Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.” ~Evangelium Vitae, 1995

“Similarly, euthanasia and assisted suicide are never acceptable acts of mercy. They always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the “quality of life” itself.”~Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics-National Conference of Catholic Bishops(United States)-1998

“Those who advocate euthanasia have capitalized on people’s confusion, ambivalence and even fear about the use of modern life-prolonging technologies. Being able to choose the time and manner of one’s death, without regard to what is chosen is presented as the ultimate freedom.”~Statement on Euthanasia- National Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States) 1991

“The sickness of a family member, friend or neighbor is a call to Christians to demonstrate true compassion, that gentle and persevering sharing in another’s pain.”~Ad Limina Apostolorum to Bishops of the United States-John Paul II -

 

The Economy

 “Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power … Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development.”

“The distinctive mark of the Christian, today more than ever, must be love for the poor, the weak, the suffering.”

“I cannot fail to note once again that the poor constitute the modern challenge, especially for the well-off of our planet, where millions of people live in inhuman conditions and many are literally dying of hunger. It is not possible to announce God the Father to these brothers and sisters without taking on the responsibility of building a more just society in the name of Christ.”

“Hence in every case, a just wage is the concrete means of verifying the justice of the economic system… It is not the only means of checking, but it is a particuarly important one and in a sense the key means.”

“Wages must enable the worker and his family to have access to a truly human standard of living in the material, social, cultural and spiritual orders. It is the dignity of the person which constitutes the criterion for judging work, not the other way around.”

 

Walking the Talk

“When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.”

“True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.”

“The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation, indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.”

“Precisely in an age when the inviolable rights of the person are solemnly proclaimed and the value of life is publicly affirmed, the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon, especially at the more significant moments of existence: the moment of birth and the moment of death.”~Evangelium Vitae

“Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against the natural instinct to pay back evil with evil.”

It’s The Lord’s Day: Pray, Reflect, Love Your Loved Ones

I’ve decided to post a blessing and a prayer from Blessed John Paul II. I feel almost as if I am sending it to you as a gift on this Sunday before the election. It is a call to Christians, everywhere. We were made for these times, my friends. It is our duty, our call, our privilege, to stand for Christ in today’s world.

Pray for our country and our world today. Take time to reflect on what’s before us through the light of the Gospels and our shared faith in Him. But other than that, let politics go for a few hours. Take time to enjoy your friends, family and homes. This is the best of life.

Here is the blessing and the prayer from Blessed John Paul II. Have a blessed Sunday.

I leave you now with this prayer: that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to each one of you, that He will give you the strength to go out and profess that you are Christian, that He will show you that He alone can fill your hearts.

Accept His freedom and embrace His truth, and be messengers of the certainty that you have been truly liberated through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This will be the new experience, the powerful experience, that will generate, through you, a more just society and a better world.

God bless you and may the joy of Jesus be always with you!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-5-79, 2]

Calling Evil Good: How Many People Do You Have to Kill Before It’s Wrong? Part 1

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia victims were euthanized by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 

The reasoning people who advocate euthanasia use to arrive at their conclusions amazes me.

They construct their arguments on a base of fantasy and inaccurate assumptions and then lard on a thick layer of wishful thinking. Such a combination of callow naiveté and confabulation might be touching in a three year old child, but when it comes from adults who are advocating legalized murder, it takes on darker tones.

One of the many inaccuracies on which they base their arguments is the shining success of legalized euthanasia in the Netherlands. I have nothing against the Netherlands, but I weary of having it pushed at me as the promised land by those who are arguing for oddball social issues here in America. It annoys me mainly because of its cloying inaccuracies and facile assumptions.

Let’s take a look at the Euthanasia promised land to which, we are told, all Americans, except the unwashed and illiterate traditional Christians with their rock-headed defenses of the right to life for all people, should aspire.

One assumption that is advanced by euthanasia advocates is that “death with dignity,” which is their euphemism for euthanasia, would only occur in the most controlled, charitable circumstances involving mostly elderly, terminally ill people facing imminent death. It is asserted that these people would all be in the last straits of unbearable suffering from uncontrollable pain, begging for release in the only way possible — immediate death.

Does that about sum it up?

It doesn’t happen like that in real life. Not even in the Netherlands. I am not going to go in depth with this post. Instead, I will confine it to one aspect of the argument: That no one will be euthanized unless they are terminally ill and choose it of their own free will. I’ll go into the other arguments in later posts.

According to studies in The Lancet and Current Oncology, the rate of euthanasia in the Netherlands has grown by 73% in the last 8 years. One in five of the people who were murdered did not request euthanasia and were unaware that they were being euthanized. 

The Current Oncology article says,

The reasons for not discussing the decision to end the person’s life and not obtaining consent were that patients were comatose (70% of cases) or had dementia (21% of cases). In 17% of cases, the physicians proceeded without consent because they felt that euthanasia was “clearly in the patient’s best interest” and, in 8% of cases, that discussing it with the patient would have been harmful to that patient. Those findings accord with the results of a previous study in which 25 of 1644 non-sudden deaths had been the result of euthanasia without explicit consent.

Initially, in the 1970s and 1980s, euthanasia and pas advocates in the Netherlands made the case that these acts would be limited to a small number of terminally ill patients experiencing intolerable suffering and that the practices would be considered last-resort options only. By 2002, euthanasia laws in neither Belgium nor the Netherlands limited euthanasia to persons with a terminal disease (recognizing that the concept of “terminal” is in itself open to interpretation and errors). The Dutch law requires only that a person be “suffering hopelessly and unbearably.” “Suffering” is defined as both physical and psychological, which includes people with depression … By 2006, the Royal Dutch Medical Association had declared that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” should be an acceptable reason for requesting euthanasia. That change is most concerning in light of evidence of elder abuse in many societies, including Canada, and evidence that a large number of frail elderly people and terminally ill patients already feel a sense of being burden on their families and society, and a sense of isolation. The concern that these people may feel obliged to access euthanasia or pas if it were to become available is therefore not unreasonable, although evidence to verify that concern is not currently available.

As noted in the Current Oncology article, the Netherlands began the argument for euthanasia at the same place we are now in the United States. Nobody would ever be euthanized against their will. This new license to kill would never, no never, be abused because we can trust doctors to kill us without misusing the power.

Is there any part of this argument that an adult should believe? Evidently, a lot of adults do believe it, for reasons that confound me. In what should be no surprise at all to someone who has dealt with human frailty and sinfulness, which in my opinion, would be anyone over the age of 5, the law in the Netherlands has been abused. Not only that, it has been broadened.

In 1994, 50-year-old Netty Boomsma went to her psychiatrist, Dr Boudewijn Chabot, requesting euthanasia. Her son had died, and, according to the article, she was “in despair.” She requested no treatment, and none was offered to her. She was not physically ill. She asked Dr Chabot to kill her and he obliged. He was charged with a crime for this and the Dutch Supreme Court  gave a verdict the next day finding him not guilty.

That is how the Dutch legally allowed euthanasia for mental anguish.

The arguments in favor of euthanasia are based on false assumptions and fallacies. I think a lot of people vote for these laws because they see them as “trendy” and against the staid world of traditional morality.

Euthanasia in the Netherlands

1. 17% of euthanasia cases were committed by doctors without the patient’s consent.

2. In 2006 the Royal Dutch Medical Association said that “being over the age of 70 and tired of living” was an acceptable reason for euthanasia.

3. Since 1994, it has been legal to euthanize people for being in mental anguish. 

4. On March 1, 2012, the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life launched mobile euthanasia units. The sick and their families can make application by phone or email. 

5. Thirteen psychiatric patients were murdered by euthanasia last year. 

Marriage and Euthanasia: Your Most Important Vote May Be Further Down the Ballot

“The vote in Massachusetts on doctor-prescribed death will be one of the

most consequential votes in America this November.” National Right to Life

 

The most important vote you cast next Tuesday may not be when you chose between President Obama and Governor Romney. Your most important vote might very well be quite a bit further down the ballot.

Voters in several states are faced with culture-destroying, life-ending votes on a couple of important issues.

FIRST, four states have votes on the November ballot which would change the legal status of same-sex marriage within their borders.

Read these carefully. In some states, you must vote “no” to support traditional marriage. In others, you need to vote “yes.” They are:
Maine: An initiative on the ballot seeks to legalize same-sex marriage. This is the first time a state’s voters have been directly asked to legalize same-sex marriage, rather than prohibit it. Vote “no” to support traditional marriage between one man and one woman.

Maryland: Voters will consider a popular referendum seeking to overturn a new law legalizing same-sex marriage. Vote “yes” to support traditional marriage.

Minnesota: A Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, Amendment 1, is a constitutional amendment. The measure would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Unlike previous, unsuccessful attempts to place a marriage amendment on the ballot, the 2012 measure may leave open the possibility of same-sex civil unions. Vote “yes” to support traditional marriage.

The question, along with the measure’s ballot title, would be presented to voters as follows:
Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples.
“Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman.”
YES
NO
Washington: Like Maryland, Washington has a popular referendum on the ballot that seeks to overturn a new law legalizing same-sex marriage. Vote “yes” to support traditional marriage.

North Carolina voters approved a same-sex marriage ban in May 2012. The “yes” vote was 61.1%. Done and done!

SECOND, Massachusetts is facing a critical vote on assisted suicide. The voters of Washington and Oregon have passed similar laws legalizing euthanasia in their states in years past. Euthanasia was legalized in Montana by a court ruling. From what I’ve read, the Catholic state of Massachusetts is teetering on the same brink.

The Catholic Church, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Hospice and Palliative Care Federation, and the American Medical Directors Association all oppose the practice of Physician-Assisted Suicide. The Massachusett Medical Society’s statement in opposition to Question 2 said in part”

The Society’s stand against Question 2, Dr. Aghababian said, is based on the idea that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer. He also said that predicting a person’s end of life within six months, as the ballot question states as a requirement, is difficult, as such predictions can be inaccurate. Many times patients who are expected to die within months have outlived their prognosis, sometimes for years.

I think the line that says that killing their patients is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer” is especially important. Killing your patients certainly is inconsistent with the role of healer. If physicians’ professional societies want patients to continue to trust their doctors, they would do well to remember that. (emphasis mine)

Here are excerpts from a National Right to Life article about this proposed law:

Massachusetts November Referendum

With the effort stymied in Vermont, all eyes turned to the upcoming Massachusetts ballot initiative.

The stakes could not be higher. The pro-euthanasia lobby deliberately targeted Massachusetts for several strategic reasons. They are hopeful that Massachusetts legalization would have a far-reaching influence. Massachusetts is home to the Harvard Medical School, which is currently ranked first among American research medical schools by U.S. News and World Report.

The New England Journal of Medicine, published by the Massachusetts Medical Society, is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. If doctor-prescribed death were to become standard medical practice in its home state, it might not be long before the notion that suicide is an appropriate response to illness would percolate through medical thought across the nation.

Nearly every proposal to legalize assisting suicide has been modeled on the law in effect in Oregon since 1997. The Oregon experience has exposed major weaknesses in supposed “safeguards.”

The pro-euthanasia lobby often makes the case for doctor-prescribed death as a response to the problem of pain. Even overlooking the troubling notion that it is a satisfactory “solution” to kill the person to whom the problem happens, the experience with Oregon’s law shows how inaccurate the pain argument is.

In Oregon, there have been several almost decade-long studies conducted to determine the motivation of those committing suicide with lethal drugs prescribed in accordance with the law. Shockingly, not one person has requested suicide because he or she was in pain. Instead, the studies show the predominant motive has been fear of becoming a burden. In fact, modern medicine has the ability to control pain—and the real solution is to have physicians and other health care personnel better trained in keeping up with cutting-edge techniques for alleviating pain.

With so much on the line in Massachusetts, can the state afford to legalize this dangerous practice of turning doctors from healers into those who prescribe death to their most vulnerable patients? The vote in Massachusetts on doctor-prescribed death will be one of the most consequential votes in America this November.

If you are a traditional Christian, and you live in one of these states, please don’t just check off the big vote at the top of the ballot and go home. Instead of voting for someone else to fight the culture wars for you, you have an opportunity to directly state your opinion with a vote of your own.

The real action is further down the ballot: Be there, or be square.

Attorney General’s Wife Co-Owned Abortionist Office Building

Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife Dr Sharon Holder

 Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife, Dr Sharon Holder, and her sister, Margie Tuckson, were co-owners of the building where indicted abortionist Dr Tyrone Malloy had his abortion clinic.

According to an article in Human Events, the co-ownership is held through a trust.

The story was uncovered by Jill Stanek, the pro-life nurse who blew the whistle on President Obama’s history of killing the Infant Born Alive Act in Illinois.

Stanek says:

Thanks to pro-lifers Michelle Wolven and Catherine Davis, a small group of us have been on this story for weeks.
While Michelle and Catherine were digging through online records of Georgia abortion clinics, they stumbled on the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife Sharon Malone Holder (both pictured right) co-owns with her sister an Atlanta area abortion clinic building.
The building is located at 6210 Old National Highway, College Park, Georgia.

They handed the story over to Troy Anderson, who, along with co-author Will Swaim, published the article yesterday in Human Events.

The resulting Human Events article says in part:

Eric Holder Jr.’s family is moving fast and furiously to bury the U.S. Attorney General’s ties to one of Georgia’s most notorious abortion doctors.

Just cleared by an internal report in the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning debacle, the nation’s top lawman now faces allegations that his connection to Dr. Tyrone Cecil Malloy is a conflict of interest that helps explain Holder’s failure to prosecute abortion providers who run afoul of federal law.

Critics say it may also explain why Holder has been eager to prosecute pro-life advocates who counsel women outside abortion clinics.

Documents obtained by Watchdog show that Holder’s wife and sister-in-law co-own, through a family trust, the building where Malloy operated. A Georgia grand jury indicted Malloy on Medicaid fraud charges in 2011. A state medical board twice reprimanded the doctor.

Holder and his wife, Sharon Malone Holder, an obstetric and gynecological doctor at Foxhall OB/GYN in Washington, D.C., failed to respond to several requests for comment.

But reached by phone at her home in Minneapolis, Margie Malone Tuckson, Holder’s sister-in-law, said there’s no link at all — that Fulton County tax records showing the property belongs to her and Holder’s wife “are wrong.”

“I don’t own this property and my sister does not own this property. We are not technically on this deed,” Malone Tuckson said.

However, public documents reviewed by Watchdog.org show that the family transferred ownership to a family trust in 2009, eight months after President Barack Obama’s inauguration. But even the new deed directly names Holder’s wife and sister-in-law as trustees. After inquiries by Watchdog reporters, Tuckson contacted the Fulton County Assessor’s office and asked them to change tax records to reflect the “new” ownership.

But none of these technical changes obscures the Holders’ conflict of interest. Catherine Davis, a founding member of the National Black Prolife Coalition and president and founder of The Restoration Project — a Stone Mountain, Ga.-based pro-life, pro-family organization — said she’s outraged by the revelations.

“There is a clear conflict of interest when the man charged with pursuing those that abuse the system is also one who is engaged in some way with the business,” said Davis, whose organization brought the issue to the attention of Watchdog.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a national pro-life organization based in Wichita, Kan., said the disclosures help him understand why Holder has been targeting pro-life advocates.

In recent months, judges have blocked Holder’s efforts to punish pro-life supporters counseling women outside abortion clinics. In one case, Holder’s Department of Justice agreed to pay Mary “Susan” Pine $120,000 for its filing of an “improper lawsuit” against her, according to a statement by Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Fla.-based nonprofit legal firm. Pine counseled women on the sidewalk outside a Florida abortion clinic.

“It looks to me like the attorney general and his wife are in business with the abortion industry, which makes a lot of sense and helps explain why (Holder’s Justice Department) is prosecuting pro-lifers and losing the cases around the country,” Newman said.

“They have been attempting to prosecute pro-life people under the (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994), and as far as I know they have lost 100 percent of those cases in the last four years. This (Malone Holder’s property interest) explains his bias. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that Holder and the Obama Administration are extremely biased against pro-life people and in favor of the pro-abortion crowd.”

Fulton County tax records show Holder’s wife and sister-in-law own the building, located at 6210 Old National Highway, College Park, Ga. A statement from the Georgia Department of Law shows the building was home to Old National Gynecology, Malloy’s medical practice devoted to the performance of abortions.

In December 2011, the statement says, a DeKalb County Grand Jury indicted Malloy, Old National’s owner and operator, and his former office manager CathyAnn Edwards Warner on two counts of Medicaid fraud. The indictment alleged Malloy and Edwards accepted nearly $390,000 in federal medical assistance payments for medical office visits associated with the performance of elective abortions and for ultrasound services that were never performed. (Read more here.)

I’m a Doctor, and I’m a Catholic for Ohio

 

“This HHS Mandate is going directly going impact my ability to care for some my patients … there is no reason for the government to tell me how I must practice medicine “

How does the HHS Mandate affect Catholic doctors? One Ob-Gyn discusses it here.

One heartbeat away ….

Gallaudet University Employee Suspended for Signing Petition on Same-Sex Marriage

Dr Anglea McCaskill (CNA)

Evidently, academic freedom and the right of citizens to petition their government is a hit and miss thing at Gallaudet University.

Dr Angela McCaskill was placed on administrative leave from her position as chief diversity office at Gaudet University for exercising her right as an American citizen to sign a petition calling for a vote of the people.

The petition in question sought to allow the voters of the state of Maryland the opportunity to vote for or against allowing a law legalizing same sex marriage that had passed through the Maryland Legislature. Dr McCaskill has stated that she signed the petition because she wanted to give the citizens of the state the right to vote on the issue.

All American citizens, including homosexuals, have the right to advocate for changes in the law through lobbying, the electoral process and the courts. I support homosexuals’ right to do this unequivocally. However, the people who disagree with them on various issues have the same rights.

These bullying tactics cheapen their cause.

A CNA article describing Dr McCaskill’s situation reads in part:

Annapolis, Md., Oct 24, 2012 / 04:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A university employee who was placed on administration leave said that she has been humiliated and intimidated for her belief that Maryland voters should determine whether to implement a “gay marriage” law in the state.

“I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty, staff and students,” Dr. Angela McCaskill said at an Oct. 16 press conference in Annapolis, Md.

“I am pro-democracy,” she stated, explaining that she believes it is important “that we as the citizens of Maryland have an opportunity to vote.”

McCaskill, a deaf African American, spoke in sign language with the help of an interpreter to explain how she had been removed from her position as Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, an institution that serves the deaf and hard of hearing.

In March, a law to redefine marriage in the state of Maryland passed, but it was delayed from taking effect until January 2013, allowing time for its opponents to put it before voters in a November referendum.

McCaskill was one of 200,000 Maryland residents who signed a petition to put the measure before the people. Now, she believes that she is facing intimidation and punishment from her employer for exercising her rights.

At the press conference, McCaskill said that she had been approached by Martina Bienvenu, a Gallaudet University faculty member in the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies department.

Bienvenu asked her if she had signed the petition, and she replied that she had.

“In this very moment, she determined that this signature meant I was anti-gay,” McCaskill said, explaining that Bienvenu and her partner wrote a letter to the president of the university asking that she be punished.

On Oct. 10, university president T. Alan Hurwitz announced that McCaskill was being placed on paid administrative leave. He said that he would announce an interim Chief Diversity Officer and would “determine the appropriate next steps.”

Upon hearing the news, McCaskill said she “couldn’t believe it.”

“I was shocked, hurt, insulted. I was humiliated,” she explained. “Not only for myself, but for the students of Gallaudet University. They deserve better.”

“I offered to have a campus-wide dialogue on this very sensitive issue,” McCaskill said.

“I believe in civil discourse. I thought it was important that as a citizen of the state of Maryland, that I could exercise my right to participate in the political process.

“I thought that this would have been an incredible opportunity to teach our campus,” she explained. “Unfortunately, that opportunity was lost.”

She said that the university has “allowed misinformation to be circulated throughout the campus community,” adding that her reputation and 24 years of service to the university have been tarnished. (Read more here.)

Catholics United Denounces Knights for Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage

I am going to re-blog this article in its entirety. I want Public Catholic readers to have a base of information about these groups so we can discuss them later. The article is from Catholic News Service. You can read other fine articles like this one here. Emphases are mine.

Catholics United urges ‘gay marriage’ surrender
By Kevin J. Jones

Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2012 / 03:12 pm (CNA).- The group Catholics United, which until now has avoided directly contradicting Catholic teaching in its defense of Democratic political causes, has now denounced Catholic efforts to defend traditional marriage as a “far right-wing” social issue.

The shift comes in an Oct. 18 statement criticizing Catholic donations to organizations that support marriage and oppose its redefinition to include same-sex couples. Catholics United called for a halt financial support for “anti-marriage equality ballot initiatives” in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, states where the issue is on the November ballot.

Catholics United Executive Director James Salt said advocacy against “civil same-sex marriage laws” has the effect of “pushing younger generations of Catholics out of the Church.”

“Younger Catholics don’t want our faith known for its involvement in divisive culture wars, we want our faith known for serving the poor and marginalized,” he argued.

Catholics United’s Oct. 18 statement cites a report by Equally Blessed, a coalition of four dissenting Catholic groups: Call to Action, Dignity USA, Fortunate Families and New Ways Ministry. The report criticizes the $6.25 million that the fraternal order the Knights of Columbus has made since 2005 to defend marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

The founders of New Ways Ministry, Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent, have run into the highest profile trouble of any of the members in the coalition.

In 1999, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that because of “errors and ambiguities” in their approach, Sr. Gramick and Fr. Nugent were permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual individuals.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said in a Feb. 2010 statement that New Ways Ministry’s “lack of adherence” to Church teaching on the morality of homosexual acts was the “central issue” in the censure of its founders and continues to be its “crucial defect.”

While Catholics United criticized only the Knights of Columbus for “anti-marriage equality spending,” the Equally Blessed report also blamed the Vatican for opposing homosexual political causes.

The Equally Blessed report also criticized Knights’ support for the pro-life movement. It said the fraternal organization contributes to what it calls “far-right anti-abortion groups”: Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List and the pregnancy center network Birthright USA.

The political fight over the definition of marriage has resulted in harassment and intimidation of traditional marriage supporters. Some supporters of traditional marriage, including Catholics, have lost their jobs because of activist pressure. Businesses and non-profits which do not want to recognize same-sex relationships have been the target of lawsuits and legal action.

In some states that recognize same-sex unions, Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they could not in good conscience place children with same-sex couples.

In Washington state, the “gay marriage” ballot measure has attracted the support of wealthy donors like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has donated $2.5 million to the campaign.

The known donors to Catholics United also support “gay marriage.”

Tax forms show that the Tides Foundation, whose 2009 newsletter describes itself as “a leading funder of LGBT work,” has given at least $35,000 to the group since 2007. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, whose president praised President Obama’s endorsement of redefining marriage in May, has given at least $32,500. The AFL-CIO has given $5,000 to the group, whose contributions and grants in 2011 totaled about $470,000.

Catholics United also has connections to the White House.

Visitor records from the White House show that the Catholics United leadership has visited it several times, sometimes as part of a large group of faith-based representatives and sometimes for small meetings.

The records show Salt and Catholics United founder Christopher Korzen in September 2010 had a small meeting with Patrick Gaspard. At the time, Gaspard was the Obama administration’s Director of the Office of Political Affairs. He is now the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee.

On Feb. 10, 2012, Catholics United communications director Chris Pumpelly attended a White House meeting with Joshua DuBois, special assistant to President Barack Obama and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

White House officials at the meeting discussed the intended accommodations to address concerns about the Health and Human Services contraception and sterilization coverage mandate, meeting attendee Kristen Day told CNA in June.

Alexia Kelley, former head of Catholics United ally Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, also attended the meeting. She is presently director for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The leadership of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good itself has several connections with the Obama campaign. Board member Stephen Schneck, director of Catholic University of America’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, is also a member of the group Catholics for Obama.

Two Swing-State Catholic Universities Host Speakers From Catholics for Obama

According to a CNA article, at least two Catholic colleges in the swing states of Colorado and Ohio have ended up hosting discussions by Catholics for Obama. Among those who attended were representatives of Catholics United, a group which opposes the Church’s teaching on traditional marriage.

I’ve experienced the lengths some people will go to in order to find a way into forums that hold opinions different from theirs. Public Catholic has attracted more than its share of this. I am wondering if the college administrators fell for arguments similar to the ones that have been used on me.

On the other hand, university campuses have traditionally been places that were open to the free exchange of ideas between people of opposing viewpoints. My concern with this is not that they had these people on campus so much as whether or not the presentation was balanced and that there were faithful Catholics who also spoke who were capable of standing up to them.

What do you think?

The CNA article says in part:

Denver, Colo., Nov 1, 2012 / 04:03 am (CNA).- The Obama campaign attempted to schedule a rally-like event on a Catholic university campus in the key swing state of Colorado before settling on a dialogue with a co-chair of Catholics for Obama.

“Their original intent was to have more of a rally element to it,” said Paul Alexander, director of Regis University’s Institute for the Common Good, which hosted the event.

“We just felt we couldn’t do a rally, but we felt a healthy dialogue among Catholics was important.”

About 45 people attended the Oct. 25 dialogue and small group discussion with Catholics for Obama national co-chair Nicholas P. Cafardi, a law professor and dean emeritus of Duquesne University School of Law.

The event was titled “Catholic Social Teaching: The Intersection of Faith and Politics.” Although it was hosted by the Jesuit university’s institute, it took place because of outreach from the Obama campaign.

Alexander told CNA Oct 26 that another Catholics for Obama national co-chair by the name of Victoria Kovari, the “main point of contact,” had sought out the university and asked if it would be willing to host an event.

Kovari is a former national field director and former interim president of the Democrat-leaning group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.

She attended the Denver event along with Broderick Johnson, a senior advisor to the Obama campaign.

At the Thursday evening gathering, Alexander said that the campaign had reached out to schedule the event, but had set no conditions on the talk.

“There was a strict adherence to bring a message that is totally non-political,” he said.

Cafardi’s remarks examined moral judgment in public life, saying that the Church must leave solutions to political problems to “the informed consciences and prudential judgment of the laity.”

He had pointed criticisms of Catholic bishops’ actions on political matters.

“Our sacred pastors will tell us the ethical and moral principles that should govern human behavior. They can tell us the values that should be defended,” he said. “No bishop, no priest, can tell you how to vote, ever. They don’t have that right. That right belongs to you, and your informed conscience.

“They don’t even have the right to hint how you’re supposed to vote, as a number of them have been doing lately in their non-endorsement endorsements,” he said, adding that no one can question the decision of an informed conscience.

Cafardi, who rejects the criminalization of abortion, said the Catholic Church’s advocacy for the legal prohibition of abortion as the only way to address life issues ignores the need to use prudential judgment to decide the best way to protect human life.

He defended the Obama administration’s controversial mandate which requires most employers of 50 or more employees to provide no co-pay insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs.

Cafardi argued that the Obama administration’s proposed conscience accommodation, whose details are unclear, is adequate. He also said that the mandate was justified under the same logic as the cost segregation practice which allows the government to fund the non-religious activities of religious employers.

He ridiculed broad exemptions for objecting private employers as the “Taco Bell exemption.”

At least one other Catholic college has hosted Catholics for Obama speakers. Last month in Ohio, another politically key state for the presidential elections, the Xavier University College Democrats hosted Johnson, Kovari and other speakers who presented a Catholic case for voting for President Obama.

CNA contacted the Romney campaign to determine whether it has engaged in similar outreach to Catholic colleges and universities but did not receive a response by deadline.

Michael Hernon, a former president of the Republican-leaning group The Catholic Association, told CNA he has not heard of any Catholics for Romney outreach to Catholic colleges and universities.

Hernon, who is also a vice president of advancement at Franciscan University, said that Franciscan University of Steubenville has many faculty and students who support the Romney campaign in a personal capacity, but the university has not had any partisan events on campus.

Among the attendees at Regis University event were Catholics United Colorado State Chairman Anthony DeMattee. The organization expanded into Colorado with its first Denver event on Oct. 22, holding a debate watching party with Catholics United Executive Director James Salt.

Until recently, Catholics United avoided directly contradicting Catholic teaching. On Oct. 18, it denounced Catholic efforts to defend traditional marriage as a “far right-wing” social issue. The group also attacked the Knights of Columbus for giving financial support to the Catholic bishops’ marriage defense efforts and to marriage amendment ballot initiatives. (Read more here.)

Catholics Urged to Pray for the Election

Archbishop Samuel Aquila

Denver, Colo., Nov 1, 2012 / 12:02 pm (CNA).- The Catholic bishops of Denver have called on Catholics across the U.S. to pray for the country ahead of the Nov. 6 elections, encouraging parishes in their archdiocese to organize rosaries and holy hours.

“As Americans we have a civic responsibility to vote and to participate in the political process,” Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver said Oct. 30.

“As Catholics, we have a moral duty to vote with an informed conscience, and to pray for wisdom and guidance as we head to the voting booth.”

Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception will expose the Blessed Sacrament for Eucharistic Adoration on Nov. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Archbishop Aquila asked Catholics to join him “in praying for our great nation” beginning this weekend.

“Let us ask God to bless us with the courage to live in the truth, and for leaders who are dedicated to protecting the rights of the unborn and religious liberty,” he said. (Read more here.)

All Saints Day: Grains of Falling Wheat

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12: 24

 

All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation for American Catholics. It’s also one of my favorite feasts. I love that this solemnity for the many saints who have given their lives, either by dying for Christ or by living for Him comes at this time of year when the seasons are changing. The fact that we pause to remember our faith through memories of these many saints who have gone before us seems like a fitting way to prepare, once again, for the Coming of the Lord.

All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas; it’s like a wheel spinning us through the old story backwards. We begin by contemplating the great saints, then our own family and friends who have passed, to a family day of feasting and Thanksgiving. The wheels turns and we are in the period of self-examination and cleansing of Advent, then on to the day when we remember that God was made human for us and He is born again.

How could anyone not love that?

This year, the wheel spins through another quadrennial rite that is uniquely American. We will elect our president a few days after All Saints and All Souls Days.

I’ve been thinking about specifically political saints. Saint Thomas More, my name saint and a martyr for the faith, Saint Joan of Arc and Blessed John Paul II come to mind.

I also have thought about six saints, none of whom have been canonized, who were martyred in this hemisphere, at the hands of people who, many people believe, were trained and armed by our own American government. They died in the last few decades and their blood cries out to heaven to this day. They are, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Father Stanley Rother, Sister Dorothy Kagel, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford, and lay sister Jean Donovan.

Their stories are especially poignant because they are martyred saints who died at the hands of death squads and assassins who were most likely trained by the United States, ostensibly for the purpose of fighting communist insurgents in Central America. Whoever trained these men, (our government has assiduously blocked inquiries and denied involvement) it appears that the people they ended up “fighting” were the unarmed civilian population of those countries and the Church who tried to defend them.

One thing stands out in each of these stories: These were people who lived out their faith in Christ by walking in solidarity with the poor, the disenfranchised, the “disappeared.” They stood against torture, rape, murder. They gave their lives for this, and they did it in the name and service of Christ the Lord. As such, their lives and their deaths are a testament to the love of Christ and the power of faith in our world today.

I believe that Christians in America are rapidly approaching a time when we can no longer hide in our private piety. We are going to have to “choose this day whom we will serve.” When that day comes, I can think of no better models than Archbishop Oscar Romero, Father Stanley Rother, Sister Dorothy Kagel, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford, and lay sister Jean Donovan.

Archbishop Oscar Romero

Archbishop Romero was shot and while he was saying mass on March 24, 1980. He said, “I do not believe in death without resurrection … If God accepts the sacrifice of my life, then may my blood be the seed of liberty and a sign of hope.”

An article in Third World Sunday says,

“The Sunday before his murder, he denounced the military violence in El Salvador. In a rising voice, breaking with emotion, he called on ordinary soldiers to side with the people, to ignore the orders of their superiors. “Brothers, you are from the same people, you kill your fellow peasants … No soldier is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of God … In the name of God then, in the name of this suffering people, I ask you, I command you in the name of God: Stop the represssion.’”

Father Stanley Rother

Father Stanley Rother was an Oklahoma priest who was murdered while serving in Guatemala, a country so rife with terrorism against the civilian population that it was known as “the land of the disappeared.” He was brought back to Oklahoma after it became known that he was considered a marked man in Guatemala. After three months, he told his family that he didn’t want his parishioners in Guatemala to feel that he had deserted them during the fighting. He didn’t want them to ask “Where were you when we needed you?”

In a letter to the people of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, he said,

The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we might be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the kingdom.”

An article in the August 9, 2010 National Catholic Reporter said,

“Stanley told me that he would not be taken away and killed in the shadows,” said his friend, then Father, now Archbishop Harry Flynn. “Stanley was a strong man and intended to fight his assassins.”

In the early hours of July 28, 1981, Rother was attacked in the rectory by three men in ski masks, shot and killed. Rother’s knuckles were rubbed raw by the fight.

 

Sister Dorothy Kagel, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford,  lay sister Jean Donovan

Sister Dorothy Kagel, Sister Maura Clarke, Sister Ita Ford, and lay sister Jean Donovan were not only murdered, they were tortured and raped, as well, which makes them martyrs to violence against women as well as the people of Guatemala. They were kidnapped on the evening of December 2, 1980. Their bodies were left to rot on the side of the road. Stories have circulated since their deaths that their murderers were from death squads that were trained and equipped by our own country.

 

 

 

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