Pushback Against the Anti-Abortion-But-Not-Prolife Mentality

Pushback Against the Anti-Abortion-But-Not-Prolife Mentality June 5, 2015

There have been a number of pre-emptive strikes against Francis and his imminent encyclical.  So…

This time, they messed with the wrong woman – Margaret Archer, world-renowned social theorist and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In the context of an all-too-typical hit piece from First Things, she issued a defiant response. She asks a sequence of questions, starting with this one:

Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth? If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching, whose concern is not confined to the newborn but extends to the development of all those potentialities and powers that exist only in potentia at birth (such as walking and talking) that develop or can be irreparably damaged throughout life.”

I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve pointed out that things like the death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty are prolife issues too.  One reader furiously demanded to know why prolife activists were expected to drop everything and go protest some shooting in Detroit that killed a couple of people while a million and a half were dying from abortion, etc.  I was, I was told, placing an impossible demand on people with limited resources to do everything and be everywhere.

But that’s not what I’m saying.  I get that people have their focuses and can’t be everywhere doing everything.  Well and good.  If you are devoted to working against abortion full time and can’t fit anything else into your schedule then thank you for your hard work and may God bless and prosper it.  You are one of my heroes.

Yet here’s the  thing.  An awful lot of the “prolife” subculture, protesting that it has no time to expand its energies beyond protesting abortion, *does* have a huge amount of time and energy to work *against* the clear and obvious guidance of the Church on the issues I mention above.  Indeed, they often give every indication of having more time and energy for working against the Church on such issues than for actually doing prolife work. There’s all kinds of time for writing and reading that Catholic Social Teaching is a myth, and rationalizing the war in Iraq, and defending torture, and lobbying for the death penalty, and defending Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and struggling to show that Sandy Hook was a conspiracy by evil parents of the victims to make gun culture look bad, and show that paying a living wage is impossible, and labor to make everybody denounce Francis’ encyclical on the environment before anybody knows a word it says.

And when you point out that they are working against the Church’s clear and obvious guidance, they brandish a Precious Feet pin, shout “But abortion!” and continue laboring to get people to ignore the Church on everything from the death penalty to punishment of the homeless–as though the Church’s guidance on these things is the opposite of being prolife instead the bleeding obvious corollary to being prolife.

This has to end or it will kill the prolife movement and drain away its waning credibility by convincing people it is a merely a convenient front for a sector of the Culture of Death that has figured out how to use the unborn as human shields.

Bottom line: listen to the Church’s whole teaching.  Be Consistent.

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  • Re_Actor

    world-renowned social theorist

    lol

    the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

    “O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!”

  • Most of the time, it seems to me that I am the only person looking forward to Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical. If there’s any issue that is in need of a bit of calm and clarity, climate change is one. Far too often, many “Conservative” Catholics are expecting this Pope to abandon the Faith and cave in to dangerous, U.N. Malthusians bent on killing off the population of the Third World. Just because someone who is “pro choice” on abortion supports the evidence for climate change doesn’t necessarily make that evidence wrong. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who is either 100% right or 100% wrong on everything.
    Or anyone with whom I agree 100%.
    You and I agree on torture, the death penalty, Hiroshima and abortion. I’m not familiar enough with your view on guns to say if you and I agree or not.
    The one area where you and I are not in agreement is the issue of “living wage”. It’s not that I don’t believe everyone should receive it, it’s just that I don’t really know what a living wage would look like. I certainly don’t believe anyone could ever get there by working for minimum wage…..no matter how high the minimum wage is raised. It’s much better for the govt. to help people develop the skills needed to earn an increase in wages – not artificially set the wages and expect that to do the trick.

    • I don’t think that the Pope will abandon the faith. I do think that if he is getting poor scientific advice and he applies Catholic theology to a world that doesn’t actually exist in reality, bad policy recommendations will result on an issue where many lives can be lost if we get this wrong and those mistaken recommendations will carry weight.

      By the standards that the head of PASS is using that allowed Sachs and Moon to participate in the conference, all the bishops who have banned out and proud pro-abortion Catholics from speaking on Church property in their diocese are mistaken. Their restrictions should be a topic ban instead. Janet Napolitano, for instance, was banned from speaking at Church facilities by the diocese of Phoenix a decade ago.

      I’m not quite sure that this lady has thought her position through as to how controversial a decision she made.

      • falstaff77

        If Munk’s biography of Sachs in Africa is at all accurate, “The Idealist…”, the man is narcissistic monster hurling a calumny at anyone in earshot. Apparently anything is allowed the anointed once one has raised the “I’m saving the world” flag. And oh, he might just have made matters worse, while spending a great deal of resources.

  • Dave G.

    I would also add that being meh about the sex and drugs culture is something that negates a valid pro life approach. After all, given AIDS and abortion alone, we’re looking at a culture of attitudes and behaviors that has brought about the death and slaughter of tens upon tens of millions in only a matter of decades. Not even counting the numerous other problems: physical, emotional, spiritual, the wreck of families, and rot of civilization. Not that focusing on those who are meh about, or actually support, torture, executing the innocent, or neglecting the poor shouldn’t raise our ire. But our level of condemnation should at least be equal from point to point.

  • capaxdei

    “Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth?”

    Ah, yes. Call them a pig fucker and make them deny it. Works every time.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Don’t really understand what a loaded question is, do you?

      Far be it for me to judge what you doing in the privacy of your own barn, but if you could just study up on fallacies a bit more when your paramour needs to visit the trough, we could save some time.

      • capaxdei

        Don’t really understand rhetoric, do you?

        Times a million. No tagbacks.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          I understand lying.

  • capaxdei

    “Bottom line: listen to the Church’s whole teaching.”

    So you abjure all your doubt about climate change and fully endorse the Millennium Development Goals? Because that’s what Margaret Archer is talking about.

  • ManyMoreSpices

    I’ve pointed out that things like the death penalty, gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty are prolife issues too.

    You’re stealing a base here.

    Abortion is easy: you can’t deliberately will the killing of a human as a means to an end. Of the prolife issues, it’s pretty much the simplest one.

    But there are circumstances – narrow ones that probably don’t exist in the developed world, but exist at least as possibilities – when capital punishment may be justly applied. And while poverty and gun violence are evils that we should work against, recognizing them as evils does not mean that we are required to adopt the official Catholic & Enjoying It! Solution to Poverty, or that we are required to do what the Brady Campaign wants.

    I note that Mark is gung-ho about raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. I haven’t heard his opinion on raising it to $20, $50, or $100 per hour. I’m certain of two things: (i) at some point he would say “no, that’s too high,” (ii) there exists someone who would say “that’s the right amount.” The irony of Mark being accused by that person of not being prolife because he was comparatively niggardly with his favored minimum wage would be rich.

    This base-stealing goes on all the time with the left, and it deserves pushback. We hear the refrain – as echoed but not stated here, by Archer – that prolifers only care about babies before they’re born. That’s slanderous nonsense. Just because my solution to poverty does not involve establishing the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the poor. Solving a problem is not the same as throwing money at it.

    I don’t know the answer to this question, but it bears investigation: what did the American bishops have to say when the Great Society was being debated? Did they support it? Because that surely sounded like Catholic care for the poor on paper, and it turned out to be basically a neutron bomb to black urban neighborhoods.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Again with the intimations of Marxism.

      I’m starting to wonder if you’re A faithful follower of Bro John Birch or something.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        You don’t think that some on the left prescribe outright Marxism?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Not anyone relying on Catholic Social Justice theory . No one accusing you of being possibly inadequately pro-life due to these issues, especially. They are as incompatible with Marx as Smith.

          The slander isn’t asking what a person values, but constantly slinging intimations of Marxism at any who dare challenge unjust systems you support.

          • ManyMoreSpices

            Again, reading comprehension.

            My reference to Marx was confined to “the left,” and I specifically said that Archer only echoed it, but did not state it.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              I comprehend your writing perfectly. Did you ever consider your writing might not be clear? Because you most certainly are addressing a Catholic forum about comments made by a Catholic. No one, especially here, who is concerned with authentically pro-life issues has ever criticized anyone, Much less you, for failing to support the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat. So either seek help, or engage honestly.

              Lord knows Mark’s rhetoric is over the top, and I personally find some of his economic proposals to be wrongheaded, in the sense that the further consolidate the Servile State we find ourselves in. But I also recognize Mark isn’t questioning my lack of support for raising minimum wages because I think this is an inadequate response. He’s concerned with people who oppose it for more based reasons.

              Interestingly, those tend to be the same people crippled by mortal fear of Marxists everywhere.

        • Artevelde

          Very few. Only a handful of those hold any form of power. None of them lurk under your bed.

          • Allen

            More than you would expect, if you consider the actual planks of Marx:
            http://laissez-fairerepublic.com/tenplanks.html
            I’d say many prescribe to most of the them.

            • Artevelde

              Oh that slippery slope that begins with abolishing child labor and ends with the Gulag.

    • Allen

      I agree. Justifying almost everything Marks feels should be a ‘pro-life issue’ also lessens the pro-life cause. Much like how many who claim almost every issue is a racist issue, lessens the cause against actual racist issues.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Of course, Mark has the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church to rely on, not his feelings.

        Unnecessary use of capital punishment, denial of the universal destination of goods, torture and other forms of violence are very much pro-life issues. Or at least they are for Catholics.

  • prairiebunny

    “Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live birth?”
    ManyMoreSpices calls this “slanderous nonsense” I agree.
    This is not reassuring.Is Catholic Social Teaching being determined not by the bishops but by loony sociologists at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences?

  • TJP

    ““Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth?”

    This is the precise question asked by every pro-abortion “Catholic”.

    “This time, they messed with the wrong woman.”

    Surely you jest. Lobbing this pro-abort pablum, Margaret Archer sounds like a real lightweight.

    • Artevelde

      ”Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and birth”? You know, I couldn’t care less less who *also* asks that question, whether they be pro-abortion Catholics (hah) or not. The answer should simply be ”no”.

      • TJP
        • Artevelde

          If morality is not multi-issue, it’s a single-issue thing, and since you’re pro-life, the only logical conclusion is that abortion is the only valid moral issue, or perhaps the only moral issue that is a concern to you. Your answer to the question is ”yes”.

          • TJP

            Artevelde, abortion is not the “only valid moral” issue”, it is a preeminent moral issue, greater in importance or degree.

            For instance, the Church teaches unequivocally that abortion and war are not moral equivalents. The same is true for abortion and capital punishment. In the 2004 instruction Worthiness to receive Holy Communion – General Principles, Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) impaired the “seamless garment” approach by making it perfectly clear that not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion. “There may be,” he declared, “a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia”. When it comes to abortion, the death penalty, or the war in Iraq, only abortion is intrinsically wrong [always evil] because it always destroys innocent human life. On the death penalty and the war, Ratzinger confirmed that the Church does not have a single view. Artevelde, you may draw a similar conclusion on lesser moral evils.

            • Artevelde

              Cardinal Bernardin never taught that war and abortion are moral equivalents, nor did he ever doubt that abortion was an intrinsic evil. You, on the other hand, in a post above this one, make statements about torture that contradict the Church’s teaching.
              Oh and in case someone uses the seamless garment metaphor to prove that the Democratic Party promotes a consistent ethic of life, the answer to that is ”no, she doesn’t”.

              • TJP

                Artevelde, there is no contradiction. It is axiomatic that one who kills is culpable of a greater moral evil than one who injures. There is a beauty and simplicity to Catholic moral theology that even a child can understand.

              • TJP

                Artevelde, one other point of clarification.You state that “Cardinal Bernardin never taught that war and abortion are moral equivalents”.

                Indeed, he did. It is called the Consistent Ethic of Life, a.k.a., The Seamless Garment. And it is a blood-soaked garment.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  Saying that war also matters doesn’t make it equivalent to abortion.

                  I don’t know Cardinal Bernadin, nor his motivations (that’s US politics)… but what I read about the seamless garment is right on the money.

                  People want to separate the parts of Catholic doctrine that they like from the ones that conflict with their pet ideologies. But it is not possible to do so. If they weren’t so dogmatically pro-abortion, left-wingers would realize that the logic they use in favor of the poor also applies to the unborn child. And vice-versa for the right-wingers.

                  Diabolus (the latin word for the Devil) means “to separate”, in opposition to Symbolus (which is the Creed). That’s as much “seamless” as you can get… you normally use the same “seamless garment” logic when you call liberals CINOs or “cafeteria catholics”.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          I’ll take no lessons from the historically ignorant, thank you.

          In 1976, Jimmy Carter was still tepidly pro-life. Gerald Ford, on the other hand, was adamantly pro-choice. Ditto Bob Dole his running mate. And also the guy from California he defeated in the GOP primary had just recently enshrined abortion rights into law in California.

          That you cast the teaching of the Catholic Church as a shameless ploy to enlarge the democratic party just betrays your concern, and it ain’t respect for life.

          • TJP

            Hezekiah, it sounds like you’re enjoying your “coming-out” party as a Democrat.

            Gerald Ford: The statement which most accurately reflects Gerald Ford’s position on abortion prior to the 1976 presidential election was his letter of September 10, 1976 to the Archbishop of Cincinnati. “… the Government has a responsibility to protect life–and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected.It is within this context that I have consistently opposed the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court.” Clearly pro-life. That later (and memorably in 2001 on Larry King), Ford said he was “pro-choice” (pro-death) is not relevant to my point. Perhaps, there was even a time when you, Hezekiah, were on the side of truth and in union with the Church.

            Bob Dole: One of the reasons Bob Dole was tapped in 1976 as a vice-presidential candidate was precisely because of his pro-life credentials (Rockefeller had been a pro-abort). Just two years earlier, pro-life advocates helped Dole narrowly escape defeat from a congressman (who was also an abortionist) in the closest election of his career. It was years later, not until December, 1996 (remember the N.Y. Times headline) that Dole shook things up in the GOP when he said “he would no longer support an unconditional ban on abortion”.

            Jimmy Carter: In 1976 the Democratic Party was already edging toward an
            abortion-on-demand stance. The third presidential debate, October 22nd, delineates the candidates two positions: Carter said he thought abortion was wrong “but I draw the line and don’t support a constitutional
            amendment” (to protect the unborn). Gerald Ford said “I support the Republican platform which calls for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions.”

            There you have the history, Hezekiah, cold and dispassionate, not like the agitprop you probably quote from: Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the U.S. “Coming-out” or not, go easy on lattes and skinny jeans 😉

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              It’s funny, I’ve never, and will never, vote democrat. Not for dog catcher. Who wants to support the party of slavery, Jim Crow, Andre Jackson etc?

              When I did vote last, it was 2000, I voted GOP because I was impressed by Bush’s ‘ compassionate conservatism’. Which got chucked as soon as 9/11 rolled around.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Should have finished reading. I had to read Zinn in college, almost failed that course for arguing against the man all semester. The rest of it sounds like you’re just A shill for the GOP, and who cares what some Mammon worshipper has to say?

                • Guest

                  Apparently Mark does; he seems to talk about it every day.

                • TJP

                  You have far more sense (and knowledge) than I realized. As for me , I am NPA, no party affiliation. Apologies for the “coming-out” cracks.

              • ManyMoreSpices

                I voted GOP because I was impressed by Bush’s ‘ compassionate conservatism’.

                Better to remain silent and be thought a fool…

                • Hezekiah Garrett

                  Foolish me once. ..won’t get fooled again.

                  My roommate at the time was from Carthage, his family and the Gores were friends going way back. When he figured out what my ‘Cathargo delenda est’ bumper sticker meant, it still didn’t cause as much friction as my ‘Sore Loserman’ poster.

                  Or the time he asked me to play folk music at a garden party DNC fundraiser he threw. Lockheed presented a check from their employees and I followed it up with Dylan’s ‘Master of War’. He didn’t talk to me f for 2 weeks after that one.

                  Good times.

          • antigon

            Sorry noble Hez, but it looks like you t’aint free to take lessons from yourself. While Carter was tepid & Ford pro-abort, fraudulent Bob Dole had always voted pro-life, claimed to be such, & was put on the ticket precisely to placate pro-lifers, since he replaced Ford’s earlier & Senate confirmed choice for Vice P (due to Nixon’s resignation & a vacant VP office) none other than Mr. Abortion hisself, Nelson Rockefeller.
            *
            Bernardin’s garment – visible only to those who appreciated the Emperor’s in an earlier tale – was not presented until late ’83, & meant very much, unless we want to pretend, as an anti-Reagan ploy. O’Connor re-sewed it with the unborn at it’s core upon his appointment as Archbishop of New York the following month, & their contretemps was central to the explosive ecclesial & political conflicts of ’84.

        • Alma Peregrina

          “A pro-life Catholic should never answer this question”

          A pro-life Catholic should answer this question. And answer “no”.

          Signed: a pro-life Catholic, that fought against abortion legalisation in his country.

  • Eve Fisher

    A suggestion for those who want to know how to help the pro-life movement: petition your Congressmen and women to pass the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, HR 2772, stripping rapists of their potential parental rights to any woman they impregnate thru rape. So far, it’s died on the vine. Meanwhile, 31 states have laws allowing rapists to petition and get parental rights, including visitation, which is disgusting. http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/iaj0jk/parenting-with-the-enemy

    • I suggest you read HR 2772 which you aren’t quite describing accurately. It sends money to states that have parental rights stripping legislation. It doesn’t strip any rights itself.

      Edit: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 would seem to be on point.

  • CJ

    Yeah, this “have you stopped beating your wife?” screed shouldn’t be held up as an example of anything except what NOT to do.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      There are no loaded questions being asked. Try again.

  • John Zulauf

    The problem I face as an pro-life, anti-death penalty conservative is the conflation of means with ends. Yes, a consistent “pro-life” view include developing all of human potential. However, I respectfully disagree with the presumed means (e.g. high minimum wage, gov’t funded healthcare, transfer payments) as capable of delivering those ends for the majority. When we had a robust economy, with high value add jobs, and policies that encourage the growth of businesses, “living wage” wasn’t the issue it is today. However, pricing the unskilled *out* of the labor market helps no one, creating pro-growth policies and skills retraining programs reduce the scope of the “minimum wage” job to the starter job — the short duration job where as a youth one develops a track record of a willingness and habit of work.

    For holistic pro-life conservatives who look at the “war on poverty” and understand it as the “war on family” that it became, the idea of extending and reinforcing that approach is sickening. We see inner city schools in disarray and promote school choice (including Catholic schools) through waivers. We look at monies taken from working families to fund programs with a proven 0% benefit (c.f. Brookings Institue report on “Head Start”) and wonder why rationality is accused of being anti-life.

    Christian charity and social responsibility cannot be *outsourced*. Gov’t programs are not Christians fulfilling the call of Christ to act “unto the least of these.” It is the use of political power to make *others* do it for us.

    Let’s not impugned others motives and morals, when what we really disagree on is means — means that also have to pass moral scrutiny.

    • Allen

      Sound words, but contrary to what we see in this blog. ‘Proper’ Catholics must agree with Mark’s means.

    • Mbukukanyau

      I am with you mburatha

    • Mbukukanyau

      The ‘we can end poverty’ crowd is not with Christ. that is for sure.

      If a poor child whose mother sees the only way out is to kill them is not considered poor and society turns around and helps the woman kill her child, who is else poor?

  • Mbukukanyau

    This ‘Inner fight” is unhelpful.
    In Christian Charity, if your portion if the vineyard is death penalty, do not attack those working on the abortion portion of the vineyard because your workers have not come in yet.
    Perhaps they are the ones that got to the vineyard in the evening, you are in the ‘scorching sun’.. Do your job without complaints.

    Another thing is this, Mrs. Archer also fails to mention that those that oppose the death penalty for political reasons are also the same ones that support euthanasia and abortion. Even when our goals align, its usually not for the love of God. They are trying to remake society in their own image or perhaps the image of their master.
    Glossing over the reality of peoples motivations because, they are trying to go good clouds the truth even further.
    You cannot praise Nazi advances in medicine given how those advances were achieved.
    As a worker in the prolife (anti abortion vineyard) I cannot say I am enthusiastic to work with people in ‘against the death penalty movements’ whose motivations are directly opposed to God’s vision, where a star trek vision of humanity replaces Jesus Christ.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Hey, if you find ideological purity is more important than serving the least of these, who am i to judge?

      • Isn’t the theme of Mark’s article here praise for ideological purity and a criticism of allies that are not wholly on board with what he believes (rightly or wrongly) the Church teaches?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          If you want to reduce the faith to an ideology, knock yourself out.

      • Mbukukanyau

        Ideological purity is important. You can judge actions as good or bad, if you do not, you cannot possibly go to confession.

  • Guest

    I agree that there are pro-life elements to all those issues, but let’s look more deeply:
    Death Penalty: Not categorically prohibited by the Church, and indeed taught as a good thing in the past, though all but banned in the modern first world.
    Gun Violence: “Gun” is a bit of an artificial category here. Is knife or fist violence different in anything but scale? So let’s just tackle violence instead. Not all violence is evil; the Church explicitly teaches that violence in defense is justifiable and may in fact be a grave duty for some. As it happens, access to firearms greatly expands the number of people who have recourse to self-defense, since they remove requirements like great physical strength and extensive training in martial arts. So the real pro-life issue would seem to be aggressive or criminal violence, not simply violence.
    Unjust War: It requires a lot of knowledge of fact to judge whether a war is just, knowledge which the Pope probably does not have access to in this day of heavily classified information. Most of the discussion on this issue is centered around whether a particular war is just, not whether unjust wars are acceptable. And there seems to be a fair amount of room for good-faith discussion on that former question.
    Torture: Categorically prohibited.
    Poverty: This requires a lot of specific answers to adjudicate. What is an acceptable level of health and comfort? Does that answer change depending on the person? For instance, is the aid due an able-bodied man different from the aid due to his children or wife? Does it change relative to the times? People lined up for blocks to get on the list to buy a Levittown house; today they are considered tiny and undesirable. By what means should that aid be given? Is this an area where we “get to” use force, or one where we “have to?” Given that we need to address poverty, are there good-faith differences of opinion when it comes to how?

    Compare that with abortion: Wrong regardless of the circumstances or motives.

    Of the list, only torture seems as clear-cut as abortion. So I don’t think it’s fair to treat them all the same, at least not with such a simple statement.

    • Dave G

      Excellent comment. Thanks.

    • TJP

      I appreciate your approach, mirroring the Church’s teaching that abortion is a preeminent moral issue and not one of many. But, torture is not as clear-cut as abortion, since presumably in torture, the victim lives.

      • Guest

        I don’t see much room for it in the CCC:

        2297: “…Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity…”

        2298: “In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.”

        I admit there is some room to discuss exactly where torture begins, but it’s clear that there is no moral allowance for it once you’ve identified it.

      • ManyMoreSpices

        The victim lives under theft, adultery, sodomy, rape, incest, calumny, etc., too. Still unambiguously evil.

  • The biggest problem with the PAS is that they are not focusing our attention on the correct question, which should be what is the optimum climate for humans that best serves the poor? The rich can always adjust with a bit of heat or some air conditioning but if we’re to have any sort of influence on the climate, it should be poor centered. The poor are least likely to have the resources to adjust their personal climate to optimum.

    One would think the PAS would adopt a better attitude than to merely sign on to the reigning hysteria. It’s a disappointment when they don’t.

  • Na

    i wish I could go back in time and warn president lincoln…”stop being so obsessive about ending slavery…don’t you know how many other infractions there are against human dignity? I guess you only care about people when they are in chains!” this is what passes for moral discourse among the self anointed theologians.

    its kind of amazing the possibility of a hypocritical pro-lifers is always a subject that has to be examined with the upmost scrutiny but Catholics, Bishops and bloggers who only mention abortion in order to smear someone’s good will or claim it is one issue among many is not given a second thought.

    btw…smearing the motives of people who disagree with you, invoking the clerical privilege the pope decried and finishing with an exclusionary…you are out in the cold…she is a real class act…and apparently an exemplary christian.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Actually, Lincoln wasn’t very obsessive about ending slavery. Hezekiah was popular precisely because he wasn’t a firebrand republican, But rather what today’s Tea Party would term a RINO.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        He was, not Hezekiah was. But that’s the best auto correct flub ever.

      • Guest

        “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”
        -Lincoln to H. Greeley, 1862

        • Na

          wow….you haven’t figured out that Lincoln’s public letter to Greeley was actually a slight of hand, a seeming set back to the cause, that was actually a necessary prelude to prepare the public mind and frame the argument for an emancipation proclamation that would have otherwise destroyed the union army and any opportunity for freedom. As Lincoln understood, there was no point in issuing proclamations that would have also dissolved the union. If there was no union, there was no way to extend freedom to the slaves or preserve it for the free.

          Prior to the Greeley letter, Lincoln had already committed himself to issuing the emancipation proclamation once the Union won a victory…which he did one month later.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            So he freed some American slaves, the ones being held by hos enemies, and left slavery among his allies untouched?

            What a firebrand indeed! It does give some insight I to the kind of sucker who believes today’s GOP will ever address the current travesty of inhuman proportions.

            • Na

              Wow…you have really swallowed intentionalism…hook, line and sinker….Lincoln took every opportunity to move the cause of freedom forward including pushing for a constitutional amendment that abolished slavery…prior to that …he made numerous proposal to simply buy the northern slaves out of bondage but without any political support they were useless.

              Lincoln was in a different situation than you…he wasn’t merely concerned with moral preening…he actually had to execute a course of action and be held accountable. He could have followed your advice, been impeached the first day and have slavery continue for another 75 years and have the union dissolve into warring factions for another 200 years. But he didn’t. Thank God.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Look, you seem to be traveling far afield. I merely objected that Lincoln wasn’t obsessive. It was not being obsessive, and seeing that there was more going On, and more he had to do, than just abolition, that got him into the position to accomplish what limited good he did. But he valued somethings more than abolition, and that’s how he built A broad enough coalition to gain the presidency.

                This stuff isn’t that hard, if you have more than 11 protons to your name, of course.

                • Na

                  Lincoln said if slavery isn’t wrong than nothing is wrong. By logical, freedom and human dignity were his primary concern. The question is how could extend these virtues without a union and political and cultural consensus.

                  Limited good? Lincoln brought freedom to 13% of the US population. And it is pretty easy to argue that he was uniquely qualified to do so.

                • FranklinWasRight

                  You implied that it wasn’t a priority for Lincoln and that’s why he was elected. That simply isn’t true. He was a pragmatist, but the issue of slavery was the most important in his Presidency, intimately connected to preserving the Union. The two issues had to do a delicate dance, but they couldn’t be entirely seperated.

                  His beliefs about slavery were the reason he was a Republican to begin with, so comparing him to a RINO is absurd.

      • Na

        He certain did more good and overcame more adversity than some guy who judges him from the comfort of his couch.

        “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.”

        “”As I would not be a slave, so I would not
        be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from
        this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.””

        “I have always thought that all men should
        be free; but if any should be slaves it should be first those who desire
        it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others.”

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Whoa, a politician who talked out of both sides of his mouth? Stop the presses!

          And I was sitting in the captain’s chair of an ambulance when I wrote that. I then proceeded to dream of a sofa, until I had to answer A BS call from a local drugseeker.

      • FranklinWasRight

        The party was created with abolition as one of it’s platforms. That’s like saying he was anti-slavery, but he didn’t like to talk about it so people didn’t hold it against him.

        That is ridiculous. The fact thay the south almost immediately started seceding after his election is proof that they objected to the anti-slavery plank in the Republican platform and considered Lincoln a big enough threat to fight a war.

        This revisionist history where we remove the issue of slavery from the Civil War is ludicrous, it is simply an attempt to prove that America really is evil and racist by wiping away one of the most noble chapters of our history.

    • chezami

      You appear not to have read a word I wrote.

      • Na

        Mark, i was responding to the doctor’s letter which seemed to be the proximate motivation behind your post. Did you read the doctor’s letter? Do feel it was a proportionate response to the First Things article? Was immediately impugning the motives of the First Things author a Christian response? Was it a engaging, liberal response to say “too bad, you are out in the cold”? And this from a self proclaimed representative of papacy that has determined to listen to and accompany the people and to have the smell of the sheep.

        Despite the Pope’s call, it seems the actual effect is to listen to some of the people and have the smell of some of the sheep. You are rightly upset when Catholics support one part of human dignity but actively work against another. But what kind of catholic has these grand great certain theories to solve comfortable structural sins and yet is so comfortable exhibiting so little personal decency.

        If you only engage some issues from certain perspectives, you stop being a peacemaker and start being a partisan.

  • Na

    If anyone is interest in the horrible, zealous, bigoted comments that must have warranted such a measured response from a self proclaimed papal representative and leading proponent of really prolife catholics, you can read the concluding paragraph below. Please be warned, this shouldn’t be read by unaccompanied minors.

    It is amazing that these really prolife catholics have such amazing insight into how to be really prolife in a complicated multifaceted world with scarce resources and competing priorities but have so little personal decency.

    “The small organization I work for is one of very few that engages
    international institutions on abortion and population control. We are up
    against a multi-billion dollar sexual and reproductive health
    establishment—a veritable global abortion lobby—and always look forward
    to the moral clarity of the Holy See at U.N. headquarters, as do many
    governments. I hope this lasts.”

  • prairiebunny

    ANTI ABORTION-BUT NOT PROLIFE

    Back in the days of Operation Rescue when the abortion wars were really hot I seem to recall reading that groups like NOW, NARAL, PLANNED PARENTHOOD got together and agreed on a language policy.The policy consisted of never referring to prolifers as prolifers.Instead they used a substitute like”AntiAbortion Extremist” or AntiChoice Extremist”. With regard to prolife catholics you seem to be following the NOW, NARAL playbook.

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Mark’s never tarred mainstream pro-life sentiment as extremism, actually. He’s merely made a consistent argument, along with St JohnPaul and Pope Emeritus Benedict, that there is more to an authentic Culture of Life than opposing abortion.

      • FranklinWasRight

        And that is used as a straw man Attack against pro-lifers by pro- aborts, who claim that pro-lifers only care about abortion. This isn’t true, but it is used as a tactic time and time again by planned parenthood, NARAL, etc who falsely claim that we aren’t pro-life because we only care about abortion.

        This is why it rankles so many feathers when Catholics like Shea fall for the rhetoric, they don’t realize it was invented by pro-choice anti-Catholics. It is hard enough fighting the good fight in a secularized society, now the enemies of the faith are adding a second front within the Church with faithful Catholics like Shea acting as willing patsies.

  • antigon

    Mr. Shea:
    *
    Leaving aside other matters, inviting the popcon pro-abort fanatic Jeff Sachs to this thing was admirable in the extreme, no less than if Ms. Archer were to invite Dick Cheney to help advise the current pontiff when he writes an encyclical on just war principles in the modern era.

  • Peggy

    Anything and everything can be argued to be a “pro-life issue.” There have to be some bounds for the focus of each type of effort to focus on the various works of mercy. Cardinal Bernardin was never a pope and did not issue any infallible encyclicals.

    Global warming theories are suspect b/c of much data manipulation and fraud…and just plain silliness. It’s not a scientifically sound theory. To the extent that there is an increase in CO2 escaping into the atmosphere, it is due to industrialization going on in India and China. Russian air quality pretty bad too in my experience. The US and the West in general cutting back CO2 in any significant amount will have little impact on the atmosphere–but it would be economically catastrophic. Not pro-life if people can’t work to provide for their families.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/21/ap-china-us-india-push-world-carbon-emissions-up/16009637/

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/

    • Elmwood

      Peggy, if you’re such an expert on global warming, do the scientific community a favor and publish something in a respected peer reviewed journal (science, nature.. etc.) on how global warming is suspect because of data manipulation.

      Maybe you can become head of a climate change research center at a major university and tour the world with your findings. If only the Holy Father and the Vatican and the vast majority of the scientific community were as enlightened as you are.

      • Peggy

        Thank you for the career encouragement. My graduate education and public policy experience have taken me a long way. I don’t know whether the academic journals are willing to publish some alternative views. Many advanced degreed scientists have challenged pro-global warming studies and published in books, journals, popular and finance media, think tanks, etc.

        The agenda of global warming is to destroy economic activity. Coal is now out destined to be out of business mostly b/c of regulation. Markets change. If it were just about natural gas, coal could come back in a few years again.
        http://seekingalpha.com/article/3243236-the-coal-industry-is-rapidly-becoming-a-remnant-of-the-past (financial market analyst)
        How is that pro-life for families in coal states and employees of power utilities reliant on coal? Oh, what do you have for them that is better than evil old coal?


        This news article cites several scientists on the most recent NOAA manipulation. http://www.examiner.com/article/how-noaa-rewrote-climate-data-to-hide-global-warming-pause. This is not the first manipulation by NOAA.

        Michael Mann’s ol’ hockey stick is a fraud, as is the East Anglia research…that latter was admitted to in uncovered emails. I have no idea what Siberian trees would have to do w/global climate activity (Mann).
        MANN: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/09/18/climategate-star-michael-mann-courts-legal-disaster/

        EAST ANGLIA: http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/03/climate-change-hoax-opinions-contributors-larry-bell.html#

        Those 2 Forbes columns are by a prof at U of Houston who’s published a book…wow a whole damn book… on climate fraud.

        The US EPA data indicate that to drop the global temp by 1degree C by 2100 (90 years) would cost us over $700 TRILLION over that same period. Sounds pretty pointless and silly.
        http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=3ede3e93-813f-4449-97e6-0d6eb54fbc9e

        Concentrate on India and China. Really. Russian cities may need to institute some emissions tests for cars, too, in my view. I thought I was going to die when I was there.

        Is that pro-life?


        This scientist is quite good and rational. He is in Alabama but is often on a StL CBS radio show. He says “global warming’ is mostly likely natural if at all. http://www.drroyspencer.com/

        • Elmwood

          Peggy, why don’t you listen to the Holy Father and the Vatican and the vast consensus of the relevant scientific experts? Do you really think that 97% of the published papers on global warming are incorrect? Do you really believe that the Holy Father and Pope Benedict XVI are wrong about global warming?

          CO2 levels are currently higher than they have been in perhaps 15 million years. Does it comfort you that we are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere are a rate that rivals or exceeds that during the greatest of mass extinction events?

          • Peggy

            The Vatican is not expert in science, but in morals and theology. Yes, it does include scientific consideration in its pronouncements. The Vatican will make a real mistake along the perceptions of the Galileo story. I read scientists. I have read criticism of the key studies and pro-global warming groups. You are a boorish chauvinist. [Sorry, I can’t believe I played the sexist card. but really you are a patronizing chauvinist.] You basically have no response to the scientists, their analyses and criticisms I have proffered.

            The current Holy Father is going with the zeitgeist of the times on many issues, I am afraid. I know B16 had a document that expressed some environmental concern, but it wasn’t so definitive. Holy Father’s are not scientists. They have never professed to be.

            There is no evidence that CO2 levels are so extreme or that, whatever the CO2 levels, the US output has anything to do with it. A site that appears to support the global warming drama says, even if CO2 is at really historically high levels (yet data only to 1800!), we couldn’t stop warming by stopping CO2. What? Sounds like it’s natural not man-caused.
            http://americablog.com/2013/05/global-warming-heat-trapping-co2-concentration-passes-400-ppm-milestone.html

            If global warming is happening by natural or man-made causes, then perhaps it’s God’s plan for the end of times…hey, who knows? If so, so be it. I’m not too upset. No need to destroy jobs and families to reduce warming by a single degree. It seems you need a reality check.

            Don’t let facts get in the way of your agenda, bud.

            • Elmwood

              Peggy, apparently it’s Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and St. John Paul the Great who need to get their facts straight too, and not to mention nearly all the very intelligent climate scientists who study this as a vocation. You essentially are calling into question not only their intelligence, but their integrity as scientists.

              You obviously get your information from the right-wing propaganda media machine rather than the church or from the peer reviewed scientific literature on global warming.

              The gradual depletion of the ozone layer and the related “greenhouse effect” has now reached crisis proportions as a consequence of industrial growth, massive urban concentrations and vastly increased energy needs.

              JPII 1990 World Day For Peace

              ”Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family. No nation or business sector can ignore the ethical implications present in all economic and social development.

              BXVI 2009

              On climate change, there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act … The establishment of an international climate change treaty is a grave ethical and moral responsibility.”

              Pope Francis 2014 Message to UN on Climate Change

              http://catholicclimatemovement.global/catholic-teachings-on-climate-change/#sthash.DHNZjCDl.dpuf

              • Peggy

                It’s fine to care about the climate and the environment as God’s creation. Pope Francis makes an explicitly political agenda item out of it with his support for a climate change treaty.

                I am not the only one questioning the integrity of some global warming scientists. Many other scientists are too. They are educated PhDs whom I have cited who are “very intelligent climate scientists who study this for a living” as well. It is fraud designed to put more money into third world dictatorships and other opportunists’ pockets. Al Gore comes to mind. It is a marxist agenda to bring down the US economy in particular. Notice it’s pushed by lefties.

                So, we are told that 90%+ of Catholics contracept, a mortal sin. Should I follow that overwhelming crowd too?

                The point of global warming as being man-made in particular is under debate. It is NOT decided. That is why no Holy Father should produce a definitive document on the issue. But this Holy Father has not shown himself to have good judgment in self-restraint, I am sorry to say.

                You don’t seem to be interested in debate either. You want to shut me down and accept what is being shown to be false in many regards. Sorry, bud. Not buying it.

                • Elmwood

                  what is the debate Peggy? is it on the science, which neither you or me, have any serious authority to judge, or is it with the Church, which apparently you disagree with?

                  as for the church, you really should listen to her rather than the loud mouths on talk radio. the science is probably not your thing, so why even bring it up.

                  • Peggy

                    Buddy, the scientists are debating. You bet there’s a debate on the science. I can observe when a debate is occurring. Can you? I am capable of reading the debate. I have a background in statistical analysis for economics. I understand various issues surrounding “modeling” and data. Is this kind of reading or math above your pay grade? Who are YOU to try to shut me down? You are an uninformed unthinking tool. Intelligent, right thinking people can see what’s going on if you can’t.

                    The Church isn’t saying much. Francis is. What he’s saying is not doctrine. Does the Church prohibit our reading of what various scientists are saying? You don’t want to read what scientists are saying about global warming? You dont’ want to consider alternative views? You are closed-minded.

  • antigon

    Oh dear. Finally got around to reading Gennarini’s restrained, unpolemical, & perfectly legitimate queries, as well as Mz Archer’s defensive & manifestly polemical response, for which it might not be entirely surprising to see Commonweal swoon. But Shea? Understandable he dislikes the guff, but backing Archer’s spiel is not wholly unreminiscent of the team players who stood by Corapi.
    *
    And while am indisposed to join preemptive strikes against our looming encyclical, the influence of this intellectually dishonest woman might alas with some cause weaken confidence.

    • Artevelde

      Agreed. I feel there is at times, in the course of Mark’s journey towards more appreciation for the Church’s teaching on Social Justice, a danger that he might end up with some strange bedfellows. But that being said, back to Bernardin: is there anything in the Seamless Garment that warrants you labeling it as an ”anti-Reagan ploy”? I don’t mean that as a naïve question, as I’m well aware of the timing and the liberal church politics of the Bernardin-era, but does that alone suffice to compare it to the Emperor’s New Clothes?

      • antigon

        Noble Artevelde:
        *
        Not alone to be sure, but perhaps this will help, from Sobran in a Catholic Eye of that period: ‘It takes little political sophistication to know that the ‘seamless garment’ [is] directed exclusively against the…orthodox…Catholic…The most striking aspect of these arguments is that they are never – never – applied…to…[those who say they] oppose war and poverty unless they also oppose abortion.’
        *
        And that was the point of course, because the apostate bureaucracy that had conquered so many Catholic institutions were keen for the Dems, & didn’t in fact oppose mass murder it seems fair to propose, but couldn’t openly praise it. Bernie weaved the Emperor’s clothes in order to help.

  • Elmwood
    • Petee

      I saw that too Elmwood, thanks for posting it.

      • Elmwood

        The GOP have vast minions of useful “conservative” idiots to protect greedy fossil fuel interests. It’s really astounding how easily American Catholics, like everybody else, are herded into groups along political lines that conflict with their faith and common sense.

        • Peggy

          I have the sense that you’re the duped tool of the global warmists. Others of us want to study alternative views and reach our own conclusions. Others don’t want to shut down industries that employ thousand and thousands of people especially when there’s almost no positive benefit elsewhere to society.

          • Elmwood

            Peggy, you don’t have a problem with me, but with the church and with science.

            • Peggy

              Keep telling yourself. I am the one who’s offered scientific information. The Church doesn’t require scientific views of the faithful. That is why, if Francis goes down this route, he’s severely compromised himself and The One True Faith. I don’t think God cares what we think about GW.

              You have a problem with science and facts, clearly. You are afraid of debate, of hearing another point of view. What do you fear? Who has paid you to make these siily posts?

        • FranklinWasRight

          Many of us are not GOP or conservatives, we simply value truth and want to see the scientific community uphold certain standards. Anyone looking closely at the studies can see real problems, and when scientists speak out about problems with the data and methodology they are atracked as “goons of the oil industry” or worse. It seems to me that the war mists are the ones acting on behalf of outside interests, not truth.

          How much jet fuel does Al Gore’s private plane use?

      • FranklinWasRight

        Moving the goal posts and cherry picking data and revising data to ensure you get the “right” outcome. Very important aspects of the scientific method, I’m sure.

    • Peggy

      In what peer-reviewed journal was this published?

      • Peggy

        6 hrs…no reply….?

  • antigon

    PS: Since there was nothing remotely ‘not pro-life’ in Gennarini’s measured queries, it arguably undermines that phrase – applicable, for example, to folks who say they’re against abortion even as they favor torturing people to death – if instead applied as but a not very pro-life snarl against any who want enthusiasm for the giddiness of the day.

  • antigon

    Another O dear. From the delightful Michael Brenden Dougherty, who neglected to title his piece “Pushback Against the Not Especially Anti-Abortion but Certainly Not Pro-Life Creeps Further Corrupting the Vatican (& the Faith)’…
    *
    ‘Recently Vatican officials held a conference on climate change. The invited speakers included economist Jeffrey Sachs and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. The former has been a noted opponent of the Church on a number of issues, and even promotes abortion as a “low-risk” intervention to reduce fertility, as part of an effort to reduce the global population. When Catholic and pro-life journalists sent questions to Archbishop Sánchez Sorondo, one of the conference’s organizers, he responded with a breathtaking glibness that reads like [the occasional Mark Shea headline?] a mid-2000s contribution to DailyKos.

    ‘When asked simple questions by pro-lifers about the wisdom of the Church offering those men a platform, Sorondo said, “The Tea Party and all those whose income derives from oil have criticized us.” He castigated the questioner by saying that Sachs and Moon “don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”

    ‘What does this Vatican official think is meant by “reproductive rights”?

    ‘But Sorondo’s nasty, conspiratorial response was outdone by Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Her response to pro-lifers accused the questioner of being a defective Catholic who must only be concerned with human dignity between conception and birth, a clichéd rhetorical attack that should be beneath a woman of her station, let alone a representative of the Vatican. She also accused the critics of being in the pocket of energy industry lobbyists. Does no one else find this unseemly? Her high-handedness and open partisanship were astounding: “I am appointed by the pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold.”
    *
    Really, while granting that raping children doesn’t have the cache’ that murdering them does, Archer & Sorondo sound like nothing so much as the bureaucratic response to the fifteenth set of irritating parents who complained about Fr. Giggles since he’s after all been sent to therapy many, many times.
    *
    You sure you want to stand by these frauds Mr. Shea? If not, you owe Gennarini (& us) an apology. Sans one, you should at the very least stop criticizing the (vast majority of American) bishops who took Archer/Sorondo’s approach when confronted by parents, & then after another two-week therapy sent Fr. Giggles back to running the Scout camp once again.

  • Diego Serrano

    Do you realize Mark that with the remark you quoted here, Margaret Archer was just creating a straw man? Giving a forum to people involved in mass murder has nothing to do with the person pointing that out being pro life all the way, or just at the beginning of life. Heck, what does it matter if the writer at First Things is pro life at all? What if he were a pro abortion atheist? Would that change the issue at all? Would that affect whether Miss Archer is wrong in giving people whose interest is population control by any means necessary, a platform? Would that change the fact that climate change is far from settled science, which the are acting as if it were? I think you got derailed by Miss Archer from what the issue was here.

  • Josefa

    Of course there are other ” issues” besides abortion, but 60 million worldwide abortion murders YEARLY constitutes the greatest cataclysmic event against human life that has ever occurred( since the flood).
    To prioritize properly, abortion is by far the largest and gravest of all violent and murderous assaults on mankind. To place it on a par with other issues is just not rational. Maybe if we stopped killing and started respecting the life the unborn child, other anti-human degradation would lessen as a result.
    I do listen to the Church- killing the innocent unborn will be the vehicle for the greatest chastisement to befall the ( western) world, and deservedly so. Abortion is the devil’s crown jewel. By looking the other way, or lessening it’s importance in the eyes of the Church, we secure that crown to Lucifer’s head.
    PS-Archer needs to go. A Catholic replacement would be good.

  • Katalina

    Mark you honestly need to wake up and get your head out the sand NOW. Even 11 NASA retired scientists have also written an open letter to Francis WARNING him his moral and spiritual authority is in jeopardy if he follows this JUNK SCIENCE HOAX. Many of them are themselves as Catholic. Rick Santorum agrees as well.

    • Elmwood

      if it’s junk science, do the world a favor and publish your amazing discovery, become a legendary scientific hero for future generations, and save Pope Francis’s moral and spiritual authority all at the same time.

      if 11 NASA scientists wrote this letter, then it must be easy to refute the overwhelming scientific evidence of man made global warming.

      • Peggy

        It’s been published by 11 great NASA scientists, Katalina says. You don’t seem capable of using google. Nor do you appear to be open to debate. The global warming agenda is junk science. You appear to be easily taken in.

        http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/index.html

        • Peggy

          Further, these distinguished scientists have published some preliminary conclusions based on their studies thus far. The key points are that there is no convincing evidence of a catastrophic man-made warming; computer models need evaluation; our govt is acting too extensively too quickly; there is time to study more. There is no urgency.

          http://www.therightclimatestuff.com/SummaryPrelimReport.html

          • Elmwood

            Peggy, science works through the peer review process in scientific journals. that’s how science is done and not through politically motivated letters or blog sites.

            none of these “great NASA scientists” are likely to have ever authored peer reviewed climate science literature. in that process, ideally, your work is scrutinized by other experts in your field.

            if there are problems with the climate models, the way to show this to the scientific community and the world is to publish a paper in a reputable climate science journal.

            • Peggy

              You’re a condescending ____ and have offered nothing of merit to your position. You are a closed-minded fool.

              You say: “none of these “great NASA scientists” are likely to have ever authored peer reviewed climate science literature”

              Really? Unless the system is rigged. And it may be…
              http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/16/climategate-ii-scientific-community-accused-muzzling-dissent-on-global-warming/

              Why can’t distinguished scientists or other academics set up their own web sites and post their own work? And subject it to peer public review. The academe is blatantly tied to leftist ideology. I can imagine many a scholarly study being rejected b/c of ideology. Look at what happened to Mark Regnerus who did publish the study showing how kids turned out in homosexual households. It underwent peer review and was critiqued like any study, but the pro-homosexual ideologues were out in full force condemning the process and the journal in addition to Regnerus himself.
              http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/gay-marriage-advocates-use-political-intimidation-to-stifle-research

              The web site of the 11 does identify a peer review process. I imagine they may have some published. They are well-credentialed and experienced. You are indeed arrogant. A man who offers nothing, however, to recommend himself or his position.

              You might want to read this bud. Peer-reviewed research indicates that most climate scientists are indeed skeptics of man-made GW or CC. Ha! Send this to Francis before it’s too late! How funny, eh?
              http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/02/13/peer-reviewed-survey-finds-majority-of-scientists-skeptical-of-global-warming-crisis/

              But you go ahead with your closed-minded ways….hope none of your loved ones is in an industry doomed by policies based on these falsehoods. It’s not a sin to read scientific studies. You won’t have to confess. You won’t be excommunicated. This isn’t Inherit the Wind, bud.

              • Alma Peregrina

                Peggy, I’m sorry to interject (and please do not assume I do this out of arrogance or close-mindedness), but your comment is off the mark.

                You have provided sources from biased Internet sites and called it “scientific evidence”. That’s not how scientific evidence works. In fact, that’s a complete negation of science, to accept biased sources.

                You ask why can’t scientists who can’t publish their findings just set up their web-sites and post their own work? They can. But they can’t say that’s peer-reviewed, just because it’s in the Internet for all to see.

                And you contradict yourself. You said that the system is rigged against them and that’s why they can’t publish in peer-reviewed journals. But then you compare them to the Regnerus affair.

                But Regnerus was published in a peer-reviewed journal.

                And I could point you to articles in Pubmed that have conclusions against the mainstream, like with the ABC approach to AIDS, or even the findings of the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano.

                Peggy, what’s happening is that you are commited to a particular view and will only accept data that reinforces it. If that data is not published, you blame it on the “system”.

                I don’t know much about global warming to make a point. But please, don’t do this to science (as in science in general). It is not good.

                • Peggy

                  There are scientific journal articles opposing the generally accepted view of AGW as man caused and that the govts must destroy the economy to fix it. EPA studies, most govt studies by scientists are accepted as legitimate scientific studies. One such study says basically it’s not worth it. Bjorn Lumborg has published work to that effect. There are several scientists with up to 9 or so articles each opposing AGW theory in some way. That’s a lot for one person. But no, it’s not as many studies as for AGW. Does that make AGW right? No.

                  Now, let’s look at credentialism, as you and Wormwood, er Elmwood, are employing. It’s 97% of articles, not scientists, that favor AGW theories. Also, scientists do not have FACTs. They have THEORIES. Let’s apply yours and Elmwood’s standard for scientific debate by scientists and the public to my academic profession. The predominant empirical evidence in econ journals and textbooks is that raising the min wage will have deleterious effects on employment. (Econ journals do not shut out opposing theories if solid study is done.) This is taught in econ schools as generally accepted THEORY (not FACT). But there are those economists and shockingly members of the public who have NEVER published a thing on the min wage and who have little or no econ training, who express opinions and produce data on the min wage purporting to support their views that we should raise the min wage. But they’ve published no peer review papers! How can they do that? We must shut them down! We must not have debate on the min wage. Our host is in violation often of your own standard! How can we debate this “fact”??? With such unqualified unpublished people!!!!

                  Regnerus and the journal were abused in the liberal and homosexual outlets and suspect of invalid study and peer review. The reputation of the academic journal was in question b/c it dared published a study against the zeitgeist.

                  So, let’s end debate on the min wage. Shut it down. NOW! These debates are no in accord with scientific methods. Tell our host to shut it down. NOW!

                  • Peggy

                    P.S. I am linking publicly available resources. Journal materials are not publicly available usually. That doesn’t mean the scientists and work I’ve cited are not published in the journals. Journals routinely publish critiques and responses to studies they publish. Also, the discussions and papers academic conferences are published materials generally accepted in the academic community as are govt studies by credentialed experts. These issues are making the news to the public in general. So, we have greater insight than we might have had otherwise. We can see there are problems with some studies such as Michael Mann’s and the IPCC data from East Anglia for example. We can also see that the cost of changing the temp 1 degree is enormous (per EPA and other studies, eg Lumborg, Spencer). It appears to be accepted “fact” even in warmist quarters from what I have determined. I’ve learned a great deal in this process. You should try it.

                    • Elmwood

                      Peggy, you’re driven by ideology, not by science or your faith. You will always find dissenting voices from the fringe and plenty of non-science blog sites driven to spread disinformation.

                      Again, you’re at odds with the Holy Father–including the BXVI the “green” pope–and the vast consensus of climate scientists. Even St. JPII has recognized AGW.

                      And yet you call me a close-minded fool and chauvinist for agreeing with the Church. Why debate with you? The science is out there for everyone to read.

                    • Peggy

                      “Fringe” when established scientists proffer a different analysis? For the sake of argument, the “fringe” is not allowed a voice?

                      We found out about East Anglia fraud through the press b/c the academe is shutting down dissent. Here is discussion/abstract of a journal article that refutes Michael Mann’s work. The further discussions are in academic and other press. http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c920274f2a364603849bbb505&id=6946bd70cb&e=f4e33fdd1e

                      How much do the warmists pay you to post here? Where is your peer-reviewed journal article? Oh, I’m sorry. You guys have Bill Nye! Can’t compete w/that.

                      My faith is in God, not in scientists. I don’t worship the earth. I read the catechism.

                  • Alma Peregrina

                    Woah! Take that off your chest, now! Feeling better?

                    You have shot in so many directions, but you failed almost every target. The problema is, you make many assumptions there.
                    **********************************
                    First of all, I never said that we should shut the debate down. Now or ever. Regarding min wage or AGW or whatever. That’s not scientific either.
                    **********************************
                    Second of all, not every debate has to be scientific-based (even though people today seem to forget this). I, for once, second our host’s views on min wage. But since it is not my field of expertise, I refrain from making scientific claims. My position is based in ethical claims.

                    So, even though min wage might hurt the economy, I think it is not ethical to allow wages bellow a living wage (and no, I don’t want to debate this again, I’m just pointing out that you can have a debate without necessarily turning it into a scientific debate).

                    As you can, in face of scientific evidence (let’s imagine that those are legit) claiming that legalised abortion, widespread contraception and stripping parent’s from their education rights regarding sexuality are effective means to reduce the total number of abortions… can argue that those are unethical and, therefore, we should find other options.

                    You said that combating AGW hurts the economy. That’s an argument. I’ve never countered that.
                    **********************************
                    Thirdly, I’m not saying that those 3% of articles against AGW are wrong just because they’re 3%.

                    Few studies with good methodology are better than many studies with faulty designs.
                    **********************************
                    No, what I argued was this and only this:

                    You were claiming you had peer-reviewed scientific evidence to back you up. You had failed to produce such evidence, providing biased sources and turning the meaning of the word “peer-reviewed” up-side down.

                    That’s my only contention.

                    You have now provided names of scientists and articles that support your assertion. OK. Now you could provide the links to those. True, not every journal material is publicly available, but abstracts usually are.

                    If there are 3% of articles published against AGW in peer-reviewed journals, you should have linked those instead of the sites you provided. It would have been better to your credibility.

                    That’s all that I’m saying… I’m not really defending or attacking AGW, just defending science.

                    • Peggy

                      Elmwood has been making those many points. I have not been unfocused. I am responding to the false claims in the name of credentialism. The esteemed scientists are credentialed and published. ElmW can look at their CVs to see what’s published. I can’t do all the googling. Many of the non-academic sources I cited do refer to published work and expertise of the scientists cited in the media. Their own web sites have CVs as well, of course. Many scientists are publishing articles in mainstream media. The footers cite their published work/credentials in the AGW debate they discuss.

                      The 97% of articles that are pro-AGW is a manipulable and subjective number. It doesn’t hold much weight. Besides academics do not take polls to see what is “accepted” theory or fact. My research indicates it’s being put forth by ideologues mostly. The academic journals dont’ want to harm their reputations by publishing against the agenda. Bjorn Lomborg a published antiAGW scientist can’t get his think tank in Australia b/c of his position..

                      We are in comboxes of a blog by a man who knows nothing of science or economics. We are not in an academic setting. That’s just silly to say I have to go to original academic sources when ElmW offers nothing but false ideological assertions. I’ve played that game before.. It’s never enough. I’ve offered many esteemable credible resources for any one who wants to learn something new. When we all attend an academic conference, then we’ll pull out all the stops.

                    • Peggy

                      P.S. Cheers to you, Alma.

            • Diego Serrano

              Did you say climate models? Models? What? What are these models? Theories taken into practice in a computer? So they are theories? Theories are scientific proof? Oh no you say? Well, then, if someone has a theory and they have it peer-reviewed all that says is that other people agree that the theory is POSSIBLE. Does that prove anything? No. Those models contradict each other to certain degrees and they all can be published in serious journals. So what? Which of those models predicted that while emissions have steadily increased, warming has not for almost 20 years?! There you go.

      • Diego Serrano

        Oh pleeaaaaaase! Give me, oh do give me, that overwhelming scientific evidence! I beg it of you! Any links?!

  • Hans

    The “seamless garment” approach is what is being advocated for in this article. The problem with this approach is that it conflates pragmatic issues that faithful Catholics can disagree on (death penalty) with doctrinal teaching that faithful Catholics must adhere to (abortion.) Such a conflation has allowed dissident Catholics to call themselves “pro-life” and has caused much confusion with many other Catholics.

    • TJP

      Thank you, Hans. Abortion is a preeminent moral issue while “things like the death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty” are moral issues of less gravity, and in some cases issues of prudential judgment.

      • TJP

        The Church teaches unequivocally that abortion and war are not moral equivalents. The same is true for abortion and capital punishment. In the 2004 instruction Worthiness to receive Holy Communion – General Principles, Pope Benedict XVI (then
        Cardinal Ratzinger) polluted the “seamless garment” argument by making it perfectly clear that not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion. “There may be,” he declared, “a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia”. When it comes to abortion, the death penalty, or the war in Iraq, only abortion is intrinsically wrong [always evil] because it always destroys innocent human life.

  • Thomistmuse

    It seems that one must concur with Shea’s prudential judgments on political issues or be condemned by him as non-Catholic. He seems to use the imputation of non-Catholicism on the basis of his prudential judgments as trumping actual doctrinal conformity with the tradition. That is unfortunate. He should also make the distinction between the magisterial tradition of the Catholic Church and the prudential judgments of any particular pontiff. He does not make this distinction, but–as a doctrinal matter, and an essential one, since it delineates what Catholics *must* hold–he should make this distinction.

    • chezami

      I condemned no one as non-Catholic. Are you projecting?

      • Thomistmuse

        It seems implied when you suggest that those who differ on manifestly prudential questions are opposing the Church’s pro-life teaching.

        “An awful lot of the “prolife” subculture, protesting that it has no time to expand its energies beyond protesting abortion, *does* have a huge amount of time and energy to work *against* the clear and obvious guidance of the Church on the issues I mention above.”

        But you do not sufficiently distinguish between the universal magisterial tradition, and particular prudential judgments. Conflating the two, you give equal emphasis to mala in se as defined universally, and the particular inflections of papal prudence on questions where the Church herself teaches that believers–and particularly those with the grace of state practically to determine the judgments in question–have a moral and doctrinal *right* to differ. You do not make the distinction the Church herself makes. This amounts to a sort of papal positivism that would constraint all Catholics to hold whatever prudential assessment any pontiff held, whether consistent with the broader tradition or with the facts of the case. That isn’t the magisterium’s own understanding. For example, those who sentenced the Boston bomber according to the teaching of the Church have a grace of state and right to make the determination they made, not merely under positive law, but according to the doctrine of the Church. You do not make such discriminations, implying that those who differ with you are simply “opposed” to the Church. Whether you know that this is what is implied by your writing, and that this is how you are widely read, this is implied by your writing, and it is how you are widely read. Of course, there are others who do the same thing you are doing, who have even greater reason to know better and to act differently–and responsibility to do so. Nonetheless, you should allow that there are many theologians,some consulters for the CDF, many fine religious, many lay believers–to say nothing of many prior popes, and on some points literally all the Fathers and Doctors–who do not share your prudential judgments. This is conspicuous regarding the death penalty. Cf. my response to Tollefsen, which not only pertains to the denial that the death penalty is a malum in se–which I understand that you do not hold–but also pertains to the claim that prudence can effectually be tantamount to the practically universal impermissibility of the penalty. This is something by its nature ill at odds with the very nature of prudential determinations. It is particularly inconsistent with the tradition’s universal understanding of the nature of penalty and of the death penalty in particular. A prudential suggestion of even the holiest pontiff does not substitute for or replace the universal normativity of the tradition: when all the Fathers and Doctors concur on one reading of Sacred Scripture as the correct reading, according to Trent that is the reading Catholics are obliged to hold. Your writing manifests the same issues regarding torture, assuming that the criteria for determining what it is are clear, without engaging in the analysis necessary to understand it morally and to differentiate it from penalty. But that labor must be undertaken. The magisterium understands this, even if you do not, and it is an ongoing work as the distinction is necessary but on many points difficult.

        In any case, Archer–who was questioned about the wisdom of giving Planned Parenthood advocates a platform–responded in terms that are dismissive in the extreme. She was asked about “A” and her response was basically, you don’t you ask about “B” because you are opposed to the Church’s teaching. That is of course far worse than anything you did in the article (although defending her on such a point suggests sharing her disdain for those who think Planned Parenthood spokesmen ought not be given a platform by the Church). Do you think Planned Parenthood spokesmen *should* be given a platform by the Church?

        Undergirding much of your writing is a tendency to treat particular prudential judgments of Popes as binding on the faithful even where the magisterium itself has made clear this is not so. Pontiffs serve the universal tradition, they have no power to mutate its substance. They aid in the development of our understanding of that tradition when, exercising the papal charism, they teach through the extraordinary magisterium; or when they articulate developments that are occurring in the Church prior to their own engagement. But the criteria for development are objective and the pope, too, is subject to these. Your writing suggests that all this is far easier and more obvious than it is or ever can be, and that those who differ with you are benighted or even malign: that such persons cannot have any genuine theological or prudential concerns, and that they are merely “dismissive” and are dishonest. That may be true of some, but it very clearly is for the most part false. It seems objectively uncharitable. You are a gifted author who should read more widely and theologically so as to avoid reductionist equation of Catholic faith and morals with a complete ideological quilt of prudential social determinations. This is necessary precisely because Catholic social teaching has doctrinal roots which cannot be ignored for the sake of particular prudential putative “developments” in disharmony with those roots–to say nothing of disharmony with natural truths and facts of the case.

  • TJP

    Mark, are you feeling all warm and fuzzy wrapped in that “seamless garment”. Just remember that it is a “blood-soaked garment”.

    No one disagrees that there are other life issues. Abortion (and euthanasia), however, are preeminent.

  • FranklinWasRight

    Mark, I am saying this out of love and compassion. Read the catechism, and reject anything anything a church official says, teaches, or promotes that contradicts the catechism or is superfluous to the catechism. This is not the first time that Church officials have strayed from orthodoxy, but this time it is much more subtle. There is no need to follow everything the Pope says in order to be a faithful Catholic, sometimes dissent is needed. Right now God may be calling the laity to rise up and defend orthodoxy, just as he did with St. Francis and St. Ignatius. I hope you will heed the call.

    And remember, one can not care for the sick and the poor if they are dismembered in the womb. The life of the unborn have just as much dignity as those who are already here, but they have fewer voices speaking out on their behalf. Stop denigrating those who risk their own comfort here on Earth to do so. They also feed the poor and care for the sick, the idea that they don’t is a straw man argument, and the idea that one must reject the death penalty and all war is contrary to the teachings of the church.

    Wake up Mark, the true church doesn’t change. Truth can’t change.

  • Davis Wenbil

    An unproven myth once again from Mr. Shea. Does he have any provable statistics on his allegation ? I don’t think he has a clue on the political activities of people that are against killing innocent babies. There are loads of pro-life people who actively espouse other life issues. I’m so tired of the unproven broad brush statements of Shea. It reminds me of the people who drive by our peacful pro-life demonstrations who shout “get a job!”. As if demonstrators are unemployed. Where does Mr. Shea get his inaccurate stereotype of pro-life people ? From pro “choice” people ?

    • chezami

      From thousands upon thousands of interactions with anti-abortion-but-not-prolife people right here in my comboxes.

      • antigon

        Caro Mr. Shea:
        *
        True enough, but that doesn’t justify your anti-abortion but not pro-life – assuming the 8th Commandment is pro-life – slander against Gennarini, not to say the pretense that Ms. Archer’s efforts are other than contemptible.

      • Davis Wenbil

        Chezami:

        Do you really think your combox comments represent the millions of people in the pro-life movement ? There is the possibility that your attitude is rather self-centered. The “thousands upon thousands” of interactions in your comboxes do not represent the millions of people in the pro-life movement. I venture to say that the overwhelming majority of pro-life folks are generous to charities, have varying opinions on the death penalty, just vs. unjust wars, etc. etc. The stereotype of pro-lifers as single issue hate mongers is directly from the playbook of the pro-choicers. Sad.

        • chezami

          And if said that all prolifers everywhere were anti-abortion-but-not-prolife you’d have a devastating point.

          • Davis Wenbil

            All I’m saying is that I’ll bet that the overwhelming majority of pro-lifers are not as you characterized and implied in your article. Just one sentence saying that most people against abortion are not also pro war, pro death penalty, etc. , would have convinced me. But you didn’t.

            • chezami

              Self-identified “Prolife” conservative Catholics and Evangelicals support the use of torture in greater percentages than the average American. They also constituted the lion’s share of supporters of the war in Iraq and also constitute the bulk of death penalty supporters. I have not a reason in the world to think the phenomenon of the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife phenomenon is fringe. From what I can see it is quite mainstream on the right.

              • Davis Wenbil

                Where on earth do you get these purported “facts” ? You sure do know different pro-life folks than I do.

              • Davis Wenbil

                Self-identified “Pro-choice” liberal Catholics (CINO’s) and Evangelicals
                support the use of abortion in greater percentages than the average
                American. They also constituted the lion’s share of supporters of same sex “marriage”and also constitute the bulk of people who give little to charity. I
                have not a reason in the world to think the phenomenon of the pro-choice/pro-death phenomenon is fringe. From what I can see
                it is quite mainstream on the left.

                • chezami

                  Where would the Party of Personal Responsibility be without the tu quoque?

                  Your Pee Wee Herman “I know you are but what am I?” reply would be devastating if I actually supported abortion, gay “marriage” and the various other heretical pelvic obsessions of the left. I don’t. So returning to my point, using the unborn as human shields for the *real* non-negotiables of the right only destroys the credibility of the prolife movement.

                  • Davis Wenbil

                    So my comment is characterized as like that of “Pee Wee Herman” (the sex pervert). All I can say (once again) is that I have never met a person who uses the unborn as a human shield for the *real* non-negotiables of the
                    right. Me thinks thou dost protest too much. You may have the last word. I’m outta here.

  • intellectone

    Hey Mark, why don’t you pick on someone your own size. The innocent, helpless, baby in the womb cannot be helped by anyone but the mother and the laws that protect that human-being. Since your dear “Culture of Death” Democrats have on their Democrat Party’s Platform, which is their “Bible”, the abortion on demand and same-sex pseudo marriage; you have no argument.. They all voted supported and signed into law, the (2) Two Intrinsically Evil Laws, so from the get go your argument is ludicrous. .. To feed the poor is not for God, with these people, but it is for their own power and their votes proof this assumption.. Example: People like Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, all supported and voted for abortion on demand and have forced every American to participate by having to pay taxes and the insurance premiums that include paying for these abortions. These same people also voted, supported, and sanctioned same-sex pseudo marriage which is also intrinsically evil. Absolutely Objectively Disordered!. These Democrats and anyone that votes for them have put their Souls in peril.. If they would have spent the tax dollar in promoting Life, with Family Values and helping the Poor instead of campaigning for the killing of the innocent helpless in the womb ,under the guise of “Women’s Reproductive Health”, around the world, there would be money left over.
    The Democrat Party’s Politicians, no doubt, give out more money to killing than saving the human-being.( taking all things into consideration) They also do not defend the poor. The Environmental Regulations put on the business and individual people have made food, shelter,and medical care more expensive for the poor so that it has become counter productive. Because, there is no sane balance in their heads. A person cannot be an ‘Authentic’ Roman Catholic, if they vote for any politician that is for Abortion Pills, Abortion on demand (full-term). or for homosexual pseudo marriage. Every Democrat Politician voted for abortion on demand to be covered in the “Affordable Health Act” a.k.a. Obamacare. Clearly, this is Intrinsically Evil and has no place in a society that was founded on the Judeo-Christian Principles with one of the greatest documents every written, The Constitution of the United States of America signed as follows: (signed on September Seventeenth, Seventeen Eighty-Seven, In The Year Of Our Lord) To be so bountiful and so Blessed from sea to shining sea by God the Father Almighty. A society that has abandoned and betrayed God the Father is not in Union with The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church’s Teaching. Therefore, the Authority (Cardinals, Bishops, Priests or the Faithful) of the Catholic Church in America cannot claim the ‘Seamless Garment’ because America’s Laws are no longer in union with Jesus Christ’s Bride.

  • Elmwood

    Here’s a link showing the consensus among scientists concerning global warming:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

    but somehow many catholics still believe anthropogenic global warming is a hoax or a giant conspiracy between the Vatican and the UN, rather than a nearly certain physical phenomenon.

    • Peggy

      Still pushing it, eh? Why? Why do you care? Why can’t we be big people, do our own research and reach our own conclusions? Yes, it is a suspect UN agenda. If Francis is smart, he’ll stay out of it. Catholic teaching has no bearing on AGW, and vice versa.

      Who is paying you?

    • ivan_the_mad

      It might be better, in these comboxes, to refer to what the bishops and pope have to say on the matter. The USCCB hosts a page entitled “Why does the Church care about global climate change”. The documents referenced in the footnotes apply Catholic teaching to the issue, which should be of great value to Catholics seeking to understand the issue in accord with the teachings of the Church rather than in accord with some doctrinaire or partisan ideology.

      Personally, being inexpert in the issue, I defer to the bishops and pope in matters like this.

    • Dawg_em

      Fascists control governments and their agencies and they fund “scientists” who create fake data. The end game is for despotic control over everything we do. Anyone who trusts any aspect of the US federal government isn’t paying attention to the multitude of lies used to take away freedom. One obvious example is the funding and arming of terrorists to illegally overthrow sovereign, secular governments.
      We are living in an oligarchy. Who trusts a hedonistic oligarchy?

  • TomSkrobola

    Mark,

    As you know, there is a common difference between abortion and other pro-life issues. There is a rather obvious way to eliminate over a million murders a year, and that is to outlaw surgical abortions except in the case where a mother’s life is in jeopardy. Most states in the US (like Michigan, where I live) still have statutes on the books to that effect that would take effect the day that Roe and it’s progeny are overturned.

    All of the other pro-life issues you mentioned (“death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty”) involve potential prescriptions that are not nearly as clear as the one for surgical abortion.

    – Death penalty: This is actually one of the clearer areas outside of abortion, at least since the change in Church teaching vis a vis the 1994 Catechism. I would be in favor of getting rid of the death penalty, and the 1994 Catechism was a mover in my position on this. I have mentioned this to virtually ALL of my hundreds of pro-life friends over the years and I have NEVER had a single one argue with me in favor of the death penalty, not once! I realize that the GOP rank-and-file and leadership are very pro-death penalty, but my experience with pro-lifers (esp. Catholic ones) is that they are open to eliminating the DP. However, let’s be realistic here, there is a MUCH larger problem with surgical abortion vs. the DP…in terms of numbers and in terms of the innocence of the victims of abortion.

    – Gun violence: there are a huge range of potential prescriptions, including better community policing and anti-violence intervention programs (which are being successfully implemented in many communities, including Kalamazoo, where I live and work as CFO for the City), and all the way up to a repeal of the 2nd Amendment. What is your prescription for gun violence?

    – Unjust war: this is a very murky area…the interconnected nature of nations/economies/peoples/human rights and the practical difficulties of combating global terrorism make simple rostrums against or in favor of war unwise in my opinion. What is the “clear and obvious” policy prescription that you believe that pro-lifers are rejecting here? We can’t go back and uninvade Iraq…so what moral responsibility are we as pro-lifers shirking in your opinion vis a vis unjust war?
    – Torture: the Obama Administration has already pulled the plug for years on waterboarding, so what is the urgency of this issue? The GOP nominated a Presidential candidate who was against waterboarding. Is there some broader conversation that we still need to have regarding torture? What are we as pro-lifers failing to do here?
    – Poverty: seriously, what is your beef here? Virtually EVERY pro-lifer that I know dedicates time and treasure to help the poor in some manifest/practical way. Volunteering time at shelters and clinics, donating goods and money to poverty assistance programs and charities, unwed mother programs and homes, hospitals, schools, scholarships, charter schools, you name it. Are you implying that pro-lifers are worse in terms of their behaviors towards the poor than others? What should pro-lifers be doing for the poor that they currently are not?
    Finally, I’m taking your post at face-value that you are talking objectively about pro-lifers’ behaviors and beliefs, rather than about nurturing a positive perception among non-pro-lifers (particularly liberals). In case you haven’t noticed, liberals really are not interested in assuming the good intentions of their political enemies. The communication from the President of PASS seems like a prime example.

    • TJP

      When a mother’s life is in jeopardy, you should never abort a baby. You should deliver it!

      • TomSkrobola

        I spoke out of turn. I’m actually not sure if there are life exceptions in most of the existing state statutes that are still on the books outlawing abortions. In the case where Roe were overturned by the SCOTUS (as far-fetched as that is), in those states that would maintain their existing abortion ban statutes, I’m sure there would be debate/changes regarding the exceptions would be maintained.
        For the record, I am for no exceptions, I am in full agreement with the Magisterial teaching of the Church; preserving the life of the mother and baby should always be the objective.

  • TomSkrobola

    …and extending my last post, relative to AGW, again Mark, I ask you, in your opinion, what prescriptions are pro-lifers supposed to adopt in accordance with “clear and obvious teachings of the Church” (by which I assume you mean Magesterial teaching, although you did not use that phrase in this article) that pro-lifers supposedly reject?

    • chezami

      How about “not opposing and even mocking the Church’s guidance” for starters?

      • TomSkrobola

        How about you provide an example of this?

        • chezami

          An example of *not* doing something? Are you serious?

  • Dawg_em

    The Seamless Garment has a new face. Same smell, though.
    How does “gun violence” fit into the pro-life agenda? How does restricting the rights of lawful gun owners address the evil of violence in the largest cities with the strictest gun laws?
    I will say, however, fatherhood, or the lack thereof, is a legitimate pro-life issue. The black on black violence is most definately a pro-life issue.
    As for the death penalty; I agree it is unjustly applied and would not think the execution of an innocent person is the price worth paying to get 10 guilty men put to death. I also vehemently oppose the many unjust wars, (and not just Iraq – what about the war crime that sent Libya into the hell hole it presently resides?) torture, crony-capitalism (not capitalism – that’s a Marxist canard to blame an economic system that does not presently exist in the West) and the exploitation of the poor.

    • jackster12

      How “gun violence” fits in the pro-life agenda? Simple.

      Countries with fewer guns and much tighter gun laws have much, much less gun violence. And fewer gun deaths (because, after all, higher gun ownership — hands down — is also connected with higher suicide deaths by gun as well. (And higher suicide rates period, since it’s an easy way to off oneself)) from other causes. Fewer guns = fewer deaths = more pro life. This isn’t a negotiable opinion. It’s a provable fact. Catholics who are pro-life should want less guns.

      As for the issue of fatherhood, certainly it would be pro-life to have more fathers out there, doing their jobs inside of a family context, than less. And the problem of — I’m assuming you’re referring to this — single parent families in the inner city, where fathers are often less present, is indeed a serious one, with many complex causes. Not the least of which, however, is the high incarceration rate which is NOT attributable to anything more directly than it can be connected to the failed “War on Drugs.”

      The vast majority of males in prison are black, arrested and prosecuted for possession crimes at a higher rate than white offenders caught with the same type and quantities of drugs. Likewise, the criminal system tends to criminalize rather than reform these men. And you wind up with, not surprisingly, a whole community that’s got a fatherless-family problem. Again, I said this is a complex issue, not as simple as the incarceration issue. But countless sociologists have proven it’s a major if not THE major factor.

      Black on black violence is also, as you say, a pro-life issue. But no need for the qualifier. Black on white violence is also a pro-life issue. So is white on black violence (e.g. South Carolina). So is white on white violence, of which you’re surely aware exists. So, yes, no need to limit that issue to the black community.

      As for the death penalty, agreed it’s not right to put an innocent person to death. But it’s plausible to say that it’s also not right to put a guilty one to death either. Because it’s the killing not the character of the killed that Christ called into question.

  • jackster12

    Good post, sir. And a fine reminder… which, alas, many (like the post below me) will continue to work to refute, logic be damned.