Cardinal DiNardo’s take on the Notre Dame issue

Cardinal DiNardo’s take on the Notre Dame issue April 2, 2009

I attended a talk on Paul last night by our own Cardinal DiNardo and one of my friends told me about an article he wrote regarding the Notre Dame issue that we are all very well aware of. He is the first American cardinal to denounce Notre Dame’s move. I personally have not expressed my thoughts about the issue in this blog, but for what is worth, I agree completely with our shepherd. He is a great man of courage and I’m very glad we have him as our archbishop and “spokesperson”!

"Thanks for the correction. This is where I got the idea that they were Jewish:https://www.jpost.com/Ameri...I’m ..."

On Antisemitism and the Catholic Church
"I just want to correct one point of fact: the Koch brothers are not Jewish. ..."

On Antisemitism and the Catholic Church
"I agree, he’s a symptom. It’s been building to this. Just as the civil rights ..."

It’s Not Really About the Issues
"Yesterday, I stumbled across the old distinction between the "teaching church" and the "listening church." ..."

On Antisemitism and the Catholic Church

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Catholic
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David Nickol

    As I have said elsewhere, I am beginning to feel about these protesters the way conservatives felt about Vietnam War protesters when I was back in college. “America — love it or leave it.” If Obama is not fit to give a commencement speech at Notre Dame, he can scarcely be fit to be president. This must be a terrible country to have elected such an evil man as its leader. Perhaps the time has come to stop paying taxes and think about moving to country that values the unborn. (What country would that be?)

    It is beginning to look like certain members of the Catholic Church care about nothing but abortion. Obama should announce a plan at Notre Dame to cut abortions by 30 percent instantly — prohibit all Catholic women from having abortions. How can bishops and cardinals denounce Obama when Catholics account for a disproportionate share of abortions in the United States? How can they depict America as so evil when other Western democracies provide free abortions to women through their national health services?

  • I’ve blogged about Catholic institutions and honorary degrees before. As I opposed Condie Rice and Joe Manchin being “honored” at Catholic institutions, so I oppose Obama being given an honorary degree. I don’t oppose him speaking at ND, even giving a commencement speech.

    I do wonder, however, where everyone was during the Bush administration when its members were being honored with the same degrees. Yap all you want about how abortion is “different” than killing innocent human beings in an unjust war, but Catholic schools honoring the architects of the culture of death with degrees is wrong across the board. Have some consistency, folks.

  • How can they depict America as so evil when other Western democracies provide free abortions to women through their national health services?

    So by this logic, Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps were OK, because in Europe the Nazis were doing far worse things?

    I fail to understand the argument that is only the conservative fringe who objects to the invitation by ND to Obama, when that “fringe” includes a score of bishops, including at least two Cardinals, one of whom was speaking in his role as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Cardinal George is right when he says that ND “didn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.” I suspect they may not be the only ones.

  • jonathanjones02
  • jh

    This whole episode is hard to explain to some of my non Catholic Christian friends

    By the time I explain all the rules and regulations and who is charge and why this can happen I sound like Defense Lawyer arguing a slip and fall case

  • Speaking of Rice, it was Kathryn Lopez from National review who said there was nothing wrong her (Rice) going to Boston college. That should be an indicator that this journal which held a “moral symposium” on this issue is just using this as yet another partisan cudgel (I’m still awaiting their “moral symposium” on war and torture).

  • Have some consistency, folks.

    Be careful, Michael. The usual suspects will soon start mocking you for this.

  • The usual suspects will soon start mocking you for this.

    What else is new?

  • S.B.

    I don’t know of anyone who looks to Kathryn Lopez as a leading thinker; the fact that she isn’t consistent merely establishes that she isn’t consistent. It’s unthinking dualism for you to attribute to all conservatives the inconsistency that you find in Kathryn Lopez.

  • conservatives? Who said anything about conservatives? True conservative are, and always have been, very comfortable a certain closeness between the Church and the secular authorities. Yet again, a mis-use of this word.

  • S.B.

    If you’re not trying to impute whatever ill you believe about Kathryn Lopez to anyone else, fine, but I’m hard pressed otherwise to think of a good reason for your obsession with her (having posted about her a dozen or more times).

  • David Nickol

    So by this logic, Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps were OK, because in Europe the Nazis were doing far worse things?

    Paul,

    What I find bizarre is the relentless focus on the United States (by some, certainly not all) as the worst when Russia, China, and India are absolute horrors when it comes to abortion, and when there seems to be so little Sturm and Drang in European countries like Italy — for heaven’s sake — with the pope right there in the midst of it all.

    I can understand, obviously, that Obama distresses most pro-lifers, but one rarely sees his critics state his positions accurately. And you get the impression from many that they believe Obama himself is an evil man — not someone who simply disagrees with them on a profound issue, but some kind of monster whose goal is to maximize the number of abortions in the United States and the world.

  • What can I say, David? I have confessed to being an American (which I understand to be a derogatory term as it is used on this blog), and I therefore think it understandable that I take a closer interest in the goings-on in this country than in others.

    Am I wrong in thinking, though, that your point is that I should not be complaining about pro-abort politicians and their enablers in the Church? After all, if the Pope in Rome doesn’t complain — and his local politicians are, after all, worse than mine — why should I complain? Is that what you’re telling me?

    …not someone who simply disagrees with them on a profound issue, but some kind of monster whose goal is to maximize the number of abortions in the United States and the world.

    It’s the simplest theory to explain the observed facts. Why else would he oppose (as an Illinois Senator) requiring medical care for babies who are born alive during abortion procedures, or make it such a priority to provide funding for abortions overseas when the U.S. is in the midst of an economic crisis?

    After all, does not active and knowing support for an objective evil suggest that a person is, after all, evil?

  • Lopez is not the real point. The point is that these internet outrages were far more muted when Rice (and Bush for that matter) was doing the circuit. Remember, it was only a year ago when Bush spoke at the National Prayer breakfast. Can you imagine the outcry if Obama were invited? That tells you everything you need to know.

  • The point is that these internet outrages were far more muted when Rice (and Bush for that matter) was doing the circuit.

    Not everyone agrees with you that the Iraq War is an unjust war. Your statement makes sense from your point of view, but only assuming everyone agrees with you on this point.

    Abortion is a different kind of issue, and many of us treat it differently. There can be such a thing as a just war.

  • jonathanjones02
  • David Nickol

    It’s the simplest theory to explain the observed facts. Why else would he oppose (as an Illinois Senator) requiring medical care for babies who are born alive during abortion procedures . . .

    He didn’t!

    . . . . or make it such a priority to provide funding for abortions overseas when the U.S. is in the midst of an economic crisis?

    He didn’t!

    This is what I mean. Obama’s critics don’t even feel the need to get their facts straight. They make simple arguments when complex arguments are called for.

    I am not going to go through the whole “Obama supports infanticide” debate again, because if people aren’t willing to look at the facts now, they never will be. But the United States is not providing funding for abortion overseas.

    Since the enactment of legislation in 1973, recipients of U.S. family planning assistance have been legally prohibited from supporting abortion as a method of family planning using U.S. funds. USAID places high priority on preventing abortions through the use of family planning, saving the lives of women who suffer complications arising from unsafe abortion, and linking those women to voluntary family planning and other reproductive health services that will help prevent subsequent abortions.

    It has always been the case that no US Government funds to foreign sources could be used for abortions. That has been true during the times the Mexico City Policy has been in effect as well as the times it has not been in effect. The Mexico City Policy prevented US aid for services other than abortion to organizations who provided abortions at all. So under the Mexico City Policy, no US aid could go to International Planned Parenthood for, say, prenatal care or AIDS prevention.

  • MM-

    We’ll take your charges of inconsistency a tad more seriously when you actually come out and criticize a member of the Democratic Party for . . . well, anything.

  • Kurt

    It is beginning to look like certain members of the Catholic Church care about nothing but abortion.

    Even that is being too generous. Its political and it is more about their ego and lust for control than the unborn. They hate Obama with a hate that goes beyond reason and charity or any policy difference.

    Take a focus group of random people. Ask them about abortion policy. Take out the firmly pro-life and the firmly pro-choice. What about those in the middle? They can’t get beyond how fanatical and hateful pro-lifers are. It is the #1 road block preventing any education on the humanity of the unborn.

  • Kurt

    It has always been the case that no US Government funds to foreign sources could be used for abortions. That has been true during the times the Mexico City Policy has been in effect as well as the times it has not been in effect. The Mexico City Policy prevented US aid for services other than abortion to organizations who provided abortions at all. So under the Mexico City Policy, no US aid could go to International Planned Parenthood for, say, prenatal care or AIDS prevention.

    That is not true. I have been told by faithful pro-life people that Obama is making us pay for Mexican’s abortions.

  • Steve

    One could argue the responses have been some what over the top on the commencement address.

    However, the bigger challenge is honoring the President’s legal contributions with the honorary degree in law. I am not sure what those contributions are, but his unequivocal support for Roe is not something that even pro-abortion constitutional scholars typically agree was a correct application of jurisprudence. Bestowing the honor shortly after the reversal of the Mexico City policy and ESCR policies was bad timing on the part of ND, especially when the President’s actions are perceived as the opening volley in the pro-life fight.

    I believe our bishops are also raising awareness now in preparation for any FOCA-like legislation. Keeping the issue front and center is important as both a preventative measure (hopefully having legislators realize the reaction will be big) and in having the faithful ready for the potential ‘battle’.

    Reminding our Catholic university/college presidents and Catholic scholars of their mission in support of Catholic teachings is also an important outcome. The bishops may not be able to reign them all in, or even most, but it may give the schools pause now that the bishops are being more vocal. We need to remember that our Holy Father laid out the challenge to the schools of being true to Catholic teachings and mission when he visited last year.

    Attributing the bishops’ reactions to political ideologies is convenient but I do not believe accurate for our bishops.

    Had it been just a speaking engagement, I think the uproar would have been significantly less.

  • JohnH

    Remember, it was only a year ago when Bush spoke at the National Prayer breakfast. Can you imagine the outcry if Obama were invited? That tells you everything you need to know.

    Actually, the President always speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast. President Obama spoke at this year’s one, Bush at the past eight, and so on.

  • David, I’m aware of your point, but the issue was about Obama, not about U.S. policy, and Obama, the pro-abort, made a great show of revoking the Mexico City Policy. If he’s not pro-abortion, why did he do that?

    The effect of his action was to provide money — which is fungible — to abortion providers, at the expense of service agencies who do good work unalloyed by the base desire to also perform abortions.

    I am not going to go through the whole “Obama supports infanticide” debate again…

    No, I never said he supported infanticide. I stated — correctly — that he opposed a bill that would have required medical care be made available to babies who were born alive during an abortion procedure.

    He argued in the state senate that such a requirement would be an undue burden on the right of a woman to choose abortion. That’s so pro-abortion, he’s willing to have babies born alive be allowed to die lest abortionists be inconvenienced.

    No wonder he said that the question of when a baby gets human rights was above his paygrade. He couldn’t admit that in his worldview babies don’t get human rights at all, born alive or not, unless they’re wanted.

    It’s not that I don’t have my facts straight David, it’s that I don’t have your facts straight; your special Obama-worshiping facts, independent of the lives of the innocents whose killing he defends, and in particular the one special fact, that Obama can do nothing wrong, except that Republicans have done worse and then it’s OK.

  • S.B.

    Remember, it was only a year ago when Bush spoke at the National Prayer breakfast. Can you imagine the outcry if Obama were invited? That tells you everything you need to know.

    Funny that you should mention it. Here’s a video of Obama actually speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7l5Y4HvHz4

    Was there any Catholic outcry in the blog world? I don’t remember any such thing, and I can’t believe you’d have missed a chance to defend Obama if that had been the case.

  • I’m talking of the National Catholic prayer breafast, should have made that clear. Bush spoke last year.

  • Not everyone agrees with you that the Iraq War is an unjust war.

    You are right. Neocons, militarists, American exceptionalists, utopianists, moral relativists etc. can all find something to like about it. Catholics, not so much. Catholics in Iraq, devastated.

  • Neocons, militarists, American exceptionalists, utopianists, moral relativists etc…

    Sticks and stones, you pro-abort twit.

    It’s so easy to call names, anyone can do it. One doesn’t applaud the tenor for clearing his throat.

  • I like how Katerina’s post about agreeing with her bishop about ND got morphed into “Conservatives are hypocrites” rant. It’s too predictable; if any VN contributor (usually Katerina, Policratius, or RCM) voices dissent with the usual liberal Catholic line, Iafrate and/or Minion won’t refute them, but instead immediately go for the “yeah, but conservatives are SO much worse” argument.

    It is a shame that such effort is put into avoiding the log in one’s eye (or in this case, one’s own political party and/or president).

  • …if any VN contributor (usually Katerina, Policratius, or RCM) voices dissent with the usual liberal Catholic line, Iafrate and/or Minion won’t refute them, but instead immediately go for the “yeah, but conservatives are SO much worse” argument.

    Perhaps you missed me dissenting from the “usual liberal Catholic line” when I agreed with Katerina.

  • Abortion is a different kind of issue, and many of us treat it differently. There can be such a thing as a just war.

    Abortion is NOT a “different kind of issue.” That is NOT what the Church teaches. Both war and abortion are LIFE ISSUES.

    Some of us Catholics think it’s important to look at ACTUAL WARS and not simply talk about war in the abstract. Talking about war in the abstract shows that you do not care about its victims.

  • Iafrate:

    Perhaps you missed me dissenting from the “usual liberal Catholic line” when I agreed with Katerina.

    No. I said:

    …if any VN contributor (usually Katerina, Policratius, or RCM) voices dissent with the usual liberal Catholic line, Iafrate and/or Minion won’t refute them, but instead immediately go for the “yeah, but conservatives are SO much worse” argument.

    So your initial post reads:I’ve blogged about Catholic institutions and honorary degrees before. As I opposed Condie Rice and Joe Manchin being “honored” at Catholic institutions, so I oppose Obama being given an honorary degree. I don’t oppose him speaking at ND, even giving a commencement speech. That’s not a refutation, am I right? So far I’m accurate.

    I do wonder, however, where everyone was during the Bush administration when its members were being honored with the same degrees. Yap all you want about how abortion is “different” than killing innocent human beings in an unjust war, but Catholic schools honoring the architects of the culture of death with degrees is wrong across the board. Have some consistency, folks.

    That would be a “conservatives are so much worse argument.”

    I didn’t say you had to disagree with Katerina; I just noticed how you eagerly you went to change the subject off of the shortcomings of your candidate towards the shortcomings of people you don’t like.

  • That would be a “conservatives are so much worse argument.”

    1) Actually, no, I didn’t say anything about “conservatives” being “worse.”
    2) Nor did I “change the subject.”
    3) Obama is not “my” candidate.

  • Abortion is NOT a “different kind of issue.”

    The bishops disagree with you.

    They’re wrong, aren’t they?

  • The bishops disagree with you.

    No, they don’t.

  • ari

    Unless Pro-War RepubliCaths cease with their war-mongering, Pro-Aborts have the God-given right to go on with their platform for infant-killing.

    Judas is “Just This Guy”, You Know?

    IF soldiers are permitted to die, so should unborn innocent children!

    Hail Obama, King of Men!

  • Sticks and stones, you pro-abort twit.

    I love you Republicaths. When I point out that no Catholic could in good faith support the Iraq war, given that it could not be deemed just under any rational reading of the just war criteria, the response is to accuse me of being “pro-abort”. You need to say that, to tell these lies, because it’s clearly what helps you sleep at night.

    As anybody here knows, I have never ever voiced a word in support of any act of abortion, under any circumstances, even the most difficult ones. But if I do not toe your Republican line, if I do not believe that politicians can engage in any evils as long as they do not involve abortion, then somehow I am cast into the “pro-abort” camp. Given that you referred to my ordinary, Abp. Wuerl, in the same terms, perhaps I should wear this as a badge of pride.

    So, here’s my advice to you: stop thinking in terms of metaphysical dualism, as this is opposed to Catholicism. Stop treating the faith as an extension of your stupid partisan war. Start thinking in terms of a consistent ethic of life, for if somebody claims to love the unborn and can yet still be defending what has happened in Iraq (and in Gaza, and elsewhere) then sorry, but I must question the commitment to the cause of life.

  • Policraticus

    Not everyone agrees with you that the Iraq War is an unjust war.

    Perhaps, but the Catholic Church does agree with him. And that’s what is at stake with the Obama/Notre Dame debacle.

    And any Catholic who thinks the Iraq War was/is justified is not thinking as a Catholic. Their will and affective commitments to political positions prevents them from thinking with their faith on this one (hence, the bishops and the popes were unanimous in their opposition to this specific war).

  • Steve

    In my time away from this site it appears I missed nothing. These comment sections quickly degrade to a very uncivil discourse. Time to move this to the end of the line again.

  • Poli.-

    I think it is a stretch to say that the Catholic Church has made a determination that the Iraq War was unjust under the Church’s teachings. Two popes certainly came to that conclusion, as well as many other cardinals, bishops, and priests; but the Church, speaking with one voice, has not declared the Iraq War to be unjust. At least not to my knowledge. I am certainly open to being corrected.

  • David Nickol

    The effect of his action was to provide money — which is fungible — to abortion providers, at the expense of service agencies who do good work unalloyed by the base desire to also perform abortions.

    Paul,

    To say Obama made “it such a priority to provide funding for abortions overseas when the U.S. is in the midst of an economic crisis” is a misstatement of fact, and it is exactly what you said. It is a more complex argument — which may or may not be true — that US aid given to international organizations who provide a mix of services including abortion, on the condition that it may not be used for abortion, is funding abortions indirectly.

    There are several answers to that argument.

    First, it is not made in the case of Planned Parenthood within the United States, which receives many millions of dollars in government funding for things like breast cancer screening, drug treatment, and AIDS prevention.

    Second, and perhaps more telling, Catholics and other religious groups never argue that money is fungible when they accept government funds for religious organizations and “faith based initiatives.” It does not violate the separation of church and state, they say, for Catholic schools, or Catholic hospitals, or Catholic charities to accept government money for the purely secular services they supply, as long as the money is not used for the specifically religious aspects of religious organizations. Why is money fungible when given as international aid but not when given domestically?

    Government money is so coveted by Catholic hospitals, for example, that Catholics talk fearfully of being “forced” to do this or that, when what they are actually talking about is the fear of losing government funding if they don’t comply with government regulations.

    Third, one could simply look at the books of international organizations that provide abortions and see what their operations were like during the periods when the Mexico City Policy was in effect as compared to when it was not. But of course that actually requires making a case, and it is much easier just to say, “Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy, and now the American taxpayer is funding abortions overseas!”

    I stated — correctly — that he opposed a bill that would have required medical care be made available to babies who were born alive during an abortion procedure.

    It would help if you named the bill. In general, Illinois law protected all viable babies born (or aborted) alive. From the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975

    No abortion shall be performed or induced when the fetus is viable unless there is in attendance a physician other than the physician performing or inducing the abortion who shall take control of and provide immediate medical care for any child born alive as a result of the abortion.

    Now, there was a proposed law, which Obama opposed, that said suppose a doctor performs an abortion believing the baby is pre-viable, and when the baby is aborted, he suspects he made a mistake and the baby is farther along than he thought and can be saved. The proposed law required the first doctor (the abortionist) to call in a second doctor on an emergency basis to evaluate and care for the baby. In opposing the law, Obama did not argue that the baby be allowed to die. Rather, he argued that the first doctor would be obligated to give life-saving care to the baby, and he trusted doctors in that situation to do so. (When I discussed this months ago, some responded, “Yeah, sure. The abortionist was trying to kill the baby. And now you say he’s going to save it!” The answer to that is, if the abortionist can’t be relied on to try and save the baby himself, what makes anyone think he’s going to call up another doctor and say, “I made a mistake! I aborted a viable baby! Come quick and help me save it!”)

    Just to cover all the bases, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which Obama opposed, would have offered “protection” only to pre-viable babies. Viable babies were already protected under Illinois law. Pre-viable babies, born alive, were given comfort care. By definition, pre-viable babies have no chance of survival, so they are kept comfortable until the point of their inevitable death. Theoretically, under Illinois law, a pre-viable baby’s death could have been hastened. There was no independently corroborated evidence that this had ever happened. And, incidentally, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act would have mandated no specific standard of care, but would merely have declared pre-viable babies born alive to be persons under the law. Obama’s position on BAIPA was that if there was concern that infants born alive were being mistreated, they could compromise and pass legislation specifically to address that problem.

    Now, as a giant footnote, here’s the complete text of the law that actually did pass after Obama left the Illinois legislature”

    Sec. 1.36. Born alive infant.
    (a) In determining the meaning of any statute or of any
    rule, regulation, or interpretation of the various
    administrative agencies of this State, the words “person”,
    “human being”, “child”, and “individual” shall include every
    infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at
    any stage of development.
    (b) As used in this Section, the term “born alive”, with
    respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the
    complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that
    member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion
    or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the
    umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles,
    regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut and
    regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a
    result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or
    induced abortion.
    (c) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affirm,
    deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right
    applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any
    point prior to being born alive, as defined in this Section.
    (d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect
    existing federal or State law regarding abortion.
    (e) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to alter
    generally accepted medical standards.

    I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me the addition of sections c, d, and e, which were not in the original bill, basically says, “This law doesn’t change anything.” No one has yet to explain how this bill provides protection to any infant born alive. The theory is that declaring a born-alive infant a person under the law would bring into play other laws that would somehow protect those infants, but nobody has ever said what those laws were. Nor have I ever seen the case made that there were problems in Illinois before this law were passed that were remedied by the passage of the law.

    One last point. Is Obama strongly pro-choice? Absolutely. It would be foolish to deny it. It would be foolish to try to convince “anti-aborts” not to be distressed that he is in power. But does he bloodthirstily hope to maximize the number of abortions performed, or does he favor infanticide, or is he preparing the way to kill the sick, the elderly, and the disabled? Absolutely not.

  • ron chandonia

    What about those in the middle? They can’t get beyond how fanatical and hateful pro-lifers are. It is the #1 road block preventing any education on the humanity of the unborn.
    Ah, those hateful pro-lifers! Sad that so many of them were made bishops of our church. We should have aimed for loving, compassionate leaders like those who now control the Episcopal church. They’re certainly educating people on the unborn!

  • David Nickol

    . . . . but the Church, speaking with one voice, has not declared the Iraq War to be unjust.

    feddie,

    It seems to me that it only took one pope (John Paul II) to drastically modify the position of the Church on capital punishment. Although I presume the fact that his views were published in an encyclical gives them a certain weight that his (and Benedict’s) condemnation of the Iraq war don’t have.

    Has the Church, speaking with one voice, ever declared any specific, ongoing war unjust? (I have no idea.) In any case, John Paul II made himself perfectly clear on the matter of the Iraq war.

  • Ron, I think the point was that calling people who are squishily pro-choice, baby-hating Nazi genocide perpetrators makes you look like a raving nutcase. It may make you feel all self righteous and good about yourself [see how stupid that argument is? Yes? Can everyone agree not to use the moronic “makes-you-feel-good-about-yourself” argument any more?? Thanks.] but it is not is not going to convince and fence-sitters to rethink their position.

  • In any case, John Paul II made himself perfectly clear on the matter of the Iraq war.

    Yes. And Benedict, referring back to JPII, has said that the Iraq War was obviously unjustified.

  • David and MI-

    And I said as much in my comment. There is, however, a distinction between a Pope expressing his personal opinion (no matter how well reasoned or persuasive), and the Church speaking with one voice on a particular matter (see, e.g., abortion).

    Look, I am perfectly willing to accept, for the sake of argument, that those who believe the Iraq War was unjust have the better argument. My point is simply that one should be careful about attributing a viewpoint to the entire Church when the Church itself has not spoken on a particular matter. There’s no need to overreach if you have the better argument, right?

  • ari

    “Look, I am perfectly willing to accept, for the sake of argument, that those who believe the Iraq War was unjust have the better argument.”

    How can these have the better argument?

    Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right.

    Those who seek to justify the hideous Pro-Choice platform by defending Pro-Choice politicians (and, more specifically, a certain President) as well as their Pro-Choice policies, deflecting blame (as well as, by the same manner, justifying the Pro-Choice platform they stand on) by simply pointing out that the Iraq War too was an injustice are in the wrong.

    I would hardly classify such individuals as having the stronger argument.

    Innocent unborn babies do not deserve to get slaughtered — even in spite of those who would put forward rather fallaciously that there, too, were victims of the Iraq War merely to defend the Saviour of Mankind, refusing to let fall their golden idol, the Pro-abort POTUS Supreme.

  • jh

    Freddie is right on

    One matter is is the realm of prudential judgemtn and one is not.

    That is just honest Catholicism

  • David Nickol

    jh,

    I would like to see both “prudential judgment” and “intrinsic evil” stricken from the language, but in any case, I assume you mean it’s a matter of prudential judgment whether the war in Iraq is just or unjust, but not a matter of prudential judgment whether or not abortion is evil.

    To that I’d have to ask, “Is the relationship between George Bush and the Iraq war, on the one hand, equivalent to the relationship between Obama and abortion, on the other?”

    The Iraq war is entirely George Bush’s responsibility. He had the power to start it or not start it, and he chose to start it. Obama is not responsible for there being a decades-long history of legal abortion. Obama is not performing abortions himself. It is his task (but not his alone) to determine how best American law should deal with the issue of abortion. Maybe his approach will increase abortions, or maybe it will decrease them, or maybe nothing much will change. We don’t know yet. Obama is not faced with committing or not committing abortions himself. He is faced with deciding what the law in our pluralistic democracy ought to be regarding an issue on which there is no clear consensus. If Obama were faced with the decision of performing or assisting directly in an abortion, according to Catholic thinking, it would be a question of what he must do, and it would not involve prudential judgment. But that’s not the decision he faces, and the decisions about how to govern the United States, it seems to me, require prudential judgments.

  • David Nickol

    From The Tablet:

    . . . . Two questions arise, both of principle. First, is it correct to regard abortion as so crucial an issue to relations between Catholics and a secular government that no other consideration carries any weight? In America that seems to be the view taken, not least by many bishops but also, in even more extreme terms, by Catholic anti-abortion campaigners. It is equivalent to saying that a president, despite representing a social revolution in relations between the races, despite having a political agenda aimed at greater social justice and equality, and despite saying he favours measures designed to cut down the need for abortion, must nevertheless be regarded as tainted by evil and shunned accordingly, because of the issue of abortion. It is not a view that would find much sympathy in most Catholic circles in Europe.

  • Feddie,

    You are looking at this backwards. The question is not whether the Iraq war was unjust because 2 popes said so. The issue is that 2 popes said so because the Iraq war is unjust, a determination available all who intellect and will to discern the truth. War can only be just when the just war conditions hold strictly, all of them. And the burden of proof is on the pro-war position. Taking only “last resort”, I cannot for the life of me see how anybody can say this condition was met.

  • David: the last line from the Tablet is key. I know numerous Catholic in Europe, every bit as opposed to abortion as people on this thread. And yet, the behavior of a this noisy group (minority, thank God) of US Catholics horrifies them. It is as incomprehensible to them. As I keep saying, it’s the Calvinist tradition action (or its Jansenist counterpart). Far from being “conservative”, it is extremely radical, almost apocalyptic. It looks at lot like religious Leninism, and its just as ugly.

  • One matter is is the realm of prudential judgemtn and one is not.

    Here we go again. Prudential judgment is the application of underlying moral principles to particular facts and circumstances. With the war, the underlying principles are the just war principles, and they clearly were not met. If what you say is true, then any war can be justified — clearly this is not the case, and the error lies in the subjective definition of intent (I “intend” it to be just in my mind, hence it is just). No, the natural law relies on more objective principles. With abortion, the underlying principle is that the life of the unborn warrants legal protection. And by the way, how to get to that status also involves prudential judgment.

  • S.B.

    As I keep saying, it’s the Calvinist tradition action [sic] (or its Jansenist counterpart).

    Uh oh, MM learned a new word. At least maybe he’ll stop calling everyone “Calvinist” willy-nilly.

  • ron chandonia

    Let’s see: Katerina, who rarely posts anymore, makes a short comment agreeing with her bishop’s opposition to the invitation Notre Dame extended to President Obama. How long exactly did it take for respondents to turn the thread into an attack on fellow Catholics who are committed pro-lifers? “It is beginning to look like certain members of the Catholic Church care about nothing but abortion” was the very FIRST response, and that was followed by the usual charges of hypocrisy and insincerity on the part of conservatives and all who agree with them about anything.

    Now, how exactly does this show that it is pro-lifers who are fanatical and hateful, let alone that they are the ones responsible for the keeping abortion legal in this country? “I love Obama more than y’all loved Bush!” is not an argument, however often you guys keep making it.

  • no Catholic could in good faith support the Iraq war, given that it could not be deemed just under any rational reading of the just war criteria

    MM, Robert George & Pat Lee are two Catholic intellectuals of good faith publicly stated *tentative* support for the view that an attack on Iraq was justified. Were they wrong? Perhaps. But they certainly weren’t (and aren’t) neocons, militarists, American exceptionalists, utopianists or moral relativists.

    I recognize that Catholics who know & understand all of the Church’s teaching on the matter can nonetheless disagree in concrete instances. I ask that you consider it as well.

  • Robert George defended the war? I didn’t know that, and I’m a bit surprised – I always thought George was in the same camp as Grisez and Finnis — hard-core natural law scholars who were fully consistent and would denounce artificial contraception and the possession of nuclear weapons in the same breath. The only defense of the war I know of in Catholic circles is the Weigel-Novak argument, which amounts to re-writing the just war principles to make them more inclined to support your priors. Who is Pat Lee?

  • MM-

    My point was not to argue whether the Iraq War is just or unjust, but merely to point out that the Church has not made an official declaration one way or the other.

  • Yeah,

    There is no Catholic judgment on the war in Iraq. There are Catholics who have judgments, but none of these judgments is Divinely sanctioned. The Church teaches faith and morals – principles of dogma and principles of morality. Whether Iraq was a just war or not is not a question to which the Church supplies an answer.

    We ought to listen attentively and with our whole heart to the humble and holy servant of God who currently occupies Peter’s chair, but we will not always have a wise pope. We have had and may very well have again evil popes whose judgments about war and other major contemporary issues will be deeply and obviously flawed. The gift of infallibility does not necessarily include the gift of wisdom.

    Catholics of good faith can and do disagree about complex prudential questions. Further, we ought to be weary of the authoritarian cast of mind that would make everyone submissive to every thought and whimsy of the Pope. I can see a great temptation in trying to give one’s opinions the force and weight of the Divine.

    This is why it is important to be able to make a distinction between a question of principle and a question of the application of principle – if we lack this ability, we lack the ability to understand the nature of the Church’s teaching, which is another way of saying we lack the ability to understand a tremendous gift.

  • Uh oh, MM learned a new word. At least maybe he’ll stop calling everyone “Calvinist” willy-nilly

    Now that’s funny. If only you knew the truth. I drifted away from the Church in my teenage years and only returned in my mid-20s once I realized that what I had rejected was Jansenism, not authentic Catholicism (under the guidance of the greatest priest one could hope to meet). The Irish Church was riddled with Jansenism, and it followed the Irish over the Atlantic. So, sorry, not a new word, but rather central to my identity as a Catholic.

  • MM, Patrick Lee teaches philosophy at Franciscan University, currently focusing on bioethics… he and George have co-written a number of monographs and books together. Pat is also member of the Grisez circle.

    Again, their support (and that of others) was tentative, and as such I’m not surprised that it didn’t come to your attention.

  • S.B.

    Sorry, just joking about that. So since you’re so familiar with Jansenism, can you explain what exactly about being steadfastly opposed to abortion in the political realm reminds you of Jansenism? Is opposition to abortion too reminiscent of Jansen’s notions of predestination and efficacious grace, perhaps? I’m not seeing the connection, but then I’ve never quite managed to see the connection between Calvinist doctrines (e.g., unconditional election or limited atonement) and your political opponents.

    Then again, perhaps all of these shadowy connections between your 21st-century political enemies and hundreds-year-old doctrines would be clearer if you could ever make an argument that had anything (however slight or tenuous) to do with what those doctrines actually taught.

  • There is, however, a distinction between a Pope expressing his personal opinion (no matter how well reasoned or persuasive), and the Church speaking with one voice on a particular matter (see, e.g., abortion).

    Pope Benedict made perfectly clear that John Paul II was NOT “expressing his personal opinion.” This is well known. You’re ignoring it or not paying attention.

    My point was not to argue whether the Iraq War is just or unjust, but merely to point out that the Church has not made an official declaration one way or the other.

    The official declaration in this case seems to be the Catechism, and as Benedict has pointed out, there is simply no way to square the Iraq War with the just war criteria as described in the Catechism.

    Whether Iraq was a just war or not is not a question to which the Church supplies an answer.

    Who, then, supplies the answer? Is there an answer? Either the war is justified or it is not justified. Are you a relativist?

  • Do you know with infallible certainty that the U.S. invasion into Iraq was unjust? If so, how?

    Of course the war is either just or unjust. What I’m arguing for is a bit of epistemological modesty. I’m asking for an admission that reasonable Catholics can and do disagree about this question, and they do so licitly, so long as their opinion is considered in the light of the truth, and with the zeal of someone who is in love with truth.

  • Zach – That’s nice. I appreciate your call for epistemological modesty, generally speaking. It’s certainly stressed in the methodology of liberation theology. But epistemological modesty ain’t much of a comfort to you when a bomb slams into your house and kills your children. When it comes to the killing human beings, Catholics are not called to be “modest.” We are called to oppose it.

    I doubt that you would call for “epistemological modesty” in the case of the unborn, even though the Church herself does not teach that we know for a fact that a human person is present at conception. On the contrary, the Church (rightly) teaches that we must assume that human life begins at conception. There is much more to be epistemologically modest about in the case of abortion and yet I don’t see you extolling that virtue in that context. We know that the million or so dead Iraqis are human persons. And yet, in that context, you call for “modesty.” Puzzling.

  • “Do you know with infallible certainty that the U.S. invasion into Iraq was unjust? If so, how?”

    Yep. Not only were there no weapons, but the presence of such weapons is no reason to attack a country and wouldn’t have been had it not been for the economic significance of Iraq. In addition, by those standards, the USA would be at the top of the list of countries to be invaded. It actually has WMDs, has used them and has waged war without any direct threat several times, has troops and ‘military advisers’ in a staggering number of countries.

    But, someone has to keep up supply of terrorists I guess, and the American government has worked wonders in that respect. It not only recruits its own troops, it also recruits those on the other side. But, who cares about suffering, at least oddball pharmacists could deny dispensing the Pill for the last days of the Bush administration.

    While there are “pro-lifers” who care about social issues, frequently frozen fertilized eggs (referred to as “children” or “babies”) elicit more compassion than actual people capable of suffering. The Iraqi orphan is SOL compared to a zygote. So is the illegal immigrant, the family that’s lost its house, people working for minimum wage etc. I remember staunch pro-lifers in San Diego who went hunting for Mexicans with the “Minutemen” on the weekend. The difference between self-righteousness and compassion.

    Reminds me of last night’s Springsteen concert

    Men walkin’ ‘long the railroad tracks
    Goin’ someplace, there’s no goin’ back
    Highway patrol choppers comin’ up over the ridge
    Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
    Shelter line stretchin’ round the corner
    Welcome to the new world order
    Families sleepin’ in their cars in the Southwest
    No home no job no peace no rest

  • jh

    Zach you are right on. One does not have to have a PHD in Catholic Theolgy to realize that as to Iraw and other issues Catholics in good faith are allowed to disagree and have prudential judment. On ABortion, othe rlife issues, same sex marriage, euthansia there can be no disagreement

    Of course the fact that some that oppopsed the Iraq war ignored the the American Bishop second statement on the new realities just shows their state of confusion and ignoring what is being said

  • jh

    Gerald what is exactly your point

    I can point examples of hypocrites on the left and the right.

    I have to point out as to your immigration example that Mccain who was much more for the immigrant than Obama ever was did better when the State wasw more Catholic. In fact in Counites where the minutemen were huge McCain carried those Counties that by the way had significant Catholic influence

    I object to your broad brush of pro-life Catholics and your caricature

  • jh

    Michael

    You know for a fact and reading your posts I know you are educated that you can;t pull a Nancy Pelosi view of the unborn

    Catholics that opposed the war in Iraq would be much better off arguing on the facts than trying to twist the Church;s statements on the war into something they were not

    It is time for a little honesty and not trying to make the Church into ones own image

  • Michael I know with infallible certainty that abortion is a grave evil, never justifiable under any circumstances. I know because the Magisterium has said exactly that. There is no need for epistemological modesty on the issue of abortion because of what it is and what the content of the natural law is.

    I do not know with infallible certainty that my judgment that the Iraq war was unjustified is correct. I just don’t. The Church has not given my opinion the same infallibility granted to the moral proposition “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.

  • David Nickol

    jh,

    Catholics believe that artificial birth control, in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, masturbation, and lying are all intrinsic evils. I am not sure whether they are considered intrinsic evils, but Catholics are adamantly opposed to sex outside of marriage, adultery, divorce and remarriage, drinking to excess, pornography, prostitution, and a whole host of other behaviors and practices. And of course there is abortion. All of these things are legal at least somewhere in the United States, and most of them are legal everywhere. Civil government even participates directly in some (divorce and remarriage).

    It is one thing to say what the Church teaches about these things — for example, masturbation is forbidden under all circumstances, even to obtain a sperm sample for a medical test — but it is quite another thing to decide how civil law ought to deal with any of these things, if at all.

    If you are a Catholic, and you say that abortion or masturbation is not wrong, you are denying teachings of the Catholic Church. But if you say you do not believe criminalizing abortion and masturbation is the best way for civil law to deal with them, I believe you are in the realm of “prudential judgment.”

    Of course, the Church makes strong arguments that abortion should be illegal, but exactly how it should be made illegal is something “anti-aborts” do not seem to agree on. Many seem to feel abortionists should be targeted and women who seek abortions should not be punished. Many even claim such women are victims. Many claim abortion is morally equivalent to murder. Some even say it is the worst kind of murder, because of the utter innocence of the victim. But is there anybody who supports a law that would treat an abortionist as a serial killer and a woman who procures an abortion the same as a mother of a small child who delivers it to a murderer to be killed?

  • You know for a fact and reading your posts I know you are educated that you can;t pull a Nancy Pelosi view of the unborn

    I don’t have a “Nancy Pelosi view of the unborn.”

  • Oy. There’s a lot here I had to cover:

    http://forthegreaterglory.blogspot.com/2009/04/saintly-pope-bloggers.html

    Bottom line: John Paul II’s opinion is not just his “personal opinion.” It is the opinion of a great saint of the Church, and as such when he speaks on abortion or Iraq he should be listened to do with exceptional deference.

  • Kurt

    David,

    The legislative and policy positions Catholic must believe under pain of sin according to a certain element are carefully adjusted to politically advance the Republican Party. Watch how quickly the opposition to the HHS nominee evaporates once most Republicans vote for her confirmation. It won’t show up on any “pro-life” voting record or get anyone banned from speaking at a Catholic college.

  • “I object to your broad brush of pro-life Catholics and your caricature”

    I was thinking of people defined primarily by their political affiliation. Other loathsome views notwithstanding, the average Catholic bishop does not ignore social issues.

    As for McCain, he is a far more decent guy than his party.

  • David Nickol

    Kurt,

    From a news story I linked to earlier reporting warnings against a preemptive strike against Iraq:

    “A defeat for humanity” – Pope John Paul II

    “A crime against peace” – Vatican Foreign Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran

    “We want to say to America: Is it worth it to you? Won’t you have have, afterward, decades of hostility in the Islamic world?” – Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

    “Humans of good will disagree.” Michael Novak

  • Mark DeFrancisis

    ‘We Catholics are in danger of becoming known not by how we love but by how we hate.’ –John Kavanaugh

  • ari

    “We Catholics are in danger of becoming known not by how we love but by how we hate.”

    What does that say about Catholics who defend Pro-aborts?

    Or has abortion now become so remarkably redefined in the twistedly rationalized minds of such individuals as a love for life rather than the very murder of it?

  • Kurt

    substitute “pro-lifers” for “Catholics” and you can change the future tense to the present tense.

  • ari

    “substitute “pro-lifers” for “Catholics” and you can change the future tense to the present tense.”

    Yeah, because after all, nothing shows more lovin’ like the killin’ of innocent children!

  • Kurt

    “What does that say about Catholics who defend Pro-aborts?”

    The answer to that question is vastly different depending on if a Catholic is defending someone’s support for abortion or is defending the human dignity and the respect owed all persons regardless of their views on the legal status of abortion.

    If it is the later, they are virtuous and commendable people and the antithesis of hate sometimes exhibited by their harsh critics.

  • As opposed to guilty children ? Not to mention that a zygote is not a child, nor is it an old man. Sentimentalism doesn’t change that fact.

    The twisted thinking of Catholic officials is perfectly exemplified in this story:

    Declaring that “life must always be protected”, a senior Vatican cleric has defended the Catholic Church’s decision to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had a life-saving abortion in Brazil.

    Police believe the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six. That she was four months pregnant with twins emerged only after she was taken to hospital complaining of severe stomach pains.

    The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl’s mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday’s emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed “a heinous crime”, the Church took the view that “the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious”.

    Source http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/brazil-rocked-by-abortion-for-9yearold-rape-victim-1640165.html

  • Pingback: Random Rant on the Catholic Blogosphere « Vox Nova()

  • Josh Brockway

    What do you people do all day. This is ridiculous.

    The time and energy spent here in “mental masturbation”and mutual mastication could have easily been spent actually caring for a woman contemplating abortion, or nurturing a child whose mother and father decided for adoption rather than abortion.

    Until you put your time where rhetoric is…be quiet. The world needs less speech and more action. The number of abortions will not change just because of legislation. It will go down when people are accompanied and not judged. Way to be irrelevant!

  • Ideas are important because they have consequences. Therefore, the struggle for true and good ideas is important. Because it’s a human struggle, it will not always be pretty. This does not mean it is irrelevant.

  • Josh Brockway

    You are right, ideas are important. But the funny thing is that most of the people here are pro-life. And as I said, the energy here in rhetoric (not ideas) must be equally matched by action. In fact, I would say the argument through 82 replies had little to do with ideas. They were accusatory, belittling, and not about the issue itself. Instead it was a spin zone about how Republican or Democrat one must be. Come on….these aren’t ideas or even doctrine. Get over yourselves and actually LIVE the ideas.

  • Josh,

    You are correct. Too many people frequent this site in order to reduce it to a spin zone.

    I’m certain the passion to engage a “contest of wills” is more often than not unmatched by simple acts intended to help a person in need. The more the intensity of verbal assaults the more indifference there is to others.

    The mere fact that a person stands four square behind a cause in no way indicates a virtuous inclination to help carry another’s burden. “Suffering with another” is not a wide-spread phenomenon in America. It is a rare exception.

  • Josh, how do you know that the people who write on these websites do not live their ideas?

    Gerald, your comments are nothing but sophisticated-sounding insults. If you’re really so smart you ought to descend from basking in the light of the sun and speak clearly and simply and truly to us cave-dwellers.

  • Josh Brockway

    Fair enough Zach…I do not know. What I see here in all these comments is rhetoric and constant criticism. If there are those who compassionately work for life in all its forms, why are they not speaking of the possible actions along side the criticisms? Many of us call that Constructive Criticisms. The other post I replied to, Henry’s Long Term Project, seems to me to be the perfect example of actually doing something. Yet, no one replies. Curious is it not?

  • Zach,

    You are not just silly but your response to me is revealing.

    Take a look. Reread my comments. By design, they were abstract and targeted against no one. In fact, they were written to underscore my agreement with what was said in the comment box directly above mine. You, or anyone else, could either agree or disagree, elaborate or ignore. Either response would have been fine. There’s nothing too complicated there at all.

    But no, you had to satisfy another need. You see, you are not the type for dispassionate dialogue. Flush in the face, you had to sweep in from shallow waters to snatch the bait. No one else was so tempted. Only you. Then you swallowed the bait whole and got it stuck in your damn craw. Now your angry at me for having exposed you as a vexatious fool.

    Let’s get this straight. You’re the one thrashing about, not me. You are caught in your own spin zone. All I can say is: just look at you. Just look at you!

    Now your response is to lash out and make some crazy statement about me basking in the light of the sun. Well, that’s pretty darn funny. One thing for sure. It’s better to bask in the light of the sun than to squirm about with that “fool hook” in your gizzard!

    It seems as though my abstractions have a special lure for you. Now you are caught in the “honey trap,” just like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar! Whoops! Sorry mom.

    Frankly, I’m not surprised at your response. Come to think of it, I think I had you in mind when I composed the abstraction. Happy swallowing!!!

  • ari

    “As opposed to guilty children?”

    I forgot that the Death of Holy Innocents — especially these days — is so passe.

    It seems Herod has indeed become the patron saint of even certain Catholics.

  • Pingback: Once more on Notre Dame « Vox Nova()

  • whoa