By The Orlando Truth
Hat Tip: Catholic Media Coalition
The political stakes in the upcoming Presidential election are enormous for our country. For all Christians, the most significant moral clash is between the platforms of the REPUBLICANS and the DEMOCRATS on the issue of abortion:
REPUBLICANS are staunchly pro-life. John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidate, has unequivocally announced that “human life begins at conception” and must be protected. His running mate, Sarah Palin, has forcefully demonstrated this same belief in raising her family of five children, most recently including her infant son born this past April with Down’s Syndrome. Despite her advance knowledge of his medical problem and the medical profession’s recommendation to abort the baby, she adamantly chose to bring him to term.
DEMOCRATS support abortion as a woman’s “right to choose” to murder her unborn child. Barack Obama, the Democrats’ Presidential candidate, is militantly “pro-choice,” to the extent of having once voted against a law requiring a doctor to save the life of a child that survived the abortion he had just performed, a living breathing child on the operating table in front of him. Consider the implications of that vote in the infanticide as carried out this past April in an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. There the attending Licensed Practical Nurse, Tina Davis, gave this testimony about a botched procedure performed by circuit-rider Abortionist Shelley Sella:
“Ms. Davis gave us a very specific eye-witness account about the incident,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We were told that the baby was 35 weeks gestation at the time of the abortion. The baby came out and was moving. Sella looked up at Ms. Davis, then picked up a utensil and stabbed the baby in the left ribcage, twisting the utensil until the baby quit moving. At 35 weeks (over 8 months), there is no doubt about viability. This is murder in anybody’s book.”
The problem of abortion is overwhelming. Since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 making legal this moral evil, more than 50,000,000 (50 million) abortions have been performed in the United States alone. Consider the magnitude of that number. It is more than 16,000 times the 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. It is more than 8 times the 6,000,000 Jews killed by Adolf Hitler in the Holocaust of the 1940’s during the Second World War.
Obama is the most pro-abortion member of the Senate, with his straight A+ report card from the National Abortion Rights Action League and Planned Parenthood. He supports the late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion to end the life of the baby even as it is exiting the birth canal. Michelle Obama signed fundraising letters pledging that, if elected, her husband would be “tireless” in keeping legal this “legitimate medical procedure.” Barack did not let his militants down. When the Supreme Court upheld the Congressional ban on this barbaric procedure, Barack denounced the court for denying “equal rights for women.”
Obama has stated in his book, Audacity of Hope, that he would erase the Judeo-Christian backdrop from America’s history in order to meld all religions as one, just as his atheist mother believed. Obama admitted in his recent interview with Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren that he did not agree with the Christian understanding that life begins at conception, because “it was above his pay grade.” His selection of Joseph Biden as his running mate compounded the problem. Biden, a self-described Catholic, is at odds with the highest levels of his Catholic Faith because he has supported Roe vs. Wade for many years.
Pope Benedict, during his April visit to Washington, D.C. spoke of the need to practice faith in public life: “Christians are easily tempted to conform themselves to the spirit of the age. We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion.” And just this August, Archbishop Raymond Burke-the equivalent of Chief Justice of the Vatican’s Supreme Court-said Holy Communion should be refused to “a public official who knowingly and willingly supports actions which publicly promote procured abortion, which is the taking of an innocent, defenseless human life.”
Biden falsely claims that that the doctrine of the Catholic Church is broad enough to include those, like himself, who support abortion. Biden claims a personal opposition to abortion that he is unwilling to follow in his public life and thus falls into this category. He now faces the possibility not only of alienating Catholics, but also of being refused Communion on the campaign trail. As Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, the preeminent Catholic laymen’s fraternal organization, has stated, “The problem-for Catholics and evangelicals alike-is that a ticket whose politics appear to trump moral reasoning is not a compelling ticket. Catholics and evangelicals are looking for candidates who share their core values, not just pews or holy water.” In addition, Catholics, indeed, all people, need to understand that union with God means opposition to evil.
BISHOP WENSKI’S SUPPORT OF THE PRO-LIFE CAUSE
The Editors of The Orlando Truth wish to compliment Bishop Wenski and recognize his courage in coming to the defense of human life at all stages beginning from conception. Bishop Wenski issued the following Pastoral Letter which truly educates his flock in the eternal truths of the authentic Catholic Faith. Moreover, he was willing to back up his words with his action of personally attending the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 3 to give the PRAYER INVOCATION for the evening and to provide his moral support for the pro-life cause. Keep up the good work, Bishop!
The highlights of his Pastoral Letter are presented below:
Faithful Citizenship: Abortion – September 2008
In late August, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, appeared on Meet the Press. In order to justify her support of abortion as a Catholic, she misrepresented the history and the nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion. On behalf of all the bishops, Cardinal Rigali, chair of our committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop Lori, chair of our committee on Doctrine, issued a statement refuting Ms. Pelosi’s attempt to justify the unjustifiable. No one can legitimately argue that support for abortion can be reconciled with the moral teachings of the Church. In their statement, the bishops quote succinctly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 2271)
Last month, I too had to issue a clarification by means of a letter to the editor that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on August 16th concerning an article in that same newspaper on August 13th that suggested that “Catholic leaders” viewed the Democratic Party Platform’s “abortion plank” in a positive light. In fact, many would argue that the plank this year was more extreme than the party’s previous endorsements of “reproductive rights.”
I wrote: “…(The bishops) are the ones who speak as the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States-and not political operatives for one party or another who happen to be Catholic. In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the bishops wrote that ‘opposing intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions…’ As we bishops wrote: ‘The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.’ ”
Catholics in public life…must act seriously and responsibly on many important moral issues. Our faith has an integral unity that calls Catholics to defend human life and human dignity whenever they are threatened…Abortion is a grave violation of the most fundamental human right-the right to life that is inherent in all human beings, and that grounds every other right we possess.
As Pope John Paul II wrote in Christifideles Laici, “…(T)he common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture-is false and illusory if the right to life…is not defended with maximum determination…The human being is entitled to such rights, in every phase of development from conception until natural death; and in every condition, whether healthy or sick, whole or handicapped, rich or poor.” (#38)
Bishops do not endorse candidates or parties. We do not tell people for whom they should vote. We say that Catholics should vote their consciences-and public officials who are Catholic should always act in accord with their own consciences. But, we insist that one’s conscience must be consistent with fundamental moral principles. As members of the Church, all Catholics are obliged to shape our consciences in accord with the moral teaching of the Church. That so many Catholics in public life hold positions on human life-like Representative Pelosi and Senator Biden-not coherent with their Catholic faith and yet, at the same time, declare themselves to be “good Catholics,” is a scandal.
But the Democratic standard bearers-in reaction to the Sarah Palin nomination-are seemingly intent on making this election a referendum on defending abortion “rights.” If they do, a Catholic with a well formed conscience would be hard pressed to find any “serious” and “grave” reasons to justify voting for them.
The above Pastoral Letter from Bishop Wenski is totally consistent with the teaching of our Church’s Magisterium; namely, the requirement that our bishops teach doctrine in union with the Pope, as can be noted from the 2004 statement of Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops shown below:
“Not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion or euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be 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.
“As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated regarding the participation of Catholics in political life: The lay Catholic’s duty to be morally coherent is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual life’ with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular life,’ that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture.”
Respect Life is the Most Fundamental Issue
The Catholic Church does not endorse particular candidates or political parties. However, it has a responsibility to help people form their consciences properly, particularly with regard to fundamental moral issues. The Pro-Life cause is not merely a single issue among competing issues of equal value, such as health care, the economy, foreign policy and immigration. The Pro-Life issue is the dominant issue above all others, because without the right to life, all other issues are meaningless. The following quotations should help to underscore that essential fact:
ABORTION-NOT A GLOBAL ETHICAL HERITAGE
“Some Catholic elected officials have adopted the argument that, while they personally oppose evils like abortion, they cannot force their religious views onto the wider society. This is seriously mistaken on several key counts. First, regarding abortion, the point when human life begins is not a religious belief but a scientific fact-a fact on which there is clear agreement even among leading abortion advocates. Second, the sanctity of human life is not merely Catholic doctrine but part of humanity’s global ethical heritage, and our nation’s founding principle. Finally, democracy is not served by silence. Most Americans would recognize the contradiction in the statement, ‘While I am personally opposed to slavery or racism or sexism I cannot force my personal view on the rest of society.’ Real pluralism depends on people of conviction struggling vigorously to advance their beliefs by every ethical and legal means at their disposal.” US Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, 1998, n. 24
THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE
“It is impossible to advance human dignity by being ‘right’ on issues like poverty and immigration, but being wrong about the most fundamental issue of all-the right to life.” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver
THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN LIFE
“We, the four Bishops of Massachusetts…wish to underscore the absolute centrality of the first issue, the protection of human life. Support and promotion of abortion by any candidate is always wrong and can never be justified. We will never cease to denounce abortion and euthanasia and teach all Catholics that to support those positions is to support death over life.” His Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law, Most Reverend Thomas Dupre, Most Reverend Sean O’Malley, Most Reverend Daniel Reilly
ABORTION-A DECISIVE ISSUE
“Abortion is a decisive issue tied to the United States upcoming elections…Poverty can be dealt with progressively, but the death of a child is immediate.” Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, October 2000
ABORTION MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE
“Abortion is the issue this year and every year in every campaign…The taking of human life is so heinous, so horribly evil, and so absolutely opposite to the law of Almighty God that abortion must take precedence over every other issue. I repeat: It is the single most important issue confronting not only Catholics, but also the entire electorate.” Most Reverend James C. Timlin, D.D., Bishop of Scranton, 2000
ABORTION-AN INTRINSIC EVIL
“As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on aissue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.” US Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility, 2007
A WELL-FORMED CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE
“It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine.” Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
NOT JUST ANOTHER ISSUE
“The direct intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.” US Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility, 2007
NOT A MATTER OF INDIVIDUAL CHOICE
“There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic dignity of persons. These are called ‘intrinsically evil’ actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia…It is a mistake with grave moral consequence to treat the destruction of human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed.” US Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility, 2007
ABORTION-A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE
“Senator Obama’s answer to the ills of society, including continued tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, is diametrically opposed to everything that African Americans truly believe and is anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We can talk about poverty; we can talk about incarceration. However, if we are not allowed to live, we will never encounter those issues. Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.” Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
PRO-ABORTION-IS THIS WHAT OBAMA MEANS?
“When we do a suction curettage abortion, you know, roughly one of three things is going to happen during the abortion. One would be that the catheter, as it approaches the fetus, you know, tears it and kills it at that instant inside the uterus. The second would be that the fetus is small enough and the catheter is large enough that the fetus passes through the catheter and either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the suction bottle after it’s actually all the way out.
“When you’re doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the skull itself and it’s floating free inside the uterine cavity…So it’s rather like a ping-pong ball floating around and the surgeon is using his forcep to reach up to try to grasp something that’s freely floating around and is quite large relative to the forcep we’re using. So typically there’re several misdirections, misattempts to grasp. Finally at some point either the instruments are managed to be placed around the skull or a nip is made out of some area of the skull that allows it to start to decompress. And then once that happens typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece…” Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.
“PRO-CHOICE”-IS THIS WHAT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY MEANS?
“He turned the baby around [in the womb] and brought it out feet first. That’s one of the worse things for the mother that you can do. I was helping the doctor hold the baby [to keep it in the birth canal]. The other nurse got the instrument [a large syringe with a large needle], handed it to the doctor, and he inserted it into the base of the skull. Then he pulled the baby out. Its little hands were grasping. When the baby quit grasping, then he delivered it. He used the syringe to suction out the brains. That’s more traumatic on the mother than if she had given a normal birth.” Witness testimony, March, 2002, Priests for Life website http://www.priestsforlife.org
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Barack Obama continually indicates his agreement with Hillary Clinton’s scheme to revamp the family in line with the Democratic party’s unrelenting assault on the family and traditional marriage. Hillary Clinton’s life has long made a mockery of traditional family values. Her vision for families is, we might say, unconventional. Back when she was a student at Yale Law School, Hillary wrote in the Harvard Educational Review that “marriage, slavery, and the Indian reservation system” constitute dependency arrangements that must be abolished. Two decades later she wrote It Takes a Village, the socialist manifesto that justifies government intrusion into the most intimate aspects of our family life. Her later book Living History leans over backward to revamp any meaningful role for fathers, consistent with the principles of Wyndam Lewis, the European social philosopher, who once noted: “The male, the father, is in all these revolutions, the enemy. It is he who has been cast to represent authority. Therefore the break-up of the family must begin and end with the eclipse of the father principle.”
Amazingly, Obama claimed, in his March 3 speech at Hocking College, that Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. Furthermore he derided St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans (1:27), which clearly denounces homosexual sex as merely the opinion of an “obscure” disciple. Those comments perplexed Christians in his audience who could not see any logic to his statements, nor did Obama offer any. It is no surprise then that Obama, like Hillary, opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment that would define marriage as the monogamous union between a man and a woman, and advocates civil unions for same-sex partners that mirror true marriage in every essential respect.
On the other hand, John McCain and Sarah Palin are much more committed to the defense of traditional marriage in the cultural arena.
BISHOP WENSKI’S DEFENSE OF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
Here again Bishop Wenski has exhibited the courage to defend traditional marriage against the political onslaughts to eradicate it in favor of gender-neutral unions. The highlights of his July Pastoral Letter are presented below:
CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE – JULY 2008
To defend marriage as a monogamous union between one man and one woman is not bigotry.
The imposition by judicial fiat of same-sex marriage on the citizens of California has reminded us that society’s culture wars are far from over. This example of raw judicial activism should reinvigorate efforts to enshrine in state and federal constitutions the traditional legal understanding of marriage…Those who see “same-sex marriage” as progress towards a more “tolerant” society will-with characteristic intolerance-label their opponents as “intolerant,” “bigoted,” “homophobic” and so on. However, to defend marriage as a monogamous union between one man and one woman is not bigotry. Nor are the efforts of those who seek to enshrine in state or federal constitutions the “traditional” understanding of marriage intolerant.
…(I)n redefining the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex unions, the proponents of “gay marriage” are in effect imposing their views and lifestyle on the larger populace, and, once legal, the state’s coercive power will punish those who refuse to embrace gay marriages. For example, public officials-regardless of their views on the rightness or wrongness of homosexual acts-will be obliged to officiate at same-sex “weddings”; public schools will be required to teach their acceptability to children whether parents concur or not. Even First Amendment freedoms will not be protected from assault…
In the culture wars…two sides are fighting about the understanding of man and his relationship to truth and reality. One side-and today “gay marriage” is its poster child-holds that anyone can essentially create his or her own reality. This side holds for a radical autonomy by which truth is determined not by the nature of things, but by one’s own individual will. The other side holds men and women are not self-creators but creatures. Truth is not constructed, but received and thus must reflect the reality of things. Or, as the Book of Genesis says: “Male and female, He (God) created them.” (Gn 1:27).
The former’s position, like that of the secular Utopias of the 20th century, is a recipe for tyranny; the latter’s position promises a freedom that is only achievable through adherence to objective truth which we do not, and could never, invent. As I said, the stakes are high. Same-sex “marriage”-if allowed to prevail in law-will result in the devaluation of all marriages with terrible consequences to society. The common good demands that the understanding of marriage as a union between one man and one woman not be lost. We need a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage.
EVOLUTION OF OUR CULTURAL CRISIS
The roots of our current cultural crisis in this 21st century can be traced back to the French Revolution of 1789. That revolt was against the authority of the King and of the Catholic Church. Impassioned by the slogans of “LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY,” the French peasants protested against the doctrines of the Church. They became enamored of a universal spirituality or Deism (a vague God not involved in the affairs of the world similar to that found in Oprah Winfrey’s promotion of spiritual, new age, how-to books), devoid of a moral code and closely resembling the Paganism of the pre-Christian era. This amorphous spirituality gradually developed into the idea that all religions are the same, if in fact, there is any God at all. (In this connection, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, recently released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, reported that 79% of Catholics fail to understand the unique importance of their Faith and agree that “many religions can lead to eternal life.”) The guiding thinking behind this Enlightenment Philosophy (more accurately titled the Dying of the Light) was the progressive emphasis on secular, human, material values to the exclusion of religion, morality and, in particular, the Catholic Faith.
In the more modern era, our cultural crisis was impacted by the following major developments:
- The revolt of the Hippies of the Beat Generation on college campuses in the 1960’s against parental and cultural authority, initiating the sexual revolution.
- The Second Vatican Council held from 1962 to 1965. A liberal spirit permeated this Council, revolting against the orthodox doctrines of the authentic Catholic Faith, misleading many uninformed Catholics to believe that the Church had jettisoned its traditional moral teachings and was now coming of age in a secular world. The ill fruit of this Council is well documented in Philip Lawler’s recent book, The Faithful Departed, The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture. (Encounter Books, 2008)
- Liberal political changes in the governmental arena, championing major changes in the culture to be enacted into law. In claiming to serve the people, these radicals sought to grab authority for themselves like Josef Stalin in Communist Russia. This included the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973, as well as a constant movement to endorse permissive abortion as the woman’s “right to choose.” Additionally, several states enacted non-discrimination laws to legally protect gay/lesbian homosexual sex. More recently, both Massachusetts and California legally enacted homosexual marriage, as a total affront to our Christian heritage. The Democratic Party became the prime political party lobbying for such revolutionary changes in the Christian culture of this nation, forcing many Christian members of that party to abandon it in favor of the Republican Party in order to protect this country’s moral heritage. From the 1960’s on, the national leaders of the Democratic Party abandoned their blue-collar, pro-life, and religious constituencies and took up with the liberal dogmas of the National Organization for Women (NOW), Hollywood, and the abortion lobby. So complete has been this transformation that we no longer speak of a natural alliance between Catholics and the Democratic Party. Indeed the central question today is whether it is even possible to be both a faithful Catholic and a Democratic true believer. The Democratic Party evolved from its Catholic roots on issues of human life, sex, faith, and morality to become the opponent of all traditional religions. This battle about trying to personally reconcile his own political conscience with his religion is usefully described in David Carlin’s book; Can a Catholic be a Democrat? How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion. (Sophia Institute Press, 2006)
- The major architect for accomplishing this drastic cultural transformation was community organizer Saul Alinsky who founded Chicago’s Industrial Areas Foundation. His methods were detailed in his last book written before his death in 1972, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. It was Alinsky’s attempt to impart his theory and methods of organizing to the current generation of young activists, largely drawing on his own experiences.As he wrote in the book’s prologue, “It is for those young radicals who are committed to the fight.” Alinsky’s son has stated that Barack Obama has absorbed them well. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s graduate thesis at Wellesley College was also a study and analysis of the Alinsky methods.
The liberal ideas underlying the Radicals’ world-view include:
- The family is no longer the basic unit of society. People are depersonalized in favor of the state. The state does not exist for people; people exist for the interests of the state.
- Marriage is no longer universally seen as the union of man and woman. The “family” can be any combination of persons.
- Anything goes in sexual relationships. Sex is seen mainly in terms of pleasure, not in terms of lifetime personal commitment.
- Humans are not distinguished from animals from which they have evolved. What occurs in the animal world can or should be normative for people. If animals are sexually promiscuous, why not men with men, or women with women?
- God is not in the equation. God is squeezed out of the public square. What happened to being made “in the image and likeness of God.”?
- Life has minimum value as it is seen only in materialistic terms. Inconvenient pregnancies justify abortions. The lives of the sick and handicapped can be “terminated” at the will of others.
- Capitalism is the arch-enemy. “America’s corporations are a spiritual slum,” wrote Alinsky, “and their arrogance is the major threat to our future as a free society.” Socialism and Communism are in.
Barack Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In” is simply socialism/communism-imposed by stratagem because Americans have never believed in Marxist economics. Saul Alinsky understood this, and his ghost is alive and well-and threatening to haunt the White House.
In this November election, let your conscience be your guide!