Saturday, August 30, 2008
Pelosi and Palin: A Tale of Two Women
Speaker Pelosi made headlines last weekend when she described herself "as an ardent, practicing Catholic" on TV, and then went on to misrepresent the Catholic Church's two-centuries old condemnation of abortion. Citing the theological writings of St. Augustine, she said that the Church has always been in doubt about when life begins, and that it is still a "controversy" in the Church. A quick read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it clear that there is no confusion - the Church definitely declares abortion to be a grave, mortal sin that involves the killing of innocent life.
It's worth noting that for all the treasures the Church has gleaned from the writings of the Church Fathers, including St. Augustine specifically, Catholics should know that the trump voice in the Catholic Church has been, and always will be, the infallible voice of the Pope in communion with the Bishops of the universal church. And there is no question that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is clear that abortion is a no-no for Catholics: and that Catholics who publicly say otherwise risk causing scandal. Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, made it very clear how wrong Pelosi was in her remarks; read his affirmation of the Church's teaching and his correction of Pelosi.
And then, a week later, into the national spotlight walks Gov. Sarah Palin - the Republican vice presidential nominee. She is someone, though a newcomer to public service, who has been consistent in her opposition to abortion. And for Gov. Palin, this national debate is not an abstraction - it is a personal reality. When she learned she was carrying a baby with Down Syndrome, she chose to have the baby instead of getting an abortion. This is walking the talk. This is the culture of life actualized. This is the true strength and power of femininity revealed, proving that politics is simply the expression of one's deepest values into the civil discourse. If you hold to the truth that life begins at conception, then it must carry through and inform your political and governmental actions. This is not an example of religion muddying the waters of civil society, it's an example of people of faith using their values to influence the debate in a pluralistic, democratic society.
Yet for many liberal politicians and feminists, the pro-abortion dogma is something that defines their entire worldview and understanding of freedom. Already the writers on the Huffington Post have begun to label Gov. Palin as an extremist and an enemy of women. I wonder how a mother who chooses to defend her child's right, and the right of all children to be protected in the womb, is an enemy to women? The insanity of abortion, contraception, pornography, homosexuality and no-fault divorce has become a kind of mental and spiritual addiction for many on the left in this country. With this peculiar lust for licentiousness, many politicians have begun to ignore the teachings of their faith and the dictates of logic.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Biden and Catholics
Mr. Obama needs the Catholic vote in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania, so Mr. Biden made a point of describing himself as an "Irish-Catholic from Scranton." This may be a true description in terms of cultural identity, but Catholics politicians who publicly endorse and vote for pro abortion legislation are betraying their faith and causing scandal.
Abortion is intrinsically evil and Catholic politicians must vote against pro-abortion legislation and Catholics citizens must vote against politicians who support abortion. A catholic vote for Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden is a vote against the culture of life that John Paull II so faithfully promoted.
Neither party owns the Catholic Church; to read the history of Christendom is to observe the Church constantly fighting for its independence from temporal authority. Yet the Democratic party - for far too long - has taken it for granted that Catholics will vote for them, even if their policies blatantly contradict Catholic doctrine. This isn't to suggest that the Republican party purely reflects all that Catholics social and moral doctrine demands, but that the Democratic party has been specifically at war with the American family and Christian values since the early 1970s.
Catholics need to listen to the gospel, their Bishops and the magisterium of the Church, instead of voting for the latest cultural Catholic who trots out on stage and tries to tout his Catholic identity.
In this election it is clear that Mr. McCain, though not someone who perfectly reflects Catholic doctrine, is clearly pro life and a much more suitable candidate for Catholic voters who are faithful to their Church and Jesus Christ.
Labels: Presidential Election
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Obama Gets a Pass at Saddleback Church
Instead of giving Christians the opportunity to listen into a discussion that was entirely "within the realm of faith," he tossed softballs to Mr. Obama, letting him give the kind of stump answers that he routinely gives on CNN.
When(briefly)asked about abortion and stem cell research, Mr. Obama was allowed to lay down the standard progressive response that he believed in a woman's right to choose, though he was personally opposed to abortion. In a truly Christian discussion, why couldn't Mr. Obama be pressed on this? If an embryo is that which becomes a human person, is it possible that at ANY point it is NOT a human person? Did Pastor Warren fear offending the abortion supporters across the country with such a reasonable question?
When asked about evil, Mr. Obama reminded us that many evil acts have been committed by people with good intentions. A reasonable thing to say, and Mr. Warren should have used this logic to return to Mr. Obama's views on embryonic stem cell research. Certainly women who decide to have an abortion or researches who destroy embryonic stem cells do not have evil intentions, but the results are the same regardless: a life has been snuffed out and this is intrinsically evil.
This was the perfect forum for a heterodox Christian like Mr. Obama; instead of focusing on the moral issues of the day in detail: abortion, same sex marriage, sexual licentiousness, disobedience of all kinds, divorce and the decline of marriage and its damage to our society - he got more "social justice" type questions. Most of the issues Mr. Obama got to address in detail, were in his comfort zone: faith-based initiatives, orphans, taxes, war, torture, human trafficking (all important, of course) yet topics easily covered by a reporter from Los Angeles Times.
There is no question of Mr. Warren's robust faith, and the good work his evangelical church has done, but he missed the opportunity to have a truly Christian discussion between two self-professed Christians in a room full of fellow Christians.
The more Christians try to look, act and talk like secular Americans, the harder it will be for them to be the salt of the earth. We must recall that Roman civilization was converted by Catholics because pagan Romans saw how different they were from the everyday Roman. "Look at those Christians," they said. "Look how they love one another." And part of love must be to tell the truth, with charity of course, but without mincing the words of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Labels: Presidential Election
Sunday, August 10, 2008
'Harvey Milk Day" Proposed for California Schools
This past week both houses of the California legislature passed AB 2567, which would establish an amendment to the California education code, creating May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day." The bill is now waiting for Governor Schwarzenegger's signature.
Harvey Milk was an outspoken gay businessman in San Francisco who was elected to municipal government in the 1970s. He was tragically murdered at city hall and he has become something of a martyr to gay activists. His murder was a blight on this country, as all murders are, yet this does not justify enshrining the homosexual lifestyle that he so vocally proclaimed.
This official proclamation would require "the Governor to proclaim May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day, and would designate that date as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions and encourage those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date."
The notion that states and/or public schools should be pushing the particular sexual proclivities of adults to California school children is beyond unreasonable. This would clearly violate the consciences of many California teachers and school children, who may object to this lifestyle on any number of grounds. Along with the inclusion of "gay friendly" textbooks and the recent same sex marriage ruling by the California Supreme Court, gay activists are tightening the noose around the the free speech rights of Judeo-Christian people.
The ultimate goal is to move the culture to a place where expressing the opinion that marriage is between a man and a women, or to make reference to scriptural teachings against homosexual behavior, will be tantamount to hate speech and require requisite legal sanction. Christians, in particular, should be mindful that removing their Church's tax exempt status is likely a prime target for these activists.
Californians are urged to email Governor Schwarzenegger and ask him to veto this bill. Classrooms should not be places for political indoctrination; it's important that people pray to our Lord Jesus Christ to protect children from lies presented as truth. Those unfortunate people who labor under such lies should be reasoned with in a loving and charitable way; we should all pray for them and our state.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
An Exchange on Catholic Teaching
Dear Mr. Columnist:
I came across your article on the recent visit to America by Pope Benedict
the XVI. As a Catholic, I read the article with interest and appreciate your
coverage of the Holy Father's visit. You are clearly an intelligent,
well-informed person, however, I must point out a serious misstep in your
reasoning, which may be a real source of confusion to your readers. I'm
referring to the following paragraph from your article:
"But gracious gestures do not erase Benedict's
infamous pastoral letter of October 1986, when, as prefect of the
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he called
homosexuality "an intrinsic moral evil" and all but justified anti-gay
You are quite right that the Church's teaches that homosexual acts are
intrinsically evil; yet while Catholics are obliged to object to immoral
behavior, they are expected to love persons. The proper orientation of
Catholics toward gay persons is outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic
"This inclination (homosexuality), which is objectively disordered,
constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with
respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust
discrimination in their regard should be avoided."
There is no mention of violence in the this statement. Your assertion that
objecting to a given behavior is, in effect, a call for violence against a
person committing that behavior is poor reasoning. When people rightly
object to identity theft, for example, is does not follow that they want to
murder, beat or torture those who commit identity theft.
You wish to continue in the homosexual lifestyle and you object to the
Church's teaching - fair enough - but you should be aware that Catholic
moral teaching never advocates violence, and you should be more clear about
that as a person who is in a position to influence others.
I thank you for your time and hope that all is well with you, your family
and your loved ones.
I appreciate your note, but before disputing my characterization of
Ratzinger's October 1, 1986 pastoral letter, you should have looked it up.
Specifically, see the second paragraph under #10. I did not invent nor
interpolate. Ratzinger all but justified anti-gay violence.
By the way, I don't have a "lifestyle" while you have a life. My life and
love are as fully dimensional and legitimate as anyone else's.
Dear Mr. Columnist,
Thank you for you gracious response; I'm heartened to learn that you are familiar with the Vatican document that articulates the Church's teaching on same sex attraction. Certainly I've read this document, but I had to check up on the passage you were referring to.
Since the first paragraph clearly does not justify violence against homosexuals, then I'll assume you're referring to the second:
"But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual
persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered.
When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned,
or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has
any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be
surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational
and violent reactions increase."
Forgive me if this isn't the part of text you're referring to, but in the above paragraph I don't see even an implicit justification for violence against homosexuals. I understand his meaning to be this: sadly, there will always be evil, violent people who will commit crimes against homosexuals. This tragic fact, however, can't be a justification for saying that homosexuality is moral, healthy or acceptable. To recognize homosexuality as a moral good, will only encourage those tempted by same sex attraction to give into their impulses, which will make the behavior more visible and therefore bring on more attacks from violent disturbed people.
This is my poor rendering of Pope Benedict's statement; I hope as a writer you'll excuse my clumsy prose. I believe one of the major fallacies that gay activists operate under is that a charitable, reasoned critique of homosexuality makes people commit crimes against homosexuals. It does not. It's when the one sane, measured and charitable voice in this debate (the Catholic Church) is shut out of the room, that you are left with fundamentalists and people who are looking to commit violence against anybody, be that gay, white, Mexican or (fill in the blank).
I apologize for my extended response, but I appreciate the chance to speak directly with someone who, through the vehicle a city paper, clearly has an influence on the gay community in your city. I have a great respect for writers and believe that still have a tremendous effect on public debate.
One quick aside - I don't wish you to misunderstand my use of the word "lifestyle." I don't mean it in the superficial sense, to suggest that your sexual behavior is on par with fishing or scrap booking. Surely you know that there are men who have sex with other men, but who absolutely refuse to identify themselves as gay in any way. The don't participate in pride marches nor associate themselves with other gay social/community events. So it seems fair to reason that simply having sex with other man does not make one "gay," but engaging in a whole range of specific social activities (hence "lifestyle"), as well as taking on a certain set of political ideas, contributes more to making the self-identification as "gay."
Peace to you and best of luck with the rest of your summer.
Labels: Catholic Church
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