Month: January 2004

Catholics for Dean(?)

Coming under heavy criticism in various Catholic blogs this week is Catholics for Dean, an organization founded by Timothy Huegerich. Mr. Huegerich contends that the issue of abortion pales in comparison to the many social wrongs committed by the Bush administration, especially regarding “capital punishment, euthanasia, infanticide, and most wars.” Because of Howard Dean’s “opposition to the Iraq war and his partial opposition to capital punishment,” Mr. Huegerich and his fellow Catholics believe themselves entitled to vote for a pro-choice presidential candidate who recently compared pro-lifers to the Taliban.

Peter Vere replies:

To a practicing Catholic, what lay in a woman’s womb is not just some anonymous blob of cancerous tissue. Rather, it is a human life. Abortion ends that human life. Therefore a Catholic is no more open to negotiating the abortion issue than an African American is open to debate over slavery. Catholics believe that abortion is murder, and when the state permits abortion, Catholics believe that abortion is state sanctioned murder. Regardless of whatever stance a candidate puts forward when it comes to other issues, abortion trumps them all. As practicing Catholics we believe in freedom of choice within the abortion debate only insofar as a well-formed Catholic conscience always chooses a pro-life candidate over one who is pro-abortion. We simply have a hard time voting for politicians who campaign on the killing – rather than the kissing – of babies.

Now, I can understand and to some degree am sympathetic to CFD founder Tim Huegerich’s gripes with the Bush administration, the actions and policies of which I admit are flawed in many respects. I also recognize Mr. Huegerich’s right, as a Catholic, to take a principled stand against President Bush based on the war in Iraq, capital punishment, or economic policies. Catholics are permitted to disagree on these issues. The pro-life record of the current administration is certainly a matter of contention among orthodox Catholics.

However, in no way does this render Dean’s stance on abortion excusable, or translate into a “right” for Catholics to vote for a Democratic candidate who, verbally and as a matter of policy, actively supports the deliberate murder of a baby. To cite the CDF’s Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life:

Catholics . . . have the right and the duty to recall society to a deeper understanding of human life and to the responsibility of everyone in this regard. John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them. [Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, 73].

Are You Un-Churched?

Carl E. Olson (Envoy Magazine) skewers the “un-church phenomenon”:

Needless to say, Mike isn’t into history, doctrine, dogma, and the complexities of Christology, ecclesiology, soteriology, and every other “-ology” that has a rich and meaningful and living place in the life of the Church. It’s all about him and Jesus, him and his Bible, and him and his private prayer time. Hey, it’s wonderful that he’s in love with Jesus. But it seems to me that he might also be in love with being in love with Jesus, just as these myriads of little groups and experimental “churches” are in love with being different, being experimental, being cool and hip. . . .

Adopt an Abortion Mill

Today, our parish included a prayer “for the closing of an abortion mill” in the intercessory prayers of the faithful. Browsing the website of Priests For Life this afternoon, I discovered an innovative and wonderful project: matching local Catholic parishes with free-standing abortion mills within their boundaries and promoting the “spiritual adoption” thereof:

Obviously, all of us throughout the nation are responsible for praying and working for an end to abortion throughout the nation, and the closing of every mill in the nation. With this project, however, the very big effort of “the Church” ending “abortion” gets translated into a particular gathering of the Church, a parish, ending the killing at a particular abortion millclose by. This effort increases the focus by which the energy of people in the parish can be channeled. It also provides simple ways that everyone in the parish — whether young or old, healthy or sick, mobile or homebound — can direct their prayers for an end to abortion. . . .

Intercessory prayer is a powerful (and underappreciated) spiritual weapon in the struggle to end the evil of abortion. There is no telling of the hearts and minds that can be changed. (“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20).

Imagine if every Catholic parish in America were to unite together in participation in this project? — Imagine if this were to be extended ecumenically to other Christian denominations?

Prayer Requests

  • Urgent plea from I. Shawn McElhinney (“Rerum Novarum”).
  • Fr. Benedict Groeschel, whose condition is described by Fr. Glenn Sudano as: “Critical but stable . . . yet it appears the deep dark night is softening on the far horizon. A lip of light is detected in the distance. While still deep in the woods, Fr. Benedict presses on to recovery.”
  • Terri Schindler-Schiavo, news and updates for which can be found at TerrisFight.Org.

New blog!

Dr. Philip Blosser is Professor of Philosophy and Associate of the Center for Theology at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. He is also a member of the Ratzinger Fan Club, occasional poster to the mailing list. A few of you might recognize two of his articles which have circulated the web: The Kasper-Ratzinger Debate and the State of the Church (New Oxford Review April 2002) and War and the Eclipse of Moral Reasoning.

Specializing in phenemonology, he wrote his dissertation on the ethical thought of Max Scheler — the same topic of Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) — and contributed the entry on the ethics of Max Scheler for the Encyclopedia on Phenomenology.

Dr. Blosser is also my father, and today — after some tinkering with his website — I’m pleased to announce his dual-venture into the world of Catholic blogging, with Musings of a Pertinacious Papist and Scripture and Catholic Tradition.

Let’s make him feel welcome! =)

When Rabbis Meet The Pope

Also via NRO’s The Corner, unexpected consequences of a recent meeting between the Pope and a Polish Rabbi:

“[The Rabbi of Warsaw] said that after we met, he received dozens of calls from Poles who wished to confess their role in killing Jews during the Holocaust. The rabbi rebuffed them, though, saying he wasn’t a priest for confession. But one man insisted and said he couldn’t sleep at night, and told him that that at age 11, his uncle came from the front wearing an army uniform and wanted to show him how to shoot. So just for fun, he [the uncle] took 50 Jews and shot them on the spot. He, the 11-year-old, threw the bodies into some kind of hollow in the ground and covered them. For 62 years, he told no one, figuring that the Jews are not important. But when he saw on television how the Pope received the Chief Rabbis with such honor, calling them ‘my older brothers’ in front of the whole world, he said he realized that he did a great sin, and he therefore called the rabbi and said he wants to show him the ‘burial’ spot, and that he wants to atone by helping bring them to proper Jewish burial. This is something that came directly out of our meeting.”

Reported by Arutz Sheva, Israel National News. Jan. 22, 2004.