Archive for the “Politics and Faith” Category

I really enjoyed Mike Huckabee as a candidate and though I haven’t seen much of him since he joined Fox News, I do enjoy him there as well.  The below is his Christmas message to his viewers.

Below is the transcript of the message. (more…)

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The student newspaper of Catholic University has published this article on a speech given by Cardinal Stafford last week.

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”

This destruction and America’s decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court’s decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” said Stafford.

Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”) reaffirms traditional Catholic teachings regarding abortion, contraception and other human life issues. Pope Benedict XVI said in May it is “so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity’s future…What was true yesterday is true also today.”

Monsignor Livio Melina, president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, gave the opening address at the lecture and spoke about the importance of agape love to gain knowledge.
“Love itself is a form of knowledge, and this knowledge cannot be objectified,” said Melina. “It is a unique relationship between the believer and God.”

Stafford said the truest reflection of the love between the believer and God is that of the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit anywhere within that framework.
According to Stafford, the inner dynamic of a spousal relationship is much like the body itself, which ‘speaks’ in terms of masculinity and femininity.

“The experience of love introduces us in a specific way to moral knowledge,” added Melina.

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Well, the American people have spoken, and Barack Obama is now the president elect of the United States.  My congratulations to Senator Obama for his victory in a very hard fought campaign.  He will be my president just like everyone else’s.

It remains vital to this country that we  maintain (and strengthen) our collective moral compass and that all of us to continue the fight for the unborn.  In fact we must continue that fight with renewed conviction.  However, in our opposition, we need to afford President Obama the respect and dignity as president that has not been afforded President Bush.  While I must admit the gut instinct to respond in kind to the vitriol we have heard over the past eight years, as Christians we are expected to lead by our example.

We must all pray for this man and continue to pray for our country and all of our elected officials.   We also must pray and fight for the issues at the core of Catholic morality, particularly the sanctity of life, the sanctity of the family and the sanctity of marital relations.

As we hear very often from the campaigns “May God bless the USA!”

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In this article, the Bishop Hermann from St. Louis underscores what I have been saying in my last few posts:

The Catholic Church teaches that the issue of life is the most basic issue and must be given priority over the issue of the economy, the issue of war or any other issue.

The bishop goes on to make his point in a very interesting and straightforward way.

“Judgment Day is on its way. We cannot stop it. We don’t know when it will come, but just as surely as the sun rises daily, the Son of Man will come when we least expect.

Judgment Day is on its way. For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us in 10:32-33: “Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Judgment Day is on its way. When my time comes, I will be measured by my Savior for the decisions I have made. I will either be acknowledged by Jesus or denied by Him in the presence of our heavenly Father. The question I need to ask myself is this: What kind of witness will I give to Him when I go into the voting booth this election day?

The decision I make in the voting booth will reflect my value system. If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble. Pope John Paul II, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici tells us: “Above all, the 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, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy. I am living proof of this, since I am here because my parents believed this priority and lived it. My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion.

and

The Catholic Church teaches, in its catechism, in the works of Pope John Paul II and in the writings of Pope Benedict XVI, that the issue of life is the most basic issue and must be given priority over the issue of the economy, the issue of war or any other issue. These same teachings inform us that when both candidates permit the right to abortion, but unequally so, we must chose to mitigate the evil by choosing the candidate who is less permissive of abortion.

Judgment Day is on its way! I may deny it. I may pretend that it is still far away, I may deny that my actions are sinful, but that will not change God’s judgment of me.
The deepest problem with many of our Catholics is that they have become so accustomed to rationalizing away a life of sinful actions so that they seem to be on cruise control, heading in the wrong direction. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

I recommend reading the whole article, especially if you are unclear what the church teaches about the implications of voting.  Unfortunately, many Catholic priests and bishops won’t tell it to you straight for fear of alienating parishioners, which is a tragic mistake.

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One of the rationalizations by those who are “pro-life” but supporting Obama for president is that it really won’t make much of a difference.  They’re not going to overturn Roe v. Wade anyway.

If our next president does nothing else, they will appoint between 33% and 55% of the Supreme Court justices that will be in power (an unfortunate phrasing for SCOTUS but an accurate one for activist courts) for a generation.  This alone should sway pro-life voters.  But suppose the two candidates had the identical picks for the court and this wasn’t an issue at all (accepting that this hypothetical scenario has no basis in reality).

The wrong choice in this election – Barack Obama – would still be the most devastating blow to the sanctity of life since 1973.  The reason is an innocuously named Freedom of Choice Act.  What is the FOCA?  Senator Barbara Boxer, co-sponser of the bill, has said: “The Freedom of Choice Act supercedes any law, regulation or local ordinance that impinges on a woman’s right to choose. ”

This article from the diocese of Paterson, New Jersey details what this act really means in language its sponsors prefer not to discuss.  Barack Obama supports this bill and has promised to sign it. Make no mistake that if Obama is elected, Pelosi and Reid will hand carry it on his desk and help him hold the pen. Not that President Obama would need the support. In addressing the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (July 17, 2007), he asserted that “the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.”

With a stroke of his pen, partial birth abortions ban will be invalidated.

On April 18, 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart, The Supreme Court upheldthe Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. The very next day prominent Democratic members of Congress reintroduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The bill is misleadingly packaged as a freedom bill. It is not! It is a clear act of unreasoned bias to end abruptly and brutally the debate on the pressing and fundamental moral issue of the right to life.

For thirty-five years, Americans have been wrestling with The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade. Most Americans now favor some kind of a ban on abortion. Most who allow abortion would do so only in very rare cases. In fact, in January, 2008, the Guttmacher Institute published its 14th census of abortion providers in the country. Its statistics showed that the abortion rate continues to decline. Abortions have reached their lowest level since 1974. There is truly a deep sensitivity to life in the soul of America.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would mortally wound this sensitivity. In effect, it would dismantle the freedom of choice to do all that is necessary to respect and protect human life at its most vulnerable stage. FOCA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It arrogantly prohibits any law or policy interfering with that right. While advocates trumpet this law as the triumph of the freedom of choice, they hide the dark reality that the law would actually inhibit choice.

Laws protecting the rights of nurses, doctors and hospitals with moral objections to abortion would no longer stand. Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics would also vanish. Gone the freedom of health care professionals to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath “to prescribe regimens for the good of …patients…and never do harm to anyone, to please no one [by prescribing] a deadly drug nor [by giving] advice which may cause his death.” Gone the freedom of conscience so essential for a civil society!

With a stroke of his pen, American taxpayers would be forced to fund abortions despite their moral objections.

If a minority of avid abortionists succeed to impose this law because of the ignorance or apathy of the majority, the law would force taxpayers to fund abortions. Gone the freedom of taxation with representation!

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The following are excerpts from  a letter from Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, Bishop of Scranton, PA and read at every parish.  I encourage every Catholic voter to read the entire letter.

Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI predicted that widespread use of artificial contraceptives would lead to increased marital infidelity, lessened regard for women, and a general lowering of moral standards especially among the young. Forty years later, social scientists, not necessarily Catholics, attest to the accuracy of his predictions. As if following some bizarre script, the sexual revolution has produced widespread marital breakdown, weakened family ties, legalized abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, same-sex unions, euthanasia, destruction of human embryos for research purposes and a host of other ills.

Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don’t think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: The finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of “social justice.” (more…)

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I turned on the news tonight and saw a debate on the importance of the abortion question in this presidential election.  There were representatives from both campaigns detailing the history of their candidates records on life issues, and explaining the importance of their position to the future direction of the United States.The democratic representative discussed Senator Obama’s vote in the Illinois Senate opposing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, explaining that in his judgment, it was more important in the big picture to protect the “right” of women to kill their children than to support the right of a living, breathing baby who was after all “unwanted” to receive medical attention.  He also defended Obama’s perfect record of supporting Planned Parenthood and NARAL as essential to keeping the pro-life movement from making it more difficult for a mother to exercise her “right” to kill her unborn child.The republican representative explained John McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s view that life begins at the moment of conception and from that time forward, that child is entitled to all of the rights and protections as the rest of us.  They also underscored that Roe vs. Wade is bad law and bad policy, and they would nominate judges who would strictly interpret the written US Constitution and not define it as a living, breathing document in which the founding fathers hadn’t  intended a panel of nine citizens to make new laws because they felt it was “better for the country.”

The above is of course pure fiction.  The Obama campaign and their willing accomplices in the media are doing everything they can to not allow these critical differences to get any attention.   One reason is that Catholic voters (and many others) seduced by the rhetoric about fairness, healthcare and justice are completely at odds with Obama’s record and devastating policies regarding the culture of death. (more…)

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The Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput has written an open letter to the Catholics of the Archdiocese entitled “ON THE SEPARATION OF SENSE AND STATE: A CLARIFICATION FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH IN NORTHERN COLORADO responding to Nancy Pelosi’s interview on Meet the Press.

In the letter he writes:

Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the “separation of Church and state.” But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a “political” issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.

He goes on to present a real Catholic historical assessment of the Church’s history on this issue and concludes:

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the “separation of Church and state” does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.

I think Chaput makes an excellent point about the “one-way” separation. Pelosi will always use the separation of church and state when defending abortion rights, but as a politician, has no hesitation about throwing her politics into her religion. As a Catholic, I am always upset when politicians make policy that is harmful to unborn children, but I am incensed about Pelosi’s blatant misrepresentation of the faith she claims to practice. When taking a position like she has, she cannot represent her policies as a personal decision, but shines a light on the affront she is making on the Church and its moral teaching.

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This article from the Catholic News Agency details the snub of the Catholic Archbishop of the Democratic Convention’s host city.

Denver, Aug 20, 2008 / 03:05 am (CNA).- Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput was not invited to pray or speak at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, in what former Boston mayor Ray Flynn called a “serious oversight” and an “insult” to the values of pro-life Catholics.The archbishop himself reportedly did not take the lack of an invitation personally.

The several Catholics on the Democratic Convention’s program include former Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca, “Dead Man Walking” author Sister Helen Prejean, social justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton and Pepperdine University professor Douglas W. Kmiec, the Washington Times says.

Raymond Flynn, former Democratic mayor of Boston and former ambassador to the Vatican during the Clinton administration, said not inviting the archbishop to pray or speak was “a serious oversight.”

“Chaput is one of the most respected leaders of the Catholic Church in America,” he said, according to the Washington Times. “His record is a strong commitment to social and economic justice and the principles of the Catholic faith. He’s also a strong patriot.

“Pro-life Democrats who are proud Catholics like myself feel this is an insult to our values… The party should be aware there are strong pro-life people who are politically successful,” Flynn continued.

Archbishop Chaput explained his own reaction to the absence of an invitation.

“I’m happy to see they are having prayer at their sessions, and they have a right to choose whom they want to do that,” he said.

Remarking about the Catholics chosen, he said, “Hopefully, they will know being Catholic is more foundational to their identity than anything else.”

On Monday, August 25, the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, the archbishop will join Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., in a prayer vigil against abortion near a Planned Parenthood Clinic. The vigil will take place in Martin Luther King Park in Denver.

Natalie Wyeth, a press secretary for the DNC contacted by the Washington Times, said the archbishop informed them he was too busy to attend.

Archbishop Chaput’s book “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” was recently published in what the archbishop said was an attempt “to convince people they should not be embarrassed at being Catholic and not buy the supposedly American notion that people should shelve their faith when they enter the public square.”

“I am tired of people telling religious folks to be quiet in the public square because of constitutional questions of separation of church and state,” he said. “I hope this encourages people to become confident and active.”

Archbishop Chaput said the United States’ 47 million Catholic voters, many of whom have historically belonged to the Democratic Party, in former years could have “demanded that abortion not be part of the platform, but they did not.”

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The Catholic League has responded to the preposterous claim by Nancy Pelosi that the Catholic church has (or more specifically the “doctors of the Church” – whoever they are)  have not been able to define when life begins.  Unfortunately, many Catholic politicians are on the wrong side of this issue, but one has to wonder whether it is her understanding of her faith is so poorly formed or if it’s just wanton disregard for teachings that she doesn’t like.  Does she really believe that the Catholic Church’s teaching – the interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – would sanction abortion?

On yesterday’s NBC-TV show, “Meet the Press,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment on when life begins. Here is what she said: “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition.”

When Tom Brokaw told her that the Catholic Church “feels very strongly” that life begins at conception, Pelosi said, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: ‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.’ It also says, ‘Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.’ Looks like Pelosi didn’t study the subject long enough. But not to worry: We are sending her a copy of Catholicism for Dummies today (the Catechism is like maybe a bit advanced).

“Whether Joe Biden is as ignorant of what his religion teaches remains to be seen. What is not in doubt is the enthusiasm which NARAL showed when he was selected to join the ticket. The radical pro-abortion group was delighted, as were the radical pro-abortion delegates to the Democratic convention: as reported in today’s New York Times, 64 percent of Americans reject abortion-on-demand, yet only 23 percent of the delegates do. It is only fitting, then, that NARAL’s president will speak today at the Convention and Planned Parenthood’s president will speak tomorrow.

“So there we have it: the man running for president on the Democratic ticket supports selective infanticide, his running mate is a pro-abortion Catholic, the delegates are wildly out of step with Americans on abortion and the Speaker of the House hasn’t a clue what her religion teaches on the subject.”

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