THE POLITICAL “CHANGE” WE NEED:
Catholics to Practice Their True Faith
by The Orlando Truth
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
THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN LIFE
ABORTION—A DECISIVE ISSUE
ABORTION MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE
ABORTION—AN INTRINSIC EVIL
A WELL-FORMED CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE
NOT JUST ANOTHER ISSUE
NOT A MATTER OF INDIVIDUAL CHOICE
ABORTION—A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE
PRO-ABORTION—IS THIS WHAT OBAMA MEANS?
“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?
SAME SEX MARRIAGE
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 liberal ideas underlying the Radicals’ world-view include:
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!