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Thursday, November 08, 2007


Francis Beckwith

Ironically, the statement appeals to "our common humanity," even though the debate over abortion is one over which our common humanity is in dispute. How can this group appeal to a principle whose own veracity is considered controversial by those who do not recognize the common humanity of the smallest members of our population?


The statement is internally inconsistent:

"As lay Catholics we should not pass judgment, and should avoid public statements that undermine the authority of the Church's leaders. American Catholics know who their Church leaders are: their Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals."

Ummmm...... isn't the statement itself passing judgment on bishops who have opposed and would oppose Catholic politicians persisting in manifest grave sin?

Ummmm...... isn't the statement itself undermining the authority of the Church's leaders by telling them what they should and should not do, not to mention by communicating that bishops who act like leaders should stop acting that way?

Brian Schuettler

..."Others, for political and even ecclesiastical reasons, seek the public embarrassment of politicians whose public positions differ with Church teachings through the public refusal of the sacrament of Holy Communion or public admonition by the Bishops... To right this wrong, we should observe the following principles."

"To right this wrong...": a judgment has been made, obviously, that Abp. Burke and others are wrong and they have not yet bowed to the pluralistic tolerance of dogmatic secularism wherein everything is nothing and nothing is everything. If they don't listen, they will have no soon feel. To publicly embarrass politicians simply will not be tolerated in our sinless culture and a price must be exacted. Legislated "hate speech" proscriptions are close at hand, perhaps also some form of martyrdom. It has come more quickly than many of us anticipated but, nevertheless, it is here. Enter the dragon.


In general a very poorly written document - probably the result of
a committee meeting at 1 am.

For instance

As Americans we acknowledge deep divisions over some policy issues; and recognize that some, who are active in political life and who differ with the Church’s teachings on certain issues, such as, abortion, stem cell research, the death penalty, and the justification for war, air their differences in public and criticize the Church for these teachings.

Church teaching on abortion and stem cell research are fairly clear. What do they mean by justification for war? Is this just thrown in to make the sentence undecipherable?

Rules of civility

1. Intolerance will not be tolerated.

2. Dissent good, fidelity bad.

3. Everyone is equal but politicians are more equal than others.

4. If you can't say something nice about abortion then don't say anything at all.

5. Jesus commands you to forgive whomever we say you should forgive
- even if they're not sorry and have no intention of mending their ways. (see 1.)

6. Politicians are good preachers (see preachy article above).
Bishops are bad preachers.


uh oh I forgot to follow the law that says you can not make fun of Catholic politicians.

I'm sorry.

Robert Miller

I think perhaps the statement should be entitled "Up from Pluralism". For many years now, an appeal to the "values" of pluralism has been the escape hatch for Catholics who don't want to be serious about their faith in public life. The pluralist value system acknowledged that there are some fundamental issues about which Americans disagreed. Until recent decades, committed Catholic pluralists (e.g., JFK) were relieved that these fundamental disagreements didn't figure as issues in "practical politics", because pluralism had no answer for questions like: "What if one or more of our plural belief strains decides that murder is OK, and they have the votes to legalize it?"

Now that that, among other fundamental issues, has become a live issue of practical politics, erstwhile Catholic pluralists have devised a new "doctrine" -- the precedence of "civility". This doctrine is a clear "advance" on pluralism because it holds that the perceived good and needs of civil society take precedence over faith, morals and charity. It imitates the post-Cold War 1990s European quest for a "civil society" that would enable a secular polity to "transcend" the earlier arguments about ideology, faith and morality. The results of this quest may be seen in the political and cultural bankruptcy of Europe today -- the bankruptcy Pope Benedict so urgently seeks to repair.


Yes, because being in public sin,, is being judgemental, oh yes (note sarcasm)

MMajor Fan

It is interesting to think about how history would have been different if Roe v. Wade had gone in the direction of being state by state rather than a country wide Federal decision. Then the bishops would have been more firmly in their territory, making diocese decisions about administering the sacraments in such cases with the local politicians who actually decide on abortion for and within their home state. It's another ripple of a terrible decision, where individual bishops have to make "what if" decisions about national politicians while local bishops are not in control because their flock are not the decision makers. That would have been closer to the historic Church where bishops were able to make these decisions about sacraments because the political decision makers were residing and operating within their home diocese. It's another way to appreciate how Roe's decision being federal and countrywide flummoxes the traditional role of the pastoral bishop. Church history is full of examples where local bishops had to wrestle with kings, dukes and other local power brokers, withholding sacraments, excommunicating and so forth where they deem appropriate. When Roe went Federal as a country wide decision that effectively blocked the connection between the local bishop and the politician, say nothing of the problem of where the politician even attends service, if he or she does at all. While I'm critical of weak bishops I don't think many people have pondered what I've just pointed out, that Roe broke thousands of years of local diocese bishop to local politician parishioner interaction.

MMajor Fan

Just to add an example to what I just wrote. Suppose that abortion had been ruled to be a state by state matter. Let's say that 20 states made abortion legal and 30 did not. It would not matter if weak kneed bishops were in the states where abortion was illegal anyway. But the bishops in the states where abortion were legal would have what was their 2000 year old historic duty to manage their diocese where the abortion voting politicians would have been their local parishioners. There would have been an abundance of opportunity for dialogue, formation and clarity on a diocese bishop-local residing and voting politician parishioner basis. Politicians would not be able to say as they do now that they have to represent "the people of the United States" because they would be the state local politicians who decided whether abortion was legal or not in their state, where they reside and where they presumably worship and seek the sacraments. There would be an abundance of clarity of mutual responsibilities and residence and worshiping venue, which is totally lacking in the present deplorable condition where it is "countrywide" politics with everyone "speaking for the American people" and a free for all and an abundance of butt-in-skis in what should have been formation and enforcement of local diocese canonical matters.

Brian Schuettler

MaryMajor, that was brilliant. I never thought of that scenario nor have I ever read it anywhere. Excellent!

MMajor Fan

Thank you Brian! I've not seen anyone make that observation either so I'm glad I posted this. It's crucial that Catholics be aware of how political configurations in various issues often undercut our traditional organizational coordination, responsibilities and responses.

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