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Monday, February 25, 2008



No doubt he would interpret any action under the canons mentioned by Ed Peters to be an attempt to interfere with his Constitutional right of free speech.

Those in charge of the National Catholic Reporter ought to disassociate themselves from the offending remarks and discipline Feuerherd, although I'm not going to hold my breath waiting.

One thing is clear. His assessment of Church teaching based upon the acceptance or rejection by large numbers of Catholics in the pew, ie. Humanae Vitae, is a clear indicator that he does not know or does not accept that the Church is not a democracy, and he seems to hold that principle of democracy above his faith.

Perhaps someone should remind him that it is the Episcopal Ecclesial Communion that votes on faith and morals.

There is an old word for what he has done. Rebellion. That is not unique to America but sadly, it is glorified in the culture of which he is so enamored.

Jeff Miller

Ramesh Ponnuru had a good article in reaction to this article here:

My own opinion is that once again the ethic of the seamless garment has been changed into the shameless garment used to cover anything and justify who you want to vote for in the first place. Just plain moral relativism.

Ramesh makes some great points about Joe Feuerherd solutions which just have no evidence as being solutions.


To talk "solutions" first, and address the evil later (if at all), would be missing the point, wouldn't it? It would be a concession that the primary issue is not gravely important. But it is gravely important. The right to life of the unborn is not negotiable--at least that's what I've been taught. So in my view a solutions-based debate without mention of the fundamental question is giving in to the pro-abortion cause.

Suppose the Democrats do bring lots of people out of dire poverty and abortion rates do fall at about the same time, for whatever reason. Yet the pro-abortion culture remains. Would the pro-life movement consider such a situation a partial success? I personally would not. Because in such a situation, society still believes that a person's right to be born hangs only on the will of a few. A society like that is doomed to die.

Leonard Wood Grotenrath Jr.

I may be mistaken but I don't believe that Feuerherd's deplorable comment should be taken as a literal expression of his desire to see the bishops consigned to eternal damnation. It strikes me as more an expression of "non serviam" than anything else. And while I dislike being in the position of defense counsel for anyone associated with NCR, I think it reasonable that he plead to the lesser offense of defiance of legitimate episcopal authority. In any event, he should have the good grace to retract his statement.

Ed Peters

Leonard, the expression "Non serviam" implies noting about what fate one wishes to see for the auhtority figure. Expressions like, "Go to Hell", or "Damn you", or "[May you] be damned" to make such assertion, ps: and for that matter don't necesarily imply Non serviam. Eg. "I'll obey you, but I hope you go to hell."

Dan Deeny

Ramesh Ponnuru has indeed written a very good article on the problems Feuerherd has. I was glad to learn, from Feuerherd, that Bishop Doran of Rockford has connected the abortion business to the Nazis. has also made this connection. Carl Olson should interview Feuerherd and Majerus. But be nice. Remember the RSB.

Ed Peters

Was anyone able to decipher my botched post above? Here's what I meant to say:

Leonard, the expression "Non serviam" implies nothing about what fate one wishes to see visited upon the authority figure, whereas expressions like, "Go to Hell", or "Damn you", or "[May you] be damned", on the otherhand, do make such an assertion. For that matter, these assertions don't necesarily imply a "Non serviam". Eg, one could say, "I'll obey you, but I hope you go to hell."

Feuerherd makes clear his "Non serviam", I grant, but he ALSO expressly wishes damnation on the bishops for challenging his desires.


In the spirit of Lent, I read Feuerherd's Op-Ed. I am pleased to report that as consequence of my doing so and offering up the ensuing (and grave) agony, it seems as if there has been a mass breakout from Purgatory.

I thank Feuerherd for the opportunity to exercise charity toward him.



Joe, I didn't think anything about this situation could make me laugh. Thanks for proving me wrong. The longer I'm a Catholic the less I understand where people get off thinking we're "so negative" when one can make an honest statement like yours and be on solid theological ground.


I am so tired of the neo-con political religion. You know religion is more than advocating for life issues, right?
The Catholic Church in America is not a religion, it's a political action committee.

Leonard Wood Grotenrath Jr.

Dr. Peters,

I remain unpersuaded, but not unpersuadable. Perhaps my attempt at exegesis is no more than eisegesis, although it strikes me as odd that a NCR writer could be found guilty of damning anyone sensu stricto given that NCR and its coterie
have over the years given little evidence of believing in that aspect of eschatological reality. In any event, I would hope that Mr. Feuerherd would be humble enough to heed your admonitions and retract his comment. One can hope!

Ed Peters

nice thoughts, LWG. Interesting to note, F did not publish this in NCRep. In the back of my mind, I'm thinking, NCR would prefer not to go to bat for F on this one. But unless they do something to distance themselves, this is going to invite a scrutiny they shold prefer to avoid. NCR, to my knowledge, has never wished anynone damned.



You know that the Catholic Church as respresented by the Bishops advocate for a wide range of "life issues", against such things as "direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as racism, torture, genocide, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war." (Sister Mary Ann Walsh)
In fact, if you were to examine the Catholic Bishops' position on a wide range of issues quite dear to the left of the political spectrum you would find them in near agreement. (ie. the Iraq war, immigration, etc.) Does that then make them "neo-commies"?
The fact is that you cannot pretend to be on moral high ground on any of the moral issues of this or any election cycle if you do not start from the primary issue of right to life. All the other issues, whether directly or indirectly are life issues and rationally and morally hinge on that basic right. That doesn't have anything to do with right or left. Both parties in this election want to pick and choose their life issues, in my opinion, but the problem is that only one has as a party platform statement that affirms the basic, primary human right to life.

Like it not, abortion is not just one issue among many. It is the one issue that makes sense or makes hypocrisy out of all the other issues, depending on where you stand. Nonchalance is not an option. Not to decide is a decision.


Mocking Mr. Feuerherd's name "Followtheherd" adds nothing to the argument and seems immature.


there seems to be a major problem , and that is the discernment between a life issue and a standard of living issue,, no life ,no standard


Joseph has it precisely right: life must take primacy over quality-of-life. What does an aborted child care about tax reform or health insurance reform? Quality of life matters not at all to the dead.

David Johnson

One political candidate is pro-choice and the other is pro-life.
The pro-choice candidate may, however, not have the stomach or clout to thwart, say, a pro-life bill passed by congress.
The pro-life candidate may pay lip-service to protecting human life, but never gets around to doing anything to successfully promote pro-life laws (in the present case having had decades of time to do something).
Is there a good choice here?

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