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« Father Robert Barron on the "fetishism of dialogue" | Main | A goal for the pro-life movement »

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


dim bulb

Excellent! Have you seen Dyspepctic Mutterings take on America Magazine's May 11 Editorail jeremiad against those who opposed the Notre Dame stunt?


What you take many words to say in a polite manner can be stated more briefly and bluntly: the apologists for Jenkins and ND are in the tank for Obama and the Democrats, and their rationalizations are smokescreens for the fact that liberalism is their true religion.

Time to stand for God

What seems to have been lost in the controversy are the key elements of the issue President Obama was not invited to participate in a debate or dialogue of fair minded people which would have been perfecly acceptable for a Catholic universty since debate is a valuable learning tool GKChesterton took on Clarence Darrow in a series of debates The Church has courageous defenders who could espouse the Church's teaching effectively and respond to any criticisma and doubts raised in objection to Her teaching .
Instead Notre Dame awards an honorary degree to the President .Again not harmful in itself because university honour degrees are often awarded to public figures who have contributed to society in a significant way. If an hohorary degree was awarded to President Obama for improving AfroAmerican standing in the wider community or for political acumen it would have been credible but to award the President who has openly espoused and continues to flag his unstinting support for the pro "Choice" campaing is a gross betrayal of Truth.
The President's speech was soothing, charming and I imagine very appealing to the young people he addressed He pressed all the right buttons I only hope they do take to heart his urging them to protect God's creation by rallying to vote for and support those who have been fighting tp protect the greatest og GOd's creation the human person. Slavery treated people like a disposable possession It was once legal. Abortion treats the new little person in the womb as a disposable possession. It is now legal WE all must do everything in our power to help reach the minds and hearts of our fellow human beings to end legal abortion in the same way that slavery was declared illegal.

Francis Beckwith

The "reduce the number of abortions" argument is virtually unmeasurable. For example, suppose that abortions increase dramatically over the next five years. Then, two decades later the abortion rate decreases. Why? There were fewer females conceived two decades earlier to have the abortions two decades later. So, ironically, one way to decrease abortions is to increase abortions.

On the other hand, suppose abortions decrease after Obama institutes certain social programs. How do we know that the decrease is not the consequence of fewer females conceived in the 1980s when abortion was at its peak? Also, how do we know that this approach just reinforces the idea that abortion is a right that should be exercised if the government does not provide assistance. So, ironically, the very programs that decrease abortions may help to nurture the very moral sentiments that produced the abortion mentality to begin with. Thus, reducing the number of abortions may have the unintended consequence of creating citizens who do not understand the real reason why abortion is wrong: it unjustly kills an intrinsically valuable human person.

With all due respect to Fr. Martin, reducing the number of abortions is not the goal of the prolife movement. However, one goal of the prolife movement is to reduce the number of people who believe that reducing the number of abortions is the goal of the prolife movement.

T. Shaw

What Sawyer wrote!!!!!!


Case closed.

Daniel G. Fink

I've witnessed this many times over by those in the Respect Life Apostolate...

Will we ever see Father Thomas Reese, SJ., protesting outside the walls of Banned Parenthood?

Howard Richards

As bad as segregation? Say it ain't so! I never would have thought that being chopped into pieces was as bad as being forced to ride in the back of a bus! You really must be more temperate in your language!

Paul H

"Put simply, this caricature of the pro-life movement is incorrect. It needs to be vigorously corrected; it needs to go away. It is harming the good name of numerous people who are doing good things but are being misrepresented or misunderstood. We expect such from the media and from abortion-rights politicians, but it is painful to hear from other Catholics."

Well said, Carl.

I get a similar criticism all the time in discussions with pro-choice people, and even from some pro-life people. The criticism I so often hear is that the pro-life movement is concerned only with political matters, such as overturning Roe v. Wade, and nothing else. If only we were more concerned with supporting women facing crisis pregnancies, etc., we would have more credibility.

I always respond by saying that based on my involvement with the pro-life movement, and based on my interactions with many other people in the pro-life movement, that this criticism is patently false and absurd.

Yes, of course we want Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and of course we often work to elect pro-life politicians. But when I draw on my own experience in pro-life groups, and when I quantify the amount of time spent on political matters vs. the amount of time spent on other things like providing material and spiritual support to pregnant women and moms with young children, praying for an end to abortion, and educating people on life issues, I find that the political realm is just one small-to-medium-size piece of the overall pro-life picture.

Consider the fact that in the United States there are hundreds and hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers, in big cities and small towns across the country (my town of only 6,000 people even has one), with most of these pregnancy centers staffed by volunteers and supported by charitable donations. Where did this huge network of crisis pregnancy centers come from, and how does it continue to exist, if pro-life people only care about political issues and don't do anything to help women facing crisis pregnancies?

Sometimes I think (cynically, but perhaps accurately) that if pro-lifers pushed for *legislation* to have government-run and government-funded crisis pregnancy centers, then people who make this criticism would think we really cared. The fact that pro-lifers have established these crisis pregnancy centers virtually everywhere in the country mostly with private efforts and private funding somehow seems to make the whole endeavor less legitimate in the eyes of some people. (Though to me, it makes it 1000 times MORE legitimate!)

Marcel LeJeune

Carl - thanks for taking the time to charitably answer Fr. Martin. Your argument is well thought out and solid. I hope others have the opportunity to read it.

vince manning

Please address that aspect of Obama's speech that requires Catholics to doubt their faith in order to have "dialogue" with pro-abortion pols like Obama,Pelosi,et al.Obama was quite clear that the failure to doubt was arrogant and prideful.He,though,must have none,since he's willing to allow the murder of innocents who just might be humans with souls.

The Ironic Catholic

Now THIS is dialogue.

Well done. And thank you for the charitable tone--it underscores every point you make.

And I think we should thank Fr. Martin for engaging in the first place (as you do, but the commenters should join in).


Other than for some of the Catholic spokespersons for the political left, I would not be as categorical as Sawyer. There are many Catholics who honestly but erroneously believe that the way to living Catholic social doctrine is in the first instance political and the second place socialist/liberal/left (pick one degree along that continuum) social policy. They may believe this from being taught, or from liberal culture at home, or from simple family party allegiance. But one way or another, their understanding of either Catholic social teaching, socialist politics or both is defective. This includes a lot of clergy as well. In a banana republic this I could understand, but it is sad that this could be the case in America whose birthright of freedom is right there to learn and absorb, but which for so many is lost in the mists of the past.

But as Sawyer points out, there are many who would compromise their faith before they would compromise that leftist ideology, and the seamless garment is being used as a cloak to hide the truth.

James Martin, SJ

From today's L'Osservatore Romano (!) Obama "not pro-abortion"


Fr. Martin,

As others have pointed out, L'Osservatore Romano does not speak for the Pope:

Scott N

Yes, and I am also not personally for slavery or spousal abuse but I think that is a choice that others must make. Who am I to say otherwise. I also believe that the right to own slaves and commit spousal abuse should be rigorously defended and in fact Federal dollars spent in this pursuit, although I am personally against it. Excellent point. We can all now agree that I am not pro-slavery or pro-spousal abuse, in fact, who is really?

Carl E. Olson

Fr. Martin:

L'Osservatore Romano, or at least its editors, is embarrassing itself. Any reasonable person knows that "pro-choice" equates, in the end, to supporting, promoting, and defending abortion, which is pro-abortion, no matter what sleight of semantics are attempted. Dozens of bishops have noted that President Obama is pro-abortion, including Cardinal Francis George. Obama's public record is one of ardent support of abortion, and his first 100 days in office revealed the same unrelenting focus and refusal to "yield" to pro-life arguments and concerns.

Robert Miller


A splendid reply.

The one thing you didn't develop was the fact that ND provided BO a platform to advance the agenda of "Catholic" university, high school and even grade school teachers; many religious orders; the predatory lay clericals who run our parishes and many of our chanceries; VOTF and the whole pack of tired old Catholic liberal activist jokers who want to create a big-tent American "Catholic" Church.

Hitler didn't succeed in getting a German National Catholic Church. But BO looks like he's got a lot of accomplices on board to make it happen in the US.

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