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Tuesday, May 19, 2009



MARTIN: I think the politics is very relevant here. I don’t think you can call President Obama pro-abortion.

I mean no disrespect, but is he on crack? Does Fr. Martin honestly believes that Obama is not for abortion? This is truly, truly scary.

What's really going on?


One little line suggested that the President is going to continue pushing pro abortion policies.
In his speech, he said he was going to recraft the "conscience clause" for health care workers so that it was "scientific" and "ethical".

Ah, but what few realize is that among the PC ethicists and scientists, they have redefined the start of a preganancy to implantation in the womb, not fertilization...therefore, the "morning after pill" is now birth control, not an abortifactive agent.

So if you refuse to give it out, you will not have the law to protect your job.

Isn't New-speak wonderful?

Raving Papist

A constitutional scholar who has never published a single paper on constitutional law anywhere, Fr Martin.

Gail F

What about all the people who run abortion clinics? They're not pro-abortion? The people who raise money for abortion clinics? They're not pro-abortion? The doctors who perform abortions day after day AS THEIR JOBS, they're not pro-abortion? This "no one is pro-abortion" line is getting ridiculous.

What a crazy interview! I have read some very nice stuff by Fr. Martin, who came to the priesthood from a very secular life. I hope that, like many secularists, he will eventually come to see that this whole "abortion isn't as big a problem as those pro-life folks say" is a reflexive secular way of thinking that not only has no basis in reality, but is also "irreconcilable" with the Catholic faith -- as President Obama actually said in his speech.


I once had a Protestant friend who found an email of her husband's in which he was trying to set up a "date" with another student in a class he was taking. She asked me whether she should confront him with this or whether that would just make matters worse. Of course I had no idea, but I told her I would ask my parish's new pastor, whom I was scheduled to see later that evening. (I was the faculty representative of the Newman Club.) When I tried to pass on her question, he seemed to think that this was an opportunity for me to move in on her, something I had no interest in doing -- but he didn't warn me to stay away from another man's wife.

I went to Mass that Sunday at the same parish for old-times' sake, but the next week I transferred parishes.

So yes, sadly, I know there are some priests out there who would take a neutral stance towards "I'm struggling with whether or not I should cheat on my wife."


Sure Carl, you can talk all you want about hard numbers like 50,000,000 abortions.

But what about the intangibles like hope and change, and audacity?

Huh Carl?

Joseph Fromm

Fr. James Martin, S.J. is verbally skilled and a media savvy priest. He normally does not paint himself into such a box. I am surprised he so openly endorsed President Obama and his abortion position.

Mary Ellen

The Obama zombies are poster children for the human activity called "projection." If anyone actually listens to Obama, follows a line of dialogue over more than one chapter, they can hear that he lies, triangulates and generally says what he thinks people want to hear. Basically, he plays people. That being said, his abortion rhetoric has been pretty constant. Did Father Martin miss that the only legislative activity that Obama actually worked on and forcefully endorsed was the legislation in re: partial birth abortions and live birth abortions? I mean what kind of person would leave a live baby on a table to die after it survived an abortion? And, Father Martin must have missed that Obama also said that if his daughters made "a mistake" he would want abortion available to them. Everyone knows that abortion is the chief method of birth control of a sexually addicted culture. Obama, born of hippie parents in the sixties, knows this. Again he plays to his audience with this poetic touch in re: women and deep reflection. Give me a break. I agree with Ralph above, Father Martin sounds like he is on something, because he is clearly not in reality.


Fr. Martin says:

I don’t think you can call President Obama pro-abortion. I mean, someone who talked about convening a task force between pro-life and pro-choice people is certainly not someone who is pro-abortion. I don’t know anyone who’s pro-abortion, and I think that label is really very misleading.

Fr. Martin champions America magazine.

Fr. Martin is a Jesuit.

What is his take on homosexuality. I ask because, despite all his civility, he sounds for all the world like a sell out. A terrible thing to say about a priest? Maybe. But his clouding of the issues is a terrible thing. And he needs to be called on it, as a Fr.

The non-disciplinary climate goes on, and the Church continues to sit like a frog in ever hotter water. Does not the overwhelming applause at ND scare you much more than anything Obama himself might say?


Bravo Mr Orroyo, Fr Martin tried to de rail the topic but Raymond pulled it back on course every time and hammered home the following.

…abortion, under no circumstances, can be according to Catholic teaching. It’s an intrinsic evil. That’s not my opinion. That’s the teaching of the Church immemorial.

…the question is not here about the president. It’s about someone representing a pro-abortion policy, and vociferous pro-abortion policies being honoured at a Catholic institution --

Should this university be honouring someone who violates the very fundamental moral values of the Catholic Church?

Dr John James

I'm in Australia, and I'm not familiar with Fr Martin but his position, as he enunciates it, is widespread amongst priests who received their intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries in the 70s and 80s.
It is as though they cannot grasp the role of the Magisterium in the formation of conscience and have little or no appreciation of Natural Law. And as Robbie George outlines in his book, 'The Clash of Orthodoxies', Cardianl Bernadin's "seamless robe" argument became a cover for every Catholic pro choice politician around the World. Cuomo,Kennedy, Justice Brennan, Pelosi, Kerry and the infamous Jesuit, Senator Drinan.


the msm seem to report that this was a win for obama and his followers. and that's probably true. after all, numbers make the difference in democratic societies. if most of the graduating seniors believe they're on the right side of this issue, then they got the education that they paid for--a worldly one that will return to dust with them.

but if all this controversy converted just one soul to the Truth, i believe that Our Lady would be smiling even in the midst of all this sadness.


I thought Fr. Martin didn't come off as well as he normally does on TV. In fact, the only time I have not seen him on TV to good advantage was on NewsHour when he was discussing homosexuality in the priesthood with Fr. Fessio -- the video and transcript are here -- after the Vatican directives on the issue had been made public.

I agree that Fr. Martin very, very rarely paints himself into a corner.

That aside, his books, in my opinion are excellent.


(yet another Joe)


PS The hyperlink to the Fessio/Martin discussion didn't work. Grr. It's here:


No one is pro abortion? What about the new President of the Episcopal Divinity School, Rev. Ragsdale, who called abortion a "blessing"? And if Obama and the Democrats are not pro abortion, why was the "safe, legal and rare" language REMOVED from the Democratic Party Platform for Obama's campaign?

James Martin, SJ

Dear Mr. Olson,

Many thanks for your frank comments, which certainly calls for a friendly response. And I hope you don’t mind if I take a few paragraphs to do this, as I feel obliged to do, especially on a blog named after the founder of my religious order. I think it's always healthy when, to paraphrase St. Paul, we can call another Christian to give an explanation for himself and his faith, so that's what I'll do.

First of all, I am unabashedly pro-life. And in case people think I’m being artfully evasive I mean this: I believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

However, as you could see from the CNN show, I also believe that some in the pro-life movement (defined broadly) sometimes downplays the non-abortion parts of the pro-life tradition: that is, the death penalty, war, feeding the hungry, euthanasia, and so on. These are also important “life” issues. Moreover, I believe that you can be firmly pro-life, as I am, and not agree with the precise strategies, noble as they are, of every quarter of the pro-life movement in reaching our common goals.

That is, you don't have to violently disagree with the Notre Dame decision in order to be pro-life. Nor do you have to speak the use the same language, pursue the same political goals or, in general, do the same things, in order to sincerely and ardently work for an end to abortion.

Also, what I mean by a litmus test is this. Abortion is certainly the pre-eminent life issue these days, but it is not the only one. To my mind that is pretty much a litmus test, and so I think our understanding of what constitutes Catholic moral teaching needs to be broadened. Also, I question the notion of requiring non-Catholic politicians to be covered by the same strictures for honors, since they already do not agree with fundamental ideas like the papacy, church authority and so on. That would also lead to us never honoring (or even having on our boards) non-Christians. That is, could we ever honor a Jew, since he doesn't believe in the Resurrection--another Catholic teaching. At least that is how I see it.

Now, you might disagree with that analysis, which is all right. Because overall, what I was trying to call for--and perhaps I could have done this more articulately--was what we called for in our America magazine editorial, which was charity towards not simply those who are not in the pro-life camp, but perhaps more importantly, charity and fellowship with our fellow pro-lifers who disagree on how to reach our common goal. Only in this way will we all reach that goal, with God's help.

In any event, I hope you take this friendly comment as a sign of our common reverence for the sanctity of all life that God has created.

Please do keep me in your prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James Martin, SJ

Chas Morgan

Following the argument that non-Christians should be honored for a talent even when what talent is exclusively used for death is...bizarre. Obama is hardly a constitutional scholar. He was a lecturer, not a professor. He has no publications except for one unsigned sophomoric article in the Harvard law review that endorsed--you guessed it--abortion rights.


It appears that Fr. Martin has allowed his education and experience to interfere with his vocation; really, now.

With the interest that Fr. Martin might read these comments, I'll refer to my Archbishop:

"There was no excuse – none, except intellectual vanity – for the university (Notre Dame) to persist in its course. And Father Jenkins compounded a bad original decision with evasive and disingenuous explanations to subsequently justify it."

". . . It’s also, just as clearly, an illogical and intellectually shabby exercise in the manufacture of excuses. Father Jenkins’ explanations, and President Obama’s honorary degree, are a fitting national bookend to a quarter century of softening Catholic witness in Catholic higher education. Together, they’ve given the next generation of Catholic leadership all the excuses they need to baptize their personal conveniences and ignore what it really demands to be “Catholic” in the public square."

Obviously, Fr. Martin suffers the same intellectual vanity. Scandalous!


Thanks for your comments:
“the msm seem to report that this was a win for obama and his followers. and that's probably true. after all, numbers make the difference in democratic societies. if most of the graduating seniors believe they're on the right side of this issue, then they got the education that they paid for--a worldly one that will return to dust with them.
but if all this controversy converted just one soul to the Truth, i believe that Our Lady would be smiling even in the midst of all this sadness.”

They may have won this battle and many more to come but they stand on the wrong side of history. The war will be won for Life. Roe v. Wade will end up where it belongs, in the Hall of Judicial Shame atop Dred Scott v.Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson.


Raymond Arroyo did an outstanding job: I watched and cheered him during the CNN segments. He is a remarkable talent and holds his own in the secular, national broadcast media. He not only articulated Catholic teaching in a succint and engaging way, he was respectful, charitable and good humored. How forunate to have a spokesperson like Mr. Arroyo, I hope to see more of him on CNN and other outlets.


It appears Fr. James Martin has mastered the art of casuistry.


Wow Fr. James Martin you are a fine example of why so many Catholics are confused when it comes to the pro life issues and why so many Catholics voted for Obama. I feel very sorry for your parishioners because they obviously get very mixed messages from you. How can you claim that no one is pro abortion? The deacon at our church told us the same thing. Of course people are pro abortion. Respectfully you are indeed delusional to think otherwise. "Pro abortion" simply means that a person supports people having abortions. Do you really believe that there are people (Obama included) who do not support others having abortions? Really?! Why do we have Planned Parenthood organizations? Why did Obama vote against saving babies that were aborted and born alive? Who are you kidding? You say that you are pro life but how can that be if you support others who are pro abortion? Yes pro life includes many other issues besides just abortion but don't you understand the concept of intrinsic evil? Obama should not have been honored at Notre Dame and you should really think about why you became a priest in the first place. You are in a position to guide and educate others about the teachings of the Catholic church NOT your own mixed up views. Jesus does not want us to idolize false Gods so please quit idolizing Obama (who so many liberals believe to be their Messiah). I will pray for you to follow God's path instead of the pro abortionist, Obama.


I just have to disagree with Father Martin's take on bestowing honors on non-catholics like Obama. We seem to be forgetting that the prohibition against abortion is not a matter of Church law; it is a matter of divine law, Thou Shalt Not Kill. Obama states that he is a Christian, so the 5th commandment applies to him simply as a member of the human race.

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