Archive for the ‘Morality’ Category
Tonight, Saturday, November 27th at 7:00pm, about 80 people came to St. Mary Church in Salem for the Vigil for Nascent Human Life. To see the program we used for our Vigil, based on what our Holy Father presided over in St. Peter’s Basilica, click here: SALEM Vigil for Nascent Human Life
From Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis:
God’s law in the Old Testament is clear and unambiguous: You shall not kill. Jesus is even more demanding: Every one who is angry is liable to judgment.
Sins against the Fifth Commandment are easy to commit. Any time we think, speak or act out of anger or hatred or jealousy or revenge, we abuse God’s commandment that we respect His most precious gift, the gift of life — especially human life.
Human life is sacred because, from its beginning until its natural end, it involves the creative action of God. The Fifth Commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. God alone is the Lord of life. No one has the right to end arbitrarily what God has begun, and sustained, through the gift of His love.
In the account of Abel’s murder by Cain (Genesis 4:8-12), Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in humankind, consequences of original sin, from the beginning of recorded history. God declares this as wicked, and He asks the question to be answered over the ages: “What have you done?” Today this question is asked not only of those who kill someone, but also of those responsible for violence, anger, hatred and vengeance in any form.
It is a shame that there are so many violent words expressed between members of the same family day in and day out. Anger and intolerance are also pervasive in our Church and in society. Such attitudes are destructive and sinful. They are of the Evil One and not of God.
The Fifth Commandment does not stop someone from self defense, because someone who defends his or her own life is not guilty of murder. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but also a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or the security of a nation. We risk our lives to protect ourselves and others because we value human life and freedom so dearly. They are gifts from God that we are bound to cherish and defend.
Since the first century, the Church has addressed the moral evil of abortion and the killing of a defenseless baby in the womb. People who are casual about the sin of abortion and who choose to view it as a political issue rather than the serious moral issue that it is are guilty of violating the Fifth Commandment. You cannot be “pro-choice” (pro-abortion) and remain a Catholic in good standing. That’s why the Church asks those who maintain this position not to receive holy Communion. We are not being mean or judgmental, we are simply acknowledging the fact that such a stance is objectively and seriously sinful and is radically inconsistent with the Christian way of life.
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said, “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and human life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” (“Gaudium et Spes,” No. 51.3). That’s why formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life (see canons 1398,1314, and 1323-1324).
The Fifth Commandment also directs us to work for justice and peace — avoiding war whenever possible — and to limit the use of capital punishment to the most extreme (and rare) circumstances required to protect human life. Only God has the right to take the life of another human being. When we take that action into our own hands — in self-defense or in defense of others — we had better be sure that all other options have been exhausted!
In addition, euthanasia or deliberately taking of the life of someone who is sick, dying, disabled or mentally ill is morally unacceptable. The Church calls for the ordinary care owed to a sick person, but medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous or extraordinary are not necessary. If you are unsure about the moral implications of health care procedures that are being proposed for someone you love, contact your pastor or the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate. They will be happy to help you consider approaches that are in accordance with our Church’s teaching about care for those who are sick or dying.
Taking proper care of our health, respecting others and showing respect for the dead are all matters covered by the Fifth Commandment’s demand that we reverence God’s most precious gift — human life.
You stitched up the Pope and this is how you did it, law professor tells New York Times
This letter was sent to The New York Times by Prof John Coverdale, professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey. It wasn’t accepted for publication, you’ll be astonished to learn. Here it is:
Like many other people, I have felt in recent weeks that some news outlets have unfairly targeted Pope Benedict XVI in connection with sexual abuse by priests.
In part this is a question of emphasis, with daily coverage of what may or may not have been minor mistakes in judgment decades ago and almost no attention to the major efforts Pope Benedict has made to remedy what is undeniably a horrible situation.
With some frequency, however, I have observed what strikes me as deliberate distortion of the facts in order to put Pope Benedict in a bad light. I would like to call your attention to what seems to me a clear example of this sort of partisan journalism: Laurie Goodstein and Michael Luo’s article “Pope Put Off Move to Punish Abusive Priest” published on the front page of the New York Times on April 10, 2010. The story is so wrong that it is hard to believe it is not animated by the anti-Catholic animus that the New York Times and other media outlets deny harboring.
Canonical procedure punishes priests who have violated Church law in serious ways by “suspending” them from exercising their ministry. This is sometimes referred to as “defrocking.” (According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary to “defrock” is to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of an office. )
A priest who has been suspended may request that he be released from his vows of celibacy and other obligations as a priest. If granted, this petition to be “laicized” would leave the former priest free to marry. Laicization (which is altogether different from defrocking and which may apply to a priest who has committed no crime but simply wishes to leave the priesthood) is not further punishment. It is something a priest who has already been punished by being suspended might well desire, as do some priests who have committed no crime and who have not been suspended..
The priest who is the subject of the article had already been punished by being suspended long before his case reached Rome. He asked to be laicized. Cardinal Ratzinger delayed his laicization not his “defrocking” as the article incorrectly says. He had been defrocked years earlier when he was suspended from the ministry. All of this is clear without reference to outside sources to anyone who knows something about Church procedure and reads the article with sufficient care. It is anything but clear, however, to a normal reader.
My complaint here is not that the article misuses the word “defrock” but rather that by so doing it strongly suggests to readers that Cardinal Ratzinger delayed the priest’s removal from the ministry. Delaying laicization had nothing to do with allowing him to continue exercising the ministry, from which he had already been suspended.
Not only does the article fail to make these distinctions, it positively misstate the facts. Its title is “Pope Put off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.” [italics added] It describes Cardinal Ratzinger’s decision as involving whether the abusive priest “should be forced from the priesthood” [italics added]. Even a moderately careful journalist would have to notice that all of this is incompatible with the fact (reported in the second paragraph of the article) that the priest himself had asked for what Cardinal Ratziner delayed.
Had the facts been reported accurately, the article would have said that the priest was promptly punished by being removed from the ministry for his crimes, but that when he asked to be reduced to the lay state, which would have given him the right to marry within the Church, Cardinal Ratzinger delayed granting the petition. That, of course, would hardly have merited front page treatment, much less a headline accusing the Pope of “Putt[ing] off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.”
The second half of the article reports that the priest later worked as a volunteer in the youth ministry of his former parish. This is obviously regrettable and should not have happened, but he was not acting as a priest (youth ministers are laymen, not priests).
A careful reader who was not misled by the inaccuracies in the first part of the article would, of course, realize that his volunteering as a youth minister had no factual or legal connection with Cardinal Ratzinger’s delaying the grant of laicization. The article does not say in so many words that it did, but an average reader might well conclude that there was some connection when he is told that “while the bishop was pressing Cardinal Ratzinger to defrock Mr. Kiesle, the priest began volunteering in the youth ministry of one of his former parishes.”
Any one of these errors might be due to carelessness, but their cumulative effect, coupled with the decision to make this front page news accompanied by a two column photo of Cardinal Raztinger’s signature, strongly suggests to me that something worse than carelessness is involved. I urge you to look into whether some major news outlets have indeed been engaged in a campaign to vilify the Pope and into whether their desire to do so has caused them to slip below minimum standards of professional journalism.
Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a journalist specialising in religion. He was once described by The Church Times as a “blood-crazed ferret”. He is on Twitter as Holy Smoke. Read his blog at:
Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI and Bishop Brandt of Greensburg, PA take actions against religious Sisters and Catholic Health Association over stand on health reformWednesday, April 21st, 2010
WASHINGTON (CNS) — At least two U.S. bishops have taken actions to indicate their disapproval of the support some women’s religious communities and the Catholic Health Association gave to the final version of health care reform legislation. Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has directed diocesan offices, parishes and the diocesan newspaper not to promote the “vocation awareness program of any religious community” that was a signatory to a letter urging members of the House of Representatives to pass the health reform bill. In Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked the Catholic Health Association to remove the diocesan-sponsored St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls, saying that CHA leadership had “misled the public and caused serious scandal” by supporting health reform legislation that the bishops opposed. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was against the measure because its provisions on abortion funding and conscience protections were morally unacceptable. When the bill passed, the bishops reiterated their decades-long support for providing access to health care for all but expressed regret that health care reform came with the possibility of expanded abortion funding and urged vigilance that an executive order by President Barack Obama would, as promised, ensure no federal funds will be spent on abortion. Some Catholic groups reacted with enthusiasm to the passage of health reform and Obama’s executive order, and others said the order would have no effect on abortion funding.
FROM THE CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY:
Dec 11, 2009 / 06:29 am (CNA).- A total of fifteen self-described Catholic Senators voted to table the Nelson-Hatch-Casey Amendment, which would have significantly restricted abortion funding from the Senate health care bill.
The Amendment failed by a 54-45 vote on Tuesday. It was co-sponsored by Democrats Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania, who were joined by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Senator Nelson is a Methodist, Sen. Hatch is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Sen. Casey is a Catholic.
Besides Sen. Casey, Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware was the only other Catholic Democrat to vote against tabling the Nelson Amendment. Sen. Kaufman replaced Sen. Joseph Biden when he became the Vice-President of the United States.
The Catholic Democratic Senators who voted against the Nelson Amendment were Patrick Leahy of Vermont, John Kerry and Paul Kirk of Massachusetts, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington state, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Mark Begich of Alaska.
Sen. Kirk, appointed to replace Sen. Edward Kennedy, is the great-nephew of Archbishop of Boston William Henry Cardinal O’Connell.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Catholic Republican to vote to table the Nelson Amendment.
In a Dec. 7 statement, Sen. Mikulski argued that the Nelson Amendment went “too far” and claimed the unamended bill is pro-life.
“Making it a debate about abortion is misguided and wrong,” she said.
In her view, the bill’s aims of providing universal access to health care, ending the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions and strengthening Medicare are “pro-life principles.”
She claimed that the Nelson Amendment’s allowance of a woman to buy an “abortion rider” to specially cover abortions was “like putting a scarlet ‘A’ on a woman’s forehead.”
“No woman or family will buy such a plan – because no woman expects or intends to have an abortion,” Sen. Mikulski said.
Jason Jones, founder of IAmWholeLife.com, said Sen. Mikulski’s statement showed a “fundamental misunderstanding.”
“There is no social justice when the life of an innocent child is taken by abortion; abortion destroys a whole life and protects no one,” Jones continued. “The greatest threat to human dignity in the United States is the destruction of human life in the womb, not a lack of ‘health care reform.”
Jones urged Sen. Mikulski to take a pledge recognizing that all human rights are based on a respect for all human life, “especially at its earliest stages in the womb
MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN - This is the statement of Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette, issued this morning:
”I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.
”I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.
“There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop’s diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. I have had no communication whatsoever from Bishop Gumbleton.
”As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility. I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion. In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.
”I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”
For more information, to to: http://www.dioceseofmarquette.org
Bishops’ concerns include abortion, conscience, immigrants, affordability, reaffirm commitment to work for reform that respects life and dignity of all
U.S. Bishops: Current Health Care Bills Violate Essential Principles; Will Seek Changes Or Have To Oppose
WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the bishops’ committees working on health care reform urged the U.S. Congress to improve current health care reform legislation, expressing their “disappointment that progress has not been made on the three priority criteria for health care reform” cited in their previous letters.
The October 8 letter from Bishop William Murphy, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop John Wester reiterated the bishops’ main concerns: that no one should be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion, that health care should be affordable and available to the poor and vulnerable, and that the needs of legal immigrants are met.
Bishop Murphy, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Wester chair the U.S. bishops’ committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life Activities and Immigration, respectively.
The bishops reaffirmed their commitment to working with Congress and the Administration toward genuine health care reform, but stated, “If final legislation does not meet our principles, we will have no choice but to oppose the bill.”
“We sincerely hope that the legislation will not fall short of our criteria,” wrote the bishops. “However, we remain apprehensive when amendments protecting freedom of conscience and ensuring no taxpayer money for abortion are defeated in committee votes.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has advocated for health care reform for decades. The bishops wrote that “Catholic moral tradition teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential to protecting human life and dignity. Much-needed reform of our health care system must be pursued in ways that serve the life and dignity of all, never in ways that undermine or violate these fundamental values. We will work tirelessly to remedy these central problems and help pass real reform that clearly protects the life, dignity and health of all.”
For the letter in its entirety, click here: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/national/2009-10-08-healthcare-letter-congress.pdf
“Scripture tells us that the Christian citizen must ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s.’ The press can’t help us with that task, because it doesn’t know, and often doesn’t want to know, the difference. What we owe Caesar above all is honest, vigorous, public moral witness on abortion and every other vital social issue, whether Caesar likes it or not. Our moral witness needs to be formed not by the nightly news, but by learning and living an authentic Catholic faith. And when it is, we’ll be the kind of citizens who can appreciate the genuine service our news media provides to society. We’ll also be the kind of citizens who demand that our news media act with the sobriety, integrity, fairness and honesty their vocation requires.”
(from an address at the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management by Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucsan, June, 2009)
The Holy Spirit, who came on Pentecost, gave voice to the apostles to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. The Spirit, the Soul of the Church, continues to enable the Church to speak, and enables us to speak in our individual capacity. As Bishop Elio Sgreccia, former President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life has said, “The Church must speak out in today’s context on fundamental rights, the right to justice, the right to peace, but above all and in the first place, the right to life. If the Church did not speak, did not proclaim the truth, it would be abandoning its duty; it would be unfaithful to society, to the good of society. Therefore, its precise duty is the very liberty to intervene with word, and also with example — the example of promoting human life, of intervening for the salvation of mankind.”