Archive for the ‘Culture of Death’ Category

Catechesis on the 5th Commandment

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Archbishop Carlson ordains 8 Priests this Summer

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.

Bishop Tobin of Providence, RI and Bishop Brandt of Greensburg, PA take actions against religious Sisters and Catholic Health Association over stand on health reform

Wednesday, 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.

Fifteen Catholic Senators voted against the Nelson Amendment

Friday, December 11th, 2009

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

Great quote from a wise woman!

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

by Dr. Alveda King

Niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.dr-alveda-king

“The great irony is that abortion has done what the Klu Klux Klan only dreamed of…. Roughly one quarter of the black population is now missing!”

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, CO: We have a duty to pray for President Obama– and to oppose him!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

 

 

“We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good — insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.  We also have the duty to oppose him when he’s wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters.”

Most graduation speeches are a mix of piety and optimism designed to ease students smoothly into real life. The best have humor. Some genuinely inspire. But only a rare few manage to be pious, optimistic, evasive, sad and damaging all at the same time. Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, is a man of substantial intellect and ability.  This makes his introductory comments to President Obama’s Notre Dame commencement speech on May 17 all the more embarrassing.

Let’s remember that the debate over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was never about whether he is a good or bad man. The president is clearly a sincere and able man. By his own words, religion has had a major influence in his life. We owe him the respect Scripture calls us to show all public officials. We have a duty to pray for his wisdom and for the success of his service to the common good — insofar as it is guided by right moral reasoning.

We also have the duty to oppose him when he’s wrong on foundational issues like abortion, embryonic stem cell research and similar matters. And we also have the duty to avoid prostituting our Catholic identity by appeals to phony dialogue that mask an abdication of our moral witness. Notre Dame did not merely invite the president to speak at its commencement. It also conferred an unnecessary and unearned honorary law degree on a man committed to upholding one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history: Roe v. Wade.

In doing so, Notre Dame ignored the U.S. bishops’ guidance in their 2004 statement, Catholics in Political Life. It ignored the concerns of Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Notre Dame’s 2009 Laetare Medal honoree – who, unlike the president, certainly did deserve her award, but finally declined it in frustration with the university’s action. It ignored appeals from the university’s local bishop, the president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, more than 70 other bishops, many thousands of Notre Dame alumni and hundreds of thousands of other American Catholics. Even here in Colorado, I’ve heard from too many to count.

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

These are hard words, but they’re deserved precisely because of Father Jenkins’ own remarks on May 17: Until now, American Catholics have indeed had “a special expectation, a special hope for what Notre Dame can accomplish in the world.” For many faithful Catholics – and not just a “small but vocal group” described with such inexcusable disdain and ignorance in journals like Time magazine — that changed Sunday.

The May 17 events do have some fitting irony, though. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Notre Dame provided the forum for Gov. Mario Cuomo to outline the “Catholic” case for “pro-choice” public service. At the time, Cuomo’s speech was hailed in the media as a masterpiece of American Catholic legal and moral reasoning. In retrospect, it’s clearly adroit. 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.

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George has suggested that Notre Dame “didn’t understand” what it means to be Catholic before these events began. He’s correct, and Notre Dame is hardly alone in its institutional confusion. That’s the heart of the matter. Notre Dame’s leadership has done a real disservice to the Church, and now seeks to ride out the criticism by treating it as an expression of fringe anger. But the damage remains, and Notre Dame’s critics are right. The most vital thing faithful Catholics can do now is to insist – by their words, actions and financial support – that institutions claiming to be “Catholic” actually live the faith with courage and consistency. If that happens, Notre Dame’s failure may yet do some unintended good. 

Bishop Finn of Kansas City, MO: President Obama’s position on abortion is irreconcilable with Catholic Church

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Bishop Finn of Kansas City, MO

KANSAS CITY, Missouri, MAY 22, 2009 – 

Although University of Notre Dame president, Fr. Jenkins, spoke hopefully about dialogue, President Barack Obama threw that desire “back in his face,” according to Bishop Robert Finn.

The Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph affirmed this Monday in an interview with the diocesan newspaper regarding the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama at last Sunday’s commencement ceremony.

To date, 83 prelates have publicly denounced the decision as going against 2004 guidelines set by the U.S. bishops’ conference for Catholic institutions of higher education, which state that schools should not bestow honors on individuals who “act in defiance” of the Church’s fundamental teachings.

We cannot give up working with the administration, Bishop Finn said, but “we’re fighting for our lives — literally.”

He continued: “We are attempting to protect real unborn children by the thousands. We’re fighting for the right to exercise a rightly formed conscientious difference with public policy.” 

“We shouldn’t underestimate the danger of dragging our feet in this effort, or taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. If we are not ready to make a frontal attack on the protection of conscience rights, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, and the primacy of authentic marriage, we will lose in these areas.”  He added, “If we sit back and allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of peace and cooperation in regards to these things, then we will lose these battles and, later, wonder why.”

 The prelate commented on the commencement speech by the university president, Father John Jenkins, who employed a series of “very hard words,” such as “division, pride, contempt, demonize, anger, distort, hateful, condemn, hostility.”

 These words, he said, might be understood as a “caricature” of the bishops who spoke out against the invitation.

Bishop Finn noted that Father Jenkins’ address focused on encouraging dialogue, and to this end, it referenced Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II’s “Ex Corde Ecclesiae,” and the Second Vatican Council.

The prelate affirmed, “Dialogue is important, but the question is fairly raised, ‘May we negotiate about things that are intrinsic evils?’ and I think the answer is no.”He continued: “The bishops realize the very destructive decisions that President Obama promised to make concerning the life issues, and now has been making in connection with abortion and human embryonic stem cell research. This is serious business; it is about life and death.”

The bishop explained that the scandal of Notre Dame’s decision arises from its “potential of confusing people concerning the Catholic teaching against abortion, and on the priority of abortion among other issues of public policy.”

He noted that in the commencement address, Obama “said that the differences that we have on abortion — namely the Catholic Church’s staunch opposition to abortion and his staunch support of abortion were ‘irreconcilable.'”

 “And at that moment,” the prelate stated, “it would seem to me that the dialogue came to a screeching halt.”

“Father Jenkins’ expressed desire for dialogue, whether it was well-founded or justified, at that point got thrown back in his face,” he added.

 Bishop Finn explained: “The president shut the door on dialogue by saying that there was not going to be any change in his position on abortion and he understood that there was not going to be any change in the Church’s position on abortion.

“To me, that was the lesson of the day. I am glad that Mr. Obama was so clear.”

Although some may have seen it as a positive step that Obama spoke about “reducing unintended pregnancies,” the bishop said, “I fear” this will be through the “promotion of Planned Parenthood and contraceptive services.”

He noted the president’s support for the Prevention First Act, which is “not about abstinence education” but rather about “promoting contraception and giving Planned Parenthood a huge blank check.”

“If Catholics don’t see a problem with this,” said Bishop Finn, “then I don’t think they understand the threat it represents to the meaning of marriage, to fidelity, to chastity, to the very sanctity of human life and intimate love.”

 

Bishop D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend will not attend Notre Dame Commencement

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

.- Bishop John M. D’Arcy has issued a statement saying that he won’t be attending Notre Dame’s commencement exercises, which will feature President Obama as the keynote speaker and honor him with a doctor of laws degree.

The Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said that he was not informed of the decision to allow Obama to speak and be awarded a degree until just before the White House announced the news.

Of particular concern to the bishop is the fact that “President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred.

“While claiming to separate politics from science,” said D’Arcy, “he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.”

Pointing to a 2004 U.S. Bishops’ statement that calls on Catholic institutions not to honor those who thwart Church beliefs, Bishop D’Arcy said that “the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.”

Notre Dame has also announced that it plans to award former Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon with its Laetare Medal. Bishop D’Arcy explained that he encouraged her to accept the medal and use the opportunity to teach, presumably about Church’s defense of all human life.

Bishop D’Arcy’s boycott of the event joins some 50,000 people who have already signed a petition asking Notre Dame’s president to withdraw Obama’s invitation to speak at the Catholic institution.

The full statement of Bishop D’Arcy follows.

Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame
graduation, receiving honorary law degree

March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.

I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.

Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige.

Notre Dame Scandal: sign the petition!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
President Barack Obama – Commencement Speaker at Notre Dame
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Help Stop the Scandal at Our Lady’s University
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Take Action Now
Join the petition opposing Notre Dame’s decision
to host and honor President Barack Obama at commencement.
GO TO: http://www.notredamescandal.com/   for more information and to sign your name to the petition to prevent this scandal from taking place!

NO-BAMA at NOTRE DAME

NO-BAMA at NOTRE DAME