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More Violent “Pro-Lifers”

June 8, 2010

Michael Sean Winters directs our attention to this disturbing video.

Apparently, Sister Carol Keehan was chosen to give a commencement address at Gonzaga High in DC. Cardinal McCarrick was there too. A small group of nasty “pro-life” demonstrators awaited them. Look closely. pay attention to when the loud-mouthed woman starts attacking Cardinal McCarrick (about 3 minutes 15 seconds in). Listen to her words. She lectures him! In an aggressive tone, she tells him that “you can’t be Catholic and pro-abortion”. And she keeps shouting that “I joined the Catholic Church”. Think about that. Her attitude is Protestantized, individualist, and utterly disrespectful to authority. It’s all about her, and what she views an egregious personal affront. After all, she joined the Church, and she can withdraw her allegiance…How deliciously “liberal”!

The protestors seem to be represented by this blog, Restore-DC-Catholicism. They brag about giving Cardinal McCarrick “a very well-deserved rebuke”. Apparently, Sr. Carol’s address was disrupted by a well-placed insider. Ponder the protestor’s words carefully. She said: “That woman should not be an invited speaker at any Catholic institution!  She was responsible in part for the health care bill being passed and therefore our country is a socialized country with socialized medicine!  She supports the legalized killing of children!  Wake up, America“. This is yet another example of what I have said time and time again. The real opposition to healthcare reform was not abortion – it was adherence to that aspect of American liberalism that sanctifies individual freedom. Socialism first, abortion second. This really says it all.

It is precisely this hate and bitterness in the context of the healthcare debate that was highlighted by the Vatican journal, La Civilita Cattolica (see yesterday’s post). And this is where I believe the bishops should have handled the situation far better – offering more clarity on principle – especially by distinguishing between valid and invalid reasons for opposing healthcare – and encouraging Catholics to respect differing prudential judgments, especially since – as La Civilita Cattolica puts it – “the diverse ways of actualizing…prophetic commitment[s] clash”.  

The case described is one of rhetorical violence. I can also talk about real violence. I would note that a father and son have been arrested for threatening the life of Bart Stupak and his family. Nothing is known of their background yet, but their rhetoric oozes violence. In a letter, they parrot the apocalyptic and hateful anti-Obama tea party rhetoric, extol the virtues of American “freedom”, and dub Stupak a traitor. They claim to be religious: “I tithe to my Church and I contribute to charities that I choose to support [again, on my terms]…I have instilled a strong Christian faith within…[my children]“. And then a few lines later, the author evokes a fictional serial killer from a TV show that vows to “paint the Mackinaw Bridge with the blood of you and your family members“.

How is it possible that a man can jump from a “strong Christian faith” to the ethics of a serial killer within a few paragraphs? What is wrong with these people? What is wrong with the culture? What is particularly wrong with this right-wing subculture?

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73 Comments
  1. Bruce in Kansas permalink
    June 8, 2010 2:33 pm

    Sad to see.

    Perhaps a culture that kills fifty million of its own babies leaves a scar of uncivility.

    • June 8, 2010 3:16 pm

      Obviously, there are many things involved with this. But I think the first thing is that so many Catholics do not understand the difference between prudential reading of political legislation with doctrinal principle. Just because one disagrees with a prudential action does not mean one disagrees with the principle; nor does it mean that one agrees in principle if one agrees with a prudential decision. I hope our bishops come to understand that the reason why many so-called pro-life groups were against health care reform, and therefore, “cheered’ on the bishops, was not because an agreement in principle, but despite it — they cheered on the bishops because they saw the bishops stopping health care reform, not because of abortion (which is why the same people said they opposed the reform because of ‘socialism’ — something which it was not, and yet obviously their primary concern). Indeed, as has been pointed many times, what the reform offered in response to abortion, though not ideal, is far better than programs and suggestions these same “pro-life” people supported at other times. I would feel their objection was on principle if they followed through with their own health care the demands they put on the poor; if so, they would find themselves giving up their insurance, and being in solidarity with those without. This, of course, they will not do. So again, the preferential option for the rich is exposed, which is the exact opposite of the teaching of the Church.

  2. phosphorious permalink
    June 8, 2010 3:20 pm

    Perhaps a culture that kills fifty million of its own babies leaves a scar of uncivility.

    A scar of incivility and rabid anti-health care sentiment.

  3. Colin Gormley permalink
    June 8, 2010 3:38 pm

    The fact of the matter is that the USCCB opposed the bill while the author and Mr. Karlson supported it. Sr. Keehan’s support helped to pass the bill despite the bishops objections. That the author and Mr. Karlson lecture on “individualism” and “disrespect” for the bishops is the pot calling the kettle black.

    Very good on condemning, not so good on intellectual consistency. Not to mention a double standard.

    • June 8, 2010 3:49 pm

      Colin

      You act like the posts on authority were not here. I presented my position, and I have remained consistent with it. The problem is that so many people ignore the difference between principle and prudence — or worse, make prudential decisions the only authority, and make principle — nothing, which is why there is no valid, consistent principle of life behind their criticism. The authority of bishops must be understood within their realm of charism, as the Church has also said. And politics, as the Church also has said, is the domain of laity. This is why the bishops also went to laity for understanding the reform (however, this did not give the laity charism, and it did not mean their interpretation of the bill was valid). The principles were affirmed, the understanding of the bill was what was at stake. The bishops, sadly, were misdirected — but even they do not think those who disagreed with their reading of the bill are, because of it, non-pro-life. Hence the good cardinal here having no problem with the good nun. Isn’t it amazing, we are supposed to follow the bishops, unless they show respect to a nun?

  4. Mark Gordon permalink
    June 8, 2010 4:10 pm

    MM, why is it that you never spend any time or bandwidth denouncing those who perform abortion, which after all is real, lethal violence directed at hundreds of thousands of innocent human persons every year? Why no denunciation of those who enable or advocate such violence, including those who largely dominate your own political party? Why is your attention to this matter exclusively focused on denouncing those who denounce abortion?

    I’m sure you’ll respond with the usual and expected pieties, but the imbalance really is striking, and it does beg the question: Are those who perform and promote abortion not at least as worthy of denunciation as those who protest it?

  5. June 8, 2010 4:30 pm

    Mark – I could do that, but why waste time on such low-hanging fruit? I don’t think anybody reading this blog would disagree that directly-procured abortion is evil, and can never be supported. And I believe it is the single biggest topic being discussed here – if anything, it gets too much, not too little, attention.

    The interesting question is why people oppose abortion. I contend that many in the pro-life movement do not start from the premise that all human life is a gift, a sacred gift, and that all violence against this gift of life is wrong. Instead, they come from the exact same framework as the pro-choicers – the law is designed to enforce a social contract. The two sides just differ on boundaries. For the “pro-lifers”, it is a matter of great injustice that the unborn are excluded from the social contract, but not that (say) Iraqis or Gazans are. And this is a problem.

  6. June 8, 2010 4:35 pm

    Colin,

    Henry is, of course, correct.

    I actually wondered if somebody would actually raise this point, and here it is. It goes without saying that there is a huge chasm between (i) criticizing the conclusions drawn from the application of a set of moral principles to specific facts and circumstances, all the while respecting the authority and agreeing with the principles involved and (ii) screaming in a cardinal’s face and accuring him of not even understanding these basic moral principles. A huge chasm.

  7. Colin Gormley permalink
    June 8, 2010 4:39 pm

    “You act like the posts on authority were not here. I presented my position, and I have remained consistent with it.”

    The position that was advocated is not a valid Catholic position. The bishops said that support for the bill is not a valid Catholic position, which is what they are called to teach. You and MM argued it away. Now the bill funds abortion in the name of health care. That means that you and MM advocated a position that results in material cooperation with abortion, against the authority of the bishops.

    “The problem is that so many people ignore the difference between principle and prudence”

    And like yourself and MM ignore the principal.

    “And politics, as the Church also has said, is the domain of laity.”

    Under the moral law. We are not allow to circumvent the moral for political ends.

    “The bishops, sadly, were misdirected ”

    The only people who said abortion wasn’t in this bill are those Catholics who needed a way to assuage their conscience for voting for a pro-abortion bill. That virtually everyone from the Democrats to the USCCB to FactCheck.org to Planned Parenthood says abortion is in this bill. This was ignored by proponents of the bill such as yourself and MM.

    You and MM have misled yourselves at best and at worst are lying. In Christain charity I choose to believe the former.

    • June 8, 2010 5:32 pm

      “The position that was advocated is not a valid Catholic position. The bishops said that support for the bill is not a valid Catholic position, which is what they are called to teach.”

      Actually you are misrepresenting the bishops and what they said, as well as against the level of ecclesial authority addressed in their discussions. Just read what is coming out of the Vatican, and you will see what I mean. It is not “MM and I” against the bishops. And the bishops do NOT read disagreement with them as you have done. You are doing exactly what is contrary to church teaching. Again, read up on authority.

  8. Colin Gormley permalink
    June 8, 2010 4:45 pm

    “criticizing the conclusions drawn from the application of a set of moral principles to specific facts and circumstances”

    The fact is that abortion is funded in the bill. The bishops made it clear that this is unacceptable. You and Mr. Karlson ignored the authority of their office and supported it anyway. Your present the image of one who is happy to pay lip service to the authority of the bishops yet more than willing to throw the USCCB under the bus when it gets in the way of political goals.

    • June 8, 2010 5:34 pm

      The fact is that abortion is funded in the bill. T

      WRONG. The fact is abortion is not being funded by the bill. Moreover, the bill helps people to STOP funding abortion if they so choose. You are misrepresenting the bill, the bishop’s position, and all that has happened since the bill has signed into law. Indeed, the bishops have made it clear your kind of rhetoric has been wrong.

  9. June 8, 2010 5:36 pm

    Colin,

    Not only do you fail to understand the issues, but in your wilful ignorance, you stand a mere step away from the crazy woman in this video.

    For the billionth time, let’s try to set this out for you. The bishops lay out the principles with which to judge an issue. In this case, the principles were coverage of all, especially the poor; no discrimination against immigrants, “legal” or otherwise; and no funding of abortion. These are valid principles. In a war situation, the operating principles would be the traditional just war principles.

    We are not free to dismiss these principles, but we are certainly free to come to an informed decision as to whether these principles are met in practice.

    And are these principles met in the particular facts and circumstances? This is where it gets tricky. I will say this – there is a far stronger case that the just war principles were violated in the Iraq war than the opeating principles were breached in the current bill. Are you willing to argue that all (Americans) who supported the Iraq war took a position that was in no way a valid Catholic position and -worse – were cooperating formally with evil (your language)? If not, why not?

    Back to the case at hand. As I’ve said repeatedly, it is simply not possible to isolate all federal funds from every abortion, if abortion remains legal (in fact, we can go broader than subsidies and argue that all federal spending, including on wages, could be used for abortion). The fungibility issue exists in the current law, and it existed in the House bill that the bishops endorsed. The difference? If you wanted abortion covered in the House bill, and you received subsidies, you went out a bought a supplemental policy with your own funds. In the current law, you can get it in your policy by paying a seperate premium, with strict separation of funds. The difference in terms of funding abortion is third order; the fungibility issue is the same.

    Second point: the protections for those on the exchange are far greater than for those (the vast majority) on employer-based insurance. Every person will have at least one option without abortion – not so for employer-based insurance. And states can ban all policies that cover abortion from accessing the exchange altogether – this went further than the House bill. If you are so concerned with the current law, why are you so unconcerned with employer-based insurance covering abortion? Do you see a separate standard? If so, why?

    Of course, the elephant in the room is the relationship between poverty and abortion. The political pro-life movement doesn’t like to talk about this, for fear of offending their Republican allies. But it’s real. And what is a poor pregant uninsured woman to do when faced with $25,000 in childbirth costs and $400 for an abortion? Let’s never put women in that situation.

  10. June 8, 2010 5:40 pm

    Didn’t you mean more “violent” pro-lifers??

    The little squeaky voice “you’ll spoil their day!”

    The man of the cloth who didn’t even stop to say a prayer and engage with anti-abortion protestors:(

    Well done to the *one* graduate out of the lot who stopped to hear what the protestors had to say!

  11. June 8, 2010 5:44 pm

    What’s disturbing is your attitude to hundred’s of young graduates from a supposedly catholic university clueless about what being a catholic is supposed to entail

  12. Mark Gordon permalink
    June 8, 2010 5:49 pm

    From where I sit, posts like this are the low-hanging fruit. Cheap and easy. No thought required. Just bring your outrage and prepare to preen. Better yet if a poor sap like Colin rises to the bait and offers some inane riposte.

    What would be difficult would be, for instance, mining the comment offered by Bruce from Kansas, in which he suggests a connection between the incivility – and liberalism – in the video and 40 years of legal abortion in America. That would be difficult for you, MM, because you might actually have to examine the cult of personal autonomy that animates your own political party, which might lead to questions about your own culpability in promoting not only incivility, but liberalism, and even abortion itself!

    Instead, how about another Manichean post about those evil pro-lifers?

  13. phosphorious permalink
    June 8, 2010 6:04 pm

    The pro-life movement has proven again and again that abortion is the only thing they care about.

    They supported a president who tortured innocent people, because he was against abortion. And when Sarah Palin runs for president, they will do it again.

    They care about abortion and nothing else.

    That is not a serious moral position.

  14. June 8, 2010 6:14 pm

    And you need to ask yourself, Mark, how in God’s name abortion can be defeated with the violence shown by these pro-lifers? It is not simply about “incivility”, it is about a betrayal of what being pro-life is all about. In the beginning, opposition to Roe arose from the peace movement, while the southern baptists were praising abortion. That all changed when the special interests took over both parties – the old consistent social justice people were made unwelcome in the Democrats, and the Republicans quickly learned that they could use abortion as a trojan horse to foist their unsavory policies upon the nation.

    What’s the answer? Take it out of politics. Recognize that only a consistent ethic of life and a repudiation of all violence will change the culture and put abortion behind us. No partisan allegiance can do that. But it is clear that while the people in this video represent the pro-life movement, or are seen to do so, then progress will simply not be possible. Why is that so hard to fathom?

  15. June 8, 2010 7:10 pm

    Jeez, and she makes fun of McCarrick when he trips on the stairs. Classy.

  16. Frank permalink
    June 8, 2010 7:49 pm

    If NARAL was to produce a documentary to show the anti-abortion fringe in the worst possible light, this red-shirted mentally unstable woman would surely be selected to co-star as Randall Terry’s leading lady. She’s right out of central casting.

  17. Gregory B permalink
    June 8, 2010 8:02 pm

    I care about what the Church has to say.
    The Jesuits had no business honoring Sr. Keehan.
    The protest is good as it lets all know of the scandal!

    Catholic Church Catechism section on “Abortion”

    2270
    Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person—among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

    Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73

    My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74
    2271
    Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

    You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75

    God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
    2272
    Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

    2273
    The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

    “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

    “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81

    2274
    Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

  18. June 8, 2010 8:06 pm

    I also care about what the Church’s Bishops have to say.
    Again, the Jesuits have no business honoring Sr. Keehan.
    The Jesuit’s are so out of line.

    Archbishop Chaput says those who support abortion “rights” cannot be Catholic…

    http://www.tldm.org/news7/Chaput.htm

    “When a man has stepped over the threshold and allowed himself to fall into mortal sin, he must be purified by trial, but he must also, My children, be purified by the rule of penance and confession.
    “What manner of evil is being set now upon mankind that compels him to lose his soul by rejecting the Sacraments, by no longer confessing to his confessor, but coming to receive My Son in sacrifice, while his soul is degraded by sin of mortal nature!” – Our Lady of the Roses, September 7, 1976

    LifeSiteNews.com reported on July 14, 2004

    Denver’s Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio about his position in the debate over giving communion for Catholic public officials who support abortion. He wrote a column, one of a continuing series, in which he said that Catholics’ who support abortion are not really Catholics, but “a very different kind of creature.”

    A local political candidate accused his archbishop of crossing the line between Church and State and said that Catholic prelates should not preach to Catholic politicians. However, in the interview the Archbishop, defended his statement saying, “If you don’t accept what the Church teaches on issues of faith and morals you can’t claim to be a Catholic.” He went on to say, “I would say if you’re in favor of the choice to kill babies it isn’t compatible with Catholic faith.”

    Throughout the interview Chaput avoided the question of whether he would directly refuse someone like John Kerry communion if he should present himself in a Denver-area Catholic church. [read more on the U.S. bishops and sacrilegious Communion] “One cannot be a pro-choice catholic,” he said. “There are Catholics who don’t understand that and think they’re Catholics… We believe that if you don’t accept what the church teaches in the grave matters of faith and morals, and we know what those are in the Catholic Church, then you’re not in communion with what the Church teaches and therefore you shouldn’t go to communion. Communion isn’t about personal worthiness, it’s about faith, what you believe.”

    When asked about the issue of separation of Church and State that is frequently used to attempt to silence Catholic or other Christian voices, the Archbishop became emphatic. He said that the tactic was unscrupulous and un-American and would never have been used against Church leaders who spoke out against slavery or segregation. “(Separation of Church and State) doesn’t mean that the Church should be silent. It doesn’t mean that a politician should tell me to shut up. It doesn’t mean that any member of the Church can’t talk about the issues that are important to the Church.”

    “Abortion is a matter of human dignity and human rights,” Chaput said.

    He then became more blunt. “It’s not a religious principle; we’re not against abortion for religious reasons. We’re against it because it kills babies. No one should tell us to be quiet about that any more than we were quiet about segregation. It’s very important that we’re active; we encourage our people to vote their conscience. That’s not interfering with the government.”

  19. Mary Ann Kreitzer permalink
    June 8, 2010 8:47 pm

    Violent? Hate-filled? Did we watch the same video? I saw strong opinons being expressed. Where was the violence? Do words mean anything? Or do liberals equate strong words with axe murders? Grow up for heaven’s sake!

    What’s violent and hateful is killing unborn babies and enabling it as Sr. Keehan did. The healthcare bill includes billions for free-standing, unrestricted health centers which will be able to offer abortions and will not be subject to the Hyde Amendment. That’s why the bishops opposed the bill.

    Sr. Keehan and Fr. Novotny (the principal at Gonzaga) essentially thumbed their noses at the bishops and created disunity and confusion about a core principle of the faith. That was not only uncivil, but it directly attacked the authority of the bishops who, in this case at least, made the right decision to defend life.

  20. June 8, 2010 9:02 pm

    Gregory – if the “Jesuits” are out of line, then what do you say about the Jesuit-run Vatican journal that supported the new law? And remember, everything in La Civilita Cattolica gets vetted by the Secretary of State.

    I must draw the line here. First it was Doug Kmiec. Then it was Bart Stupak. And now it Sr. Carol Keehan. In each case, a prudential judgment on a particular political strategy is suddenly elevated to high treason. This us-vs-them mentality, this dark dualism, this dichotomization is not Catholic, and it is precisely the attitude that contines to vex the American Church.

    Let me quote Henri de Lubac for you:

    “Protestantism, whether primitive or modern, Lutheran or Calvinist, orthodox or liberal, generally occurs as a religion of antitheses. Either rites or morals, authority or liberty, faith or works, nature or grace, prayer or sacrifice, bible or pope, Christ the savior or Christ the judge, sacraments or the religion of the spirit, mysticism or prophecy… but Catholicism does not accept these dichotomies and refuses to be merely Protestantism turned inside out. The splendid name of Catholic, that has been so fitting translated as ‘comprehensive’ a term ‘as welcome as outstretched arms, far-reaching like the works of God, a term of wonderful richness, filled with echoes of the infinite’, has not always been perfectly grasped even by the Church’s own children. Instead of signifying, in addition to a watchful orthodoxy, the expansion of Christianity and the fullness of the Christian spirit, it came to represent, for some, a sort of preserve, a system of limitations: the profession of Catholicism became linked with a distrustful and factious sectarian spirit.”

  21. June 8, 2010 9:08 pm

    And Gregory, why are you quoting the arhcbishop of Denver? What qualifications does have to speak on this issue? Is he in any of the USCCB committees that address healthcare? Or is he just one voice out of over 200 bishops?

    And why are you raising this particular issue? Sr. Carol Keehan and Cardinal McCarrick are staunchly pro-life.

    And by the way, Chaput seems to swing around a lot on this point. Here he is in 2007 in an interview with Melinda Hennenberger:

    “Do I think there are people in the last election who voted for a prochoice candidate and did so sincerely after reflection and prayer? Yes, I do. Did they do wrong? No, they followed their conscience. But that serious reflection and prayer, that’s really important, and not just being swayed by party sympathies or that’s the way you always vote. It has to be about the issues.”

  22. June 8, 2010 9:25 pm

    Mary Ann,

    “Liberals” what do you mean by liberal? In my view, these people adopted a classicly liberal position – a total disdain and disrespect for legitimate authority (and 80-year old cardinal), the elevation of personal autonomy over everything else (“I joined the church!!). This woman is a dyed-in-the-wool American liberal.

    But when you say “liberal”, you do not mean it in the true sense. You mean in the the distorted politicized American sense. You mean it as an insult. You mean it as “incorrect thinking” to be mocked. In other words, you mean it the American political sense, knowing full well that this sense i

  23. June 8, 2010 9:32 pm

    Mary Ann – it is so engregiously wrong to accuse Keehan of disagreeing with the bishops on a “core principle of faith”. See my comment above from 5:36pm. The bishops laid out the principles, about which there was no disagreement. The disagreement came when it came to putting these principles into practice. This seems to be the Vatican view too, which is very respectful toward Sr. Carol.

  24. Gregory B permalink
    June 9, 2010 4:22 am

    Minion,
    Please don’t become unglued.

    What is so Un-Catholic about quoting the
    “Catechism of the Catholic Church”?

    The latest version was approved by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as
    Interdicasterial Commission for the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    is there a problem with me quoting this?

    The Church, was given teaching authority by Christ and as the conduit for fullness of Truth on this earth, and has the obligation to preserve Her sheep from deviations from the Truth and to to guarantee them the “objective possibility of professing the true faith without error” (Catechism, No. 890)

    As for the on going scandal with the Jesuits,
    there is no doubt in my mind that Jesuits are out of
    line by honoring Sr.Keehan.

    There has always been enemies inside and outside
    the Church through out its entire history.
    Jesus was betrayed with a kiss from Judas.
    Today, we have the Jesuits working against the Church from the inside.
    Please pray that the Jesuits get a modern day “St John of the Cross”
    to lead a reform of the order as soon as possible.

  25. Rodak permalink
    June 9, 2010 6:31 am

    I just love how the knee-jerk, lockstep political cheerleaders of the media have herded the intellectually lame into a fold where the word “liberal” has come to mean its opposite. George Orwell, call your office.

  26. Jeff permalink
    June 9, 2010 6:51 am

    Why confuse the two issues of abortion and due recognition of Church authority?

    Can’t they be debated separately?

    Bringing up Church authority comes across as a stunt here, as in “gotcha” — not a point of principle.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s effective! I envy your skill!

    All you gotta do is scan those YouTubes till the next golden nugget comes along to throw at your enemies. Reasoned argument never has to come into play!

    Nice work if you can get it.

  27. June 9, 2010 7:26 am

    What I have never understood about the pro-life movement is that if they really cared about brown and black babies so much, why aren’t they the most staunch advocates of the welfare state? If abortion is such an evil and needs to be stopped “by any means necessary”, why shouldn’t those means include a massive re-distribution of wealth? What if we found, through some impartial study, that women who abort often come from lower incomes, or young women are concerned that they cannot pursue career options with a young child? Maybe that would mean that if they really wanted to stop abortion, the government could make inner city schools better, or create a good national childcare system for single mothers, or they could create ad campaigns saying that it’s okay to have a baby out of wedlock.

    Some pro-life advocates have seen it necessary to resort to civil disobedience, terrorizing people, or even killing to stop abortion. How about “stealing”, even if it means the government “stealing” from the rich? Like I said, if they cared about black and brown babies so much…

  28. Kurt permalink
    June 9, 2010 8:08 am

    Let’s be clear, the Commencement ceremony was attended by a Cardinal of the Roman Church and high ranking officials of the Archdiocese of Washington. Sister’s remarks were favorably reported in the official Archdiocesan organ.

    I have heard from some of the graduating class about what they thought of the heckling and disruption of their Commencement. The pro-life movement made no advances with the next generation by this action.

    As to the underlying issue, let me repeat. The health care law includes stronger standards against abortion funding than what the USCCB and the NRTLC have signed off on in other legislation. I have yet to find a single person able to refute this.

  29. June 9, 2010 10:21 am

    I have to say, when I saw the video tagged with “violent” pro-lifers I was expecting far worse than a woman in a loud voice criticizing a cardinal to his face. Of course, it is a kind of violence but not nearly as violent as some other videos.

    I do find it amusing that MM is outraged at the criticism of the Cardinal…while he himself continues a long process of criticizing the USCCB.

  30. June 9, 2010 11:38 am

    Arturo – exactly right. But as always, whenn the unborn clash with free market individualism, the latter always wins.

  31. June 9, 2010 11:39 am

    I find it curious that Mary Ann critcizes what she sees a “direct attack on the authority of the bishops” while at the same time supporting a woman who has taken it on herself to scream into the face of an 80-year old cardinal who clearly doesn’t understand elementary moral theology…

  32. June 9, 2010 11:46 am

    Arturo – Your comment is right on.

    Michael Denton – MM is, of course, not upset about “criticizing” cardinals or bishops. He’s upset about this particular self-righteous and indeed violent action. Was this woman’s ridicule of McCarrick’s trip up the stairs mere “criticism”? Are you going to defend that too?

  33. Kim S. permalink
    June 9, 2010 12:21 pm

    The Bishop William Murphy and Bishop John C. Wester held CHA responsible for sowing “confusion” and opening a “wound to Catholic unity.”

  34. Nerina permalink
    June 9, 2010 12:37 pm

    @ Arturo

    “What I have never understood about the pro-life movement is that if they really cared about brown and black babies so much, why aren’t they the most staunch advocates of the welfare state?”

    The pro-life movement is very supportive of helping out those in need, but many object to a State controlled system. Many believe in the Church, as the Body of Christ, assuming the role. Do you have any idea how many support networks are available outside of the government? Countless. One of my favorites is “Good Counsel Homes” run by lay people throughout the five boroughs in NY.

    “why shouldn’t those means include a massive re-distribution of wealth?”

    Define “massive.” It matters greatly how much redistribution we are talking about. And are we talking about accomplishing this goal through progressive taxation? Do people have any rights to individual wealth and property? I agree that the common good demands a social safety net, but I wonder where, if ever, a line is drawn. BTW, some of the most financially generous people I know are pro-lifers.

    “What if we found, through some impartial study, that women who abort often come from lower incomes, or young women are concerned that they cannot pursue career options with a young child?”

    These studies have been done. Check out the Guttmacher Institute for more detailed information.

    “the government could make inner city schools better”

    Do you have any idea how many initiatives are currently in place to achieve exactly this goal? Do you know what the spending per child stats are for urban v. suburban v. rural schools? Google it and look at funding numbers. You’ll be surprised.

    “create ad campaigns saying that it’s okay to have a baby out of wedlock.”

    Arturo. Seriously. Do you really think there is a stigma attached to out of wedlock births? Again, look at the numbers. Out of wedlock birth rates have risen for all racial groups. I believe the overall out of wedlock birth rate is almost 40% (according to the CDC). Among African-Americans the rate is over 60%. Clearly there is no or very little cultural stigma attached to out of wedlock births.

    Many here want to paint the entire pro-life movement with a giant brush. But it’s unfair and really discredits any valid points that are made. I don’t think this woman should be heckling the Cardinal. It is uncharitable and uncivil and simply undignified. The Cardinal deserves better as do the students at the graduation. But one women does not a movement make. I would suggest many of you actually get to know truly committed pro-life workers who are on the battle lines every day. Those who are not only praying in front of clinics, but working in CPCs, going into inner city schools to provide material support, visiting young moms in their homes one, two and three years after they have given birth. Don’t make judgments on stereotypes and don’t perpetuate them.

  35. Kim S. permalink
    June 9, 2010 12:42 pm

    “Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles, publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocent and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers? [...] The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions.” – Archbishop Raymond Burke

  36. Kurt permalink
    June 9, 2010 12:57 pm

    I think there is a distinction between writing a learned article pointing out errors the USCCB made in a matter of legislative analysis and heckling a prelate at a class of schoolboys’ commencement ceremony. Maybe Michael disagrees, but that is just the way I see it. BTW Michael, any weddings, graduations, First Communions or birthday parties coming up in your family? Love to get the date, time and location.

  37. June 9, 2010 1:08 pm

    Nerina,

    As Pope Benedict noted, there are not 2 realms of private charity and state activity; they are entwined. The Church has always recognized that the state (and I mean that in a far broader sense than the modern nation state) has always had duties toward God. Today, we think only the individual has such duties – not so. It is certainly the duty of the state of protect human life and dignity, and to make sure that all have the basic rights of food, housing, employment, a just wage etc. How society actually does this is a prudential matter, but it should be done. And the Church does indeed suppotr progressive taxation. In fact, the Church argues that the distribution of wealth possibly more important than the accumulation of wealth itself.

    • June 9, 2010 1:18 pm

      MM

      I could only imagine how 21st century people would have told the kings to respond to the prophets. “They are condemning you for not helping the widow, the orphan, the stranger? What, they want to redistribute wealth? Tell the prophets charity should be an option for individuals, not for the state.”

  38. June 9, 2010 2:36 pm

    Burke is out of step.

  39. June 9, 2010 3:06 pm

    The views of Burke and Chaput represent perhaps 5 percent of the the views of the US bishops on this matter, and far far lower than that in Europe and elsewhere. So why are they so often quoted?

  40. June 9, 2010 3:44 pm

    Was this woman’s ridicule of McCarrick’s trip up the stairs mere “criticism”? Are you going to defend that too?

    No. Just pointing out the double standard, as MM was quite silent was many of his allies in the healthcare debate were painting the bishops as stupid senile old men. We didn’t get a post like this then. I think we should have.

    The woman’s ridicule is indefensible, and her methods lack prudence.

    The views of Burke and Chaput represent perhaps 5 percent of the the views of the US bishops on this matter, and far far lower than that in Europe and elsewhere. So why are they so often quoted?

    My guess is that it’s simple: they speak often on politics, something most bishops on both sides of the aisle are reluctant to do. hence, their quotes are some of the few out there.

    I’m very curious where you came up with this 5% number. And Burke got a position at the Vatican, so his views can’t be all that crazy in respect to Benedict at least.

  41. Kim S. permalink
    June 9, 2010 4:28 pm

    Then, what do you think about Sister Donna Quinn? She is a downright pro-abortion and also supported abortion funding in Obamacare. Should Sr. Quinn be praised at least in her support of Obamacare in spite of her long history of pro-abortion and many other dissenting positions?

    http://hli.org/index.php/component/content/article/87-millstone-award/827-sister-donna-quinn-op

    • June 9, 2010 5:21 pm

      Kim

      Look under logical fallacies: ad hominem and guilt by association.

  42. Kim S. permalink
    June 9, 2010 5:28 pm

    When Catholic Sisters endorsed Obamacare, congressman Ryan praised them by saying that “You can tell 600 Catholic hospitals and all the sisters, their administrators, they are all pro-abortion”(1:25 in the clip). Isn’t it quite revealing comment who those sisters truly are?

    • June 9, 2010 5:49 pm

      Maybe if I said, “You can go tell Kim S. she is pro-death” does that make you pro-death now?

      There are many ways one can interpret what he is saying. One could be the sense of irony when people claim the bill is pro-abortion. “Well, tell that to the Catholic hospitals and nuns who support it.” In other words, they will say — no it isn’t. Go tell them, and see the response you get.

      But even if interpreted the way you want to interpret it, so what? I am sure I can get KKK members speaking out why they must oppose health care reform where they do so because of the race of the president. Does that make all who oppose it like the KKK? Seriously.

  43. June 9, 2010 5:52 pm

    Kim,

    Curiously got the better of me and I watched your clip. All I can say is that you don’t get basic irony or you are deliberately trying to mislead. He did indeed make that statement, but he made it ironically – he was pointing out that this bill was indeed pro-life, because 600 Catholic hospitals ahd signed up.

  44. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 9, 2010 9:44 pm

    Morning’s Minion and Henry Karlson use rhetorical violence against people they label as being rhetorically violent. If mere loud and bitter criticism, with no threat or physical action can be considered violent, fine. That’s arguably the standard of Ghandi and King and the Gospel of solidarity. But that standard condemns Minion’s Alinsky-like demonizing of these pro-lifers (here and throughout his career) as much as it condemns their rhetoric directed at Sister Keehan and Cdl. McCarrick. If the above public despising of the pro-lifers in this video is OK, and painting them as the same as the people who threatened Rep. Stupak’s family is OK, then VN has no leg to stand on to criticize these non-physically-violent pro-lifers. Rather, you are perpetuating the vicious cycle of rhetorical violence, just as physical violence against abortion perpetuates the vicious cycle of abortion violence. If you want to be a promoter of Gandhi-like holistic non-violence, then start by loving the enemies that obviously get your goat, who you spend your time attacking the most: your pro-life Catholic theologically conservative enemies. Have VN co-sponsor a dialogue session among you and conservative Catholic pro-lifers. Otherwise this whole perpetual exchange is a big chorus of noisy gongs and clanging cymbols.

  45. June 10, 2010 7:07 am

    Nerina,

    I am sure there are a lot of nice principaled pro-lifers. That wasn’t the point of what I posted. I was just trying to get at the heart of why my obviously pro-life, church-going, Mexican-born mother never votes for a “pro-life candidate” (i.e. Republican). It’s because she does not see them caring for black and brown babies enough to realize that it is not enough to ensure that that baby is born, but also that the baby is raised, fed, educated, etc. I do think that the Democrats are playing her, and I don’t think they are any better than the Republicans. But at least they don’t ignore her, or make her feel that she isn’t wanted here. If my mother was in Arizona, they would pull her over…

    All I am saying is that if we Catholics are supposed to be “single issue voters”, why not try everything? Standing outside of abortion clinics holding signs and praying the rosary doesn’t seem to stop abortion. Political and judicial games don’t seem to stop abortion. Private sector efforts don’t seem to stop abortion. Why isn’t anyone saying: “let’s give socialism a chance?” On the other hand, it seems oh so convenient that the “other interests” of most pro-lifers seem to be in sync with the interests of the Republican Party. But if they really cared about black and brown babies, wouldn’t they try anything?

    • June 10, 2010 7:35 am

      Arturo

      Exactly. The whole facade of the Republican “pro-life” lobby can be seen through when one looks at the anti-life policies they support. One of the things which people ignore about Vox Nova in general is that we are trying to look at a wider range of the issues; one might not agree with us, but the responses we get always are telling. “Well, what about… abortion” when anything but abortion is raised and questioned. If a Republican asks for tax reduction, shouldn’t we just say, “That’s fine and dandy. Interesting. Save it for later. What about abortion?” Obviously, they don’t follow their own arguments because they don’t really believe them themselves. Clearly abortion is evil, but the whole situation of abortion cannot be understood if one fails to ignore the social roots which establish it and promote it – and that is not what they want to do, because it will show how they create the system which ends with massive abortions.

  46. Kurt permalink
    June 10, 2010 12:48 pm

    …the pro-lifers in this video…

    Matt, just so I am clear. You are claiming these hecklers of a high school graduation ceremony taking place in a Catholic Church as your own?

  47. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 10, 2010 3:39 pm

    Kurt the question is, do we all consider each other our own? The perspective of nonviolence which I believe MM is citing to label the yelling as being violence and to place sign holders in the same camp as death threateners against Rep Stupak–that nonviolence claims not only the baptized but one’s enemies–the target of one’s harshest criticism–the people who one labels as being outside the pale–as “your own.” But rhetorical violence against the rhetorically violent is not the fruit of a nonviolence that labels yelling rhetorical violence. It’s one thing to hate your enemy and disavow him–it’s a bit further down the track to hate him precisely in the context of accusing him of hating his enemy. I and you and all of us here have failed in loving our enemies. If someone holds up the standard of nonviolence only to roll it up and bash somebody’s brains in with it, that person has kind of missed the point. Look at the people criticized here the most and the most often. There you will see their enemy, and their neighbors–their own.

  48. Kim S. permalink
    June 10, 2010 10:05 pm

    I seriously doubt Obamacare will cut down the number of abortions in the poor. Now they can get free access to abortion and the temptation of abortion will get stronger. I am wholeheartedly supportive of helping the poor but I do not think funding abortion is the right way of helping them.

    A drop of poison in a glass of water can kill the person who drinks the water. Abortion fund makes the bill poisonous. It cannot be justified or compromised by proportionalistic rhetoric.

  49. Nerina permalink
    June 11, 2010 7:45 am

    Arturo and others,

    You are assuming that all “pro-lifers” are Republican. I’m not and I am definitely “pro-life.” I don’t need to list my credentials, do I? And I agree with MM that the State does have a responsibility to provide social safety nets. What I object to is the promotion of State-only action on this matter. I think we hear far too little in our local churches about our obligation, as Christians, to help those in need. As I said before, this blog would have more credibility were it to acknowledge the efforts of traditionally-defined “pro-lifers” and not turn them into caricatures.

    Arturo, I’m not surprised your mother doesn’t vote for the Republican, “pro-life” candidate. I think she is being used by the Democrats just as much as the Republicans use the “pro-life” voting block. You said she sees the Democrats as “not ignoring her.” For me, I see the Republicans at least not promoting the expansion of killing babies in the womb. And just an aside, you said praying the Rosary outside clinics doesn’t stop abortion. Actually, it does in very real, one-on-one terms. Just look at the effectiveness of “40 Days for Life.” Clinics have been shut down for weeks and sometimes permanently. Surely that must count. Every week I get a report from my local pregnancy center that 4-6 babies are saved from abortion just because pro-life, sidewalk counselors were out there praying. Hearts are moved and girls respond.

    MM, you are clearly more knowledgeable about this aspect of social teaching in the Church, so I will defer to you, but are you saying that the Church advocates wealth redistribution to the point of Socialism? Because it sounds like that is what you and others are saying on this thread. I thought Socialism, as we have seen it practiced in the 20th century, was condemned by the Church. Did I miss something? Thanks for your response.

  50. June 11, 2010 11:46 am

    Nerina,

    Yes, the Church has always condemned socialism, but – just as with the term “liberal” – the American right tends to use it as a catchall term of insult, without much regard to its true meaning. In simplest terms, socialism is about the collective ownership of the means of production. The Church has always comdemned two extremes – the collectivism of socialism and the individualism of liberalism (and by that I mean excessive zeal for free marekt outcomes). Instead, the Church believes in the right to private property, but in a qualified sense. It does not see market outcomes as necessarily virtuous, as they instead reflect an unequal power relationship. To rectify this, (i) strong unions and other institutions that protect workers are ordinary people are essential; and (ii) the state has a role in correcting inequities.

  51. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 11, 2010 1:40 pm

    Nerina you make a good point about the need to emphasize the efforts of pro-lifers to help women. I think this should be a point of intense common ground between “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics. The massive pro-life pregnancy center movement in this country is nothing short of historic. Its thousands of centers, hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours, and millions of dollars given every year cause a gargantuan outpouring of material help and love that stands right on par with the Christian churches’ efforts found in soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and Catholic/ Christian hospitals around the country. And the fact is that the pro-life pregnancy center movement, because it actually does what “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics desire: reduce abortion, give women real life choices, and empower them with the love and materials needed to give life before and after birth and even after abortion–precisely because it does these things, it is suffering a vicious attack by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation and politicians who align with them. The attack involves massive public relations campaigns, legal and legislative targeting of these centers to restrict their efforts, blunt the actual life affirming impact of their help, and cut off or pprevent them from ever getting government assistance. Imagine a systematic, multimillion dollar campaign AGAINST soup kitchens. It would be shocking. But what would it show about the attackers themselves? And what would it show about all of us in the way we support, or fail to support, or even pile on the movement during those attacks? There is no movement more deserving of liberal Catholic support in the pro-life arena, there is no movement more in need of their support than now, and there is no movement more ideal as a basis for enthusiastic common ground between Catholics from different political dispositions. It is possible that supporting the pro-life pregnancy center movement is not costless for “liberal” Catholics–it could cause tension between them and politicians they support, it could involve implicit recognition that the “pro-life movement” is not a useless partisan exercise but actually helps people, and it would mean joining in common cause with “conservative” their Catholic and Evangelical “enemies” who already matter-of-factly support the pro-life pregnancy center movement (without equally visible help from their “liberal” coutnerparts, because somebody has to do it). But all those factors should not in the Gospel sense prevent this common cause. I would like to see the day that Commonweal and First Things, Vox Nova and Inside Catholic, Catholics United and American Papist host a joint fundraising dinner for pro-life pregnancy centers, and issue a joint press release defending pro-life pregnancy centers from political and PR attacks. If there are obstacles to making this happen on either side, I think they can be addressed, and I would enjoy hearing what they are.

  52. David Nickol permalink
    June 11, 2010 4:02 pm

    I would like to see the day that Commonweal and First Things, Vox Nova and Inside Catholic, Catholics United and American Papist host a joint fundraising dinner for pro-life pregnancy centers, and issue a joint press release defending pro-life pregnancy centers from political and PR attacks.

    Matt,

    Here’s the problem. Many “pro-life pregnancy centers” hide their pro-life position. We had a discussion over on dotCommonweal about the film 12th & Delaware. Whether the film is fair or not, I don’t know, not having seen it. But the web site of the pregnancy center featured in the film does not even give a hint that the “options” a woman will be presented there do not include abortion. Contrast that to a pregnancy support center near me in Manhattan, the Midtown Pregnancy Support Center, which has as the first item in its FAQs the following:

    1. Will the Midtown Pregnancy Support Center refer for abortion?
    No. As Christians, we recognize and affirm the biblical teaching that the unborn child is a living human being. However, we recognize that abortion is a legal option. We, therefore, are ready to provide the information necessary to understand all options available to women. We avoid the use of scare tactics and emotional appeals.

    If you feel it is a legitimate tactic to withhold information so that women unknowingly walk into a pregnancy center for counseling not knowing that they are not — under any circumstances — going to be referred to an abortion provider, then I guess you can be in favor of support for all “pro-life pregnancy centers.” But I don’t see how a web site that clearly and deliberately omits the fact that it is a pro-life pregnancy center is not engaging in false advertising.

  53. David Nickol permalink
    June 11, 2010 4:05 pm

    The link to the pregnancy support center featured in 12th & Delaware is here.

  54. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 11, 2010 6:04 pm

    I am sad to see that the first response too easily adopts the abortion culture’s view of prolife centers. But I assure David and others these sources are precisely the shocking PR campaign against prolife centers I was referring to. Pro-life centers give accurate information and real help to women. They don’t lie to women. If women ask about abortion they tell them they don’t refer for it. The campaign David cites wants prolife centers to scare women away by forcing them to blare at women that abortion is the most important right in existence therefore anyone not doing abortions has to say it to her loudly as the first thing they say even before hello. It would be like forcing Catholic hospitals to announce to everyone as soon as they walk in the door “warning: you are entering a building run by backwards followers of a near eastern myth religion”. The assumptions behind this perspective are as troubling as an anti soup kitchen campaign. Fr Jenkins of Notre Dame took an unequivocally encouraging view towards prolife centers that I hope David and others here would emulate. Needless to say prolife centers are not guilty of any of the falsehoods stated about them in these PR pieces. Can you find one bad apple among thousands? Sure, and Planned Parenthood is on video lying and murdering for cash as an institution. Prolife centers have transparent standards of excellence you can all read, and their services are free. As I said, imagine someone points to the soup kitchen movement or the Catholic hospital movement and all they do is attack them from a perspective hostile to their beliefs to depict them negatively. Hundreds of millions of dollars and volunteer hours yearly to care for women, and this is the response of cultural elites. It needs the rebuttal and help of liberal Catholics and all Catholics. I hope David will reconsider, and I hope Vox Nova will follow Fr Jenkins in joining this truly common ground effort.

  55. Kurt permalink
    June 11, 2010 7:22 pm

    Kim,

    Could you explain how the poor get free access to abortion under the health care bill? So far, no one else has been able to do so.

  56. David Nickol permalink
    June 12, 2010 2:18 am

    Needless to say prolife centers are not guilty of any of the falsehoods stated about them in these PR pieces.

    Matt,

    Then why is there resistance to simple truth-in-advertising laws?

  57. Kevin permalink
    June 12, 2010 9:03 am

    David,

    Only a fanatical pro-abort could look to a place called pregnancy care and expect to find abortion services. In what world or language does care = killing?

    Anyone reading the website wold immediately tell this is no abortion center. Where is the trickery?

    • David Nickol permalink
      June 13, 2010 2:38 pm

      Anyone reading the website wold immediately tell this is no abortion center. Where is the trickery?

      I would agree that the site does not appear to be an abortion center (or clinic). But it is an “anti-abortion center,” and that is not at all clear. Have you watched the film? Ot begins, “So you think you’re pregnant and you want an abortion. Ok, what kind then? [Montage of names of abortion techniques.] So many options, so which one is right?” Is that a clear message that this is an anti-abortion operation? And what about this list under Services

      Information
      Comprehensive Referrals
      Abortion costs
      Abortion procedures
      Abortion risks
      Abortion effects

      Financial Assistance
      Support Systems
      Community Programs

      Adoption Agencies
      Adoption stories
      Facts vs. Fiction

      It would be reasonable to think that “comprehensive referrals” would include referrals to an abortion provider, and yet I am sure it does not.

      They are leaving important information out.

      The animate graphics at the end of the film imply they are neither pro-choice nor pro-life; they are pro-woman. Why would a pro-life pregnancy center deny it is pro-life?

  58. Gerald A. Naus permalink
    June 12, 2010 12:50 pm

    Pro-life and pro-choice are both bad terms. Against abortion options and for abortion options is what it really is. In addition, I’d assume that a great number of “pro-lifers” would favor an abortion in life of the mother cases. Other Western countries
    manage to regulate abortion by simple law, in the USA it’s a histrionic fight with two extreme positions. The extremism is maintained since advocacy groups need funds.

  59. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 12, 2010 7:40 pm

    David–that’s because, as I explained, pro-life centers already give women full and accurate information about abortion, and tell the truth about what they do. Those laws aren’t truth in advertising laws, they are a campaign to smear life choices for women as lying centers–they are as shocking as laws targeting soup kitchens or Catholic hospitals. The laws prefer abortion to life choices–they make abortion the most important and privileged action a pregnant woman could choose so that anyone talking to a pregnant woman who doesn’t do abortion is deficient and needs corrective measures, and must speak the government’s message about abortion access in the first communication they give women. The bottom line is that pro-life centers offer real truth and love and free choices to women on the most massive scale in human history, they are being attacked because they actually reduce abortion which is what we all want, and if there is any such thing as common ground it is in “conservative” and “liberal” Catholics getting together with folks like Fr. Jenkins and unequivocally supporting these centers and opposing the campaigns against them.

  60. Kurt permalink
    June 13, 2010 5:47 am

    Matt,

    I am so happy I have found a matter that I am in agreement with you and I commend you for the civil tone and reasoned way you have presented your thoughts.

  61. David Nickol permalink
    June 13, 2010 2:58 pm

    David–that’s because, as I explained, pro-life centers already give women full and accurate information about abortion, and tell the truth about what they do.

    Matt,

    It seems to me I have provided a clear example of a website that has information that is less than accurate. I have no problem at all — and would be happy to support — pregnancy care centers that advertise that they offer alternatives to abortion. But I think it is dishonest for them to advertise as if their intent is to inform women of all their options and help them decide which is right for them. The Pregnancy Care Center website that I linked to has a great deal about abortion on the site, but nowhere does it say it does not approve and will not refer a client for an abortion.

    There is only one reason I can imagine why a pregnancy care center that opposes abortions and wants to offer women alternatives would not be upfront about it, and that would be to deceive women seeking abortions to that the counselors could talk them out of it.

    Let me be clear and say that I think it is admirable to offer women alternatives to abortion, and I would be happy to support such efforts. What I would not support is deceptive advertising, which I think the website I linked to is a clear example of.

  62. Matt Bowman permalink
    June 14, 2010 7:15 am

    David–there are thousands of pro-life pregnancy centers around the country. You cite one only, and you don’t cite it saying anything false or inaccurate. Maybe you can cite something false, and I don’t excuse such a thing if you find it. But you seem to be saying that even if a center gives women full and accurate about abortion and other choices, and even if they are completely truthful about what they do, any center that talks about abortion at all can and should be morally and legally obligated to tell women in some kind of bold up front way about their own not-offering of abortion. That idea, if it is what you are suggesting (it IS what the PR and legal campaign against pro-life centers is suggesting), adopts a false, non-neutral, unnecessary, abortion-privileged and indeed abortion-increasing assumption, as I explained in my last posts. Imposing that assumption in law, and imposing it in publicity to accuse pro-life centers of being fake and innacurate merely because they don’t talk about abortion exactly as people who see abortion as privileged want them to talk, it is the first thing that either Catholic “liberals” or “conservatives” should reject in a common ground effort to give women real loving choices instead of abortion, and it is every bit as offensive as an attack against the soup kitchen movement or the Catholic hospital movement *because* it is run by people with good moral beliefs about human dignity.

  63. David Nickol permalink
    June 14, 2010 6:24 pm

    Matt,

    As I have already pointed out, the film on the website of the pregnancy care center I am discussing here begins, ““So you think you’re pregnant and you want an abortion. Ok, what kind then? [Montage of names of abortion techniques.] So many options, so which one is right?” The site says one of its services is “comprehensive referrals.” But we know this group is not going to help a woman decide which kind of abortion is right for her. And we know they are not going to refer her to an abortion clinic.

    The pregnancy center I am discussing doesn’t even mention on its site that it is Christian (it has another site where additional information is available), nor that Father Tom Euteneuer, is President of the Board of Directors and is also the president of Human Life International, “Pro-Life Missionaries to the World.”

    Nothing is going to convince me that it is not deceptive to withhold all of that information.

    I do think a woman going for information about her pregnancy has a right to know that the people she is going to be counseled by are anti-abortion and also anti-contraception. I have been googling pregnancy care centers in various cities, and while a number of them aren’t explicit about being anti-abortion, you would have to be naive to expect abortion counseling in most of them. But the one I am talking about was the subject of a great deal of publicity because of the film 12th and Delaware, and that is how it came to my attention. I don’t know how many other pregnancy care centers are deceptive, but this one definitely is.

    I really don’t see why pro-life pregnancy centers aren’t proud to advertise as such. I would think the message they want to send is, “Are you considering an abortion? Let us help you find an alternative.” But it appears to me that at least some are either remaining silent or are actually trying to hide the true nature of what they see as their mission. And I think that’s wrong.

  64. David Nickol permalink
    June 14, 2010 6:28 pm

    I also think it would be wrong for an abortion clinic to advertise itself as offering abortion alternatives, and then when clients came in to talk to them only about abortion.

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