Monthly Archives: October 2005

Talk about somebody who needs to be disciplined under _Ex Corde Ecclesiae_

In a recent discussion, my interlocutor mentioned this person, Prof. Maguire of Marquette University, as an authority on abortion. In the context, I had said that Marie Bain is a murderess, because of her work as an abortion escort (transporting a person to an abortion is listed in The Code of Canon Law as one of the acts bearing the guilt of the abortion, and anyone who knows what Planned Parenthood escorts really do should have no doubt of their complicity). Anyway, my interlocutor offered up Prof. Maguire as an expert to the effect that participation in aborion is not murder.
So, let’s start with this guy’s credentials:
He is the author of Sacred Choices: The Right to Contraception and Abortion in Ten World Religions, Fortress Press, 2001.
Even the title is Satanically repulsive.
One of his articles is “The Freedom to Die.”
Of his many honors, he was listed by Ms. Magazine as one of the “40 male heroes of the past decade, men who took chances and made a difference”, 1982.
That is definitely an honor for a Catholic scholar! Yeah, right!
In this article, this esteemed “moral theologian” does nothing but talk statistics, psychology and Kinsey(!) Like most heretics, he contains a few grains of truth, but this article is a Satanic mockery of _The Theology of the Body_. Yes, sex is a kind of liturgy–that’s why God has given us strict rules for how to do it and under what circumstances. Of course, he apparently does not believe in Transubstantiation, as he speaks of “food symbols.” He “blames” Christianity for the “repression” of sexual desires, “misunderstanding” of women’s sexuality, etc. It’s amazing that rehashed tripe like this is considered scholarly publication.

He seems to have a thing against putting Bibles in hotels, as in one article he says they should be replaced by condoms, and in this article, he just throws them out as an example of hypocrisy. And, now, the following quotation alone ought to get him fired from Marquette and stripped of his license to teach Sacred Theology in the Catholic Church:

He didn’t die to “atone for our sins,” a lousy piece of theology gorily indulged in Mel Gibson’s blood bath. He died resisting an empire that was stomping on the poor, militarily and economically.

God’s great, loving Sacrifice of Himself reduced to a political gesture?

In this post, he gets right to the point of the Lewis Crusade, saying it’s “pro-life” to have an abortion rather than allow your child to be deformed by medical treatments, or to kill the baby if the mother’s health is at risk.
His hypotheticals can be found in any letter to the editor, and his simple” What would *you* do?” is so infantile, I can’t even believe this person has a doctorate.

And in this one, he denies the “personhood” of the fetus. What a great guy!


Stand up and defend this pro-life hero

You may have heard about the baby-killing teacher who was fired from a high school in Sacramento. The blogger linked above is the student whose mother turned this witch in to Bishop Weigand (who has previously denied communion to Gray Davis and apparently Arnie the Nazi).
Anyway, this poor girl is taking a beating from ignoramuses who are talking of “discrimination suits” and such garbage. Canon Law says that if you assist in any way in a person getting an abortion, you’re *guilty* of the abortion; it’s latae sententiae excommunication, the harshest penalty presently enforced by the Church. This woman even passed out Planned Parenthood business cards.
Now, the incredibly liberal Catholic high school I attended fired its second-to-laws principal and assistant principal for endorsing condoms in a school assembly, so I don’t see how this cold-blooded murderess has a leg to stand on.
In any case, Catholic bloggers are rallying in support of this poor girl, who is getting trounced by the enemies of life.

Matter solved

I just received an email from Msgr. Suaudeau, confirming that the document *does* allow conscientious objection where there is no alternative, provided parents insist on the alternativse and use them, and *unless* there is a prevalent epidemic (in the US, there is no prevalent epidemic, hence no extraordinary circumstance for using the tainted vaccines).

I am going to quote the second part of his letter verbatim, as this is my key objection to the CNS article (and the attitudes of some Catholics):

Regarding your second point, the document has really nothing to do with
the “prevention of malformity”, and even less with a possible interdiction made
to have children in some cases of familial genetic disease. You are perfectly
right to protest against such an idea.

1. I really wish that people who were 99.99% in agreement could work together to overlook their other differences in charity.
2. As a philosopher, I hate to engage in ad hominems.

On the other hand, two things really shake me to the core:
1. When I have read what I think is a perfectly plain and straightforward document–as in the case of the Vaccine Statement–and someone with a Ph.D. (usually a liberal, but not necessarily) claims that I’ve read it wrong. And no matter how many times I go back and reread it, I can’t see what the heck that person’s talking about. But it really shatters my self-esteem.
More fundamentally,
2. When a similar person tries to shatter my concept of what it means to be a Catholic.

When such debates over interpretations occur, it does become important to look at the motives or philosophical principles of the interpreters.

In the case of Dr. Kevin Smith’s position on the Vaccine Statement, I’ve racked up the following:
1. Both American Life League and Human Life International support the work of Children of God for Life. When I contacted HLI for a statement on their position, in fact, they recommended I talk to Debi.
2. I know that several bishops, most notably Bishop Vasa, support the work of COG.
3. I emailed Debi and asked her response on the calumnies being spread about her by this gentleman.
4. I emailed the Pontifical Academy for Life, and am awaiting a response.

I am quite confident in my position on this matter. However, it raises the question: “Why is this man, who should be on our side, so adamantly against us?”
From what I can tell, Dr. Miller is guilty not so much of malice as of a grave intellectual error. He contends that

For all of us Christians, our bishops are our fathers. . . . If a priest acts in a way that is at odds with this relationship, he is, whatever else he may or may not be doing, by definition a bad priest.

But there’s no such thing as a bad bishop?
If a bishop speaks or acts at odds with the Holy Father, and the priest ignores the bishop and obeys the Holy Father, does that make him a bad priest?

This post from way back in January 2004 could very well be Miller’s manifesto. You see, according to him, Community always outranks the Individiual. In social life, if society says, “Do this,” then individual conscience must surrender to society. In the Church, even when canon law provides the laity with a right, the laity must surrender that right when it’s at odds with the bishop!

All of this was in the context of the controversy at that time over Arlington’s proposed sex abuse “prevention” program. In this post, Miller uses the same sling of accusations against those of us who protest these “safe touch” programs that he does against those of us who oppose vaccines.

The Church teaches freedom of conscience, informed by right reason and God’s law. Liberals say “freedom of conscience” means that you can do wahtever you want, as long as it feels good.
Miller contends that “freedom of conscience” means that “Whatever your bishop says, goes, and whatever the civil law says, goes, because you’re bound by the 4th commandment to surrender your individual conscience to legitimate authority and the Common Good.”

It’s really quite a Faustian dilemma he posits, but the dilemma is all in his head. If his strict interpretations of “common good” and episcopal authority were on-target, then a great many canonized saints would be burning in Hell now, whether for a) disobeying/criticizing their bishops/religious superiors or b) going out into the desert and living as hermits.

Wow! What a powerful story!

I need to get in touch with this lady, and see if she’ll team up with us. This was a great witness! And it’s in the Washington Post, no less.

Here’s a document from 2003/2004, signed by Bishop Vasa

While it’s written by Debi Vinnedge of COG, it’s signed by Fr. Euteneuer of HLI, Bishop Robert Vasa (one of my heroes!) and others. It’s an appeal to the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the USCCB to reconsider their positions on vaccines. Obviously, it predates the Vatican instruction, but since certain people want to impugn the motives and integrity of COG, I figured it helps to show what company that Debi keeps.

I just emailed the Pontifical Academy for Life.

I wrote:

To whom it may concern:
I am very sorry to bother you about a subject you no doubt consider settled. But there is some dispute among commentators concerning the proper interpretation of the letter on vaccine usage, regarding conscientious objectors such as myself.Some have even gone so far as to say vaccines are a non-issue for pro-lifers, even in the light of the document.
Does the document approve of conscientious objection by parents in the US? My reading of it is that one must consider the issue carefully, and that particulars of individual or public health *may* necessitate “tainted” vaccines in certain cases (such as parts of the world where diseases like Rubella are epidemic.In the US, where there is adequate health care to treat symptoms of diseases, many vaccines (flu, chicken pox) seem more oriented towards keeping kids in school and perpetuating a culture of “living to work.”Some have said that those of us who refuse to use vaccines are morally culpable for the spread of infection.That does not seem to me to be an accurate reading of the document: am I right or wrong?
Secondly, the CNS article implies a moral obligation to “prevent malformity”. I found this personally hurtful, as I have a genetic disorder, and I have often been told–usually by non-Catholics and secularists–that I am “cruel” to have children.I believe in being open to life. I believe that a life lived with pain or disability is still worth living, and has benefits that a “healthy person” does not experience.I would certanily welcome an ethical cure for my condition, but I do not believe that it’s wrong for me to have children: quite the opposite.
If you could please comment on these matters, it would be greatly appreciated. My Catholicism and my pro-life position are fundamentally important to me, yet the commentators in question have attacked what I consider to be two important aspects of being a committed pro-lifer: a) never benefitting from immoral medical research and b) being open to life, no matter how “malformed.”
Sincerely,John C. Hathaway198 Farrell Ln.Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Thanks, Judie Brown!

Dr. Miller stands by his allegiance to the CNS article, and has asked that I no longer argue this issue with him. Fine, but he just leaves me with the conclusion that, as far as he’s concerned, sick people can’t be good Catholics. Because, in his mind, to be a good Catholic you have to do everything you can to protect physical health and the “common good”. Got a cold? Don’t go near anyone else! You risk infecting others with a potentially deadly disease, and that hurts the “common good.”
Since I have stated to him that the above attitude is implied in the CNS article, and he refuses to address my complaints, I will have to accept that he agrees.

Anyway, I’m trying to find my bearings after this intellectual beating, and found the above piece by Judy Brown. I’m browsing websites and emailing all the pro-life leaders I can. As I get replies, I’ll post or link what I can here.

God is good!

Tonight, I had my faith shaken to the core. I have been engaging in a rather interesting discussion of “Catholic social teaching” on Mark Shea’s site, and the discussion has spurred my head in several directions. My initial intention was merely to discuss the need for a consistent social philosophy. A few of my statements regarding my own understanding of Church teaching were sort of misinterpreted. Anyway, I used vaccines as an example at one point.
My interlocutor, Kevin Miller, is a theology professor at FUS. His own blog is, interestingly enough, called “Heart, Mind and Strength.” My mind jumps to the connection that FUS is a haven for charismatics, and the equation health and virtue is the #1 reason I’ve always hated the Charismatic Movement. I am getting a sense of the kind of “ivory tower” Catholicism that has sometimes been connected to that particular institution.

Anyway, Dr. Miller is apparently no friend of COG for Life, and opted to agree with the interpretations of the Vatican statement given in the “mainstream Catholic media” (specifically, ZENIT and CNS)

I was quite grateful to him for pointing me to these articles, as I had *at first* thought they were new material (at least, to me).

When I read the articles, I was horrified. According to the two articles he links, the officials at the Pontifical Academy for Life “clarified” the document by saying that the use of tainted vaccines where there is no alternative is *required* because of the public health risk. One of those officials was “paraphrased” as saying that it’s a sin for a parent to “allow” a child to suffer “malformity” or life-threatening illness.
In other words, I’m the horrible monster that liberals and secularists (and a few Catholics) have told me I am.
In other words, I’d be “obligated” to accept a cure for Marfan syndrome derived from ESCR.
This literally struck the heart of my entire life, my entire raison d’etre.
I long ago vowed never to profit from the fruits of fetal tissue research.
If Pope Benedict XVI, who has been my hero since I was 8 or 9, were to tell me to my face, “You must give your children the MMR vaccine,” I would sooner leave the Church.
That is how seriously I take this issue, in my own conscience.

So, based upon these articles and Dr. Miller’s replies, I was devastated.

However, that only led me back to COG for Life’s site, and I found this article, which I’d actually read back in early August.
When all this started, I figured reading the original document is best, as Vatican documents are almost always given the most liberal interpretations in the mainstream Catholic media.
Further, I *had* read COG for Life’s initial responses to the press reports. I’d also read the COGL’s reply against the National Catholic
Bioethics Committee.
Both replies were pretty thorough. And I’m always one for “read the original,” so I just read the document. Of course, my take was posted to this site.

Now, my original interpretation of the article was that the use of tainted vaccines is only acceptible if a) there’s an immediate health risk and b) there’s no alternative (as in the US). Interestingly, the ZENIT and CNS articles talk about how these diseases are virtually “eradicated” in the US but “epidemic” in other parts of the world. Then they seem to imply that the epidemics going on in the third world create an immediate health risk for parents in the US.

Thankfully, the clarification from the Pontifical Academy for Life, linked above, specifically notes that the journalists who wrote the article were conflating the two separate criteria.
In the end, Pontifical Academy for Life *is* behind the right of parents for conscientious objection.

Now, I need to reply to Dr. Miller.
His take: vaccinations are a “non-issue,” because the use of fetal cell lines in faccines won’t “affect the abortion rate.” (One abortion is too much). Apparently, he does not see the connection to ESCR and ongoing fetal tissue research. He claims this is not a matter for pro-lifers to be concerned about, yet a successful petition drive led by COG for life convinced the Bush Administration to adopt a chicken-based program for smallpox vaccine (see their site).
The Vatican statement itself says that we have *at least* an obligation to lodge protests with our governments and with medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies, even if we feel it necessary to use the vaccines.

The document says that, as a norm, it’s illicit to use tainted vaccines, but in certain extreme cases, where there’s a direct health risk and no other alternative, those vaccines can be used. Even so, one would argue the issue of heroic virtue.
Take the following parallel: The Church says that, if a pregnant woman is sick, and she needs a surgery that might harm her baby, and there is no other medical alternative, she may choose to have that surgery, even if it has the unintended side effect of aborting her baby (and the baby cannot be directly aborted, but only dies as a side-effect of the operation).
However, St. Gianna Molla even refused such an operation that the Church would allow. This is an example of heroic virtue, and that’s why she’s a saint.

Saints are canonized because of their examples going above and beyond the call of ordinary, minimal standards of virtue.

I’m not going to condemn any parents who think they need to use the vaccines, though I’m going to urge them not to, but don’t condemn me for trying to go the extra mile.

I’ve changed my position on abortion . . .

. . . or, at least, I’ve reverted.

For some reason, I always forget the Fourteenth Amendment. Usually, when the issue of _Roe v. Wade_ as such comes up, I concede the point that it is not about banning abortion so much as handing the matter back to the states, where it belongs, because I follow the conservative/Federalist Papers interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, that matters not covered by the Constitution belong to the States.
However, that argument leaves out the Fourteenth Amendment, which specifically guarantees the right to life. Granted, murder is a state crime, not a federal crime, so bans on abortion should be, as well. However, a proper decision to overturn _Roe_ should be that laws *allowing* abortion violate the 14th Amendment.
The interesting thing about _Roe_ is how the precedent is upheld but not the reasoning. Usually, when lawyers battle precedents (at least on TV), they talk about *why* the case was ruled as such. Not in the case of _Roe_, except for “penumbra of rights.”
You see, according to _Roe v. Wade_, the 14th Amendment *only* applies to US citizens. Only US Citizens are guaranteed the right to life in this country. Since the Constitution says you must be “born” to be a citizen, an unborn child is not a citizen and, therefore, not protected by the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of the right to life.

So, really, a decision to overturn _Roe_ really *should* outlaw abortion in all states.

The work of those who preach "tolerance" and "choice"

This act of vandalism was done to my car at the mall, back in May, but I didn’t know how to post pictures.
The one on the top right *had* said “I am an American.” Bottom left: “I love babies, born & preborn” (last word ripped off). Ironically, the person left the more overt, “Love them Both; Stop abortion.”

USCCB "official" thinks she’s better than bishops and parents alike

I try to keep this blog issue-specific. However, I’m just getting fed up with all this “Teaching about Touching”/VIRTUS garbage.
As these USCCB and Diocesan bureaucrats–most of whom seem to be pro-abortion liberals–go around talking about this required program, and how kids can’t get the sacraments without going through them, they constantly put the blame on parents. This letter, while paying some lip service to canon law, still insists on “pressuring” parents who don’t want their kids in these programs. It still includes the implication that parents who don’t want these programs are probably sexual abusers themselves.
And I wonder: if a parent’s kid goes through these programs, and some priest or bishop molests the kid, will it then be the kid’s fault for not doing what he or she was taught in the program?

Every week, our pastor whines in the bulletin about people not volunteering, then a few pages later there’s this blurb about how, if you volunteer for the diocese, you’re subject to a criminal background check & you’re required to take “VIRTUS” training.
I was just looking at the VIRTUS website (, and volunteers have to sign a contract, committing to all these things. One of them is “I won’t do volunteer work while I have a contagious disease.” Now, I was privately confirmed because the confirmation rules for my parish were inherently discriminatory against people with chronic illnesses. But this one is just ridiculous. OK. Let’s say I’m gonna teach CCD. I have to go to VIRTUS training and sign the above contract. I have asthma and allergies. I’m *always* coughing and sneezing. Some kid gets a cold, and I get sued?

Anyway, Bishop Vasa of Baker, OR, already one of my heroes, has written about the above letter in his most recent column:
What he says is powerful enough, and I don’t really have to repeat it.
But these kinds of things really bug me. It bugs me, how since the sexual harrassment paranoia of the early 90s (which suddenly disappeared during the Clinton Administration) everyone is treated like a sexual predator in the workplace. Now, everyone’s treated like a sexual predator of children. It doesn’t take much to know right from wrong.
It’s called the Ten Commandments.
It’s called, “If you do something wrong, you’ll be punished.”
The bishops claim that most parents don’t know how to properly educate their children on these matters. I don’t know about that. I think most parents *do* warn their kids. I would agree with the VIRTUS crowd that part of the problem is kids not understanding when to obey and not obey adults. But there are a lot of factors in all this. FIrst, if a child is molested, the child *knows* it’s wrong. And there may be a lot of reasons why the child does or does not report it.
And I doubt these programs scratch the surface in that regard. I agree wholeheartedly with Bishop Vasa that the training should be given to parents, not to children.
We’re the ones who have to know the clues to watch for in our children’s behavior. We’re the ones who have to know how to make our children comfortable to tell us about these things.

But the fundamental problem remains. The bishops are a bunch of liberals. And, as liberals, all they want to do is “prevent” evil. If they’ve done their best to “prevent it,” then they think they can wash their hands of it.
You know how you prevent evil? By punishing it.
Jesus’ teachings on removing offensive body parts and killing those who would harm innocents are very clear, no matter what priests and theologians would like to do to “soften them.”

If child molesters knew they’d have a hand or other appendage cut off, or that they’d have a rock tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea, wouldn’t they think twice about committing the offense?

Seems harsh to say in a pro-life blog, but the Church has always taught that there are some cases where the death penalty is called for.
Cardinal Law and the other bishops who got attention in 2002 kept saying, “I thought they were curable.” Fr. Groeschel explained that the understanding of these issues by psychologists has changed over time.
Now, psychology says that sexual abusers are incurable. The Church says that the death penalty is applied only in situations where it’s impossible to rehabilitate someone or protect society from them.

Me on Miers

You know, I’ve heard it a lot from skeptical or apolitical pro-lifers and from compromise-Democrats:
“Republicans don’t care any more about right-to-life than Democrats do.”
And you know what I said? “Still, it’s the party platform. We have to give it a try. But if, after thirty years of struggle, we finally get a Republican government, and they do nothing, then it shows their true motives.”
It behooves us to recall that,

In 1824, a particularly bitter election was thrown to the House of
Representatives, and John Quincy Adams was
elected after being supported by Henry Clay even though Andrew
had won a plurality of electoral votes, and the plurality of popular
votes in states where electors were chosen by direct election. (Source: Wikipedia)

And then, in 1850, the Whig Party itself split over its ineptitude on the slavery issue.

Now, granted, both parties were split and divided over the issue of Slavery. And the modern-day Democrats are starting to realize that their position on abortion hurts them.
But in 1860, Abraham Lincoln won for the same reason Bill Clinton won in 1992 & 1996: a Three-Party election (in taht case, two different factions of Democrats versus the Republicans).

This election has shown the strength of the “Radical Religious Right”, much to the fear of the Secularist world.

The history of the abortion issue since 1973 has paralleled (and sometimes inverted) that of the slavery issue before the Civil War.

Time will tell whether Miers is nominated, and whether Miers or Roberts is truly a strict-constructionist. It’s possible that, since Miers *is* an intellectual lightweight and has no judicial experience, she’ll follow suit with Scalia and Thomas, who are now the dominant intellects of the Court.

It’s most likely that Bush is really sincere in this appointment. As some have suggested, he’s reaching out to Evangelicals and Populists by appointing an Evangelical who is not an “Ivy-Leaguer” (see the Ann Coulter link below for a superb response to that). But a president should not make decisions on his gut instincts. It’s incredibly dangerous when a President believes he’s receiving special divine revelations.

And, as many commentators have said, it’s kind of hard to accept “trust me” from a man who’s given us no reason to, other than beautiful, moving speeches, over the past five years:

1. He allowed federal money for ESCR.
2. He passed the biggest entitlement in US history.
3. He passed the biggest education bureaucracy bill in US history.
4. His “Patriot Act” gutted the Bill of Rights
5. His vague definitions of a “War on Terror”, given the past administration’s focus on pro-lifers as the worst terrorist threat in America, poses a dangerous precedent.
6. Then there’s the whole Iraq-thing.

I’m starting to think that the liberals are right, and Bush is a far greater–and more skillful-liar than Clinton.

But if he is, that will only help our cause by exposing the hypocrisy of the GOP and driving Conservatives to the Constitution Party or the Libertarians in the next election.
When even Ann Coulter and co. are saying Bush has flubbed this one,
and when even Fox News says he should apologize for his handling of New Orleans,
this guy has a lot of explaining to do.

Peggy Noonan on Miers

Ann Coulter on Miers

Italian "Terri Schiavo" Wakes up

Of course, the Pro-deathers would just say that “He wasn’t brain dead. She was.”

Catholic Health Association on Vatican Statement

It never fails.
The Vatican comes out with a clear-cut statement that anyone can read “with half their brain tied around their back,” to paraphrase Rush Limbaugh.
But people have to come up with their own “summaries” to distort the message in favor of a libear interpretation. Case in point:
Sr. Pat Talone, PhD & Ron Hamel, PhD, of the Catholic Health Association, issued a summary of the letter with the following “conclusion”:
[quote]For the vaccines that currently have no alternative, their use is morally lawful “on a temporary basis” and “insomuch as is necessary” to ensure the health and safety of one’s self and the community. This lawful use is “justified as an extrema ratio [extreme reason]” that comes in the “context of moral coercion” because no alternative exists for parents “who are forced to choose to act against their conscience or otherwise, to put the health of their children and of the population as a whole at risk. [/quote]

Problem is this: The Vatican document says these things *in case of epidemic*, not in the case of “average prevention.” These conditions for “temporary basis” and “extreme reason” apply to, say, women who are pregnant during Rubella outbreaks. What’s better is this next line:

[quote]It is right to abstain from using morally problematic vaccines (for which there are no alternatives) if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, significant risks to their health. [/quote]
This is NOWHERE in the Vatican document. Note how they put it? They put the guilt on the pro-lifers. And of course, through in the vague statement “indirectly the population as a whole.”

SO, let me get this straight, babies were directly *killed* to make a vaccine, but these people think one is morally obliged to *use* that vaccine to prevent the hypothetical health risk to “the population as a whole”?

Wish I could join them