Cardinal George has drawn a parallel between slavery and abortion here.
Slave owners once argued that they had the right to choose to own slaves or not. The federal government, they argued, should not only allow them to choose, but should enshrine in law their ‘freedom of choice.’ The government did this in the Dred Scott decision–deciding that the federal government had no power to take away the choice of individuals to own slaves.
Then in 1865 the government changed its mind, and in the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery and in the fourteenth guaranteed citizenship regardless of race.
There must have been plenty of people back then who said, “I’m personally against slavery, but I think it is up to the individual.”
Let’s be clear. Americans in the 1850s who were ‘pro choice’ were actually pro slavery.
By not being opposed to evil you endorse evil. Likewise those who say, “Nobody is pro abortion. We’re just pro choice” are guilty of self deception. They are indeed pro abortion–just as much as the pro choice lobby for slavery was in favor of slavery. If they really were against abortion they would work to get rid of it–even if that meant denying slave owners their ‘freedom of choice.’
Since you were occupied last night with the AOH (good for you!), you would have missed “The World Over” on EWTN at 8 p.m. Raymond Arroyo had Bishop Martino who addressed this very topic. I can’t quote verbatim, but the good (!) Bishop basically reviewed Catholic activism prior to the Civil War and observed that the majority of bishops and laity at the time were silent on the evil of slavery. But “two or three” bishops spoke out, basically becoming martyrs. Fascinating, I really need to research this! Bp. Martino ended by saying that in the present war on abortion, perhaps it will take a few modern martyrs among the bishops……(not to mention diocesan administrators and parish priests!)…
Yes it will take some “martyrs” and persecution form the Pro-Choice side before the battle is won. For it to be won though we need to change the way we fight this battle, our language and tactics have to change. 1.Lets stop using the word abortion. You abort a rocket or a mission, not a child. It’s murder plain and simple, lets call it for what it is, and for goodness sake lets not let them get away with calling the unborn a fetus, it‘s a child, a human being. Abortion and fetus, that’s the language of culture of death not the culture of life.2.Engage the public more, get involved in 40 days for life, Bound for Life or some other grass roots organization and spread the word. I have ran into so many of out Protestant brothers and sisters who had no idea what 40 Days of life was. Get the word out! It’s so easy to get involved! 3.We need more of the clergy present at these demonstration also and it need to be made more public. It’s hard for the foot soldiers in the trenches to have a high moral if the commanders are never seen. 4.We can protest outside a abortion mill anytime, why wait for the next organized event. Lets get out there and pray and be a silent witness for the unborn.We need to change the hearts and mind the people before any Legislation will gain traction. Much like the way the civil rights movement of the 60’s did. Get involved and stay involved.
I would like to know why in the pro-life position, you never address war (especially a war of choice like Iraq, aka casting the first stone) and the death penalty. George W. Bush approved hundreds of executions while governor of Texas. He then started a pre-emptive war that resulted in more that 4,000 U.S. troop deaths and over 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths. But most supporters of George W. Bush call themselves “pro-life”. John McCain is an unabashed cheerleader for the Iraq war, yet he calls himself pro-life. This hypocrisy is one of the many reasons I stopped being a Catholic.
To show just how contorted the left can be at times, read Bader-Ginsburg’s comments about how the constitutional right to abortion really isn’t so much a privacy issue as it is a slavery issue. Yes, you read that correctly. But the irony I guess is that the woman is somehow the slave of her fetus. I wonder if she is smelling the odor of defeat and is seeking a legal Plan B (no pun intended) to bail out Roe v. Wade. http://www.lifenews.com/nat4252.html
One thing that really turned the tide with slavery was some new inventions. Machines made the cotton industry less reliant on slaves. So the money that was the real motivator was no longer quite what it used to be. If the financial situation had not changed would the law have changed? Hard to say.With abortion the real motive is sex free from procreation. Is that ever going to change. I don’t see it. So abortion does not have the same game changer as slavery did.
Charcoal – Forgive me my bluntness, but are you really being honest with yourself regarding the reason why you “stopped being Catholic”? As a convert, one of the things that attracted me to the Faith was the Church’s profound teaching and action on all life issues, i.e., all human life is sacred. If you have a qualm about the attention given to certain elements that exist under the broad umbrella that is prolife, you should join a cause rather than walking away.The Church has a lot to say about war and capital punishment. It may appear to you that nothing is being said nor done. If one relies on the mainstream media to get a sense of the state of affairs, then the situation might, indeed, seem rather hypocritical – because that’s the way the MSM selects and projects the “news”. I would counsel you to look at the Church’s official pronouncements and the actions of faithful Catholic organizations and individuals engaged in a variety of just causes.
torculus – “official pronouncements” that sit in the corner gathering dust are useless. From the pulpits priests denounce the pro-choice movement. They paint us as sinners and in the same breath throw verbal palms branches before the likes of Bush and McCain. I want to hear a priest say that they cannot support any politician who directly causes death. I thought a life was a life. I thought only God could take a life. Is a 500 lb “smart bomb” their God?Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want abortions to happen. I don’t think anyone wants them. But just like marijuana, cocaine, and numbers games, if you ban them they don’t go away — they just go underground. And I’d rather have a doctor performing an abortion than some back-alley crack addict who is doing it to fund his habit.And yes, this type of hypocrisy is one of the main reasons I left the Church.
Charcoal, I too am anti-elective war and anti-capital punishment. My first large paper in college Freshman English 101 was on Capital Punishment. While the professor did not agree with all my arguments, he awarded the research the only A in the class. At the same time (1965), I was forming my conscience about the war in Vietnam, which I later peacefully protested. When I visited “The Wall” in D.C. with my kids many years later) I was overwhelmed with emotion. I have medically cared for vets of that war at the V.A. hospital, and I have loved them deeply. All this to say the following: I became a serious prolife Catholic in those formative years. My faith grew as my real-life experiential formation grew. My prolife agenda was a slow, but natural progression of my Catholic faith. You will often find my these days praying/counseling at Planned Parenthood…Over the years, if I needed further guidance in the seamless prolife agenda, all I had to do was listen to Pope John Paul II.Give us another chance…
Oh, Charcoal, one more thing: there are still crack-addicts performing abortions; an M.D. after your name does not preclude addicts and malpractioners–do the research. I have a book if you wish to pursue it. Please, give us a chance..
Charcoal, there are plenty of good pro life Catholics who oppose the war and oppose the death penalty too and speak out about it.I suspect you dislike the church for other reasons.
If you let individuals drive you away from church, you will never find a church worth staying in. Priests and bishops are imperfect representatives, much like the Apostles were imperfect. Look past the individuals to the real reason to belong, Jesus. His invitation still stands after 2000 years, and I don’t think you disagree with His words.
Father Dwight – I wonder who those pro-life, anti-war, anti-death penalty Catholics supported in this election. I wonder if they discussed their feelings with the right-wing noise machine. I do have other reasons for leaving, but hypocrisy was the main reason. It has many forms — one example: I remember a “special collection” being taken up for refugees in Bangladesh. That was after the first collection was taken up to fund new carpeting in the church. Those two seemingly equal priorities hurt my head. It may have been more doublespeak than hypocrisy, but so be it.Obpoet – individuals did not drive me away. It was the over arching policies and words that did not line up with Jesus’ teachings. Why stay in a church that does not truly follow the word?
Would be most interested in hearing some examples of the teachings of the Catholic Church that don’t measure up to The Word.While you’re generating your list, might I suggest that a pro-choice position is quite contrary to the teachings of Christ. Therefore, an individual did drive you away — he just happened to be true God and true man. And He awaits your return.
Let us not forget that simple laws did not end slavery. Altho’ the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments were ratified by 1868, once the military left the South, defacto slavery resulted. Rutherford Hayes said himself, “By state legislation, by frauds, by intimidation, and by violence of the most atrocious character, colored citizens have been deprived of the right of suffrage — a right guaranteed by the Constitution, and to the protection of which the people of those States have been solemnly pledged.” Laws will not sustain unless the folks who are under them agree with them. The work to be done by the pro-life community is one on one conversion of hearts. With that foundation, stronger laws can be acheived. Without that basis, the pro-life community runs the risk of trivializing the movement. Laws cannot force people to be moral.
Charcoal. Is your position giving you what you need?Perhaps you should go to the corner where those pronouncements sit, blow the dust off them and put them into practice. I especially recommend Humanae Vitae. I don’t intend that statement to sound patronizing or in any way insulting. Rather, I am attempting to invite you to consider a different point of view.As a cheeky Monsignor once said to me – there’s always room in the Church for one more hypocrite. That same pastor also said it only takes one saint to turn things around (in a parish, in a community, in society).Charcoal – peace be with you in your struggles. I hope you can hold on to your concern for authenticity without giving in to bitterness.I will be praying for your well being.Also, Jenny – thank you for the beautiful testimony.
“Then in 1865 the government changed its mind”The government in 1865 didn’t change it’s mind, it changed it’s structure. After the end of the Civil War, the southern Senators would no longer be able to vote for slavery.Even if they could, Senators in those days were not popularly elected, but chosen by their government’s which no doubt were dominated by prosperous. slaveowners.The popular election of U.S. Senators was guaranteed by the 17th Amendment in 1913 (along with the Income Tax by the 16th Amendment that same year).
Many people truly don’t realize the impact of abortion and are horrified that the Church isn’t having martyrs to the end of capital punishment or the war in the Middle East.Let’s see, 42 individuals were executed last year. 1,000,000 babies were murdered in the womb. All of the executed were found legally guilty of a crime. It would be a tragedy if any of the executed were not guilty in fact. The babies were guilty of nothing.2,000 are on “death row.” The vast majority of them will die of old age having been given fabulous medical care and free legal services to extend their lives.People who are upset about legal excutions in the face of unlimited abortions remind me of the ACLU in their policy of removing God from government. They’re good people, but they pick an easy target and ignore the real horrors of life.The ACLU chooses crucifixes in cemeteries and courtrooms and schools as their target and intimidate small governments who can’t afford litigation against an organization with virtually unlimited legal assets.If the ACLU really had guts, and really believed in their mission, other than as a fund raising gimmick, they would go after:1: Removing “God” from our money2: Changing the names of Corpus Christi, TX, San Francisco, CA, Sacramento, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and all the other cities and geographical landmarks that have religious names3: Remove the image of “Moses the Lawgiver” from the U.S. Supreme Court Building and all other religious images from government buildings and monuments.
The wide path is always easier. Entering through the narrow gate takes a lifetime of work and devotion. There are a thousand reasons to leave the Church, but none of them trump the One reason to stay.
It sure would be nice if all of Catholic priests and bishops had the backbone to “Preach the word: be instant in season, OUT OF SEASON: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.” I thank you and Father Newman for doing just that. When the Catholic faithful need to heap praises on Church leaders for simply teaching the truths of the faith as though it were simply a novelty is a sad state to be sure – but many of us are grateful for the backbone that both of you have demonstrated.Our bishops and priests in large numbers have hidden behind their lawyers and under their desks in order to protect their tax exempt status. Is it all about money? In fact, it has even gotten to the state that some bishops would give communion to those who know well the teachings of the faith and still support abortion. What they do in effect is to heap sin upon sin: receiving communion in a state of mortal sin still a mortal sin, is it not? Since when does a “pastoral” argument to try to change minds equivocate to the complicity they share in heaping sin upon these individuals? What better way to change a mind than if all these “pastoral argument” types would abide by the teachings of the Church and refuse them Holy Communion. The entire Church should be in unity on these issues.One problem that I missed, and perhaps you and Fr. Newman missed as well, is that both candidates in our recent election were in favor of embyonic stem cell research which is another intrinsic evil and not far removed from the abortion issue. I reel remiss at missing a chance to express my faith by writing in a candidate such as Alan Keyes who is in complete adherence to our faith.Keyes pointed out, in a recent article, that you can’t fight intrinsic evil with another intrinsic evil – a point well taken.Anyway, I admire your courage for teaching the faith even though many Church “leaders” seem to distance themselves from you. I only wish they could acquire the backbone to do what they were ordained to do: teach the faith.
Father-I thought you would like to read what my mom and dad sent Father Newman last week (early on Monday).Keep up the good fight!God Bless you and Father Newman and Father Bart!Jessica McKinneyDear Father Newman,We are not parishioners (wished we were) because we live in Driftwood, Texas (close to Austin), but our daughter and son-in-law Jessica and Michael McKinney (the latter having entered the Church this past Easter, I was his sponsor) are your parishioners. Jessica sent me your bulletin message of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome 9 November 2008 and your teaching and insight regarding abortion and politicians prompts me to write this email.I just wished that more pastors would have the courage and understanding of their mission in teaching the true faith the way you do. Here in Austin, I have never heard or experienced any priest teach and mention the great evil and abomination called abortion, neither in print nor from the pulpit. Only our associate pastor (who is from India) did give a homily about “life” and connected it with the gospel. However, no one ever referred to the political choices we had to make in this past election. You in your recent article pointed out the errors of the so-called self described catholics (but not practicing) in voting for a pro-abortion politician.However, if our Pastors and Bishops would have been more clear, courageous and vigorous in their teaching of basic Catholic beliefs and not try to “offend” anyone through the use of convoluted language and statements, perhaps we would not have that many non-practicing or shallow believing Catholics.As an aside, I am not surprised that George Weigel in his book: “Letters to a young catholic” devotes a full chapter to you and Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. One can only wish that more of our shepherds of the Catholic Faith were like you.May God bless you and keep you.Edwin and Nora WoutersDriftwood, TX
Fr. Longenecker,If Adolph Hitler were running against Obama for president and he claimed to be pro-life, would you vote for him on the grounds that a potential holocaust would kill fewer people than abortion? Because that is where your proportionality argument expressed on this blog would take you.
Why is the message always choose anything, any alternative but supporting an end to abortion? Why not make an end to abortion a main goal, then move on to secondary goals? We can accomplish more than one good. We just can’t compromise on the loss of these 1.2 million innocents each year. Even Hippocrates knew this and condemned the practice in his oath.
Marcus, if you leave out the emotive name of Adolph Hitler and phrase your question in rational terms and say, “Which is better, that six million die in a concentration camp or that 100 million die from abortion” you will have the answer to your question.
Marcus,The world has not seen a holocaust more devastating than legalized abortion wrapped in the guise of an “outpatient procedure.”Indeed, Satan works through evil men such as Adolf Hitler. However, he is ever more efficient working through the world’s democracies with populations who have forsaken their brothers and sisters for selfish pleasure.
obpoet,You make an excellent point, which also shows the inadequacy of the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” exhortations. Such reflections by the bishops, to the detriment of the unborn, focus on each election as if it occurs in a vacuum. “Election is coming, time to weigh the candidates. We’ve had legalized abortion for 35 years. We’re stuck with it. No difference voting for a pro-choice candidate.”That sustained opposition to legalized abortion would bring the holocaust to an end in very short order is rarely, if ever, addressed. (There are exceptions of course, and God bless them.)I fear the reality in this country is that many self-proclaimed Christians are following a false Christ; one more Oprah than Omega.
Marcus Aurelius: More than 6 million people died in the Holocaust because it didn’t last as long as legalized abortions have lasted. That is not a valid argument.
Oops — I meant that the number of people who died in the Holocaust (6 million) was limited to that number because the Holocaust ended. Who knows how many would have died if Hitler had wob and taken over all of Europe?
Charcoal Moon: If hypocrisy drove you from the Church, I wonder that you are a member of any church, political party, or (for that matter) group. They’re all full of hypocrites. That’s because they are made up of human beings. Not that all human beings are hypocrites, by any means, but you will find some wherever you look.To give up on the Church established by Christ because a parish collected for poor people in Bangladesh AND for new carpet does not even make sense. Do you give all the money you earn to Bangladesh? Living in the world is a messy business. Adolescents give up on the world because of hypocrites. Adults go back to the world in spite of the hypocrites.
Fr. L,Hitler purposely killed innocents to further his agenda. Herod purposely killed innocents to further his agenda. You compared Obama to Herod. It is only when I compare Hitler and Obama that you realized that your argument was inherently absurd. The idea that you would vote for a Hitler who criminalized abortion of (racially ‘pure’ German) babies over a pro-choice Obama is an appropriate absurdist argument to make.The reason your argument is absurd is because pro-choicers do not realize that they are advocating for legal slaughter of innocents. They, in effect, have invincible ignorance on that fact until they change.Hitler and Herod, had no such innocence. They both knowingly and with intent sought to solve the ‘jewish question’ and the ‘messiah prophecy’ respectively through the willful slaughter of innocents.The fact that you demonize Obama by comparing him with Herod, picturing him with a cigarette in his mouth, and speaking of some excerpt or other of his book that implies and anti-white agenda (taken from AM radio no doubt)… all of this shows that you have a streak of political immaturity about you and that your political thoughts are not well refined.Over-reaching in demonizing your adversary in this manner undermines your credibility and makes you look extreme, ill mannered, and unsophisticated. Having read a lot of your thoughts outside the political sphere, I don’t think that about you. But a lot of folks will. Again, you will not win converts by comparing Obama to Herod or implying that he willfully slaughters the innocent with intent to take innocent life.I rather suspect that Obama is in touch with the plight of the poor and realizes that there is no safety net for a mother who simply does not feel able to care for a baby or another baby. He rationalizes his support for abortion, along with the vast majority of our political adversaries, with the notion that by improving the social safety net for the mother in question, she will have no reason to abort.I no longer think we should fight against or contest the safety net. I cannot fathom how the working poor in this nation can afford daycare. We now have facilities that will take unwanted children no questions asked and care for them. That is only a small, tiny step in the right direction. We need to require the states to create a public daycare system. The catholic church needs to create a private daycare system in parallel, just as we have with K-12. And we need other services for children. From cradle up to adulthood no child should be aborted because a parent cannot support the child.What is left? The only other motive to abort is that a parent simply does not want to be pregnant to term, or does not want responsibility to carry a child at least to adoption. Criminalization is necessary at that point. But a rational person has a natural disdain for arresting young would-be mothers in the absence of the social safety net aforementioned. You can’t have great excuses like, ‘I can’t afford it and I can’t emotionally tolerate adoption’. That is a pretty good excuse. Not good enough for God, not good enough for the church, not good enough for you and I but good enough for millions of our contemporaries.These are the sorts of issues that I think need to be considered in the current life debate. Comparing Obama to Herod or implying that people procured abortion if they voted for Obama is not a good idea.
Some groups like to think that they “own” the Holocaust. The real figure for Holocaust deaths is something like 11,870,000 (Wikipedia):Jews: 5,900,000Russians: 3,000,000Poles: 2,000,000Roma (Gypsies): 500,000Disabled: 250,000Freemasons: 200,000Homosexuals: 15,000Jehovah’s Witnesses: 5,000And that does not include millions of people from Eastern Europe who were exported to Germany as slave laborers or killed in the field by Nazi agents before they could be moved to concentration or death camps.
“They, in effect, have invincible ignorance on that fact until they change.”Invincible ignorance, Marcus?Is that similar to a “get out of hell free” card.I don’t know whether to cry or really cry.
Abortion promoters do not have invincible ignorance, the more honest (or indiscreet) of them make it quite obvious that they know abortion involves an act of killing. Read Ellie Lee’s pronouncements on the subject any day. I have had abortionists blurt out to me: “OK, so it’s murder, but it’s murder a woman has a right to commit.” Many hide the truth by dismissing the humanity of the unborn but self-delusion is not a defence.
Marcus,Are those killed out of “invincible ignorance” any less dead than if they were killed out of malice?Say there was a nutball on the loose who was killing people under the belief that they were really aliens bent on taking over Planet Earth. Let’s say he was killing 4000 people a day.On the other hand, there was a cold blooded murderer who knew full well what he was doing, and killed one person per month.If you had a chance to stop one of them and only one, which one would you stop? I hope the answer is self-evident.As for Obama being in sympathy with the plight of the poor, I can only laugh. There will be a lot more poor after he is finished with the economy. Government handouts never did anything for the poor, anyway. Charitable organizations that actually have personal love and interaction with the poor do a lot more.Is Obama well-intenioned? Well, I simply have no idea. Charity impels me to assume that he is. However, as everyone knows, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”
Dave, your analogy is excellent and your comments right on. I notice Marcus is strangely silent…!
LoL, Marcus is not srangely silent, he strangely works for a living.First of all, we know that abortion is always an intrinsic evil. But it is not always a heinous murder. Augustine believed that the soul is imparted after 40 days. It seems likely that a very early abortion, as most of them are, are evil but not as evil as mass murder of adults.There is something intrinsically wrong with saying ‘would you rather arrest Cho before the Virginia Tech murders or Jack-the-Ripper?’ Both killed lots of people. Both should be stopped. People should not be called to the confessional or excommunicated for wish to stop one or the other.Some people feel that poverty and unjust war are more in the scope of the president’s actual authority and more of a grave concern for selecting a president. Many people also felt betrayed by the GOP.I agree with Dave that Obama’s leftist solutions to the economy are bound to be as much of a flop as FDR’s were. People forget how much of a travesty FDR really was.I am really, really, really conservative. You have no idea how conservative I am. I am annoyed that they GOP got taken over by phony so-called neo-conservatives. I am annoyed by some of the Sarah-Palin worshiping folks on this blog who don’t realize just how snowed they are by phony neocons of her ilk that lie through their teeth and get massive support just for being putting up a pro-life shingle.The neocons lost the election in 2006 and 2008 for the life movement. Anyone who doesn’t understand why we need to get back to Ron Paul and Ronald Reagan in the basic orientation of the party just doesn’t get it.
Father,You may not want to draw the parallel too closely. The Church tolerated slavery for many years. Their were American bishops in the South that owned slaves, and they were never threatened with any penalties from Rome. Historically, the Church tolerates what it can not get rid of, and tries to minimize the evil. Certainly, back then there must have been fights over how best to deal with the slavery issue. Some claiming the only moral way was to end slavery immediately, and others representing those in authority in the Church, choosing toleration. With abortion and slavery, I feel toleration is too much, but I am not ready to excommunicate Pius IX because he felt differently.