Videos from Bishops, Priests, Catholic Speakers about the Election and Catholic Vote.
The 40 Days for Life Campaign is a period of prayer and fasting, of pro-life community outreach and presence at the killing centers.
Fr. Frank gives words of encouragement to all participants.
Priests for Life is the primary partner of this campaign, and our pastoral team will visit many of the cities that are conducting this effort, leading them in prayer and encouraging their activities. Priests for Life has also provided many of the daily prayer devotionals that are used by 40 Days participants.
Here are some of our resources you can use at your 40 Days Prayer Vigils:
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life, is mobilizing women and men who have lost children to abortion, and enabling them to speak out about their pain and healing. Their presence at the abortion mills during this campaign provides a powerful witness against abortion.
Moreover, Priests for Life is making a special call to clergy to preach on abortion, to mobilize people to come in prayer to the abortion mills, and to have every parish in the nation praying for the conversion and closing of abortion mills - not only during the 40 Days Campaign, but all year round.
Priests for Life has provided the priests, pastors, and deacons of the country with a simple action plan for their congregations:
1. Have each member and family of the Church pray the daily prayer to end abortion, found at www.PrayerCampaign.org.
2. Sign up for liturgical resources to be emailed to you each week; request them at email@example.com. Find them online at www.priestsforlife.org/liturgy
3. Preach on abortion using the guidelines given in the weekly liturgical resources email mentioned above.
4. Each Sunday, have a paragraph on pro-life themes in the bulletin, as provided for each Sunday in the weekly liturgical resources email mentioned above.
5. For the General intercessions at Mass, use the prayers found for each Sunday in the weekly liturgical resources email mentioned above.
6. On one of the Sundays during the campaign, provide in the bulletin one of the full page inserts offered free of charge at www.priestsforlife.org/bulletin.
7. Prepare your people for the elections. Find more information at www.ProLifeVote.com.
8. Publicize to your people the resources for healing after abortion found at www.RachelsVineyard.org. Utilize the bulletin, parish website, pulpit announcements, parish mailings, and literature in the vestibule.
9. Share with your people the testimonies of the men and women who have suffered the loss of children through abortion and have found healing. You can use the testimonies atwww.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org or contact us to arrange for someone to come to share his or her testimony in person.
10. Invite a member of our pastoral team to come to the parish to assist the activation and/or growth of the parish pro-life committee, which can be the center of pro-life activity for the parish throughout the year.
Friends, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. As we become more activated during this special season, and all during the year, we will see the abortion industry retreat and the Victory of Life unfold more clearly than ever!
Fr. Frank Pavone
This edition of the Life Issues Forum is available in English and Spanish, and has been posted to our website.
The Life Issues Forum is a bi-weekly column by Pro-Life Secretariat staff addressing the latest issues on the culture of life. Columns may be reprinted as they appear here (in full and without alteration) without further permission.
The Pro-Life Secretariat
LIFE ISSUES FORUM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Roe v. Wade: Questions and Answers September 7, 2018
USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities
Roe v. Wade is well known as the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy--and as the confirmation hearings for his replacement have moved forward--Roe v. Wade has once again found itself at the center of public debate. Pro-abortion groups continue to spread misinformation about Roe, fearing its eventual reversal. Accurate answers to some common questions can help us to better understand Roe and to educate others.
What Did Roe v. Wade Do?
It said the right of privacy (not mentioned in the text of the Constitution) "is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." The Justices ruled that a state may not restrict abortion at all in the first three months of pregnancy (first trimester). It may establish guidelines only to protect the mother's health during the next three months (second trimester). After "viability," when the unborn child could survive if delivered (which the Court placed at 24 to 28 weeks of gestation), the state may prohibit abortion unless it is deemed necessary to preserve the mother's "life or health."
Did the Court Find That Life Doesn't Begin Until Birth?
No. It argued that uses of the word "person" in the Constitution do not seem to include the unborn. Then, citing wide disagreement as to when human life begins, the Court said it "need not resolve" this difficult question. Instead of considering the scientific evidence that life begins at conception, or even allowing legislatures to protect those who have never been proven to be anything but human beings, the Court decided to treat unborn children merely as "potential life"--and to prevent the people or their elected representatives from determining otherwise.
Do All Legal Experts Approve of Roe?
No. Roe has been criticized by several Supreme Court justices and even by legal experts who favor legalized abortion. Justice Byron White called it "an exercise of raw judicial power." Yale law professor John Hart Ely has said that Roe is "a very bad decision .... It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be." Edward Lazarus, former clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun who wrote the Roe opinion, says that "Roe, as constitutional interpretation, is virtually impossible to defend."
Why Are Abortion Advocates So Strongly Committed to Retaining Roe?
Roe v. Wade is increasingly recognized as bad law, bad medicine, and bad social policy. Most Americans object to an unlimited right to abortion. Therefore, such a policy can be kept in place only by extraordinary measures--by insisting that Roe is untouchable, regardless of the evidence. Abortion advocates know that any return of this issue to the democratic process would produce a very different policy from what the Court created. But false judicial doctrines do not have a right to live. Human beings do.
For more information on Roe v. Wade including the full listing of questions and answers, visit: www.usccb.org/roe.
This issue of Life Issues Forum has been adapted and excerpted from the July 2018 USCCB Fact Sheet by the same name:http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/upload/Roe-v-Wade-Q-s-and-A-s_Final_2018.pdf.
PARIS, April 5, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Cardinal Robert Sarah says abortion is the “greatest tragedy of our time,” and the pro-life cause is “part of the final battle…between God and Satan.” Interestingly, Sarah’s speech came three days after Pope Francis called the problems faced by refugees and migrants the “greatest tragedy since that of World War II.”
“The most striking objective sign indicating that we are going into the abyss, a bottomless pit, is the tragic force of the rejection of life,” he said during a March 25 lecture in France. That day, on which Catholics celebrate the conception of Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary, also marks the International Day of the Unborn Child.
Cardinal Sarah said killing a preborn child is made all the more tragic by the fact that many people no longer view it as a “crime,” since they have been “anesthetized” to its “horror” by “financial and media powers.”
“It is really horrible, criminal, and sacrilegious,” he said, speaking of preborn children who are specifically targeted for abortion because of a defect.
The cardinal, who is the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, made his remarks at an event in Paris commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the death of Servant of God Dr. Jerome Lejeune.
AMORIS LÆTITIA OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
September 1, 2015 The relevant portion of the Pope's letter today is as follows:
"One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence."
The full letter is at http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/09/01/0637/01386.html#ing
Bishop Randolph Calvo
Father Dan Hussey
Please see attached letter to the Elko Daily Free Press. Lee Hoffman is a parish member of St. Joseph's.
God bless, Fr. Dan
Father Tom Fransiscus
HUMAN LIFE ACTION
The Trump Administration has proposed a new pro-life rule. Can you raise your voice to support it?
Here's the story: Many Americans using an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plan don't know if their plan covers elective abortion. Though the law requires health insurance companies with plans that cover elective abortion to collect a separate payment for abortion coverage, this has often been ignored.
To help fix this problem, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a new rule that would require insurance companies to send their customers a separate monthly bill for the part of their health premium that covers abortion. That way, everyone with a plan that covers elective abortion knows just where their money goes.
Many of you may be wondering, why can't we just change the law to prohibit use of taxpayer dollars to pay for health plans that cover abortion? That is still the goal, but in the meantime, until Congress takes that action, this "Separate Payments" rule will allow consumers to see more clearly when they are paying for elective abortions and to seek a plan that does not cover it. It may also motivate companies to offer more plans WITHOUT abortion coverage. For more background information on the Separate Payments Rule and why it is necessary, please click here (link to FAQ).
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has written formal comments applauding the government, and we invite you to add yours as well. Pro-abortion groups will write in as many negative comments about the rule as they can. All the more reason to raise your voice in support of it!
Comments on the proposed rule are being accepted by the Administration through January 8, 2019, so please write them as soon as you can.
Thank you, and have a blessed new year!
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW!
FAQS on the "Separate Payments Rule"
How can government plans from the Affordable Care Act cover abortion? Isn't taxpayer funding for abortion already against the law? When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, one major piece of the Hyde amendment (i.e., the law that prevents taxpayer funding of abortion) was missing from it. The ACA omitted the prohibition on use of federal funds to pay for health plans that cover elective abortions. Instead, the ACA required health insurance companies with plans that cover elective abortions to collect a separate payment (at least $1 per month) from each enrollee for coverage of those abortions. And the insurance company must deposit these separate elective abortion payments into a separate account that only includes those payments, and that is used exclusively to pay for elective abortions.
So the rule is already part of the law. Why didn't it work the first time?
The separate payment provision is simply being ignored by many health insurers, according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office Report. This may be because when the ACA was first put into effect, the Obama Administration failed to enforce that part of the law. As a result, many pro-life Americans seeking health insurance under the ACA are likely unaware that their plan covers abortions and that they are paying an additional premium to pay for them.
In order to fix this problem, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new regulations directing issuers of health insurance plans to follow this provision of the law. The regulations require issuers to send a separate monthly bill to the consumer for the portion of the premium that covers abortion.
In other words, the new rule will remind health insurers about the law, and give them reason to believe the government will make them comply with it this time.
Why don't we just change the law to prevent use of government money to pay for plans that cover abortion?
Ultimately, we are continuing to work to get the ACA amended to prohibit use of federal funds to pay for health plans that cover abortion. But it is Congress, not the Administration, who must take that action.
Until they do, adoption of this "Separate Payments" rule will allow consumers to see more clearly when they are paying for elective abortions and to seek a plan that does not cover it. It may also motivate companies to offer more plans WITHOUT abortion coverage.
President, His Eminence Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo,
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Cardinal Dolan launches a new program Respect Life Program for 2017 -2018 "Be Not Afraid"
"There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But...He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption," the Cardinal said. "That's powerful. That's something to hold onto."
"As followers of Jesus Christ, ...we are called to be missionary disciples...commissioned to reach out to one another, especially to the weak and vulnerable," Cardinal Dolan said.
Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program highlights the value and dignity of human life throughout the year. Materials are intended for use across the spectrum of Catholic life, work, ministry, and education.
The 2017-18 Respect Life Program features six articles on a range of issues. They address practical steps to build a culture of life, compelling reasons to oppose assisted suicide, principles to consider at the end of life, an overview of the role of conscience, offering genuine support to a friend who's considering abortion, and a Catholic Q & A on the death penalty. Many digital and print resources are offered, including toolkitsfor priests and deacons, parishes, Catholic education, Respect Life ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, faith formation, and communications.
The full text of Cardinal Dolan's statement is available along with many other resources at www.usccb.org/respectlife.
From Father Chuck Durante, Pastor of St. Teresa of Avila Parish, Carson City, Nevada ~ Taken from October 11, 2015 bulletin:
October is typically designated as Respect Life month as well as the month of the rosary, since October 7th is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is a good opportunity to set aside some time to pray the rosary, especially to pray for a greater respect for life in our society and in our world. We are blessed with a teaching, often referred to as the "consistent ethic of life," which holds all human life is sacred from womb to tomb. We believe that life begins at conception and that there is nothing that intervenes, from that time through the point of natural death, to change or interrupt the sanctity of that life. In his encyclical, Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home, Pope Francis writes that: "human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself." (66) Calling upon both the teachings of St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has continued the teaching tradition of a strong stance on the interconnectedness of life. We stand opposed to abortion in the beginning of life and we stand opposed to suicide, assisted or otherwise, even in the case of terminal illness, at the end of life. We stand opposed to unjust war and we stand opposed to the death penalty. We stand for lifting up all those who live in abject poverty and we stand for caring for the earth and all its creatures. Pope Francis has called for a renewed dialogue about how all this gets done. In the future I hope to offer an opportunity for group parish study of his encyclical as well as to provide for a bulletin insert or two that presents a good summary of it. As people of faith we are both strengthened and challenged by these teachings. Let us dialogue together, as a parish and among our families and friends, about how we participate in respecting life and ensuring that our civic and corporate leaders do the same.
September 1. 2015
Fr. Pavone welcomes Church’s “eagerness to reconcile those who have had abortions”
NEW YORK -- Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and also Pastoral Director of the world's largest ministry for healing after abortion, Rachel's Vineyard, and also of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the largest mobilization of those who have had abortions, issued the following statement this morning:
"All of us at Priests for Life, Rachel's Vineyard, and Silent No More welcome the letter our Holy Father issued today, indicating his compassionate concern for those who have had abortions, and making it easier for them to obtain the absolution of a priest. This step does not mean that forgiveness wasn't available before. However, it simplifies the process outlined in Church law whereby, in certain circumstances, the priest needs to get authorization before giving absolution. In the Jubilee Year, priests will not need to delay that absolution, provided there is repentance.
"We welcome this concrete expression of the Church's eagerness to reconcile those who have had abortions. We who oppose abortion do not oppose those who have had abortions; rather, we welcome them with mercy and compassion. A very large part of our work at Priests for Life is to extend the urgent invitation to healing. We oversee the work of Rachel's Vineyard (www.RachelsVineyard.org), a retreat program which constitutes the world's largest ministry of healing after abortion and which enjoys the personal and enthusiastic support of Pope Francis.
“Moreover, through our Silent No More Awareness Campaign, through which mothers, fathers, and entire families witness to the pain of being involved in abortion and the joy of God's healing, we echo that invitation to healing through the testimonies of those who have found it. They share these testimonies in churches, at rallies, and in the media (see www.SilentNoMore.com).
"I have spoken with Pope Francis on five occasions specifically about our work of healing those who have had abortions, and healing even abortionists who have killed tens of thousands of children. We at Priests for Life will continue to train and encourage our brother priests to be the heralds of mercy and compassion in the face of abortion. Truth and compassion are not in tension; they are both aspects of the same God. To treat someone with compassion includes sharing with them honestly the truth they need to hear, and to be fully truthful includes revealing the reality of compassion and mercy," stated Fr. Pavone.
Fr. Pavone: Latest video highlights tight relationship between Planned Parenthood and procurement companies
NEW YORK -- Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and author of Abolishing Abortion, released the following statement today regarding the latest undercover video focusing on the sale of baby body parts:
“The ninth undercover video of Planned Parenthood released by our colleagues at the Center for Medical Progress shows the tight financial relationship between abortion clinics and companies that buy the body parts of the babies killed there. This video focuses on the oldest such company, Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR) and its relationship with Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest. The interviews clearly attest to how the procurement companies pay the clinics, and how the sharing of personnel cements the relationship between the clinics and the procurement companies.
“The bottom line is simple. To deny the fact that Planned Parenthood sells body parts, alters the abortion procedure to do so, and is involved in this illegal activity at the highest corporate level, is now tantamount to asserting that the Earth is flat. The facts are not only in these videos, but also in the letter that Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, wrote to Congress on August 27
“As Congress convenes again next week, Priests for Life, and numerous other national and local pro-life organizations, will press our elected officials to do their job and investigate Planned Parenthood and hold the organization accountable for its actions.”
To see the latest video, and all the previous undercover releases, go to www.babybodyparts.com
Priests for Life
PO Box 141172
Staten Island, NY 10314
Do you know others who may be interested in our work? Please refer them to us!
What does the church teach Assisted Suicide?
From the Desk of Fr. Mark Hanifan
As shown in the April 5/6 Bulletin of St. Albert's the Great.
Below article from “Patients Rights Council”, 2014 Volume 28, No. 2; “Belgium does the unthinkable, then shocked at the world’s reaction."
Belgium's 2002 permissive euthanasia law has so altered the country's collective mind-set that many Belgians can no longer distinguish the unthinkable from the thinkable when it comes to end-of-life issues. The unthinkable in this case is the medicalized killing of sick children. On February 13, 2014, the Belgian Parliament's House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (86-44,with 12 abstentions) to remove all age limits from the existing law so that children could be euthanized along with adults. The Senate had passed the measure last December by a 50 to 17 majority.Supporters of the law's expansion justified it by saying there are strict guidelines regulating the termination of children's lives. A qualified child must request an induced death and have a terminal and incurable illness with death expected "within a brief period." Also, just like with adults, the child must have "constant and unbearable" suffering. But, unlike adults, the child would have to undergo an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist to verify that the child is capable ofdiscernment and understands whatdeath means. Lastly, the child's parents and doctors must agree to his orher life being terminated. Senator Philippe Maheux, a doctor and authorof the 2002 euthanasia law, called theaddition of children "the ultimate gesture of humanity." [Expatica.com,2/13/14; AP, 2/13/14] But Belgium's history with actual adult euthanasia practice reveals just how easily "strict guidelines" are ignored in the name of compassion. Three recent cases attest to that fact:the deaf Verbessen twins, 45, who were given lethal injections to avoid suffering the likelihood of blindness; Nathan Verhelst, 44, who was euthanized because he was not happy with the results of his sex change surgery; and an anorexic woman, known only as Ann G., who was euthanized because she was distraught after her doctor sexually abused her and got away with it. (See Update 2013-4 for more on these cases.) While it was expected that the overly elastic euthanasia law would be expanded to include minors, there were some who strongly opposed it. Lawmaker Els van Hoof argued, "[Children's] brains aren't as developed on an emotional, moral or cognitive level as an adult, and they are more depending on the influence of authority, and authority in this case would be doctors or parents." A 2010 functional MRI study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, found that major changes in thearea of the brain responsible for decisionmaking and understanding the consequences of actions do not level off until aperson's early 20s. [USA Today, 2/13/14;New Scientist, 2/13/14] Sonja Develter, a Belgian palliativecare nurse who has cared for more than200 terminally-ill children, said, "I neverhad a child ask to end their life." Thenshe added, "But requests for euthanasiadid often come from parents who were emotionally exhausted after seeing their children fight for their lives so long." She went on to say that children's euthanasia decisions would be based on what they thought their families wanted to hear,especially if they felt they were burdens to family members and caregivers.An open letter signed by 175 Belgian pediatricians argued that changing the law "responds to no real demand" on the part of sick children. According to the pediatricians, most medical teams treating terminally ill children will agree that these patients do not on their own voluntarily ask for euthanasia. [CNN, 1/13/14] But child euthanasia is essentially anon-issue in Belgian society. A recent poll indicated that 75 percent of the public supported changing the law to include children. As the Belgian newspaper De Morgen opined, "For the first time since 1830 we have evolved to being ethically progressive leaders. We can be quite proud of that." The rest of the world, however, didnot see it that way. For example, the German newspaper Die Welt ran an articlestating, "Belgium has allowed the killing on demand of terminally ill children and has headed for the ethical abyss. A statewhich allows something like this is a failing state." U.S. publisher Steve Forbeswrote, "We are on the malignant slippery slope to becoming a society like that envisioned by Nazi Germany." [Reuters, 2/14/14; USA Today, 2/13/14] Members of Russia's parliament have asked the Foreign Ministry to ban the adoption of Russian children by Belgian citizens since"there is a danger for our kids to losetheir lives in a foreign country." [rt.com,2/17/14] And the American College ofPediatricians (AMCP) issued a statement that read in part, "The killing of infantsand children can never be endorsed bythe [AMCP] and should never be endorsed by any other ethical, medical orsocial entity." [AMCP Press Release,2/18/14] The world's reaction shocked Belgians, especially those in the media. The chief editor of the large Belgian newspaper De Standaard summed it up. "I'm annoyed at hearing 'you'll kill children' in the foreign media," he said. "We don'tuse that kind of language anymore. It's avery different debate on a different level." [Reuters, 2/14/14] Apparently 12 years of killing adult patients has so numbed and blinded the Belgians that they no longer see what the rest of the world does - that the unthinkable is truly unthinkable. B
Father Chuck Durante on the "morning after pill"
We have heard the news about making the so-called "morning after pill available over the counter to girls and women of all ages by order of a federal court in April. This is a controversial move on several counts, including the danger of ending a pregnancy before implantation of the embryo. Our Church teaching is that life begins at conception, not implantation. While I am no expert on the "morning after pill" (also known as Plan B or, more formally, levonorgestrel) I believe it is far from clear that it only prevents conception. It more often functions in this way however it also functions to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, a life begun, thereby a form of abortion. I urge all of us to learn more and pray about this creeping disregard for when life begins and to stand opposed publicly and within our families and among our friends to any drug or action that takes a life which God has begun.
The trial of Kermit Gosnell is over. His convictions will surprise very few. But nothing can bring back the innocent children he killed, or make up for the vulnerable women he exploited. We should keep the repugnance of his clinic conditions sharp in our memories, and we should remember the media's inadequacy in covering his case, because Kermit Gosnell is not an exception. Others just like him run abortion mills throughout our country.
We need to stop cloaking the ugliness of abortion with misnomers like "proper medical coverage" or "choice." It's violence of the most intimate sort, and it needs to end.
Archbishop Chaput's latest column was published today on CatholicPhilly.com. It focuses on the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. I'm sharing a link with you here.
Gird yourself with the Armor of God
The Armor of God - Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Greetings from India
Greetings of joy from Father N. Bala from india.
I have received your message through email and letter and received checks for Masses and for mission. I spoke to you over the phone and informed you about this. I distributed the pamphlets to my parishioners and they are already doing this service in the parish. They will contact you soon.
I came to work for one year and completed my term and came back home to India.
Please continue to correspond with me through my email. In India also we have this project already and I am involved in this for a long time. Anyway thanks a lot for your letter, checks and information about anti-abortion. I will pray for your mission and God will bless all your undertakings. Please pray for my mission too. Very soon I will be giving my new address too.
Thanks a lot,
Fr. Bala Showraiah
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS CATHEDRAL
3 1 0 WEST 2ND STREET
RENO, NEVADA 89503
BRIEF REFLECTIONS ON CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE
IN A PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY
CURRENT POLLING suggests that American Catholics break right down the middle on their support for one or the other candidate of the two major parties in this November’s election. Both the election itself and the Catholic vote are too close to call. Interestingly, recent commentary in the British Catholic press claims that the
US election is too close to call because the Catholic vote is too close to call. This ought not to surprise us, as one-in-four voters self-identifies as Catholic.
Nonetheless, when it come to practicing Catholics, that is, those who attend Mass on Sundays, who remember that there are such things as Holy Days of Obligation, who fast during Lent, who pray daily, and who observe the Precepts of the Church, the number of voters is much smaller indeed – less half the total that self-identifies
If the teaching of the Church with regard to the Right to Life does not swing this particular ballot, it will indicate more the collapse of long-term moral formation and catechesis on the part of the Church than a failure of this year’s strategies for messaging or politicking. The truth is, Catholics could swing every single election, if they were not so dismally divided by misinformation and naive commitment to partisan politics. If Catholics were to vote as a block, based on the priorities of the clear moral teaching of the Church, not only would we have
reversed Roe v Wade by now, but we would have begun seriously and fruitfully to address the host of other social problems deriving from poverty, inequity, war, violence, corruption and apathy that Gospel values compel us to care about.
Instead, the potential for concrete social good coming from a unified Catholic vote has been completely wrecked by a de facto divide-and-conquer policy which is part and parcel of partisan politics in a two-party system. The first most important thing for Catholics to do is to detach themselves emotionally from partisan commitments as such. The platforms of any political party change from year to year, but the moral ground of the Gospel never changes.
Let’s start there.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
23 September 2012
Catholics and the Coming Election – Part 2
LAST WEEK, I wrote about the de facto divide-and-conquer technique that has been used to nullify the social force for good of a united Catholic vote in America and I suggested that this is a permanent feature of partisan politics in a two-party system. If I am correct, this means that it will always be counterproductive for the Catholic to identify too closely with any political party. Instead, we should think of ourselves as a voting commodity in the marketplace of the pluralistic democracy. Thus, a political party, any political party, should have to compete vigorously for Catholic votes. If political parties want the support of Catholic voters, then they should be prepared to advocate and defend, rather than denigrate and attack, Catholic moral values as they are authentically proposed by the Church. But aren’t all social values more or less of equal importance? To put it bluntly, no, they’re not. Some issues of their very nature outweigh even aggregates or clusters of other matters. Firstly, the dignity of human life, from conception to natural death must be the highest value in the political calculus. If it is not, then what possibly could be? Economic wellbeing? Healthcare? Security? What are those other things for, if not to preserve and defend life? Secondly, nothing more gravely or fundamentally abuses the dignity of human life than abortion. No political party or individual politician can claim authentically to value human dignity through funding for anti-poverty programs or providing universal healthcare while, at the same time, defending the willful destruction of human beings in utero.
But, some may object, isn’t this obsessive, single-issue voting? No, it isn’t. The Right to Life is not a single issue among many issues. It is rather a foundational issue. The very term single-issue voting is a slur against the Catholic voter who values human life and dignity above every political matter. Without making the
eradication of abortion our highest priority, we will never successfully address subsidiary problems of poverty, violence and lack of healthcare, because we will not have affirmed the centrality of human life as the wellspring from which all other human and civil rights flow. The US Catholic Bishops put it this way: The
failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. This is sage advice, both for Catholic politicians and for Catholic voters to heed.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
30 September 2012
Catholics and the Coming Election – Part 3
CATHOLICS ARE ADMONISHED to vote according to their conscience. But what does it mean to exercise one’s conscience in the sphere of political life? Well, first of all, let me answer by saying what it does not mean. The exercise of conscience is not simply a matter of the individual voter expressing a preferential option for one candidate or one party. Conscience is not the same as individual preference. If that were the case, then it would be perfectly legitimate to cast a vote on the basis of prejudices or emotions or any other arbitrary influence that may individuate us. The exercise of conscience is never a matter of deciding what works best for me. Rather, the exercise of conscience is first and foremost an exercise of reason. Conscience takes into account objective moral truth, like the Commandments, and applies sound principles to uphold that moral truth while sorting out the particular issues of the day. A moral conscience may potentially err without loss of dignity, but certain fundamental principles always hold true: (1) One may never do evil so that good may result from it; (2) Whatever you wish that people would do to you, do so to them; and (3) it is never right to do anything that
causes another to sin (Catechism 1789). Thus, when the Catholic bishops admonish the faithful to follow their conscience, they are never saying, “do whatever you think is best.” Rather, they are saying, “start with the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church, use carefully reasoned judgment, and vote in a way consistent with the principles of moral reasoning articulated above.”
For too long, a significant number of Catholics (approximately 57% of Catholic voters) have either misunderstood or ignored what the Church teaches regarding the exercise of conscience. They’ve taken it as a free pass on the abortion issue. Then, having neutered the Right to Life as a factor in voting, they’ve been
split right down the middle on the rest of the political spectrum, thus rendering impotent what could otherwise be an awesome and consistent force for good in America.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
7 October 2012
Catholics and the Coming Election – Part 4
IN TODAY’S FIRST READING (Wisdom 7:7-11), we hear these words: I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. This text from the Book of Wisdom underscores a vitally important dimension of our own preparation for next month’s election: prayer. In order to discern effectively, we
must pray. Only then will prudence be given; only then will the spirit of wisdom come. Prudence, of course, is vital.
Saint Thomas Aquinas reveres prudence, for it is the virtue that allows us to judge correctly what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. If we mistake an evil action for good one, then we would not be exercising prudence, we be showing a lack of it. Prudence applies universal knowledge to a particular case, and so demonstrates how right reason functions in matters of action. Prudence allows one to do what is good because it is good. Thus, for one to act prudently, he must have both knowledge and rightness of desire. Finally, prudence requires knowledge of both general moral principles and of a particular situation or set of
circumstances. Putting this week’s discourse on prudence together with last week’s reflection on conscience, I believe we can now specify that in order for the Catholic voter’s conscience to act rightly, we must possess prudence and be willing to exercise it. There are many reasons that the exercise of conscience receives such
strong emphasis in Catholic social teaching. One of them is quite simple. The Magisterium of Church could not possibly review every imaginable political or social scenario, every possible ballot measure or potential candidate for political office in the world and make definitive pronouncements about them. Instead, the
Church seeks to form the conscience of believers so that they may prudently exercise their well-formed conscience in the context of the pluralistic democracy in which they themselves live.
Voting, then, is precisely a matter of applying general moral principles to the specific sociopolitical conditions within which the voter lives and about which the voter is expected to be informed. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the moral principles we start with do not pop out of thin air, but derive from two
complementary sources: the exercise of reason and the doctrine of the Church.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
14 October 2012
Catholics and the Coming Election – Part 5
THE UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS has clearly stated the following: Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate
who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference... to other important
moral issues involving human life and dignity (USCCB, Faithful Citizenship 2011).
So, let’s talk turkey. May a Catholic, in good conscience, vote for a candidate because that candidate supports abortion, euthanasia, and gay marriage? The answers are no, no and no. To do so would make the Catholic voter complicit in those moral evils. Now, a second, distinct, but related, question: May a Catholic, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who happens also to support abortion, euthanasia, or gay marriage, even though those are not the reasons that the Catholic would vote for that candidate? The answer is still no, unless certain conditions obtain, an example of which I will discuss below.
Suppose there are two publicly pro-choice candidates running against one another in a particular race without other candidates. One candidate absolutely opposes any kinds of restrictions on abortion whatsoever. The other candidate at least favors parental notification and opposes third-trimester abortions. A Catholic
could, in good conscience, vote for the latter candidate, in spite of that candidate’s pro-choice stance. In such a case, the Catholic voter does not impair his conscience or cooperate with an intrinsic evil. On the contrary, in the absence of any option for a vote against the evil of abortion, the Catholic voter may nonetheless vote in favor of two policies that at least restrict access to abortion and will certainly reduce the actual number of abortions.
Such is not the case, however, when there is a clear and unambiguous distinction between one candidate who favors abortion and another who opposes it. A Catholic cannot, in conscience, vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil in such a case.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
21 October 2012
Catholics and the Coming Election – Part 6
THIS SUMMER, during the period of the national conventions of the two major political parties, much ado was made of the exclusion and later inclusion of a single passing reference to God in the national platform of one of those parties.
Some may consider the publicity generated by this affair a mere tempest in a teapot, but I think it was, in fact, a brilliantly executed diversionary tactic designed to draw attention away from two intrinsic moral evils embedded in that same party’s official platform. The first intrinsic evil is the party’s demand for access to abortion regardless of the ability to pay (which also means, by the way, that it is OK, in principle, to require either tax-payers or premium-payers to cover someone else’s abortions).
The second intrinsic evil is the party’s commitment to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Clinton, which defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. To be sure, the opposing party has troubling elements in its official platform as well, but however dubious one may regard such policies, indeed, however much one may actively oppose them, they do not in fact commit the opposing
party to any intrinsically immoral positions. While that does not mean that the Catholic voter is allowed to be indifferent with regard to issues that involve prudential decisions, it certainly does mean that one party has officially committed itself to moral evils and the other party has not.
Still, that’s a pretty big deal, isn’t it? In my mind, it is a matter of staggering significance, especially since I, as a non-partisan, have nonetheless to find my moral and political way in an electoral system dominated by only two parties. For nearly twenty years now, I have been a non-partisan precisely because I could not
continue as a member of a party that committed itself officially to intrinsic moral evils and I could not bring myself to join the party opposite with which I continue to have so many ideological differences. But not joining a party does not mean that I don’t vote, it just means that I have to think more carefully about whom and what
to vote for. Choosing whom to vote for in such circumstances is often distressing, but it is never really difficult. Once you’ve eliminated the possibility of cooperating with intrinsic moral evils, then there are only two choices: (1) a non-impactive vote or (2) a vote for the party or candidate that has not committed itself officially to
intrinsic moral evils and even opposes them.
+ Pax et bonum,
Friar Francisco Nahoe OFM Conv
28 October 2012