Category Archives: Pro Life

Bishops urge the formation of conscience according to Catholic teaching

The US Bishops issued a statement today explaining the need for us to form our conscience according the teaching of the Church. Our morality is not merely a set of rules but an adherence to a person, Jesus Christ. We are called to follow the witness of the bishops and in doing so we follow Jesus. Read the teaching here.

A Politician’s Promise: No Right to Life! No Freedom!

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli writes:


Arthur J Serratelli.jpg 

After committing a murder in Rome, the famous 17th century Italian painter Caravaggio went to Malta to avoid the death penalty. While there, the Great Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta commissioned him to do a painting for the chapel of the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta. Caravaggio chose as his theme the martyrdom of John the Baptist. He produced The Beheading of St. John, his largest work, the only one he ever signed. No doubt the scene touched him personally. 

 

Herod was married to Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John the Baptist preached against this sin, he incurred the hatred of Herod’s wife. The day her daughter Salome delighted Herod with her seductive dance, Herodias had her make Herod promise to kill John the Baptist. Within the severe architecture of a 16th century prison, Caravaggio vividly depicts the grisly moment when Herod kept his promise.

 

Caravaggio’s work, considered his greatest masterpiece, immortalizes the misguided fidelity of a ruler to his gruesome promise. With the stroke of the soldier’s sword, John dies and so does freedom. Freedom is based on the truth of the human person as created by God and protected by his law.

 

When a ruler can decide against God’s law, true freedom is sentenced to death.

 

Recently, a politician made a promise. Politicians usually do. If this politician fulfills his promise, not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood.

 

On April 18, 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart, The Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. The very next day prominent Democratic members of Congress reintroduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The bill is misleadingly packaged as a freedom bill. It is not! It is a clear act of unreasoned bias to end abruptly and brutally the debate on the pressing and fundamental moral issue of the right to life.

 

For thirty-five years, Americans have been wrestling with The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade.  Most Americans now favor some kind of a ban on abortion. Most who allow abortion would do so only in very rare cases. In fact, in January, 2008, the Guttmacher Institute published its 14th census of abortion providers in the country. Its statistics showed that the abortion rate continues to decline. Abortions have reached their lowest level since 1974. There is truly a deep sensitivity to life in the soul of America. 

 

 The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would mortally wound this sensitivity. In effect, it would dismantle the freedom of choice to do all that is necessary to respect and protect human life at its most vulnerable stage. FOCA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It arrogantly prohibits any law or policy interfering with that right. While advocates trumpet this law as the triumph of the freedom of choice, they hide the dark reality that the law would actually inhibit choice.

 

Laws protecting the rights of nurses, doctors and hospitals with moral objections to abortion would no longer stand. Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics would also vanish. Gone the freedom of health care professionals to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath “to prescribe regimens for the good of…patients…and never do harm to anyone, to please no one [by prescribing] a deadly drug nor [by giving] advice which may cause his death.” Gone the freedom of conscience so essential for a civil society!

 

If a minority of avid abortionists succeed to impose this law because of the ignorance or apathy of the majority, the law would force taxpayers to fund abortions. Gone the freedom of taxation with representation!

 

In its 1992 Casey decision, The Supreme Court ruled as constitutional state laws requiring that women and young girls who seek an abortion receive information on the development of the child in the womb as well as alternatives to abortion. The ruling also determined that a period of waiting, usually 24 or 48 hours before making a decision about an abortion is not an undue burden. The Freedom of Choice Act would nullify these laws immediately. Gone the freedom of women and young girls to have all the information they need to make their own choices!

 

In about half of the States, there are parental notification or consent laws in effect for minors seeking an abortion. The Supreme Court has ruled that these laws are permitted under Roe v. Wade. With the stroke of a pen, these laws would be abolished. Gone the freedom of parents to care for and protect their children and grandchildren!

 

 Advocates of FOCA redefine a woman’s “health” so as to expressly permit post-viability abortions. Thus, a child who survives an abortion can be left to die for the health of the mother. No politically correct word can mask this reality for what it is. This is infanticide. Gone the freedom for a baby, once born, to live!

 

Science does not dispute that the child in the womb already has all the characteristics that he or she will develop after birth. Notwithstanding, abortionists obstinately refuse the right of the child within the womb to live as a fundamental human right. They are not happy that Americans have not swallowed their distorted propaganda that denies the dignity of the human person from the first moment of conception.

 

Pro-abortion advocates close their eyes to the fact that abortion even hurts women as it undermines the very fabric of our society. Their zeal for the Freedom of Choice Act sounds the alarm for decent Americans to wake up! The more the right to life is denied, the more we lose our freedoms. The “pro-choice” movement is not pro-choice. It stands against the freedom to choose what is right according to the truth of the human person.

 

In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, the present democratic candidate voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act. This law was meant to protect a baby that survived a late-term abortion. When the same legislation came up in the Judiciary Committee on which he served, he held to his opposition. First, he voted “present.” Next, he voted “no.”

 

Along with 108 members of Congress, the present democratic candidate for President continues his strong support for the Freedom of Choice Act. In a speech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, he made the promise that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. What a choice for a new President!

 

At the time when Herod murdered John the Baptist because of his promise, Rome practiced the principle “one man, one vote.” Whoever the emperor in Rome placed in authority over a subject people, ruled. Today we live in a democracy. We choose our leaders who make our laws. Every vote counts. Today, either we choose to respect and protect life, especially the life of the child in the womb of the mother or we sanction the loss of our most basic freedoms. At this point, we are still free to choose!

 


AJ Serratelli.jpgThe Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli is the bishop of the Diocese of Patterson. He earned a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University, a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Biblical Institute and a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University.

 

Carl Anderson: The Abortion Albatross

Abortion has been an albatross around the Democratic Party’s neck since at least 1980,
Carl Anderson.jpghelping to keep it out of the White House for all but eight of the last 28 years.

 

Will 2008 be any different?

 

Once again, the Democrats have tied their fortunes to abortion rights, hoping to compensate with a historic outreach effort to Catholic voters. But this may simply lend empirical support to Einstein’s adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

 

Let’s start at the end of the 1970s, when the abortion lobby’s influence over the Democratic Party grew quickly in the decade following Roe v. Wade. That influence doomed the candidacy of a strongly pro-life Sargent Shriver in 1976, and produced a platform plank that year that opposed any effort to overturn Roe.

 

When it became clear that pro-life candidates would lose financial support and even become targets in Democratic primaries unless they switched sides, most of them did. But the party paid a heavy price.

 

Catholics, once among the most reliable members of the Democratic coalition, took a hike in 1980 and gave Jimmy Carter only 42 percent of their votes. Putting pro-choice Catholic Geraldine Ferraro on the 1984 ticket only accelerated the erosion, leaving Democrats with just 39 percent of Catholics.

 

By 1988, Joe Biden and Dick Gephardt became the last of the big-name Catholics in the party to flip to pro-choice. Over the intervening two decades, the party has held fast to an uncompromising stance in favor of abortion rights, and only once – in 1996 – has the Democratic presidential candidate’s share of the Catholic vote exceeded 50 percent.

 

Bill Clinton, who understood Americans’ discomfort with abortion better than most in his party, engineered the inclusion of a platform plank stating that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” a departure from the abortion-as-a-public-good posture of abortion rights advocates. Clinton connected just enough with Catholic Democrats to bring them briefly back to the fold.

 

But it didn’t last.

 

Putting John Kerry, a pro-choice Catholic, at the top of the ticket in 2004 actually made matters worse, since it gave the abortion issue a higher profile during the campaign.

 

Now Barack Obama, the most uncompromising supporter of abortion rights since Michael Dukakis, has picked a pro-choice Catholic as his running mate. Upon arriving in Denver for the nominating convention, Joe Biden quickly discovered that the city’s archbishop had declared him persona non grata in the Communion line at Sunday Mass.

 

When Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mangled Catholic teaching on abortion on “Meet the Press” they earned a swift and public rebuke from America’s bishops. And so the Obama-Biden ticket will carry the same burden as every Democratic ticket of the past three decades.

Polling data seem to indicate on-again, off-again support for Obama among Catholics – pollster John Zogby tracked his support among Catholics at 47 percent in July, then down to 36 percent in August, and now back up to 45 percent as of Monday (Oct. 6), just 2 points behind John McCain.

 

The 2008 party platform is not exactly designed to win over pro-life Catholics: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

 

Pro-life apologists for the party, led by “God’s Politics” author Jim Wallis and joined lately by Catholic law professors Doug Kmeic and Nicholas Cafardi, have tried to portray the abortion plank as a “reaching out” to pro-lifers, based on a sentence saying the party “recognizes” that social policies can help “reduce the need for abortions.” Many serious Catholics would argue there’s never a “need” for any abortion.

 

Kmeic conceded that the Democratic plank “still falls short of the Catholic ideal,” a remarkable understatement. The fiercely pro-abortion Catholic Frances Kissling more accurately called the plank “a slap in the face to Kmeic’s Catholic ideal.”

 

For Catholic Democrats, there’s a line in Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that sums it up nicely:

 

“Instead of the cross, the Albatross

About my neck was hung.”

 

(Carl Anderson is the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization.)

Copyright (c.) 2008 Religion News Service

Keeping Informed on Life Issues

Tom Grenchik, the Executive Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the
Pro Life.JPGUnited States Catholic Conference, and his staff, have a resourceful website.  His office ably assists those who want to be informed and involved.

 

October is Respect Life Month (as well as Breast Cancer Awareness month) and there are 3 weeks until the Presidential election. I therefore, think it’s important to review some fundamental teachings about the human person, the right to life, and our Catholic faith.

 

Justin Cardinal Rigali’s October letter for Respect Life Month

 

The consistent, clear teaching of the Church on life

 

On the Fundamental Right to Life

 

The Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul IIs 1995 encyclical offering us what the Church has consistently taught with regard to life issues.

 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s 1974 Declaration on Procured Abortion

 

Read the Life Insight newsletter

 

Get involved

 

The Knights of Columbus have a number pro life activities through the year so make a connection with them to see how you can be of service.

 

Also, The National Catholic Bioethics Center 

 

The Catholic Information Service has XX booklets that explore some of these pertinent life issues. The text of the booklets are given here in pdf format but you can also get a hardcopy of the booklet by emailing Michele at cis@kofc.org.

 

Catholic Sexual Ethics

 

Understanding Stem Cell Research

 

The Child: Begotten not Manmade

 

 

Sisters Of Life2.JPGThere is an order of Catholic sisters whose vocation is work on life issues. The Sisters of Life founded by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1991 in NYC is a vibrant community dedicated to “the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life. Like all religious communities, [they] take the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience … [and] also are consecrated under a special, fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.

 

 

 

Carl Anderson writes to Senator Biden: abortion is the modern American slavery

Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, wrote an open letter to Senator
Anderson.jpgJoseph Biden, 2008 VP candidate, regarding his remarks on abortion and the teaching of the Catholic Church. The appeal Anderson makes is one Catholic to another. The invitation is personal to discuss Catholic teaching and the importance of true faith.

Biden makes the claim to be a faithful Catholic and his known to attend Sunday Mass among other things. Biden also claims to hold what the Church teaches regarding abortion, “the unspeakable crime,” and yet he is a pro-choice senator. The public record of Senator Biden shows no affection (i.e., he’s not obedient to the Lord and His sacrament the Church) for the Catholic he purports to be convicted by and to sustain him unto salvation. He’s afflicted with the Mario Como disease which says “personally I am opposed to abortion but I am not going to impose my views on others.”

Carl Anderson’s letter to Joseph Biden can be read here. The letter outlines the issues at hand: the misleading statements Biden has made regarding Catholic teaching and reserving Catholic moral teaching from the legislative process and voting.

Instead of writing Biden off from a fruitful conversation, which many would do, Anderson is doing the noble thing by inviting Biden to the table to discuss his statements –Biden’s wrong thinking– regarding what Catholic faith teaches about life and why one can’t claim to be a faithful Catholic and hold that abortion is acceptable, even to the point of voting for legislation securing abortion rights.

Senator Biden has a choice: either accept the Church’s clear, consistent teaching about the value of human life by accepting and working for the uborn or risk salvation.

Abortion violates natural law, the 6th Commandment, New Testament truth, the teaching of the fathers of the Church, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and love.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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