Monthly Archives: January 2010

Planned Parenthood Preys on African-American Communities

1-18-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

On this day, when we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Representative Trent Franks (Rep.) of Arizona calls out Planned Parenthood for targeting black Americans. He told LifeNews.com that PP locates their abortion clinics in African-American communities, giving rise to the mind numbing statistic that 50 percent of all African-American babies are killed by abortion.

By Steven Ertelt, Editor LifeNews.com

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) – As Americans honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., a congressman says the nation is not aware of how Planned Parenthood targets black Americans with abortions. Arizona Rep. Trent Franks says the abortion industry has preyed on African-American communities for too long.
Franks told LifeNews.com today that he is “calling on Americans to work toward ending the abortion industry’s disproportionate targeting of minorities.”
“Today, we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. for dedicating his life to the fulfillment of a truth outlined in the Declaration of Independence: that all men are created equal, regardless of their skin color,” Franks said. “While we have come a long way in the 40+ years since his death, another major hurdle in the Civil Rights Movement still looms before us: the disturbing targeting of minority populations by the abortion industry.”

Franks points to startling figures to make his case. “An astonishing 50% of African-American babies are killed by abortion,” he points out. “And nearly 80% of abortion clinics are deliberately located in or near predominantly minority neighborhoods.”

Catholics and the Personhood Initiative

1-18-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

By Deal Hudson

As pro-lifers head to the nation’s capital this week, they are united in their opposition to abortion funding in the health-care bill. But, as they gather for the 37th annual March for Life, pro-life leaders are divided on the merits of the Personhood Initiative, a nationwide effort to establish legal “personhood” for the pre-born from the time of conception.

The initiative was begun in 2007 by Kristi Burton, then a 19-year-old Baptist from rural Colorado. Together with Mark Meuser, a young attorney, she founded Colorado for Equal Rights and began collecting the 76,000 signatures necessary to get the Colorado Definition of a Person Amendment on the 2008 ballot. By May 2008, they had collected over 100,000 signatures.

Colorado voters turned down the amendment by a stunning 73 percent to 27 percent, in spite of support from Focus on the Family, American Life League, and legal advice from the Thomas More Law Center. But the effort had failed to gain the support of either National Right to Life (NRTL) or the Colorado Catholic Conference.

NRTL considered incremental pro-life efforts more successful at saving unborn lives, leading to a break with their Colorado affiliate, which supported the amendment. The Colorado bishops took a similar line to NTRL, adding that, if the amendment was overturned in federal court, the ruling could “actively reaffirm the mistaken jurisprudence of Roe.” However, Jennifer Kraska, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, made it clear that they “commend the goal of this effort to end abortion. Individual Catholics may choose to work for its passage.”

Catholic bishops in other states — such as Georgia, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota — have likewise withheld their support from the personhood initiative in their states. Their stance has inevitably confused and upset many Catholic and Evangelical activists, who had become used to working side by side in the pro-life movement. Suddenly, the Catholics were feeling discouraged by their bishops’ lack of support.

However, in October 2oo9, the Colorado bishops issued a different statement, giving permission for individual pastors to allow signatures to be collected in their parishes.

What had changed?

For one, the initiative had new leadership. The day after the 2008 defeat, Personhood USA was founded by Evangelical ministers Cal Zastrow and Keith Mason. They proposed a new Colorado Fetal Personhood Amendment, written by Georgetown University professor Dianne Irving, who thought the language of the earlier amendment was problematic.

Mason says the organization has not only a new amendment but also a new strategy for the 2010 election. This new strategy includes an outreach to Hispanics, to be lead by Gualberto Garcia Jones, who also heads Colorado Catholics for Personhood. Jones evidently got into a dust-up with the Catholic Conference over allegedly misrepresenting the bishops’ position, but the bishops’ latest statement suggests that rift has been healed.

Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, has taken a more positive view of the efforts to recognize the personhood of the pre-born. In an August 6, 2009, column for the Catholic Sentinel, Vasa wrote that Georgia’s Sanctity of Human Life Actdoes not seek to introduce some inane legal fiction, but rather seeks to overturn a faulty legal fiction. The fiction, in which we are presently living, inanely pretends that human beings are not really human beings unless the Supreme Court passes judgment on them and declares them to be so. African slaves were always human beings and the Supreme Court decisions said or did nothing to change that. It simply recognized the truth. The Sanctity of Human Life Act seeks legal recognition of the same truth.

Bishop Vasa is less concerned with the likely outcome of a legal challenge in court than he is with getting the truth about human beings inscribed into law. Russell Shaw, veteran Catholic journalist and historian of the U.S. Church, sees the effort in a similar light. Writing in Our Sunday Visitor last October, Shaw noted that the personhood effort has had few major victories and has split the pro-life movement, but “they see what they’re doing as a way of keeping the personhood issue alive and visible, educating people on the subject, and giving grassroots pro-lifers something to rally around.”

Thus far in 2010, seven states have launched formal “personhood” efforts: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, and Nevada. (A judge recently struck down the Nevada amendment on the grounds that it violated a law limiting referendum questions to a single subject.) An additional 26 other states are organized and in the preliminary stages of launching the initiative.

Among the more than 40,000 grassroots volunteers behind Personhood USA, there are undoubtedly thousands of Catholic pro-lifers who remain puzzled by the decision of their bishops to stand at a distance from their effort.

Deal Hudson to be Keynote Speaker at the Personhood Conference in DC, Jan. 21

1-17-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

Thursday, January 21 at 3:00 p.m., Catholic Advocate’s Director, Deal Hudson, will be the keynote speaker at the Personhood Conference in DC sponsored by the American Life League. The topic of his address will be: “Personhood and Politics: From the Trinity to the Courtoom.” He will speak on “personhood” in the Catholic tradition, followed by a discussion of lay Catholic political participation, and ending with an evaluation of the Personhood Initiative.

American Life League will present its 10th annual Training and Activism Week, January 20-23 in Washington, D.C. This year we are bringing together an amazing group of pro-life activists and speakers who will entertain, inspire and equip you with the tools you need to ensure that all human beings are respected and protected by law from the beginning of their biological development.

Presentations from ALL staff include ALL executive director Shaun Kenney; Jim Sedlak, founder of STOP Planned Parenthood; Rita Diller, national director of STOPP; Johanna Dasteel, ALL’s senior congressional liaison and personhood project director; Michael Hichborn, the ALL researcher who helped expose CCHD-funded groups acting in defiance of Church teaching and Michael Barnett, director of LiveCampus.

Additional distinguished guest speakers include Deal Hudson, Jill Stanek, Rev. Johnny Hunter, Dr. Dianne Irving and more. The Pro-Life Blog Awards will be one of the highlights of the week, as ALL recognizes those who are at the forefront of using the internet to bring attention to the plight of the preborn.

Join Rock for Life’s Erik Whittington, Jeff McLain and Kortney Blythe as they lead inspirational workshops and propel the upcoming generation toward unparalleled involvement in pro-life activism. There are also free concerts on Thursday and Friday night that are sure to motivate you.

Registration for the conference is absolutely free, but you must register soon in order to reserve your place. A limited number of hotel rooms are still available on site at a cost of $50 per night, per person, with a minimum of four people in a room. As the March for Life approaches, hotel accommodations will be at a premium. Act now!

Will Scott Brown Upset the Democrat Regime in Massachusetts?

1-17-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

There’s not much campaigning time left. Scott Brown, (R-MA), has pulled ahead of Democrat, State Attorney General, Martha Coakley, in a race to see who will win Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat on January 19.

President Obama will be at Northeastern University in Massachusetts today at 3:00 p.m. campaigning alongside Coakley. Many see his visit to Massachusetts as a last ditch effort to boost her chances, but according to Coakley, “I think that the president thinks we’re going to win, and that’s why he’s coming here.”

A win by Scott Brown will mean another “NO” vote for the Obama health care bill. This is a certainty. Though moderate on life issues (Brown introduced an amendment to allow conscience protection for hospital employees whose religious beliefs prevent them from administering emergency contraception to rape victims), but it failed. He did, subsequently, sign a bill allowing contraception.

Brown is a fiscal conservative, die-hard defender of traditional marriage, and staunchly opposed to the government take-over of health care. Will, he, a republican, be able to take the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for 47 years? We will soon know.

Scott Brown and Martha Coakley Fight to the Finish

By Jessica Fargen and Edward Mason, BostonHerald.com

The U.S. Senate election enters its final “do or die” days as President Obama heads to the Hub today to try to save his domestic agenda with a last-ditch pitch for Democrat Martha Coakley, while insurgent Republican Scott Brown criss-crosses the state on a wave of anti-Washington momentum.

“Initially, I thought it was me against the machine, but now it’s us against the machine,” Brown told a cheering crowd at a Plymouth campaign rally yesterday. Brown has vowed to help defeat the president’s flagship health-care legislation.

The neck-and-neck race for what was once thought to be the safest Democratic seat in the country – held by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy for 47 years – has stunned the party.

Join the March for Life in DC on January 22

1-16-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

In less than a week hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers will converge on Washington, DC to protest abortion coverage in the federal health care bill. The March for Life will convene at the national Mall and move from there to the Capitol where marchers are urged to meet with their state representatives.

January 22 is the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade which has resulted in the deaths of over 51 million innocents. If Congress passes legislation for a government take-over of the health care system, millions more will be slaughtered. And we, the taxpayers, will be forced to help fund these atrocities!

Please, make plans NOW to join your brethren pro-lifers in DC next Friday to show our elected officials that we will not tolerate the killing of  more innocent life!

By Steven Ertelt, Lifenews.com

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A coalition of pro-life groups have issued a new video urging pro-life advocates from across the country to come to Washington for the March for Life. While hundreds of thousands of Americans are there, the pro-life leaders hope they will take time to lobby their elected officials on the health care bill.

The video is a production of the Stop the Abortion Mandate coalition (of which LifeNews.com) is a member) that features dozens of pro-life groups.

In the video, Hawkins is joined by leaders such as Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, African-American pro-life advocate Day Gardner, and David Bereit of 40 Days for Life.
“On January 22nd, America will memorialize the 37th anniversary of the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision,” they say. “An unjust ruling that imposed abortion on all 50 states, and has already resulted in the deaths of more than 51 million children.”

Kristan Hawkins, the head of Students for Life of America, is one of the pro-life advocates featured in the video.

“Our goal is to influence as many pro-lifers as possible to come to Washington on Friday, January 22nd and say ‘No Abortion in Health Care’ and then march up to the Capitol to meet with their elected representatives,” she told LifeNews.com today.
“This could be our last chance to take a public stand as a united movement that can actually influence the outcome of the current health care debate,” she adds.

Overlooking Anti-Christian Actions

1-15-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

By Matt Smith

The mainstream media is rightfully quick to cover the inexcusable religious intolerance of Judaism and non-radical Islam, but it is becoming increasingly vogue to overlook hostility toward Christianity. Last week, the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC), a group formed for the purposes of “religious liberty, domestically and internationally, and a national clearing house and first line of response to anti-Christian defamation, bigotry, and discrimination”, released two interesting summaries on the previous year.

The first was “Top 10 Anti-Christian Acts of 2009” followed by “2009′s Most Anti-Christian Countries”.

On the international side, there are really no surprises. The usual anti-Christian suspects comprise the list – North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Afghanistan, Yemen, the east African country of Mauritania, and Uzbekistan.

According to the CADC: “Nearly 100 million Christians are persecuted for their faith every year.  This includes interrogation, imprisonment, torture, and even death, while many others face discrimination and alienation.

What is the Obama/Clinton State Department doing globally to address these issues? During the last presidential campaign, candidate Obama basically said America was to blame for our global image. But at a time when a young Yemen extremist can reach the Detroit airport because he wants to attack our Judeo-Christian values, where is the outrage over these anti-Christian attacks. Maybe the president should start realizing his overtures to certain factions of the world, that formally began during his Inaugural Address, are actually a sign of weakness and willingness to compromise our values. The mainstream media coverage of the incident focused on the lapses in homeland security measures, however, what should have also been covered are the lapses in standing behind the values our country was founded upon.

On the domestic side of CADC’s list, there are also no real surprises. Entertainment and choices of entertainment for public events make the list. However, Christians should note a couple of the items listed that received little to no coverage by the mainstream media – the murder of Jim Pullion and the incarceration of Reverend Walter Hoye.

Unfortunately, faithful Christians will continue to be forced to stomach these oversights as evidenced by a recent article in the Washington Post. The January 9, 2010 headline read “Abortion rights activists get ready for another year of challenges”. The article begins by trying to tie together all the missions of the anti-life policies of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats with the George Tiller murder trial in Kansas. By including the unfortunate actions of one in a story that would lead you to believe it is about perennial legislative battles, the Post once again made the, not-so-subtle, statement that those who oppose abortion are extremists. Did the Washington Post include the murder of pro-life activist Jim Pullion or the actions of the City of Oakland to jail Reverend Walter Hoye for exercising his right to free speech. If an abortion activist was jailed for speaking out, the ACLU and the Post editorial page would be breaking land-speed records rushing to their defense.

The CADC lists are a good reminder to faithful Christians of the continuing international and domestic struggles faced by being witnesses for our faith and values. And in the spirit of theologian Roger Williams, they should serve as motivation for consistent participation in the public square.

Matt Smith is a consultant in Washington D.C. and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under President George W. Bush

Coakley Excludes Devout Catholics From Emergency Rooms

1-15-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 3 Comments

By Deal Hudson

If you wonder if there is any limit to the anti-Catholicism of pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians, you should try to get your arms around this story.

Yesterday, Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, was asked in a radio interview whether doctors and nurses working in a hospital emergency room have religious freedom.  Coakley replied, ” You can have religious freedom, but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

No, I didn’t make this up.  The radio host, Ken Pittman, was asking her about her perspective as a “Catholic” on issues like birth control.  Coakley immediately went with her dissenting, reflex reaction of insisting on a “separation of Church and State.”  The conversation descended from there into the pit of puerile anti-Catholicism.

If politicians like Coakley are put in charge of “health care reform,” the day may come when orthodox Catholics will be excluded from any medical services where they might decide not to provide an abortion, prescribe contraception, or euthanize a suffering patient.

Our country needs to wake up and realize the centrality of attitudes like Coakley to the entire health care debate!  Coakley’s attitude is representative of dissenting Catholics in Congress from Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) to Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to Rep. DeLauro (D-CT).

It was only a short while ago Pelosi was lecturing us, in good ninth-grade fashion, on how the Church’s teaching on abortion was a denial — yes, I said a “denial,” of free will.

Please, please realize it’s as bad as it appears to be — there are no excuses for this kind of ignorant comments.  After all, Martha Coakley is the attorney general — imagine that! — of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Doesn’t that position require some modicum of detachment from one’s own personal prejudices?

Coakley’s willingness to use her political power against orthodox Catholics serving in the medical profession should be a wake-up call.

A Task Force on Life at Notre Dame…Really!?!

1-14-10 Posted by admin in Blog, Featured Articles, Gallery, Recent Articles 0 Comments

By Matt Smith

A popular skit during Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live in recent seasons has been “Really!?! with Seth Myers.” When I read the University of Notre Dame’s January 14, 2010 press release “Notre Dame task force on life makes preliminary recommendations”, I could not help but think to myself – “really!?!”

The University of Notre Dame, while not the national university of the Catholic Church, is still arguably the most prominently known Catholic university in the world. So really!?! – Notre Dame – you needed to have a task force on life to make recommendations to the university president? According to the press release, “The task force was convened by Father Jenkins in early September to consider and recommend ways in which the University can support the sanctity of life.” It would seem to me a Catholic institution entering its 168th year would already have a handle on one of the basics – the sanctity of human life.

The press release continues to create side-to-side head shaking when it quotes Father Jenkins:

“My charge to the task force in September was to make recommendations on ways in which the University could increase and manifest its own commitment to a culture of life across our campus and in partnership with other constituencies in the Notre Dame family, including our alumni,” Father Jenkins said. “I am pleased to report that the task force has been at work, engaging various of these constituencies in conversation and studying ways in which the University can articulate its commitment effectively and can encourage programming which furthers this commitment.

“The task force has now offered me a series of recommendations and expects, after further study, to refine them by the end of the academic year.”

Father Jenkins – “engaging various of these constituencies in conversation and studying ways in which the University can articulate its commitment effectively” – really!?! I wonder if Father Sorin returned from Heaven to walk among us if he would need to study ways to articulate the principles of life.

While the entire press release gives pause, several other “recommendations” further the question of the necessity of the task force to a faithful Catholic because they address what some would consider the obvious.

“That the University formulate and adopt a policy statement indicating its support for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”

Really!?! Notre Dame now needs a formal policy statement to support the teachings of the Catholic church.

“That the president continue to witness for life through attending or sending a delegate to participate in the March for Life or a similar event focusing on the right to life beginning at conception, as well as analogous forms of witness across the spectrum of life issues.”

Really!?! A task force  had to recommend Notre Dame play an active role in the largest pro-life event in the country that has happened on the same day, in the same city, for the past 37 years. Really!?!

“That the University find ways to encourage the work of students explicitly engaged in pro-life activities across the spectrum of life issues.  Further, that the University create and support educative efforts on campus – such as conferences, consultations and courses – intended to inform the campus community on issues pertaining to life, and to form an academic culture of witness to life as appropriate to any given academic venue.”

At first you would add this one into the “Really!?!” category. Some might be surprised to know that anecdotal evidence from pro-life students for years has revealed hostility to their beliefs while they were forced to witness growing support for student organizations like the Core Council.

Pope Benedict the XVI, during his Apostolic Journey to the United States in April 2008, took time to address educators from all Catholic institutions of higher education.  In concluding his remarks, the Holy Father said:

“Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom. Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual.”

The Holy Father was keenly aware of the crisis of identity occurring in America’s Catholic educational institutions. The concerns expressed in his 2008 address needed to be said for years and were further highlighted when Father Jenkins invited President Obama to deliver the May 17, 2009 commencement address and receive honors from the University of Notre Dame. Father Jenkins succumbing to the lure of the celebrity of the White House was a culmination of years of forsaken principle and weakening of Notre Dame’s Catholic identity. So maybe, at the end of the day, the leadership of Notre Dame does need to go back to school themselves, study, and learn the basics in order to rebuild the foundations and proud Catholic tradition known as the University of Notre Dame.

Matt Smith is a consultant in Washington D.C. and former Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison

The text of the University of Notre Dame press release follows:

For Immediate Release

Jan. 14, 2010

Notre Dame task force on life makes preliminary recommendations

The University of Notre Dame’s Task Force on Supporting the Choice for Life has submitted an interim progress report to University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., with preliminary recommendations that are designed to “broaden and deepen the pro-life culture in and among various constituencies in order to strengthen the Notre Dame community’s witness to Catholic teaching on life.”

The task force was convened by Father Jenkins in early September to consider and recommend ways in which the University can support the sanctity of life. It is co-chaired by Margaret Brinig, Fritz Duda Family Professor of Law; and John Cavadini, associate professor and chair of theology and McGrath-Cavadini Director of the Institute for Church Life.

“My charge to the task force in September was to make recommendations on ways in which the University could increase and manifest its own commitment to a culture of life across our campus and in partnership with other constituencies in the Notre Dame family, including our alumni,” Father Jenkins said. “I am pleased to report that the task force has been at work, engaging various of these constituencies in conversation and studying ways in which the University can articulate its commitment effectively and can encourage programming which furthers this commitment.

“The task force has now offered me a series of recommendations and expects, after further study, to refine them by the end of the academic year.”

Several task force recommendations already have borne fruit, including a statement on the University’s unequivocal support of Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life that appeared in a “What Would You Fight For?” commercial on adult stem cell research that aired nationally Nov. 7 on NBC and co-sponsorship with Notre Dame Law School of a panel presentation Dec. 3 on the development of a conscience clause for health care providers informed by Catholic teaching.

The preliminary recommendations include the following:

  • That the University formulate and adopt a policy statement indicating its support for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
  • That the University formulate and adopt a policy statement on charitable gifts or investments in order to avoid formal or immediate material complicity in evils such as abortion and torture.
  • That the University adopt strategies to make its current supportive policies toward pregnant students better known to the student body, the faculty and other members of the Notre Dame community.
  • That the president continue to witness for life through attending or sending a delegate to participate in the March for Life or a similar event focusing on the right to life beginning at conception, as well as analogous forms of witness across the spectrum of life issues.
  • That undergraduate research opportunities be made available through “witness to life research opportunities” (or a similar idea), with topics in theology, law, philosophy, sociology, biology and other disciplines across the spectrum of life issues.
  • That the University find ways to encourage the work of students explicitly engaged in pro-life activities across the spectrum of life issues.  Further, that the University create and support educative efforts on campus – such as conferences, consultations and courses – intended to inform the campus community on issues pertaining to life, and to form an academic culture of witness to life as appropriate to any given academic venue.
  • That the University encourage alumni in pro-life witness, for example, in helping them to mobilize their own parish communities in support of women in crisis pregnancies or in assisting adoptions.
  • The task force, for the remainder of its charge, will serve to initiate collaborations with specific Notre Dame constituencies as appropriate in order to further the implementation of the recommendations above and consider further recommendations.

In addition to Brinig and Cavadini, members of the task force are Ann Astell, theology; Kathleen Kelley, student; Mary Ellen Konieczny, sociology; Rev. William Lies, C.S.C., Center for Social Concerns; and Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C., vice president for student affairs. Frances Shavers, chief of staff and special assistant to the president; and Todd Woodward, associate vice president for marketing communications, serve as task force liaisons.

Father Jenkins and several task force members will join Notre Dame students, faculty, staff and alumni Jan. 22 at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Bishops John D’Arcy and Kevin Rhoades and Father Jenkins will concelebrate a send-off Mass for March for Life participants at 9 p.m. Jan. 19 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus.

On the day of the march, Notre Dame participants will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1910 N. Randolph St. in Arlington, Va. A Rally for Life will be held at noon at 7th Street and Jefferson Drive. The march, beginning at 1 p.m., will proceed from Constitution Avenue and 7th Street to the Supreme Court building, and a student and alumni reception will follow from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Smith & Wollensky restaurant, 1112 19th Street, N.W., in Washington.

Eucharistic adoration from noon to 4:45 p.m. and a Mass at 5:15 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Basilica will be open to members of the Notre Dame community who are unable to travel to Washington for the march.

###

From: Dennis Brown, assistant vice president and University spokesman

Archbishop Niederauer Explains Free Will, Conscience, and Moral Choice

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Writing for Catholic San Francisco, Archbishop George Niederauer, prompted by Nancy Pelosi’s recent remarks in Newsweek, has taken her to task, and all others, who possess misconceptions about Church teaching on free will, conscience, and moral choice.

The archbishop explains that, though God has endowed humankind with the gift of free will, “it does not legitimize bad moral choices.” Having freedom of will gives no individual the right to proclaim that a woman’s right to choose is a proper exercise of that gift. To do so, indicates a choice of evil over good, by denying the “fundamental rights of others.”

You will want to read this article, print a copy, and give it to any “mis-guided, Catholic pro-choice” friends you may have.

Archbishop’s Journal – Free Will, Conscience, and Moral Choice: What Catholics Believe

By Archbishop George H. Niederauer, Catholic San Francisco

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”


Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.


Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.