“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (CCC 2271). (more…)
Should a political candidate talk publicly about his faith? Should an elected official allow his or her faith to inform political decisions? These are questions that have been discussed for decades, but the debate has grown more heated in recent years. (more…)
In Chapter I of “How to Vote Catholic” we discussed the obligation of Catholics to participate in politics by voting to ensure that our legislators protect the common good, human dignity, and the rights of all. As such, it is incumbent upon Catholic voters to know and understand Church teaching, especially as regards life and family issues.
Chapter II defines and explains the principle of applying “prudential judgment” to concrete situations with guidance from the Holy Father, our bishops, and priests. (more…)
“How to Vote Catholic” was first published in 2004 by the Morley Publishing Group, Inc. Matt Smith and Deal Hudson decided it was a good idea to update and revise it for the 2012 election under a new title “Issues for Catholic Voters.” (more…)
From Jack Smith at the Catholic Key Blog comes an important report on a story from the diocesan newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Remember this is Nancy Pelosi’s diocese and one of the most “progressive” in the country.
Smith writes about a former friend and colleague, George Wesolek, who serves as Director of the Office of Public Policy and Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Wesolek, Smith explains, “is no conservative, but rather that type of thoroughgoing pro-life, Catholic social justice advocate that is much talked about but rarely evidenced.”
Wesolek wrote a column in Catholic San Francisco that Smith describes as dropping “a bomb.” Wesolek writes:
So now we have some nuns accusing the bishops of lying about abortion. Are you shocked? Don’t be because this has been going on for a long time.
For years, most of the leadership of the LCWR and the Catholic hospitals (most of which are owned by these very same LCWR leaders) have been advancing a view of Catholic social teaching that reflects a vision that they learned in the 60s and 70s – a tired feminism that distorts the role of women and has at its center the freedom of women to “choose” to kill the infants in their womb if they so desire.
This view rightly offers deep concern for justice for the poor and vulnerable, but like so many in this age-group, minimizes or trivializes the unborn. “Network,” the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the LCWR does not include pro-life legislation as part of its work. If it does at all, it distorts the term “pro-life” to be so ambiguous and far-reaching that it includes everything. Thus, the sisters can say with a straight face that the current health care legislation is “life-affirming.”
Appearing on “Meet the Press” August 24, 2008 Nancy Pelosi tried to speak for the teachings of the Church on the Sanctity of Life.
MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, “Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?” what would you tell him?
REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child–first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There’s very clear distinctions. This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who’ve decided…
MR. BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it…
REP. PELOSI: I understand that.
MR. BROKAW: …begins at the point of conception.
REP. PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must–it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take–you know, we have to handle this as respectfully–this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize it, as it has been–and I’m not saying Rick Warren did, because I don’t think he did, but others will try to.
Now she is invoking prayers to St. Joseph the Worker on “his feast day”, March 19, 2010 as a reason to pray for the “life affirming” health care legislation. In her remarks, she also highlights the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Sisters of Notre Dame “both of whom taught her” and signed the March 16, 2010 letter supporting the health care legislation. Well that starts to explain it!
Speaker Pelosi is WRONG once again. The health care bill is NOT “life affirming”.
Catholic Advocate does not need to say anymore. Watch the video so you can see Speaker Pelosi’s remarks for yourself.
P.S. The Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker is May 1; small technicality, Madame Speaker. March 19 is the feast day of St. Joseph of Nazareth, the Husband of Mary and Foster Father of Jesus. St. Joseph of Nazareth, the patron saint of fathers who knew what it meant to protect the life of the unborn…the one who would become our Savior.
Reconciliation…The “Slaughter Solution”…Senate version…House version…Conference Committee…Whip Count…game changer. These are all words and phrases that only the Washington D.C. culture could use interchangeably in everyday conversation and lately they are all we hear when the punditry discusses politics and the health care reform legislation.
For most American Catholics, it probably seems like the first time you tried to understand the Latin Mass and thinking to yourself moving to English was a part of Vatican II you understood the logic behind. I am confident in American Catholics that if they sat down they would understand all of these versions of Washington-speak. The point is they should not have to be an expert in Congressional parliamentary gimmicks to know what is at stake in the health care bill.
American Catholics understand the issue at hand is simple. There are the non-negotiable issues in the health care legislation such as opposing federal funding for abortions and preserving the rights of the Church to operate based on its teachings.
Then there is the broader issue of health care reform. The over 20 million Catholics who, according to Gallup, regularly attend Mass know the fact stated by my colleague Deal Hudson when he recently wrote “Catholics need to realize there is no ‘Church’s view’ on the present health care bill, but there is a position being taken by the bishops’ conference. The Church teaching Catholics are obliged to consider comes in the form of moral principles that must be applied prudentially to the legislation under consideration. A majority of Americans do not support the current legislation. Even more Americans think the “reforms”, as proposed, will hurt the economy.
Washington will focus on the deal making and back room strategy sessions to manipulate the rules of Congress and the words of the Constitution even after any vote occurs. American Catholics should neither focus on what a cable show talking head thinks, what Bishops Conference officials are saying or not saying, nor the flawed stance of the Catholic Health Association. We need to focus instead on the basic fact Congress should not allow the federal government to fund abortion and take matters into our own hands.
On January 4, 2010, Catholic Advocate encouraged Congress and the President to start over on the health care legislation. We believe a more appropriate strategy to address the needed reforms would be to separate the legislation into individual, smaller portions. Pass the parts in a methodical and thoughtful manner instead of force feeding American Catholics a policy that in reality does not make sense for their families.
Catholics have a right and a duty to hold fire to the feet of our elected officials. If you are reading this and have also grown increasingly frustrated by politicians voting against your values, there is a very simple solution. Become a Catholic Advocate, ensure your voice is heard, and become the real game changer.
On Monday, March 15, 2010, the Budget Committee started the process to reach Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s goal of voting on the health care legislation later this week without the pro-life Stupak-Pitts language. During Monday’s consideration, pro-life members were unsuccessful in adding the House pro-life language into the Senate bill. The actions on Monday were purely procedural and another example of the majority party in Congress voting against life. One of the next steps will be Thursday when the House Rules Committee takes up the Senate bill.
Monday’s actions are just another example of why we have a duty to contact our Members of Congress and tell them to oppose the health care bill. There is a very simple way for the Catholic Advocate community to “Write Your Representative.” Step one select your state; Step two enter your zip code; Step three click on “contact my representative”. You will be taken to your Member of Congress’ website where you can find their phone number in Washington to call or a way to send them an e-mail. It is critically important for Catholics to be heard NOW at this critical moment as Congress is close to passing this major piece of pro-abortion legislation. We cannot let the labor unions and other pro-abortion lobby be the only pressure on Congress.
Establishment political observers are calling the congressional race in California’s 53rd district “David vs. Goliath” – and that’s alright with Mari Hamlin Fink because she knows that outcome.
Mari is a ninth-generation San Diegan. Her San Diego ancestry can be traced back to the 1700s with Don Jose Francisco Ortega, who arrived on one of the Portola expeditions and helped Father Junipero Serra build the California missions.
Mari has spent the last thirty years serving in numerous leadership positions throughout her community. Mari says her Catholic upbringing is responsible for a lifetime of service in the non-profit sector. “I bring an ethic of service taught to me by my faith all my life. Serving and working for one’s fellow man is the highest and greatest act of charity we can give.” Mari’s experience finding successful solutions at the community level is why she opposes the intrusive over-reaching big government agenda of the Obama administration.
In January, Mari Hamlin Fink announced her candidacy for California’s 53rd district in the heart of San Diego. Should Mari win the June five-way Republican primary she will face ten year veteran Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat born in Massachusetts.
Fink cites the business as usual in Congress with complete disregard for the will of the people as motivation to enter the race. “Elected officials need to remember they serve at the pleasure of their constituents,” said Fink. “Too much time in Washington following party leadership that serves special interest groups and ignores what people back home want has led to a real disconnect,” she added.
Mari shares the sentiment of thousands of frustrated Americans as Congress continues its reckless spending and increases the deficit to dangerous, unprecedented levels. “Congress’ spending represents a fundamentally flawed welfare state mentality,” said Fink, “the Pelosi-Davis model creating new entitlement programs will bankrupt this country.”
San Diego Catholics should pay close attention not only to Davis’ support for “government as usual” but her votes against non-negotiable teachings of the Church.
The mother of three sons, Mari Fink believes in the sanctity of life. She feels all life needs to be protected and will work to safeguard the dignity of all, especially the disabled, terminally ill, elderly and unborn.
Fink also believes in protecting the institution of marriage because it is in the best interest of all our children. Susan Davis is an original H.R. 3567 co-sponsor, a bill “To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.” Davis has joined with advocates of same-sex marriage working overtime to have H.R. 3567 reach the floor of the House of Representatives and repeal a 13 year-old law previously supported by 85 percent of Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. If they succeed in passing the bill, and it is signed by President Obama, 40 states will be forced to recognize same-sex marriages.
In 1996, the Catholic bishops in the U.S. expressed the Church’s teaching this way:
“[W]e oppose attempts to grant the legal status of marriage to a relationship between persons of the same sex. No same-sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship expresses. For this reason, our opposition to ‘same-sex marriage’ is not an instance of unjust discrimination or animosity toward homosexual persons.”
Democrat Party leaders in Washington have grown comfortable with the 53rd district’s decade-long support for their pro-abortion candidates such as President Obama, John Kerry, and Susan Davis who have all received over sixty percent of the vote. Fink feels Davis is vulnerable. “The people in this district are independent thinking and want a common sense approach to today’s important issues. They believe in main street values. Susan Davis has not legislated consistent with these values.”
Those who know her work in the community believe she is the most viable primary candidate because of her years of living and working in the district. In addition Mari has a secret weapon; her pastor and official campaign chaplain, Fr. William Kernan, loaned her a relic of St. Ann for campaign headquarters.
Mari has placed her campaign under the protection of St. Ann, the same saint her mother dedicated all her children. The devotion to St. Ann began in the U.S. when the Passionist Priests and Brothers built a monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania over a mine. They called on St. Ann numerous times over the years when foundational damage threatened their magnificent structure. Mari believes as the Passionist monks replied in the midst of their challenges, “Saint Ann will take care of her own.”
By Matt Smith, Catholic Advocate Vice President, who, when he is in San Diego visiting family, attends St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in San Diego.
Catholic Advocate has raised questions in recent weeks regarding grants made to non-Catholic organizations from the proceeds of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) national collection held the weekend before Thanksgiving each year. As Catholic Advocate Vice President Matt Smith wrote on February 19, “The issue we, along with others, are raising is simple. Money donated by an ‘official’ entity of the Church should not be used to work against the teachings of the Church.”
The goal of the CCHD collection is to support anti-poverty programs. The research done by other organizations has demonstrated grants have been distributed to some organizations advocating for public policy or supporting initiatives that contradict non-negotiable Church priorities.
What have we asked our Bishops to consider?
Suspend CCHD grants.
Conduct an independent audit and review of all the organizations that have received CCHD grants during the past ten years to ensure programs, support for public policies, and affiliations are consistent with the teachings of the Church.
Develop and publicly distribute new policy guidelines to Diocesan offices for the vetting and approval of CCHD grant proposals.
Review the participation by USCCB staff in outside organizations and develop a conflict of interest policy that prevents such participation from supporting groups that work against the teachings of the Church.
As of the announcement of the National Collection for Life, neither the Bishops nor their lay staff have responded to our questions. Some defenders of the CCHD program have chosen to level personal attacks because we are speaking out on these issues with the program. We promise the Catholic Advocate community to remain in optimistic prayer they will work with us to reform the CCHD program and return it to funding programs to assist the poor instead of non-Catholic groups supporting same-sex marriage and abortion-related policies.
The leadership of Catholic Advocate, in the process of examining the source of CCHD funding from the annual national collection program, noticed something obvious in the list of national collections – the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops DID NOT have a National Collection for Life.
The leadership of Catholic Advocate felt it was important to also focus on having a beneficial impact on building a culture of life in our society. Yes, it is important to reform the CCHD program to prevent pro-abortion groups from receiving Catholic donations. It is equally important to also seek support for the positive efforts our Bishops undertake with their pro-life activities.
Why support the bishops’ pro-life activities?
“The Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, under the guidance and direction of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, works to teach respect for all human life from conception to natural death, and organize for its protection. The Secretariat is involved with positive educational campaigns and advocacy we as Catholics can support.”
Some of their programs include:
Develop educational material on pro-life issues
Conduct educational campaigns in the Church – e.g.,
Respect Life Program that begins on the first Sunday of each October
Conduct educational campaigns in the public square – radio, print, exhibit
Circulate fact sheets and other information on critical issues
Publish Life Issues Forum, a biweekly column for Catholic newspapers
Publish Life Insight newsletter
Encourage and enable programs to meet the needs of pregnant women, children, persons with disabilities, those who are sick or dying, and all who have been involved in abortion
Provide dioceses with pro-life liturgical suggestions each month
Coordinate/advise on public policy efforts concerning these issues
Assist dioceses to implement major pro-life programs
Our Catholic values are under attack each and every day from outside and, tragically, sometimes within the Church. We must remain vigilant against the efforts to undermine and work equally hard to sustain the effective programs making a difference defending the sanctity of life.
We as Catholics have a responsibility to support programs and policies working to advance the mission of our Church.
Supporting a National Collection for Life sends a positive message to our bishops that we will pro-actively stand with them when we know our contributions will be used to further the cause for life.
Planned Parenthood is at it again. This time, in Springfield, IL they’re offering “do-it-yourself” abortions through the use of drugs so that women can “complete” the killing of their babies within the comfort of their own homes. Oh, and I forgot to mention, at the bargain basement price of only $435.
An article in The State Journal-Register offers a very unbiased report on this new effort by Planned Parenthood to make abortion accessible to all. Citing that “some residents have had to drive at least 90 minutes to abortion providers” Stephanie Cox, a PP nurse -practitioner, notes that she is “relieved” this will no longer be necessary.
“I have seen so many women just devastated that they have to travel,” she said. “I just know it’s very burdensome for some women, especially women with small children already, or who can’t get off work.”
These “medication abortions” are by appointment only at the Springfield, IL PP health center. Once there, the “patient” is given one drug in pill form, mifepristone (RU-486), to be taken at the clinic. They are sent home with another pill, misoprostol, to consume, which should cause the baby to be aborted within 24 – 48 hours. Just think, you’re in and out in a short period of time, armed with meds to “do the job,” and headed for home.
Enter Shirley Caldwell Smith and Springfield Right to Life, thank goodness! They’ve already held a prayer vigil at the PP clinic and aired a minute long radio ad asking community members to pray for the lives of these unborn babies who will die if abortion comes to Springfield. Let’s hope they keep up the protests, and let’s all pray that their efforts will change the hearts of some of these women considering aborting their babies.