Friday, August 29, 2008

Teaching Bishops

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has been saying some silly things about the Church's teaching on abortion. I am sure I read the same thing in the perfidious Tablet a few years ago, what has delighted me has been the response of the US bishops.

Here is an aggregation of responses by Te Deum Laudamus

Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Conley of Denver
Cardinal Egan of New York (probably the strongest statement)
Archbishop Donald Weurl of Washington D.C.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport on behalf of the USCCB (on USCCB homepage)
Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs
Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh (on homepage)
Archbishop Neinstadt of St. Paul, MN (on homepage)
Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Contu of San Antonio, TX (on homepage)
Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND
Bishop Farell of Dallas, TX
Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre (Long Island)


Anonymous said...

If only our Bishops were so vocal, and were given a chance to be vocal, when our political leaders erode the rights of the unborn and launch legislative attacks upon life in the womb.

alban said...

I am so pleased that the US bishops have lambasted the recent comments of Speaker Pelosi. Cardinal Egan's statement may have been the most forceful, but it was accurate and respectfully put. Sadly, his final sentence regarding those who "should not be providing leadership in a civilised democracy worthy of the name" applies to many present western leaders including Messrs Brown (who at least does not pretend to be pro-life) and Bush (who does pretend but has done nothing substantial in 8 years).

I neither judge nor condemn any woman who has had an abortion for only God knows the soul; and I believe that most women take this tragic step with great difficulty.

However, the reality is that western society promotes a philosophy that is focussed on materialism and unbridled capitalism. Thus, many people have become like little children who tire of a toy after an hour and then demand new - and instantaneous - gratification. When this is not forthcoming, all hell breaks loose. Children disrepect parents; parents curse at their offspring; the vulnerable are abused; people seek fulfilment in shopping, drinking drugs or one-night-stands; the handicapped are considered useless and the foetus seen as a lump of flesh. Inevitably, when the focus is on 'me' rather than 'us' the fruit produced is poisonous. The message is a lie worth of the Nazi regime.

Christ calls us to community not isolation. No matter the amount of hand-wringing done by politicians/social workers/judicial officials the answer does not lie in spreading the nanny-state and multiplication of laws. It rests solely with the realisation of the truth that every single human being is a child of God, made in the divine image and likeness. When this is accepted and embraced, all life is seen as precious; in the womb and in the playground; in the home and in the workplace; in the hospital and in the nursing home. No exceptions.

Whilst faith and religion are still, largely, respected throughout the USA, Europeans appear to have succumbed to secularisation. Media derision of Christians is commonplace and considered acceptable. We Catholics believe that God has written elements of the Natural Law in every human heart. It is time for us to appeal to this truth and challenge the conventional thinking that there is no objective morality and that materialism is the answer. This would be most powerfully done through the way we live our lives, and engaging those who disagree with us in the manner exemplified by Cardinal Egan: confidently and respectfully.

gemoftheocean said...

Now it would be nice if someone with a brain told her to "get lost" from the Communion line.... testicular fortitude is lacking in the San Franthisco Bay area.

alban said...

I've a feeling that the following may cause a few feathers to be ruffled.

Some years ago, a woman I know attempted to stop her non-church-attending son from going forward to receive Holy Communion at a funeral Mass. However, she failed and he received. From that moment his heart melted; he went to the sacrament of reconciliation and became an active member of the parish. He said that he felt Christ was calling him to receive and, when he did, he was overcome by an avalanche of grace which brought about his repentence.

My point is that the Body and Blood of Christ have real power, even to the melting of a hardened heart if the person is ever so slightly open to His grace. My prayer is that if Speaker Pelosi continues to receive Communion, then the grace of Christ will enlighten her heart that she may truly become pro-life. She is most certainly not the only sinner who receives the Lord in Communion.
I also recall that at the Last Supper, Christ did not deny Judas His Body & Blood.

None of us is worthy to receive; but then, that is why we approach, why we need, why we thirst for His grace from the very depth of our being. If we were to wait until we believed ourselves to be utterly free from sin, none of us would receive the Sacrament; our souls would never be healed and our hearts remain forever parched.

Ido not an advocate open Communion, receiving lightly, without respect or in a state of mortal sin (besides, who in a state of mortal sin would wish to receive Christ?); but, if that is what some people read in my words then the issue lies with their interpretation. I argue only for the saving power of Christ's Body & Blood in Communion.

Let the feathers fly if the pigeons so wish.

JARay said...

It now seems that the running mate of Senator McCain for the Republican nomination in the forthcoming Presidential election in America is a forthright mother of four who is firmly pro-life and is a firm advocate of the same.
An American friend of mine has sent me an e-mail saying that the election is now over with John McCain being the next President.
I hope that he's right.


Red Maria said...

I think there's a thesis to be written on the subject of when The Lie that the Roman Catholic Church only started opposing abortion in 1869 was first uttered, by whom and why.

At any rate it's taken flight and as the saying has it, a lie can travel half way round the world before the truth gets its boots on.

I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen The Lie appear in books, the international press - in the last few weeks it was in an Australian broadsheet - and political pamphlets of one stripe or another.

A certain Washington-based notoriously anti-Catholic, pretend Catholic, porn-funded abortion industry front group (slogan: In Bad Conscience) has recently come up with a sly variation on The Lie. It's clever because it deliberately confuses two issues: Aristotalian ensoulment theory (personhood) with abortion, in very plausible sounding pseudo-Catholic language of "theologians" and "infallible". In fact, the Church's constant condemnation of abortion has never relied on theories of personhood or ensoulment for its force. This is The Lie par excellance. Here it is:

"Theologians have disagreed from the beginning of church history up to our time on when in pregnancy the fetus becomes a person. While the church has favoured different opinions on this subject at different times in history, none has ever been declared infallible."

See what I mean? Inasmuch as rampant mendacity can ever be creative and clever, it is.

Incidentally father, I think you were a bit unfair on The Tablet by calling it perfidious. I am constrained, as a Tabletista, to speak up for the organ.

I'll be the first to admit that the old rag has its faults (it's far too politically rightwing for a Trotskyisante leftie like me, devotes far too much space to reactionary sentimental Green rubbish and cam be soppy, bourgois and handwringing) but it really isn't that bad.

I've never seen it give credence to The Lie and it very sensibly keeps malicious pseudo-Catholic and anti-Catholic grouplets very much at arms length.

Anonymous said...

Alban, it isn't just that the lady has private views on abortion which are totally against Church teaching that life starts at conception. It's that she is speaking these views openly which causes scandal. Catholic politicians such as John Kerry actually (correct me if I am wrong) vote pro-abortion when they're in Congress. Again, that's not just holding a misguided private view, that is putting the instruments of death in the hands of doctors who perform abortions. I don't know what way this lady votes, but if she is voting pro-choice, she is acquiescing in the deaths of thousands of unborn children. So, if that is the case, she certainly shouldn't present herself for Communion until she changes her mind and voting patterns.

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