The Archbishop, the House Speaker and the Abortion Dance

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about the abortion issue in a television interview, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington issued … Continued

After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about the abortion issue in a television interview, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington issued a clarifying statement. Rather than a put-down as some had expected, however, the Archbishop did a dance with her.

In the interview, Pelosi had said that the Democratic Party’s position reflected the religious pluralism of the country. Uncertainty about when life begins was understandable, she said, because the theological history of even the Catholic Church had produced varying opinions about when exactly the “moment of conception” takes place. The Archbishop admitted that there had been changes in opinion about when conception takes place, but insisted that the teaching of the Church has always safeguarded that moment. The House Speaker had talked about the scientific dimension of the issue: the Archbishop emphasized the theological (or metaphysical) definition. They were moving in lock-step but in different directions – just like partners in a dance.

Other bishops continue to repeat the theological opinion, which of course they should do. However, while theologians can speak authoritatively about the need to respect the moment of conception, it is “above their pay grade” to put on a biologist cap and define scientifically when that moment occurs. Fertility doctors, who are the experts on this matter, distinguish between a “fertilized egg” and “conception.” Only when the embryo is implanted in the womb does it achieve conception, they say. In fact, it would appear that in normal circumstances a significant number of fertilized eggs – perhaps as high as 30% — never reach conception.

Now, Catholic teaching instructs us that even if an embryo is not yet conceived, it has that potential. The embryo is human life, even if undifferentiated cells do not constitute a fetus or a functioning human person. Moreover, the embryo is biologically not part of the woman’s body in its cellular composition, even if it is not viable outside of the woman’s body. While these distinctions might resemble angels dancing on the head of a pin to most of the public, they are important to theologians. It is heavy stuff, not easily reducible to bumper-sticker sloganeering – although there seem to be quite a lot of dummies who try to trivialize Catholic teaching that way.

Unfortunately, this avoids the real issue for bishops and politicians alike: Does Catholic teaching bind non-Catholics? For instance, the United Church of Christ – Senator Obama’s denomination – has a different teaching about abortion than the Catholic Church: Are Catholic voters obliged by their bishops to take away the right of Protestants (or Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) to practice their religion (or atheists to be atheists) in the U.S.? I am sure that there are some Catholics who will cite Pope Pius IX that “Error has no rights.” In that interpretation, Catholics in America are bound in conscience to be subversive, to undermine democracy and impose a religious test on candidates, officials and legislation even if in so doing they contradict the Constitution of the United States.

Speaker Pelosi and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden clearly do not interpret their Catholicism in ways that would be anti-American or be subversive of civil rights of non-Catholics. (We could add names of other Catholics and Republicans like Rudolph Giuliani to this list of pro-American Catholics.) I have read the bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship and it clearly settles this issue in favor of small-d democrats everywhere. However, so as long as the bishops give theological answers to political questions, they expose our faith to confused charges of infidelity to the American way. Speaker Pelosi is no dummy: she spoke correctly from her perspective, just as the Archbishop did from his. It would be a service to Catholics everywhere if the bishops articulated more clearly the need to distinguish between theological teaching and political decision-making. Keep Catholic political leaders and bishops on the dance floor of the public square, I say! The public needs to see the careful intricacy we undergo in living within our shared Catholic conviction. I think the two concerns of theology and democracy can make beautiful music together.

About

Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is Professor Emeritus of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York.
  • spiderman2

    Catholicsim is the devil’s religion. If you want to hear the devil speak, listen to their bishops. They are smooth talkers. They may seem “anti-abortionist” but in reality they dance with abortionist like Pelosi.The reason why abortion is legal in this country is mainly because of them with the help of left leaning mainstream protestantism.They comprise the big bulk of pro-abortion and pro gay mariage Democrats.Hypocrites!!

  • MJ

    What the Archbishop says is irrelevant. The laws of this country are, by the doctrine of our constitution, to be independent of any religious consideration or influence.

  • rfkreston

    One must wonder at the seriousness of an argument posted by someone whose nome de plume is SPIDERMAN2 and whose entire argument consists of invective sans point. Catholicism is neither the alleged “Devils Religion” nor the angelic abode its proponents would envision. It is, rather, the spititual home of a billion souls trying to find the Presence of Christ in a world where secular values are often pressed on them as a replacement for the Message of Christ. Abortion did not originate in the Catholic Church nor is it supported by it, indeed, the Catholic Church has consistently decried it. But abortion is a fact of life which a very large part of the US approves of in some circumstances and, those who do so, are within their rights to press for the election of representatives of their point of view. No one will argue that anyone may take a human life the question is when that life begins. It is insufficient to ignore science’s reluctance to fix a point based on current knowledge. Neither Catholics nor others, neither Democrats nor Republicans should be rgidly setting limits on the rights of others until a consensus of what and when conception occurs is available.In the meantime, SPIDERMAN2 needs to argue the merits of his position (assuming he has one) and stop substituting name calling for debate.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    RU-486, the abortion/life ending pill is now available on-line without prescription. Therefore, the decision for ending said life involves only the carrier of said life.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Spiderman2 aka Canyon Shearer, Bible Thumper, Fortune Teller and Severely Brainwashed in that Old Time Religion,Fools are those who have read only the bible. God cannot be proud of such lazy creations!!!!What “voodooer of the hoodoo” blessed you with such stupidity??

  • Ryan Haber

    CCNL,Thanks for your point about RU486, by the way. The pill has been documented, and its label warns, that in some “rare cases” it can have serious consequences including fatality. And it’s now available without a prescription.That shows how much the abortion industry cares about women and their lives. Ha!

  • harold

    Quoting “Now, Catholic teaching instructs us”You can clearly see the words of Jeremiah about the gentiles total lack of understanding of the Word of the LORD. Look “holy water is found in churches and must be blessed by a priest — many websites about Lourdes describe it as “holy”. Remember the pope spreads the gospel to sinner creatures, he is wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. The pope has no idea what is holy. Now compare that to the teachings of Moses, His Words are from Heaven, “My doctrine shall drop as the rain” “I will publish the name of the Lord” “drinketh water of the rain of heaven” “I will rain bread from heaven for you” “the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day” “I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no”Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O Lord our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.“Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain”VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican has warned journalists who will travel with Pope Benedict to Lourdes next month not to put the revered water from the shrine in their hand luggage on the papal plane or it may be confiscated. While the water from Lourdes is not strictly considered “holy” — holy water is found in churches and must be blessed by a priest — many websites about Lourdes describe it as “holy.”Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.“Give ear, O ye heavens”But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:“drinketh water of the rain of heaven”Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.“I will rain bread from heaven for you”And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the Lord: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.“I praise the Lord”Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;“Judah is my lawgiver”I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.“I have set the Lord always before me”When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.“I looked on my right hand”Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.“Then said David”And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.“God remembered Rachel”And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.“The Lord shall add to me another son”And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.“he lifted up his eyes”And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,“On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them”

  • TexasCatholic

    As product of Catholic Education in the 60′s and 70′s myself, I sympathize with Speaker Pelosi who probably received the same sort of watered down, post Vatican II, touchy feely religious education classes I did. After the third grade the Catholic Schools threw out the Baltimore Catechism and it was all “kumbaya” from that point on. We received little direction back then except for the instruction to do the right thing according to our “conscience”. “Forgive her, for she knows not what she does”, to paraphrase that famous piece of Passion Scripture. If it had not been for the nuns in grades 1, 2 and 3 and some very dedicated parents, I’m sure I would have joined the ranks of lapsed catholics everywhere by now. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have done much to rectify the past, but it will take 20 more years to regain the ground we lost after Vatican II. At least Ms. Pelosi still shows up at the altar on Sundays. The bishops ought to encourage her example and use it to educate the confused catholic laity to reconcilliation and understanding. Perhaps our bishops should be “less severe” as Benedict has said of his approach to younger souls and encourage the example that gives us “hope” in the deposit of faith. Something more um… Pastoral.

  • pontificator

    Clearly, the pro-lifers need to take dancing lessons from the Archbishop! Never mix the metaphysics of religion with the metaphysics of politics, and we’d all be spared this unnecessary dancefloor confusion. With very few notable exceptions (e.g. William Casey of PA) most Democrats in Congress are pro-choice, regardless of their religious affiliation. This should not come as a surprise to anyone paying attention. Unlike certain physicians and pharmacists, they can’t refuse to represent the interests of their constituents based on potential religious conflicts. Their constituents are overwhelmingly pro-choice, and voters expect their elected representatives to support this view. As to the dangers of RU-486 (the morning after pill), there’s risk inherent in every breath we take – it’s part of life. This applies to many medications as well. The mortality rate for RU-486 is likely to be far lower than that associated with many other Rx medications. This particular timely remedy to the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy is likely to be far safer than actually giving birth. The infant mortality rate in the USA is far from enviable, when compared to many other countries. It’s somewhat ironic that Catholic voices in Congress tend toward the pro-choice stance by a very large margin – where you find the pro-life contingent, you find a preponderance of Protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals. And John McCain has just given you the VP of choice, so celebrate while you can.

  • R.S.Newark

    It is truly pitiful the Washington Post allows such sociopathology to parade as something it’s not. Why is Arroyo smiling?

  • Jay Schufman

    Hypocrisy, plain and simple! Infallible hypocrisy one might add!

  • Ryan Haber

    Wow, Harold. What a lot of somebody else’s thoughts cobbled together in almost entirely incomprehensible manner. Granted, it’s better, and in a different style than Javoz Beeblebrox, or whatever that cat’s name was (what ever happened to him – not that I hope he’ll return – Heaven help us).Still, really a load of nonsensical bytes. Care to just say what you have to say, so that we can all engage whatever it is that seems so interesting to you?

  • Ryan Haber

    Texascatholic,I heartily agree. To go around excommunicating people who are just acting as they were taught to in religious ed classes seems a bit unfair, to put it mildly.Clarity and gentleness create a constructive tension that is hard to carry off well. We have to figure out how to do it.

  • Dan

    The question is not imposing Catholic viewpoints or even many of the evangelical viewpoints concerning the matter of conception. The issue is the enforcement of Catholic doctrine, teaching and dogma on both the Catholic faithful and Catholic leadership. Pope Benedict XVI requires the adherence and obedience of Catholic ecclesiastical leadership and the Catholic faithful to his authority as it relates to the doctrines and dogmas of the Catholic church. As Saint Paul stated in Corinthians that a little yeast works through the whole batch.Bishops have the duty to refuse communion to those Catholics who refuse to submit to the teachings of the church. I believe this was point of the article by the Archbishop of Washington.As noted by those who do not want to have certain moral issues imposed on them, then we reserve the right as well not to have immoral positions imposed on us.

  • Ryan Haber

    Pontificator,Religion and politics absolutely should mix. Secularists agree – it’s just that their religion, the only one that they want in the polling booths, is godlessness. I can respect an atheist who happily lets Christians vote according to their consciences much more easily than a secularist who wants religion (by which they really mean ethics opposed to their own desires) banished from public life. It is the secularists’ hypocrisy of assuming that they haven’t a worldview with ethical implications, but still wanting to be thought of as moral people – that’s what bothers me.

  • ejgallagher1

    No one has discussed Palin’s religious background in detail. Her parents were Catholics and had ber baptized in that faith as an infant. They later joined the fundamentalist and pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination and she was re baptized in that denomination at 12 or 13. She shares a switch in faith with Governor Tim Pawlenty who converted to fundamentalism from Catholicism as an adult and joined the denomination of which his wife as a member.The Catholic Church differs with fundamentalists on a number of other issues, particularly that of World Peace and the late Pope John Paul II was very much against the War in Iraq, partially as he saw it destroying the already shrinking Christian (and mostly Catholic) population of that country which has proved true with time.

  • 16YearsInCatholicSchools

    Pardon me if I am incorrect, but as I recall neither Augustine, the famous bishop of Hippo, nor Thomas Aquinas agreed with the current Catholic position.They both held to Aristotle’s idea of the vegetative (eg, plant) , sensible (eg, animal) and human souls. In that view, people become fully human only after God infuses them with a human soul, which is after they’ve passed through the two previous stages.The theological question is, when does this mass of cells become a human life in God’s view. That is as much a mystery as ever, and the first 1400 or 1500 years of Catholic history seem to argue more against the current church position than for it.That’s a good reason why the Catholic church should not try to impose its relatively recent views on the rest of society.

  • Bob Zeno

    To Ryan Haber,By your logic, no non-Catholic should ever vote for a Catholic to hold public office. This is what kept Al Smith from being the first Catholic President of the United States. Here is your logic:THE PRESIDENT IS ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION, AND TO DEFEND IT AGAINST ALL ENEMIES BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.IF HE (OR SHE) IS CATHOLIC THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE CATHOLIC IS SUBSERVIENT TO PAPAL TEACHINGS AND RULING. Sorry, my friend. I do not want the Pope telling my elected officials how to make laws that affect me. You see, my logic says that, by extension, Joe Lieberman should be able to vote in favor of Saturday being the Sabbath. (I know, Sunday is not the Sabbath but the Lord’s Day. Nice sidestep. You Catholics are good at that!)You see, I know all about Catholic logic. Before we married, my Catholic wife and I had to take instruction by a Priest. In the course of this instruction, any question that would require a logical answer was always met with, “that is a mystery”. The example is this: we were told that the reason that Jesus (his actual name was Yeshua or Joshua, but the Roman version was Jesus)was accepted by many as the Messiah because he fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies. When I asked where was Elijah, who was supposed to precede the Messiah into Jerusalem announcing His coming, I was told that this was John the Baptist! See: sidestep. Every time we have tried to legislate morals in this country it has proven to be a disaster. Example – Prohibition! You want to run this country by Canon law…… you had better rethink that notion.

  • Dwight

    a women who has an abortion is guilty of murder of her own child in the Lord’s eyes…

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    RU-486, the abortion/life ending pill is now available on-line without prescription. Therefore, the decision for ending said life involves only the carrier of said life. (or as Ryan Haber noted, “in some rare cases, her own life).

  • Bruce

    I find the concept of Theologians speaking “above their pay grade” frightening. The moment of conception is certainly not definable by some scientific means. There is no way to scientifically measure the existence, or lack of existence, of a soul. If anyone is speaking above their pay grade, its a biologist speaking about a soul.

  • Elohist

    Ryan Haber:Apparently you agree with S-A who said the embryo is human life, but you denounced him with your usual mix of vitriol, for stating that Catholics hold that the embryo is human life and a potential viable and functioning human person. What you seem to do is to mix in your pious sounding hatreds of Catholics with a different point of view by creating false straw men. You should practice reading the English language before putting people down calling them devils and traitors. Also, if you read the intro to this series, it is quite clear that S-A has a doctorate IN THEOLOGY from a CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY. How about you, the master pseudo-theologian?This whole charade of the ultra-right Republicans like you is falling apart in the face of intelligent Catholics sticking up for what the II Vatican Council told them to do– not be satisfied with only listening, but actually getting out there and fighting for an end to abortion by negotiating better laws that don’t undermine the democratic political process in the US of A. If you don’t love America, Haber, leave it. And if you can’t stand the freedom of our Church go become one of the fundamentalist protestants you so admire.

  • G.P. Carvalho

    Sebastian Silver, an old friend and a pious Catholic, says he misses the times when his church dealt with real human issues, such as extreme poverty, prostitution of children, child and woman traffic and slavery, and the miseries of displacement resulting from civil and international wars. Sometimes, Silver seems to lose his nearly inexhaustible patience so as to say that there is a very important reason for the pews to be growingly empty – the lack of imagination of the present hierarchy and the attendant irrelevance of their preaching.According to Silver, today there is no sermon in any American church that is not directly or indirectly related to abortion. Here are some of his increasingly frequent questions: “What is happening to the American Catholic women? Is abortion so prevalent among them? Haven’t they access to modern means of birth control?” “Or are the preachers trying to send the Catholics, and perhaps non-Catholics, their programmed political messages?”Silver does not believe that abortion is so widespread among Catholic women as to be the object of each and every homily. He rather thinks that it is easier for the church higher bureaucracy to try to oppress poor women who may eventually need an abortion than help them to have access to modern family planning. Scaring people (particularly uneducated people), he says, seems to yield stronger results in the short run than enlisting the community to do good. Like Silver, some students of religion suggest that, judging to have the monopoly of wisdom and certitude, each cult or sect seeks to adopt a cause, a banner, a rallying cry to lead the faithful and keep them quiet. It doesn’t matter if their credo contradicts science. It doesn’t matter if their policies result in no good for the poor and the weak. Blind loyalty is what they care about. But people are voting with their feet, according to these students. And they refer to Europe as the precedent to be likely followed. Perhaps sooner than later, they maintain.

  • harold

    Ryan Haber said911“that the mind of the Lord might be shewed them”And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel: and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp;‘the Israelitish woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed”And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.“Moses said”“But if the Lord make a new thing”How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?“Turn you at my reproof: behold”

  • Doubting Thomas

    Bruce wrote: I am sorry, but where did a biologist talk about a soul? I read only of biologists making a distinction between a fertilized egg and a conception.Isn’t it the theologians who want to attach a soul to a fertilized egg rather than a conception?As I understand it, the theologians claim that this is a new human person because it has a distinct genetic identity. Haven’t they reduced ensoulment to the chemical process of the fusing of nucleic acid chains? What happens when a zygote splits into two when identical twins form? Does the original soul split? Does God provide a new soul? What happens to the souls of all the fertilized eggs that don’t reach conception?Perhaps there are some mysteries still, and theologians should be more humble in their claims about when human life begins?

  • harold

    Quoting, “Sebastian Silver, an old friend and a pious Catholic, says he misses the times when his church dealt with real human issues” Does he consider sheep human.AS you can clearly see your god does not bless the sheep. He does bless hell, though.“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves”Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.“the earth was without form, and void”And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.“Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life”Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,“out of the fish’s belly”And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”

  • Anonymous

    MJ wrote: Nothing in the constitution says this at all. The first amendment prohibits the state from estaablishing religion — religious influence, just as the influence of a social movement, a book, a movie, a speaker are all permitted by that same first amendment.What motivates elected officials to make law is irrelevant to the law they make. They are as free to be motivated by religion as they are to be motivated by atheism. Our government has many things that influence it — but it is all the result of elections. It is the election that matters and if an election is won on the basis of someone’s religious beliefs it is just as legitimate as if it was one on the basis of a philisophy of nihilism.

  • A sane Texan

    When does the soul enter the body?

  • Jerry

    Stevens-Arroyo says,”Now, Catholic teaching instructs us that even if an embryo is not yet conceived, it has that potential. The embryo is human life, even if undifferentiated cells do not constitute a fetus or a functioning human person. Moreover, the embryo is biologically not part of the woman’s body in its cellular composition, even if it is not viable outside of the woman’s body. While these distinctions might resemble angels dancing on the head of a pin to most of the public, they are important to theologians. It is heavy stuff, not easily reducible to bumper-sticker sloganeering – although there seem to be quite a lot of dummies who try to trivialize Catholic teaching that way.”I think he should realize that his theology only instructs me in what his church believes, it does not instruct me on what I believe or don’t believe. As an American citizen I am free to follow the dictates of my own conscience on matters of morals and beliefs so long as I am not bringing harm to others. Then his claim that a fetus is not biologically a part of a woman is his opinion, and I noticed he cited no scientists to corroborate that opinion and a quick search of his educational background shows nothing but theological studies. Not science at all much less biology.He appears to be a a Catholic dummy trivializing science and ignoring the Constitution.

  • DBrown

    Appears most Catholics and others don’t know the Bible – the Bible is clear as is Christ – no words at all about abortion. However, the Bible does clearly say that the soul enters after the first trimester. So, unless you have another Bible based on your ideas but not ‘God’s’ word, your’s and the Bishop are full of it.

  • MarkF

    “Speaker Pelosi and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden clearly do not interpret their Catholicism in ways that would be anti-American or be subversive of civil rights of non-Catholics”No, they interpret their Catholicism in ways that are subversive of Catholic teaching.When Mrs. Pelosi tried to teach that the Church has a variety of opinions on abortion she was rightly corrected by several Bishops. Hopefully, this is just the first of newly reinvigorated Church. God bless Pope Benedict!

  • DBrown

    As for RU-486 being dangerous, well people, wake up – Tylenol kills over 5,000 every year and it is over the counter – people, learn to read and pay attention – many over-the-counter Meds are deadly. Trying learning rather than echo-chamber things you do not understand.

  • Anne Mansfield

    The child’s DNA is present at the moment of conception.

  • rljmsilver

    There was a well written article in Newsweek recently about the Democrats avoiding the Abortion issue. In summary, when life begins is not only a theological issue but a biologocal issue. At the moment of conception, the development of a human being begins. The only valid argument against this would be if sometimes a brick, animal, or plant came out other than a human being. Do you know any examples where that happened?The problem with the Pelosi’s, the Kennedy’s, the Biden’s and Giuliani’s is that they are not practicing Catholics. If they are and are proabortion, then they are rationalizing that they cannot impose their opinions on others. Bull. As during the Nazi period, either you helped the vicitms escape death, looked the other way, or assisted in the killing. In any case if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.As a practicing Catholic for almost 60 years, I do not need any more clarifications or comments from a Bishop or Rome on this issue. What is, is.

  • paul c

    This has been a very disappointing thread. To begin with, Dr. Stevens-Arroyo again distorted the Catholic view to make the Democratic view seem more acceptable. To position the repudiation of a false claim by Nancy Pelosi as an episcopal dance is a bit laughable. This led to a number of Catholics denouncing him and a number of non-Catholics denouncing Catholics for a view that is really only Dr. Stevens- Arroyo’s. The level of vitriole has been high in this threat as well. It started of course with Spiderman2 denouncing Catholicism as the Church of Satan and really hasn’t gotten better since then.At one point, a non-Catholic said that his catholic friend says that every homily in the Catholic church is about Abortion. Well, no, it isn’t. I go to mass almost every day and since I travel a fair amount, it has been in different churches in different parts of the country and I can’t tell you the last time I heard an abortion homily. Don’t get me wrong, Abortion is evil and fighting it is important, but it is by no means the only or even the predominant concern of Catholics. I know that this website is sponsored by the Washington Post and that they present things in the way that they know. They hire generally secular columnists with a liberal slant. However, in the interest of public education and fairness, would it hurt to hire a writer for Catholic America who is interested in the spiritual journey that is Catholicism and not someone who’s basic interests seems to be selling the Democratic platform and attacking the Catholic Heirarchy.

  • Pwelvr

    It is a private matter as decided and reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. It’s legal and is as such the law of the land. Get over it and move on.

  • Cerebus

    I’m sorry, but virtually every commentator on this subject is hopelessly clueless about living with his/her fellow man in peace. It is an axiom that “one cannot force another to change”. Change must come from self-realization. Otherwise it is nothing but attempted subjugation and domination.It is inappropriate in the extreme for any one of us as American citizens to attempt to force our beliefs on our fellow American citizens. If any of us as Catholics feel that we must live and believe in direct contravention to the Constitution and all it represents, then those of us that feel so should either remove ourselves from public life, or from this country. We cannot have any form of the freedom that America promises while simultaneously refusing it to others.Real and rational and fair-minded people can disagree on all sorts of issues without being evil or even provably wrong. Of all these issues, abortion touches our lives most severely, not because of the theology behind it, or of the teachings of bishops, but because at the core of the abortion debate is pre-programmed emotion. Emotion that cannot be reasoned with, cannot be bargained with, cannot be engaged in realistic discussion with. It is not Christ, or the Bible that have declared abortion outlaw, it is fallible, imperfect human beings reacting to their own pre-programmed feelings. At the end of the day, if you cannot accept that you could be in error, then you have already accorded yourself the power of the almighty and that is just plain sad.-Cerebus

  • Outlaw torn

    Why can’t there be different moments when a human life comes into existence theologically speaking from the moment as defined by science?Honestly, I think public policy should have nothing to do with the theological definition of when life begins and should only take into account the scientific definition.

  • burntnorton

    Still waiting for a theological explanation as to why babies, fetuses, and embryos in the womb can’t be baptized, if they truly are human souls in accordance with Catholic doctrine. While whoever answers this question is at it, also explain why in vitro embryos can’t be baptized. And, and although it’s someone on my side who keeps doing it, I have to correct the RU-486 mix up. RU-486 is the “abortion pill” – it causes a non-surgical abortion after implantation. It is not legally available without a prescription in the U.S., although I’m sure you can buy it without one, just like you can buy almost any other drug. It is safer than surgical abortion, although not nearly so safe as the morning after pill. And before the anti-abortion liars can start, both RU486 and surgical abortion are safer than childbirth. SInce chidbirth, especially in the U.S., is pretty safe, that should tell you something. The morning after pill, in contrast, prevents fertilization of an unfertilized egg and implantation of a fertilized egg. Catholic and fundie woo to the contrary, that’s not abortion. The morning after pill is slightly safer than the regular birth control pill – that is, it’s safer than childbirth, RU486, abortion, and tylenol, all of which are much more dangerous than hormonal birth control.

  • paul c

    Cerebus,The abortion argument is really one of ethics not theology. In other words, Its a love your neighbor issue, not a love God issue. The question at hand is should a mother be able to kill her unborn child at her convenience? Some will say that the unborn child is something less than human, but isn’t that always the excuse for killing off someone that has limited or no rights (whether it be Jews in Nazi Germany or slaves in the pre-Civil War South). And a for anyone concerned about when life begins biologically, well its clear that the new cell with its own unique DNA begins at fertilization. Its also clear that this is human life. Any DNA check will confirm this and that check can be done anytime after fertilization.And it is not inappropriate for citizens to impose rules on other citizens to insure that everyone is treated fairly. It is against the law to murder, is in not. It is against the law to steal as well. You (and Dr. Stevens- Arroyo) make it sound like Catholics are forcing others to follow our religion by advocating the end of Abortions. This is far from a Catholic only issue. For proof, look at this board. Both Spiderman2, an evangelical who thinks Catholics worship Satan, and CCNL, a JD Crossan disciple who lampoons all religion regularly, are against abortion. Finally, Burntnorton, I know you are trying to point to a theological inconsistency when you say why can’t you baptize a fertilized egg. Well, the practical answer is it might be a little uncomfortable for the priest to annoint the egg with oil while it is in the mother’s womb…Access is a little better after birth..

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Hmmm, Tylenol kills 5000 people a year???? References please!!!!!

  • harold

    Quoting “The question at hand is should a mother be able to kill her unborn child at her convenience?” Who is thy mother should be the question. “Ye shall fear every man his mother” “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God”And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,“Ye shall be holy”And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.“Honour thy father and thy mother”JudahBenoni (Moses/Solomon)“I have set the Lord always before me”“My doctrine shall drop as the rain”Left HandAnd the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,‘Sanctify unto me all the firstborn”Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart”And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.“And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart”

  • Jimbo

    The use of blastomas to increase medical care should be supported as helping people. The vast majority are destroyed without ever being used. The Catholic church has a point, they can become life and that position should be helped along with funding for all infertile couples to use them, along with the stem cell funding. All the people this would help would be better than hardened positions that just waste this resource.

  • Jimbo

    The Vatican has said evolution and theology can coexist. Pallin is a creationist after converting from Catholic at 12. So much for attacks I see posted.

  • burntnorton

    CCNL – ANother liar, I see. I want evidence, as in a verifiable, non-lying hackjob source that 5K women in the U.S. die a year from hormonal birth control. I will accept a government source or a paper from a peer reviewed journal. As for acetaminophen, it causes 56,000 ER visits, 2600 hospital visits, and over 450 deaths each year in the U.S. due to acute liver failure. See Lee WM (July 2004). “Acetaminophen and the U.S. Acute Liver Failure Study Group: lowering the risks of hepatic failure”. Hepatology 40 (1): 6–9. BEcause the truth can’t be proclaimed enough – You’re a liar.

  • Mike38

    D Brown stated ” …the Bible does clearly say that the soul enters after the first trimester”. Could you provide a reference please (book, chapter and verse).A lot of this discussion seems to center on the argument of when conception occurs, and while this may be important in a few cases, but our current law allows abortions much beyond those narrow limits; in fact up to (almost) the birth of a live baby. Does everybody agree then that abortion should not be legal after whenever “conception” occurs? I bet not.

  • j.a.m.

    There is no need to get into theological hair-splitting. Reason is sufficient (though admittedly reason is far above Pelosi’s pay grade). It is self-evident that if you possess a right to life, you acquired it sometime.

  • Dr. Who

    The Supreme Court of the United States used scientific,medical, legal, and ethical reasoning to determine the constitutionality of limiting any family or individual’s right to terminate a pregnancy. It is within that legal framework and rights that any individual or couple can use their own religious or moral reasoning to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. A minority relgious or moral view about when a pregnancy becomes a “person”should not and can not be used to limit the rights of other citizens to make a personal medical and ethical decision concerning an unwanted pregnancy.

  • Ralph

    I find it a little more than strange, that those against abortion call themselves “Pro-Life”. instead of “Anti-Abortion”. To be really “Pro-Life”, one would have be against the death penalty, and against sending young people into a stupid war to be killed, and do everything in their power to give medical care to every person in this country, amything else would be “Pro-Death”.

  • Anonymous

    September 2, 2008 7:33 PMpaul c:This has been a very disappointing thread. To begin with, Dr. Stevens-Arroyo again distorted the Catholic view to make the Democratic view seem more acceptable… In the interest of public education and fairness, would it hurt to hire a writer for Catholic America who is interested in the spiritual journey that is Catholicism and not someone who’s basic interests seems to be selling the Democratic platform and attacking the Catholic Heirarchy.IMHO this is a retired professor writing as a campaigner for Senator Obama and as a journalist with controversial anti-Catholic views to increase the readership.

  • Jhb

    This post is essentially an exercise in obfuscation in service of the Democratic party. Between Sally Quinn and this guy, does the Post simply have no respect for Catholics? Would it be too much for the Post to have somebody on the “On Faith” blog who can comment accurately on Catholicism. I mean, if 1/4 of U.S. citizens self-identify as Catholic, shouldn’t they at least make an attempt?As to Mr. Stevens-Arroyo’s confusion about conception, the relevant facts really are easily grasped even by dummies (if not by Stevens-Arroyo). When the egg is fertilized, a distinct entity, with a genetic composition distinct from both of its parents comes into existence. It’s cute that some textbooks muddy the waters, and define ‘conception’ to mean ‘implantation’, however that does nothing to change the underlying reality that a distinct genetic entity, with its own gender exists. As the biological facts are clear (which they were not in St. Augustine’s day – and it really is odd that Ms. Pelosi has such a fondness for 4th century biology), the Church’s teachings regarding the permissiveness of the destruction of this new human life are clear. What is not clear is why this matter is so confusing for Mr. Stevens-Arroyo. It is hard to attribute his confusion to anything other than a willfull obtuseness. However, perhaps he is genuinely confused. In either case, the Post would better serve its readers by hiring individuals who are not similarly confused to talk about Catholicism.

  • lawstudent

    Is this Stevens-Arroyo guy serious? Does he really think conception is confusing, or that the Catholic Church’s position on abortion is difficult to understand? As far as I can tell, the ‘dance’ he refers to was more of an intellectual dual into which Ms. Pelosi wandered unarmed. She was basically relying on 4th century biology, as understood by St. Augustine, to justify a moral and ethical position which Augustine would have rejected. If Stevens-Arroyo isn’t able to grasp the concept of a fertilized ovum containing a unique genetic composition, referring to it as ‘heavy stuff’, perhaps he isn’t the best person to write columns for the Post.

  • Anonymous

    September 2, 2008 9:49 PMMike38:D Brown stated ” …the Bible does clearly say that the soul enters after the first trimester”. Could you provide a reference please (book, chapter and verse).A lot of this discussion seems to center on the argument of when conception occurs, and while this may be important in a few cases, but our current law allows abortions much beyond those narrow limits; in fact up to (almost) the birth of a live baby. Does everybody agree then that abortion should not be legal after whenever “conception” occurs? I bet not._________________________________________________Psalm 139 and Luke chapter 1 refers to the life of a child in the womb. No Christian can use the Bible to pretend the fetus in the woman’s womb is not a growing child. As to ensoulment, it is not necessary to go into a discussion about it because the presence of a soul cannot be proved one way or another, not even after birth. So the decision must rest on the presence of life.On the sixth/seventh day the fertilized ovum implants itself in the lining of the mother’s uterus. That is about one week BEFORE the pregnant woman misses her period and even suspects pregnancy. Any fertilized ovum that has not implanted itself dies before that and is passed out without the mother’s knowledge.The fetal heart begins to beat between 18-21 days after fertilization, that is about two weeks after implantation. If a heart that beats at its own pace in a unique and developing tiny human body is not proof of a baby, what is?All the legal hair splitting revolves around giving that tiny human being a right to life.The theological hair splitting about a soul will never be settled. But the COMMANDMENT, THOU SHALT NOT KILL, has never been questioned at any time with regard to the child in the womb.

  • Athena

    Churches – whether they’re evangelical Protestant or Catholic – should stay the heck out of politics. If they don’t, they should be taxed.

  • Anonymous

    MOST IMPORTANTSince the soul cannot be killed, only the body can be, the discussion of ensoulment with regard to a child in the womb is redundant in a religious discussion. It is only necessary to know if there is life in the body or not. A fertilized ovum grows so rapidly that a question whether it is living or not is equally redundant.Infanticide, murder at any age, is always about killing the body and not the soul.

  • Anonymous

    The issue of abortion has been discussed at length in previous threads on this blog. It has been discussed also on the blogs ofMark John ReynoldsChuck ColsonSusan JacobyFr Thomas Reese SJ

  • Anonymous

    Athena, it might surprise you to know there are atheists who are against abortion for humanitarian reasons, just as they would be against infanticide.

  • Doc Angelicus

    Whoever refuses to protect innocent life lacks the wisdom to lead and the moral authority to speak about war and poverty.

  • Anonymous

    MOST IMPORTANTNo Catholic theologian could have been discussing ensoulment issues with reference to abortion. It is disingenuous to conclude any Catholic theologian was giving approval to abortion by expressing opinions about ensoulment. As mentioned, killing is only about killing the body, not the soul.Until Roe vs Wade 1973, abortion was illegal. In other words the social conscience of every society up until that time recognized abortion to be the killing of a growing child in the womb.

  • Anonymous

    Prof A S-A: “For instance, the United Church of Christ – Senator Obama’s denomination – has a different teaching about abortion than the Catholic Church:…”Surely not Psalm 139 or Luke chapter 1!Do they skip reading those Bible verses to justify abortion then? How does UCC rationalize away Psalm 139 and Luke chapter 1 which is confirmed by medical science?

  • Emily

    This whole article is so off the point and glib about a very serious situation. Just a few points: 2. “Unfortunately, this avoids the real issue for bishops and politicians alike: Does Catholic teaching bind non-Catholics” No, the issue is that she IS a Catholic and Catholic apparently doesn’t even bind her. Non-Catholics aren’t the issue here.3. “Are Catholic voters obliged by their bishops to take away the right of Protestants (or Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) to practice their religion (or atheists to be atheists” So, having abortions is practicing religion for those who are not Catholics? Catholics are urged by their bishops to vote their conscience.

  • spiderman2

    WHO are the SUPPORTERS of ABORTION? They are Catholics , Liberal Protestants (UCCP, Episcopalian, Methodists,etc). When you guys talk about Christianity, please leave these people out coz these people are NOT truly Christians.They represent FALSE RELIGION and NOT Christianity.

  • Anonymous

    Prof A S-A: “Now, Catholic teaching instructs us that even if an embryo is not yet conceived, it has that potential. The embryo is human life, even if undifferentiated cells do not constitute a fetus or a functioning human person. Moreover, the embryo is biologically not part of the woman’s body in its cellular composition, even if it is not viable outside of the woman’s body…”It is admirable that you have tried to integrate the science expressed on this forum into the Catholic view in this post. Please reread all the comments on this topic both on your blog and others listed in a previous post here to correct some errors.

  • SCKershaw

    Life does not begin at conception; both the egg and sperm are alive. For all we know, eggs and sperm might have “half souls”. Of course, this is just a silly conjecture – and that is the point. Yet it is a similar theological conjecture that forms the basis of the absolutist anti-choice contingent’s argument. And it is pursued to the detriment of more compelling arguments.The absolutists want to use the police powers of the civil government to contract the liberty of women who become pregnant with no regard to their (the women) theological opinions. Rep. Pelosi believes that this is an abuse of authority. She sees the mother as tangible and any recently fertilized egg as less than tangible. Furthermore, she sees the mother’s liberty as having legal protection under the 5th (to be secure in their persons from unreasonable search and seizure) and the 14th (no state shall abridge the privileges of citizens or deprive any person of liberty) amendments. Even Justice Scalia laments that the constitution does not forbid abortions.This does not mean that abortion opponents can’t try to peacefully dissuade women who seek to end their pregnancies. And public policies can be put in to effect that discourage abortions (but not to the point of denial). Rep. Pelosi and Cardinal Wuerl may be engaging in a rhetorical “dance”, but I think that we all would benefit if they keep talking to each other.

  • Anonymous

    SCKershaw: “Even Justice Scalia laments that the constitution does not forbid abortions.”Does Justice Scalia deny that the right of every human being to its LIFE is enshrined in the constitution and the right to life overrides all other consideration? Does Justice Scalia lament the fact that the right to life of a developing human being in the womb of its mother is not specifically mentioned in the constitution, because a person exists *legally* only when its birth is registered, and that it provides merely a legal loophole for abortion, not a biological or moral justification?

  • Anonymous

    SCKershaw: “Life does not begin at conception; both the egg and sperm are alive. For all we know, eggs and sperm might have “half souls”.”Do take the time to read the science that has been provided on this blog and others.The life of a human being starts with a fertilized ovum…Read the rest for yourself on the blogs listed before posting further comments which blatantly ignores medical science.

  • harold

    Here is some food for thought.“Some mythological traditions have her as the prostitute ‘she-wolf’ who suckled Rome’s founders”Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves”“a circle of birds flew over Romulus, signifying that he should be king.”And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:“the serpent said unto the woman”“sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars”Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb”“Some mythological traditions have her as the prostitute ‘she-wolf’ who suckled Rome’s founders”“Luperca’s husband is the Wolf-and-Shepherd-God Lupercus who brought fertility to the flocks.”And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;“Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee”Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.“Beware of false prophets”For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.“after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock”Romulus (c. 771 BC[1]–c. 717 BC) and Remus (c. 771 BC–c. 753 BC) are the traditional founders of Rome, appearing in Roman mythology as the twin[2] sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars. According to the tradition recorded as history by Plutarch and Livy, Romulus served as the first King of Rome.“sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia, fathered by the god of war, Mars”

  • weasley

    It has been my understanding, as a Catholic, that the Catholic Church embraces the pro-life doctrine. This doctrine obviously prohibits abortion, but it also prohibits capital punishment. If you support one tenet of the right-to-life, then you are compelled to support the other. There is no cherry picking.The conservative base has chosen a distinctly anti-abortion position, sighting all manor of scripture to support their conviction. By and large, this same group supports the death penalty. As a Catholic I cannot reconcile this contradiction; I cannot support one life, then deny another. And I cannot fathom how any Christian religion could reconcile this contradiction.So, is the anti-abortion stance so popular among republicans based in dogma, or was it chosen for its political expedience? If it’s the latter, then the group that appears to wear their Christianity on their shirt sleeve is not acting very Christian-like.

  • harold

    Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:“God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”“I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves””do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of man?”“Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life”“out of the fish’s belly”Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of man?Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:

  • Rob De La Rosa

    America will continue to struggle with moral issues as long as its political leaders ignore BASIC TRUTHS when they sit down at their big fancy desks to make the laws of this country.Here is news for you: Ted Kennedy was pro-life….BEFORE Roe v Wade (check it out on wikipedia)!!!! The decision of Roe v Wade and obstinate leaders like Ted Kennedy have destroyed the Democrat platform and have abused federal power. The people of America never had a say in Roe v Wade; and this is an immeasurable travesty.That killing the unborn was wrong used to be an issue BOTH parties could agree upon! Faith in God and observance of the Ten Commandments used to be the unifying forces of this Great Nation! And what do you get with top-down decisions? Confused, equivocal people like Anthony Stevens-Arroyo who are left writing tautologies attempting to justify a party platform that is wrong on life issues and sexual education and goes against clear Church teaching. THE CHURCH WILL NOT CHANGE FOR YOU FOLKS!!!! AND IF YOU EXPECT THE CHURCH TO CHANGE, YOU ARE ARROGANT AND AUDACIOUS.Catholic Democrats must decide once and for all what is more important: being a Roman Catholic or supporting the current Democrat platform. It is tough, but it must be done.The Democrat party fails us on life issues and sexual education. For example, to protect the fundamental human rights of homosexuals is basic, but to force the country to accept gay marriage, as it was forced to accept Roe v Wade, is an outrage. Democrat leaders want to convey the message that God has no place in civic life. This is misguided doctrine that has ruined the Democratic platform, and goes against all the principles that have gotten us to where we are today.God has a place in civic life; the basic truth of our Faith should rule our actions and help us make sound decisions that we are proud of!When are people going to speak up against the damage that has been done to their own Democratic party? When???? When is enough enough????Morality, propriety, decency, the dignity of human life, all once unified the parties. If the Democratic party chose to make these things the new dividing lines between parties, Democrats have no one to blame but their foolish, obstinate leaders. To be a Catholic, a follower of Christ, first and above all else–this is what Jesus taught us all to be, and that is what we should all try to live up to everyday.

  • For the law student

    Fate:Your claims are extraordinary:1) The state prefers abortion because it is cheaper than outlawing abortion?!? That would only make sense in an autocratic society, not a democracy. The majority of Americans support the right to choose an abortion not because it keeps their taxes low but because they consider it a right of a woman. And that is a part you continually ignore, the right of the woman not to be forced to carry and give birth to a child she does not want. How far would you be willing to go to require a woman to carry a child she does not want? 9 months of forced confinement?2) By your definition a miscarriage that is induced by a mothers drug, alcohol or other mistreatment of the embryo/fetus would be an external act that lead to the loss of the embryo/fetus. You say that would not be considered murder but you ignore what you say the embryo/fetus has, RIGHTS! If it has a right to life then it has a right to not be killed through negligence. Women who have miscarriages will have to be investigated because the miscarried embryo/fetus had rights, just as the death of a child requires an investigation of that death because the child has rights. Again you do not consider the consequences of what a right to life for the unborn would cause. You cannot give an embryo a right to life and at the same time ignore miscarriages anymore than you can ignore crib death today. Talk about raising taxes! What will the cost be on the justice departments of every state as they investigate miscarriages? Would women who become pregnant be required to register their embryo? If it has rights they would. You really need to think your idea through because I doubt you would approve of a state that requires registration of being pregnant and the law hanging over you until the birth, and a miscarriage ends you up at the police station explaining how your miscarriage that lead to the death of a person happened and why you should not be charged with murder.4) You wrote: “The legal stand that only a viable fetus may be granted right to life has NOTHING to do with the understanding of the value of life as per religion/Christianity.”First, a viable fetus does not have that “right”. It has laws protecting it that vary from state to state after the first trimester, but not “rights”. As for religion, I find it very conflicting what I hear. The death penalty is ok with some christians, but RU482, which induces an abortion of a day old embryo, is called murder. I have asked this once before but I don’t think you answered.3) You wrote: “A human embryo/fetus is a growing child in the womb whether the law of the land grants it any right to its life or not.” On this we agree. That is why the vast majority of women consider it a blessing and take great care to bring the embryo through development to birth. But as you said there are two beings connected during embryonic and fetal development. You consider the embryo/fetus to have rights but ignore the rights of the woman. Just what rights does the woman have in your world? I’ve asked before how far you would go in protecting the embryo/fetus. Would you outlaw drinking by pregnant woman? It increases the risk of miscarriage you know. How about staying healthy? Would a woman who runs a marathon while pregnant be put in jail to protect the unborn? When you deny a woman’s rights in order to provide the unborn’s rights you deminish a woman to being a vessel for carrying an embryo. That is dehumanizing. And the majority of people disagree with moving in that direction. We have laws that give women the right to choose because the constitution backs that woman’s right AND the vast majority of Americans support it. That is not to say the vast majority of Americans have abortions. As I said before there is a difference between one’s personal choice and backing a law that takes away what woman consider a right they have.4) You distinguish between externally induced abortion and naturally occuring miscarriage. But as I’ve said, miscarriages can be induced in many ways and woman through the ages know how. Some women who want to have their baby stay in bed for months so they will not miscarry. What would happen if a doctor told a woman that she should remain in bed but instead she went out and exercised, leading to a miscarriage? Jail for murder? The issue is not as black and white as you make it. It is complicated. That is why Roe defines a right to abort during the first trimester when the embryo is just a clump of cells and after that state law prevails since the fetus might survice outside the womb. It is a balance. To give embryo’s rights all the way back to conception up-ends that balance and will lead to consequences you choose to ignore. But I and others will not ignore the unintended consequences of your misguided and not-throught-through wish to outlaw safe abortion if a woman chooses. Providing rights to an embryo has never happened in any society at any time.5) God made women the carriers of the unborn and their protectors. You want that job to be given to the state. Funny, but it pro-lifers sound more liberal than conservative.August 21, 2008 10:25 AM

  • Rob De La Rosa

    Weasley,Great point! Indeed capital punishment is wrong. We cannot take the life of a criminal, that is an Old Testament way of thinking–eye for an eye. We cannot repay evil with more evil.This is where the “Christian Right” gets it wrong.Thankfully, with the breakthroughs of forensic evidence, capital punishment has been made rarer.As far as which party ‘sanctions’ more killing? Well, count all the people on death row. Now, count all the unborn that die each week at the hands of rogue OBGYNs that violate the Hippocratic Oath.Remember Weasley, the Christian Right you are referring to are almost exclusively protestant, and evangelical at that. Evangelical teaching places unusual emphasis on the OLD TESTAMENT, which, when superficially read, is more about revenge, eye for an eye, and killing as a form of punishment.BUT JESUS CAME!!!! Hence the NEW TESTAMENT! Protestants and most of the world, is stuck in an Old Testament state of mind. Many claim to know Jesus personally….well, they may memorize and rote-learn the Bible, but they really just don’t get it. And this is sad.The only reason the Old Testament is part of the Bible, is because every word of these carefully chosen books points to the coming of Christ that is documented in the New Testament. In other words, the selections of the Old Testament are included only because they somehow point to Jesus’ eventual coming-which is the whole point of the Bible; the Catholic Church excluded all books that do not pertain to Christ’s coming.

  • burntnorton

    CCNL – Hello? 5000 deaths from hormonal birth control in the U.S.? Too hard to find a basis for that moronic claim that I’m sure you picked up from some hysterical, lying website run by troglodytes? Or did you just invent it whole cloth?Liar.

  • harold

    Quoting “because every word of these carefully chosen books points to the coming”How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?“Because I have called, and ye refused”And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ”This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;“This is the book of the generations of Adam”The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;“The word of the Lord which came”The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.“The lion is come up from his thicket”Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles”He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:“I shall see him, but not now”Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.“in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it”Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord.“Samuel also said unto Saul”Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.“And the Lord sent thee on a journey”

  • haz

    But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

  • denis arvay

    It’s pathetic that in the 21st century serious adults would have conversations like this.If the Catholic Church continues to interfere in American politics, its tax exemption should be lifted.

  • CF in Naples, FL

    The civic debate re abortion isn’t about the morality of abortion: it’s about WHO GOES TO JAIL. The American people don’t want to put these women and/or doctors in jail. We used to have laws jailing adulterers (John McCain, Rudy Giulliani et al) and sodomites (Ellen?). As a practicing Catholic at daily mass and pro-life minister for our local Gabriels, I’m appalled that my position is considered “pro-abortion”. When abortion is illegal, the only result is that BOTH the moms and the fetuses die. I’m also disgusted at the bishops who excommunicate people in violation of canon law. While some bishops may consider their behavior scandalous, scandal is a much lesser sin than what these bishops are doing in denying them the eucharist.

  • Fate

    harold wrote: “Quoting “because every word of these carefully chosen books points to the coming”I don’t want to burst your bubble Harold but Matthew, Mark and Luke all wrote that the second coming would happen within one generation. Its been, what, 100 generations since Christ’s death. A little overdue wouldn’t you say?Matthew 16:28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”Matthew 24:34 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”Mark 9:1 “And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”Luke 9:27 “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”Luke 21:32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.”

  • spiderman2

    When Jesus talks to unbelievers, he doesn’t speak in PLAIN language. What he meant by that generation is THIS GENERATION. Wait a while coz it’s coming. The BIG OVEN is already there, ready to fly where unbelievers are located. Some of which is pointed towards you, Fate.Nobody in history have said that his words will be preached around the world before DOOMSDAY comes. We are now in that generation.So get ready Fate coz THE TIEM IS SOOOO NEAR.

  • spiderman2

    The scary part is after you ROAST like a pig, you’d be roasted again and again alive in hell.”But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:5)Nobody messes with God. While his gift is SO GREAT because He is God, His punishment is EQUALLY GRAND because He is God. It’s always SUPERLATIVE. That is His nature so FEAR HIM, idiots.

  • Fate

    CF in Naples, FL wrote: “The civic debate re abortion isn’t about the morality of abortion: it’s about WHO GOES TO JAIL.”Absolutely correct, and something the anti-abortion lobby ignores. In fact, they ignore any consequence of their efforts. Current law strikes a balance. And Roe is not the only abortion law. It simply states a “right” to an abortion in the first trimester. After that state laws reign. If Roe were overturned, the states could decide and would likely allow abortion in the first trimester. So I see little fruit in their efforts. If they really want to stop abortion they should back what has been proven to work: sex education and contraceptives. When these are applied the number of unwanted pregancies goes down and so do abortions. Where they are not applied, like in the Palin household, you have teenagers getting pregnant and abortion may be considered, legal or not.But what really is strange to me is that while anti-abortionists will block the doors to abortion clinics they are not protesting the putting to death people on death row. It seems ok that the state can kill people through execution and war, but not ok for a woman, a day after conception, to have a D&C or take RU482. What strange religious convictions these people have, taking away a woman’s right to her pregnancy and handing it to the state to manage. Reminds me of Henry VIII and his treatment of his wives, who only existed to bear him a child.

  • Marc Edward

    Howdy RyanCome on Ryan. Are you telling the world that you don’t know the basis of Roe? A person as smart and well read as you? I think you are faking ignorance. If there is a “right to privacy” that includes birth control, contraception and abortion in the constitution, than of course it applies to the entire country. That’s why it’s the Supreme Court of the United States and not the Supreme Court of Washington DC.I’d add that abortion isn’t a serious political issue, because neither major party has any intention of ending legal abortion. The Democratic Party does want to reduce abortions. The Republican party wants to do nothing.Have a good day!

  • spiderman2

    Fate has pity for serial rapists and murderers but no fear killing unborn babies. That’s strange. Leftists are weird guys. Men with men and women with women. Really weird.Let’s not go to war and just wait for those missiles come to us. Ahhh, that would happen Fate. Don’t worry coz it will happen. Thanks to weird fellows like you.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “When Jesus talks to unbelievers, he doesn’t speak in PLAIN language.”So when He says it will come in one generation he really means 100? Why not 1000? Or is it whatever YOU want it to be? spiderman2 wrote: “What he meant by that generation is THIS GENERATION.”Then you are calling Jesus and the disciples who quoted His words liars. That should get you a few days in hell.spiderman2 wrote: “The BIG OVEN is already there, ready to fly where unbelievers are located. Some of which is pointed towards you, Fate.”Hmmm, you do not even believe Jesus’ own words. That makes YOU an unbeliever. I can just see you now, before St. Peter, explaining how YOU were right and Jesus was wrong, as Peter is pointing his finger south.spiderman2 wrote: “Nobody in history have said that his words will be preached around the world before DOOMSDAY comes. We are now in that generation.”Again you call Jesus a liar. Two more days in hell for you!spiderman2 wrote: “So get ready Fate coz THE TIEM IS SOOOO NEAR.”I’m a shakin in my boots spidy. But while I may fear God, I do not fear you. Instead, you make me laugh, then I feel bad for laughing at the feeble and ask for forgivness.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “I’m a shakin in my boots spidy. “Reserve the shaking. You would be doing a lot of shaking if you continue to be stupid. Non-stop shaking.”And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:1)It’s this generation. It’s your interpretation that’s faulty. So STOP THE STUPIDITY.

  • Wally

    The quasi-politician bishops should follow the example of Jesus who on the night he was betrayed did not exclude Judas from the Last Supper.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “Fate has pity for serial rapists and murderers but no fear killing unborn babies. That’s strange.”I have no pity for serial rapists and murders in jail. They are where they belong. And just when does a zygote or fetus become a baby spidy?spiderman2 wrote: “Leftists are weird guys. Men with men and women with women. Really weird.”Yes, “leftists” created homosexuals. Just where were you educated?spiderman2 wrote: “Let’s not go to war and just wait for those missiles come to us.”What missles? Who do you propose we kill because they might shoot missles at us? Do you kill anyone who looks like they might be a threat to you? You sound like you are paranoid.spiderman2 wrote: “Ahhh, that would happen Fate. Don’t worry coz it will happen. Thanks to weird fellows like you.”You propose preemptively killing people who *might* kill us. What would Jesus say about that? Have you read your ten commandments lately? So far spidy you have trashed parts of the bible and now advocate murder. I’m not sure what religion you follow, but it doesn’t sound very Christian.

  • Fate

    Spiderman2 wrote: “It’s this generation. It’s your interpretation that’s faulty. So STOP THE STUPIDITY.”You base your interpretation on one quote, which has no defined time, with my five quotes which are defined in time as one generation. Your interpretation is wrong spidy. The second coming was prophesised, by Jesus, to happen within one generation from Christ’s death. So either Christ was wrong or He changed His mind. MAT 24:1 does not specify a time, just a condition, a condition that has been met years ago. You call Jesus, Matthew, Mark, and Luke liars so you can feed your own apocalyptic paranoia. Get help spidy. Really.

  • spiderman2

    The soldiers are there in Afghanistan killing armed lunatics who’re planning destruction for America. They were succesful once and if we follow your advice not to act, you’d be dead by now.So stop the STUPIDITY.Have mercy on serial rapists and murderers and don’t kill them but kill the unborn babies. Left untouched,they will become babies. Try punching the abdomen of a pregnant woman. If the fetus dies, you could be sued for homicide.You’re a “scientist” and yet your reasoning is weird. Too much evolution makes a person CRAZY. Isn’t it crazy that you pay a teacher in school just to tell you taht your great granpa was MONKEY and the proof he tells you is he found bone. I can’t believe the world is being DUPED this way.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “MAT 24:1 does not specify a time, just a condition, a condition that has been met years ago.”How sure are you? There are still many areas in this world that the Bible is prohibited to be preached. Where have you been?

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “Fate wrote “MAT 24:1 does not specify a time, just a condition, a condition that has been met years ago.”

  • norman ravitch

    Nobody knows when life begins but if anyone does it is more likely to be a scientist than a clerical ignoramus, no matter whether he is called a pastor, a pope, or a saint. Why quote St. Augustine, a 5th century African Catholic who approved of persecution of dissenters? Why quote St. Thomas Aquinas who recycled Aristotle for Catholic purposes without persuading anyone. Why cite Baptist knownothings or Anglican drifters? Abortion does not seem like a moral thing but when life begins is impossible to determine at this point.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “On the internet spidy, on the internet.”There are just too many poor people in the world who can’t afford a television. let alone, a computer and an internet connection. But the world is fast changing. A few years from now, the condition set by Matt. 24:1 will be met.Who would have thought China would achieve their status now in just 20 years? Just 30 or more years ago, they all look the same wearing the same dark dull clothes and riding bicycles.Doomsday is coming right on schedule.

  • paul c

    I see that there have been several posters over the last 12 hours who have made the point that he Catholic Church should not be involved in politics and that if it does, it should lose its tax exempt status.Both of these points are simply attempts to silence a view that is different than their own. First of all, the fight to end abortion is not solely a Catholic issue and is certainly not a religious issue in that it doesn’t pertain to God directly. Instead, it concerns how we treat the mot vulnerable among us – the unborn, who have no ability to protect themselves. Many of the people on this thread who oppose abortion are not Catholic – some of them even hate Catholics. And why should a group like Planned Parenthood (which is probably also tax exempt) have the right to voice its opinion, while Catholics do not? One of the basic rights guaranteed in the constitution is the right to free speach. This right pertains to every person and every group and is not limited by Tax exempt status. The reason this right is important in a representative society is that everyone should have a voice. Remember, 25% of the US population is Catholic and we deserve to be represented as well. And remember, there is another right guaranteed in the Constituion : Freedom of Religion. Too many times, people on this board try to distort this right to mean we should be FREE OF religion. You of course have that right individually, but you can’t force that on others because that infringes on their Freedoms.

  • Fate

    spidernam2 wrote: “Have mercy on serial rapists and murderers and don’t kill them but kill the unborn babies.”Christ’s example was to spare a woman from being stoned to death. He did not believe she was innocent or that her crime, adultery, was not a crime or sin. He spared her life because he did not believe in death. But where does Jesus say first trimester abortion is a sin or that criminals, any criminal, should be killed?spidernam2 wrote: “Left untouched, they will become babies. Try punching the abdomen of a pregnant woman. If the fetus dies, you could be sued for homicide.”In which state and at what month of pregnancy? Is a miscarriage a reason for the state to investigate the death of a fetus as crib death is investigated? In your world it is.spidernam2 wrote: “You’re a “scientist” and yet your reasoning is weird. Too much evolution makes a person CRAZY.”What has evolution have to do with this discussion. You are, as usual, avoiding the subject.spidernam2 wrote: “I can’t believe the world is being DUPED this way.”I do not need repeated chanting of scripture to understand the world. While I have seen religious prophesy fail time and again, I have yet to see science fail in its persuit of the truth. You more than likely owe your health to the science you spit upon while blindly believing in spirits which have not menifested themselves anywhere.

  • spiderman2

    Fate, Im an engineer and science is my world. Evolution is a fantasy. It’s no different from fairy tales and stories like werewolves where humans turn to wolves and vice versa. The only difference is that one is shown in the movies while the other is presented in school. Just try punching any pregnant woman and see where it will put you. You’d be in trouble more for hurting the baby than hurting the mother.

  • Re: to Weasley

    I wholeheartedly agree. My Catholic school upbringing emphasized all tenants of what would be considered in political circles as “pro-life,” yet I’m constantly amazed at the other beliefs that continue to go unanalyzed. In addition to abortion, Catholics presumably should be opposed to unjust war, euthanasia and the death penalty. The willful ignorance of the dealth penalty prong is what gets under my skin, both from a moral and a libertarian perspective. It’s not OK for a woman to make a choice for herself to end a preganacy early-on, OK, got it… but it IS OK for the state to apply tax-payer dollars to upholding an infrastructure to end life? To kill human beings? Hire doctors, guards, keep up facilities, deal with the incredible legal fees… all to kill breathing, adult human beings? I don’t care what crime someone commits – I think it’s about time to have a discussion about – do we want the state sponsoring and promoting murder? Sheesh.

  • spiderman2

    Catholics and liberal protestants should stop kidding themselves. Just look at the judges and politicians who are making abortion and gay marriage laws legal. They all belong to this two religions. FALSE RELIGIONS. That’s the problem.

  • pontificator

    Spidey, there is no way you’re remotely intelligent enough to be an engineer, and you don’t know diddly about science. You’ve proven it 100 times over. Why do you continue to bother the good posters here, who for the most part have honest intentions? There isn’t a scientist worth their salt that would question the fact of evolution – and your fixation on evolution, the Catholic Church, the pending Apocalypse, etc. prove your mental instability, and nothing more. And with your very poor use of the English language, there isn’t an engineering school in the nation that would admit you – particularly if they knew your views regarding evolution. You’re not exactly an ideal poster child for the engineers of the world.

  • spiderman2

    Evolution and athesm are twins and both are a FOOL’S doctrine. Where in the world can you see a creature who believes he/she is a very complex system and yet also believes that same system just existed by itself? Ain’t that the pinnacle of stupidity?Don’t you realize that even a simple straight line CANNOT be achieved without intelligence? How much more a very complex system. Idiot.Where is the proof of God? Look at yourself and examine if you have a brain. Surely there is a God, unless you guys have no brain to examine.

  • Jack

    The moment life begins has been established by science. Augustine and Aquinas are addressing the medieval notion of the “quickening” which they thought was the infusion of the soul to the body. Because science has established that all the elements of the human person are present from the beginning the church’s position on the union of the soul to the body has changed to the moment of conception.

  • paul c

    spiderman2:

  • spiderman2

    Engineering is an EXACT science or else the devices they make or the buildings they build will fail miserably.Evolution is not a science. They only need a big mouth to talk aloud coz there is no device to make and buildings to build. Just a drawing of a monkey and a man and an arrow in between pointing towards the man.With a very loud mouth, they would say “This monkey was your granddaddy and this is you and here’s my proof” (waving a bone).150 years have past and yet not a single credible proof was made nor a finding that will prove useful to Engineers. Waht a bunch of idiots.Good if there is no price for their stupidity coz they would burn. That’s the price.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “Fate, Im an engineer and science is my world.”An education in engineering probbaly did not include an education in biology. You obviously know little about what evolution even means, nor physiology, anatomy or paleoentology. spiderman2 wrote: “Evolution is a fantasy. It’s no different from fairy tales and stories like werewolves where humans turn to wolves and vice versa. The only difference is that one is shown in the movies while the other is presented in school.”There, you proved my point.spiderman2 wrote: “Just try punching any pregnant woman and see where it will put you. You’d be in trouble more for hurting the baby than hurting the mother.”No, I’ll be in trouble for assault on the woman. Punching a woman alone is assault. Punching a pregnant woman can lead to internal bleeding and is thus life threatening. Yes they would put me away, but not if she aborted a 6 week fetus. If it were a 8 month fetus they might add a second charge. Of course abortion is not legal at 8 months either except in extraordinary cases, but I doubt you know that either.Oh, and by the way, did you know they just discovered a gene that has something to do with how monomagous a man tends to be? They found that gene after they found it is a rat where it seems to control monogany too. How strange that humans and rats share the exact same gene that controls the same thing. There are many other genes we share as well. I doubt you understand what that means.

  • paul c

    Fate:

  • Anonymous

    Speaker Peolosi and Senator Biden do not interpret their Catholicism in a way that is Anti-American. Rather, they carry-out their “Americanism” in a way that is anti-Catholic.

  • Fate

    spiderman2 wrote: “Where is the proof of God? Look at yourself and examine if you have a brain. Surely there is a God, unless you guys have no brain to examine.”And what if you have a brain cancer?

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “Oh, and by the way, did you know they just discovered a gene that has something to do with how monomagous a man tends to be? “I hope they could tinker Bill Clinton’s gene and make him monogamous. What a lousy kind of science. It sounds like straight from the comic books.

  • spiderman2

    Fate wrote “And what if you have a brain cancer?”Then you could be eating too much junk food or too much exposure to cell phones. God didn’t tell you to eat junk foods and bombard your head with microwaves. Why blame God?

  • Fate

    paul c wrote: “Fate:The reason I can’t agree with you is that your thesis ignores the right of the unborn child to life in favor of the mother’s right to privacy (as described in Roe v Wade). In my view, right to life trumps right to privacy (and everything else).”Well, the court did not consider the embryo/fetus, during the first trimester, to have a right to life. In fact, currently, the unborn have no rights until they are born. Now if you want to argue when the unborn have rights I’m ready to do that, since once you give an unborn rights you immediatly come into conflict with the woman’s rights and the rights of each would need to be resolved, probably by the court.So a woman whose pregancy would kill her would need to have a request for an abortion to be reviewed by a court to determine which individual’s rights prevail, the woman’s or the fetus’. If woman miscarried an investigation into the “death of a child” would need to happen. Woman who ignored their doctors orders to maintain a healthy fetus and then miscarried could be brought up on negligent homocide charges. And a woman who has trouble carrying a fetus to term (I know three personally) that finds herself pregnant would not be told to go home a stay in bed, she could be ordered to a hospital and strapped to a bed under armed guard to protect the rights of the unborn she carries.I could go on. You really need to consider the world you are asking for, and how these situations would be resolved. I never hear it discussed, nor who would end up in jail. All I hear is that the “murder” must be stopped but nothing else, no though, no consideration, no thinking.

  • harold

    Quoting “I don’t want to burst your bubble Harold but Matthew, Mark and Luke all wrote that the second coming would happen within one generation.” Correct, this is the fourth generation. The first generation are the stars, the second generation are the sand, the third generation possesses the gates of thy enemies, the fourth the dust of the earth. It is very clear in the passages I have provided. This is the blessed one of the LORD. The son of the mother, the LORD. The eight. This is the earth, west east north south and this is heaven Lift up now thine eyes, and look, northward, southward, eastward, westward:. I possess earth and heaven. I provide the path to heaven. On one hand I posses heaven and earth, on the other earth and heaven. I have the hands of the LORD. This is the latter end, the fourth and last generation. Those who reject me will only have hell for them and their seed forever. my seed is blessed with heaven and earth earth and heaven. “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning”“saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.”“the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”“Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars”And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:northward, And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;“thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth”Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.JudahBenoni (Moses/Solomon)“I have set the Lord always before me”“My doctrine shall drop as the rain”Left HandThis is the third generation. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles”This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O JacobSo the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.“So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning”

  • paul c

    Fate:

  • Fate

    paul c wrote: “Fate:YOu make it sound like outlawing abortion would be impossible. In fact, it was outlawed in the US until 1973. I don’t think that during that time, women were forceably chained to hospital beds.”At that time the abortion *procedure* was outlawed. Fetuses did not have rights. A person who performed an abortion would be found guilty of breaking that law, not murdering a child. A woman who was raped would have a D&C, presumably for her “health” but everyone knew it was to remove an embryo that maight have been produced. Under the anyi-abortion laws proposed, that would be murder. A rape victim could not endanger the embryo, which would have the same rights as you or I. What anti-abortionists are calling for now goes way beyond what was in place pre-1973.

  • jfrsfo

    While most of my coreligionists have correctly defended the Church’s teaching on procurred abortion, I need to clarify whether the Church believes that teaching is solely applied to Church members or to all human beings. That part of Church teaching which derives from Divine revelation applies only to those Catholics who have assumed the obligation to live according to that teaching by the Profession of Faith, normally done in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confession, and Holy Eucharist.That part of the Church’s moral teaching that derives from the natural law, the moral law that is clearly written in the nature of the subject or act subject to moral judgment. As we can see from the vast number of ancient and contemporary faiths and ethical systems that also reject abortion as acceptable human behavior, abortion is discernible by the human conscience without benefit of of divine input. Hence, the church teaches that any human person that procures, provides, or assists in an act of abortion sets himself or herself outside the community of human interconnectedness.As to the notion proposed by Ms Pelosi that a Catholic citizen can vote or legislate in opposition to Church teaching, I refer readers to http://www.usccb.org. The section on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” sets a virtually insurmountable barrier to Catholics that might consider voting for a “pro-choice” candidate if the prospective office holder would vote on, regulate or influence matters related to abortion. The document was unanimously approved by the US Catholic bishops in November, 2007.

  • Kwaayesnama

    Sarah Pahin uses poor judgment and the GOP makes her out to be a hero!

  • Angela

    Kwaayesnama: There’s no doubt in my mind, you’re a far, far left person and you’re on the wrong post my dear…Also, who are you to say that her choice to have a down-syndrome was a bad decision: why because she didn’t have what mankind considers a perfect baby: you are a bigot…and definitely no judge on morality.

  • burntnorton

    Oh, not the discredited natural law argument AGAIN. Funny how the church’s “natural law” analysis always reaches the same conclusion as the church’s current interpretation of divine revelation. It’s circular to claim that something rests on “natural law”, as interpreted by the church, and therefore is somehow different than things that rest on “divine revelation”, as determined by the church.Moreover, it takes a highly selective and willfully blind reading of history to claim that there is some sort of universality to the church’s moral objections to abortion. Not to mention that it’s highly problematic to rest the legitimacy of any moral precept on how widely it’s been accepted in cultures throughout history. In fact, abortion is and was widely sanctioned throughout the world throughout history. Even antiabortioners favorite historical example, the Hippocratic oath, only barred using a pessary. Other widely used means of abortion, including some Hippocrates himself described and recommended in his own medical texts, remained permissible under the oath.

  • jfrsfo

    Burntorton:Sorry, I didn’t get the memo about natural law being discredited. Apparently neither have several members of the US Supreme Court, including Scalia and Thomas, whose jurisprudence relies heavily on natural law. I won’t go on to mention the resurgence of academic interest in natural law arguments in law, philosophy, and theology. Oops, sorry again.

  • burntnorton

    Maybe you lost it along with the memo that told you that neither Scalia nor Thomas are known for their “natural law” jursidprudence. Rather, they’re known for originalism, which usually takes into account the natural law analysis popular at the time of the adoption of the Constitution as an aid to interpreting the originally intended meaning of the document.Natural law is discredited because there’s usually nothing natural about it. Especially when it rests in part on blatantly false portrayals of history and nature.

  • Elohist

    Dear jfrsfoPelosi never said the church favored abortions, only that history proves that the moment of conception has been much debated. She’s right, as the Archbishop affirmed: you’re wrong. You misread the bishops’ statement to serve your partisan politics. Jesus is not running for office. #32 of forming consciences cites Evangelium Vitae #73: both back up Pelosi’s stance.When you separate yourself from the ordinary magisterium of the church you put your eternal salvation in peril.

  • paul c

    Fate;

  • Causus Omnium Danorum

    Surely the Washington Post, with all its resources, could find someone to correctly and accurately state what the Catholic Church teaches and has taught. Mr. Stevens-Arroyo’s misinterpretations and blithering idiocies make him and the Post a laughingstock……unless the whole point is to spread deceptions, perhaps?

  • Kwaayesnama

    In my bible the fifth commandment reads simply and clearly: “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”. What is your view of a nation invading a country under false pretenses and killing and maiming thousands if not millions of people? Is that MURDER?

  • Anonymous

    Angela: Kwaayesnama: There’s no doubt in my mind, you’re a far, far left person and you’re on the wrong post my dear…Excuse me! I am a Catholic and I do not belive in Abortion except to save a woman’s life. But I do belive in birth control like the majority of woman in this nation do. It is irresponsible to bring a child into this world that will suffer.

  • paul c

    Fate:As is obvious from the above,, the Christian (Catholic) church has recognized abortion as Murder of the child since its earliest days.

  • Barbara McCarthy

    Most Americans, on the issue of abortion, fall somewhere in the middle. If a women dosn’t want to carry a pregnancy to term she should come to that decision before the third month. Abortion should not be used as birth control, or to get rid of babies not considered “normal”, nor should a baby that is breathing outside the womb be allowed to die in a garbage bag.

  • Fate

    paul c wrote: “Fate: that is a very comprehensive article but it does not support your thesis. Here’s what it said “In contrast to their pagan environment, Christians generally shunned abortion, drawing upon early Christian writings such as the Didache (circa 100 A.D.), which says: “… thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill the infant already born ” But you should have read what came after it which reads: “Saint Augustine believed that abortion of a fetus animatus, a fetus with human limbs and shape, was murder. However, his beliefs on earlier-stage abortion were similar to Aristotle’s, [52] though he could neither deny nor affirm whether such unformed fetuses would be resurrected as full people at the time of the second coming.[53]“So Augustine considered aborting a fetus with human form to be murder, but not the embryo, or “seed”, which questions the current position of the church which states that human life begins at fertilization. This is a new concept in the history of abortion, and the church conceeds it is new and due to the science of embryology which tells us step by step how babies are made.One thing to keep in mind, pro-choice and pro-life supporters tend to agree about late term abortions, life threatening situations, etc. The only broad disagreements come down to that first trimester. I can see moving the time period back to 6 weeks for example. The problem comes when the extremists on both sides call for unlimiited abortion (which does not exist) or no abortion at all, even if a woman’s life is threatened. Its time for these extremists to be pushed out of the discussion and have reasonable people debate the real issue, when is it permissable to abort, beginning at fertilization and going forward, and what should the consequences be to a woman who chooses to abort illegally. I never hear the right talk about putting women in jail, just abortion doctors. They seem to think that if they pass a law abortions would just stop. I lived when abortion was illegal. I had a neighbor who was 16 and was made very ill by a back alley abortion. I think it made her sterile but I never found out, the family moved. There was a neighbor whose wife died. We were told she got sick and died but she was in her 20s. Only later did my parents tell me what really happened. Please learn about those times, what it was like, and ask yourself if you would impose the power of the state over your sister, wife, mother or daughter, and give rights of citizenship to what Augustine called a “seed”. And understand that no matter what laws you pass or what rights you give to an embryo, abortion has always been and always will be, unless you are prepared to place pregnant women into a police state.One thing I did find interesting in that article: Himmler of Nazi Germany created the “Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion” and passed laws against homosexuals and abortion except in special cases. I’m not comparing the church to the nazis, I just found it interesting that at the two had the same view, just very different methods. Its also a good reminder for the church to stay out of politics especially when its positions cannot be debated.

  • Leslie

    Abortion is murder. There is nothing religious about that statement. We can look at this in a purely scientific light. The what ever you wish to call it, I’ll go out on a limb and call it a baby, is alive and then after an abortion it is not alive. So abortion is taking a life–PERIOD—MURDER.Now I know that baby is unable to survive without its mother but it also would not be an issue if its mother had not engaged in the sex that resulted in a baby. So in this light Obama maybe right babies are a natural consequence of sex but the choice to kill the baby to avoid responsibility is not the answer at least not the answer that will result in fewer unwanted pregnancies only more because you have removed the natural consequence of sex. Now you can argue all day weather that natural consequence was put in place by God or just a freak cosmic accident……………………..but it is real and it was there until 1973. Are there fewer unwanted babies now? Well yes they are DEAD. I guess the question should be are there less unwanted pre born babies………..I think that would be a NO. Teen pregnancy has only gone up. The number of teens having sex has gone up………..anybody else see a problem with the give the kids a box condoms and if that doesn’t work point them in the direction of the closest Planned Parenthood office. We have been doing that one……at least in California where I grew up in the 80’s and it did not work then and it still is not working.And I think it is time to say what you mean and in very clear terms. If you are pro-choice you are pro-murder. You are not a Catholic that is “dancing with the church” on the issue. Because the Catholic Church has been very clear on its position. You are an American (not a Catholic) that believes you and your fellow Americans should have the legal right to kill a tiny person because you can not be bothered with their life right now. If you are a Catholic and are lacking clarity on the Churches position I would suggest you look somewhere else besides the Washington Post, Senator Pelosi or Biden.

  • Joe Schreiber

    ASA, you’re a total idiot… Nothing more needs to be said…

  • Don

    Abortion is murder. Articles like this are rhetoric and slanderous errors. To see a good informed rebuttal of this article go here:Pro-death advocates go to great lengths to justify their choice of murder. It’s not the first time humanity has faced a society that wants to decide who to kill and who to give rights to.

  • BrianWC

    Mr Stevens-Arroyo, you appear to know about as much about the Catholic Faith as Ms. Pelosi. Perhaps you should go pick up a copy of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and “The USCCB Catechism for Adults” and read some more “opinions of theologians.” Good grief. Anything to justify infanticide.

  • Terra Gazelle

    Tom Zelaney,I am not catholic and I do not have the same beliefs of Fundamentalist Catholics or others. I am still a citizen…should your religious laws be made law? That would not be protecting the Constitution or who we are as a nation. Any one that takes the oath of office should be expected to stand by it…not like Bush and those who would for political expediency would do what ever their base was screaming for. I know what it was like pre R v W. I was with a 16 year old that was Catholic and pregnant…she stepped in front of a train. Women would fall down flights of steps, use clothes hangers, nail files, use poisons and suicide, and go to filthy, money grubbing butchers…please it is great to be all holier then thou, but it means lives. No one can stop abortion…just stop the need of it, and lack of education does not make it all go away.terra

  • pontificator

    It’s a real shame Sarah Palin left the Church for the Pentacostal holy rollers – otherwise you guys could claim her as a new saint. Well, looks like the Prods have their own new saint instead. Her pastor reports that he doesn’t speak in tongues all that frequently, but occasionally the Spirit moves him. Sarah is speaking in tongues this very eve on national TV. Apparently John McCain was moved by the Holy Spirit himself, and made a desparate but ‘inspired’ phone call to Sarah at the last minute – only having met his VP choice one before. But she has all the right credentials. Lieberman was really not a good candidate for sainthood or VP, as we can all agree. A Jew and pro-choice at that – nope, I don’t think so.Catholics and evangelicals alike can praise the Lord for their new VP in waiting…….Saint Sarah – has a nice ring to it.

  • Joel L

    Mr Haber,Outstanding! I could not have said it better myself so I would encourage the Professor and others to read your comments as well as those of Father Z.

  • Fate

    Leslie wrote: “Abortion is murder. There is nothing religious about that statement. We can look at this in a purely scientific light. The what ever you wish to call it, I’ll go out on a limb and call it a baby, is alive and then after an abortion it is not alive. So abortion is taking a life–PERIOD—MURDER.”Out on a limb? Sounds more like you fashioned a limb out of thin air to go out on.When you say abortion is Murder, are you speaking all the way back to the moment of fertilization? If so is a miscarriage a police matter? If a woman chooses to throw herself down a flight of stairs to induce abortion, should she be tried for murder? If a pregnant woman decides to continue jogging against her doctor’s wishes, is that negligent homicide? Should the doctor be required by law to report any possibility of self induced abortion? Can I take out a life insurance policy on a week old embryo, then after a miscarriage collect millions? Can I deduct a fetus on my taxes, then collect a death benefit from social security when my wife “accidentally” miscarries a month later? Are you prepared to visit every woman who was denied an abortion and dies or is maimed as a result?If you can’t answer these questions then you have not thought about the consequences of what you advocate. All you are doing is making a definition. Anyone can do that. How about:

  • paul c

    Fate:

  • Anonymous

    September 3, 2008 6:26 PMBrianWC:”Mr Stevens-Arroyo, you appear to know about as much about the Catholic Faith as Ms. Pelosi. Perhaps you should go pick up a copy of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and “The USCCB Catechism for Adults” and read some more “opinions of theologians.” Good grief. Anything to justify infanticide.”IMHO Prof SA is trying to twist Catholicism to suit a political agenda. One gets the impression he is campaigning for Senator Obama and the Democrats, and seems to be writing controversial stuff with a distinct anti-Vatican/Catholic stand one would normally expect only from a non-Catholic wanting to bash Catholicism.Kind of strange for the panelist of Catholic America to write in such a blatantly partisan fashion.

  • Roy

    When voting for a Catholic of either party, one must consider the Church’s agenda of injecting themselves into political control by refusing communion to those politicians who don’t tow the Catholic line.

  • Roy

    Leslie: How about capital punishment and pre-emptive war?

  • TerryC

    It is so amazing to me that people who who have no knowledge of history, theology or biology can throw around unfounded statements and expect to be taken seriously.

  • Michael K

    This post is loaded with false assumptions about the nature of theology and a mistaken understanding of Archbishop Wuerl’s comments. Instead of recognizing the theology in Pelosi’s comments and a thorough understanding of the Church’s position, the author presents the Church as being anti-Americaan way, and subversive to the constitution, and leaves Catholic doctrine to the winds of relativism.Newsweek should be embarrassed by the lack of intelligent discussion presented by this post.

  • paul c

    I find the work of Prof. Stevens-Arroyo in Catholic America to be an interesting case study. His last 5 columns were:Swatting post-Modernism with a Vatican SledgehammerCatholics have new reasons to rethink abortion politicsOf slippery slopes and Intellectual CliffsObama won the Faith debate:

  • Fate

    paul c: “Fate: You know, when the government sanctions activities (like abortion, like prostitution, like drug use), it encourages people to indulge in these things.”Like alcohol consumption?paul c: “Making them illegal is , I beleive an inhibitor to bad behavior because a) there are penalties and b) there is an expectation that they are wrong.”Yes, that’s what they thought when they instituted prohibition.paul c: “Will some people still indulge in these activities even if they are illegal: sure. but it will be less people and society will be better because of it.”Society was not better off during prohibition. People died from moonshine and crime was rampant. Society realized that alcohol consumption could be better regulated than banned, which is how we live with alcohol today. That was a smart choice.paul c: “I know that some people believe that “anything goes” is a good philosophy.”Few people hold that philosophy. A red herring if I ever saw one.paul c: “However, that kind of society becomes an anarchy fairly quickly.”This was said when prohibition was repealed.paul c: “Just as children need structure to reach their full potential, so does society.”That is what the communists and fascists say. In America we believe that adults have enough intelligence to make up their own minds and make their own choices. Before abortion was legal women and young girls were dying and criminal abortionists could be found in any city ready to risk killing or maiming any woman who wanted an abortion bad enough. Women don’t make that type of choice as an easy method of birth control as some charge. These are real women with real situations that require an abortion in their own judgement, a judgement that the supreme court says they have a right, A RIGHT, to make.Asking for the return of laws banning abortion is no different than asking for the return of prohibition. We know what will happen from experience. The return of back alley abortionists, women using various dangerous methods to induce abortions, with women dying as a result. Rather than return to those days we should see how alcohol, a scurge so bad it was once banned, is controlled today. Abortion can be controlled. There are many laws that surround abortion after the first trimester. There are laws government abortions in the young. But what I do not see happening from the anti-abortion groups is working to find ways to encourage women to not choose abortion, to eliminate the reasons for a woman wanting an abortion. As others have said, the republicans have no interest in seeing abortion banned. Its such a good platform issue that eliminating it as an issue would be political suicide. Instead of banging your head against the republican brick wall work with those who also want to eliminate abortion, not through laws but through assistance to those who consider it. No one wants abortions to happen, but they will as long as women have a reason to want one, whether it is legal or not. All that banning it would do is increase the number of deaths. That is not pro-life.

  • fredguff

    TerryC:Since the writer brought up biology lets talk biology. Modern biological science confirms that an individual human is the product of their DNA. Each person (even twins) have their own unique DNA. A child’s DNA is different from the DNA of its mother making it a different and independent organism.Fred: Ok let’s talk biology. Identical twins have the exact same DNA. What they don’t have are the same phenotypes.There are individual humans (chimeras), who have two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes. If we are using distinct DNA as the baseline for establishing “personhood”, do individuals with multiple DNA profiles count as multi-humans? Do these individuals get to vote multiple times? Do these individuals get multiple deductions on their taxes even when they have no “outside” dependents?

  • burntnorton

    Natural law is problematic and dishonest because it claims to “discover” moral and/or legal precepts based on reasoning from the “nature” of man and things. IN other words, to determine what “should” be from what “is”. Unfortunately for natural law proponents, as has been pointed out by smarter and wiser people than I, their supposedly objective interpretation of what “is” often embeds errors and preconcepyions about the nature of man and the world. The outcome of their reasoning is often determined from their flawed and biased premise, which explains why Catholic church-approved natural law arguments always come out in favor of the church’s preexisting position. It also explains why natural law proponents often have to twist themselves into knots claiming that the universality of a principle is proved by the universality with which it has been accepted by human societies in the past. The further natural law proponents move from such issues as theft and murder of people after birth, which universal human experience actually does show is concretely harmful, the more apparent the flaws in their premises and reasoning become. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Catholic church’s natural law reasoning on sexual issues, such as contraception or homosexuality.

  • TDJ

    BURTNORTON said ragarding the “dishonesty” of Natural Law: “their supposedly objective interpretation of what “is” often embeds errors and preconcepyions about the nature of man and the world.” That actually sounded very smart. Perhaps you could provide some examples of these “preconceptions”?

  • paul c

    Fate:And I disagree with you that no one is trying to find alternatives to abortion. There are many safety nets available to women who want to have their children including financial support and adoption services for those that want to go that way.

  • burntnorton

    Well, TDJ, take homosexual and other non-procreative sex. The main church approved natural law argument in favor of the church’s position is that nongenerative sex is morally wrong and bad for human beings because it does not fulfill “the” purpose of the reproductive organs. This embeds several assumptions about both “nature” and morality, the obvious ones being (1) That the main biological function of an organ (a factual concept) used for a given activity determines the purpose of that organ (a normative concept) and (2) That it is necessarily harmful (as both a factual and normative matter) to fulfill one postulated purpose (such as bonding or pleasure) without fulfilling the other postulated purposes (such as procreation). This is a problem that many Catholic natural law theorists grapple with, especially as regards this particular issue, since the arguments deployed against nongenerative sexual activities usually apply equally to otherwise permitted sexual activity between infertile married couples. THen there’s all the handwaving attempts to bolster natural law arguments by invoking “history” or norms “widely embraced” by diverse cultures, but those are a different problem and usually represent an attempt to distract from the weakness of the underlying argument.

  • Fate

    paul c: “Fate: surely you can see that the prohibition of alcohol and the prohibition of abortion differ in one very significant way: No one dies (at least directly) if alcohol is allowed, while someone dies by definition with every abortion.”No, lots of people died during prohibition due to the rise in crime and poisoning by moonshine, which in minor poisoning cases would only blind you. The violence and health issues lead to the repeal of prohibition. It wasn’t repealed so people could just have a beer again. Crime bosses almost took over a major American city for crying out loud.When abortion was prohibited many women died from back alley and self induced abortions. Doctors were afraid to abort a fetus if the mother’s life was in danger. Well off women who thought they might be pregnant went in for a routine D&C just in case, knowing they may be aborting an embryo. Women found ways and abortions were common though under the legal radar, until they died of course.paul c: “And I disagree with you that no one is trying to find alternatives to abortion. There are many safety nets available to women who want to have their children including financial support and adoption services for those that want to go that way.”There are some, but childcare is not well funded, childcare at work exists but is certainly not in the majority of workplaces, healthcare is rare among unwed mothers and that leaves them asking for assistance from family or the local community. A woman who is unwed and finds herself pregnant without the local support of family or community is in a real bind, especially if they do not have health insurance or a way to pay for the future daycare. No one wants to go on welfare. That is why many choose abortion. To releave that bind churches and anti-abortion groups could set up funds to pay for an unwed woman’s healthcare. Churches could set up daycare at reduced or no cost to these women so they could continue to work. There could be stipends for say the first 5 years to help pay for childcare. There are many ways a woman could be helped by churches and groups, but I don’t see churches or groups extending themselves toward unwed pregnant women and offering assistance with no questions asked. In fact I see little in the way of outreach beyond adoption services, except to demonize a woman who chooses to abort. And while adoption is a vehicle that many churches do offer, it does not help a woman pay for the healthcare she needs. It is also heartrenching to most women to give up a baby. To them it is better to abort than give up a baby. That may sound strange but I hear it from women all the time. Ask any woman.So while adoption is a good service that most churches offer, it is the only one I see churches offering to their communities. What I would like to see is churches offer free daycare, childcare education to teach new mothers how to care for and feed a child (you have no idea how lost a new teen mother can be), and other services so that when a woman finds herself pregnant she has other choices besides abortion, like Bristol Palin and Jamie Spears did from well off families. But, again, I don’t see this coming from the anti-abortion crowd, instead we just hear “make it illegal and problem solved”. It didn’t work with alcohol and it didn’t work with abortion before. It won’t work with abortion now. If you want to stop abortion you must give woman an alternative since abortion is usually a choice of last resort that will happen if it is legal or not.

  • paul c

    fate:And the number of women killed with at home abortions is dwarfed by the number of children killed with legal abortions. (40 million and counting) In fact, so are the number of people who died during prohibition from Alcohol. In our county, a catholic group runs a home for unwed mothers, providing food and lodging, healthcare , baby care, occupational training and support at no charge to the mother from teh time she is pregnant until she is ready to care for herself.

  • Ryan Haber

    Bob Zeno,No, a Catholic can vote for a non-Catholic, to be sure, if he believes that the non-Catholic will govern the nation well. Murdering babies isn’t a religious issue, and those who abet baby-murdering by definition do not govern well.You’ve no clue what you’re talking about, saying that we want the nation run by canon law. Canon law deals with entirely different matters – the appointment of priests to this parish or another, declarations of nullity of marriages, the qualifications required for a bishop or for a diocesan archivist.”Here is your logic:THE PRESIDENT IS ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE TO FOLLOW THE CONSTITUTION, AND TO DEFEND IT AGAINST ALL ENEMIES BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.IF HE (OR SHE) IS CATHOLIC THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE CATHOLIC IS SUBSERVIENT TO PAPAL TEACHINGS AND RULING.”That’s YOUR bigotry, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument I laid out.”Joe Lieberman should be able to vote in favor of Saturday being the Sabbath.”Since when are their national laws deciding when the Sabbath is?”(I know, Sunday is not the Sabbath but the Lord’s Day. Nice sidestep. You Catholics are good at that!)”I have NEVER sidestepped an argument in my life.”Every time we have tried to legislate morals in this country it has proven to be a disaster.”What else are laws supposed to do, sir, but legislate morals: stealing, murdering, cheating on taxes, driving at dangerous speeds, firing good employees because they are Korean or women or whatever – those are all immoral. There is no other reason for them to be illegal but that they hurt other people.”Example – Prohibition! You want to run this country by Canon law…… you had better rethink that notion.”I’m sorry, but your views are informed only by bigotry. Protestants, not Catholics, pushed Prohibition, and primarily as a way of controlling Catholics. We Catholics have never minded a good drink or two!

  • Ryan Haber

    Elohist,Lol. I am not a Republican. The only party I have ever registered in has been the Democratic. Prof. Stevens-Arroyo’s PhD (ostensibly in theology) was for comparative religions. That is not the same as systematic theology. Moreover, his entire career has been built in the sociology of religion.I am a doctoral student (in Biblical studies, as of two weeks ago, lol) at a Catholic university myself, and while I am no expert, I can at least spot a slick number when I see one. There’s no strawman here – S-A has been very clear with what he has said.Nobody has explained to me how outlawing abortion on the state level, through political process, undermines the democratic process – whereas a fiat by a few judges against the will of (at the time) the large majority of the people does not.I do love America very much – enough to stick with her thick and thin, and enough to do my meager best to help her be the best she can be.

  • ProudPagan

    Paul C:”fate:It is a terrible thing for a mother to prefer killing her baby to letting someone else care for it, don’t you think?”Paul, I wasn’t going to say anything since frankly this whole blog disgusts me at this point, but this I have to address. A Terrible Thing? A Terrible thing is forcing a woman who has been raped to repeat that experience everyday she has the rapists child in her body. A terrible thing is having 14 year old girls who are forced to carry a child because Daddy couldn’t keep his hands to himself. A terrible thing is to look into the eyes of your husband and say honey you have to pick between my life and the life of your child because either A) I can’t because I am incapacitated or B) the law won’t let me because it sees the life of this child as more important than I am. The fact of the matter is outlawing these things has in no way stopped them from happening. Rape has been happening for a very long time, so has incest. All outlawing abortion does is punish women who have been victims of these crimes.The balance that is currently in place is an important one. I don’t see a need to change it anytime soon.

  • Elohist

    Ryan Haber:I checked the Fordham website: there is no such thing as a theology degree in comparative religions. Under Systematic Theology is a section on “the pluralistic contemporary world.” So Arroyo has a degree in Systematic Theology. What are you drinking? What is your psychological problem with s-a?

  • Marc Edward

    paul c writes What we need is the technology so any pregnant woman can deposit her fertilized egg off at some sort of “Pregnancy center”. Than come up with the technology to have those fertilized eggs implanted in men or women, so all the pro-life people can carry these unwanted babies themselves, raise them on their own, and stop complaining.BTW, Paul C, nobody considers a 2 week old blob of cells to have the same legal rights as a 2 year old child.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Concerning Natural Law:One of the major uses and functions of hands in early human society was to kill other human beings.We therefore conclude that a major purpose of our having hands is to kill people.Ergo, passing laws against murder thwarts one of God’s intended purposes in giving us hands and violates Natural Law.

  • BGone

    Anthony Stevens-Arroyo sez, “Now, Catholic teaching instructs us that even if an embryo is not yet conceived, it has that potential.”Every human egg and sperm as a set has the same potential. The Catholic church obviously teaches that the failure to have sex is a sin. But why men are more against sin than women? Probably because they don’t think about child support until it’s too late. Refusing to fertilize all those “good eggs to be” that “already are” by the Catholic churches definition of when life begins is murder.Now I understand why there is no such thing as an innocent man.

  • paul c

    Fate, In the third case, where the mother’s life is at stake, there is also a choice of self interest (keeping the mother alive) or of charity toward the child (sacrificing herself for her child). Granted, many people wouldn’t make that choice because they don’t have that much love in thier hearts, but it is still the superior moral choice.All three cases are very unfortunate and really test the love of the individuals in question. Fortunately, most people will never be challenged in such an extreme way.Marc Edward: Unfortunately, you are not valuing human life and the potential that it could become when you are so quick to wipe it away in an abortion. Remember, you were a 2 week only glob of cells once.

  • Concerned Catholic

    Norrie Hoyt:Concerning Natural Law:One of the major uses and functions of hands in early human society was to kill other human beings.We therefore conclude that a major purpose of our having hands is to kill people.Ergo, passing laws against murder thwarts one of God’s intended purposes in giving us hands and violates Natural Law.___________________________________________Quite a worrying definition put forward by an American Buddhist lawmaker. You don’t understand Buddhism, that is for sure. You are not expected to understand Catholicism.It seems the early human society, or even later ones for that matter, did not use their hands for the Natural Law you just described. There are too many human being still alive.Btw, didn’t you agree with the science of human embryology, fetology, neonatal pediatrics and the Hippocratic Oath? That abortion was about taking a developing human child, but it was necessary?

  • Anonymous

    Norrie Hoyt:Concerning Natural Law:One of the major uses and functions of hands in early human society was to kill other human beings.We therefore conclude that a major purpose of our having hands is to kill people.Ergo, passing laws against murder thwarts one of God’s intended purposes in giving us hands and violates Natural Law.___________________________________________Quite a worrying definition put forward by an American Buddhist lawmaker. You don’t understand Buddhism, that is for sure. You are not expected to understand Catholicism.It seems the early human society, or even later ones for that matter, did not use their hands for the major purpose for which it was created, according to you, the Natural Law you just described. There are too many human beings still alive.Btw, didn’t you agree with the science of human embryology, fetology, neonatal pediatrics and the Hippocratic Oath? And that abortion was about taking the life of a developing human child, but it was necessary?As population control? as a means to create a master race?

  • Anonymous

    The REAL bottom line to abortion is this:Sexual promiscuity cannot exist without abortion that does away with the consequences of the sexual act because even contraception is not 100% reliable.

  • Anonymous

    ProudPagan:Paul C:”fate:It is a terrible thing for a mother to prefer killing her baby to letting someone else care for it, don’t you think?”Paul, I wasn’t going to say anything since frankly this whole blog disgusts me at this point, but this I have to address.A Terrible Thing? A Terrible thing is forcing a woman who has been raped to repeat that experience everyday she has the rapists child in her body. A terrible thing is having 14 year old girls who are forced to carry a child because Daddy couldn’t keep his hands to himself. A terrible thing is to look into the eyes of your husband and say honey you have to pick between my life and the life of your child because either A) I can’t because I am incapacitated or B) the law won’t let me because it sees the life of this child as more important than I am.The fact of the matter is outlawing these things has in no way stopped them from happening. Rape has been happening for a very long time, so has incest. All outlawing abortion does is punish women who have been victims of these crimes.The balance that is currently in place is an important one. I don’t see a need to change it anytime soon.September 4, 2008 5:26 PM__________________________________________Only ONE PERCENT of abortions is due to rape/incest; only FOUR PERCENT due to illness in the mother/fetal deformities. Ninety five percent of abortions are abortion-on-demand by healthy mothers carrying healthy babies.Rape/incest/illness of mother/fetal deformities could somehow be covered by medical ethics, but aborting healthy fetuses in healthy women cannot. Hence a law to protect abortionists, who are in effect functioning as licensed butchers in these cases and not as medical doctors trained to save lives. There was a time when they used to be thrown in jail. But women demanded they be protected by law, hence Roe vs Wade 1973.

  • Anonymous

    fredguff:TerryC:Since the writer brought up biology lets talk biology. Modern biological science confirms that an individual human is the product of their DNA. Each person (even twins) have their own unique DNA. A child’s DNA is different from the DNA of its mother making it a different and independent organism.Fred: Ok let’s talk biology. Identical twins have the exact same DNA. What they don’t have are the same phenotypes.There are individual humans (chimeras), who have two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated in different zygotes.If we are using distinct DNA as the baseline for establishing “personhood”, do individuals with multiple DNA profiles count as multi-humans? Do these individuals get to vote multiple times? Do these individuals get multiple deductions on their taxes even when they have no “outside” dependents?September 4, 2008 9:20 AM ___________________________________________________Why not read through all the medical science based arguments against abortion on various threads on this blog and others listed?Don’t mix up social and legal issues (read: whether the mother wants the child or whether the law of the land is willing to award it the right to its life) concerning a baby developing in the womb to the medical science of the child in the womb.

  • Anonymous

    Norrie Hoyt:Concerning Natural Law:One of the major uses and functions of hands in early human society was to kill other human beings.We therefore conclude that a major purpose of our having hands is to kill people.Ergo, passing laws against murder thwarts one of God’s intended purposes in giving us hands and violates Natural Law._____________________________________Adaptation of Norrie Hoyt’s Definition of Natural Law:Concerning Natural Law:One of the major uses and functions of hands in early human society was to have sex with other human beings.We therefore conclude that a major purpose of our having hands is to have sex.Ergo, passing laws that restricts sexual activity in anyway, (read: by banning abortion) thwarts one of God’s intended purposes in giving us hands and violates Natural Law.

  • Anonymous

    Fate:And while adoption is a vehicle that many churches do offer, it does not help a woman pay for the healthcare she needs. It is also heartrenching to most women to give up a baby. To them it is better to abort than give up a baby. That may sound strange but I hear it from women all the time. Ask any woman.September 4, 2008 12:02 PM ________________________________________You must work in an abortion clinic to hear “from women all the time” that they find it easier to abort their child (read:kill their unborn child) than give it up for adoption. It has been suggested that abortion clinics usually give pro-abortion counseling regarding options to a pregnant woman. They are supposedly told that giving up a child for adoption is not such a good idea for they would end up feeling “more guilty” knowing that their child was alive somewhere and worry about its well being or have thoughts about getting the child back. Aborting the child is supposedly easier to handle, the knowledge that the child was safely disposed off in the garbage bag along with several other children who shared their fate.After that first time, women get used to disposing off their unwanted children in garbage bags that it no longer poses a moral dilemma every time they get pregnant. All they have to do find the money, if their sexual partner will not pay.

  • Anonymous

    Fate: “When abortion was prohibited many women died from back alley and self induced abortions. Doctors were afraid to abort a fetus if the mother’s life was in danger. Well off women who thought they might be pregnant went in for a routine D&C just in case, knowing they may be aborting an embryo. Women found ways and abortions were common though under the legal radar, until they died of course.”It is since known that the story of millions of deaths of women due to back alley abortions, is just that…a story. It was invented to make a case for abortion on demand.It is well within medical ethics to abort the child if the mother’s life was in REAL danger. An attempt would first be made to protect both the mother and child, failing which the life of the mother would be chosen over the life of the child. Such instances are extremely rare in medical practice. Such a woman would normally be a patient in a hospital and be under medical supervision. No special law is required to protect an obstetrician acting within the parameters of medical ethics.

  • common sense

    There are no ‘natural laws’ unless you consider the strong/weak atomic forces, electromagnitism, and gravity as natural laws. These have little to do with how we define moral or ethical behavior. It appears that we’re ultimately responsible for our own destiny in this regard. Humans are strictly on their own in the arena of behavioral ethics & ethics are often to be found in a state of flux. They are situational, provisional, culturally based, relative, and above all, temporary. Laws based on societal mores & ethics are even more changeable, but are at the same time more ironclad. Common sense in our modern age should inform us that we have no ‘divine’ guidance in this regard.Abortion rights are covered by these man-made laws and are seen ultimately as a ‘right to privacy’ issue. Not all people are expected to be in agreement with this legal option, or the laws fashioned by men that govern this right. A woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy might in fact be as close to a ‘natural’ law as we can get! People that disagree with behavior that is sanctioned by law should be sure that they don’t violate their own ethical standards, and let others abide by the standards that they set for themselves, according to the law. Opinions concerning morals and ethics abound – but behavior is governed by law. Roe v Wade is the law of the land – and that is where every discussion about abortion rights is bound to end…..like it or not.

  • fredguff

    Anonymous: Why not read through all the medical science based arguments against abortion on various threads on this blog and others listed?Fred: The poster I responded to was trying to forward the argument that a zygote is a human because it has unique DNA. I rebutted this argument by making the following points:A. There are millions of individual humans in the world who have the exact same DNA as other individual humans (identicl twins).B. There are some individuals who have two or more populations of cells that have distinct DNA (chimeras).Anonymous:Don’t mix up social and legal issues (read: whether the mother wants the child or whether the law of the land is willing to award it the right to its life) concerning a baby developing in the womb to the medical science of the child in the womb.Fred: There are people out there who argue that zygotes are humans. Many claim that “science” is on their side on this point. And because “science” supports them, they believe that zygotes or undifferentiated cell-masses should be afforded the same legal status of living, breathing and thinking humans.I say balderdash!!!

  • Concerned American

    Read Jeremiah 5:4 – 5 and the truth about what God thinks is plain:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.God knows us before we are formed which means we are a living being with a spirit and soul. Quite frankly, all of you debate an issue that is not debateable and a waste of time and energy. God will have the final answer.When God judges a nation, all people suffer to some degree. Daniel was a contemporary of Jeremiah and was carried to Babylon with the rest of the Jewish people. Many righteous people went to Babylon along with the wicked.It is time for us as a nation and people to repent and ask God to have mercy on us. Psalm 50: 16 – 2216 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

  • Anonymous

    Fred: There are people out there who argue that zygotes are humans. Many claim that “science” is on their side on this point. And because “science” supports them, they believe that zygotes or undifferentiated cell-masses should be afforded the same legal status of living, breathing and thinking humans.I say balderdash!!!_______________________________To say the earliest stage of a human being is not worthy of life because it is still developing could be applied to any stage of human existence, especially to all children until they reach adulthood at the age of eighteen.How foolish it is to say that a bud has nothing to do with a flower, a butterfly caterpillar has nothing to do with a butterfly, and destroying a bud or a butterfly caterpillar is not about destroying a flower or butterfly.

  • Anonymous

    Concerned American:Read also Psalm 139 and Luke chapter 1.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous: To say the earliest stage of a human being is not worthy of life because it is still developing could be applied to any stage of human existence, especially to all children until they reach adulthood at the age of eighteen.Fred: Ok…Then by your logic we should ban all vitro procedures. Since we know going in that zygotes will die as part of the in-vitro process, helping infertile couples achieve parenthood with IVF is tantamount to murder…Isn’t it?Anonymous: How foolish it is to say that a bud has nothing to do with a flower, a butterfly caterpillar has nothing to do with a butterfly, and destroying a bud or a butterfly caterpillar is not about destroying a flower or butterfly. Fred: Your argument fails. Unlike a zygote which is a simple mass of undifferentiated cells, a flower bud and caterpillar are biological systems consisting of billions (trillions?) of interacting, specialized cells. But you bring up an interesting point. Here’s an experiment that will test your analogy… This weekend go to Lafayette Park with a chain saw and cut down the biggest oak tree that you can find. Write down what happens…Now after you post bail and are released, go back to Lafayette park and find an acorn and crush it with your heel. Write down what happens…So that we are straight, my point is not to equate acorns to human embryos or fetuses and oak trees to humans. It is to demonstrate how false analogies can go both ways.

  • fredguff

    Post 186 should be attributed to fredguff and not anonymous. I appologize for the not adding my name.–fred–

  • Robyn

    IMO, the Catholics should concern themselves with eliminating pedophile priests, brothers, etc., from the clergy, an atrocity that has been documented since the middle ages and which continues world wide. These rape victims have the potential to become sexual perverts themselves, produce child f*cking parents, etc. Odd, the preoccupations of the Catholics, very odd, given all the demonic behavior they have been and continue to be guilty of.I’m assuming that any doctoral student in religious or catholic studies is also studying the prospects of a UN resolution calling for the world-wide investigation of clerical catholic pedophilia.

  • paul c

    robyn,

  • Anonymous

    Robyn:IMO, the Catholics should concern themselves with eliminating pedophile priests, brothers, etc., from the clergy, an atrocity that has been documented since the middle ages and which continues world wide.These rape victims have the potential to become sexual perverts themselves, produce child f*cking parents, etc. Odd, the preoccupations of the Catholics, very odd, given all the demonic behavior they have been and continue to be guilty of.I’m assuming that any doctoral student in religious or catholic studies is also studying the prospects of a UN resolution calling for the world-wide investigation of clerical catholic pedophilia.September 5, 2008 11:56 AM _________________________________________________The with pedophilia has been handled by the Catholic church – financial compensation, public apologies by the Pope, stricter screening measures in seminaries, bodies in parishes to look into allegations etc.So what we need now is a world-wide investigation into every single religious and non-religious organization that has anything to do with children, for it is known pedophiles are found lurking everywhere. The highest percentage of child sexual assault happens in families, hence there should be a world-wide investigation of every single family. Every single family in the world. It may take a bit of trouble to investigate about two billion families, but it has to be done if protection of children worldwide is the real concern.

  • Anonymous

    Paul C, Robyn has a strong pro-abortion position. Read her comments on other threads here.

  • Paganplace

    “To say the earliest stage of a human being is not worthy of life because it is still developing could be applied to any stage of human existence, especially to all children until they reach adulthood at the age of eighteen.”More absolutist unreason from the people who brought you the argument: “Civil Unions Will Mean I might run off and marry a goat!” A little common sense is in order: frankly, the way most conservative Christians treat *contraception* implies they still think conception occurs at the moment of intercourse, (to the point of *calling* contraception ‘abortion,’ or at least to legislate as if they feel that way. Not everyone takes every thought ad extremis like that. When it comes down to it, we’re talking about someone’s *religious* belief here, and not something the government can impose.

  • Pam

    The very idea of asking this question makes me despair for humanity.It’s the *twenty-first* century, people! We know where weather comes from! In fact, we could predict it with 100% accuracy if we just had some way of gathering all of the relevant data, and of crunching it in sufficient time. We don’t, and lkely never will, but still we can do a pretty good job. No hocus-pocus involved. No need to invoke a magic man.I have a fundie friend who was running in a marathon on a day when rain had been predicted. She prayed before the race for the rain to hold off. Just after the last person crossed the finish line, the first drops started to fall.She couldn’t wait to regale the entire office with the tale, and many were clearly impressed.The following week, several of us had planned to go to lunch at a restaurant within walking distance. When we got ready to leave, it was pouring rain. A couple said thay hadn’t brought umbrellas. I told them that it was no problem, because my friend could pray for it to stop until we got to restaurant. She gave me an exasperated look, but couldn’t explain why prayer would work in one instance, and not the other. It kept raining.

  • Pam

    Sorry, that was meant to go to the “God’s Will and the Weather” thread, and I’m not quite sure how I ended up on this one.

  • Tony Milller

    “In that interpretation, Catholics in America are bound in conscience to be subversive, to undermine democracy and impose a religious test on candidates, officials and legislation even if in so doing they contradict the Constitution of the United States.”The “religious test” is a restriction on the state, not the individual. We, as individuals can apply any religious test we wish. Also, we have the ability to use our informed consciences to determine the suitability of those for whom we vote. We can be proponents of any of the teachings of our churches, synagogues or mosques, and we can make those decision binding on those of other faiths (or no faith at all) if we can convince enough of our elected representatives to pass those laws, and they pass constitutional muster by the judiciary and are not vetoed by the executive.Secondly, the correction by the bishops is toward someone who claims to be a freely associated member of their flock. Should they want to disassociate themselves from the Catholic church, they are more than welcome to. There are some professions that are incompatible with being a Catholic. You cannot be a prostitute or an abortionist (was I being redundant) and still be a Catholic in good standing. The leadership of a private organization like the Catholic Church (or the Masons, or the Elks, or the Rotarians) can make certain behavior a requirement for membership and discipline or eject those members who refuse to live up.Speaker Pelosi and Senator Biden refuse to live up.

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