Saturday, September 04, 2004
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:02 PM Permalink
Explaining Bush on Abortion
I'm in the position of explaining both the Catholic teaching on abortion, the position of George Bush on abortion, and to people who know both the reconciliation of the two. I'm going to be as brief as I can but if I leave something really important out, let me know.
Catholic Teaching on Abortion
The Catholic teaching on abortion has always been from the time of Jesus going foward that it is a sin, the killing of a human life.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Abortion is an instrinsic evil: objectively always wrong. There are no circumstances in time, place, or culture that could make this immoral act moral.
This is a brief explanation of the hard case when a mother's life is threatened from the American Life League.
Abortion is never necessary to save a mother's life.and mentioned here in the Catechism
2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."When I have to discuss this with an abortion advocate I make the distinction between an abortion where the death of the child is intentional, and some medical procedure where the death of the child is unintended but foreseen and unavoidable.
At this point let me say that I hold, profess, and teach the Catholic Church teaching on abortion. I disagree with President Bush.
George Bush and Abortion
He is opposed to abortion but makes the pragmatic exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
This puts him in some opposition to both Catholic teaching and the position of Republican party -- both do not provide for exceptions for rape and incest. Senator John McCain in 2000 unsuccessfully accused George Bush of "contradicting" his own party platform. It was a strange accusation for McCain to make because the two o f them share the same position.
While President Bush is not a Catholic, an important document from the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith bears on how Catholics as voters made judgments about laws and politicians who vote on them: The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
The exceptions are pragmatic: ending abortion in the United States by starting with its most abhorrent form: the partial birth abortion.
We can't see too far into the future. But imagining a world where there would be about 1,000 abortions in the Unted States each year -- the whole framework of the debate would change on the so-called hard cases. Urging Catholics to vote to re-elect President Bush. President Bush is not the perfect pro-life candidate. People are always pointing out to me and elsewhere on the Internet that he didn't do all he could do to nominate pro-life judges or block the introduction of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486.
In this life we don't get perfection. I would say that among electable individuals, we have no better candidate than George Bush.
Is Mike Peroutka a better pro-life candidate that George Bush? To me, that's a low-priority discussion because Peroutka is unelectable. A pro-life third party vote is essentially a vote for Kerry. This is analogous to the Democratic claim that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush.
The Participation of Catholics in Political Life
Besides voting for Bush, there's a secondary struggle to sustain the pro-life influence in the Republican party. Looking to 2008, it's by no means certain that the Republican candidate will be pro-life or that the pro-life platform will be continued. In all probability, there still will not be 5 reliable votes on the Supreme Court to repeal Roe.
Repealing Roe is only a milestone. There still would be 50 states with legal abortion and many years of legislative activity and court cases to follow to determine what the restrictions on abortion will be.
I'm avoiding the theological question of whether voting for Kerry is a sin. This would be the topic of another essay.
Finally, a rumor was circulated in 2000 and again for a short while in 2004 by Larry Flynt that George Bush had driven a girlfriend to an abortion clinic. Flynt promised that his book would reveal the details and offer proof of this rumor. The book was published and did not contain any of this.
(I'll probably un-blog this in a few days and keep revising it as I get some more coherent thoughts).
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 4:05 PM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 2:18 PM Permalink
Culture Watch: Good is Evil. Evil is Good. Dept.
So Viagra's new $100 million ad campaign is playful and direct. One of a number of nice-looking, middle-aged guys grins proudly, a twinkle in his eye, beneath the headline: "Get back to mischief."
When these drugs first appeared, someone thought to ask the Vatican for an opinion. The favorable opinion, which I agree with, is that these drugs restore a function to human body which has been lost by age or disease. In this regard it is like a getting medicine for treating an elarged protate or heart disease.
On the other hand, there are "Viagara widows" -- wives who have lost by age or disease the ability to resume sexual relations with their husbands and this has lead to tensions or even adultery enabled by this drug.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:40 PM Permalink
1010 WINS: Bill Clinton "A Little Scared" About Surgery
"I wanted to report to you that my husband is doing very well," she said outside New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, where the former president is being treated. "He's in great humor. He's beating all of us at cards and the rest of the games we're playing."
Can you imagine Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, or Laura Bush rushing to get in front a microphone or television camera to tell us in the form of a relaxed composed political speech the details of her husbands critical medical condition? It will be interesting to see if she pushes aside Kerry and his partisans to get on the Sunday talking head shows. Bill Clinton's health as a ex-president should be a private matter and not a platform for Hillary to get on television. No surprise here. We've come to expect such opportunism and hypocrisy.
I can give Bill Clinton a pass for calling up Larry King. I can see a Repbublican ex-president calling up Rush or Hannity from the hospital to say hello and accept get well soon wishes.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:29 PM Permalink
AP: Diocese accused of creating 'straw corporation'
LOS ANGELES - A lawyer for alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests alleged Wednesday that the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego used questionable financial tactics to secure a nearly $30 million bond to build three high schools.
It would be interesting learn if the board of directors of the straw corporation are appointed by anyone other than the bishop of San Diego or someone he appoints -- that would seem to me to be one of the legal tests of whether this is a straw corporation or not.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:23 PM Permalink
What Would Jesus Do?
NELSON, B.C. - A knife-wielding beer store thief is on the run after a pair of would-be Good Samaritans unintentionally freed him from an almost certain arrest.
Fortitude -- yes. Discernment -- no.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 1:50 AM Permalink
Friday, September 03, 2004
Time Poll: Bush with 11% lead
TIME Poll: Among likely voters, 52% would vote for President George Bush, while 41% would vote for John Kerry and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader
If this lead is sustained or increased, it could be a landslide. (Think 1972 or 1984.)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:22 PM Permalink
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:15 PM Permalink
bloomberg.com: Cantor Sues Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda Over Sept. 11
Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the bond broker that lost about 60 percent of its New York employees in the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, filed a $7 billion lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda and more than 50 Middle Eastern banks and foundations.
I had visited these offices often before 9/11. In 2002 when I was laid off, Cantor was one of places where I interviewed.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:07 PM Permalink
AP had to retract this story. (Credit: Drudge Report)
AP: Audience boos as Bush offers best wishes for Clinton's recoveryWEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) President Bush on Friday wished Bill Clinton ''best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.''and retracted here
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:24 PM Permalink
The View From the Core has examples of media bias in Time Magazine covers.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:28 PM Permalink
My new sig
"George Bush opposes the Culture of Death. John Kerry is its champion. The last time the choice was this clear it was between Jesus and Barabbas."
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 7:37 PM Permalink
Who are my favorite immigrants?
All of the legal ones.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:57 AM Permalink
A trilogy of wars
I've never quite had such an intense experience involving politics and religion as I've had in the past five days.
All Catholic voters in the United States should realize that we're engaged in three wars that are critical to the salvation of souls in this country:
The bottom-line from me is that a Bush victory in November's battle is necessary but we're a long way from winning any of the three wars.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:34 AM Permalink
Thursday, September 02, 2004
The Republican Catholic Outreach Event
The event opened with a prayer by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. He reminded all of us that we don't check our faith at the door but need to bring it with us everywhere we go including the voting booth. Human rights begin when human life begins.
The director of Republican Catholic Outreach Martin Gillespie followed with a welcome and introduced Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) would be introducing the pro-life Republicans for the next two hours. He is on the House Pro-Life Caucus.
Smith mentioned that the most disenfranchised members of society are the unborn and that abortion is violence against a child.
An effort called Snowflakes is attempting to find adopting parents for frozen embryos that would otherwise be discarded.
Governor Mike Johanns of Nebraska made a point of saying the he was in the Diocese of Lincoln, the Diocese of Bishop Bruskewitz, the most conservative diocese and his parish St. Mary's, the most conservative parish. The emphasis on that label made me a bit uncomfortable.
Ed Gillespie is the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. At 42 he is close in age to me -- recalling how the photo of John Kennedy was given a honored place in the house -- and later how he became a Reagan Democrat and then a Republican. He spoke of his Irish Catholic roots and the upward mobility that was possible in America. Many of the other speakers mentioned the working class origins of their parents or grandparents.
Jim Towey Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives spoke about the alignment of the Bush administration with Catholic goals and the opposition of the Kerry proposals.
He also mentioned the fact that Catholic Charities in various parts of the country is being defunded by Clinton-appointed judges who demand that contraceptives be provided to their employees. The role of the president in shaping the judiciary continues long after the term is over.
Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) spoke about getting the Partial Birth Abortion law signed and how judges are blocking its enforcement and a legislation to give informed consent regarding the pain inflicted on unborn children in abortion.
Congressman Phil English (R-PA) spoke of the role of the people in the room to get out the vote.
Congresswoman Melissa Hart (R-PA) mentioned the Laci and Connor Law to criminalize injury or death to the unborn.
She was the first to say You are the choir, now go out there and sing.
Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)spoke about the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which Clinton signed but was opposed by Kerry, and its uncertain future in the hands of activist judges legislating from the bench.
Congressman Mark Green (R-WI) spoke.
Congressman Mark Kennedy (R-MN) spoke. By now the greatest struggle was to say something that had not already been said.
Ken Cuccinelli a state senator of Virginia mentioned that the most pro-life demographic is now 18-35. The culture of death is self-limiting. It's their own design to die. He pointed out the Kerry contradiction in his saying that life begins at conception and his votes to promote abortion and end that life.
Bill Spadea won the Republican primary to oppose Rush Holt in New Jersey.
The closing prayer was given by a bishop whose name I didn't get. Before the prayer he mentioned that the Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus has a parallel in our time when the humanity of the unborn child is denied.
This experience is really a milestone for me. I wasn't there as a citizen or voter, but as a blogger to get this story out to you readers a few hours after it took place.
I spoke to wonderful people from Iowa and Wisconsin. I saw Chris Slattery whom I've mentioned before and spoke with one of the organizers of Theology on Tap whom I have been working with for a few years. I even recognized one of the Republican district leaders from Queens where we live about a mile from each other. He was picked to be a delegate by the county leader.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:52 PM Permalink
AP: Catholic Vote Outreach at Republican Convention (from Monday Aug 30)
NEW YORK -- The drive to win over Roman Catholics is in high gear at the Republican National Convention , with daily Masses, a private briefing from the party chairman and a special hospitality suite in the convention hall.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:57 AM Permalink
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The Homily of Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life
These notes are mine from the homily and while they reflect what I heard, bear in mind it may not be what Fr. Pavone said.
We are Catholic and we are political creatures
Catholics this week are in the political arena -- this is the reality, it's not an optional activity.
We all have the freedom to speak especially when rights are at stake.
Religion and politics mix because both make statements about human behavior with authority: morality and law.
The Mass is a model of collective action. No single person produces all of the bread and wine in the offering. It is the activity of many human hands as the prayer indicates.
We don't ask God directly to produce the bread and wine which will become the Holy Eucharist but to allow our cooperative human labor in conjunction with the earth's bounty to produce bread and wine.
A political domain and the Kingdom of God
Both are forms of striving to improve the world. They are neither completely independent nor identical.
Human progress is good but each step of human progress is not the progress of the Kingdom of God.
The fact that we seek await the end of the world when Jesus returns in glory is not a reason to neglect the world today.
Justice, truth, respect for life, the moral law all become the building blocks for society. Where the law is opposed to this, we find ourselves standing at the edge of an abyss.
We have the obligation to speak up and do something. Yet instead of raising an army we find ourselves some lame excuses for being silent.
Reacting to the exaggerations of lawyers, we've become cowards fearing the loss of an tax exemption. The shame is that pro-life activities at the parish level once supported are now discouraged by pastors -- who ought to be leading them.
The Failure to Present Life Issues with Clarity
A letter to Cardinal McCarrick from pro-abortion members of Congress contained a contradiction: we support abortion but we are fully committed to the core of Catholic teaching.
What is at the core but respect for life?
The so-called Catholic Senate scorecard put every issue at equal weight: partial birth abortion and the amount of mercury permitted in fever thermometers.
To people who say abortion is not the only issue. That's like saying a foundation is not the only part of the house. However, what sort of house do you have where there is no foundation?
Single Issue Politics
Imagine a politician who announces he's sympathetic to the 9/11 terrorists and their methods. He understands their point of view.
Wouldn't we utterly reject such a politician? Or would we accept what he says on that single issue and then ask him about his position on health care?
The question is absurd.
Finally, dedicate all your pro-life efforts to Christ for his glory.
Update: a reader suggested this link to Priests for Life where a theme from this homily appears in Fr. Pavone's own words.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:25 PM Permalink
Demonstration for Life
To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor
The venue was the MetLife Building. This is the renamed PanAm building behind Grand Central Terminal. It is an area that I know well. On time at 5.45PM August 31 and a crowd that went from 5 to 50 in minutes.
A few hours earlier the venue was being used by Democrats, so it was fitting that the next event at the Sky Club was Republicans For Choice.
I didn't get to see Anne Stone, the chairwoman of the this group.
This news item could not have cheered them up:
The platform puts the party on record - although not necessarily on course - behind a constitutional ban on gay marriage and reaffirms the GOP's position that abortion should be outlawed in the Constitution as well.
We won this fight in 2004 but Republicans For Choice still has its own ambitions.
I carried some signs for a while but I blended into the crowd to see what was going on. An local WNBC news reporter -- no one but me recognized Melissa Russo -- but I was too humble or inhibited to ask her a question. The New York 1 van was there as well.
The pro-life demonstration consisted of several organizations -- the most prominent of the signs were American Life League. One sign read "Crusade in Defense of the Catholic Church." One man had Knights of Columbus sign. One child held the sign with a seal "Save the Baby Humans. There were also "Abortion Kills Babies".
Another sign read "Vote Pro-Life" that might be a chant as well.
The chant of the days was "No Big Tent".
Next to the large pro-life group were three people from Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. They became discouraged and left.
Some Firefighters were there as well. They are shadowing the Mayor at public events in an attempt to pressure him for intervention in obtaining a raise.
People walking by generally ignored the protest (i.e. us) because you only get noticed in the New York by stripping naked and then only for a few minutes.
God is watching us and it was a reminder to me to pray and to work on raising awareness among Catholics of the necessity of voting for George Bush and keeping the Republicans engaged to remain a pro-life party.
Mew York City and New York State are considered lost causes because no pro-life governor or mayor has been elected since the issue was first raised in the 1960's.
A earlier pro-life demonstration was covered by Jim Pinkerton in TechCentralStation
More protests today:
Expectant Mother Care, RightMarch.com, ProtestWarrior.com, The Society for Truth and Justice and other conservative organizations continue their week of "Operation Witness" counter-protests in New York City, by protesting the National Organization for Women's "Code Red: Stop the Bush Agenda" rally in Central Park on Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:12 PM Permalink
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Turning off the TV
What a war at our house over the cable this week. My 10-year-old is such a great negotiator. I listened to the McCain speech on the radio, but I got the TV for Rudy's speech.
A little after that speech was over, the A-list pundits on exited. Then the B-list. Then the C-list bench squad of Fox News was on camera and interviewing Don King.
Time to turn the TV off and call it a night.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:46 AM Permalink
I think I've got an handle on the undecideds: they believe that in August, asking if you will vote for Bush or Kerry is akin to asking a movie critic for a review before he has seen the film.
I believe this is incorrect. What one needs to know about the candidate in order to vote for one or the other is known now -- especially to one who makes an effort to find out about them.
Is there something which we've got a reasonable prospect of ever knowing about these men that we don't already know?
I think this is why the question is asked "If the election were held today, would you be voting for Bush or Kerry?"
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 8:46 AM Permalink
Monday, August 30, 2004
Call me biased but
John McCain's speech put everyone to sleep. He's trying to be bipartisan -- begging that he be drafted as Democrat in 2008 because Hillary is unelectable. He couldn't bring himself to criticize anyone and with the mildest possible words faintly endorsed Bush.
Rudy's speech was a triumph -- full of praise for the Bush/Cheney ticket and effectively contrasted the Democratic alternative to George Bush.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:22 PM Permalink
Who will rid us of this troublesome priest?
Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Lima(L) of Brazil is pushed into the crowd by Irish-born former priest Cornelius Horan in the latter stages of the Olympic marathon in Athens(AFP/File/Jiro Mochizuki)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:04 PM Permalink
Exorcist Needed in Budapest
Hundreds of housands young people celebrated an enormous Techno party in the Hungarian capital Budapest. More than 300 diskjockeys and over 50 cars participated in the parade by the historical city center, as the supervisors communicated. The participants would come from eleven different countries, among them also from Germany. (AFP, Ferenc Isza)
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:52 PM Permalink
New York Newsday: Mayor kicks off RNC with a flub
During his brief speech, the municipal host and Republican for the past three years, alluded to the fact that he and Gov. George Pataki had "laid the tombstone for the site of the Freedom Tower" in lower Manhattan. He clearly meant to say "cornerstone."
Freedom Tower is a toy building. Not replacing the WTC with a standard office building is a permanent conecession to terrorism.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:37 PM Permalink
Against The Grain: John Courtney Murray
Christopher Blosser brings up the old rationalizations appearing anew.
John Courtney Murray and the 'Liberal Catholic' Justification of AbortionMy comment: Murray in this regard was a fool, a total fool. But people who refer back to these fools of the 50's and 60's are greater fools.
They all predicted that married people given access to contraceptives would eliminate the population explosion where mothers were having ten kids and dying in childbirth. How wrong they were.
It really became the end of the world as they knew it. The Roe Effect and the depopulation of the world where there is wide availability of, and economic incentives to contraception and abortion.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 10:06 PM Permalink
Was France Spared?
Of course not. France is not yet an Islamic state.
Instapundit Glen Reynolds points out that the headscarf ban was enough of a provocation to the Iraqis to kidnap some French journalists.
I'm torn between two predictions of the French response: surrender to the demands and allow the headscarf, or abandonment of the victims.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:28 PM Permalink
Preparing to poll the Catholic bloggers.
I'm gathering up the mail addresses of the St. Blogs Parish bloggers for a poll on the presidential election.
Perhaps one of my readers already has done this. If so, please let me know.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 3:32 PM Permalink
New York Times: Fissures in a Grand Church
St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church sits like a crown on a steep hill overlooking this old Gold Coast hamlet. Perched at the highest point in town, its chapel is a century-old edifice of granite and stained glass where billionaire moguls and Wall Street financiers worship alongside hairdressers and immigrant cooks...
Many in the parish remain unhappy and distressed with their pastor who was the lead person in handling cases of sexual abuse for Bishops McGann and McHugh. He's been accused of saying one thing in private and another thing in public and vehemently denying accusations which later on revealed he knew to be true but were not yet disclosed publicly at the time.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 12:18 PM Permalink
New York Newsday: Massive protest mostly peaceful
A moment of drama came around noon when the Rev. Jesse Jackson led a five-minute prayer outside the Garden. The lead marchers -- including Cagan, actor Danny Glover and filmmaker Michael Moore -- knelt in silence on the asphalt as Jackson spoke.What Curtis Sliwa observed and reported on WABC radio will be of interest to my readers: Jesse Jackson through the bullhorn asked the entire crowd to kneel.
By the third time he asked he realized that the reason people were not kneeling as he requested was not because there was a technical problem with the bullhorn -- they weren't going to kneel period.
I have difficulty believing that Curtis saw through his binoculars that Jackson was upset at this, but certainly Jackson could not have been pleased with the scene before him.
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 9:15 AM Permalink
Sunday, August 29, 2004
Report from the Church of Our Savior
A wonderful Mass celebrated by Fr. Rutler. A successful reception. As a blogger meet-up it was a bit of a bust.
I met Catholic Republicans from Texas, California, Rhode Island, all over this great country in the lower level.
Of special mention is Mike Liffrig, candidate for the United States Senate from North Dakota - totally pro-life.
And fellow New Yorker Chris Slattery who founded Expectant Mother Care
posted by Patrick Sweeney at 11:42 PM Permalink