Friday, February 29, 2008

"Party platform vs. Catholic faith"

1) Stations of the Cross, 7 pm, tonight; Eucharistic Adoration to follow. All are welcome!!

2) DC ‘Hood vs. Men in Black, 1:30 pm, Sunday (March 2) @ Verizon Center. Go ‘Hood!!
Here is an excerpt of the address Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo gave Nov. 15 to Loyola College in Baltimore titled "The Sanctity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death." The presentation was part of the Loyola Alive Seamless Garment Series. It can be found in its entirety on

The understanding of conscience as the voice of God in the heart of each person is essential. The voice of God is rooted in the good and the true and in love as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. God is the one who establishes the good. Truth is objective and is most fully discovered in the person of Jesus Christ.

Once again the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the section on conscience will help you to form your consciences. If a conscience is not formed, it is easy for it to be erroneous in its judgment of good and evil. Tragically in reflecting on what decisions to make, a person may be listening to the father of lies rather than to God. Jesus reminds us that "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:9-12).

A Catholic with a properly formed conscience puts faith in Jesus Christ, lives the commandments, has knowledge of the teaching of the Church as presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and desires to live a virtuous life through the total gift of self to God and by living his love in the world.The proper formation of your conscience in love and truth -- in Jesus, who is both love and truth -- is necessary if you are to experience joy. To build a culture of life Catholics must form their consciences and always choose life and the dignity of the human person from the moment of conception to natural death.

Finally, and most challenging, is the promotion of the culture of life in society. Catholics in the political arena today are too often more faithful to party platforms and partisanship than to their faith in Jesus Christ, his Church, and the promotion of a culture of life. There is a false separation between one's private life and faith and one's public life. Today some Catholic politicians who support abortion hide behind the lies of "pro-choice" or not wanting to "impose their morality" on others. Yet they strongly support other life issues by opposing capital punishment, seeking just treatment for immigrants, and correctly understanding that part of just governance is ensuring the dignity of human life. Quite rightly, they do not consider this to be "imposing morality" in these areas.

There may also be politicians who are pro-life with respect to abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem-cell research, yet who support capital punishment and policies that result in the oppression of immigrants. They seem to forget to opt for the dignity of the human person in these cases, and they choose to be more faithful to their party platform than to their Catholic faith. Catholics in the political arena must recognize that opposition to intrinsic evils, such as abortion, euthanasia, genocide, embryonic stem-cell research and same sex unions is always required by the faithful Catholic. Because these intrinsic evils are direct attacks on human life and marital dignity, they are nonnegotiable for every Catholic. Catholics must recognize, too, that in the other human life issues -- such as immigration, capital punishment, the economy, health-care and war -- the dignity of the human person must first and foremost be taken into consideration in seeking solutions to these questions.

As John Paul II reminded everyone involved in civil and legislative affairs, "A law which violates an innocent person's natural right to life is unjust and as such, is not valid as a law" ("Evangelium Vitae," 90). "Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection" (ibid., No. 73). We are warned in Scripture and by John Paul II that "we must obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29, "Evangelium Vitae," 73).

Every Catholic who supports intrinsic evils is reminded that they will one day stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account of themselves and how they lived the Gospel of Life.

At the same time, as pro-life Catholics, we must have concern for immigrants, the suffering, the sick and the poor. We must work for the avoidance of war, the elimination of the death penalty and an end to drug trafficking. If we are truly going to be pro-life and build a true culture of life, all of these are matters of concern.

While there can be different solutions for questions regarding some issues which are not intrinsic evils, the inherent dignity of the human person from the moment of conception to natural death must be the lens through which all decisions are made. We must constantly, at every level, promote the dignity of the human person and the truth that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of his or her conception until natural death.


At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Hmmm said...

So in other words, when it comes to voting for a president, you can't vote Democrat or Republican because both sides are too strongly supportive of things the church finds immoral.

Easily said when you live in MD and your vote at the federal level is pretty much inconsequential. But in states where that stuff matters, does abortion and stem cell research trump war, economic disparity, the death penalty, and an lack of action, or at least a dragging of the feet when it comes to HIV/AIDS and genocide?

In those instances I think you have to take the lesser of the "two evils" if you would and hope for the best. With the general state of the country, voting off of one single issue for or against someone is shortsighted and naive.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Daisy said...

Recently, I found out that abortion is NOT legal in Dominica, an island-nation in the Caribbean where I’m attending a US medical school that is located abroad. I was elated to hear this because it shows that the predominantly Catholic citizens living on the island have a good understanding of the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, and they are making sure this is being upheld in their legislation. I hope we Catholics in the United States can also make sure that the politicians we vote for and our legislation follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In those instances I think you have to take the lesser of the "two evils" if you would and hope for the best. With the general state of the country, voting off of one single issue for or against someone is shortsighted and naive."

Keeping in mind though as the saying goes, the lesser of two evils is still evil. But Cardinal Ratzinger (now B16) (from Wikipedia) took the stance: "In the United States, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Cardinal Ratzinger stated that voters would be "cooperating in evil" if they voted for a political candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on legalized abortion or euthanasia. [46]. He further stated, however, that voting for these candidates for other reasons of commensurate gravity in spite of their stand concerning abortion/euthanasia was justifiable in principle."

So we aren't called to vote on a single issue. If candidate A Only favors Embryonic Stem Cell research but is otherwise pro-life and has policies that are in keeping with church teaching but Candidate B Is for abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research etc and on top of that has policies incompatible with the church's moral teaching, Then that is the choice we face. I don't know if that makes any sense. Basically we are called to look at the whole picture but looking through the lens of our faith and the moral teachings of the Church when making our choices at the ballot box.

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Easily said when you live in MD and your vote at the federal level is pretty much inconsequential.

The thing is, everyone's vote at every level is pretty much inconsequential. How many elections are decided by a single vote?

Which candidate you vote for is very nearly the least important thing you do as a citizen of a representative democracy. Even writing a comment on a blog giving your opinion about how to vote likely has a greater consequence than how you mark your ballot on Election Day.

The problem, I think, is that, for too many people, voting is the only thing they do as a citizen.


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