Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Culture of Death’

A Moral Challenge

May 4th, 2016, Promulgated by Bernie

From LifeSite

by Philip Lawler

May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) — In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.

Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a…

Read more HERE

Is Cardinal Dolan Causing Scandal?

May 18th, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The questions to consider:  “Is Cardinal Dolan Causing Scandal?”  “Will Pope Francis do something about it?”

Tonight’s LifeSite News Article is entitled: 

“Card. Dolan ‘would not suggest’ pro-abort Gov. Cuomo not a Catholic ‘in good standing’: archdiocese”

That’s quite a mouthful of double talk.  Is the Cardinal trying to serve two masters?  When does a persistent “difference of opinion” on a matter of church teaching regarding intrinsic evil become scandalous?  When does a Cardinal become an enabler of evil by failing to address it, and become the proximate cause of the loss of a politician’s soul?  How many times must the Faithful, who are fighting valiantly for the cause of LIFE, be deserted by shepherds unwilling to stand with them?   Does anyone actually think that Cardinal Dolan believes his own words:  “Gov. Cuomo wants to work very closely with the pro-life movement” ?  That is certainly NOT the fruit of the Governor’s action so far.

untitledAnd while the Cardinal decries being surprised by Cuomo’s passing of gay marriage legislation, he seems to have made zero effort to call for its repeal.   In reading the linked article, it is difficult to find any redeeming moral value in refusing to carry out Canon Law precepts against a notorious underminer of  Catholicism.  The limp excuse that the Cardinal “has enjoyed working with Cuomo on issues like gun control and immigration”  is the essence of failure — it  papers over intrinsic evil with prudential judgment issues.  There is just no relevance between the grave issue of abortion, and Cardinal Dolan’s personal opinions which divide rather than unite the laity, and detract from what is most vital. 

I am reminded of Peter’s words in Acts 1:20   “His office let another take.”    I do wish Pope Francis would personally intervene to mitigate the damage being caused by the Cardinal of NYC.

Cardinal Dolan: An Embarrassment and a Scandal

March 26th, 2013, Promulgated by Hopefull

In case you haven’t heard Michael Voris’ denunciation of Cardinal Dolan’s giving Holy Communion to Joe Biden at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Palm Sunday, here it is:

Pope Francis could not have been clearer that he supports Canon 915 which requires denying Communion to such as Joe Biden.  Cardinal Dolan could not have been clearer that he doesn’t give a rap what Pope Francis thinks, or what Canon Law says.  This  “Prince of the Church” needs a warning label that following him may be dangerous to our spiritual health!

ScreenShot275                                    ScreenShot276

Caring about the Most Vulnerable

March 23rd, 2013, Promulgated by Diane Harris

On February 4th, I did a post which railed against the actions of the Diocesan Public Policy Committee in prioritizing that NYS should annually spend about $300 million for what is essentially baby sitting money to low income families, when the lives of babies were being threatened by Cuomo’s so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” (misleading naming as is the case for much legislative activity which should never see the light of day).  The following weekend (Feb. 9-10) those signatures were collected during Masses, and many people dutifully signed what they were handed.

However, the Festival for Freedom Committee (chaired by Deacon Claude Lester), which held a 2-week  USCCB-requested Fortnight for Freedom event last summer,  wanted to go further.   So, on the weekend of Feb. 16-17th, and for two weeks thereafter, signatures were collected in opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s attempts to recklessly expand abortion in NYS.   About 2.5x as many signatures were collected in that petitioning as had been collected for the “baby-sitting” money issue; i.e. a welcome contrast to recognizing that intrinsic evils are a much greater cause for timely opposition than merely distributing taxpayers’ monies on issues of prudential judgment.

In order that people could see they are not working in isolation, or become discouraged, the 879 names on the petition against Cuomo’s “Reproductive Health Act,”  have been posted inside St. Mary’s and St. Bridget’s Churches (i.e. St. Benedict’s Parish.)  Here is a picture of the display:


petitions NYS 001 bright

We do not stand alone in the Body of Christ; we stand together.  And there is no place for toleration of intrinsic evils, or for permitting Cuomo’s pending legislation to destroy life.  I do believe that Catholics need to see more of this kind of mutual support (including from their pastors and bishops) that we all stand together in support of Catholic Teaching.  Kudos to Bishop Cunningham who, it was reported, joined a recent trip to Albany!

It is good to know which of our brothers and sisters in the faith we can count on, and that is why such a display of names is important.  Committee members are hoping more of our churches will make this kind of effort.  There is no issue which should have more spiritual solidarity than the faithful speaking out and acting on behalf of the weakest and most vulnerable, the infant in the womb.  When the governor of a state (or the president of a country) threatens to enact more laws that will further lead to destruction of the most vulnerable human beings, it will not be surprising to see future legislation extended to such abominations as infanticide up to 2 years old, forced abortions especially of ‘less than perfect’ humans, forced sterilization, forced euthanasia, refusal of necessary medical treatment to avoid premature death, and worse.  Much worse.  And, make no mistake, anyone who can permit the killing of a baby in the womb most assuredly is capable of doing much worse.

We are blessed to still have opportunities to ACT.  The sooner people stand together in opposition to atrocities, the more likely they can postpone or avoid having to deal with the next atrocity bound to come.  The next action is a CandleLight Vigil in Albany on April 15th to oppose legislators who

  • so devalue life that they are willing to extend abortion right up to the time of delivery!
  • are so lacking in respect for the mother carrying the child that they are willing to let any old “health care provider” do the dirty work (as more doctors, remembering their oath, decline to do so.)
  • who are so disrespectful of parental rights that children who can’t go on a school bustrip without parental permission can nevertheless have an abortion without a parent’s knowledge or consent!
  • And who willingly undermine the conscience rights of everyone and erode the very essence of the Bill of Rights!

NYS under Andrew Cuomo, is already the Abortion Capital of the U.S.   Abortion up until delivery would make it the Infanticide Capital as well!

Deacon Claude Lester is coordinating the diocesan-wide bus convoy to Albany.  Buses will leave Monday morning, April 15th,   from various points in the 12-county Rochester Diocese, and return that evening.  Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for students.  At about 2:30 PM there will be a visit to legislators, delivering  petitions, showing widespread resistance to the Cuomo catastrophic legislation, followed by CandleLight Vigil and prayer.  Contacts: or phone 585-750-7524.   Reservations and  payment  (Visa or Mastercard or checks sent to Festival for Freedom, PO Box 196, Canandaigua, NY 14424) must be received by Thursday, April 11, 2013.  See also

It is better to light one candle at the Albany Vigil

than to curse the darkness when the lights of life go out.

candles cropped


Karen Handel to speak in Rochester

February 13th, 2013, Promulgated by Monk

The Women’s Care Center is sponsoring a talk by Karen Handel, author of the bestselling book Planned Bullyhood.
The Center has served thousands of Rochester women involved in unplanned pregnancies since 1990.


For Immediate Release:

Author and Former Susan G. Komen Executive to Speak Feb. 21
Karen Handel to discuss the controversy between Komen and Planned Parenthood

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Karen Handel, former senior vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure and author of the book Planned Bullyhood, will speak at 7 pm on Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Coleman Chapel inside Murphy Hall at St. John Fisher College.

Handel will discuss her experiences surrounding the controversy between Komen and Planned Parenthood. In Planned Bullyhood, Handel provides an inside look at the politics behind the decision of the two organizations to part ways, those closely involved with the decision, and how Komen eventually folded—giving in to Planned Parenthood. She details how Komen—an organization known for supporting women’s health and being at the forefront of the battle against breast cancer—has been nearly destroyed, with its brand in grave peril. Handel will also address the tactics that she believes Planned Parenthood used to attempt to subert the pro-life movement in today’s society.

Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for senior citizens, and free for college students who present a college ID.
All proceeds will go towards supporting the work of the Women’s Care Center.

For more information, contact:
Women’s Care Center
(585) 865-0360

A Rochester Priest Who Gets It

December 4th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Here is an excellent letter to the editor in the Catholic Courier penned by Fr. Jim Hewes, parochial vicar of the Holy Ghost/St. Helen/St. Jude cluster and local director of Project Rachel:

Have voters chided victor?

Once again over 50 percent of Catholic voters voted for President Obama. This means that probably 50 percent of Catholic voters in our diocese voted for President Obama. So I ask those Catholics who voted for President Obama:

Have you sent your letter already to the president as his supporter asking him to change his position of unrestricted access to abortions — including allowing abortions for gender selection or without parental consent or partial-birth abortions — and to stop supporting the government’s paying for abortions through Medicaid?

Have you written your letter to him asking him to stop governmental funding of Planned Parenthood, which performed over 329,445 abortions in 2010? By the way Planned Parenthood has been involved in most of the major cases, which have struck down any legal protection of the pre-born. This is why the April 14, 1993, New York Times pointed out, “in simple equation of public image, Planned Parenthood equals abortion rights.” The December 11, 1989, issue of Time magazine described Planned Parenthood as “the premiere institution of performing abortion in the country.”

Have you included in your letter a request to President Obama to rescind his Executive Order that removed any barriers to scientific research including embryonic stem cell research)?

In your letter have you urged President Obama to stop supporting the death penalty?

Finally, as Catholics committed to the non-violent teaching of Jesus, have you pleaded with President Obama to stop supporting U.S. violence in other countries including Libya and Afghanistan, where he ordered a surge of 30,000 troops and has increased significantly the number of drone attacks?

It is because of the Catholic vision of life that I didn’t vote for President Obama. It is the same reason I didn’t vote for Governor Romney, but that would be another whole letter.

Father Jim Hewes

Thank you for defending life, Father!

The Election: Part II

November 7th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

2008 v 2012 Popular Vote

Year Obama McCain/Romney
2008 69,456,897 59,934,814
2012 60,023,768 57,353,628
Change  -9,433,129 -2,581,186 

As of this moment, Mitt Romney has received less popular votes than the uninspiring and unpopular John McCain received in 2008. Had conservatives turned out at least as strong as 2008, we might have a different president-elect today.

Conservatives can’t blame anyone but themselves.

The Election

November 7th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

Gay marriage passes, for the first time by popular vote, in three states: Washington, Maine, Maryland.

Defense of marriage amendment fails in Minnesota.

Washington and Colorado legalize recreational pot (not medicinal, but recreational buy-it-at-your-local-gas-station marijuana). Massachusetts approves medicinal marijuana.

Democrats make gains in the House, hold ground in the Senate, hold the White House, and may soon dominate the Supreme Court with as many as three Justices contemplating retirement. If anything goes wrong with the upcoming “fiscal cliff,” Republicans in the House will be blamed and Democrats will take full control.

Barack Obama won the Catholic vote 50% to 47%.


Comment away…

Bus Full of Liberal Nuns Comes to Rochester

September 26th, 2012, Promulgated by Dr. K

The following advertisement just arrived in my inbox. Apparently, the wacky and uber-liberal “Nuns on the Bus” group is organizing a tour right here in the Diocese of Rochester.

Click image to see full size

Please continue to pray that Bp. Clark’s successor will arrive as quickly as possible.

Belmont Abbey Sues For Religious Liberty

November 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Belmont Abbey College, a Catholic institution of higher learning in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC, has sued the United States government in what is being called a “test case” in the debate about religious institutions (of any denomination) being compelled to break the mandates of their faith(s) and distribute condoms and other contraceptives to the students and faculty. The National Catholic Register has more on this story:

BELMONT, N.C. — Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, charging that its new rule mandating the inclusion of contraceptive services in employee health insurance violates the school’s religious freedom.

The interim federal rule, which requires private employer-provided health benefits to include the full range of “preventive services” for women, is part of the new health bill.

“We believe it will be a test case. This is the firstlawsuit to challenge the HHS rule mandating contraception, sterilization and other ‘preventive services,’” said Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a non-profit public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the college.

The filing asks for a court order to free the college from the federal mandate. The government is required to respond to the complaint within 60 days. Windham said she could not comment on whether other Catholic institutions or dioceses had contacted the Becket Fund to explore legal challenges to the federal rule.

At present, the controversial federal regulation, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides a narrow exemption for religious institutions engaged in work with others of the same faith. Those that serve people of other faiths or no faith will likely not be allowed to opt out of the mandate, which requires the provision of sterilization and abortifacients — such as Plan B and Ella.

“The issue is the right of Belmont Abbey College, which has always publicly identified itself and functioned as a Catholic college, to freely exercise the constitutional right to operate in accord with the public and authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Benectine Abbot Placid Solari, of Belmont Abbey and the ex officio chancellor of the college.

“It is a matter of the fundamental rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution and it is time that someone stood up for these fundamental rights.”

“No employee or student of Belmont Abbey College is being coerced into accepting the faith or moral beliefs of the Catholic Church. The college, however, will be required by the federal government to act contrary to its own faith convictions,” said the abbot.

Belmont Abbey College is no stranger to such disputes. It has already been under investigation by the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) for refusing to cover contraception in its employee health plan. The EEOC continues to investigate this dispute.

In a statement issued Nov. 10, the Becket Fund noted that while “the government has already provided thousands of waivers for a variety of special interest groups, including McDonald’s and teachers’ unions, often for reasons of commercial convenience, it refused to accommodate religious organizations.

“Instead, the government permitted a religious exemption so narrowly defined that it prompted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to note that even Jesus’ ministry would not qualify.”

Windham contends that the new regulation “is riddled with exceptions. It’s a violation of the Constitution when you make exceptions for secular purposes, but not for religious conscience.”

She notes that the controversial rule not only requires the provision of services that violate Catholic moral teaching, it also mandates “counseling” for these services. “Catholic institutions are being asked to fund speech that is contrary to their beliefs,” she charged.

Windham reports that more than 100,000 respondents signaled their opposition to the HHS rule, after being invited to do so by the government. Sept. 30 was the last date for providing comment, and HHS has not confirmed when it will issue a final ruling that might result in a broadened religious exemption.

Richard Doerflinger, the chief lobbyist on life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, confirmed in a previous interview that HHS has signaled it will probably broaden the exemption, but not to the satisfaction of the conference.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the USCCB, said the conference is “waiting to see if and when the exemption is changed before we take any steps.”

HHS has established August 2012 as the formal deadline for providing services mandated by the new health bill.

Asked how much lead time Catholics institutions would need to respond to an unacceptable final rule, Sister Mary Ann said she did not know, but it appeared that the bishops were at least not publicly discussing back-up plans “when the rules might change.”

But if the U.S. bishops’ conference has yet to issue a formal legal challenge to the HHS regulation, the bishops have been marshaling their forces to oppose what they perceive as an increasingly aggressive federal effort to impinge on the First Amendment rights of Catholic institutions.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the USCCB president, has already moved to establish a newad hoc committee on religious liberty, appointing Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. to head that initiative.

Yesterday, Bishop Loriannouncedthat a number of high-profile Church leaders would join the committee, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.

The committee’s brain trust includes Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus, Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science, University of Notre Dame Law School, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, and Mary Ann Glendon at Harvard Law School.

The Bishop of Charlotte, NC, Peter Jugis, has spoken out against other similar issues. The video below pertains to gay “marriage,” and demonstrates the orthodoxy of this particular shepherd. It is truly inspiring to see a Bishop defend (and prompt his diocesan brothers and sisters to defend) the teaching of the Church, and to do so publicly and without fear.

I wonder when St. Bernard’s will offer such a public witness?

Penn State’s “Long Lent”

November 11th, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

Football is a big deal in our house.  My 12 year old son loves all-things “sports,” but is particularly enthralled with football (especially of the Green Bay variety), so the story about former Penn State coach arrested and charged this week for several accounts of sexual abuse has been discussed a great deal.  As a Catholic, it has also called to mind the on-going abuse scandal in the Church.  I’ve been looking at the parallels between the situation at Penn State and the Church and there are similarities.  Both reveal an institutional cover up.  Both reveal the exploitation of young people (all boys in the case of Penn State and mostly adolescent boys in the case of the Church).  And both speak to a wider culture that continues to push the boundaries of what is seen as “normal” when it comes to sexuality.

Like the Church, Penn State will likely go through a lengthy self-examination and recovery.  I suspect the institution will find that ridding itself of the cancer of sexual abuse will be painful and get worse before things get better (in fact, there is speculation that this story is about to get much worse).  It will likely find that the institutional “chemotherapies” and “radiation” applied to the problem will slowly address the problem, but not address the environmental cause of the problem – a toxic culture that increasingly sexualizes young children.   How else do we explain a troupe of 7 year-olds doing a provocative dance routine to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies?”   Why do we accept companies promoting push up binkinis to young, pre-pubescent girls?  And don’t even get me started on “Toddlers and Tiaras,” the repulsive reality show that focuses on the  toddler pageant industry.

Yet, it seems our culture wants it both ways.  Aggressive, liberal sex-education agendas want to give out more and more information to younger and younger children, espousing the view that children are “sexual beings,” but the same people pushing these agendas refuse to acknowledge the role these programs play in scandals like those seen in our own Church and at Penn State (and let’s not kid ourselves, the sexual abuse of children is rampant in public schools, organizations and even homes).  Thankfully, people continue to be outraged when sex abuse scandals are revealed (and the day that we no longer react to them will be the day our culture dies), but I have to wonder, why?  Why are we outraged?  Why do we recoil?  Why, when we read the grand jury indictment(PDF), does  our stomach churn and our head bend in prayer to a merciful God for forgiveness of our sins?  We have told children that they are sexual objects.  We have deluded ourselves into thinking that sexual freedom is the ultimate good and that restrictions on this behavior is oppressive and antiquated.  Somehow, though, we know, that we are not free.  We are, instead, enslaved to sin and our children are the ultimate victims.

God, have mercy on us.

Slavery, Abortion, and Our Lady of the Confederacy

September 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

This has to be one of the most interesting articles I have read recently. It comes from the December 2001 issue of the New Oxford Review, and discusses the similarity in mindsets regarding slavery (when it was held as acceptable) and abortion (which, we can only pray, will be deemed unacceptable in coming years).

In the Confederate Museum at New Orleans is a crown of thorns made by Pope Pius IX expressly for Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. In a side chapel at the Catholic cathedral in Charleston, S.C., is a statue of Our Lady of the Confederacy sent to the people of the South by the same pope. In many Southern homes to this day is the volume of verse by the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy” — Fr. Abram Ryan, a Catholic priest of Nashville, whose brother, a Confederate soldier, was killed in combat with Union troops. The state song of Maryland, “Maryland, My Maryland!” which decries the “tyrant” Abraham Lincoln and calls upon Marylanders to rise to arms against the “Vandal invader,” was composed by the Catholic poet James Ryder Randall. And one of the most courageous and eloquent exponents of the justness of Southern civilization, and of the principles and purposes of secession and of the formation of the Confederate States of America, was the renowned missionary priest, Bishop of Savannah Augustin Verot.

So much for the suggestion of John L. Botti that “no explanation is needed” for his entirely fictional narrative “The ‘Catholic’ Politician of 2001 & the Southern ‘Gentleman’ of 1860.” To address even the issues that led, sadly enough for all concerned, to the War Between the States, requires a great deal of explanation, indeed. Further, to his query “Is there any difference?” between the Southerner of 1860 and the advocate or practitioner of abortion in 2001, the answer is yes — wholly, utterly, and completely — as a huge body of literature attests. Again, because Botti does not cite a single historical personage or a single historical text, the entirely fictional nature of his text cannot be overemphasized.

About 15 years ago, in an essay published in both National Review and Crisis, Lewis Lehrman also attempted to equate slavery in the Old South and abortion today. Among the respondents who attempted to correct that grievous misconception was Sheldon Vanauken, the late lamented Contributing Editor of the NOR, whose name well remains on your magazine’s masthead. Van contributed many articles to the NOR that made a similar case for Southern civilization and principles as the sole example available for Americans of our time who wish to redress any number of the ills of our society, abortion foremost among them. It is astonishing that the NOR has so soon forgotten his brave and eloquent reflections.

Significant works that explore for Catholics the theme reintroduced so ineptly by Botti, however admirable his intentions, include American Catholic Opinion in the Slavery Controversy by Madeleine Hooke Rice; Catholics and the Civil War by the Rev. Benjamin J. Blied of St. Francis Seminary; Rebel Bishop: A Life of Augustin Verot by Michael Gannon; and — most especially — The Slaveholders’ Dilemma and A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South, both by the eminent historian Eugene Genovese, now a Catholic. Several biographies of the Catholic jurist Roger Taney, who, as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, strove in vain to inaugurate Northern support for compensated emancipation rather than inflammatory abolitionism, and who penned the hugely misunderstood Dred Scott decision, have appeared in recent years. Readers of The Wanderer have recently been given a learned series of columns on actual Southern history generally and the realpolitik of Abraham Lincoln specifically by Joseph Sobran, who in his own newsletter has expanded on the subject.

Southerners have for generations faced the necessary challenge of fending off simplistic condemnations of slavery while striving to call attention to the larger enveloping issues that led to secession, war, and defeat, and of which slavery was of course an inextricable part, but by no means the whole matter. As the foregoing studies demonstrate, most emphatically in the case of the Catholic bishops of both American and Europe, hugely important questions of the very nature of a Christian moral order in the fledgling modern era were the context in which the South resisted by arms the purported “coming of the Lord” announced in the Battle Hymn of the Republic. These questions included the very viability of a specifically Christian order in American society, of the increasing secularization and industrialization and therefore the explicit materialism of the states of the North, and of the proper means of ameliorating in the South the admitted shortcomings of slavery — while avoiding the revolutionary unrest that was arising everywhere in Western civilization, including in the American Northeast, in response to Enlightenment ideologies and the vast dislocations of peoples caused by the “modernization” of capitalistic economies.

Accordingly, the issue of the American War Between the States generally, and specifically the practice of slavery as it actually evolved in the U.S. between 1619 and 1861, is to be judged within a centuries-old tradition which, for reasons once held sound by the Church, affirmed the propriety of the ownership of one person by another, provided, of course, as St. Paul stressed to Philemon of Onesimus, the relationship affirmed the eternal moral worth of the bonded servant and fulfilled the obligations of Christian charity.

In a contrast to slavery in the American South as total as it is stark, abortion-on-demand today is the practice of a people bereft of tradition, disinterested in even social — let alone biblical — constraint, and committed to the very notion of unrestrained individualism made inevitable by the political and social consequences of the Yankee conquest in 1865.

Ironically for Botti, then, it was the very principle of Federal power in the name of “Union,” which in 1861-1865 destroyed Southern civilization and overwhelmed the sovereignty of the states, that more recently, in Roe v. Wade, struck down states’ laws against abortion. Contrary to his glib assertions, those who resisted Federal force in 1861, however imperfect their quest of Christian civilization, waged with arms the war he espouses only with words. Thus it was that, in 1866, a year after Appomattox, the eminent English historian Lord Acton wrote to Robert E. Lee, the defeated former commander of the Confederate armies of Virginia: “I believed that the example of that great [Confederate] reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.” Lord Acton, as so many “Southern sympathizers,” was a Catholic.

Not ’til Christians of all sections, whether Catholic or Protestant, and whether white or black — or Hispanic or Asian — rediscover the virtues of Southern life and conviction as they actually, historically, existed will there be possible the unity of historical understanding and Christian brotherhood necessary for adequately addressing the grave questions of a proper moral order in our national life. For only in this unity would it be possible to discredit the ideologies to which Botti no doubt means to allude, ideologies that, victorious in 1865 and triumphant through all realms of American life in the decades since, are nowhere more manifest — as the might of a national regime that will countenance no dissent on the part of the people or the states — than in the various abortion-related rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
David A. Bovenizer
Lynchburg, Virginia

Apostatizing in Place: A Book Review

August 19th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement. By Mary J. Henold. University of North Carolina Press. 291 pages. $32.

The following is from a book review by Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the New Oxford Review, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She has published on Dryden, Milton, and Swift, as well as on Catholics of the seventeenth century.


… When Catholic feminists speak of their commitment to the Church, they equivocate; it turns out they mean the “people,” not the “institution.” Indeed, Catholic feminists constantly reduce the Magisterium to an “institution.” They have their own understanding of Catholicism and see themselves as free to choose what to “believe” and what to “abandon.” This is not cafeteria Catholicism, but something different, for they are guided in their choices by a primary loyalty to feminism. Donna Quinn, one of the leading feminist nuns in the 1970s, represents many of them when she declares, “This is my church, this is my tradition. I love this church. I want to change it.” Then she adds, “I have never rejected anything in the feminist movement…. I love the word ‘feminism,’ I have put that first.” Yes, first. This is the idol to which Catholic feminists have been willing to sacrifice the Church.

At the 1975 Detroit Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), the “pivotal event” of the Catholic feminist movement in the 1970s, theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza spoke of our Church needing “a radical conversion.” Feminists like her choose to remain Catholic as a means to an end. Their strategy is called defecting in place, but it may more fittingly be called apostatizing in place.

Throughout Catholic and Feminist: The Surprising History of the American Catholic Feminist Movement, Henold reveals how Catholic feminists have taken a utilitarian approach to religion, using the Church’s sacred language, symbols, and traditions as a “means of understanding and structuring their feminism.” Yes, a means to an end. To begin with, they wanted women priests, Henold says, because they needed …


To read more: This is from an article in the current issue of the New Oxford Review. You will probably need to subscribe in order to read the rest of the column. Do subscribe. The NOR has excellent articles every month. In addition you will get terrific news feeds every morning with excellent links to featured articles from its past issues.

And Two Shall Become One

August 16th, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

No, I’m not talking about marriage, here, but about the practice of “selective reduction” especially in regards to twin pregnancies.  I found an incredibly disturbing article at the New York Times discussing this morally problematic practice which has seen an increase in use.  It is a lengthy article, but it raises many of the moral and ethical points that the Church, in Her wisdom, cautions the faithful about regarding reproductive technologies.

The article begins by sharing the story of “Jenny,” (all of the subjects requested anonymity in the article) a 45 year old woman 14 weeks pregnant with twins who chose pregnancy reduction.  She spent 6 years pursuing various fertility options and says:

Things would have been different if we were 15 years younger or if we hadn’t had children already or if we were more financially secure, (keep in mind that Jenny pursued fertility treatment for years which I’m sure stressed the family finances mightily, she already has two children and she is 45 years old.  What motivated her to pursue this pregnancy given these conditions?)

She goes on to add:

If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with(emphasis mine), and this became yet another thing we could control. (At least with this comment she is being honest about how children are now viewed as a commodity – to be obtained on a person’s schedule, at his or her convenience and according to his or her plan.  Also note that she is, in essence, killing another person’s baby, not her own, since an egg donor was used).

In 2004, the Pontifical Academy for Life published a final communique summarizing the symposium  “The Dignity of Human Procreation and Reproductive Technologies.  Anthropological and Ethical Aspects.”  In it, the Academy noted the following points:

  • over 1 million children are believed to have been conceived through IVF technology since the birth of the first IVF baby in 1978;
  • despite the economic and medical resources committed to increasing the effectiveness rates of ART (assisted reproductive technology), little progress has been made.  The Academy further suggests that if the same rates of success were applied to other medical technologies, they would be deemed “technical failures.”
  • many couples, placing their hope in such technologies, despite the low success rates, often suffer greatly when ART fails (not to mention the moral dilemmas faced and the financial impact of pursuing ART)
  • many human lives are lost to ART because of the excessive numbers of embryos created and ultimately lost in pursuit of a successful implantation
  • ART does nothing to address the underlying issue of sterility among western couples but rather touts itself as a the answer to infertility
  • a new mentality has developed leading some to believe that  ” ART constitutes a preferential route – compared to the “natural” route – to bring a child into this world, because it is possible through these techniques to exercise a more effective “control” over the quality of the conceived child in line with the wishes of those who ask for such a child.”  The Academy further noted: ” All this works in favour of seeing the child obtained through the use of ART as being on the same level as a “product” whose value in reality depends in large measure on its “good quality”, which for its part is subjected to severe controls and careful selection.(which brings us back to the NYT article)

Returning to Jenny’s story:

Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. (Got that?  Terrified her.  Was she really so naive to have thought twins was not a possible outcome given the increased incidence of multiples with ART and IVF?  Or did she anticipate pursuing reduction as part of the pregnancy plan?  Did the fact that she was carrying another woman’s children make it an easier decision?  Now, as a 44 year old woman myself with 5 children, I can definitely appreciate how daunting raising twins at this time in my life would be but I also know that I am not in control of this situation.  God is.  Children are a gift.  We have to view them this way or we end up casting off the inconvenient or imperfect ones.)

Jenny basically goes on to justify killing one of the babies because she wants to make sure she has enough energy, attention and material things for her existing children and the remaining child in the pregnancy.   The author of the article writes:

Even the twins would be robbed, because, at best, she could give each one only half of her attention and, she feared, only half of her love. Jenny desperately wanted another child, but not at the risk of becoming a second-rate parent. (Since Jenny is already a parent I don’t know how she deceived herself with this reasoning.  As any parent I’ve ever talked to will say, love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.  I know I was amazed each time a new child was welcomed into our home by how much love I had not only for the new baby, but for my other children as well.)

Shockingly, Jenny says “This is bad (referring to the reduction), but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,”  (Again, the human brain can do amazing things to justify any behavior.  As my 14 year old daughter concluded: “so she’s saying that being dead is better than having to wear hand-me downs?)

Interestingly, Jenny and her husband told no one about their decision and plan to keep it that way and this approach is quite common in those couples that pursue pregnancy reduction.  One couple in this article were very divided about the procedure but ended up compromising when the husband said he didn’t want to see ultrasounds of the twins and he didn’t want to be in the room during the reduction procedure.  As long as he didn’t have to “see it” he felt he could handle the intentional death of one of his children.  His wife was happy with his absence because she didn’t “want to have to deal with this feelings.”  (Yikes.  How is that marriage going to weather?)

Several doctors who perform the procedure note that there is a certain stigma attached to it.  Though society seems to be more willing to accept a straightforward abortion, it views couples who pursue reduction as more “selfish.”  Further, women often suffer greatly after reduction with “what if” questions and wondering if they chose the right baby (often times doctors are the ones to choose which baby to kill since couples don’t want the responsibility.  It will be interesting to see if recovery groups like “Silent No More” develop in a few years to help couples deal with the guilt and regret that is likely to come.)

There is a detailed discussion of why some physicians recommend reduction with twin pregnancies and several other anecdotes involving the procedure.    The author also explores some of the ethical quandaries (e.g. sex selection, birth defects, Downs Syndrome) faced by a society that now views pregnancy and parenthood as just another consumer choice.  I’ll finish this  post with this final example of A. and her partner, a lesbian couple, looking to have children.  The author shares their story:

Because both women were 45, they tried to double their already slim chances by both being inseminated. They each tried it three times; nothing took. At their doctor’s suggestion, they chose an egg donor in her mid-20s. Both women went through I.V.F., each with two embryos transferred. Both women got pregnant, but A. quickly miscarried. Her partner (who did not want to be identified, even by an initial) gave birth to a healthy boy, whom they adore. A. did another round of I.V.F. with frozen embryos, hoping to provide their son with a sibling. It didn’t work. So when their boy was nearly a year old, both women underwent I.V.F. again. Given A.’s fertility history, the doctor predicted she had just a 5 percent chance of getting pregnant.

Eventually, both women ended up pregnant with twins.  They debated about pregnancy reduction and concluded that A. would reduce so as to increase the likeliness she would carry the remaining baby to term.  After her reduction procedure, A’s partner miscarried.  Now A. is expecting her baby in December.  When asked about fearing a miscarriage, she reflects on the whole situation in this ironic way:

I’ve come to realize there’s only so much we can control. There’s a point where you just have to let nature take its course.

We Live In Satan’s Dominion

June 24th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Gay marriage has passed in New York State by a vote of 33-29.

Behold the fruit of three decades of malformed Catholics. It was absolutely sickening to listen to state senators describe themselves as “Catholic” and vote in favor of the bill. I hope that these so-called Catholics will refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

Judgment Night

June 24th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Homosexual marriage will go up for vote tonight.

From News 10 NBC:

“The New York state Assembly has passed an amended version of a bill to legalize gay marriage. The state Senate is expected to vote on the bill sometime Friday night.

Senate Republicans agreed to send the bill to the floor for a vote after approving an amendment that includes stronger religious protections. The Assembly, which approved the original bill earlier this week, passed the amendment Friday by a vote of 82-47.

According to the Senate’s official Twitter feed, the amended bill will come up for a vote Friday night, but it will be the last order of business.”

It doesn’t sound good for those of us hoping to see true marriage prevail. The lack of religious protection was the only thing holding back a few Republican senators from supporting the bill. Now it appears that protections (whatever these might be) have been added.

Start praying that marriage will remain between a man and a woman in New York!

Catholics sometimes dabble in astrology, the enneagram, reiki and channeling

February 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

From the National Catholic Register

by Jim Graves

Sharon Lee Giganti got wrapped up in the New Age movement. Seeing the damage she did led her back to the Catholic faith of her childhood.

But by the mid-1990s, Giganti had become so imbued with New Age philosophies that she abandoned acting for her “higher calling” of becoming a New Age teacher and counselor. It wasn’t long, however, before she recognized the devastating consequences of her teachings.
One young woman who came to her for advice, whom she calls Tia, was a single mother with a host of problems, including…

Read the entire article here.


A Ultra-Liberal Feminist On Abortion

January 30th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

In today’s Democrat & Chronicle editorial section, there is a letter to the editor from the president of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women. This group is part of the ultra-liberal wing of the feminist movement (the difference between conservative and ultra-liberal feminists is often that conservatives want equality for women, while ultra-liberals want superiority). Here is an excerpt from her commentary on abortion “rights”:

“As has been widely reported, about one-third of all women in the United States will choose to terminate a pregnancy in their lifetime. So my question to the letter-writer is this: Would you have the legal system punish these women as murderers?

It’s unlikely the answer is yes. Even the most rabidly anti-abortion advocates turn evasive and equivocate when confronted with that question.

Women end unwanted pregnancies. Some are able to do it safely, and some not. That is a fact of life — always has been, always will be, and no amount of hyperbolic rhetoric is going to change that.”

In response to her question whether we should prosecute those who commit infanticide, this “rabid anti-abortion advocate” will provide an answer: YES.  Intentional murder is intentional murder, regardless of how many people are committing the crime. Were 1/3 of people committing rape, would that mean we should not punish those who rape? Absolutely not! The number of people committing a crime has no bearing on whether or not something is illegal.

I really hope the letter writer made a mistake in her statistic that one-third of women in this country will have an abortion. Otherwise, may God have mercy on our souls.

A Reading From Hell’s Bible to the Progressives

January 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Various excerpts from a New York Times editorial written by Nicholas  D. Kristof about the Catholic hospital and nun who recommended a woman get an abortion, with commentary:

“Yet the person giving Jesus the heave-ho in this case was not a Bethlehem innkeeper. Nor was it an overzealous mayor angering conservatives by pulling down Christmas decorations. Rather, it was a prominent bishop, Thomas Olmsted, stripping St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix of its affiliation with the Roman Catholic diocese.

The hospital’s offense? It had terminated a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. The hospital says the 27-year-old woman, a mother of four children, would almost certainly have died otherwise.”

In this passage, the writer is trivializing the seriousness of abortion. Regardless of the reasons for engaging in this evil action, a willful act of infanticide is always infanticide. The Church’s teaching on this matter is clear, and has been reaffirmed throughout the centuries, from the Lord’s commandment not to kill, to the writings of the early Church Fathers, to the words of the modern Holy Fathers and bishops of today.  Obviously this was a very delicate and difficult situation for anyone to be faced with. However, it is not for us to play God and take it upon ourselves to decide whether the life of the mother or the child is more important. Every effort should be made to save both, but we must ultimately put our faith in God when all options have been exhausted, and not take the place of God by killing one life because we think one or both may be in danger. When there are no other options, we must rely upon the divine mercy of God as to what will transpire. A difficult situation like this does not give one free reign to murder.

“Now the bishop, in effect, is excommunicating the entire hospital — all because it saved a woman’s life.”

This is not correct. The bishop has stripped the hospital of its Catholic title and no longer permits Mass to be celebrated on its premises not because it “saved a woman’s life,” but because the hospital was an accomplice to murder. I don’t believe the “entire hospital” was excommunicated, as this writer suggests, but only those who had a significant hand in the abortion. Additionally, the excommunication was incurred latae sententiae, which means that it happened automatically when the event took place. This is detailed in Canon 1398. It was not by the bishop’s hand that the excommunication took place, but by the hands of the parties involved with the abortion.

“The main consequence is that Mass can no longer be said in the hospital chapel. Thomas C. Fox, the editor of National Catholic Reporter, noted regretfully that a hospital with deep Catholic roots like St. Joseph’s now cannot celebrate Mass, while airport chapels can.”

I am not aware of airports procuring abortions.

“To me, this battle illuminates two rival religious approaches, within the Catholic church and any spiritual tradition. One approach focuses upon dogma, sanctity, rules and the punishment of sinners. The other exalts compassion for the needy and mercy for sinners — and, perhaps, above all, inclusiveness.”

I hardly consider it compassionate for a person to put anther’s immortal soul in danger by encouraging them to commit murder. Where is the compassion in that? We too often think about making others feel good in this life that we neglect what affect this desire to placate may have on our neighbor’s eternal life. If we have a friend who is engaging in sodomy and wishes to enter into a homosexual “marriage”, do we remain silent or even support these actions in the spirit of inclusion and wanting the other person to be happy? Rather, shouldn’t we demonstrate true compassion, and inform the person that they are putting their soul in peril by engaging in sinful behavior?

“The thought that keeps nagging at me is this: If you look at Bishop Olmsted and Sister Margaret as the protagonists in this battle, one of them truly seems to me to have emulated the life of Jesus. And it’s not the bishop, who has spent much of his adult life as a Vatican bureaucrat climbing the career ladder. It’s Sister Margaret, who like so many nuns has toiled for decades on behalf of the neediest and sickest among us.

Then along comes Bishop Olmsted to excommunicate the Christ-like figure in our story. If Jesus were around today, he might sue the bishop for defamation.”

If Jesus were around today, he might sue this New York Times writer for defamation! The progressives (Catholic or otherwise) are constantly manipulating the true Jesus Christ so as to make Him into who they want Him to be; an amalgamation of Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King. The fact of the matter is that this is/was not Christ! A careful reading of the Bible will reveal that our Lord was a fiery preacher who admonished sinners, called all peoples to repentance regardless of how much they had sinned and to what nation they belonged, and reproved hypocrites who manipulated the law and failed to follow their own manipulations. Jesus was warm, fuzzy, and loving, make no mistake, but He was also firm, truthful, and faithful.

Sr. Margaret deserves no comparison to Christ because Christ did not, and would not condone murder. I am also struck by how the author seems to suggest that the Sister has done good for others while the bishop has done nothing but enforce Church laws. Does this writer know every detail of the bishop’s life which would enable him to prove that Bishop Olmstead never cared for the “neediest and sickest among us”? Let us not be so quick to exalt those who flaunt their good works (think Callan) while condemning those who chose to help others quietly (think Pope Pius XII).

Feel free to read the entire article. There is plenty of nonsense to be found.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion….

January 22nd, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

have mercy on us and on the whole world.

For those who have the stomach for it, here is the Grand Jury Report in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case mentioned in my post below. In short, this is the case of a Pennsylvania doctor who has been performing abortions for twenty years under the most squalid conditions and in violation of countless health care regulations and laws.  He has been charged with 8 counts of murder including the killing of babies born alive in  the late stages of pregnancy by “snipping the spinal cord” of these babies.  Horrifically, one worker commented that she played with and admired one of the babies before she then killed it.  Lord, have mercy!  It makes me sick to even contemplate.

And babies were not the only ones to suffer in this house of horrors.  As the report notes:

The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and on two occasions, caused two of their deaths.

This report should shake all of our consciences.  Fact after fact reveals the monstrosity of this man’s actions and the actions of his employees.  But then, why am I or anyone else surprised?  This is the culture we live in.  Our law protects the “right” to kill children and we have protected it for over 30 years to the tune of 50 million dead children.  Already we have pro-abortion apologists saying this story isn’t really about abortion, but about regulatory oversight.  Yet the Grand Jury report acknowledges:

Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all.   The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro.  With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

Got that?  They didn’t want to put up any barriers to abortion so they decided to forgo any inspections!  They couldn’t have any infractions found because they might impede access to this heinous procedure.  There is plenty of blame to go around in this case as the report reveals.  The State regulatory agencies received complaint after complaint about this so-called “physician” but each time the department of health dismissed them as “meaningless” and found no “pattern of misconduct.”  It didn’t matter that Gosnell had paid out millions of dollars to women damaged by one of his abortion procedures, the department turned a blind eye all to ensure that access to abortion was maintained.

The examples in this report are simply mind-numbing.   At one point the department of  public health received a complaint about the storage of dead babies in the employees’ lunch refrigerator.  Even though the inspector found numerous public health violations, no further actions were taken and Gosnell’s clinic was allowed to continue its horrific slaughter of babies.  One public health employee filed several reports outlining the horrible conditions of the clinic yet they somehow disappeared “into a blackhole.”  More evidence that the State was more interested in facilitating abortion than in protecting the women the clinic was serving.

The report concludes the following:

Bureaucratic inertia is not exactly news.  We understand that.  But we think this was something more.  We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities and because the subject was the political football of abortion.

The case is most definitely and primarily about abortion –  and the lengths our culture goes to to protect it.

Wesley J. Smith’s take.

The Anchoress chimes in with some very good questions particularly about the media coverage of the case.

William Saletan talks about “pro-choice absolutism” and how no abortion is a bad abortion to some (even 2nd and 3rd trimester ones)!

Michelle Malkin minces no words.