Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Irish vote shows need for new pro-life strategy

People from the "Yes" campaign react after the final result was announced in the Irish referendum on the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution at Dublin Castle, in Dublin, Ireland, on May 26, 2018. Ireland appeared to move away from its conservative Roman Catholic roots and embrace a more liberal view as voters repealed a constitutional ban on abortion. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

People from the “Yes” campaign react after the final result was announced in the Irish referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution at Dublin Castle, in Dublin, on May 26, 2018. Ireland appeared to move away from its conservative Roman Catholic roots and embrace a more liberal view as voters repealed the constitutional ban on abortion. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(RNS) — The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that the pro-life movement needs a new strategy. Trying to preserve anti-abortion laws or trying to reverse the legalization of abortion is simply not working.

In almost every country where abortion has been on the ballot, abortion has won. Rarely have pro-choice laws been reversed. This trend is not going to change. To think otherwise is simply ignoring reality.

The American pro-life movement still holds out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, but even if that does happen, most Americans will still live in states where abortion is legal. Those who don’t will be able to travel to a state where it is, just as Irish women have long traveled to Britain.

The reality is that most Americans think that abortion should be legal even if they think it is immoral. There is no indication that this thinking will change. In fact, opinion is moving in the opposite direction, thanks to the attitudes of younger generations. The Pew Research Center shows Americans under 50 are more likely than their elders to support abortion in all or most cases. Likewise, in Ireland, younger people voted more strongly to change the law. Time is on the side of the pro-choice movement.

If making abortion illegal is an impossible goal, what should be the pro-life strategy for the foreseeable future?

The answer is simple and obvious: Work to reduce the number of abortions.

When women are asked why they are having an abortion, the main reasons given are that having a baby would interfere with their education, their work or their ability to care for the children they are already raising, or that they simply cannot afford another child at the time.

Pro-life activists must take these reasons into consideration when developing a new strategy.

Pro-life advocates should strongly support programs that give women a real choice — increasing the minimum wage, free or affordable day care for working and student moms, free or affordable health care for mothers and their children, parental leave programs, education and job-training programs, income and food supplements, etc.

In short, the pro-life movement must support any program that lessens the burden on mothers and their children.

No longer should Republicans be allowed to call themselves pro-life if they vote down programs that would help mothers and their children. In the early 1990s, Republicans in the New Jersey Legislature voted not to increase benefits for women on welfare if they have additional children. Thus, a mother with two children would have to take care of three with no increase in support. The consequences were quick and predictable: an increase in the number of abortions among women on welfare.

If abortion is never going to be illegal, pro-lifers must consider voting for candidates, even pro-choice Democrats, who will reduce the number of abortions by supporting programs that help mothers and their children. It is no accident that the number of abortions went down during the two most recent Democratic administrations, according to the CDC. (Clinton: 1,330,414 abortions in 1993 to 857,457 in 2000; Obama: 789,217 in 2009 to 652,639 in 2014).

Pro-life voters must choose between Republican rhetoric and Democratic results.

Churches must also step up. In today’s world, an unwed woman willing to give birth should be treated as a hero, not a whore. She is not the only unmarried woman in her age group who got pregnant, let alone the only person having sex. Yet, she is the one brave enough to choose life. Shame on the Pharisees who try to shame her.

Schools, too, must do more to help these women. Universities today talk much about diversity, but one of the most underrepresented groups on campuses is single mothers. Universities, especially Catholic universities, must design programs and housing to meet their needs. Such programs would benefit not only the mothers and their children but also other students. Perhaps they’d learn that “it takes a dorm to raise a child.”

Besides supporting programs to help mothers and children, the pro-life movement also has to support birth control as a means of avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Planned pregnancies do not get aborted; many unplanned pregnancies do.

Those who consider artificial contraception to be wrong must also recognize that abortion is a greater evil. When forced to choose, one must choose the lesser of two evils.

The contraceptive mandate of the Obama administration will do more to reduce the number of abortions than all of the legislative gimmicks of Republican legislators. If European Catholic institutions can pay money into national health programs that perform abortions, then American Catholic employers can pay for insurance programs that pay for birth control.

And while I would be happy to see Planned Parenthood put out of business, closing clinics that provide health care and birth control to women before replacements are up and running is irresponsible and counterproductive.

The goal of supporting mothers and children and decreasing the number of unplanned pregnancies should receive bipartisan support. While many people doubtless support these programs as ends in themselves, there is no reason the pro-life movement should not support them as means of reducing abortions.

The number of abortions in the United States peaked in 1990 at 1,429,247. Working together, we could reasonably get abortions down to under 100,000 per year — far too many, but an achievable goal and better than where we are today.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

654 Comments

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  • Moral and intellectual confusion coming from the catholic side. Quelle surprise.

    Gotta change your strategy? So being moral harpies hasn’t worked? Demanding authority oVer the intimate Iives of other people hasn’t worked? Refusing to provide actual alternatives to abortion hasn’t worked? Quelle surprise.

    Birth control is evil, but not as evil as abortion? Glad to hear that taking a pill, or using a condom, is evil— absent any moral standards but those of the Catholic Church. I’m still trying to find where Jesus said “no condoms”. But so far, no luck. Quelle surprise.

    And the kicker? Abortions go down in democratic administrations, up in Republicans. It’s almost as if the republicans don’t have, and never had had, the slightest interest in doing anything about abortion, any more Han they do about the deficit. It’s almost as if it’s allrhetoric to accrue power and votes and money. Quelle surprise.

    “And while I would be happy to see Planned Parenthood put out of business, closing clinics that provide healthcare and birth control to women before replacements are up and running is irresponsible and counterproductive.” So you want planned parenthood out of business, but that won’t happen. And who will replace them, but the people who will offer the same services to the people who want them?

  • So the strategy is to pretend to be “pro-life” while doing everything and everything BUT working for legal protection for the most innocent among us. That’s nothing but capitulation in the face of evil.
    The truth remains the truth whether spoken or not. We might as well speak it without compromise or exception whatever the cost.

    Abortion destroys the life of the most helpless and innocent among us. A nation, culture, or society that disregards this undeniable and fundamental truth does so at its own peril. The consequences may not be fully appreciated for a generation or so, but there will be a sorry reckoning one sad day.

    Ultimately its not about a winning “strategy”. It’s about Truth.

  • What Fr. Thomas Reese says about the failure of the “pro-life” strategy of American Christians makes eminent sense. But the vast majority of U.S. “pro-life” Christians will NOT ACCEPT this analysis and recommendations — because they are not pro-life at all.

    The vast majority of “pro-life” U.S. white Christians — the people who put the current occupant of the White House into office — are anything but pro-life in any real and meaningful sense.

    They are “pro-life” as a sentimental slogan to define themselves over against “liberals” and Democrats. If being pro-life and diminishing abortions means providing healthcare coverage for needy people and making contraceptives available, they’ll fight tooth and nail vs. this.

  • Sadly, very sadly, Father Reese is fighting a losing battle in a losing war. Before long, there will be the “smaller, holier Church” attended only by REAL CATHOLICS. It is as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who wallow in their own righteousness.”

  • The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that Ireland is a former Catholic country.

    It also illustrates the theological version of Gresham’s law – bad theology drives out good, and in almost every country where abortion, free anything, or something perceived as fun has been on the ballot, the lowest common denominator has won.

    Wise members of the American pro-life movement not only do not hold out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse Roe v. Wade, but hope that never happens. From that point forward nominations to the SCOTUS will be ground zero of a battle that should be taking place at the grass roots.

    The appropriate and correct approach is to pass a constitutional amendment restricting the SCOTUS to interpreting law rather than making it.

    It took from 1789 to 1865 to accomplish that, and only after a Civil War and the imposition of approval of the amendment as condition of reentry to the Union for former Confederate states.

    Nor does this have a thing to do with “‘pro-life’ U.S. white Christians being anything but pro-life in any real and meaningful sense”, i.e., not voting for the Democratic Pary and its platform. That party and that platform are part of the problem, not the solution.

    Most Americans think that abortion should be legal but highly restricted, and opinion is moving towards more favorable opinions on restrictions. Those who support abortion in all or most cases tend not to reproduce, while those who oppose abortion are more likely to have large families. Thus time is on the side of the pro-life movement.

    Diluting that focus by redirecting itself towards social programs simply prolongs the inevitable, which requires a focus just like that of the abolitionists or like the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who ended each and every speech with “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam” (“Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed”. And it was.

    And so will abortion be destroyed, but not with a contraceptive mandate and playing footsies with the heathens.

  • The only confusion from the Catholic side is that of Thomas Reese, who once again illustrates why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith pressured for his resignation as editor of “America”, which has since become everything he wished it would and worse.

  • The Catholic Church is increasing in membership, not decreasing.

    It is the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and other liberal denominations who are hemorrhaging members.

  • I suggest you pursue your own opinion column or maybe a blog. Your prodigious purple prose and incising counterfactuals are wasted in a comments section in the backwaters of the internet.

  • We govern by the vote of the people not opinion polls, which in any event show little support for the extremism of abortion on demand, which is the current state of U.S. law. In other nations which have approved abortion by legislation, it is limited by some degree or another. The U.S., in which abortion was imposed by judicial fiat, is the only Western nation which legalizes, in practical effect, abortion on demand through nine months of pregnancy.

  • I agree, alwayspuzzled. His suggestions outline steps that would actually reduce the number of abortions. Those who oppose him clearly don’t care aout that. They want power over women — at any cost.

  • If it is good enough for Thomas Reese, it is good enough for me.

    I already had my moments of glory in times past.

  • Reducing abortions is terrific but a secondary goal only. It’s no substitute for a commitment to protect all innocent life. In hindsight, would merely reducing slavery have been considered sufficient. How about subjecting fewer people to mass murder or genocide or starvation? Promoting a living wage, better infant care, commitment to parenting, are all laudable goals. They can and should be promoted on their own merit. But assuming they’ll impact abortion rates without insisting on legal protection for the innocent unborn is a fantasy.

    The larger issue is disrespect for life itself. It takes shape in many forms. A world which fails to protect the most innocent and helpless among us, cannot be trusted to protect anyone. On what conceivable moral principle will a nation, culture, society, or people, protect one class of the vulnerable be they women and children, the elderly, refugees, ethnic minorities and the life, if they are determined, in the name of “human rights”, to insist on the “right” to eliminate those who are the very most vulnerable? And abortion is being promoted as a fundamental human right. Is it or isn’t it? Sidestepping by calling for “other means to reduce” abortion is simply to engage in denial as to what’s at stake.

    Reduction in abortions occurs by education as to the the undeniability of life in the womb. The reason pro-abortion advocates hate making ultrasounds available prior to an abortion is that the second victim, the mother, becomes aware that indeed she is on the verge of terminating a human life. Second, fewer can deny the violent nature of the murderous procedure itself.

    In summary, there is no substitute for facing the matter directly. In the short run, it may not make one politically or socially popular. So what? Considering what’s ultimately at stake there can be no compromise.

  • I see that as always you are puzzled.

    That is a common side-effect of Chlorpromazine, along of course with the infamous “Thorazine Shuffle”.

  • Your correspondent misrepresents the polls, about which I share your assessment.

    Support for abortion on demand has dropped and continues to drop, the majority of Americans consider it immoral, and also consider late-term abortions abhorrent.

    On the other hand they are wont to ban abortions in cases of rape, incest, and under-age females.

    And, yes, we need to rein in the SCOTUS, which seems to have crowned itself and assumed new powers.

  • You missed his point – innocent until proven otherwise.

    If they are not innocent, of what are they guilty?

  • Let’s zero in on Ireland, though, where Catholicism is pretty much dead lately. In fact, whereas “in 1983, when the Eighth Amendment was voted in, 80 percent to 90 percent of Irish citizens attended weekly Masses … today, that figure is down to 20 percent to 30 percent.”

    Source: Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, “Ireland Votes to End Abortion Ban, in Rebuke to Catholic Conservatism”, New York Times, May 26, 2018.

  • Thanks, ‘Thomas’ for your views on what rights women should and shouldn’t have. As a male I am horified that some would use religious beliefs to deny a woman who was raped the morning after pill and force a woman to carry a headless malformed fetus to term. No, a fertilized egg and headless fetus are not children and should not be afforded legal rights. You want to make abortion illegal for a viable fetus or at the point an embryo has brain tissue. – fine. Most every voter with an ounce of common sense understands religious zealotry and do not want it as a basis for law.

  • Yes, while the Catholic Church is increasing in membership worldwide, EVERY denomination in Western Europe is tanking, including in Ireland. That’s the result of Western Europe following the sort of advice Thomas Reese is peddling.

    The same is happening in the UK:

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/06/2067-the-end-of-british-christianity/

    Thus I began my first post with

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/religionnews/irish_vote_shows_need_for_new_pro_life_strategy/#comment-3920255480

    “The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that Ireland is a former Catholic country.”

    So calling it a “Rebuke to Catholic Conservatism” is nonsense.

  • Jesus also said not to judge others and to pray in private. When you stop ‘interpreting’ and start following his teachings as he gave them you might have some credibility. Until then you are smug, self-righteous hypocrites.

  • HEAR HEAR – “The overwhelming vote in Ireland in favor of allowing access to abortion shows that Ireland is a former Catholic country.”

    My judgment, exactly.

    (What will Pope Francis do about this when he visits Ireland this summer, is a religious thriller, indeed.)

  • “For years, two truisms dominated coverage of the US Catholic Church: about one quarter of the population is Catholic and each year at Easter, Catholics entering the church offset those leaving it.

    “But new data suggests a new story.

    “A report released Tuesday by the Pew Forum finds that the total number of Catholics in the United States dropped by 3 million since 2007, now comprising about 20 percent – or one-fifth – of the total population.

    “And perhaps more troubling for the church, for every one Catholic convert, more than six Catholics leave the church. Taken a step further, Catholicism loses more members than it gains at a higher rate than any other denomination, with nearly 13 percent of all Americans describing themselves as ‘former Catholics.'”

    https://cruxnow.com/church/2015/05/12/pew-survey-percentage-of-us-catholics-drops-and-catholicism-is-losing-members-faster-than-any-denomination/

  • The Pew Forum’s track record at calling shots is less than spectacular.

    However, world-wide the Catholic Church continues to grow, more than offsetting losses in Western Europe and the USA.

    I suppose you noted that it missed you altogether, since you don’t describe yourself as a “former Catholic” despite being one.

  • Our friend used the term ‘innocent’. Let’s give him/her the opportunity to respond.

  • So I take it you are for banning condoms in Ireland again? Or as was the case in America requiring a woman’s husband to agree she get the pill? You think a microscopic fertilized egg has the same rights as the woman raped and she should be forced to accept the pregnancy? Women with a malformed headless fetus must carry this monstrosity to term. This is why you lose … you take your religious views to an absurd, absolute degree. Argue against abortions for normal pregnancies after the fetus has brain development … logical. But using the law to control others because you are convinced in your arrogance you are God’s emissaries? Not so much.

  • I do not believe Pope Francis can do anything about it.

    These pendulums swing over generations, not years.

    And it is not an Irish issue – it is a Western European issue which Benedict XVI noted more than once, and which is causing increasing friction between Eastern Europe and Western.

  • The point is self evident except to those who have difficulty assimilating basic concepts. Would you have trouble explaining why slaves were human beings rather than mere property?

    What harm have they done? Whom have they harmed? Whom do they threaten? Except for the inconvenience of their existence what marks them as a target?

  • “Reducing abortions is terrific but a secondary goal only. It’s no substitute for a commitment to protect all innocent life.”

    So, what do you propose as an alternative to protect all life?

  • “The point” is not “self-evident”. Using your illustration, a slave is a human being, but this reality does not address ‘innocence’.

    (FYI, I condemn abortion unless absolutely necessary to save the woman’s life.)

  • “The Pew Forum’s track record…blah, blah, blah.” Typical you.

    So you live in Africa where the Church of Rome is growing? What’s that got to do with the cost of forks in Timbuktu?

    I’m as much a Catholic as are you — even if you prefer to think otherwise. I just know more about the Church of Rome and Catholic tradition than do you.

  • Let’s not forget, too, that God is the biggest abortionist of them all. God is simply more discreet.

  • Then you have the same problem with me you have with him.

    In order to be not-innocent you have to be culpable/guilty.

    If you are not free to make decisions, or capable of making decisions, you cannot be culpable or guilty.

    By definition the unborn, therefore, are innocent.

    So, you either provide some sort of fact(s) supported by an argument to defeat the innocence of the fetus, or you slink off quietly.

  • He says Only innocent life is going to be protected. The real question is, who gets to decide who is innocent? And what does Mr. C. Think abut capital punishment, Islam, our incessant wars, the holocaust, and other items of life and death.

  • The Catholic Church is growing.

    No, you do not know more about the Catholic Church and tradition than I do, or in fact more than most upper class high school students in a good Catholic school do.

  • And, of course, as the Author of all law God is not committing a sin or crime.

    Unless you’re arguing that abortionists are God, then, “God is the biggest abortionist of them all” goes essentially nowhere.

  • That “microscopic federalized egg” is a distinct human being with DNA all its own. You were once such a tiny human being. Does size determine humanity and worthiness to live? Does physical malformation or disability make one unworthy of life? Why is such a human being less worthy of existence than you? Killing is easy once the humanity of the victim is denied.

    And if “control [of] others” is such a great concern how can you stand idly by in the face of the most extreme of all such “control”, termination of life itself, on the mere say so of one who finds such life to be inconvenient or who stands to profit? Control doesn’t get any more extreme or brutal than that.

  • Or best yet, forget the entire notion of expecting abortion to be declared illegal and simply take the actually moral high road (as opposed to the fetus worshiping one) and simply learn to respect the choices of others concerning their own bodies. Even if one does not agree with them.

    At this point religious conservatives have so obsessed over the futile attempt to ban abortion they have been willing to fall for all sorts of grifting by empty promises for it. It gets the “values voters” to vote for people bereft of actual values, it gets the poor and working class to vote for people who attack their lives and economic interests. Its a good scam for conservative politics.

  • I can’t say you’re wrong (re: “power over women”), but I think these types don’t want to provide *costly* help to pregnant women in some kind of need (obstetrical, psychological, etc.). It would involve raising taxes and taking money from military contractors.

  • I did what you asked and provide an answer to your question. Please offer a counterargument to the notion that an unborn child stands wholly innocent before those who would claim a right to destroy its life.

  • Adherence to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. That would be a great start. I’d be happy to hear your own views on the matter since I’m guessing you have some yourself.

  • Great questions! If the article was about those topics I might choose to weigh in. I’ll stick to the subject matter at hand.

  • “to protect all innocent life”

    With that phrase you have made clear your complete and total lack of respect for the lives of women. “Innocent life” is worthy of protection to you. But not the lives of those women who may consider terminating their pregnancy.

    They are “guilty” and deserving of the fate which befalls those who have to deal with unsafe or dangerous conditions to make their choice.

    In all your talk of “unborn victims” you fail to recognize that a fetus is inside a living, breathing, person with a life and choices of their own which are not ever subject to your control or opinio.n.

    “The reason pro-abortion advocates hate making ultrasounds available prior to an abortion is that the second victim”

    Or more honestly and less narcissistically, because it is medically unnecessary, painfully invasive and rather patronizing of you to think that women do not know what is inside them or what their choices really are. Because you naturally know better than all of them.

    There is an undercurrent of arrogance and contempt in your post. You assume that all women must be answerable to you for personal choices involving their body. It is why you emphasize a fetus entirely and ignore the existence of her for all intents and purposes.

    “Second, fewer can deny the violent nature of the murderous procedure itself.”

    I certainly do. It is hardly murderous. One has to be born to be murdered.

  • That of course is preposterous unless you take a death occurring as a matter of nature taking its course ( miscarriage, stillbirth etc.) to be comparable with direct action in choosing to take an innocent life.

  • Its how moral relativists that call themselves moral absolutists deal with the fact that the fount of morality doesn’t seem to have any morals..

  • So, you think that “adherence to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church” is a practicable alternative to protect all human life? (My key word is “practicable”.)

  • Here is the real question here. Why do you think a woman is unworthy of personhood? You labor under the assumption that a woman’s body is yours to command and that her choices are yours to approve.

    Nowhere in your spiel is any idea that you should have any authority over the lives of all women and the choices concerning what goes on in their bodies.

    A fetus is less worthy of existence to a mother unwilling to carry it to term because it is in her body and lives entirely at her will. It is not a choice you will ever have to make nor is it one you have a part of. You arrogantly assume that you have a right and mastery over all women in this regard. As if they all must answer to you for such choices. In reality, you do not. Nor ever should.

    “Control doesn’t get any more extreme or brutal than that.”

    Boo hoo. Its not your body. It is not your choice. You want to control the bodies of women and treat them like your personal property. There is nothing moral in such ideas.

  • They are teachings of the Catholic Church but they are not moral instruction. Moral instruction would start with a notion of respect for all lives. Not just the ones you deem “innocent”.

  • Indeed an abortionist is one who takes deliberate action and chooses to terminate an innocent life. Permitting death to happen by allowing nature to take its course is of course of a wholly different moral category. Hence a fair case can be made that, preposterous as it is, you did make such an accusation against almighty God. Doing so with full knowledge and consent is a grave sacrilege.

  • “Would you have trouble explaining why slaves were human beings rather than mere property?”

    That is an interesting analogy since your stance involves treating women as chattel property slaves. Having complete control over their bodies and choices with no regards to their thoughts.

  • Is an unborn child no different than a deranged person imminently threatening the life of an ordinary bystander?

  • Of course you will. Except You very much indicated but the issue is about and that is power

  • We do not subject civil liberties to a majority vote at all. All discriminatory laws are passed by majority vote and still declared invalid. What you call “judicial fiat” is just moaning about how weak the legal argument for banning abortion really is. When one lacks an argument on the merits, they whine about the power of the judiciary. Sour grapes grousing unworthy of taking seriously.

  • Abortions can be natural or induced.. Does a natural abortion involve the destruction of an innocent human being?

  • Still waiting to hear any views of your own. Will they ever be forthcoming? Or is it too much fun to play inquisitor?

    To answer your question yes. Much like adhering to the moral teaching against sexual intimacy outside of marriage is the best way to ensure that out of wedlock births are as low as possible. Of course one must first surrender one’s pride and innate desire to play “god” of the “universe” of one’s own mind? It’s what tempts most folks to fashion themselves as “free thinkers”. Being ultimately accountable only to oneself, one’s subjective opinions, desires, feelings, thoughts, and instincts, is an attractive alternative to many when compared to a humble acknowledgement that one is a sinner in need of repentance and redemption.

  • “Permitting death to happen by allowing nature to take its course is of course of a wholly different moral category.”

    How does one know that “nature [has taken] its course” in an abortion?

  • You directed your “who decides” observation to Joseph J., and mentioned me in connection with specific enumerated issues. Is

    innocence that complicated of a concept? Grab a good dictionary for starters. I imagine “without blame” or some such would be a good answer. The question isn’t so much “who is innocent” but who gets to decide who’s “guilty” and of what charge? Hence apropos to a discussion of abortion, what exactly is the unborn child “guilty” of so as to merit death?

  • I’ve shared my view of abortion: I condemn it unless it is absolutely necessary to save the woman’s life.

    You’ve shared an ideal view of what is necessary to protect all human life. We are not dealing with the ideal but with reality. Hence, my use of the word ‘practicable’. It can sometimes happen that “baby steps” are necessary to try to reach the practical goal, i.e., protecting all human life.

    I’ve no problem with everyone holding the Catholic teaching on abortion (modified to allow exceptions to protect a woman’s life). Aside from offering us an ideal, how/where would you start?

  • I can’t quite grasp the point of your response of 15 or so minutes ago. Is that a question or an answer to my prior question veiled as yet another question of your own.

    As to the point of innocence, ctually Bob below beat me to it. What is so blasted hard to grasp about the concept of “innocence”? Find a good dictionary. No doubt “without blame” or some such notion will be provided as a definition. Hence please suggest something of which the innocent unborn child would be “guilty” so as to merit death?

  • I’ve read it along with its companion case Doe v Bolton. Have you read both? Evidently not. The latter held that in the second and third trimester a state could not must but could, regulate but not forbid abortion only in so far as mandating that they be done in a hospital or surgical center, or as to the third trimester, only done when the “health” of the mother required it. In the context of the decision, “health” included virtually anything, including a psychological burden. It certainly doesn’t require a showing of only a serious threat to physical health and well being.

  • “The question isn’t so much ‘who is innocent’ but who gets to decide who’s ‘guilty’…”

    Is this the matter of “guilt” or “innocence” the question?

  • To put the question another way, is the unborn child capable of moral discernment?

  • I think that the analogy to slavery is a false one — for a myriad reasons, so I won’t address it.

    I believe that a respect for life i best shown by respecting of those who are already alive. A callousness toward the needs of people who are in need is to me a clear indication of a lack of respect for life. When Republican legislators vote to cut funds for food stamps, or when they impose harsh requirements for access to public assistance of any kind, when school funds are cut, when there is no government subsidy for day care, when there is no universal free pre-K, when there are insufficient community supports for families, when insufficient money is allocated for drug- and alcohol-dependence rehab, all so that people who have more than they need won’t have to pay higher taxes — when all of this happnes, life is not being respected.

    I don’t understand how bringing unwanted children into the world benefits anyone, least of all the children in question.

    We ought to do much, much more, so that so many women do not see abortion as their only real choice. That, and only that, will prevent in any real way most of the abortions that occur.

  • “If you are not free to make decisions, or capable of making decisions, you cannot be culpable or guilty.”

    I agree.

    “By definition the unborn, therefore, are innocent.”

    We disagree.

  • There is no message. His comment doesn’t respond to reality, i.e. the result of the vote in Ireland. Instead the reader is treated to a magical mystery ride of barely related ideas. In effect, Tom A. Is saying, “I don’t like what happened, therefore here are a bunch of things I tell myself to feel better.”
    I’ll hand it to Tom A., though: at least his stream-of-conscience ideological hair ball of a comment avoided the typographically obscene all caps.

  • The issue here is abortion. That’s what was at issue in Ireland, and in this article. What you seem to be pondering are questions regarding the human person and when and where and why we decide to protect the human person from harm. Interesting in the abstract but hardly necessary to deal with the matters at hand in this article.

    We were already dealing with the “baby steps” that you spoke of. Ireland protected in law, the unborn. They had legal rights. That alone wouldn’t ensure them of life since there are many ways to evade the law. But it made clear that as a matter of policy, the unborn stood on the same legal footing as any other human being. That’s an excellent place to start. Sadly that footing has now been removed.

    Hence, as a matter of public policy, enshrining legal protection for the unborn would be an ideal “baby step”. If you’re asking “considering that we’ll never have legal protection for the unborn, what other “baby steps’ can be taken”; I would submit it won’t be a “baby step” that will be needed, but time. Time spent in a world set apart from God and Righteousness, and reaping the consequences. If Western man is denying God and the Natural Law He will have to reap those consequences. And beg for mercy. There are no “baby steps” that will sober us up at this point. Christ alone is the answer. It’s all or nothing for our civilization.

  • Just not in the USA.

    Prove that I know less than you about the Catholic Church and its tradition. Share your background as I’ve done in times past. Even if you have a doctorate in Catholic theology or related field, YOU HAVE NOT DEMONSTRATED you know more than I know. As I’ve reminded you more than once, I’ve presented 90-95 percent of the substantive information in our exchanges; you’ve provided 90-95 percent of the ad hominems.

    Stop concealing your background.

  • Assume not. What bearing does that have on “innocence”? I would submit absolutely none. Evidently you think otherwise or else I can’t conceive why you would have posed the question. And “without blame” is a perfectly good and practical understanding of innocence. Or do you think not? If not, why? What is left if one is blameless? How are they not innocent? Is there a third category you’d stick such a one in? Half blameless half guilty?

  • “[T]here are many ways to evade the law.”

    So law is not THE answer?

    “Hence, as a matter of public policy, enshrining legal protection for the unborn would be an ideal ‘baby step’.”

    If “there are many ways to evade the law”, what would “enshrining legal protection for the unborn” look like?

  • The unborn are already alive, Undeniably so. Were it otherwise abortion would hardly be problematic for anyone. And as to what benefits the unborn? Life itself for starters. But if you’re phrasing the issue in this manner:
    “I don’t understand how bringing unwanted children into the world benefits anyone, least of all the children in question”-

    I don’t know why you care about reducing abortion in the first place. If the greater good in your estimation is somehow benefitting unwanted children by having them killed, why would you care in the least about reducing abortions? I’d think you’d want to abort all the more.

    By contrast, the remedy for unwanted children isn’t to kill them. It’s to take responsibility for them, starting with the parents who gave them life. Where they are unable (not merely unwilling) certainly we have a safety net to help. But fathering children and then pretending they don’t exist is a grave evil and should be looked upon as a serious crime.

  • @what would “enshrining legal protection for the unborn” look like?”-
    A lot like the law the Irish just repealed.

    @” law is not THE answer?”
    Back to playing the inquisitor I see. I’ve already told you, or so I thought, they conversion of mind, heart, and soul is THE answer, though perhaps not in so many words, but I’d have though my reference to Catholic teaching would have made that point implicit enough for you. As a matter of public policy, there’s no substitute for legal protection of the unborn. Unless we’re truly at a point when the law of man is of no consequence.

  • You simply disagree. By personal Fiat. You offer no reasoning, Nothing, except your own will.

  • I can’t make sense out of this. Death occurs naturally. Or it occurs by human intervention. Do you get the distinction between a death by “natural causes” and one by “homicide”? If so and I’ll bet you do, you already fully understand the point though you’re pretending not to, for reasons known only to you.

  • A miscarriage or a stillbirth involves a death by natural causes. An induced abortion, as I’m sure you know, does not.

  • Good questions, thank you.

    I hold that the unborn child is neither innocent nor guilty. Why? Because s/he is incapable of moral discernment. In this respect, the unborn child is no different than the deranged individual posing imminent threat to you as an ordinary bystander. In a toxic pregnancy, the pregnant woman relies on trained personnel (doctor/s) to save her life, just as an innocent bystander relies on trained personnel (police) to save his or her life. In both cases, killing baby or deranged person is a last resort.

    Both scenarios involve self-defense.

  • Agree, but does a natural abortion involve the destruction of an innocent human being?

  • I think that they don’t want to provide any help to anyone in need. That, for me, is indicative of their lack of respect for life.

  • “A lot like the law the Irish just repealed.”

    Before the recent Irish vote, did the previous Irish constitutional amendment work?

  • A wart has distinct DNA. It isn’t a human being. A fertilized egg has the potential to become a human being but is not one. And to claim a malformed fetus with no head is worthy of life is madness.

  • As Thomas Reese points out, planned pregnancies rarely result in an abortion. I want all children to be born into families that will want them and love them.

    I don’t think that abortions are good. I think that if unwanted pregnancies were reduced through better access to contraception, through better sex education, to better education of all males, through better supports for families and for teens, then there would be far fewer unplanned pregnancies. Women who have abortions rarely have them for purposes of convenience. The women feel trapped by an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.

    Our society does not provide sufficiently for children who are born. The concern of way too many in the anti-abortion crowd is only with the fetus. Once the baby is born, their concern ceases. They are more concerned with cutting taxes and “restricting the reach of the government” than with supporting children, once the children are born.

  • I don’t believe in the spiteful callous god you describe, and don’t care about your opinion of “sacrilege”. I note that the previous poster is entirely accurate that God is the largest abortionist of all, intentionally ending more than half of all conceptions. I truly will never understand why some religions ascribe to God fault for all of the horrors in the world, without acknowledging that if He exists as they believe, then He is a monster.

    I simply do not believe a god as powerful and vastly superior to all people, is as petty, vengeful, and controlling as many churches that are based on control and threats of pinishment, make Him out to be. Nor do I believe in instantly appearing babies in cells more likely to be flushed by menses than to map creation of a baby.

    I am in strong agreement with the pastor that reducing abortions is a worthy goal. And I am in agreement with him that support of children and families is truly a respect for life. This so much more than efforts to force unwilling women to gestate unwanted pregnancies without adequate medical care and support for their families and themselves while they are compromised by the pregnancy and recovery, without the means to support a, or another, child, and at a cost of destroying their own chance to prepare themselves for a better life.

  • The obvious point is that DNA of the unborn child is distinct from that of the parents. It’s human being however regardless since DNA doesn’t determine humanity.

    Each and every “thing” is classifiable. The unborn exist. They are a whole entity. They are not inanimate. They are a “being”. As a “being” they are in their essence, of their very nature,”human”. No other description fits.

    There is no such thing as a “potential human being”. That’s an artificial construct used by those who wish to deny the unborn their humanity. It’s the equivalent of saying they are merely a “thing”, a non-entity which can be treated as property or garbage.

    If they exist, which they undoubtedly do, they must exist as that which is of their nature. And their nature is “human”. Nothing else. They won’t mature any adult life form other than human.

    The unborn are alive. They are of a human nature. They are a human being. They can’t be classified as a “thing” subject to whatever mistreatment one more powerful than they wishes to give them.

  • I’m not going to hunt through a long thread to find exactly what you think is apt. There are many posted comments of yours and I won’t presume which one’s may be applicable. If you care to repost it here I’ll be happy to take a look.

  • My response was proper in the context of my discussion with the person to whom it was directed. I’m not interested in a side discussion with you on what is essentially an extraneous topic.

  • Happy to oblige:

    I hold that the unborn child is neither innocent nor guilty. Why? Because s/he is incapable of moral discernment. In this respect, the unborn child is no different than the deranged individual posing imminent threat to you as an ordinary bystander. In a toxic pregnancy, the pregnant woman relies on trained personnel (doctor/s) to save her life, just as an innocent bystander relies on trained personnel (police) to save his or her life. In both cases, killing baby or deranged person is a last resort.

    Both scenarios involve self-defense.

  • The pro-life movement is the only one who cares about women in “problem pregnancies” and who makes an attempt to ease her way into motherhood. Anyone who cares to can learn of the resources they make available to woman before the birth of their child, and the help they give women, and there are many, who deeply regret their decision to abort. Women in these circumstances are offered nothing from abortion advocates except “help” in killing their child, after which the concern vanishes as they are left to pick up the pieces.

    Indeed children deserve loving mothers and fathers. The very most unloving thing a parent can do is deliberately harm their child. Abortion does so in the extreme. The solution is not the facilitate this harm but to discourage it by reminding all that the child is a helpless, innocent human being with innate rights, whether or not those rights have cognizance in the laws of the State. Their rights are fixed in the Natural Law, which a just State is bound to recognize, and an arrogant tyrannical one is apt to disregard for the sake of enhancing its own grip on unaccountable power. Once a human being exists they have these innate rights whether others find them convenient or not.

    You raise legitimate points of concern regarding unwanted or unplanned pregnancies but the solution is a real one, not an artificial one. The best way to ensure they don’t occur is to place life giving intimacy within marriage only. We badly need to affirm an ethic that recognizes that truth.

    Contraception, as presented to teens, is all but an invitation to engage in sex when they “feel its right for them”. Who of an impressionable age, wouldn’t place themselves within that category, especially young boys? And some forms of contraceptives, including the most common oral contraceptive, have abortifacient properties. If they fail to prevent conception, they operate to prevent implantation in the uterus by expelling the embryo.

    As to some of your last paragraph, the proper function of government is to support families so that they can in turn support themselves and their children. A high tax burden makes that more difficult. If the assumption is that the welfare state is better able to “support children” that’s a weak argument that history disproves. All such a state can do is provide a check, after of course paying off the bureaucrats in the various administrative agencies of government who have first crack at all tax money. And polls indicate that those on the left are far less generous with the personal wealth when it comes to supporting charity than their counterparts on the right.

  • All is good. I am not really interested in a conversation with you at all. However, i will note glaring failures of logic.

  • Yours is a bizarre theory of your own making. On what grounds save your own personal “fiat” is capability of moral discernment grounds for a determination of innocence or guilt? Can you cite any provision under the Catechism that recognizes such an understanding? Any teaching by any teacher faithful to the magisterium that would support such a view?

    Under Catholic understanding, a child is only presumed capable of sin at the age of 7 since at that point they are presumed to have reached the “age of reason”. Before such time are they “neither innocent or guilty”? If so why do they not potentially stand alongside with your deranged psychotic assailant? There have been a number of prominent cases where one parent or both has killed their child under what they claimed to be “duress”. The stress of parenting drove them insane. A clever though amoral defense attorney could use your line of reasoning to create a defense for his/her client on “self defense” grounds.

    And your moral assessment is off base. In a “toxic pregnancy” if certain procedures have only the indirect impact of causing the death of the unborn child they pose no moral dilemma, regrettable as they are. Only a procedure which directly intends to destroy the child is problematic under such dire circumstances. It is not necessary to willfully kill a child to save a mother. If she will die without a surgical procedure that involves for example a hysterectomy, my understanding is that she may undertake even though the baby will die, since death would occur once they mother died in any event.

  • You’re entitled to disagree.

    Unfortunately in this case doing so makes you look more than a little silly.

  • Of course the personhood of the mother is not at issue.

    No one in a society is free to act with 100% freedom all the time.

    As to a “fetus is less worthy of existence to a mother unwilling to carry it to term because it is in her body and lives entirely at her will”, we’ve been through this before.

    Old people in nursing homes live entirely at our will.

    All you’ve done is add “in her body” which adds no moral component at all except to back into the outcome you wish.

    And, btw, you were never able to define “personhood” in past discussions and I don’t expect you to be able to do so now.

  • What he seems to be making clear is that if we in societies, we can’t do any and every thing we wish 100% of the time.

    That is the sole power issue.

  • You’re falling into the trap that “William D. Lindsey” falls into.

    There is a “they” – in this case people who oppose legalized abortion, but it could be Gypsies, African-Americans, Chinese, American Indians, Jews, any “they” you happen to wish to beat on.

    “They” don’t want to provide any help to anyone in need.

    This, of course, disregards all the members of “they” who operate homes for unwed mothers, adopt, provide housing, and on and on.

    “They” are not our kind of people.

    It is the lowest type of argument available.

  • If the unborn is incapable of moral discernment, it is innocent. We can leave that issue behind.

    The notion that a fetus is the same as “the deranged individual posing imminent threat to you as an ordinary bystander”, more or less Judith Jarvis Thomson’s argument, is equally fallacious.

    The fetus is not an actor like the deranged individual.

    In defending our self against the deranged individual, we can only take sufficient action to stop the attack.

    In the case of the fetus there is no attack, and the only action contemplated is the end of the fetal life cycle.

    So, it is not self-defense.

  • The quickest way to reduce abortions is to stop having sex.

    The second way is mass sterilization.

    How do those two work for you?

  • So, you’re a wart?

    While warts like other DNA viruses begin as virions composed of DNA material, they are not per se life, nor do they have the potential to become anything beyond an infection.

  • If you don’t protect the right to exist in the first place, “respecting” those who are already alive seems rather callous and self-absorbed since it – and I am sure this is only coincidence – happens to include yourself.

  • Child abuse rates have increased since Roe v. Wade, which raises some questions about “born into families that will want them and love them”.

  • Of course power is your entire shtick, thus your “minority rights” trumping majority rules sans the beginning of any justification for doing so.

  • Do you mean the part in Roe v. Wade where “abortion was imposed by judicial fiat”?

  • All our actual data is that the morning after pill does nothing to fertilized eggs. It prevents an egg’s release. There’s speculation that it makes the uterus hostile to embryo implantation, but that’s based on the same 70 year old speculation about the BCP that hasn’t been demonstrated.

  • I haven’t done a study on the matter. My reasoned assumption would be that it worked far better than the absence of such a provision will work.

  • Nope. You don’t get to make those choices for others. The demonstrated BEST way to reduce abortion is to ensure affordable access to contraceptives, education, and societal support for families and children.

    You are welcome to live your beliefs. As this is not Iran or El Salvador, or any other dictatorial theological cess pool, you do not get to make those choices for others. If living in a free country offends you, there are plenty of countries that do share your beliefs.

  • Yeah, for all the talk about being pro-life, the anti-abortion crowd really doesn’t seem to care much about what happens to the life that they “save” by preventing a woman from getting an abortion. If they actually cared they would support the various programs mentioned in the original article.
    Of course, they don’t actually care if the child they “save” is raised in poverty by parents who didn’t want it. That’s life, and they’re “pro-life”.

  • Whether anyone gets to make those choices for others is a matter of law.

    At the point when a constitutional amendment removes the crowns from the SCOTUS, which is decades away, those will be matters for the states, which is where they resided until 1973.

    The democratic consensus was abortion in the cases of rape and incest was permitted.

    Access to contraceptives, education, and societal support for families and children are separate issues.

  • Enjoy those fascist fantasies. There is no support for your intent to throw out the Constitution.

    Moreover, even if you succeed st installing justices who have no regard for the Constitution and precedent, and overturn Roe, most stats will retain legal abortion. The demonstrated democratic consensus, in the US as in Ireland, is to respect the human rights and autonomy of all people, including the pregnant women you desire to indenture and force harmed.

    The factors that consistently reduc abortion most certainly are not separate issues.

  • It’s actually the content of the Constitution.

    It was Roe v. Wade which threw it out.

    The situation at that point in 1973 was the abortion on demand was not legal in the majority of states because the people did not want it.

    Currently the majority opinion is still opposed to abortion on demand without controls or limits.

    The fascism consists of the 1973 decision and every decision since which has enforced it against the will of the people acting through their legislatures.

  • It’s been 45+ years since Roe v Wade, and Republicans have accomplished what to reduce abortion? I joined the pro-life movement ca. 1975 and left it a few years later when it supported supposed GOP efforts to end abortion. Hah!

    In the meantime, I’ve broadened my perspective to understand that abortion will always be around, regardless, and that reducing it — a realistic goal — will ultimately depend on (a) helping women and families in need and (b) promoting respect for ALL life, a step facilitated in part by (a).

    “They” are folks who oppose abortion and help to the poor. Forty-five years of observation support this conclusion.

  • It is too bad that you have such contempt for the human rights of women recognized by the court, as is their constitutional duty. You demonstrate ignorance both of the Constitution and the meaning of the word fascism.

  • “Adherence to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church”

    If the Church had adhered to its own moral teachings, there would not have been the abuse cover-up and the Church would not be in the mess in which it currently finds itself.
    “Do as I say. not as I do” is not a very persuasive moral argument. It certainly did not work in Ireland.

  • A fetus is a direct and imminent threat to a woman’s health, and a certainty of severe injury, hospitalization, and often major surgery. Like the deranged individual, its incapability of intent does not change this threat. A woman indeed has an absolute human right to protect herself. This no matter the capability of intent of the threat, whether it be a person with intent to harm her, a deranged person with no capability to inderstamd his actions, an infectious organism, or a pregnancy.

  • The “right” that the SCOTUS fabricated from thin air not only had zero antecedents in Anglo-American law, it flew directly in the face of both everything that preceded it and the will of the people.

    It is no surprise that your side of the discussion does everything it can to avoid the democratic process while wearing a self-fabricated mantle of alleged “rights and autonomy of their fellow citizens”.

  • Neither party has done anything to reduce abortion because both parties are dedicated to politics and deflecting real change.

    Nothing further is going to happen without a constitutional amendment, the rest is eyewash.

  • It would appear the mother is a direct and imminent threat to the fetus’ life.

    The deranged individual is an actor, the fetus is not.

    You may be able to argue to the end you want in another direction, but self-defense is not going to fly.

  • I respond by paragraph:

    a. Innocence in moral theology presumes ability to make moral decisions (cf. CCC-1776 thru -1802).

    b. In light of (a), you are in error (but thanks for the name-drop).

    c. Whether “actor” or not, the fetus’ presence threatens mother’s life. While the deranged person *directly* does so, the fetus also does so in a physiologically complex way.

    d. True, but my analogy is also true: Sometimes it is necessary to kill the aggressor, whether unborn child or deranged individual. Last resort.

    e. “[N]o attack”? Of course, there is, one direct and the other physiologically complicated. The “action contemplated” is saving the woman or bystander’s life.

    f. Self-defense.

  • And now for some reality:

    o Bottom Line #1:

    The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions (one million/yr) and STDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly or use more reliable methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and STDs.

    Bottom line #2-

    Currently, a perfect barrier system does not exist. Time to develop one! In the meantime, mono-masturbation or mutual masturbation are highly recommended for heterosexuals who need a contraceptive. Abstinence is another best-solution but obviously the sex drive typically vitiates this option although being biological would it not be able to develop a drug to temporarily eliminate said drive?

  • The SCOTUS decision recognized the full human rights of women as full human beings, not disposable gestational utensils.

    I disagree that human rights are subject to majority opinion. Again, you demonstrate ignorance of the Constitution.

    Also, despite your claimed to the contrary, the younger generations of this nation, like those of Ireland, reject your misogynistic dogma and disregard for the human rights of others. As noted, even if you succeed at depositing incompetent zealots with no regard for the Constitution or precedent (and minimal legal knowledge or experience) in the SCOTUS, as the ignoramus in chief and syncophant Republican Congress has been doing in lower courts, and succeed at overturning Roe, the majority of states will not fulfil your fascist dreams.

  • a. The word “innocence” or its equivalent does not appear in CCC 1776-1802, which deals with the conscience.

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/innocence

    innocence – noun

    1 The state, quality, or fact of being innocent of a crime or offence.

    1.1 Lack of guile or corruption; purity.

    b. In light of (a) you are in error.

    c. In making this argument, you give up the argument of self-defense.

    d. Nor is it self-defense by analogy.

    e. It is not an attack, so this sophistry fails outright.

    g. It is not self-defense.

    This ends my interest in this pointless nonsense.

  • “The SCOTUS decision recognized the full human rights of women as full human beings, not disposable gestational utensils” is bit of political soapbox.

    It is a slogan, nothing more.

  • It is too bad for you that your opinion is not legally relevant.

    You disregard the humanity and human rights of the woman completely, ignoring her as a disposable gestational utensil. This while arguing for superior “rights” of the fetus, beyond the rights of all breathing, feeling, sentient people. You are arguing for the “rights” of a fetus to the body of another, to indenture, forcefully utilize, cause illness and disability, inflict severe injury and health and life risk, and to cause hospitalization and often major surgery, on an unwilling donor for its own sake. The fetus does not have superior “right” to that of all sentient people. The woman does retain human rights to protect herself fr harm, even following a positive pregnancy test. No contrary argument to either will legally “fly”.

  • It is a fact of law, based on the Constitution. No matter your disregard of them, women retain their full human rights even after a positive pregnancy test.

  • And your opinion is not legally relevant, either.

    The vacuousness of your position in the face of what abortion actually does, especially in the later parts of the pregnancy, is why public opinion is moving in the other direction.

    Reality trumps slogans every time, and hard cases make bad law.

    A constitutional amendment, to which there is no appeal, will trump all the legal arguments.

  • Actually it was not based on the Constitution. Read the opinion.

    It was based on preceding SCOTUS opinions.

  • Preceding SCOTUS decisions were based on the Constitution. You have not contradicted my point.

  • You ought to read the decisions.

    A previously unknown “right” to privacy was found in the “penumbra” of the Constitution some years earlier. It was not in the Constitution itself. Look up the word “penumbra”.

    It appears to mean “the imagination of a SCOTUS justice”.

    Roe v. Wade was in turn based on that fabricated “right”.

  • See CCC-1776 thru 1802, especially -1790 thru -1793. The idea of self-defense was suggested as a consideration in such cases by a moral theologian on a Catholic blog site. I adopted the line of reasoning because it makes sense.

    Neither unborn child nor deranged person, each of whom poses danger to another person, is capable of moral discernment. The church’s “age of reason” has no bearing. Yes, “a clever though amoral defense attorney could use [this] line of reasoning to create a defense for his/her client on ‘self-defense’ grounds.” This is why we have juries.

    Be leery of terms like “direct” and “indirect” in the abortion debate. When it comes to judging *intent*, the matter is not as simple as some folks might want it to be. For example, you write, “It is not necessary to willfully kill a child to save a mother.” What is the *direct intent*, to kill unborn child or save the mother? In any given abortion procedure, will the doctor find it necessary to “knife the child” or to do something else that results in death of child? Complicated, to say the least, especially for lay folk who have no training and professional experience dealing with toxic pregnancies.

  • Your claims of opinion moving “in the other” direction are wishful thinking, and slogan, simply not borne out by the reality of US legislative support. I agree reality trumps slogan. This is why the reality that civilized nations reject the misogyny and theocratic fascism you campaign, will continue to sideline your ambitions, just as it did in Ireland. Abortion is a fact of desperation resulting from unwanted and destructive pregnancy, of both married and unwed women. This regardless of the legality of abortion.

    This fact, and the fact that abortion rates are reduced by contraceptive access, education, available health care, and society support of children and families, will continue to trump the theological fascism you support. The logical and informed younger generations simply have no use for your personal desire for church power and control of the personal lives of others. You speak for a barbaric past that has been rejected by the civilized countries of the world.

    This power hungry version of Catholicism is why numbers are increasing only in third world despotic nations, and increasingly being rejected by the developed world. Pope Francis and Reverand Reese understand that the church must relinquish its power ambitions, and be a church of God, rather than power.

  • I see that along with knowing nothing at all about the Constitution or the history of Roe v Wade, you’re a name caller (“misogyny and theocratic fascism”) and an anti-Catholic (“power hungry version of Catholicism”).

    That figures.

  • Penumbra is the collective interpretation of the Constitution over dozens of decades, and does indeed recognize the human rights to determine ones own: family planning, health, and sexual choices, summed up by the Court as the right to privacy. Your personal disagreement does not erase the cited precedent and Constitutional foundations of the decision, nor the multiple other Constitutional enumerations and principles that recognize the full humanity and human rights of pregnant women. Nor does your personal disdain substantiateyour
    contention that the human rights of women are “made up”.

  • Thomas Reese, leave the Pharisees out of this. The Pharisees are not who you think they were. This is just Christian anti-Judaism. Calling someone a Pharisee should be a compliment, not an insult.

  • You do realize that despite your lying accusation, I did not call you any name, right? You seem to not understand what name calling is, even while whining about it. I’ll give you a hint. It is not criticism of your argument.

    I am opposed to the branch of Catholism devoted to power and control. I support the churches that promote the values of Christ of care for the poor, and support of humanity. I support Pope Francis. I support Reverend Reese. I support those like them. I oppose those whose ambitions are to control the personal lives of others.

    I have detailed the failure of your argument against Roe in another post.

  • “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself BUT WHICH HE MUST OBEY. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil,…” (CCC-1776; caps for emphasis).

    “Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. IT ALSO JUDGES PARTICULAR CHOICES, APPROVING those that are good and DENOUNCING those that are evil” (CCC-1777; caps for emphasis).

    “If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the EVIL COMMITTED BY THE PERSON cannot be IMPUTED to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience” (CCC-1793; caps for emphasis).

    “…Conscience includes the perception of the principles of morality (synderesis); their APPLICATION IN THE GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES by practical discernment of reasons and goods; and finally JUDGMENT ABOUT CONCRETE ACTS yet to be performed or already performed…” (CCC-1780; caps for emphasis).

    “Free me from my unknown guilt” (Ps. 19:13, as quoted by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his “Conscience and Truth”, accessible at http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/ratzcons.htm).

    Conscience means nothing if not applicable to human action. Unborn child and deranged person have no conscience, but their presence or action — direct or indirect — can have deadly consequences for mother and bystander.

    May self-defense be justifiably used for an abortion at times? I say “Yes”, and you reply “No”. We disagree.

    You write, “This ends my interest in this pointless nonsense.”

    Have it your way.

    .

  • And maybe we could start teaching males that sex is not something they are entitled to, and if they kept it in their pants, there could be a lot less hand-wringing about unplanned pregnancies.

  • The Catholic Church is intrinsically hierarchical.

    I think your ranting would go over a lot better with someone less familiar with the material than myself.

  • No, “penumbra” is not the “the collective interpretation of the Constitution over dozens of decades”. That’s stare decisis.

  • Thank you for this explanation of conscience.

    It makes clear that without conscience there can be no culpability or guilt, this innocence.

    I love it when others do my work for me.

  • In all fairness, I realize the word “worked” can be construed in more than one way. The previous Irish amendment in this sense likely “worked” in terms of numbers of births.

  • The Catholic Church has variability, from officials and parishes that promote and practice the teachings of Christ, to the power mongers who cover for sexual predators and human trafficers and who aim for the political influence of when an entire inhabited continent was granted to two Catholic theocracies to conquer and control.

  • Yet again you offer generalizations and pompous personal opinion, but offer no refutation to the specifically cited precedent cases spanning dozens of decades, either of Roe, or of the subsequent decisions affirming it.

  • Without conscience, there can be neither guilt nor innocence. Innocence, which applies to the person and not the act, presumes ability to judge right or wrong. Unborn child and deranged person cannot judge right or wrong.

    “I love it when others do my work for me.”

    You should, given all the work I’ve done for you during our exchanges.

  • You can’t refute a decision to which there is no appeal.

    All you can do is amend the Constitution.

    We are probably decades away from reaching that conclusion.

  • Your interest in what you have to say is much higher than my interest in what you have to say, which is why you’re doing the work.

  • My reference was to blocking you myself so that your missives don’t even show up on my screen.

  • Dear God, Fr. Tom. All this truth in one fell swoop is rather amazing. Stunning. Delightful.

    You are absolutely on target. If anyone wants to reduce the number of abortions, then do both these things:
    1) reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies (including supporting access to contraceptives) and
    2) make a choice to bear an unplanned child a reasonable choice for a woman to make.

    I am amazed. Your voice speaking reality and truth is badly needed, especially in the Catholic Church.

    God Bless you. Thank you.

  • I think you agree that to take away a women’s right to family planning by not providing contraception methods and safe and legal abortion is a denial of her human rights.
    Moral, but possibly not legal, justification for this is from the Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are declared to be inalienable rights.
    This in my opinion gives women the right to make that choice.

  • Savita Halappanavar. Her death is what happens when a woman has no choice, no voice, when she is treated like a cow. When we are “allowing nature to take its course”. When the very laws of a country deny her a voice in how her body is used, what risks the law requires her to take. There is a place too far in “protecting the unborn” and denying the humanity of a woman. That is what happened in Ireland and continues to happen in many other countries.

    Shades of The Handmaids Tale! We are not going back there. Not here and not where women have the vote.

    Fr. Reese has made the best recommendations that can be made. If you don’t want women to have abortions, then support access to effective contraceptives and make a choice to carry through with a pregnancy one that a woman can make.

  • Care to identify the theologian and the blog site? If they are defending abortion on self defense grounds they certainly have no Mandatum from the Vatican and are therefore unsuited to teach at a Catholic Pontifical University, and are therefore not reliable guides for a Catholic understanding of abortion.

    The terms “direct” and “indirect” are used by the Magisterium on matters relating to whether actions which cause death are justifiable or not. They are therefore well suited to any discussion on abortion. No one said moral analysis was always “simple”. But abortionists are not inadvertently killing the child in the womb. They are doing so deliberately.

    To cut to the heart of things, please let me know: do you support legal protection for the unborn? Should there right to life be recognized in law? Are they human beings and if so are they thereby accorded any rights whatsoever by Natural Law and if so, are they also to be justly accorded rights in civil law and if so to what extent. If you answer do not recognize the unborn as human beings, with rights recognized in Natural Law, and with a proper claim of cognizance for those same rights in the civil law of a given nation, I’d submit you are outside of Magisterial Catholic teaching as clearly enunciated by numerous Popes and Bishops.

  • Your first paragraph may be your opinion, but it is not based in fact.

    Those who believe that a woman ought to have a choice of having an abortion are not “abortion advocates”. I don’t know of anyone and have not read any reliable accounts of anyone who “advocates” that women have abortions. There is a big difference between providing a choice and advocating a specific position.

    Young women have been having babies outside of marriage for generations. Before marriage was an institution, the pregnancies were outside of stable relationships. There are a myriad studies establishing that telling young people
    just don’t do it” does not work. What actually reduces out of pregnancies is access to good sex education, access to contraceptives, and emotional support and education of teens, including teaching vulnerable teen males that there is a better way to show manhood than to have sex.

    I am not talking about burdening families that cannot afford higher taxes. The fact is that there are many families that have expensive pleasure boats, have several very expensive cars, end their children to very expensive provate schools and which regularly buy women’s purses (or bags or handbags — whatever your preferred term is) that cost at least $500, etc, etc. While I don’t at all begrudge any of them their possessions, I do know that these people can easily afford throwing more money into the common kitty to take care of those in need.

    I don’t know about any proof that those on the left are less generous in providing money to charities, but I do know that it is a fact that charities, on their own cannot provide the help that members of society need. I honestly don’t understand this preoccupation with not paying taxes. The people who administer them are our elected officials. If one becomes involved in civic affirs, it is not that hard to monitor expenditures. Organized, knowledgeable citizen oversight reduces waste significantly.

  • Revelation 12:9 — and the whole world will be deceived.
    The Cultural Marxist Mind Virus has prevailed. The Falling Away is complete. Should be an interesting 10-20 years.

  • Oh, my goodness! So, is it that we are supposed to eliminate this pronoun from the English language. In the case of my post, “they” had a specific antecedent. I was talking about those who oppose the arguments set forth by Tom Reese.

    I am not “beating on” anyone. I am stating my opinion about they views of a specific group of people. It is the views that I disagree with, not any inherent characteristic of anyone. I find equally objectionable fundamentalists of any kind, because they (yes, I am using that terrible pronoun again, and again with a specific antecedent) believe that they have exclusive possession of the Truth and allow for no possibility of ambiguity.

    I fully support the provision of housing for those in need. I find hypocritical the provision of services on the condition of accepting the religious views of the provider. I find objectionable the use of taxpayer funds in the US fo the provision of services conditioned on compliance with the religious views of the provider.

    All that being said, I hope that you understand the difference of disagreeing with someone’s viewpoint — religious, political or philosophical, and belittling, or discriminating against, or persecuting one on the basis of an inherent characteristic, or their political opinion, their religion, or membership in a particular social group.

    And, as a last point, why place Bill’s name in quotation marks? Even if that were not his name, it is the name that he has chosen to use in this comment section. Why would you not do him the courtesy of referring to him by that name, without quotation marks? At the least, it’s an affectation. At worst, it’s outright rudeness.

  • Dream on. Do you even have a clue what an overwhelming majority desiring to criminalize abortion you would need for your fantasy of such an amendment? And how delusional it is to ignore that you simply not only don’t have this, but that the upcoming generations are increasing supportive of privacy and people’s rights and opposed to your proposed tyranny.

    Barely a slim majority on some polls indicate they personally believe abortion morally wrong. The overwhelming majority, however, especially of the younger generations who will determine policy for the upcoming decades, opposeakkmh abortion illegal. You are being delusional to ignore that.

  • Democratic presidents have nothing to do with the reduction in abortion rates. Men and women are simply using more reliable birth control methods. E.g. iuds vs. the Pill.

  • LOL!!
    The right to life of all who are born is protected.
    Calling this “self-absorbed” would make sense only only if I were the only one alive, or at least, one of very few.

  • There is a difference between causation and coexistence.

    We are so very far from having all children born into families that want and love them.

    Children are abused by many who are not their parents.

  • When you base your opinions on dogma it robs you of the ability to recognize that during fetal development there is a continuum where at one end a fertilized egg is clearly not the equivalent of a viable, full term baby. That is why you come to absurd positions that would deny a woman in the ER raped the day before the morning after pill or force a woman to carry a malformed fetus to term. Most reasonable people acknowledge that at a certain point in fetal development there should be limits placed on terminstion and we should err on the side of caution to ensure a fetus with any degree of self awareness should be spared and abortion not be encouraged as a primary means of birth control – but this is not policy based on religious zealotry. That is why in a non-theocracy you fail to carry the day.

  • Nope, clearly it prevents implantation of fertilized eggs. IUD likewise. Nice try to avoid an ethical dilemma your position puts you in through sophistry.

  • what some people call the cultural Marxist mind virus, other people might call “majority rules“ or “Using the democratic process as outlined in the laws of the country”. Still other people might call it “throwing off the shackles of ancient religions which could no longer address our problems.“

  • When one defines humanity with the silly DNA argument you deserve all the warts you get.

  • Your problem is the fallacy of the continuum. Being alive is not sufficient to render the state of being human. The potential to develop sentience in the absence of neural tissue likewise. Your use of the term ‘are of a human nature’ is sophist rhetoric.

  • Left uninterrupted by death, the unborn child will develop sentience in due course. There is no reason to assume that the absence of sentience renders one less than human, other than by means of an arbitrary definition. One who is asleep lacks sentience but they are still fully human. One in a coma likewise.

    And if you deny that the unborn are of a human nature, than what scientifically recognized category of nature would you ascribe to them?

  • Where has it been written that one must be “the equivalent of a full term baby” to be fully human? For that matter why would being a “viable full term baby” make one fully human rather than some other artificial starting point? In fact some have suggested that, one lacks personhood until one possesses higher cognitive abilities including self awareness. Why wouldn’t you place the onset of one’s humanity there instead of viability and “full termed- ness”.

    The unborn child is at exactly the stage of development, and in the exact place ( the mother’s womb) where it is supposed to be. That they lack size and certain capacities hardly makes them less than fully human, absent of course an arbitrary FIAT by someone such as yourself, who would have no reason other than subjective bias to place the onset of their humanity someplace else.

    Scientifically speaking, one becomes a distinct being at conception. That being is of a certain nature. That nature is human. If you would allow such a being to be destroyed, you are approving of the killing of a human being. Period.

  • @”Your first paragraph may be your opinion, but it is not based in fact.”-
    It should be easy enough then for you to find pro-abortion organizations who aid in problem pregnancies, and with women undergoing post-abortive depression and the like. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are a hallmark of pro-life activism. So are programs such as Rachel’s Vineyard, affiliated with Priests for Life, for women suffering post-abortive regret and trauma. There are many others.

    And the only choice the pro-abortion movement actively supports is the “right” to kill the helpless unborn child. China’s coercive one-child policy would have provided an ample opportunity for so -called “pro-choice[ers]” to sound off in loud and vociferous opposition, yet they were overwhelmingly silent. Pro-life advocates were alone in protecting this barbaric practice which entailed numerous stories of women being forced into aborting a wanted second child. Nor does Planned Parenthood, NARAL or any other abortion advocacy group offer help for mothers who choose life. The only choice they care about is the death of the unborn. If you know of any organized efforts to the contrary please share them.

    As for higher taxes, the idle rich are not nearly sufficient enough in number to make a difference. One could tax them into poverty and it wouldn’t make an appreciable difference on the national debt. The middle class is where the money is, and they’re already being squeezed. Further, the top 1% of wage earners already pay about 40% of tax revenue, the top 10% account for about 50-60%. How much more would you suggest?

    In this article George Will, citing a study out of Syracuse University, notes the following:
    “– Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
    — Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.”

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

    This article delves deeper into the research discussed by Will-
    http://dailycaller.com/2010/09/23/surprise-conservatives-are-more-generous-than-liberals/

  • Fr. Reese is an example of the kind of Catholic the public loves because of his dissent from the teachings of the very Church whose teachings he is sworn to obey. Many of the most common contraceptives have secondary abortifacient properties and are therefore are no less morally problematic than a surgical abortion itself.

    The tragic death of the woman you cite, Savita Halappanavar, was attributable to medical incompetence. Her sepsis was not properly diagnosed when it should have been and was therefore not properly managed.

    Tragedy is inherent in each and every abortion. We rightfully mourn the tragic death of this woman, yet most are uncaring or at best ambivalent as millions of helpless unborn children are butchered each and every year. Her death, with proper medical care, was preventable. Theirs are preventable as well.

  • Wonderful to hear someone acknowledge that the way to reduce abortions is through easy access to free/low cost contraception, medically accurate sex education, paid family leave, and higher minimum wages!

  • What part of the 13th and 14th amendment don’t you agree with? Did you ever actually READ the court opinion? And where did you get your J.D. from?

  • So, you admit that you think children are punishment for the woman having sex.

  • You don’t understand the difference between being “Human” and “personhood”. The woman has personhood, a nonviable fetus does not. Civil Rights attach at birth.

  • BS. The abortion rate is the lowest it has been in years due to Democratic policies.

  • You’re jumping into the middle of a discussion with another commenter. And he wasn’t asking about policies of governance. People of faith are perfectly free to influence the culture they are a part of and can and will do so without apology or exception.

  • Here is the opinion:

    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/410/113/case.html

    Please point out where in the opinion either the 13th or 14th amendment is mentioned.

    To assist you, here is the text of the 13th amendment:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Text

    and the 14th amendment:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution#Text

    along with some background material on each.

    I do not share personal information on-line.

  • There is certainly nothing silly about the fact that the mother and the fetus have different DNA.

  • LOL!

    You designate yourself as protected and then claim doing so is not self-absorbed.

    ROFLMAO!!

  • Human life is scientifically verifiable and commences at conception. The concept of “personhood” is arbitrary. Those in power can change the definition at will. Or are you not aware of the movement to affirm personhood not at birth as you propose, but at some as yet unspecified time in which a child becomes “aware”, or develops a “concept of self”?

    Familiarize yourself with the work of Prof. Peter Singer of Princeton, considered one of the leading ethical philosophers in the world. He, along with other writers and teachers, would reject your antiquated and arbitrary notion of birth. Singer et. al. are absolutely serious about their proposal which would allow parents the same rights to terminate the life of their child before the onset of personhood as they have to abort before birth. If prior to that arbitrarily set time, be it one month six months, one year, the parents opted to kill their infant, under this logic they could.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/just-being-human-doesnt-give-you-a-right-to-live-peter-singer-sums-up-pro-a

    Here’s a prime quote from Singer- “[Newborns] ought to have “personhood” legally bestowed upon them only after the approval of their parents or caregivers. Parents, he believes, should be given a month or so to decide if they want to keep their child, and only then should it have the protection of the law.”

    More in Singer’s views here-
    http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/

    If you think Singer and co. are isolated cranks think again. A medical journal published an article, discussed here, advocating the same thing-
    http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/
    Here’s the “money quote” from the article cited-
    “[W]hen circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible. … [W]e propose to call this practice ‘after-birth abortion’, rather than ‘infanticide,’ to emphasize that the moral status of the individual killed is comparable with that of a fetus … rather than to that of a child. Therefore, we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be. Such circumstances include cases where the newborn has the potential to have an (at least) acceptable life, but the well-being of the family is at risk.”

    Once one discards conception, the medically proven and irrefutable beginning of human life as the starting point for protection under law, anything goes. That is anything that the dominant political power of the day wills to be. Your “at birth” standard can easily become part of yesterday’s archaic, outmoded thinking if the almighty State wills it to be so.

  • You’re lumping disparate people into a group and assigning them a category.

    In this case you did it specifically to denigrate them.

    For reasons know only to “Mr. Lindsey” he began putting my nom de plume in quotes some weeks ago. I have returned the favor. If you wonder what it is about, you’ll have to ask him.

  • The term “penumbra” which means “emanations from shadows” or some such nonsense, was used by the USSC to invent a right to privacy applicable not generally but in the context of sexual decision making. It has never been applied outside of the framework of a series of decision from 1965-73 that gave us first contraception to married couples, then to unmarried couples, then to abortion on demand. This was matter of pure judicial fiat. Even honest pro-abortion rights advocates such as Harvard Prof and legal scholar Laurence Tribe wrote “behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”-

    Former Harry Blackmun clerk Edward Lazarus wrote “[A]s a matter of constitutional interpretation, even most liberal jurisprudes — if you administer truth serum — will tell you it is basically indefensible.”-

    Other well credentialed “pro-choice” critics include Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz, and none other than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    See the following article and scroll to the bottom for the views of pro-abort critics.
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-pervading-dishonesty-of-roe-v-wade

  • Please cite any Catholic scholar of theologian, with a Vatican issued Mandatum authorizing him/her to teach at a Pontifical University, who ascribes to your interpretation of the Catechism in support of a right to abortion.

  • Please cite any statement from His Holiness Pope Francis in support of legal abortion. Or you can save your time since you won’t find anything. He would be scandalized to see you justify the killing of the innocent by reference to him.

    The ultimate in “control of others” is to kill them. That’s what abortion does. It kills a human being whose existence you discount as an irrelevancy in the face of some undefined greater good.

  • Catholic teaching is that children are a blessing. Only pro-abortion advocates think in terms of “punishment” in the context protecting innocent life in the womb.

  • Cite any teaching of Christ you can find in support of the killing of the innocent, be they in the womb or outside.

  • Savita Halappanavar’s death was the result of a medical misadventure. You’ve been provided the inquest report and more, and still you knowingly misrepresent her death.

    Thomas Reese has made recommendations that could be endorsed by an atheist, and that cannot be endorsed by a faithful Catholic cleric.

  • The vote was on the Constitution of Ireland, not religion.

    I take it to be wishful thinking on your part.

  • To clarify, “pro-life” folks like to identify the aborted child as “innocent”. This particular matter has nothing to do with the mother. Both innocence and guilt/culpability in this aspect of the abortion debate deal with *intention* informed by conscience. The unborn child, of course, like the deranged person posing imminent threat to a bystander, has no conscience and cannot know that its presence (or action by the deranged individual) poses a very real threat to its mother (or bystander). Therefore, the use of “innocent” to describe an unborn child is irrelevant. The unborn child and deranged person are neither innocent nor guilty/culpable (using such terms in a moral theological or ethical sense).

  • I have not actually discussed it with God.

    I see by your nom de plume, however, you apparently recognize the potential problems.

  • Well if you are an expert from firsthand experience of using the morning after pill I concede your expertise.

  • Thomas Reese, who is an ordained Catholic priest and a member of the Society of Jesus, is no better at parsing Catholicism, so don’t feel singled out.

  • “Your interest in what you have to say is much higher than my interest in what you have to say…”

    Your numerous exchanges including ad hominems on this thread and others belies your assertion. You are very much interested in my comments.

  • I cannot cite any Catholic scholar with a mandatum who agrees with me, a fact which should be no surprise in light of their refusal to consider anything that disagrees with *settled* Catholic doctrine. I suspect FEAR also plays a part in light of the behavior of JPII and Ratzinger/B16 who made life literally Hell for theologians who expressed ideas contrary to papal/CDF preferences.

    Furthermore, why in God’s creation would any theologian with even an ounce of self-respect and integrity want a mandatum from a pope or a bishop??? Thank God we still have some Catholic theologians who won’t kowtow to FEAR.

    Theologians are not catechists. Theology is a professional, not technical, vocation.

  • No surprise to me, I was certain you could cite no faithful theologian. That *settled* Catholic doctrine you referred to is more commonly known as Catholic teaching. And about the dissident notions contrary to “papal/CDF preferences”…those “preferences” are also known as Catholic teaching, at least is based on the teachings of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. It’s of the authentic kind, as opposed to the counter-faith of dissident imposters.

    Since the Catechism is another example of “papal/CDF preferences” which you disdain, why did you bother to cite provisions from it in earlier posts?

    I thank you for sharing this response since it helps make clear what I’ve suspected all along; that you are a dissident Catholic. Particularly so since you discount the issuance of a Mandatum which brings me to your question: – “why in God’s creation would any theologian with even an ounce of self-respect and integrity want a mandatum from a pope or a bishop??? “- The reason is they value fidelity to Christ’s teaching, given through the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and they value that fidelity far more than the applause and praise from secular minded folks who tend to dominate public discourse. They think in terms of eternity and salvation, unlike those whose attention is geared towards temporal ends.

  • “Care to identify the theologian and the blog site? If they are defending abortion on self defense grounds they certainly have no Mandatum from the Vatican and are therefore unsuited to teach at a Catholic Pontifical University, and are therefore not reliable guides for a Catholic understanding of abortion.”

    I shall not identify the theologian or blog site since this person’s name has not appeared on our blog thread. This person teaches at a Catholic school that is recognized as a pontifical educational institution.

    “No one said moral analysis was always ‘simple'”

    Who claimed moral analysis is “simple”? Not I. This reflects the professional nature of theology. Fact is Catholic theologians disagree among themselves on various matters, including the use of terms like “direct” and “indirect”. Theology itself is a process, not a goal. In killing the child directly or indirectly from a surgical perspective, is the doctor intending to kill the child or save the mother’s life? You’re right: It’s not “simple”.

    I do support legal protection for the unborn insofar as it can reflect the broad consensus of the American people. I myself can support abortion only when it is determined to be absolutely necessary to save the mother’s life. While I cannot approve of abortion in cases of rape by husband, boyfriend, “hookup”, relative, or stranger, I can understand why a woman would not necessarily want to carry a product of rape (forget the term “baby” in this context).

    The deranged person is a human being, a child of God. That said, the law recognizes the right of self-defense. I realize what I’ve articulated in my comments does not necessarily reflect current official Catholic teaching, but we should remember that doctrine develops in the light of new information and insights.

  • Indeed theologians do disagree on a number of matters, and they are free to do research and propose hypotheticals, but they are at the service of the Church and the Magisterium ultimately, hence they are not free to contradict the Magisterial teaching of the Church which is the teaching of Christ Himself. There are limits to the legitimate exercise of their duties which some refuse to acknowledge. Those for example who defy Church teaching on artificial contraception or urge Catholics to disregard Humanae Vitae come to mind.

    I submit that supporting legal protection for the unborn only “insofar as it can reflect broad consensus of the American people” is an abrogation of one’s responsibility to speak Truth even when inconvenient. We hear the term “speak truth to power” often bandied about. This is one such time to do so. The duty of a person of faith and anyone committed to the truth, is to lead the way by defending the helpless and innocent. It is our responsibility to shape our culture, not simply defer to the dominant political will of the day.

    By the way the right of self defense doesn’t depend on one confronting a “deranged individual”. They may be as sober minded as you or I ,but if they threaten us with deadly force we have a right of self defense. I thank context, why don’t you think of yourself as the defender of the helpless unborn? They are human beings, and entitled to a defense. Will you offer them one?

  • Trust me … the only thing you’re informing me of is that your way out there somewhere.

  • The Church is not a moral actor, the individuals who belong to it are.

    So, “If the Church had adhered to its own moral teachings” is logical nonsense.

    Individuals made mistakes. Some of them were clerics.

    With over 5,000 bishops in the world, only a tiny fraction failed.

  • First on the list is “Life”. That trumps all other concerns. There is no such thing as “liberty” which entails killing an innocent and helpless human being. At least not as recognized in Natural Law.

    If one presumes to prerogative to determined truth and reality subjectively then of course one can twist definitions to be whatever they will them to be.

  • I reply by paragraph:

    + Your expression of frustration does not help advance your cause.

    + I own a CCC and use it as a reference; I don’t have to agree with all of its contents; most Catholic doctrine, by the way, is not infallible.

    + I am a *thinking* Catholic who dissents from non-infallible church teaching when necessary. Catholic theologians who challenge official moral teaching are faithful to the Catholic tradition. To repeat: Theologians are not catechists. A mandatum is an insult to the Catholic theological tradition. The USCCB website has information about this matter at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/higher-education/guidelines-concerning-the-academic-mandatum.cfm. See also https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/275/article/why-i-shall-not-seek-mandate and 74.220.215.208/~richars0/Documents/essays.php?articleID=439.

    Consider: It was in Vatican I’s “First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ” that the conciliar fathers taught (in Chapter 4) that when a pope speaks ‘ex cathedra’, he “possesses…that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.” It is the Church itself, i.e., all the faithful collectively, that is infallible at all times. Vigorous theological discussion and debate helps keep the Church on track. JPII raised the mandatum matter because he was a control-oriented person; he demonstrated his propensity in his uncharitable treatment of faithful theologians with whom he disagreed (it should be recalled here that Wojtyla, albeit with doctorates in theology and philosophy, was a philosopher during his professional career; it is debatable whether Ratzinger had any greater standing in theology than other faithful professional theologians). If a truly Catholic institution of higher learning is to live up to its name, it must not be hampered in its mission by imposition of canonical mandatums by outside authority.

  • Please show me the teachings that support protecting predatory pedophiles and human traffickers. How about those that advocate callousness and disregard for the poor, apathy for hungry children, denial of healthcare, or indenture and forced harm on others.

    While I understand your indulgence if emotional language, it is foolish to call what is incapable of agency, thought, sensation, experience, or intent either innocent or guilty. The fetus is no more “innocent” or “guilty” than your liver, as it has no more capability for such.

    I also simply don’t share your fantasies of instantly appearing people in cells that God, the most prolific abortionist that ever existed, demonstrably does not give a fig about. He relegates more than half of these “people” to be tampon slime. It is simply foolish to pretend to speak for Him in contradiction to his direct actions.

    My concern will always be for people over fantasies and adoration of potential. This includes all of the children whose parents are forced by the selfishness of callous people to choose between being there to raise their children, or working two jobs to feed them, all of the children who are hungry, who don’t have safe homes, who are cold, who don’t have books, whose parents can’t take them to a doctor, whose parents are ill with treatable illnesses they can’t afford to treat, all of the other people whom Christ would care about, but his selfish hypocritical self proclaimed followers do not.

  • “The Church is not a moral actor”

    BobBob, take your meds, get a good night’s sleep, and maybe you will feel better tomorrow.

  • I acknowledge your pompousness in presuming to speak for him. That is scandalous, especially while advocating for practices that increase the occurrence of abortion, as well as those directly in contradiction of his teachings to care for the poor, ill, and vulnerable. Rev. Reeves is absolutely correct that pompous hand wringing and malice are unproductive. He is also correct that practicing the teachings of Christ, by supporting families and children, as well as supporting access to healthcare and contraceptives, do prevent abortions. Demonstrably your goals have very little to do with protecting life, and are simply a goal for power. He is right to be disgusted with such failure of humanity and Christ’s teachings.

  • Responding by paragraph:

    + Not all magisterial teaching is, as you purport, “the teaching of Christ Himself.” Most church teaching is not infallible. Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of ABC is not infallible doctrine. The Church of Rome has no list of official dogmatic teachings. Even theologians can disagree on what is infallible teaching.

    + You value the ideal, which probably will never come to fruition. I value dealing with reality, i.e., as things currently are and will likely continue to be. We should try to shape our culture in promoting respect for *all* life. You can lecture and condemn the opposition, and the opposition will turn you off. You can feel good — but with no ideal results to show. Problem-solving is not imposition by fiat.

    + A deranged person — by definition, mad/insane — is not “sober-minded”. The unborn child is not mad/insane: it simply is, lacking the ability to ascertain right and wrong. Such is also the deranged individual. I learned long, long ago in the RTL movement that lecturing/chastising people with whom one disagrees gets one nowhere. If you continue to behave as you’ve demonstrated, I can promise you that you’ll get nowhere but Frustrationville.

    The Right-to-Life Movement has generated heat, not light.

  • So far as I know, your blocking me cannot prevent me from challenging what you post. If you intend to take your marbles home and leave us, I’m not going to try to stop you. I like vigorous debate.

  • “JPII” is now known as St. John Paul II in case you didn’t know.

    – your presume “frustration”. The reasons are known only to God. And possibly to you although I’m not sure about that.

    It appears you are more prepared to misuse than to use the Catechism, given your evident tendency to cite it only in so far as needed to advance your purposes. I’ve seen no indication you use it to teach the Catholic faith.

    @”+ I am a *thinking* Catholic who dissents from non-infallible church teaching when necessary.”-

    Necessary as determined by none other than you of course. And necessary for what exactly? You don’t say. I’d surmise the necessity is when, for reasons known only to God and possibly you as well, you wish not to defend but to undermine Church teaching. Indeed as the devil can quote and misuse scripture, dissident Catholics can do the same with the Catechism. Or any other Church teaching for that matter.

    I think I’ve gone round and round with you on “all the faithful collectively” on a prior occasion, though I’m not positive. Anyway, the Church consists not only in the Church Militant aka” the pilgrim Church on earth”, but the Church Triumphant. We worship together with the saints and angels in heaven. Our teaching must take into account understanding the perennial mind of the Church. Sad for you, but you and others of like mind, alive here and now on earth, don’t get “play magisterium” and decide on matters of faith and morals for yourselves. As Ven. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen noted, wrong is wrong even if all believe it to be good and right is right, even if no one believes it so. We don’t get to make up truth and reality as we go along and then call it “the will of ‘god'” or the teaching of the church. At best dissidents like yourself, are a counter-church, one warned about by St.John Paul II which may be one of the reasons you hold him in such apparent contempt.

    Anyway your view of the proper role of a Catholic theologian has been discussed previously. You don’t accept what the Church teaches as to that role, but are insistent on promoting your personal view of the matter safe in the knowledge that that view coincides with that of other like minded dissidents. It appears that’s good enough for you.

  • I didn’t see a quote from His Holiness Pope Francis in support of legal abortion. Did you forget to include it?

    And those who claim a “right to an abortion” don’t care a whit about “the teachings of Christ”. They have temporal goals in mind, not eternal.

  • Maybe you should read the very long list of cited cases, dating back to the founding of our nation, in that decision and those that affirmed it. I understand your affection for the opinion piece that conforms to your biases. I also understand that it ignores the cited case law on which the sections of Roe and Griswold were based. Your sour grapes don’t change this long precedent of protecting people’s rights to make their own family, bodily, and health decisions. Your article’s half truths and misrepresentative, out of context, quotes do not diminish the precedent cases or commitment of the founders to protecting human rights and liberty.

  • If your performance on this and other threads is any indication, you’re not qualified to “parse Catholicism”. Really.

  • I can cite no such teachings since no one is contending that pedophiles and human traffickers have rights which others are obliged to acknowledge. Likewise no one is advocating for callousness to the poor etc etc. To the contrary folks such as myself believe the innocent and helpless unborn to be the poorest of the poor, and that those who would deny them protection truly care nothing about the poor and marginalized but would use them as ideological props at best. It’s not just me who thinks so.
    @””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-



    St. John Paul II knew and understood that human life begins at conception. There is no other scientifically defensible place to put it. However many devious minds have attempted to push a notion of “personhood” which goes past birth in some minds, and places said “personhood” at a yet to be defined future point at which the child develops higher cognitive abilities or self awareness. Given your comments on “agency, thought, sensation….” you may subscribe to that notion as well. If so, advocates of such a point of view are now advocating a monstrosity known as “post birth abortion”, which is of course simply another term for infanticide.

    For details on this perverse thinking read this regarding leading bioethicist Peter Singer- Keep in mind that he’s not alone in his endorsement of these pro-infanticide views-
    http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/

    After you’ve read it, let’s discuss again how Christ views the unborn and why His Church refuses to endorse your notion that “agency, thought, sensation…” are the determinants of the Right to Life.

  • Please cite any USSC case prior to Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 that entertained the ridiculous notion of “penumbras” as a foundation for constitutional rights. Yes they cited prior decisions. So what? Did those decisions endorse such silly ideas or not? Quick answer- no. Don’t believe me? There are plenty of legal scholars including many known liberals who can see the point.
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-pervading-dishonesty-of-roe-v-wade

  • Again, you fail to note the cited cases supporting the decision. I acknowledge the failure is intentional, and based on disingenuousness. Those cases did indeed demonstrate the constitutional foundation of autonomy, self determination, and the right to make personal determinative decisions regarding family planning, life, and health, decisions, in short the findings of the well established precedent rights to privacy.

    I acknowledge your reposting of the same opinion piece, with half truths and misleading out of context quotes. It is no more relevant now than previously. Perhaps you should spend more time reading and quoting the legal decisions than opinion pieces in propaganda rags.

  • Not worried about “frustrationville” If I witness to Truth that’s all I can do. Of course I can do no less. I’m not worried about “results”. Scriptures make clear that we are to be faithful “in season and out”. Success as it were, is in God’s time, not mine.

    As for valuing “the ideal” why would you separate truth from the “ideal”? The unborn child is not a “thing” or a tool of some sort, but a human being entitled to Life, no less than you or me. We are not talking about “issues” or political platforms but reality. Abortion kills an innocent life. That is truth. It’s true whether I say so or not. I might as well say so.

    Those who suppose they can disregard the unborn in a quest for “social justice” would do well to head the words of St. John Paul II-
    “@””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-



    He was speaking of innocent life in the womb. You and others may decline to pay heed to these words. I will not. And I find liberating life affirming truth in these words. The ‘frustration” you see is of your own imagining.

  • “‘JPII’ is now known as St. John Paul II…”

    Saint, my rear end. He may very well be with God, but only because of God’s mercy. JPII ignored repeated complaints of widespread clerical sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance regarding same. One of his good friends was the prevert “priest” Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, who fathered at least three children by two women in Spain and Mexico and abused seminarians. JPII made life Hell for theologians with whom he disagreed. He was a control freak. If you want to refer to him as “Saint”, go ahead.

    I use the CCC to present official teaching. If I then occasionally express disagreement with non-infallible doctrine, I give my reasons for doing so.

    I’m not doing the devil’s work. I’m exercising my God-given right to use my God-given brain to support or challenge non-infallible doctrine as I determine appropriate. I’ve used most of my 18 years of retirement to study church history and doctrine. I have 16 years of Catholic education behind me. Perhaps I know more about these matters than do you?

    Doctrine develops and sometimes changes. The Church Triumphant did not have all the answers to moral problems.

    I hold JPII in contempt because he behaved like a jackass inside the church and pretended to lead it even though he was severely incapacitated during his last years. Beware of authoritarians! Like their followers, such leaders are rooted in FEAR.

    Your last paragraph: Frustration.

  • Such a long ramble, and yet another opinion piece, to justify your direct rejection of the very simple Christian teachings, charity to the poor and support of children and families, as well as responsibility to prevent unintended pregnancy, that Rev. Reese points out actually do prevent abortions. Hypocrite much?

    As he eloquently notes, your preaching, hatefulness, and hand wringing, has been an abject failure at your supposed goal. That you expand such long winded hype to justify continuation of demonstrated failure, make your claims of desire to prevent abortion ring very hollow and simply untrue.

  • OK now I do remember you. I recall your previous defamatory comments of St John Paul II from another post and your excuses for despising him as you do. Of course you do so oblivious to the fact that it was Pope Francis who canonized him. As I recall you ascribe that to some pragmatic chicanery. Yeah I concede. Since it’s you I’ve been discoursing with this has indeed been a most pointless endeavor hence “frustration.” Last contact.

  • My goal is to help people, including support of what actually prevents abortion. Yours seems to be to control people for your own ends and power games, seemingly without care that the actions and policies you support in fact consistently increase the occurrence of abortion, as well as illness and suffering of the innocent. Which do you think is more Christian? Tell you what. We’ll wait and let God decide. Deal?

  • Not citing any cases? What are you a judge or law school prof? What cases have you cited? I asked you to cite a pre-Griswold case which endorsed the ludicrous notion of a “penumbra”. Where is your cite? I mentioned Griswold v Conn, which first posited the silly idea of a “penumbra” something no one defends today. Yes I posted the same piece elsewhere. What’s “out of context”? The liberals quoted are pro-aborts who like the result of Roe V Wade/Doe v Bolton but can’t endorse the stupid reasoning. And I posted it so folks like you could learn something. However you’re determined not to get the point.

  • Stop bekng so profoundly lazy! Read the decisions, if they are not beyond your comprehension. The precedent cases noting consistent support for the rights of self and family determination are very well documented, and are very specifically cited. Or continue to demonstrate your ineptitude and sloth.

  • Identify if you can( you can’t of course so take it as rhetorical) any misrepresentation of others’ beliefs. Whose views have been misrepresented? Prof. Peter Singer’s? How? St. John Paul II? How? And which “very simple Christian teaching” are you accusing me of rejecting? I don’t expect a sensible, responsive answer at this point but maybe you’ll surprise me.

  • You are correct, it is evil to kill an innocent and helpless human being. That says nothing about aborting a fetus.

  • What prevents abortion is akin to what prevents murder. An innate belief that such an action is abhorrent, deeply offensive to God, and morally unjust in the extreme. And legal protection for those who lives are at risk. Trying to get lost in the mire of “what actually prevents abortion” defined as a multitude of activism directed at anything BUT abortion doesn’t cut it. I’ll repost again what the preeminent Christian teacher of our age St. John Paul II wrote. Maybe you’ll read and reflect on it this time. Pretend he’s talking to you.
    @””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-

  • Cite the case or cases which affirm the silly notion of a “penumbra” prior to Griswold v Conn. I bet you can’t find a single one.

  • I identify your out of context quotes in pretense of lack of support for the constitutional underpinnngs of Griswold, Roe, and subsequent, by those whose actual writings and words do not align with your claims.

    In citing your failures, I was noting your vocal rejection of Reese’s advocacy for care for the poor and children, and for healthcare access.

  • You certainly have a hang up over a word, on dishonest pretend that because the word was not previously used, there are not precedent cases to demonstrate the precedent and constitutional foundation of the decision. The fact is the decisions cite several precedent cases, and well explain the constitutional foundation. This even if the word that rankles you so, was not previously used. You can unbunch those undies now, and let go of the hysteria.

  • Demonstrably belief that others are wrong, hand wringing, preaching, and hysteria has utterly failed to prevent abortion. This especially when the wailing hysterics are simultaneously acting to promote policies that have been repeatedly demonstrated to increase he occurrence.

    You have failed. Perhaps it would behoove you to try something more productive.

  • A child in the womb is alive. It is a “being”. It is a being of some particular sort. Human. This was a thoroughly uncontroversial point prior to the age of pro-abortion politics though now most have attempted to skate the issue cleverly by focusing on the more vague and changeable notion of “personhood”. If a child in the womb is not innocent, there is no such thing as an innocent being. As for helplessness that should be self evident except for those determined to deny the truth.

    The truth doesn’t change just because we don’t like it. We can either accept it, deny it, ignore it, or defy it. But truth remains the same regardless of our subjective response.

  • An unborn fetus is human, but only a potential human person. Until late in the pregnancy it has not been and is not capable of consciousness. It can not feel pain or have an identity to lose. It’s distinct being as a person begins after birth with consciousness.

  • Who rejected anything? I simply noted that advocacy for the poor and children cannot be sincere if it does not include advocacy for the poorest and most helpless among us, the innocent unborn. Anything else is a pretense. See St. John Paul II for details-

    @””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-

  • I note that your supposed advocacy for “the unborn” is a farce when you simultaneously act to increase the occurance of abortion. That is, the things that truly are support for life, the right to health and a safe home, are not only supportive of lives, but also have been shown to prevent abortion much more effectively than your so called “advocacy”. Action gets results. Hot air, hate, and pompous showmanship? Not so much.

  • That would be taking choice too far. Like other moral philosophers, Peter Singer gets some things right and some wrong. We need to make the moral decisions ourselves. In a free society i would leave total responsibility for this to the pregnant women but only until birth.

  • Savita’s death was the result of an attitude – that she had no right to protect herself, she had no sayso in the amount of risk she would be required to face. Doctors and nurses made mistakes, yes, but she died because of an attitude that she had no right to protect herself. What is more, who is to say that she would not have died anyway by the time the finally diagnosed the deadly infection she was required to face by an attitude that she had no right to protect herself.

  • Asimply not true, only pro abortion advocates think on terms of pu sin ent. Good Christians on these Very PAges have declared that
    PEople ar responsible for their choices, and should be able to e add the “natural” consequences. if they get pregnant. Well, too bad.

    Of course, you don’t actually believe people are responsible for theirchoices, as you seek to remove choice from women.

  • Wasn’t JPII saintified with only one of the requisite miracles, or something like that?

  • On what abiding moral principle would you recognize a “right” to kill a child prior to birth as allowed under U.S. law but not soon thereafter? Birth may be the point for you. What if it isn’t for the parents? What would give you the sanction to insist that they raise an unwanted child? Circumstances change. Maybe they experienced a crisis which makes it extremely burdensome to raise a child. Who are you to insist that they do? I suggest this of course only to illustrate the flimsy moral foundation on which a so-called “right to abortion” exists, not of course to endorse infanticide.

  • Fr. Reese sees an ineffective and out-of-date attitude about women, their rights, power, and influence. He sees an ineffective attempt by those who don’t want women to have that power and influence to deny them their very humanity. Many contraceptives do not have secondary abortifacient properties and many do have the real ability to let women manager their fertility for their health, sometimes to protect their lives, and to allow them to make choices about what they will strive to do in their lives. What the Church needs to come to realize is that women are more than their wombs, they are not slaves to their wombs – even thought they may love the the children they have or dream they may have. Contraceptives are not going away – they are only going to get better, more effective, and allow women more and better control over their fertility.

    If you really care about reducing abortions, then support assuring women have access to effective contraceptives, promote access to health care for women and families, assure that pregnant women have enough of a support structure to make a choice to give birth and raise a child. Otherwise, you are just mouthing emptiness.

  • Where is the correlation? Since there have been less abortions since Roe v. Wade would increasing them reduce child abuse? I think working against income inequality would be a more effective cure for child abuse.

  • Point to any rejection of anything that supports life. You can’t. You make assumptions, out of a stereotype in all likelihood that caricatures right to life advocates in a certain manner. There are a variety of means to improve the living conditions of the poor. People are free to advocate as they see fit. There are a variety of means to protect children in the womb unless they affirm their innate human dignity and right to life, independent of whether or not others adjudge them worthy of care and protection. If one does not affirm this right, all any other professed concern for “the poor” is mere bluster.
    As St. John Paul II noted and enunciated clear for all to see-

    “@””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-

  • You are on this forum in opposition to Rev. Reese’s call to support life. Howe is that not rejection?

    You are being repetitious, dishonest, and tedious. Have a good life. Rant, rave, and bluster as you will. The rest of us will actually DO something to prevent abortions.

  • There is no legitmate “choice” to kill another human being save exception circumstances of imminent threat to life. As to your first paragraph I have no idea what you’re saying.

  • Abortion empowers no one, except in the false sense that murder empowers the murderer or robbery to thief etc. If the concern is with “denial of humanity” there is none greater than to destroy the life of the innocent, helpless, unborn in the womb, the ones who truly are the poorest of the poor. No one who claims to care for the poor can endorse legal abortion or fail to defend the right to life of these innocent human beings. Fr. Reese knows as well as any Catholic the words of St. John Paul II-

    @””…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-



    Those who profess to cafe for human needs while refusing to defend the right to life, understood clearly by St. John Paul II as the life of the helpless child in the womb, are acting falsely.

    Whether contraceptives are “going away” is hardly the point. Sin itself isn’t “going away” at least not this side of heaven. Should Christians therefore accommodate sin itself? Indeed do some Christians even acknowledge the reality of sin?

    Reducing abortions requires a fundamental acknowledgment that life in the womb is sacred and has rights independent of those who power over it. It simply cannot be sidestepped.

    But I must ask if your overriding concern is “empowering women” and making sure they’re not “slaves to their womb” what fundamental objection could you and Fr. Reese if he agrees with you, even have to abortion?

    If a woman deems it necessary to her empowerment to abort or free herself from the “slavery” of which you speak, why do you care if she aborts or not? If you care because innocent and helpless human life is being destroyed then how can you not join with right to life advocates and defend without apology or exception the innate human dignity of the child in the womb which in turn entitles it to legal protection? If you don’t affirm this innate dignity, why do you even care about reducing the number of abortions? If human life isn’t at stake who cares and why is a reduction in number of any importance? If human life of the child is at stake, how can you place priority not on the defense of that life, but on other causes such as “empowerment” which properly understood have their place but never at the expense of the child in the womb?

  • Those who would “support life” and “prevent abortions” will have no trouble affirming the following-

    @”…the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”
    St. John Paul II-Christifideles Laici (1988)-



    If Fr. Reese affirms this I have no quarrel with him, but I wonder why he chose to pick a quarrel with those who fight for the unborn. They don’t do so as he seems to presume, as a part of a grand political strategy, but as a calling to speak Truth. He set the terms of the discussion, not me.

    And his advocacy of contraception is contrary to Church teaching and a scandal for an ordained priest to support. The age of contraception has coincided with the widespread acceptance and practice of abortion, exactly as predicted by Blessed( soon to be St.) Pope Paul VI in his prophetic work Humanae Vitae, a work which was rejected and still is, by many dissidents within the Church who are happy to obscure gravity of abortion by burying it beneath the pile of a variety of “social justice” issues. They do so contrary to the words of St. John Paul II.

  • “OK now I do remember you.”

    Yes, I think it was the bus stop at 6th & Broadway or maybe 5th & Broadway. We were discussing Aquinas and Einstein on a hot and humid summer day a year or so ago…..

    I’ve had no respect for “Saint” JPII for many years. His canonization by Francis was nothing more than a vain attempt to placate the self-described “traditionalist/orthodox” wing of the Church of Rome. The pope admitted his mistake not believing the Chilean victims of the prevert “priest” Karadima. Unfortunately, I understand that canonizations cannot be revoked. Sad.

    “Last contact.”

    Aw, come on now. Please, don’t take your marbles home.

  • “If I witness to Truth that’s all I can do.”

    Truth (upper case) is God. Tom Reese and others trying to reduce the incidence of abortion also “witness to Truth”, any of your views to the contrary notwithstanding.

    “The unborn child is not a ‘thing’ or a tool of some sort, but a human being entitled to Life, no less than you or me.”

    Agree.

    Regarding JPII’s quote, I cannot disagree, but “maximum determination” will not work in a pluralistic society such as the USA if the goal is “my way only”. You may feel good about your determination and enthusiasm, but…..

    “The ‘frustration’ you see is of your own imagining.”

    Nope.

  • Of course Singer’s view represents the consensus of the pre-Christian pagan world. Everything old is new again.

    We never truly leave barbarism behind. It’s too much a part of us, which makes just and free governments and societies so very fragile.

  • A child in the womb may be a “being”, but not a sentient being. A human person is a sentient being.
    Sentient Being Definition:
    A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans. A dog is sentient but a fetus is not yet.

  • So that would be you admitting you have no evidence. Noted.

    And for the record, even if the hostile womb hypothesis were true (and it would be trivially easy to demonstrate statistically) hormonal BC would STILL result in far fewer “deaths” than the alternatve. See, 50% of fertilized eggs never make it through pregnancy. Even if you believe hornonal BC has a secondary effect of making uteri inhospitable, it is crystal clear that the primary mechanism is preventing ovulation. No egg, no fertilization, fewer natural and induced abortions. By many millions.

    But it was never about “life”, so it’s not a surprise you ignore this fact.

  • @”Truth (upper case) is God.”-
    Indeed.
    Tom Reese (isn’t he Fr. Tom Reese?) isn’t witnessing to Truth if he advocates positions contrary to the Catholic Faith, such as use of contraceptives. In any event this isn’t about political strategies which he had been advocating but about the life and innate dignity of the unborn. If he affirms that he witnesses to Truth. Whatever political strategy we endorse to get there however, is of a different order. It can be sound or unsound, but it utilizes pragmatic, prudential judgment and doesn’t directly bear witness to Christ our Lord, though hopefully it does reflect our commitment to Him.

    Your concluding paragraph (not the one where you pretend to know my state of mind or mood) again addresses prudential judgments and their application to political tactics. The first duty is to bear witness to Truth. Not consider political ramifications.

  • OK you win. The marbles stay. You not only have no respect for St. John Paul II but little for Pope Francis who made an infallible declaration proclaiming him a saint. Nor do you have respect for the charism governing the papal office as it pertains to his decision. Has the Pope spoken to you about his motivations? Are you saying his was a political move? You not only disparage St. John Paul II but also St. John XXIII since the implication of your view is that the Pope was cynically trying to placate “liberals” thereby balancing these two saints off one another.

    Yes it’s good that the Pope admitted his mistake. Yet there is still a homosexual contingent imbedded in the Church hierarchy. Little has been done to extricate the Church from their grasp.

  • Abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy. Studies indicate that at least by 20 weeks gestation the child feels pain. Abortion video show the helpless child vainly attempting to evade the abortionist’s knife. See the Silent Scream for details. Pain or not, the child knows it’s in danger.

    If pain is the determinant for sentience, than one who is paralyzed can be considered less than human. In any event whether or not one is sentient, as you acknowledge, the child in the womb is a “being” and a human being at that since sentience is not determinative of a human nature at the earliest stages of development, much like cognitive thinking is not determinative of human nature for a newborn since they haven’t reached the appropriate stage of development.

  • No, attitudes themselves are non-lethal.

    Her death was the result of sloppy medical care which resulted in a failure to detect timely an infection and treat until in the end even a Hail Mary play of an abortion would not have saved her life.

    The attitude is at your end, which is a pro-abortion mindset in which everything can be cured by ripping the fetus out and disposing of it.

    That renders it impossible for you to objectively analyze a situation.

  • I see your responses, as always, remain non-substantive.

    Of course in order to do more you would actually have to know what you’re writing about which, puzzled as you are, you cannot.

  • I do not suppose you noted that you contradicted yourself.

    1 – People who hold that we are responsible for our choices believe that pregnancies should not be terminated by procured abortion.

    2 – People who don’t believe we are responsible for our choices believe procured abortion should be legal, rather than as you wrote “you don’t actually believe people are responsible for their choices, as you seek to remove choice from women”.

    It is no shock, then, when one finds the pro-abortion camp also in the Pro-Nanny State camp.

  • This article cites the Guttmacher Institute without acknowledging that it’s the research arm of Planned Parenthood which of course is an interested party, financially speaking, in abortion related issues. That discredits the article. Does anyone seriously think PP or its affiliated groups are trying to decrease abortion when they advocate making it legal and promoting pro-abortion policies worldwide?

  • One important strategy to reduce abortion is the ready availability of contraceptives. Since the Roman Catholic Church forbids any use f contraceptives this cannot be a part of a broad based abortion reducing strategy, and its removal makes any abortion reducing strategy absurd. P.S. In Britain where the law places time restructions on abortion contraceptives are readily available and abortions are not large in number.

  • The era of contraception most notably including the pill has coincided with the rise in abortion. The message, especially to the most impressionable, is that commitment-free sex; sex as pure recreation and without consequences, is possible. One cannot be responsibly irresponsible. When contraceptives fails as the often do, abortion is the “fall back”. The was predicted by Pope Paul VI in his prophetic work Humanae Vitae in 1968. When sex is disconnected from committed love, pregnancy becomes a problem to be solved rather than a child to be welcomed.

  • The use of “human person” in your comment begs the question.

    There is no consensus on a definition of “human person”, and that opens the door for you to define yourself to whatever end you wish to justify.

  • The article is correct when it points out that the only PROVEN way to reduce the number of abortions is with better sex education and increased availability of birth control. If some religious types have a problem with that, even as they claim to oppose abortion, they’re simply too far gone to reason with. Or listen to.

  • On one hand we have Father Reese offering his views on abortion. On the other, we can say fairly and without contradiction that Father Reese is not the father of a child and has never had relations with a women. He only knows what he has read. As much as Father Reese may be a nice guy he has no experience in this area. It’s like asking Ray Charles to judge an art contest. Maybe the best idea is to let women be in charge of their bodies, just as Father Reese is in charge of his.

  • The author errs in naively assuming antiabort terrorist groups merely desire to limit abortion< /they desire that, but only as a strategy to seek to control the sexuality of women.

  • I am aware of the drastic increase in child abuse since 1980. I have worked in the field of care for these victims.

    I asked about the correlation to child abuse. If your interested in a more likely source look at the drastic increase in income inequality since the Reagan era. By the way the the Heritage Foundation is a notorious source of alternative facts.

  • If you decide to block me (which is your right), you are playing the adult version of “I’m upset and taking my marbles home.” Not a good way to influence people

  • And you were provided the answer.

    Abortions increases at approximately the same rate as child abuse increased, a positive correlation. I did not find an R value.

    Btw, this article is sourced, as are the graphs, so whether you agree with the author’s conclusions is irrelevant.

  • TRY VASECTOMY …more moral, less, costly, more convient, less healh risk and almost no death results like can happen to women in abotion, and easily reversible. WOMEN NOW is the Time to Push for this and Stop Unnecessary Abortions.

  • TRY VASECTOMY – it saves the woman, is safer than abotion, cheaper, reversable, and puts the onus of this “having babies” on the man and not just on the woman.

  • Try VASECTOMY otherwise your comments are mere male chauvinism. It is easy to want the woman to take contraceptives, abortioficients, etc. All things are directed at the woman as the “problem” and not the man. He can still have all “his power to procreate” and does not lose much as long as he convince the woman that she is the problem with “her conceptioning”! Put the onus on the male as much as the female, have him make a choice for VASECTOMY and not limit her to Abortion!

  • Try VASECTOMY – this is a more “moral” solution and does not involve the taking of the life of a conceived child. Makes the man eqaually responsible for the conception as the woman. Is safer, more human and cost effective. It is also reversable. Reason it is not chosen more often is the “male thing — the macho”. With vasectomy men cannot control the woman with and by a pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy is not about men controlling women but about nature taking its proper course. While a vasectomy isn’t an abortifacient it presents unique moral issues nevertheless. A human body is being mutilated as a “cure” for a natural condition, namely sexual potency.
    There’s no moral substitute for chastity, which even in marriage requires in part an openness to life as a natural consequence of sexual intimacy.

  • Gaining control of your body via important statistics:

    Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy:

    Birth Control Method…Typical

    Pill (combined)……… 8.7 (resulting in ~one millon unplanned pregnancies)
    Tubal sterilization ……0.7
    Male condom ……….17.4 (resulting in ~one million unplanned pregnancies)
    Vasectomy…………… 0.2
    Implant…………………1.0
    IUD ………. 0.1- 0.8
    (Masturbation mono or dual)………. 0
    (Abstinence) 0

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

  • “OK you win. The marbles stay.”

    No, WE win, both of us. Thank you for staying.

    I don’t think Pope Francis is perfect, and I also think his criticism of the Chilean complainants was a grievous faux pas (to say the least). I disagree with his decision to elevate a predecessor who obviously overlooked widespread abuse, likely to avoid “scandalizing the faithful”. I doubt John XXIII, from what I remember, would have cared one way or other about being elevated to official sainthood. I myself did not advocate his canonization.

    About that “charism governing the papal office as it pertains to [Francis’] decision”: It was only a few years ago that I learned than such papal decisions are exercises of a pope’s infallible teaching authority. When a pope uses such authority, we should remember three things: a pope does not need prior approval from anyone to use it; any papal promulgation is subject to ecclesial reception; it is the Church itself, i.e., all of us collectively, that is infallible at all times. I believe in universal salvation and, therefore, believe that JPII and all the deceased are under God’s care in some way unknown to us in this life (the Church has never condemned this doctrine, not to be confused with apokatastasis, which holds essentially that God will also save the condemned angels). So, even if JPII is with God, I have the right to exercise my informed conscience in criticizing his canonization. I think it, along with John XXIII’s elevation, was essentially a political step to placate liberals and conservatives alike in hopes of promoting peace in the Church. In short, I refuse to *receive* JPII’s canonization. For me, it means nothing in light of its historical backdrop.

    You write, “Yet there is still a homosexual contingent embedded in the Church hierarchy.”

    There is also a much larger *heterosexual* contingent in the Church hierarchy. Nearly a decade ago, A.W. Richard Sipe wrote, “Although the church propagates the myth that bishops and priests are celibate, this is not based on fact. Several modern studies have used various methods to measure the degree of celibate observance. No researcher so far has assessed that more than 50 percent of Roman Catholic clergy at any one time are in fact practicing celibacy” (https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/examining-crisis/secret-sex-celibate-system). I recall reading of an archbishop(?) in the USA who left the episcopate years ago to marry his female sweetheart. I also remember hearing of two clerics in Kentucky who simultaneously left their joint parish ministry — one to marry his female parish secretary and the other just plain departing. No doubt, their bishop had to act fast to replace them! The lesson? Canon law cannot override the power of human sexuality, whether “straight” or “gay”. I’ve supported optional celibacy for more than fifty years.

  • “No, attitudes themselves are non-lethal.”

    Societal attitudes can be quite lethal. In addition to Ireland, the American South comes to mind. Just ask “Negroes” who were lynched!!!

  • I really want to agree with the author here because I do think that a pro-life movement needs to support policies that reduce the demand for abortion, but he makes so many flawed arguments that it can’t be taken seriously. Public support for legalization of abortion has barely moved in the last 40 years. There’s no reason to think that public support for legal abortion will change in the next 40. You also really have to squint at the data to come to make any correlations between presidential administration and abortion rates (in fact, the data appear to show a rise in abortion rates following Roe v. Wade which then began to decline during the first Bush administration–the rise after Roe appears to be connected to Roe, but who knows what was driving the decline that began in the early nineties).

  • This is the most ridiculous argument that pro-abortionists make. It’s like justifying murder because most people die a natural death anyway.

  • The Koch brothers and their Heritage Foundation may think the increase in child abuse is due to abortion.

    Actually it is more likely due to the necessity of more and more couples to need two jobs to support a family.
    The dramatic rise in income inequality since the Reagan administration is the cause of that situation.

    That abortions increased as child abuse increased is irrelevant unless you and the Heritage Foundation can show how this occurred. Correlation does not show cause.

  • Starting at no place in particular-
    -Universal Salvation is not taught by the Church, though we are free to pray for the salvation of all which in fact I do, including when praying the rosary and adding the petition taught by the Blessed Mother at Fatima-” lead all souls to heaven especially those in most need of thy mercy”. But to proclaim in effect that there is “no hell” is contrary to the Catholic faith. I’m not sure but I think I may have been down this road with you before.
    -Whatever you personally think regarding the act of canonization, you are not “free” as a Catholic to hold and/or teach that one canonized is undeserving of such a declaration given in accordance with canon law and properly promulgated. The duty to make that determination does not belong to you. You and I are of course free to develop personal devotions to whichever saints we choose. No one is bound to invoke St. John Paul II or any other saint. However if I were attending a mass at which the name of the saint was recognized on his/her feast day, I would not in word or attitude deny that the prayer of consecration, in which their name was invoked was a proper prayer of the Church. To do so in my view would be wrong.
    -I mentioned the “homosexual contingent” not to get into a general discussion of clerical sins of the flesh but to not that whatever issues you have with St. John Paul II are no less real with our current Pope whom you don’t hesitate to endorse. Little has been done to “clean house” though the statement from Pope Francis regarding the obligation to exercise greater care in scrutinizing those of homosexual inclination prior to their admittance to the seminary was a most welcome first step. Perhaps the Chilean mess gave him an opportunity for reflection on the matter.
    -As to stories generally from Natl Cath. Reporter, I don’t put much stock in them, and I note in any event the link you posted is not available. How any study could claim that one half of all priests are in a state of mortal sin is beyond me. I’d love to see the methodology. I think this most likely an outrageous attack on the priesthood itself.

  • The moral principles I would use are that we should avoid inflicting pain. Also since a baby, unlike a fetus, is likely conscious, it would be taking the life of a human person.

  • Sex without consequences…

    Shorthand….

    Punish those people who think they are entitled to sex.

  • Do you seriously require that men be as responsible as the women for anything? A vasectomy might reduce their manliness quotient, and that is just too great a sacrifice.

  • The best way to get around that problem is to use a description of what I mean. A human person is sentient. By sentient I mean: conscious of sense impressions.

  • Innocence in the legal sense being used here means simply that the “being” has not been adjudicated guilty of any crime that would justify taking its life. It implies nothing about any crimes of others.

  • Whether the Church formally teaches the doctrine of universal salvation is irrelevant. Fact is the matter has come up in theological “conversation” over the centuries, and Rome has never condemned it. Furthermore, in light of God’s unconditional love manifested in the Gospel, universal salvation is a logical conclusion. If Jesus told his listeners to initiate unlimited forgiveness, would God not do the same? Luke 15’s three parables amply demonstrate it is God, not the sinner, who initiates salvation. Verse 32 is quite clear on this matter.

    I am not denying the existence of hell. Is it a place? Is it a state of being? JPII opined it was the latter. Fact is the Church, which uses its infallible teaching authority to proclaim saints in heaven, has never used this same authority to declare any souls to be in hell.

    We disagree about the merits of JPII’s canonization. I don’t deny it occurred. Because it is effectively a *proposed* infallible doctrine, I have my conscientious reasons to not *receive* it. (All doctrine is proposed, by the way, for ecclesial reception.) I don’t think JPII’s behavior as pontiff merits him being proposed as a model and intercessor to the Christian faithful.

    I agree with you that “little has been done” by Francis to “clean house”. It will be interesting to see how this pope handles the mass resignations submitted by the Chilean bishops.

    Re: your final paragraph: Interesting. I’ll try to use my link.

  • Child abuse has increased as the fragmentation of the family has increased. Children are at a greater risk of abuse when living with a single parent, and are at the greatest risk of all when living with a single parent and that parent’s unrelated partner.

  • Innocence is used as a way to ignore the existence and personhood of the pregnant woman. To reduce her to someone so unworthy of consideration as to be excluded from the discussion between uppity people trying to make decisions for her.

  • “This particular matter has nothing to do with the mother.”

    Of course it does.

    It is used to ignore the mother entirely from the discussion. To handwave the fact that she is a person who is capable of making decisions concerning the pregnancy which she bears all physical burdens of. She is “guilty” and therefore we don’t have to talk about her according to the rhetoric being employed here.

  • Innocence is a legal term. Everyone is innocent and entitled to their life until proven otherwise. A very simple concept that several people here are very funnily turning cartwheels trying to philosophize away.

    Organized thinking skills, my friend. Get some.

  • I do not use the form of address “Father” in addressing Catholic clergy. It automatically introduces the element of inequality between two adults in interpersonal exchanges and promotes paternalism and clericalism. Instead, I use the form of address “Pastor”, which is biblically anchored and gender-neutral. At one time in England, certain Catholic (secular?) clergy were addressed as “Mister”. If appropriate, I address ordained Catholic clergy as “Professor” or “Doctor”. (If I’m talking with an elderly cleric, I don’t mind addressing him as “Father”.)

    Advocating use of contraceptives is not “contrary to the Catholic Faith”. First of all, Catholicism is not a “faith”: It is but one of many *faith traditions*. Our faith is Christianity: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (cf. Ephesians 4:5). Second, contraception deals with morals, not faith. There is nothing about contraception in the Deposit of Faith, defined as *all that God has revealed through Christ for our salvation* (Gerald O’Collins, SJ and Edward G. Farrugia, SJ, A CONCISE DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY, Third Edition, Paulist Press, 2013). Cardinal Ratzinger, I vaguely remember, noted that “Humanae Vitae” was not an exercise of the pope’s infallible teaching authority.

    If a means is genuinely only a contraceptive, there is no human life involved: contra=against + conception. To argue for affordable housing, medical care, etc. in order to reduce abortion is most certainly an act of Christian faith (cf. Matthew 25:35-45). It is witnessing to Truth, i.e., Jesus and his teaching.

    When I perceive one’s frustration, I am not reading minds. I am “reading” one’s verbal behavior in the comments.

  • Thanks for the link. People need to notice the rate of abortion in developing countries compared to countries where women have access to contraceptives, good health care, and support structures that make it more possible and reasonable for a choice to be made to carry through with an unplanned pregnancy. Here in the U.S. we should study what has worked in some European countries that have lower abortion rates.

  • That really doesn’t advance anything.

    Individuals in comas are not conscious of sense impressions.

    Those in advanced dementia and Alzeheimer’s are not conscious of sense impressions.

    And so on.

    What you’re attempting to do, as Spuddie usually does when he joins in these discussions, is to back into something that justifies your preconceived conclusion – the foetus is expendable.

    Because that is what you’re trying to accomplish, it immediately begins running into difficulties.

    Coming from a natural law standpoint it is a lot simpler.

    Human life is a cycle which begins at conception and ends at death.

    Purposely disrupting it presents moral issues, without regard to the point in the cycle, without regard to “ensoulment” and other scholastic disputations, without regard to “viability” which is a moving target.

    Finding and resolving those moral issues takes a bit more than snappy definitions like “human person”, “sentient”, or how many angels can stand on the point of needle.

  • And yet we don’t justify killing deranged people, regardless of their mental state. In fact, removing the option of the death penalty is a prime motivator for many insanity defenses in court. That’s because in all circumstances except abortion, as a society we have determined that killing a human organism is justified only by guilt or imminent threat of death or severe bodily harm.

  • Let’s not pretend that abortion advocates like to pretend that pregnancy is like contracting an infection, rather than from typically consensual and informed behavior.

  • As far as I can tell the Koch Brothers and the Heritage Foundation did not write the article or fabricate the numbers.

    Yes, you would like to hang it on a root cause – in this case poverty – and if you can get a two-fer and knock someone you don’t like – in this case Ronald Reagan – hurrah!

    The only problem is there is no evidence at all to support your theory. Real income family income went up, so did abuse, in the period reported.

    It is a bit amusing to read your comment about “irrelevant” and “(c)orrelation does not show cause” when you yourself asked me for the correlation. I suppose that is to be expected when you ask questions you don’t know the answer to.

    There really is a simpler answer.

    Abortion and child abuse both reflect mindsets in which the individual is the center of the universe and others don’t amount to a hill of beans.

    I would expect them to rise together as we move to a self-absorbed all-about-me society.

  • You really should stop pretending that you understand the history of the decision. You can’t get to Roe without resurrecting Lochner, and everyone agrees that Lochner was not based on law, but on the policy preferences of the Supreme Court. Sure, they cited precedents and the text of the Constitution in Lochner, but it was a stretch. And yet it was the law of the land for a time. Roe is the same way. It is legally indefensible and requires huge leaps of logic and policy-making by a judicial body.

  • What we need to work on is a realization of what is possible and even necessary give the current position of women in society (compared to anything imaginable more than 100 years ago) and what medical science can do to allow different choices. Add to that the advances in medical science that mean people live 70-80-90 years when just a few hundred years ago, life expectancy was something like 40 years. We need to recognize that we live far differently than we did before and that will affect ideas about roles in society – we are much less a patriarchal society and much more democratic societies not led by princes and kings, whether you call them that or call them popes and bishops.

    I do not think Jesus would find contraceptives to be something evil. Contraceptives can be life savers and life enhancers, giving women an ability to manage their fertility that they have never had. It is not evil – it is just different. We need to develop an ethos that embraces medical knowledge that protects and promotes women’s health and their lives, and that recognizes them in their full humanity, their ability to be leaders, teachers, scientists, astronauts, so many other rolls in addition to, and sometimes instead of, being mothers. But, they can only do this if they can manage their fertility.

    Time to recognize women have rolls to play other than mother, nun, or old maid aunt.

  • And less inclined to force their views on others. As demonstrated in Ireland, the controlling theocracit legislation are less and less welcome in civilized countries.

  • Canonizations do not meet the conditions for papal infallibilty.Infallibilty as taught by Vatican 1 and affirmed by Vatican II must be connected to Revellation as well as universal reception.Canonizations have less than zero to do with this.Some might put canonizations in what is called the second object of infallibilty(as cardinal Ratzinger tried to do with women^s ordination) but the second object of infallibilty of non revealed truths is so obscure and hard to determine.Its as fruitless as trying to come up with a definitive list for what is everything contained in the Deposit of Faith. Fat Chance

  • A legal term? Really? That is why they use it when someone is acquitted of a crime? Oh wait they do not. Neither do you.

    You use it as a direct contrast to the mother, who is reviled, excluded from consideration and treated as less than a person in your views of the topic.

    Honesty, would be great if you demonstrated it for once. 🙂

    “A very simple concept that several people here are very funnily turning cartwheels trying to philosophize away.”

    They make the mistake of taking the underlying assumptions of fetus worship seriously. The most ridiculous one being that anyone in that camp has any rightful say as to what a woman does with what goes on inside her body and is entirely her physical burden to bear. Somehow a fetus is a person but a pregnant woman is not. Followed by the ridiculous inability to acknowledge the obvious physical differences between the born and unborn.

  • That may be true in Ireland, but this article is focused on lessons learned for the United States. If you haven’t noticed, Ireland and the United States are quite different. Also, if you paid attention, the polling I cited deals with the legality of abortion. It’s clear from your numerous comments on this thread that you don’t care much for facts though.

  • Most of this is definitely old ground. The use of contraceptives is condemned by the Church. Papal encyclicals Casti Canubii of Pope Pius XI, and Humanae Vitae by Blessed Pope Paul VI, both confirm this. It is undeniable. One cannot be true to the Catholic faith and use them. Neither can one advocate that which is sinful.

    Catholicism is not merely one among many “faith traditions”. How you can believe that and recite the creed every Sunday at mass is beyond me. You do attend mass regularly do you not?

    @”…there is no human life involved”.-
    Not sure why you threw this in. Because I observed that some contraceptives are abortifacients? They’re marketed as contraceptives and known by that name.

    Yes I remember your refusal to use the term “Father” in reference to Catholic priests. I doubt if “pastor” is correct( not all priests are pastors) or if ordained priests would appreciate your refusal to use the term “Father” but that’s your business not mine. Being a dissident Catholic you make up your own rules anyway. (Statement of fact, not expression of frustration)
    And no you cannot “read” one’s “verbal behavior in comments” though of course you can pretend to do so. Or you can project your own sentiments onto someone else.

  • New Advent history is not very good. It doesn’t explain who the Pharisees were or what they were trying to accomplish. It’s written from a very Christian view point. Why don’t you try the Encylopedia Judaica instead.

  • I won’t be cooperating to create an ethos with someone who denies the teaching of Christ. Our Lord teaches through His Church, the one Church which He founded. He empowered that Church to teach in His name. One who denies the teaching of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals is denying Christ. They can delude themselves otherwise but that is exactly what they’re doing. Your concluding paragraph affirms the contempt you have for faithful Catholics. Evidently you haven’t been to mass and observed the number of large families present. Or you go to a parish unlike mine.

    Abortion does not empower anyone. It degrades them. And to presume that considerations of faith and morals can be determined by science is to make oneself vulnerable to the heresy of modernism. That which is wrong will be be made right simply due to advances in science. So-called “advances” in medical science have made is possible to mutilate the human body so as to allow a man to pretend he’s a woman, or a woman a man. Science, whether medical or otherwise, does not trump basic morality.

  • The online CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, as you’ve suggested, is not up-to-date on history. Thanks for the reference.

  • Sex without consequences…
    Shorthand…

    For entitlement to kill the unborn if they get in the way of what was supposed to be a “good time”.

  • Hence those who feel no pain for example a quadriplegic, or those in a coma, or for that matter those who are asleep, are not fully human and therefore entitled to a lesser standard of protection under the law.

    And you’re behind the times. Greater minds than yours have already positioned that cognitive ability such as self awareness, not mere sentience, is the determinant of “personhood”. Other than “because I say so” how would you rebut them? My guess is you wouldn’t bother to try. You have no firm philosophical foundation to stand upon once you’ve jettisoned the actual starting point of humanity, conception, as the basis for legal protection.

  • I can’t find a free non-register access to Encyclopedia Judaica. You may have to go to a library. Wikipedia will give you a better understanding of the Pharisees. Go there first.

  • Attitudes are no more lethal than feelings or beliefs. Words aren’t normally considered lethal unless they are used to incite another to immediate murderous violence. If one chooses to act upon an attitude, feeling, or belief then the action can become problematic.

  • Yes, the use of contraceptives is condemned by the church; contraception is regarded as an intrinsic evil (CCC-2370). Aside from the fact that many (most?) theologians do not agree with Paul VI’s teaching, there is the question of whether ABC is *gravely* evil. In any event, most Catholics worldwide have not *received* the condemnation of contraception. If anything, HV’s prohibition has diluted the credibility of the church’s magisterium, i.e., teaching authority.

    To repeat: the matter of contraception is not a matter of faith but of morals (keep in mind the official phrase “faith and morals”). Therefore (and contrary to your opinion), one can be quite faithful to the Catholic tradition and Christian faith when using artificial contraception.

    You write, “Catholicism is not merely one among many ‘faith traditions’.” It most certainly is, size notwithstanding. An online dictionary defines ‘tradition’ as “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice.” In addition to the Catholic tradition, for example, there is the Orthodox Christian, various Protestant, and Oriental Orthodox and Church of the East traditions. All of these traditions, their differences aside, embrace belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Thanks to the ecumenical efforts promoted by Vatican II, furthermore, representatives of these traditions have met to discuss commonalities and differences as a way of working toward some kind of Christian unity. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed does not negate the diversity in Christianity or relegate these traditions to second-class status. Indeed, Vatican II’s “Decree on Ecumenism” recognizes *degrees of communion* between Catholic and non-Catholic Christians (UR-3). Furthermore, the Creed and Novus Ordo text do not capitalize the words “one”, “holy”, “catholic”, and “apostolic” in describing the one church of Christ

    I have been in schism with the Church of Rome since early 2007. I left because of B16’s deliberate efforts to reinterpret Vatican II in a decidedly non-conciliar manner, not to mention his despicable behavior toward some Catholic bishops and theologians. His actions as CDF head and later as pope did not reflect the *change in style how the church might operate* based on the history of the council (see historian John W. O’Malley’s “The Style of Vatican II” published in AMERICA, February 24, 2003). JPII’s record did not help matters any. Both popes were authoritarians. In spite of my schismatic status, I remain Catholic in my faith orientation.

    I “threw in” the phraseology about “no human life involved” to stress that contraceptives are not per se abortifacient unless they act otherwise within the woman’s body.

    I do happen to know of at least two past — and quite conservative — Catholic presbyters (the historically correct term, by the way) who objected to my addressing them as “Pastor” in our blogging. I explained my reasoning. They disagreed. I was not surprised. Their problem, not mine. I am not going to continue using a form of address that elevates the ordained and subordinates the laity.

    Finally, you write, “And no you cannot ‘read’ one’s ‘verbal behavior in comments’ though of course you can pretend to do so. Or you can project your own sentiments onto someone else.”

    I most certainly can. I’ve been around just over 70 years, have a graduate degree including study in human behavior, and taught supervision for nearly ten years in a two-division VA medical center. All of my work in HR at four federal agencies involved constant interaction with employees of all levels and stripes. Your comments have, indeed, reflected frustration at times in dealing with me. That’s OK. I appreciate vigorous debate and discussion (unlike our fellow blogger “R.A” who apparently has decided to withdraw into his cocoon).

  • While I do wish you well, I have no interest in a prolonged discussion about Catholicism in this forum with one in schism. Perhaps I would if the article pertained more directly to issues of the Catholic faith, but this thread started with reference to Ireland and abortion and has already gone far afield from that. So maybe we can pick up on these issues another time.
    And I’m afraid you grossly overassess your skill in detecting “frustration”. I practiced law for 34+ years, most of it in litigation. I regard an exchange like this as playtime.

  • Deceptive. Where contraceptives are reaily available, not forbidden, not shameful, as in the UK, abortions have gone down. The most recent rise in unwanted pregnancies is in places where only “abstinence only” sex education is provided and contraceptives are not readily available.

  • Thank you for your comment. If I remember, it was Richard McBrien who wrote of canonization as an exercise of a pope’s infallible teaching authority. If I can find the reference, I’ll cite it. In any event, as you’ve noted, Rome has identified canonization as falling within the so-called secondary object of infallibility (cf. CDF’s “Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei”, section 11, unnumbered sixth of seven paragraphs). The rationale? “[T]hose truths connected to revelation by historical necessity and which are to be held definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed.”

  • Your philosophical reasoning,determined by dogma, is faulty. Sex with contraceptives is not most often separated form love, but from compulsive procreation. Procreation mandated sex occurs in many loveless unions.

  • God in the Bible did order a genocide. but then many pro-lifers are not concerned with genocide.

  • “Proper course of nature” only if you believe in compulsive procreation. As a primate species we were first freed form compulsive procreation with the disappearance of estrus. We are now able to free ourselves from compulsive procreation with contraceptives, making sex available primarily as an expression of companionable love that can develop into a consensual procreation when the couple is ready and can afford it in this ultra-capitalist society.

  • A true fantasy. The majority do not want to forbid abortion. Perhaps yous hould visit ireland.

  • Contraceptive sex indeed is separated from love. True love creates, or at least is a willing partner in creation. Contraceptive sex is as loving as masturbation. It excludes recognition of the life that might flow forth naturally.

    Abortion simply takes contraception to its logical conclusion. New human life wasn’t desired or contemplated. Hence its a nuisance to be disposed of when things don’t quite go as planned.

    And the philosophical underpinning is Natural Law, knowable by all of good will who are committed to truth. One can be as undogmatic as possible and still grasp the inherent connection between sex and babies.

  • –That is why they use it when someone is acquitted of a crime?

    No, they use it when someone is CHARGED with a crime, Einstein. It is a presumption which places the burden of disproving it upon the state.

    —You use it as a direct contrast to the mother

    No, Einstein, it says nothing whatsoever about the mother. She is as innocent in a legal sense as her child. But her innocence is not an issue because obviously no one is seeking a license to kill her.

    —They make the mistake of taking the underlying assumptions of fetus worship seriously.

    No, Einstein, they simply don’t understand what innocence before the law means. And evidently neither do you.

  • The decision was rooted in human rights, with women treated as equal humans to males. The original US constitution did not respect human rights, and much common law makes property rights sacred over human and environmental rights. The original Constitution ever so delicately institutionalized “permanent bondage, the squishy term used by the Federalists for slavery because they knew slavery was a moral outrage.

  • Contraceptives have been readily available in the West for decades. Abortion has not “gone down” as a result of contraceptives and other than abortion rights advocates and abortion providers and their backers, no one believes that. Abortion is in fact a fall-back for the failure of contraception. For those who separate life from sex abortion presents an ever present temptation when the baby in utero, who was never wanted in the first place, suddenly appears.

    Sex education, separated from education in matters of family, marriage, and child rearing, teaches little of enduring value to young people. Teaching the young and impressionable that there is a way to be responsibly irresponsible generates nothing but confusion, and paves the way for great heartbreak down the road.

  • A belief in compulsory sex is a natural prerequisite to belief in compulsory procreation. And who can you accuse of advocating that?

  • Speaking only for myself, what I wrote is not “ridiculous”. Most of the time from what I’ve heard and read, women lose pregnancies without any awareness of their loss. It’s natural, an act of God. I condemn induced abortion unless it’s absolutely necessary to save the woman’s life. One can only wonder how many abortions occurred naturally even when a contraceptive pill was used beforehand.

  • “Innocence” in this context is being applied in a moral theological sense, not in a State legal sense.

  • No, it is being applied in a legal sense. Because legalities are quite obviously involved.

  • “Organized thinking skills, my friend. Get some.”

    And back at ya’. Acknowledge the distinction between State law and moral/ethical theological reasoning. Not the same.

  • The whole burden of contraceptives is on the woman. Let’s change the thinking to turn it toward the man. Except for the comdum all other highly promoted and profitmaking contraceptives like pills etc., are directed toward woman to use and to take. (It affects their body negatively in the long run, causing depression, and in some cases cancer.) The lesser of “two evils” as Fr. Reese proposes taking is vasectomy vs abortion. An abortion cannot be undone, a vasectomay can. Men need to step up take responsibiity by having a vasectomy rather than asking the woman to have an abortion. Men need to convince other men of that and that it “is the lesser of two evils” and maybe even the “manly thing to do.” I am using this idea as a talking point. I certainly believe in always taking a higher path, but sometimes we cannot seem to do that.

  • No, the decision was not “rooted in human rights”.

    The decision was rooted in the fertile mind of Harry Andrew Blackmun, whose private practice had consisted of taxation, trusts and estates, and civil litigation (he was counsel for the Mayo Clinic).

    He decided to go down in history as the man who cut the Gordian Knot of abortion. In fishing around for an opening to do so, he pounced on a “right to privacy” fabricated by Justice William O. Douglas from the “penumbras” and “emanations” of other constitutional protections – i.e., thin air – in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965).

    His motivations were complex, but the fact that his daughter Sally became pregnant in 1966, dropped out of college, married the father, and wound up in an unhappy marriage that ended after six years may have had a bit to do with it.

    We have the original Constitution with 27 amendments. Nowhere in it is a “right to privacy” or a “right to abortion” mentioned.

    Both were 100% invented by the Supreme Court out of gossamer, penumbras, emanations, and imagination.

  • “It is a presumption which places the burden of disproving it upon the state.”

    But its not how its used in this context. Nice try.

    “No, Einstein, it says nothing whatsoever about the mother.”

    Riiight. That is because she does not exist in the conversation at all except to be reviled, ignored or s1utshamed. There is the focus on the fetus. Usually using language which acts as if it does not live inside a person who bears all of the physical burdens of doing so.

    One cannot have a discussion with fetus worshipers which does not eventually devolve into attacking the mother as “guilty”.

    “No, Einstein, they simply don’t understand what innocence before the law means. And evidently neither do you.”

    Except the discussion has nothing to do with the law nor is that the way innocent is being used in the context.

  • There is State law, and there is Church law. The latter must be in accord with official Catholic doctrine. The intra-church abortion debate falls within the realm of doctrine, not the law of the State.

  • The article may be about STATE law, but moral considerations have been introduced into this thread by self-described “pro-lifers”. I respond to others’ comments most of the time, including yours.

  • —the discussion has nothing to do with the law

    As I told another obtuse poster a moment ago, kindly review the subject of the article being commented upon. It is about LEGALITIES surrounding the taking of human life.

    —That is because she does not exist in the conversation at all except to be reviled, ignored or s1utshamed. There is the focus on the fetus.

    No, Ms. Einstein, it is because no one wants to kill her.

  • Contrary to your assertion, the State does, indeed, “justify killing deranged people” when (a) they pose an imminent threat to to the lives of bystanders and (b) killing is the only way to handle the situation. You acknowledge this fact in your comment, a point I’ve made more than once in this thread.

  • No one outside the church cares (or should care) about church law. The controversy arises in the context of state law. Therefore we can not avoid dealing with premises of state law such as legal innocence. Sorry.

  • I stand by what I wrote earlier. The principal topic of discussion in this thread has been the morality of abortion, not the rights of women, pregnant or not.

  • ” It is about LEGALITIES surrounding the taking of human life”

    Hardly. The legality of abortion is already established in the article by popular vote. That is already a moot issue.

    What you are trying to do is pretend there is a moral argument to be made against abortion. Using innocence as a way to avoid issues of the mother’s personhood and why a fetus does not have the same.

    “No, Ms. Einstein, it is because no one wants to kill her.”

    Quite untrue there too. Fetus worshipers consider women killed by unsafe abortion procedures and methods to be rightfully killed as guilty deserving their fate.

    Interestingly you have the assumption there that your opinion concerning the fate of a fetus takes precedence over the choices of the women whose body bears all of the burdens of the pregnancy. By its nature it removes consideration of the woman’s personhood and reviles her. Yes she wants to kill the fetus, but it is in her body and her choice to do so. If you weren’t contemptuous of her personhood, you would respect such a boundary. But you are, so you don’t.

  • Well, in the USA, you already lost both the tax code and the federal courts over this and gay-hating. We can come around on the “social issues” with votes like the one in Ireland, but Republicans still stole your tax code and courts for the “business cases” and you know how they did it—-abortion and gay-hating until the churches went blind to everything else.

  • Natural abortions are not sinful. Identifying God as the biggest abortionist of them all is simply noting biological fact. There is no “sacrilege” involved here.

    In a separate reply, you wrote that you’ve been a lawyer involved in litigation for 34 years. Fair enough: I’d regard you as a “piece o’ cake”!

    (God, i hope u can do better)

  • Attitudes are reflected in words and actions. I wrote above, “Societal attitudes can be quite lethal.” I should have emphasized the word “can”.

  • I have noticed that Ireland and the US are different. Ireland is far more opposed to abortion.

    Look, you are welcome to any hopes that make you feel good. This even when the younger generations are increasingly unreceptive to the government control of personal lives and sexuality. I acknowledge your cling to a few bias confirming polls showing what you desire to hear.

    I see it as simply is foolish, no matter what polls you want to believe, to predict that the generation that indicates distaste for busybody government intrusion, will form your busybody super majority, such that 2/3 of state legislatures, or 2/3 of the representatives of both houses of Congress act to propose the amendment, then 3/4 of states ratify it. It really cross the line to simply delusional.

    Did you even have a clue how the Constitution is amended? It seems it is you who has no use for facts. Projecting? Perhaps you should refrain from indulging the childish impulse to insult, unless you first verify that you are not the picture characature of that insult. Too funny!

  • Au contraire, there has already been *much* discussion on this thread about *other than* State law.

  • There is no morality in attacking the personhood of women or forcing one’s self into personal decisions they have no rightful say in.

    The anti abortion position is based on some rather arrogant and morally reductive premises. Primarily that one can allegedly respect life yet disrespect people. The very presumptions of having a say in the matter is immoral.

  • And “Sorry” back at ya!

    People outside the Church of Rome do care about what they perceive as the patriarchy of canon law. They criticize the church’s doctrines as not being realistic or otherwise fair or out-of-sync with the Gospel. This thread has largely been about moral considerations.

  • —The legality of abortion is already established in the article by popular vote. That is already a moot issue.

    It has been a “moot” issue in the US for going on fifty years and the legalities, or lack thereof, are still in controversy — hence the article and its legal recommendations. The controversy may go away in Ireland, who knows, but it is not going away here, because the stink of federal illegitimacy has surrounded it from the beginning and will probably continue to do so until there is a constitutional amendment one way or another.

    –Fetus worshipers consider women killed by unsafe abortion procedures and methods to be rightfully killed as guilty deserving their fate.

    Perhaps the occasional crackpot says something to that effect. I have never known anyone in the pro-life movement (which is primarily driven by women) claim any such thing. You are simply making stuff up about the roughly 50% of our population who oppose abortion. That is called bigotry.

    —By its nature it removes consideration of the woman’s personhood and reviles her.

    We all have “personhood,” but of course our personhood does not legally entitle us to do anything we wish to do. Our choices are limited by their impact on others, particularly when they involve the taking of life.

  • Personhood is a moral as well as legal matter. You’ve mentioned “morally reductive premises”, “disrespect people”, and “immoral”. Please understand, I am not against women having a voice in making of State law and church doctrine.

  • As you’ve suggested, there is ZERO PROBABILITY that Congress and the states will enact a constitutional amendment banning all induced abortions. Hell will freeze over well before then.

  • It is only because of the possible impact upon state law that there is any discussion at all.

  • If non-Catholics see canon law as patriarchal then of course no one is requiring them to become Catholic. State legalities, however, can not be avoided and must be dealt with.

  • That would lead to the conclusion that abortion is justifiable when (a) pregnancy poses an imminent threat to the lives of others and (b) abortion is the only way to handle the situation. That seems like a very sensible position.

  • Well, given that the supposed right to abortion stems from a Supreme Court decision that barely attempts to pretend that it’s rooted in the text of the Constitution, all the pro-life movement needs is a Supreme Court to overturn it’s prior ruling. There’s a better than average chance that will happen in the next few years, which may be the only bright spot in this garbage fire of a presidency. There are likely already 4 votes to overturn Roe. Once Ginsbug or Kennedy retires, number five likely comes along. That’s the problem with “rights” created by judicial fiat. A later court can roll it back.

  • If, by “lives of others”, you are referring to women with toxic pregnancies, I agree with you.

  • Non-Catholics (not all, by any means) can regard Catholic doctrine on abortion and contraception as patriarchal. Because of the size of the Catholic population, bishops have influence with conservative legislators. The possibility of becoming Catholic is irrelevant. Yes, State legalities must be dealt with.

  • What exactly is a “toxic pregnancy”? I was referring to situations in which pregnancy directly threatens to kill or permanently injure the mother, such as ectopic pregnancy.

  • My point is the very tone of the conversation points to an underlying immoral positions. The only person with any rightful say on the subject is the pregnant woman. Everyone else is an interloper seeking to lay claim to something not theirs.

    It is not that women should have a say in laws and church doctrine. It’s they the law and church doctrine had no businesses there in the first place.

  • I do not regard abortion to save a woman’s life as “murder” Furthermore, murder is a State legal concept. The term is not used in the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH regarding abortion ((CCC-2270 thru – 2275).

  • Debatable, given the highly charged topic of abortion including vis-a-vis patriarchy.

  • I wish I was wrong. But somebody would need to tell us how we get the tax code and the courts back from the “accident” they suffered via the tone of the 2016 campaign. After a bunch of people were convinced to vote for the unlikely overturn of Roe and Obergefell, Republicans used their “once in a generation opportunity” (as they called it) to shift wealth and power straight upward. There is no sign this heist can be reversed.

  • Father McBrien in his book Catholicism states on pg 764 “Contrary to popular belief,canonization of a saint does not meet vatican 1^s condition for infallible teaching”. Also in his book on lives of the Saints,he also states other reasons for the fallibility of canonizations such as —there not part of revellation,the worldwide episcopate is not consulted,no universal reception,nothing to do with faith or morals,etc.He also gives an example of a st felix,who was canonized by a pope,proven to not have existed. JOhn Paul II canonized a Juan Diego,who historians say never existed

  • I assume you’re referring to the New Advent Encyclopedia, which is an on-line version of a print Catholic Encyclopedia from over a hundred years ago.

    This is a modern recap of the three schools of Judaism just before the destruction of the Temple:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/pharisees-sadducees-and-essenes

    Much like the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, this Jewish Encyclopedia is based on a 1906 print version:

    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12087-pharisees

  • The phrase “fetus worship” makes clear that you are not to be taken seriously.

    And speaking of “the ridiculous inability to acknowledge the obvious physical differences between the born and unborn”, explain the difference between the fetus one minute before birth when it is the subject of a shoot-to-kill open season and one minute after birth, beyond the obvious difference of location.

  • How about this possibility? I call it “open adoption”.
    A pregnant woman who believes she is unable to care for her child once born, but who is reluctant to seek a termination, agrees to her child’s adoption under the following conditions:
    1. The adoption is seen as deliberately temporary.
    2. The adoptive parents have full parental rights and responsibilities during the period of adoption.
    3. The birth mother remains part of the child’s life after adoption.
    4 The child is informed for the identity of the birth mother at such time when the child is ready to know this information.
    5. At such time when and if the birth mother is able to care appropriately for the child, the period of adoption ends and the child returns to the birth mother’s care.
    6. Following the end of the period of adoption, the adoptive parents remain part of the child’s life.
    7. The process is overseen by a caseworker whose responsibility is to serve as an advocate for the well-being of all concerned.
    I’m pro-choice. I believe that, in many situations, this may be a far more desirable choice than many of those offered at present.

  • If “The only person with any rightful say on the subject is the pregnant woman”, then we should abolish child support since it 100% the mother’s choice.

  • Dream on. Even if you manage to appoint zealots with no regard for the Constitution or precedent, and who are as legally illiterate, experienced, and inept as Trump’s other appointments. The best you can hope for is repeal of Roe, and return of the matter to the states. The large majority will still live in states where abortion is legal, and those who live in fascist states will be able to travel to states that have legal abortion. The people of those majority states will also be anle to mount boycotts against fascist states, as they have over other busybody legislation.

    This all temporarily until people tire of the incompetent justices and impeach them. As previously noted, your delusional Handmaiden’s Tale fantasies are not rational.

  • The late Richard Peter McBrien was dead wrong about canonization not being an exercise of the Church’s infallibility.

    That sort of thing is why the imprimatur and nihil obstat were removed from “Catholicism” – it is rife with errors.

    There is no evidence that Juan Diego did not exist.

    A contemporary to Juan Diego, Antonio Valeriano, was one of the best Indian scholars at the College of Santiago de Tlatelolco at the time that Juan Diego was alive. He was proficient in Spanish as well as Latin and Nahuatl. He knew Juan Diego personally and wrote his account of the apparitions on the basis of Juan Diego’s testimony.

    There several saints named “Felix”.

    McBrien is not very reliable, since his major thrust was giving his church the raspberry, but the reference is probably to either Felix, who was martyred by Nero with his sister Constanza, or Felix who was martyred in Heraclea with Januarius.

    While the particulars of their lives have been lost, they were canonized not by a pontiff but by acclimation after their martyrdom.

  • While you do not think Jesus would find contraceptives to be something evil, the only apparent reason for that is because you don’t believe Jesus would find anything you favor to be something evil.

    There’s a message there, and it is not about what Jesus would find evil.

  • Or increasingly uncivilized countries.

    Basically if it interferes with your fun, adios!

  • Demonstrably I do, silly, as I just elaborated it in the post to which you are responding. Is reading difficult for you?

  • This seems like a positive choice in appropriate circumstances. I would favor this if it could be a voluntary legal contract. There would still need to be safe and legal abortion available as some women would not like to bring a fetus to term when unable to responsibly care for it herself.

  • Are you saying it is the civilized countries that criminalize abortion? Below is the list of nations that share your beliefs. I’d say they all certainly seem a fitting match for you.

    Andorra, Chile, Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Palau, Philippines, San Marino, Senegal, Suriname, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, Paraguay, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Venezuela, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen.

    I recognize your definition of “civilized”.

  • Of course you’d say “they all certainly seem a fitting match for you”.

    You’d say anything.

  • It’s apparently a long story.

    He used to show up regularly in the Comments section at the National “Catholic” Reporter until they canned the comments section.

  • I wasn’t aware that they did. I posted a few there myself but not for a long time.

  • “zealots with no regard for the Constitution or precedent” is an apt description for those supreme court justices who got us here. Neil Gorsuch, for example, is very legally literate, has more experience as a judge than Elena Kagan did when she was appointed (which was zero), and has proven rational and thoughtful in his legal opinions.

    “The best you can hope for is repeal of Roe, and return of the matter to the states.” This is, in fact, exactly what I want in terms of federal policy. The Constitution is silent on the issue, and regulation of abortion does not fall into one of the enumerated powers of Congress, so it’s an issue for the states to decide.

    “Ask Ireland…” You mean a country that has consistently been among the top ten countries in the world in terms of maternal health?

    “This all temporarily until people tire of the incompetent justices and their loved ones being enslaved, maimed, and kicked, and impeach them.” A little hyperbolic, don’t you think?

  • “…the stink of federal illegitimacy has surrounded it….”

    what stink ? the decision of the supreme court roe v wade was 7 to 2 . not a narrow decision .

    the decision could have been overturned by congress if it wanted to invoke its constitutional authority to do so . in 45 years congress has not had the majority to do so .

    that is how american law has always worked . there is no stink about it .

    “…the roughly 50% of our population who oppose abortion….”

    those totally opposed to abortion has rarely approached 30% . the high 40% statistic includes those who would ban it in some or in many cases . but not all .

  • As a non-Catholic, I’m not much concerned with catechisms. This article was on the politics of the pro-life movement. State legal concepts are kind of the point.

  • The mother’s body in the way, obviously. Too bad you don’t care about her life, at all.

  • savita halappanavar’s death was cause by medical misadventure and that was caused by the prolonged wait for the savita halappanavar’s body to miscarry . the medical choice there was not good from any point of view .

    thomas reese made recommendations that are endorsed by many faithful catholic clerics, your opinions not withstanding .

  • “Many of the most common contraceptives have secondary abortifacient properties….”

    the vatican currently condemns all not just those alleged to be problems . if that were a seriously argument then there would be work to distinguish those from those that could be used without problem . but is not serious . it is a red herring .

    as is the use of the word children for the fetus .

  • it means simply what catholics have known throughout the ages . canon law is the human made structure that attempts to support the church and its divine elements . but itself is man made, literally, and thus is itself not without fault .

    and from time to time needs to change .

  • To answer your concern about no longer sentient human beings, the fact that they have been conscious means that the do qualify as persons.

    What I am trying to do is explain why I, and many others consider the termination of a fetus an acceptable moral decision.

    I do not get my moral values from the ancient texts of your religion. How do you justify your opinion “Human life is a cycle which begins at conception and ends at death”? That is not the opinion of medical ot scientifid.

    From my perspective it is you who have an opinion and then will continue to ramble when its not accepted.

  • The Catholic Church (not “the vatican”) condemns artificial contraception on specific grounds and well defined grounds, which you can learn of my reading Humanae Vitae (1968 Pope Paul VI) and Casti Canubii (1930 Pope Pius XI). It also recognizes that some have abortifacient properties. There’s nothing hard to understand about it. For example if you can understand that all robbery is a form of theft but not all theft is robbery, you can easily understand that there can be similarity and distinction at one and the same time.

  • The illegitimacy of Roe had nothing to do with the number of be-robed oligarchs who joined in the decision. It continues to “stink” because it was, and is, an improper usurpation by the federal judiciary of a power that was not granted to the feds by the constitution and therefore belongs to the police power of the individual states. It was, in essence, pixie dust jurisprudence. They failed to show the integrity and fortitude to NOT abuse their delegated authority that Hamilton spoke of hopefully in the Federalist Papers.

    And no, Congress can not override a SCOTUS decision by simple legislation.

    As for percentages, pro-life is seldom an absolute value—and of course neither is pro-choice. A clear majority of Americans, including many who claim pro-choice, support restrictions upon abortion which completely ignore the bs arguments about “personhood” that we see on threads like this one.

  • I acknowledge your opinion of Roe, and your indulgence of fallacy that it is not based on Constitutional foundation and precedent, as well as your parroting of fallacious talking points. I acknowledge your delusions of clairvoyance, and presumption of mind reading capability. Counting those unhatched chickens? You make unfounded presumptions that Gorsuch will ignore precedent.

    I agree Ireland has exemplary maternal care, and? Demonstrably even that did not subjugate women to be willing to be indentured to dogmatic fantasy. What on Earth makes you think women will trust the callous conservatives in the US not to kill them? As well demonstrated in Ireland, that actually does provide universal health care and a social safety net, women will not tolerate their own lives and health being second priority to potential. Why do you think they would welcome the example of health crap holes like Texas, with triple the maternal death rate of the national average, and rivaling many third world nations?

  • Yes, your link notes the exact process I stated. Fantasize as you will. All your words demonstrate is your dismal failure both at reading comprehension and elementary math skills. This not to mention your failure at rationality. Thank you the chuckles.

  • So canonizations are a excercise of the church^s infallibilty ? even though in the first 1,000 years,they were all of popular acclaim,having nothing to do with popes.If they were fallible then,they certainly are fallible now. Can you imagine as a Catholic saying I believe in the dogma of the Holy Trinity,the dogma of the ressurection,the dogma of juan diego,the dogma of john paul ii,the dogma of escriva,and so forth and so on,regarding whoever has been canonized.ABSURD !
    Needless to say—Mary and the apostles have never been canonized in the official sense,nor do they have to be part of a long list of political/ideological vatican manipulations of canonizations to support the status quo.

    As far as Mcbrien goes,in his lives of the saints,he gives a example of a Felix of Valois,whom the trinitarians,a religious group identified as a co-founder along with a john of Matha.Felix was a fiction,created by the trinitarians to give their order luster by claiming he(felix) had royal blood. Despite no evidence of his existence,Felix^s cult as well as that of John Mantha was approved by the congregation of rites in 1666. Pope innocent XI assigned Nov 20 as Felix^s feast day. In 1694 ,Pope Innocent XI ordered it to be celebrated by the universal church,which implied what is known as equipollent(or equivalent)canonization. THis info is found on pg 611 on Mcbrien book.

    Then there another phantom in Juan Diego.
    The claim of a magical imprint of Diego on his mantle in 1531 by Our Lady Of Guadalupe,has people close to the date of the supposed apparition,people who with the best means for knowing about it and motives recording it,being strangely silent.The first mexican bishop,a critic of novel images who was said,nevertheless,to have recieved and built a church for the miraculous cloak,left no record of doing so,though he provided bequests for his other foundations( stafford poole,our lady of guadalupe,1995 pgs 34-36.)The respected 16th century historian Toribio de Montolinia,in a record that emphasized mexican devotion to Mary,does not mention JUAN DIEGO or his mantle. Earliest reference to the apparition occured in 1648,117 years after its purported occurence,in a highly wrought theological meditation by a fransiscan,Miguel Sanchez,who said he was relying on oral tradition since there was NO Written Record of the apparitions.A flowery account was found in 1649,of the apparition written in the local language,supposedly composed after 1548,when diego died but this has been hailed as a forgery.
    IT is because of these screw-ups that VAtican i and vAtican ii pointed to infallibilty existing only as far as revellation goes

  • There are medicines that regulate heart beat, thyroid, even medicines to boost a man’s ability to have sex. Contraceptives help women plan their lives and are especially important in today’s world so that women can pursue advanced education or re-education as times change, so they can become established in careers, even so they can keep working because their working income is needed to support the care of the children they already have.

    There is a reality to life today that makes contraceptives make enormous sense for a woman and for a family to manage how many children they have and when they have them. No, I don’t think Our Lord would have any problem with women and families using contraceptives to make their lives better, safer, more secure.

  • first you say that the supreme court did not have the power to do roe v wade .

    then you say they could not overrule it .

    the only power that the supreme court has is power that others respect its legal opinions .

    if the supreme court did in fact over reach then congress would have grounds for impeachment .

    what i would suggest you really mean is that really really really disagree with it . as you disagree with the majority of other americans .

  • in the link that you gave me, Bob, please check the last two lines of article iii, section 2, second paragraph .

    therein is a clause, not yet used in the 228 years of the constitution, that gives clear authority to the congress to limit the reach of the supreme court .

  • i read humanae vitae when it came out in 1968 . i have reread it since . it is a good and pious document . but it is not convincing to me or to the majority of catholics . paul vi did not himself suggest that the reason for condemning all contraception is because some could be abortifacient . that was not his logic . rather it was the concept that all sexual activity must be open to procreation .

    your example of robbery and theft is not a hard concept . it just misses my point . if the logic is that some contraception causes abortions, the only conclusion from that logic is to identify those and stop using them . but that is not the point of your argument . it is one of those arguments that one throws in to try to keep the other side off balance . but it does not make sense to use it the answer was simply made . and i gave it above .

    argue against contraception as you need . but enough with arguments that don’t hold water .

  • “The Catholic Church (not “the vatican”) condemns….”

    i often use this distinction because there is a tendency of the vatican bureaucracy to be the tail that wags the dog .

    the first vatican council is an example . the documents to be passed at the council were all written and presented to the bishops as they arrived late in 1869 . while there was discussion there was little change and the documents that came out were not in substance different from what went in .

    fortunately the second vatican council was different as the voice of the whole church was heard .

    but paul vi reverted to the old form . he set up a good committee of outside catholic voices and that advisory group told him that change was possible in catholic theology and doctrine . he did not care for that advice and wrote on his own, with only the vatican voices to aid him .

    so no, i don’t think it is accurate to say that the church teachs . and it is possible to suggest that the vatican taught the doctrine found in humanae vitae .

  • Only one Supreme Court justice and two presidents have ever been impeached in the history of our nation, and none were ever convicted. While it is relatively easy to start an impeachment process, it is very difficult to carry it out. Since Congress is not actually in the business of safeguarding the constitution (although they’re supposed to be) but in pleasing their constituents and financial backers, seldom has there ever been a sufficient majority in the Senate to remove even one high-ranking government official, let alone an entire bench.

    Not to mention that many Congressmen (about one-third of the Senate and almost half of the House) are not legally trained and have no clue when and how the SCOTUS overreaches.

    I assume the failure of Congress to impeach Trump gives you an equally implicit faith in the rightness of all his actions, yes?

    —the only power that the supreme court has is power that others respect its legal opinions.

    Well, its only power is the executive branch’s willingness to ENFORCE its legal opinions. Don’t think that doesn’t figure into their decisions.

    And kindly refrain from telling me what I mean, although I understand how much libs love to do that. I know precisely what was constitutionally lacking in the Roe case, and it influences me not at all whether “the majority of other Americans” understand it or not. The majority of Americans also do not know what the three branches of our government or our five 1st Amendment rights are.

  • buddy the church for centuries hailed sex in marriage a necessary evil tainted with sin,hailed slavery as morally licit,tolerated abortion if it took place before ensoulment,pegged at 80 days,condemned democracy and taught charging interest on a loan was a excommunicable offense. Pre-eminent catholic scholar Peter Brown said–Peter the apostle was no pope or bishop.History is the teacher of life,when a pope speaks does not mean it is Christ speaking

  • The virtuous way will always be narrow and hard….

    You cannot justify abortion on moral grounds…

  • I”m afraid you missed the point. Per Catholic teaching, which you’ve already admitted you reject, all contraception is wrong. Some contraception, in addition to being wrong per se, acts as a potential abortifacient therefore placing newly conceived human life at risk and is therefore condemnable on additional grounds. I’m sure you can understand if you choose to do so.

    Blessed, soon to be Saint, Paul VI articulated in a prophetic manner the innate evil of contraception. He proposed that a contraceptive mindset, which seeks to render sexual intimacy deliberately sterile, would naturally lead to widespread acceptance of abortion. The reasons are clear, for those who choose to acknowledge them. Once the human will severs the life affirming nature of sexual intimacy by closing itself to new life, abortion becomes an acceptable option as a “fall-back” measure should conception result. The contraceptive mentality will tempt one to reject the “consequence” i.e. a child, since openness to life was never part of the equation to begin with.
    If indeed you see Humane Vitae as “good”, as you’ve acknowledged it to be, it is incumbent upon you to adhere to it, since we have a duty to choose good over evil at all times.

  • You may recognize the distinction you mentioned, but Catholic teaching against contraception has the indelible mark of the Magisterium, not “vatican bureaucracy”. Many choose to use such terms to obfuscate matters be pretending that Church teaching is but a political position of “conservatives” and that others are free to dissent, yet remain faithful Catholics, which being a contradiction, cannot be done.

    Yes the “study group” to which you refer did as you say. How ironic that you mention a “vatican bureaucracy”, but fail to see that it was such bureaucratic intrigue which produced the very “study group” which you mentioned. The mandate from the Pope was not to change the teaching of the Church. It was to examine whether new technology, the pill in particular, were properly classifiable as contraceptives or not. This group went beyond their mandate and opted to examine the question of artificial contraception itself, something the Pope never intended for them to do. They attempted, by subterfuge, to get present him with a “fait accompli”, a change in teaching, contrary to their mandate. He rightfully rejected their improper recommendations.

  • You are misreading it.

    “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

    The “before mentioned” references the preceding (first) paragraph:

    “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;—between a State and Citizens of another State;—between Citizens of different States;—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.”

    Unless abortion is one of these Cases, which it is not, the regulatory power is not applicable.

    Where the Congress actually can restrict jurisdiction is in the lower Federal courts, which are completely a legislative creation.

    I was surprised to read this suggestion. The last time I encountered it was perhaps fifty years ago and it was being suggested by the John Birch Society along with their drive to impeach Earl Warren.

  • Bingo.

    And they prove this over and over. When given a choice between truly reducing abortion and shaming sexually active women, those screaming “pro life” pick shaming every time.

  • I totally agree with “Maybe the best idea is to let women be in charge of their bodies, just as Father Reese is in charge of his.”

    However, statistically speaking, the odds that a catholic priest is actually celebate are fairly low.

  • You miss the point.

    The very first command God gives Adam and Eve as they exit Paradise is to go forth and multiply.

    That the primary purpose of mankind was to populate and cultivate the world was so fundamental to Jewish thought that everything opposed to it – abortion, sodomy, adultery, and so on – was considered a capital offense.

    It had nothing to do with “ensoulment” or any of the other nonsense that these discussions get clogged with when they are held in Christian contexts.

    Procreation made mankind a partner with the deity in the creation of human life.

    There were no comparable commands dealing with heart beat, thyroid, or erections.

    Now you approach the topic with advanced education, re-education, times change, and working income and then state that Jesus Christ would endorse your view.

    When talking about an individual who said not one jot or tittle of the law was changed, that’s a pretty far-fetched hypothesis.

    It would entail him being a member of the ACLU, Catholics for Choice, the Democratic Party, and other organizations that you happen to favor, which seems unlikely in the extreme.

    I appreciate the fact that over the last several weeks you’ve ceased the pretension that any of these positions might be a Catholic position, but dragging Jesus into it seems a bit much.

  • There is significant evidence that some sea mammals are conscious.

    What you are trying to do is back into a defensible position to justify your previously arrived at conclusions.

    You don’t even know what religion, if any, I have.

    “Human life is a cycle which begins at conception and ends at death” is science and your statement “it’s not the opinion of medical or scientific disciplines” is bupkis.

    From my perspective you have a series of opinions buttressed with pseudo-scientific claptrap.

  • Happy to be your buddy. As one buddy to another, if Peter Brown says St. Peter was “no pope or bishop” he’s disqualified himself as a Catholic- anything. The Church has always traced the origin of the papacy to Christ’s words in Matt. 16:16-19. There’s a reason the papal throne is known as the Chair of St. Peter. Likewise the Church has always taught that the apostles were the first bishops.

    It’s ironic that the Church can be seen as marked by large families AND be thought of as somehow “anti-sex” at the same time. It’s critics can’t quite make up their mind how to attack it. Children have always been regarded as a blessing. The “necessary evil” nonsense may apply to certain heresies, or speculation by some writers, but there was no Church teaching that sex in marriage was considered evil in any respect. The epistles of ST. Paul make clear enough that “the marriage bed is undefiled”. Or do you think the Church was unaware of St. Paul and his epistles?

    It was the Church, again as confirmed in the writings of St. Paul that first acknowledged slaves as human beings, with a distinct human dignity that others were bound to respect. The Church condemned the treatment of slaves as property and demanded that families be kept intact and they received instruction in the faith. The Church was centuries ahead of its time. Anyone who views history in context can see that.

    The “ensoulment” matter was never Church teaching but theological speculation. The point wasn’t to allow killing of a child before that point, but to discern when human life began. As we no know through science that human life begins at conception, protection is properly accorded from that point on. The seriousness with which the Church protected the unborn is made clear in the Didache which clearly condemned the taking of abortifacient medication. Our scholar Mr. Brown should know that much.

    Democracy, or any form of government, is doomed to fail and in fact turn oppressive, if it fail to recognize Christ as King and Lord of creation and of all nations. Indeed in our age democracy, if divorced from a solid foundation in faith and morality, is as apt to be oppressive as anything else. Pope Benedict XVI correctly spoke of the “dictatorship of relativism”. When recognition of firm objective moral values is lacking, democracy becomes an easily manipulable tool for mob rule, and ultimate tyranny by those in control of those same mobs. Study the history of the French Revolution, or their descendant tyrannies Soviet Marxism and Naziism for details.

  • The sepsis was caused by the failure of the medical team to recognize an infection and begin treating her with appropriate antibiotics.

    Read the inquest.

    By the time the situation reached the crisis stage, nothing could have saved her as the massive sepsis took her life.

    Putting the word “faithful” in front of the word “catholic” does not take away the fact that he made recommendations diametrically opposed to his own denomination’s teachings.

  • Wrong.

    Contraception is correlated with decreased abortion.

    The Catholic church doesn’t like contraception because Magdalene laundries, baby homes and selling healthy babies were/are big business and highly profitable. And if most families have more children than they can afford, this keeps the population poor and undereducated – which are necessary conditions for religion to thrive.

    Sex is a normal human need.

    People who have thrown off religious twaddle value human life too much to call new human lives “consequences” or punishment for sex.

    People have sex. Abortion happens. The only result of criminalizing abortion is that abortion is driven underground and women die needlessly. But in the view of many “pro life” spewers, the dead woman was just a slut who got what she deserved.

    No thanks. I want nothing to do with self righteous, anti sex nonsense promoted by men who either 1. Are celibate, thus have no understanding, or more likely, 2. Publicly proclaim to be celibate while having affairs and even fathering children they won’t acknowledge or support.

  • Decreased abortion is good, why exactly? Because it’s the killing of the innocent and helpless child perhaps? And no, there is no correlation, aside perhaps from “studies” bought and paid for by abortion providers. Abortion rates, along with out of wedlock pregnancy rates, have skyrocketed since the time of “the pill”.

    Sex is a normal human need. That normal human need has natural consequences, one of which is the generation of new life. Abortion “cures” a non-disease, a healthy human life. Your callousness and those of like mind regarding the willful destruction of innocent human life, the poorest of the poor, the most helpless among us, is tragic. The consequences will be dire starting with a grave demographic crisis among Western nations. And individuals and nations will both face divine judgment one day.

    Your anti-Catholic hatred is clear enough and I guess you felt a need to express it and so you have. I see no desire for anything approaching a meaningful dialogue on your part.

  • I disagree. Studies show that 40 to 60% of fertilized ova don’t make it all the way to childbirth.

  • No fetus worship is an accurate term and is an excellent descriptor of those who force their twisted religion on others.

  • I note that human death is defined as occurring when the person’s higher brain functions cease operating and the person becomes non-sentient. Thus, it seems reasonable to me that human life becomes a human person when the fetus’ higher brain functions start operating and the fetus becomes sentient — aware of its environment. This happens around the 24th week of pregnancy. I am not concerned about a woman ending a human life, but feel that abortions when the fetus attains human personhood should be restricted to cases where the woman would die or suffer significant long-term disability. See: http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_when.htm

  • No, “fetus worship” is a derogatory term used by individuals who substitute epithets for reason.

  • Ah, but the issue isn’t primarily about ‘a headless malformed fetus’ and suclike, is it? (Terrible though these eventualites are.)

    Your point is a strawman. And a poor one at that.

  • DUH! What do Catholics think Planned Parenthood has been talking about all of these years?

  • Bob – you have got to be kidding! And once humankind has populated and cultivate the earth, what next? There is a limit to even what the earth can bear. Humankind has populated the earth into the billions, with hundreds of thousands dying of disease and starvation and sheer murder every day. More, humankind has cultivated the earth into global warming, savaged the earth and seas with plastics, cut down mountains to to dig out coal while poisoning water supplies, etc.

    Bob, there was no one Adam and one Eve, there was no Garden of Eden
    This story is a myth created to help us understand the origin of all that is and humankind place in the magnificence of creation. It is a beautiful story, but it is only a myth. Time for us to recognize that we need to be able to take new knowledge and understanding and relook at what God may ask of us now.

  • No, it is you who have to be kidding.

    We had disease, starvation, and murder when the Israelites walked the earth.

    We have reached the supposed “limit to even what the earth can bear” multiple dozens of times.

    I have no problem at all that you’ve completely absorbed the secular mantras of “global warming, savaged the earth with plastics, … poisoning the water supplies” and the other components of pseudo-scientific Chicken Little thinking.

    What I object to is your attempt to canonize it as though it had anything at all to do with religion.

  • Most adoptions are already open. Your suggestion amounts to replacing adoption with foster care. Are you sure you would be comfortable with routinely removing children from the only homes they have known from birth?

  • And how is that relevant to the abortion debate? 100% of people die at some point–that doesn’t justify causing that death.

  • Decreased abortion is good because all medical procedures carry risk and lost pregnancies are emotionally difficult.

    That doesn’t mean abortion is wrong. Or sinful. Or wasn’t the best decision at the time.

    It is painful and uncomfortable to have one’s wisdom teeth taken out. It would be better if wisdom teeth were prevented. That doesn’t make wisdom teeth removal a sin.

    If one is going to claim moral superiority, one had best be standing in a morally superior place. The catholic church is not such a place. It is just a bunch of humans, some kind and some heartless, some generous and some greedy, just like the rest of us.

    You are free to believe a non-viable collection of cells is a person. You are free to believe something magic and supernatural happens when egg meets sperm.

    You are not free to make anyone else buy into your nonsense or make decisions in accordance with your magic beliefs.

    Nothing magic happens when egg and sperm meet. A non viable embryo, which at one point has a tail and a reptilian liver until both are re-absorbed, is not a person. The 50% of fertilized eggs that fail to implant just become part of a woman’s menstrual flow. These are not people.

    Look at it this way. A man produces about 6 million sperm. When an egg is fertilized, 5,999,999 potential people are not going to exist. If I were conceived in January, hundreds of millions of potential people that might have been conceived in February and March and April, etc. simply do not exist. If my mother had gotten pregnant in December, I would not have been conceived and I would not exist. And I wouldn’t know the difference. A miscarried or aborted zygote, embryo or fetus also will never know the difference, because no person exists.

    Until there is a brain, a functioning nervous system and viability outside the womb, there is no person. And the health and wellbeing of people with brains, emotions and functioning nervous systems matter more than non viable collections of cells.

    You are free to agree or disagree. But you have no standing to claim moral superiority as you callously disregard the safety and well being of women currently alive on this planet.

  • No. This is not a strawman. Not even close.

    The “pro life” crowd works to ban late term abortions, even though almost every late term abortion is a gut wrenching decision to end a wanted pregnancy due to serious medical issues. Yet self righteous politicians pander for votes by blocking late term abortions. These are real people being used as political pawns. This is a real issue.

  • I did not question the data. I foolishly reversed correlation and causality. Because abortion and child abuse increased together does not say anything about the cause of child abuse. That is unless you can show how abortion would cause this.

    Average family income may have increased, but inequality increased dramatically since the late 70’s. This left less and less real income for the poor and middle class. This caused more and more parents to have to both work. This caused more stress in families. I would consider this stress a possible cause of child abuse. How would you describe how it was caused by abortion?

    I will ignore for now your “hill of beans” argument.

  • How great that you “acknowledge” my opinion.

    Just because you call something fallacious doesn’t make it so. The only real legal analysis in Roe was in the procedural questions. The opinion even acknowledges that the Constitution contains no general right to privacy, but that it was the courts that have created such a right. Blackmun doesn’t even care about science. He states that the question of human life begins is unsettled (it’s not–science is clear that a new human life begins at conception), and claims that the judiciary isn’t equipped to answer the question, and yet he feels the judiciary is equipped to resolve a controversial issue that the Constitution, by his own admission , does not address. His best argument is that the Constitution does not prohibit abortion, but then he takes that premise to the irrational conclusion that the Constitution protects the right to abortion, again without any evidence from the text of the Constitution itself.

    Roe is almost universally regarded as bad legal reasoning, even by those who agree with the result. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court recognized as much, but upheld the essential holding of Roe because two of the five members in the majority didn’t want to rock the boat, ignoring that the Court regularly overturns its own decisions, or else we would still be living with Dred Scott, Plessy, and Lochner (although the Court could not have reached Roe without Lochner’s dubious concept of substantive due process).

    So if you want to talk fallacy, let’s actually talk about the decision. Don’t bring your non-lawyer, facile understanding of the law to the table without something to back it up.

    As for maternity care, yes, let’s make contraceptives widely available and provide quality healthcare as a public service, using tax dollars. Although I would prefer state-specific solutions, a Bernie Sanders-style Medicare-for-all type of system would be much better than what we have now (maybe the only thing Bernie gets right). You don’t have to be pro-abortion to be pro-child and pro-mother.

  • I provided what you asked for.

    Obviously you were surprised.

    Now you scrap family income and head for income inequality.

    This cut-and-paste doesn’t really go anywhere.

    The source of the problem is the decline in the view of people as interrelated human beings in a society to a group of libertarians looking out for #1.

  • I think a woman, in consultation with her doctors, should be trusted to make her own medical decisions. Period. Full stop.

    Abortions after 24 weeks are extremely rare and nearly always because of serious medical conditions or fetal abnormalities.

    Or should a woman pregnant with a fetus so severely deformed that it will not survive birth be forced to carry that fetus for 3 more months, fending off questions and congratulations, just so the non viable fetus can die at birth?

    Do you not care how cruel and emotionally devastating that is?

    But the mother’s life isn’t in danger, so her intense suffering and grief are irrelevant. Have you thought this through?

    Or perhaps it is okay to trust women to make the best decision they can from the options available.

  • The definition of death that you cite is only one of several views, and is not the mainstream one. It would, however, allow the clearing out of much nursing home space, if you’re OK with that.

    You also left out a key element of the definition you chose: irreversibility.

  • Vasectomies are rarely reversible.

    As the mother of sons, I think an effective, long term and reversible male contraceptive is long overdue.

    But that has nothing to do with the fact that abortion should be legal and safe.

  • PS – reasonable people recognize there must be limits on abortion. We are perfectly willing to debate what those might be as there is a continuum of development where at one end, a fertilized egg, it is ridiculous to consider a baby while it is equally ridiculous to allow partial birth abortions of an otherwise healthy fetus. Only religious people end up supporting absurd proposition such as giving a malformed headless fetus the same status as a newborn baby.

  • Let’s even be super conservative and make it 20 weeks … but no, this common sense approach won’t appease the self righteous.

  • Most mammals are conscious, as are many others. I said a sentient human being.
    I don’t care what religion you have. I have seen you citing ancient texts as part of your arguments.

    “Human life is a cycle which begins at conception and ends at death” is not science, it is an “alternative fact”.

  • The anti abortion argument includes the fiction that every fertilized egg is a person with rights.

    Yet a brief look at reality makes it clear that fertilized eggs are just tissue. Nothing special.

  • Your view is contrary to so many who push the notion of “social programs decrease abortion rates” such as the author of this article Fr. Reese. They think, or at least would have us believe, that abortion is recognized as the taking of an innocent and helpless human life and to be minimized for that overriding reason. I wonder whether Fr. Reese and those of like mind including many who comment here realize who they are keeping company with.

    I do appreciate your honesty and I suspect that indeed many who profess to want to “decrease abortions” couldn’t care less about saving innocent lives but use such concern as but a smokescreen to push a liberal political agenda.

    The moral standing of the Catholic Church to opine on these matters is granted by Christ our Lord Himself. The Church needs no further recognition from anyone. That some of its members have acted in a gravely sinful manner changes nothing. Judas Iscariot was an apostle who betrayed Christ. His betrayers are sadly enough often found within the Church. That sorry truth is immaterial to Her call to bear witness to Christ and His teaching.

    @”Nothing magic happens when sperm and egg meet” you say. Nothing except your very origin. That’s how every human life begins. Actually it’s not magical. It’s divine. And since God Himself, and the very Nature that He created has ordained such an occurrence to be the origin of human life, He is an “interested party” as it were in each and every procreative event and circumstance. That many or most embryos do not survive is hardly the point. Nature has the prerogative when it comes to the death of the innocent. Man does not.

    Your definition of personhood while clever, is aside the point. A growing child in the womb is where it is intended to be by God and Nature, and at whatever state of development it’s value is not discountable by those who impose artificial standards warranting cognizance of his/her worth.

    That “collection of cells”, if unimpeded, will in the natural course of events, develop in accordance with its living human nature. Where exactly is it decreed and by what authority, that the presence of “brains, emotions, functioning nervous systems” etc are essential to to make a child in the womb fully human? Why not another point in development?

    In that regard your behind the times. Minds far greater than yours have already posited that “personhood” should not be affirmed until AFTER the passage of a certain point of time POSTBIRTH. Yes indeed the brilliant thinkers in the area of ethical philosophy, Dr. Peter Singer of Princeton et al., believe parents should have to right to kill their child post birth if they see fit. Post birth abortion is what they’re calling it. They’re simply picking and choosing other criteria than you to determine “personhood” and the attachment of legal recognition and protection. Who are you to say they’re wrong?
    More here-
    http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/just-being-human-doesnt-give-you-a-right-to-live-peter-singer-sums-up-pro-a

  • Whoa!

    You said sentient. Then when asked about sentient, you said conscious. Now you add “human being”, which you have yet to define.

    Watching you try to back into something when you reached your conclusion before doing an analysis always leads to this little tap dance.

    As to science, try try again:

    https://www.britannica.com/science/life-cycle

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_life_cycle

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/biological_life_cycle.htm

    http://www.biologyreference.com/La-Ma/Life-Cycle-Human.html

  • Oh, no! You’re the who mentioned ‘headless malformed fetus’ and made this the horror-story centrepiece of your argument.

    As I said, ‘a strawman’.

  • This is a complete non-sequitur. The capacity to die does not exclude something from personhood. In fact, to the contrary, all persons have the capacity to die. In Angola, 18% of liveborn children die. Does that justify infanticide? There’s a one in six chance that any given person over the age of 85 will die in the next year. Is it OK to kill an octogenarian?

    I could list a string of quotes from embryology textbooks that make clear that fertilization is the beginning of a unique organism. All of the things that define life are present from the moment of fertilization.

  • False.Mathew 16: 16-19 was a interpolation or addition,not a saying of Christ.No apostle treated peter with a primacy.No prominent figure in the first 1000 years hailed the vatican to reign over all the churches,laughable,unheard of.In the first 1000 years of the united church,where true ecumenical councils reigned,there was no papal primacy.Emperors called councils not popes,no ecumenical council hailed the pope holding supreme control. So that disqualifies rubbish that what the pope says somehow counts.
    The legacy of popes holding sexual relations in cintempt is astronomical.
    POpe siricus hailed christ had to of been concieved by the holy spirit or else the seed of a man would of defiled mary and christ
    pope gregory the great hailed a man must was himself before entering church because his will,having sexual relations with his wife is evil
    pope innocent hailed priests should be celibate lest they lie with their wives in impurity
    these are all references to normal non contraceptive sex and there are more quotes to come by. Its a disgrace to hold anything the church teaches on sexuality serious except for some insights by the second vatican council

    Yes popes released bulls ,look it up defending ensoulment.Its been only the past 150 years that they hailed the doctrine of life starting at conception.You see the female egg was discovered only in 1846,hence it was believed the male seed was life in itself and needed the fertile farmland of the female to grow.
    As far as democracy goes,yes PIus IX condemned that.PIus had no concern about relativism.THe thought of the people electing and voting out was revolting to him

  • You keep repeating the falsehood that contraceptivesi increase the rtae of abortion. Every study has shown this is not the case. Do a Venn diagram. The only intersection is “contraceptives not readily available/abortion increases.” Where contraceptives are not readily available, which is in a lot of Bible and Catholic dominated areas in the US, abortions go up.

  • I am tired of playing with semantics. I will just say that abortion should be at the choice of the woman. For her the earlier the better. This can be done at up to 22 weeks without pain or consciousness for the fetus.

  • If I were you I would tire of playing semantics.

    As I pointed out earlier, you wander about with self-definitions trying to claim a scientific basis for things (e.g., “life cycle”) that are simply your taste. It invariably snags you.

    And we all know there is no accounting for taste.

  • Bob, we have billions of people now living on the earth and we have increasing longevity. There really is a limit to the life the earth can sustain and we need to think about it. What happens if we really do stop the murders, disease, starvation? Do you think that it is the signal for the Second Coming? What if it isn’t? We have a responsibility to the Earth God gave us, especially in the so-called civilized and dominant Western World, the predominantly Christian, industrialized, developed world that we are despoiling.

  • The proper medical treatment would have been giving her the abortion she requested when her 17-week miscarriage became inevitable. The hospital declined because there still was a fetal heartbeat and under Irish law they could not do so. This was several days before the sepsis set in and it became too late to save her.

  • We really don’t know the limit to the life earth can sustain.

    We’ve had multiple predictions of impending famine and it’s been a no show every time.

    In any case, whatever you think, I would leave God and Jesus and the Catholic Church out of it. Any relationship between any of the three and your positions appears to be coincidental.

  • I believe I have covered this before.

    I think it is coming, that the last presidential election is an early precursor of what is yet to come, that the people of the majority of the states are reaching a boiling point, and that it will arise at the state level when “the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments”.

    Such conventions are unlimited in scope.

    One which I believe almost certainly will be proposed will be restrictions on the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

    That will return jurisdiction over abortion, marriage, and number of other things to the states.

    That will allow the people of Iowa, for example, to avoid getting dragged into what the people of California tolerate.

  • Even if you got 2/3rds of the states (34 of 50) to have a convention, you still need 3/4ths to ratify amendments. That is 38 states of 50. Off the top of my head it’s hard to see that happening. For a rough analogy, Hillary won 19 states (not including Maine which splits its electoral votes). The long-term demographics — and nothing is going to happen overnight — are not on your side.

  • The point was Peter Brown is no Catholic scholar or anything Catholic IF he holds the views he does. Your depiction of history while fascinating is off topic.

    “Ensoulment” is an interesting topic, but a side topic. It was never a defined teaching of the Church. The point was always to protect the unborn at that point at which human life was known to be present. That point, as we know today, is conception. The theological speculations of the past on the matter are of no consequence today, apart from historical interest. They don’t impact Catholic teaching, whatever anyone may hold to the contrary.

    The matter is a distraction in any event, unless you are willing to defend the helpless unborn after 40 days or 80 days or whatever point of “ensoulment” you pick. Is that what you’re prepared to do, argue that abortion after 40 days, or perhaps 80, should be banned based on “ensoulment”? I doubt if that’s where you and others who raise the point are proposing. So why go there at all? Obfuscation perhaps?

    Your understanding of ecumenical councils is limited. Yes early ones were called by the Emperor since their interest was to preserve peace within the empire. From the earliest it was well accepted that unless the teachings promulgated by the council was accepted and approved by the Pope, they were of no effect.

  • So your unhappy with assertions with no evidence? Then please go back to this comment of yours:

    “Sex with contraceptives is not most often separated form love, but from compulsive procreation. Procreation mandated sex occurs in many loveless unions”-

    and provide evidence.

  • I do not expect anything in the short run.

    The electoral vote in 2016 is irrelevant. What is relevant is that for the first time in a long time people saw that professional politicians do not, in fact, represent them.

    They represent themselves first, their party second, and if they’re lucky the electorate comes in third place.

    Take, for an example, Arizona. There has been an internal battle there for the last few years with the grassroots trying to pry control of the Republican party out of the hands of an elite headed by one of Mitt Romney’s cousins which promoted Flake and McCain over people who better represented the electorate.

    The discontent with the parties is growing, as it will be reflected in the state legislatures before it is reflected in the Congress.

    This may happen in as little as six years, or as long as 15-20 years, but once folks recognize they have real power, there is going to be change.

  • Reread what I wrote. I didn’t claim that deliberately sterile sex increased the rates of abortion. I said abortion has not gone down BECAUSE OF contraceptives.

    Contraceptives became widely available by the early 1960’s. Abortion rates exploded in the 1970’s and through the 1980’s and into the 90’s both as a ratio of live births and as a percentage of the population. They are now about as high as the rates were in 1973 when they were already drastically high as compared to the prior decade and before the onset of widely available contraception most particularly including the pill.

    Certainly over the last couple of decades they have decreased, but the reason is open for debate. One thing is undeniable. Abortion rates skyrocketed following liberalized abortion laws in the late 60’s culminating in abortion on demand with Roe v. Wade and coincided with a drastic increase in use and availability of contraceptives.

    In terms of raw numbers, we have killed 50+ million human beings since Roe v. Wade in 1973. How many possible fathers and mothers have been killed off as a result? Demographically we are a nation in crisis, along with all the Western world. Abortion and deliberately sterile sex have played an indispensable role.

  • So, he lied at the inquest?

    Why, then, would I listen to him now?

    The Journal in Ireland is hardly reputable news media, and a political bit during an election is not a substitute for a court of inquest.

  • There have been no findings that her death was caused by anything other than a timely failure to diagnose sepsis. Irish law did not preclude providing whatever lifesaving treatment she may have needed. Pro-abortion groups exploited the tragic death of this woman for their own purposes.

  • The pope had no choice but to accept because he was a puppy dog to the emperor.The same applies to the eastern bishops,unless they approved a ecumenical council as well,the pope couldnt say otherwise. I am not advocating abortion(THOUGH a woman^S life in danger can be a exception) but the catholic church^s record is spotty on abortion. Look at St Antoninus of Florence,if a woman is raped,if its before ensoulment,you abort,if her life is in danger and she gets pregnant,you abort,if its the pregnancy of incest,you abort—- if its before ensoulment.Obviously not a peep or complaint from the popes in st antoninus day. a
    raymond BRown was a catholic scholar highly respected by the hierarchy,he didnt deny the legitimacy of the papacy(nor do I for that matter),he just stated Peter was no pope or bishop

  • Yes, I do understand the concept of strawman argument, but you have misconstrued my application of it in this case.

    It is a cliché that pro-abortionists (euphemistically, ‘pro-choice’) will always raise extreme examples (e.g. headless fetuses) as subject-matter for debate, predictably in order to persuade others affectively (by horrifying sensationalism) rather than by moral reasoning. They thus appear to win the argument for abortion by emotional blackmail when, in fact, the argument advanced by their opponents was not emotional, but rational and dispassionate: the cold reality of whether certain human beings should require permission to live.

    I do know what happened in the Republic of Ireland, as I live in Northern Ireland and have followed the debate on repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Republic’s constitution.

  • Prior to the legalization of Christianity, numerous Popes and other Christians willingly suffered martyrdom for the faith. Yet you think they suddenly decided to jettison the faith after Christianity was legalized by placating the emperor. Constantine was a friend of the Christian faith? Some of those that followed were martyred as well. Some were mortal enemies such as Julian. And the Roman Empire collapsed in the 8th century or so, yet Ecumenical Councils have met periodically ever since.

    If you can find anything determining that the views you attribute to St. Antoninus became part of formal Church teaching please provide a link. It likely stands only as his opinion. For that matter please provide a link to anything you can find that he wrote on the topic of abortion. In my brief attempt to research him I found nothing on topic.

    If Fr. Brown denied that St. Peter was the first Pope but doesn’t deny the legitimacy of the papacy who does he propose was the first pope and to what would he attribute his legitimacy? Since you also deny St. Peter that title while not denying the legitimacy of the papacy you’d be qualified to answer that as well.

  • The papacy is a man made institution.As far as formal teaching goes,many moral issues were dealt with by theologians with popes playing a passing role till about a few centuries ago.Obviously popes intervened at times.ONE moral teaching popes taught in their bulls and that the Council of Vienne condemned was usury.The immorality of charging interest on a loan.The people rejected this and like other church teachings,it bit the dust.You have to form your conscience,that is where the heart of catholic morality lies

  • I rather doubt the women and their families who suffered would be comforted by knowing they were ‘cliches’. And to label those who abhor abortion yet recognize also the grey areas as pro-abortion’ is about as cliched as one can possibly get.

    A fertilized egg is not a human being. To argue otherwise is the exact opposite of rational argument. Luckily, it’s now settled and commin sense has prevailed just as it did not too long ago when condoms were made legal despite religious arguments to the contrary.

    You may wish to review what a reductio ad absurdem argument is so you can distinguish between that and a strawman argument.

  • the first paragraph lists all the areas that the constitution gives jurisdiction to the supreme court .

    the second paragraph separates out those of the previous paragraph which are original jurisdiction that congress cannot intervene in, and those that are appellate that congress can intervene in .

  • I pulled my copy of his text and found the same quote. Thank you. Let’s not forget, too, that papal canonizations were not always the case in church history. As I recall, there were *local* saints known for their upright lives and otherwise unknown elsewhere.

  • I share your frustration. My impression is that Trumpskyites used their votes to “stick it” to the rest of us who believe that POTUS and COiTUS should be expected to serve the common good. Although I tend to lean Democrat, I’ve been an Independent most of my life and voted for neither candidate in the last election.

  • in the catholic world “faithful” means that a person is of good standing in the church, and faithful lives a moral life and a life that regularly includes the sacraments–the catholic ritual way of meeting and communing with christ .

    it does not mean that a person is in lockstep with the vatican .

    i put faithful in front of the reese characterization because that is what he is .

    i would also note that many clerics and lay members of the catholic church were seen to be out of step with the vatican in the years before the second vatican council, but were the one’s who provided the foundation of the renewal of the church in that council .

    the catholic church grows stronger with a diversity of viewpoints . it is not a monolith .

  • Thank you for clarifying your point. As you know, I oppose induced abortions unless medically necessary to save women’s lives. Although I cannot support abortions following rape, etc., I can understand as a guy why women would not necessarily want to carry products of violence inflicted on them. I do think adults, married or not, should take responsibility for having intercourse. Unborn child belongs to dad as well as to mom. If a male gets a female pregnant, he should “man up”, “step up to the plate”, and “be there” to provide help. He has no right to encourage her to have an abortion: that’s “copping out” and leaving her “on the hook”. I’ve no respect for such guys.