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Cross Posted from An Almanack

Today is Easter Sunday. The day that Jesus is said to have  resurrected himself after being executed by a State that found him guilty after a trial. This could explain why the modern Catholic Church is against capital punishment.  A cross is the best reminder that a Government's system  of justice can go horribly wrong.

The Popes of recent years have opposed  executing even hardened criminals.

So why was there no protest when George W. Bush was given an honorary degree by Notre Dame in 2001? During his six years as Governor, Bush presided over 152 executions in Texas: any of which he could have prevented by an executive order. In the case of Karla Faye Tucker, he ignored  a personal appeal by the Pope himself. And yet when Obama is invited to address the graduating class and receive a degree there is a firestorm of protest.

Pope John Paul II during a visit to the US in April of 1999:

I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.

Why does Richard Allen's Op Ed Column today, on Easter Sunday,  not even mention the Church's opposition to capital punishment, but only its opposition to abortion? Where was his outrage when Bush was given the same honors at his Alma Mater?

He says

There  is turmoil in South Bend, Ind. — and around the country. The Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, has invited President Obama to deliver the commencement address at the university on May 17 and to receive an honorary degree.

As a result, many alumni are up in arms denouncing the decision. Priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals have criticized the university and its president. South Bend’s own bishop, John D’Arcy, has announced that he will not attend. At the same time, other members of the Notre Dame community have responded, with similar force, that Mr. Obama should be allowed to speak.

I do not recall His Excellency Bishop  John D'Arcy denouncing George W. Bush with the same vehemence. Did he boycott the ceremony back in 2001 quietly, just to demonstrate that he is a man of principle?

As for Mr. Richard Allen, his hero  Ronald Reagan also presided over an execution  as Governor of California. On April 11 1967, Aaron Micthell was executed for murdering a policeman. Reagan as Governor could have commuted his sentence, as he did on another case in which the accused had brain damage. The only reason there were not any more executions under Gov. Reagan  was the determined opposition of the California Supreme Court. Reagan led the fight to reverse, by ballot,  the decision of the Court to ban the death penalty.

How can you say that you are  pro-life and still support the death penalty? How can you say that it is alright to execute people convicted in a court of law while wearing a cross around your neck? Was Jesus not convicted in a Court of Law? Was he not refused  a pardon by the Governor for political reasons?

Did Mr. Allen protest when Notre Dame awarded President Reagan a degree in 1981? Mr. Allen mentions Reagan's unflinching opposition to abortion as one of the reasons he deserved that degree. What of that life he allowed to be snuffed out?

In an unintentional  comic interlude, Allen also mentions Reagan's other connection to Notre Dame: he played its football  coach in a movie. Also many people think that Reagan was Catholic because of his Irish last name. Appearance is everything.
He concludes:

The Obama policy on abortion is pretty much the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s. It is precisely what the Catholic Church fights against. That is why my alma mater, while welcoming him in its midst, ought not confer an honorary degree on Mr. Obama.

The Bible does not mention abortion anywhere. It does not say anywhere that life begins at conception. It does teach that life is sacred. The entire New Testament, especially the Gospels,  can be read as  a screed against capital punishment as sanctioned by Roman Law. Rome had the best judicial system in its time. Christ was convicted in a court of Law, and refused  a pardon by the Chief Executive Pontius Pilate. Why would someone whose behavior is more reminiscent of Pilate than Jesus deserve a degree at Notre Dame? At least Pilate was not going against the explicit appeal of religious authorities of his time: the Pope made a personal appeal to George W. Bush to stop an execution.

The point is not that Karla Faye Tucker is the moral equivalent of Jesus Christ. The point is that a principle, if it is to be respected,  must be applied uniformly. The Catholic Church in its official proclamations recognizes that. They oppose both  abortion and execution. (But not equally forcefully: see comment below by coffeetalk.) It is  Catholics of Convenience like Mr. Allen, who use  religious condemnation to suit their own political ends who forget this.  

Full Disclosure: I am not Catholic, but part of my education was at a Catholic school. Not Notre Dame. My only connection to Notre Dame is that I  have given  a couple of technical seminars there. Totally unrelated  to the topic discussed here.

Originally posted to organicdemocrat on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:18 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  well said (6+ / 0-)

    well written diary -

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" - Tom Robbins

    by ARS on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:33:50 PM PDT

  •  Because Catholic Bishops are hypocrites (6+ / 0-)

    And I say that as somebody who grew up in the church.

    •  They have become "cafeteria Catholics," (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geenius at Wrok, Judge Moonbox

      fixating on things like abortion and same sex marriage and stem cell research while ignoring all of the other Catholic doctrines against things like unjust wars, capital punishment, and social justice. On a continuum of extreme respect for life, the Church's stance on abortion makes sense but not when it is in isolation and there is so little interest in the condition of life after birth.

      •  I do not agree with the Church doctrine on Life (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, alba, Remembering Jello, lynncosbm

        But I can respect it. I have no respect for people who choose the part of the doctrine that is useful for them politically.

      •  All Catholics are Cafeteria Catholics (3+ / 0-)

        just a question of which steam table.  And I say that as a Catholic.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:57:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course - me too - my complaint (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, gfv6800, Judge Moonbox

          is that the absolutists on right to life are so absolute on that issue and so uncompromising and black-and-white on that issue but indifferent or hostile to so many of the other issues that pertain to "life" (i.e., what happens to a person after he is or she is born). If the bishops who seek to deny communion to choice-supporting politicians were consistent true believers they would deny communion to all Catholic politicians as there are none who consistently and completely pursue the Catholic agenda in their public lives.

          I don't think that the absolutists on the hot-button issues realize that they too are cafeteria Catholics. I suspect that Pat Buchanan, for example, has convinced himself that he is free to disregard Church teachings on social justice (many of which are very much on the left side of the political spectrum) because that part of Catholic teaching is somehow optional.  

          •  Follow the numbers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Judge Moonbox

            It is possible to understand apparently contradictory behavior of human institutions if you look at it in terms of what is their best interest.

            It is logically contradictory that the Church denounces some moral failings (war, racial discrimination, poverty) quietly while is vociferous in its opposition to abortion, homosexuality, and comically, even birth control. But it makes sense because these are all matters that affects its long term survability. Moral issues matter too, but are not vital.

            I would not hold the Catholic Church responsible for Pat Buchanan's views, however.

            •  Are you implying that the church is so (0+ / 0-)

              institutionally cynical that it cares primarily about the rate of reproduction among its members??? That may very well have been true in my parents generation when people complied with the edict against birth control and bred like rabbits but it has been ineffective in many of the European countries (like Italy) for quite some time and in the United States for the past 30 or so years.

              •  Failed here but still working in Third World (0+ / 0-)

                The Church strategy failed first in Europe then in North America. Pockets like Poland and Ireland held on, but it is failing there too as people (mainly women) become more educated. Still working  in Latin America and the Philippines.

                BTW Italy allows publicly funded abortions.

                My point is that all human institutions act rationally to preserve themselves. If they do not they would not last.  To a rational observer, the Church did not last 2000 years because of divine intervention. It is because at each stage they pushed a policy agenda that ensured their own survival and growth. That is not evil or good. Just the way history unfolded. We are simply seeing the latest chapter.

                That is not the way the faithful see it.

                The Catholic Church has been better than most. At least,  somewhere buried in their websites we can still see a statement about the Rights of Migrants.

    •  No, the positions are entirely consistent (4+ / 0-)

      with the authoritarian impulse.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:24:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Calendar error: (7+ / 0-)

    Today is Easter Sunday. The day that Jesus was executed by a State that found him guilty after a trial.

    Good Friday is the day of being condemned and executed.  Easter is "rising from the dead" day.

    To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 01:45:02 PM PDT

  •  Well, if that's really the reason Mr. Bush (0+ / 0-)

    the Pope made a personal appeal to George W. Bush to stop an execution

    went ahead with the execution, I suppose that's one  thing he did correctly . . .

    •  He just ignored the Pope. Was not convenient. (3+ / 0-)
      •  He should have ignored the pope. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        God only knows why he was meeting with him in the first place . . .

        •  actually it would have been nice if GB had (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, Judge Moonbox

          listened to the Pope on the Iraq War . .

          •  No, it might have been nice if (0+ / 0-)

            Mr. Bush had followed the course of action suggested by the pope but for other reasons  . . .

            I cannot see anything appropriate with the head of a secular plurastic state meeting with the pope in any official capacity much less "listening" to him (or her, as the case may be).

            •  While I don't agree with the Church on (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, Dar Nirron, Judge Moonbox

              much of anything, they have stood up against the Iraq war. Also for the rights of immigrants and the poor in the US. Like many other human institutions, the Church is not perfect. Nor is it all bad.

            •  All are free to lobby. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, organicdemocrat

              I don't think that becoming a major religion's leader disqualifies him from offering advice per se. I make a distinction between two different kinds of morality: ethical and dogmatic. That's the line that separates Jerry Falwell from Martin Luther King.

              In the 36 years since Roe v. Wade was handed down, the anti-abortionists have not acknowledged that abortion remains legal because many believe personhood begins at birth; and respectfully explained why such a belief is wrong. That leaves the argument in the realm of dogma.

              By contrast, the death penalty can easily be exposed as nothing more than legitimating violence in the eyes of those who haven't outgrown the Monkey See, Monkey Do phase. My big complaint about Catholic activism here is that they seem to confine it to odd-numbered years (except 2007).

              I had once criticized my own minister for crossing the line between ethics and dogma in his testimony on one issue where I agreed with his cause.

              Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

              by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:43:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is a good point. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Judge Moonbox

                On odd election election years  oppose death penalty. On even years (and years divisible by four even more) oppose abortion. That seems to be the strategy.

                It makes rational sense if you look at the aim of the Church. Preserve  moral credibility by taking ethical positions; yet speak loudly when it is its own best interests of growth in numbers.

                Even religious organizations are subject to rational analysis.

  •  Condi Rice is the real person you should .... (0+ / 0-)

    also compare as she is Pro-choice and has spoken at B.C. and Notre Dame.

  •  Sigh. Having been raised Catholic in a (5+ / 0-)

    very Catholic city (New Orleans) I have to point out something for you non-Catholics.  First, let me say that the Catholic Church is not perfect and I am not condoning everything it does.  So please don't come at me with the pedophilia scandals, the Crusades, whatever you think is wrong with the Catholic Church.  I am trying to explain, not necessarily justify.

    Those of you who were not raised Catholic need to understand that there are different levels of "Church position" on things.  There are matters of dogma, that cannot be questioned  if you are a Catholic, like the doctrine of transubstantiation.  There are matters that are always, per se, grave evils, mortal sins, and engaging in them is always a mortal sin.  Then, there are positions that the pope or the bishops take on other issues that express their position, but disagreement with the pope or bishops on this is not a grave and mortal sin.  

    Abortion belongs to category 2 -- voluntary abortion (other than one that is necessary in an extreme situation to save a life) is a grave evil, a mortal sin.  See, for example, this.    Participating in an abortion, or facilitating one, is a mortal sin under Church teachings. It is the murder of an innocent human life accordng to the Church.  It can result in excommunication.

    Capital Punishment belongs in category 3.  It is not considered a murder of an innocent human life when it is used in the criminal justice system.    The pope and the bishops have expressed their position on it -- that it is cruel and unnecessary -- but it is not one of the fundamental teachings of the Church.  Catholics can disagree with the pope or bishop's position without risk of mortal sin or excommunication.  Never, as far as I know, has the Church declared that support of capital punshiment is a mortal sin, as is support of abortion.  See, for example, the bishops' statement on capital punishment.   It includes, for example, the following sentence:  "Allowing for the fact that Catholic teaching has accepted the principle that the state has the right to take the life of a person guilty of an extremely serious crime, and that the state may take appropriate measures to protect itself and its citizens from grave harm, nevertheless, the question for judgment and decision today is whether capital punishment is justifiable under present circumstances."  

    Yes, the pope and the bishops oppose capital punishment in the way they oppose war.  But under Church teachings, it is not always, per se, a mortal sin worthy of excommunication.  There is a significant qualitative difference between a fundamental teaching of evil, and mortal sin on the one hand (abortion) and a pope and bishop's position on an issue (capital punishment).  Not the same thing.  You may thing they SHOULD be treated the same, but the truth is that the Catholic Church does not treat them the same, so Catholics who do not treat them the same are not hypocritical.  Wrong, maybe?  That's a matter of opinion.  But not hypocritical under Church teachings.  

    •  Abortion is a natural process by which the (3+ / 0-)

      host body rids itself of unwanted tissue, more often than foreign tissue is tolerated long enough to grow into a viable organism.  
      What the church and any number of other un-involved persons are objecting to is the surgical or chemical interruption of the process of gestation and the premature removal of an alien organism.
      On what basis an uninvolved observer would assert the right to dictate that a person must endure an alien organism is beyond comprehension.
      Why should a fetus be different from a cancer?  Because, if the host is lucky, it will be automatically expelled?

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:35:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did not try to justify the Church's position (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, gfv6800, organicdemocrat

        on abortion, merely explain it, and to point out that the Church's fundamental teaching on abortion is qualitatively different from the position of the pope and bishops on capital punishment.  

        On what basis an uninvolved observer would assert the right to dictate that a person must endure an alien organism is beyond comprehension.
        Why should a fetus be different from a cancer?  Because, if the host is lucky, it will be automatically expelled?

        Again, I can explain, not justify.  The Church's position is based on its religious teaching that a fetus has an immortal soul -- and thus, is a human being.  Not just "tissue."  Not just an organism.  A human being.  

        Of course, that is entirely a faith-based position, not provable by any scientific method whatsoever.  The existance of the "immortal soul" itself is entirely a faith-based position.  

        If -- a big if -- you believe that a fetus is a human being endowed with an immortal soul, then anything other than complete and hardened opposition to abortion is just not possible for any moral person.  If -- that big if -- a fetus is a human being with an immortal soul, then the millions of abortions that have occurred are necessarily a tragedy on the scale of the Holocaust.  If you believe that the fetus is a human being with an immortal soul, the position of the Catholic Church makes perfect sense.  From your post, it is obvious that you disagree with that basic and fundamental Catholic teaching of faith.  And that's fine.  Disagreement on matters of religious faith -- or on being religious at all -- is in the best tradition of American freedom.    

        •  While I undestand the difference in the teachings (3+ / 0-)

          it doesn't come near explaining the different reactions to bush and Obama at Notre Dame.

          Obama does not perform abortions nor does he have the ability to stop even one.
          bush had the ability to stop every single death penalty case in Texas while he was governor. He ignored a direct plea from the pope. The diarist had an interesting point in Jesus being executed legally himself...
          And people are so big on the OT God calling homosexuality an abomination. Well if there is one clear, clear message from the old testament it's God's view on the death penalty if his words and example mean anything. He exiled Cain, he took from him life with his family, his occupation. And he protected him.
          "Whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

          bush started a war of choice, killing hundreds of thousands.

          The "lesser" sins of bush were the greater for he had choice in every case, he had control.

          If Obama was coming to speak at Notre Dame regarding the greatness of abortion I'd understand the ire but chances are good that isn't his plan. He is not a Catholic, he is not an abortionist, he isn't forcing mandatory abortions, he has an opinion that differs from the teaching of the church on what was existing law since before he was a teenager

          He won the Catholic vote by a healthy majority but even if he didn't he is the president of Catholics too.

          The reaction to this is hypocritical and disgusting.

          I know your post wasn't debating any of that. I just started replying to you on a smaller point and just kept writing my opinion on the whole matter.

          •  Excellent points. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joynow, Judge Moonbox

            Notice the sophistry of the defenders of the faith.

            Instead of addressing the transparent injustice of the death penalty, as illustrated by Christ himself, we are led into a thicket of doctrinaire arguments. If you read one obscure document and refute it there is always another (preferably in Latin) that is supposed to be the basis of it all. This tactic worked back when most people, even Priests were barely literate. It still works with the semi-educated or the true believers.

            But as most comments on this diary show, the Church is losing ground. Even among those who would find its moral teachings admirable.

      •  Sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you lost me at "alien organism."  Half of its DNA is that of the host.  It started out with all of its CNA being that of the host, until half was shed after fertiliztion.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:30:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the explanation. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, gfv6800, Remembering Jello

      It is a subtle point and well worth explaining to those not as familiar with Church doctrine as you are.

    •  How conveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenient! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Capital Punishment belongs in category 3.  It is not considered a murder of an innocent human life when it is used in the criminal justice system.    The pope and the bishops have expressed their position on it -- that it is cruel and unnecessary -- but it is not one of the fundamental teachings of the Church.

      I still think this is wallpaper covering the real distinction.

      If the doctrine that personhood begins at conception was as obvious as they want us to think, the abortion issue would never have come before the Supreme Court. The ethical issue involved in the death penalty debate is much more straightforward; but it appears that the Catholic Church is the only group with the power to grab everyone's attention and show that the argument for executions is bunk.

      I have to wonder if the reason the Bishops don't take a stronger stance that the taking of one life does not save another, more innocent life is because resorting to evidence on this issue would show that they don't have that kind of evidence on Abortion; or they simply don't want to deal with debate and prefer to stick with ukase.

      Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

      by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:55:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is self-evident that Christ was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        convicted in a court of law and executed. I can't think of a more powerful argument against the death penalty.

        Instead of taking this position, which is not currently in its self-interest, the Church has followed a strategy of opposing birth control, homosexuality and abortion. Why? Because one is in its self-interest and the other is only a moral teaching.

  •  Stuff (5+ / 0-)

    If a bunch of liberal Catholics were protesting against a conservative politician speaking at a Catholic college, and presenting their own views as if they are the official position of the Catholic Church, I expect they would get smacked down pretty good by the Vatican. They are picking and choosing at least as much as are the liberal Catholics, ignoring the official positions against war and the death penalty.

    The media is no help, they overwhelmingly bring on conservatice Catholics to present the Catholic view.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 02:26:14 PM PDT

    •  Well, liberal Catholicism doesn't (3+ / 0-)

      have quite as stern a " party line" on most issues as does the conservative wing of the Church.

      If your looking for a quick soundbite, it's almost always easier to go conservative. Liberals want to talk about all these shades of grey...

    •  Not on capital punishment (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, gfv6800, organicdemocrat

      Opposition to capital punishment is the position of the pope and the bishops but is NOT a fundamental Catholic teaching.  The Vatican would not "smack down" people who disagee with them on this issue.  The bishops' statement on capital punishment recognizes that the state has a right to use capital punishment for extreme crimes to protect itself.  The bishops' statement includes this sentence:  "We recognize that many citizens may believe that capital punishment should be maintained as an integral part of our society's response to the evils of crime, nor is this position incompatible with Catholic tradition."  

      The Catholic Church's position capital punishment is not fundamental church teaching in the way its opposition to abortion is fundamental church teaching. The Church's difference is based on its position that abortion is the intentional taking of an innocent human life, and that capital punishment is intended to be punishment for those who are guilty of the most horrible crimes.  The Church's position on capital punishment recognizes room for disagreement among the Catholic faithful.  Its position on abortion does not.

  •  What disturbs me... (8+ / 0-) the hostile language against Obama by these so-called "pro-life" people. Any form of violence is wrong--even language. Don't they get it ? No, they don't.
    For them, it's all about abortion. But that is not being pro-life. Showing respect for people is being pro-life.

    An excellent diary!

    •  Not in the Catholic teaching (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, gfv6800

      Showing respect for people is being pro-life.

      Remember, the Catholic Church teaches that an abortion is the murder of a human being, and that allowing millions of abortions over the last several decades is akin to the murder of children by the Nazis in the Holocaust.  You can argue that they are wrong about that, but that is the fundamental Catholic religious teaching -- that a fetus has an immortal soul and thus is a living human being.  

      Showing disrespect for people does not quite have the same gravity as the murder of a human being.  

      •  What I am saying... (4+ / 0-) that what some consider "pro-life" is incomplete, or morally immature.
        If you want to be "pro-life", then show respect for people who don't agree with you. It's easy to take a stand against abortion. It is not so easy to show respect for people who are not like you. But that shows you respect their dignity (=pro-life for me!).

        •  Indeed, I don't see why your belief system (3+ / 0-)

          should be held in any less esteem than that of an organization that condones child abuse and has killed myriad of the all-ready born over the past two millenia.

          Once again, they have a really strange distinction between the unborn and real people . . .

          •  The virulent opposition to abortion (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy, Judge Moonbox

            and the more mild opposition to birth control can be understood as a way to preserve the growth of the Church through reproduction. The less vehement opposition to capital punishment has a lesser consequence as most people who are executed have already passed the reproductive age or are people unlikely to reproduce.

            Doctrine and faith aside, all human institutions adopt positions that further their own survival. That would be a rationalist explanation for the subtle distinctions.

            •  That basically is saying that the bishops (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, gfv6800, organicdemocrat

              are hypocrits and inventing a distinction solely to preserve their own power.  Frankly, I don't see why it is so difficult to accept the distinction that the church has expressly made.  In the view of the Church, both capital punishment and abortion are the killing of human beings.  One is a punishment for a person who has brought that punishment on him/herself by committing a horrible crime and therefore, historically, cames with some justification by the State, although the bishops think it no longer is justified or necessary.  The other is the murder of a completely innocent human being and therefore cannot be justified under any circumstances, and has never been justified in the view of the Catholic Church.  

              You may disagree with the views of the bishops, but I take them at face value that this distinction is the basis of their distinct positions.  

              •  What I am saying is that moral positions (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy

                made by human actors always have a component of self-preservation in them. It is clearly in the interest in the Church to encourage reproduction by Catholics, as it is a significant way that it grows. While the Church Fathers can claim that their position is derived directly from historical teachings, we can also note that they emphasize the part of their teaching that is in their own self-interest.

                This does not make them evil. Merely human.

                •  Unless you have some evidence that the basic (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  marykk, organicdemocrat

                  fundamental positions that the Church has held for thousands of years are held for reasons other than as laid out in the well-documentated positions of the Church, I suggest that your speculation of the reasons for these positions are nothing more than that -- unsupported speculation -- and not something I will take seriously.  See my post below.  

                  Of course, people are completely free to disagree with the positions of the Church.  That is different from essentially questioning the sincerity of those beliefs, which these posts seem to do.  

                  •  You do not need to take it seriously. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy, Judge Moonbox

                    But it perhaps explains why the Church is having such a hard time getting itself heard outside of its own flock.
                    Even among those who could be sympathetic to its moral teachings.

                    •  I just would require more than my own speculation (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      marykk, organicdemocrat

                      before I accused a major religion with millions of followers of being insincere about its most fundamental beliefs.  I believe any religion deserves the respect of assuming that its adherents are sincere in their beliefs, unless someone has evidence to the contrary, which you do not. '

                      Disagreement with religious teachings is ok -- it is a basic American right.  Accusations that leaders of any religion are not being honest about the basis for their beliefs, without some support for those accusations that they are dishonest, are not.  

                      Simply because you disagree with another's beliefs is no reason to accuse that person or persons of being insincere or dishonest about his/her beliefs.  

                      •  It makes the Catholic Church no more (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roadbed Guy, Judge Moonbox

                        evil than any other Corporation, political party or other human organization. It is not due to divine intervention that it has survived so long. It has always taken position that maximized its own strength while giving just enough moral to keep the flock under its control. Others have tried the same but they did it better than most. That is merely the rational reading of history.

                        I do not say it is any worse than any other major (or minor) religion. Or even that it is a bad thing to do. It is just the way it is.

                  •  The church's position on abortion (5+ / 0-)

                    dates from the mid 1800s, not "thousands of years." There is ample reason to question the sincerity, not of core beliefs, but of imposed doctrine. Read Garry Wills' "Why I Am a Catholic." It's a very clear statement about what is fundamental to belief in the church and what has been grafted on for reasons of control, authority and self-protection (One of the key reasons for priestly celibacy, which has been around about 1,000 years, is protection of churchly assets).

                    Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

                    by anastasia p on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:51:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Where was their pro-life stance when... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    it was Jan Hus's or Giordano Bruno's life in question?

                    Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

                    by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:15:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well not thousands yet, let's start there. (0+ / 0-)

                    The church didn't officially start until well after the death of Jesus
                    I don't think that their position on abortion goes back to then in any case, do you?
                    Neither you nor anyone here knows the full reasons for the positions they took.

              •  Except what you are saying (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brooke In Seattle

                has nothing to do with why the church originally banned abortion.

                Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

                by anastasia p on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:48:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Sanctity of the word, "Sanctity." (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                One is a punishment for a person who has brought that punishment on him/herself by committing a horrible crime and therefore, historically, cames with some justification by the State, although the bishops think it no longer is justified or necessary.  The other is the murder of a completely innocent human being and therefore cannot be justified under any circumstances, and has never been justified in the view of the Catholic Church.  
                You may disagree with the views of the bishops, but I take them at face value that this distinction is the basis of their distinct positions.  

                They should, at the very least, scale back their rhetoric.

                What would someone who actually did believe in the sanctity of life say about the death penalty?

                I think such would think it absolutely unjustifiable, but I'm in no position to criticize.

                They would, at the very least, observe that if the death penalty is a deterrent and we think it isn't, that is an error of omission. If it isn't a deterrrent and we support the practice on the grounds that it is, that is an error of commission. Therefore the burden of proof should be on the suppoters of the death penalty.

                Even if the supporters can meet all hurdles about the ultimate justification of the death penalty, they'd insist that it be practiced conscientiously; and George W. Bush has been a serial executioner. I can't say that Karla Fay Tucker was or was not guilty of the crime for which she was sentenced--although the snideness Bush used in talking about her speaks volumes.

                The case of Betty Lou Beets is much more likely to be a miscarriage of justice. Texas has a "Battered Spouse" defense--defendants of spousal murder needn't show an immediate threat of violence; but a habit of threatening behavior is enough to allow a defendant to plead self-defense. Ms Beets's lawyer didn't make such a defense. There are lots of other cases where a conscientious governor couldn't sign a death warrant.

                That the Catholic Church would argue different classes of offense to justify their different stances is in itself hypocritical.

                Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

                by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:12:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yes it could (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but that's not the basis for it.  You might want to read the Humanae Vitae.  Not a word about increasing numbers.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:18:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course they would claim that it is all based (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Judge Moonbox

                on teachings going back to Christ himself.

                But rationally speaking, only human institutions that take positions that support their survival will exist for long periods of time. The Church speaks against evil, but it is never as vehement as when it speaks against something that threatens its growth. And it will take ridiculous stands, such as the one against birth control by married couples, if it helps its aim to grow in size.

                It all makes sense if it is viewed as a means of self-preservation.

                Of course that is not the way it is presented to the flock. To them it will be all derived from Apostolic teachings.

                This does not make the Church evil. Comical at times. Certainly self-serving. In the end, human.

                •  So you haven't read the Humanae I take it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  or any of the documents which preceed it.

                  If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                  by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:31:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    People really should read the Catholic Church's explanation of its positions before they try to tell others what the Catholic Church's positions are.  

                    •  Do you really fail to see how (3+ / 0-)

                      directing us to read your church's propaganda is not going to be any more effective than directing a Gitmo prisoner to go read the US Constitution and Bill of Rights to find out what our country is really like?

                      Yeah, sure maybe in some type of bizarro world that approach will work . . .  but in other realities, many can look around, judge the evidence on its own merits, and come to whatever conclusion they might arrive at . . .

                  •  I just read it. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:


                    Sounds like standard Church reasoning to me. My point is that the way Church justifies itself to its own flock should be distinguished from the way its actions can be interpreted by a rational outsider. All human institutions are this way. There is a set of beliefs within which you can justify what you do. But if these beliefs do not help you grow your institution will die out or get out-competed.

                    Church teaching against homosexuality, sex outside the marriage, birth control inside the marriage, abortion, the death penalty, all have this in common: the part that allows it to grow are  emphasized. There is a wink and  a nod at moral failings and evils that do not affect its own growth.

                    Humanae Vitae is just another such document. To me no more special than any other.

                    •  I am ok with people saying that they disagree (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      with the positions of any religion, including the Catholic religion.  That's what the First Amendment is all about.  

                      I am perhaps less tolerant of postings on a supposedly tolerant web site that essentially accuses others of being insincere, or almost deceptive, about the basis for there positions.  

                      Marykk has pointed you to the Church's statement of the basis for its position.  If you disagree with that position, fine.  More power to you.  That's your right.  I think it is less appropriate, however, for you to essentially accuse the Church of being misleading and insincere (bordering on an accusation of being deceptive) about the reason for its position.  Unless you have some evidence that you can point to, other than your own disagreement with the Church's position, that demonstrates that the Church is motivated by what you say motivates it, rather than what the Churc says motivates it, it is perhaps not appropriate to accuse a major religion of taking is fundmantal moral positions primarily on the basis of growing its numbers.  

                      I can tell you that the Church has often, often, persisted in holding to its fundamental teachings even when that fundamental teaching has cost it numbers. Its position on abortion, on certain types of birth control, on celibacy of priests and religious, for example, have all cost it in terms of numbers.  When it has so often done that, I would argue that it is irrational to argue that it is promoting one of its most basic, fundamental principles -- the existence of the immortal soul, which is at the basis of its position on abortion and certain kinds of birth control -- in part on an attempt to increase its numbers.  If you have some evidence, fine, I'll look at it.  If you don't, if you are merely speculating, that's different.  

                      •  The evidence is merely in looking at the way the (0+ / 0-)

                        Church is growing. As conversions decline except in the Third World, and more and more people question the moral authority of the Church, the only way it can maintain its growth is to make sure that enough Catholics reproduce. There is nothing wrong with looking at a religious organization rationally. They are subject to the same laws of rational behavior as any other human institution. When we  look at a Corporation, we would make a distinction between its statements to employees and shareholders and its rational business interests. That does not make it evil or deceptive. That is just the way human organizations, whether commercial, political or religious operate.

                        To insist that anyone who disagrees with the Church's teachings should not try to understand the self-interest that motivates it is just plain silly.

                      •  Reminds me of a bad Unitarian joke. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I am perhaps less tolerant of postings on a supposedly tolerant web site that essentially accuses others of being insincere, or almost deceptive, about the basis for there positions.

                        I think that we have a right to ask people to examine their positions to see if they're raising nonsensical distinctions to cover up inconsitencies.

                        To do otherwise reminds me of a bad Unitarian joke, the one with the punch line: "But if we don't let Jerry Falwell tell us what to believe, we're not meeting his spiritual needs and can't call ourselves good Unitarian Universalists."

                        The Catholic Church has taken stances on abortion and the death penalty that, when it comes to who may be a commencement speaker at one of their universities, sure appears to be inconsistent, and we have a right to criticize them for that inconsistency.

                        Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

                        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:28:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  You have to work your way back (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      from the Humanae through the Casti Connubi at least into the nineteenth century encyclicals.  The prohibition involves the frustration of the Creator's plan, not the filling of the pews.  That's why there's no suggestion that sex is ever impermissible for the infertile, the sterile or the post-menopausal.  No intent to frustrate the divine.  The debate that went on around the Humanae, was whether birth control was permissible as long as the marriage itself was open to children - that is, for purposes of spacing, or during times when the family couldn't care for another child, or whether each connubial act had to be open to the possibility of procreation.  The latter won out, some think by a very narrow margin.  In fact, at the time, an awful lot of folks, including the lay couples who were brought in to discuss the matter with the Vatican, were surprised, as they thought Paul VI would go the other way.  The full text, however, whether you agree with the conclusion or not, demonstrates great respect for women, not the mysogyny so many ascribe to it without actually reading it.

                      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                      by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:53:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  One of the ways that the Church has (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roadbed Guy

                        kept its flock is to keep its business interests shrouded in mystical prose. Until the thinkers of the age of reason exposed much of the Church's medieval positions as merely ways of preserving wealth, most people bought into that.

                        There is no reason to look way back into dim history to understand the motivations of the 21st Church. It is operating in today's commercial and political environment. In each country (or market) it emphasizes what will sell. By taking morally defensible positions, but mute its voice when it suits its political interests, it preserves its options.

                        But as you can see, the strategy is not working very well in North America or Europe. People are just too educated to know sophistry when they see it.

                      •  There are 7 colors in a rainbow. (3+ / 0-)

                        I had once argued (in a gay rights debate) that there were 7 colors in a rainbow...and 64 in a box of crayons. Is Crayola ripping us off?

                        Someone replied that there were actually 40,000 colors in a rainbow.

                        I was using ROYGBIV to show that it was a human construct--that God could see all 40K colors.

                        The position I was arguing against was that God was an narrowminded as the people who use the "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" argument. Did God not make all these combinations as well?

                        The prohibition involves the frustration of the Creator's plan, not the filling of the pews.  That's why there's no suggestion that sex is ever impermissible for the infertile, the sterile or the post-menopausal.  No intent to frustrate the divine.

                        This is the plures interrogationes fallacy. It presumes agreement on one point to force agreement on a second point. The people who take birth control don't think it's important to keep each sex act open to pregnancy so you don't frustrate divine will.

                        Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

                        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:40:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Such a hilarious analysis of sexuality (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Judge Moonbox

                          by celibate Priests and their octagenarian leader.

                          I am sorry I am not getting the point they are making. Who exactly is frustrated here?

                        •  That's because a rainbow doesn't have "skin" (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Judge Moonbox

                          color like Crayola, which was very popular when I was kid (or, at least it existed) but is now obsolete.  

                          But that's a whole other can of worms - which may open the door to the discovery of ten's of thousands of additional colors when all skin colors are included, especially of some of our more flambuoyant animal friend . . . .

                          I've also been confused about "wine" color - that also seems to be besought with ambiguiuty (and don't even get me started on "Pacific Mist" - a color offered by one of our fine Detroit automakers that looked an awful like "gray" to me . . . in retrospect, maybe they should have spent more time engineering their vehicles and less inventing new names for colors!).

                  •  I did read Veritatis Spendor. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Or at least the lengthy excerpt the NY Times ran of it when Pope John Paul II handed down that encyclical.

                    He claimed that the truth is knowable, and that the witness of Catholic saints brought support to the Church's position (IIRC).

                    I wanted to know; if the truth is knowable, shouldn't you be able to persuade skeptics? The Pope didn't work his way to  that perspective. I thought it was a license for arrogance.

                    Proud Citizen of Barackopolis.

                    by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:20:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  All power to you. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Judge Moonbox

                      The Truth is knowable, but may be not by all? There are the few who are licensed to know it.

                      The purpose of encyclicals  is to sound profound to the converted, and sound moral to the outsiders. No different from a Press Release by the CEO of any company or the head of any Political Party. They are basically Press Releases. And the Pope is like any other CEO in this respect.

                      We should not  expect more or less from the Church  than any other human organization.

              •  Humanae Vitae (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                was a post-justification that came over 100 years after the church banned abortion. But as far as i know, yes, increasing numbers had little to do with it.

                Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

                by anastasia p on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:52:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, they're both (3+ / 0-)

              about ways to control women and place their agency under the control of men. That's the church's history and reality. It has everything to do with how the priest pedophile scandal was allowed to blaze out of control. The Catholic Church is having difficulty will the consequences of its patriarchal, authoritative structure.

              Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

              by anastasia p on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:47:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another excellent point. (0+ / 0-)

                The Church is not just a human institution: it is an institution of MEN. So it is entirely rational for them to do what is necessary to preserve their power. Any major change in society that empowered women has also weakened the Catholic Church.

                The best way to understand its behavior is not to read through centuries of Press Releases (encyclicals). But look at Who Benefits?

          •  As I predicted, some one (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marykk, organicdemocrat, maurganne

            responded to my comments explaining Church teaching by saying, basically, the Catholic Church has engaged in child abuse (priest scandal) and killed millions (presumably in the Middle Ages).  True.   No institution that has existed for two thousand years and that is populated by human beings can be perfect.  Yes, it has made grave mistakes, and undoubtedly done wrong.  The Church, to its credit, has acknowledged these grave wrongs.  It does not claim to be infallible except in very limited matters of dogma.   I do not agree with everything it says or does.  But I do not dismiss everything it says or does because it has, at times, been a flawed institution.  

            As I said in my orginal post, I am trying to educate people who misstate Church position on capital punishment and then use that misstatement to try to accuse certain Catholics of being hypocritical.  I am not in any way, shape or form trying to justify everything the Catholic Church has done.  It has done great good and great evil over its 2000 year history.  I am simply trying to explain to non-Catholics the significant qualitative difference between the Catholic pope and bishops' position on capital punishment and the fundamental Church teaching on abortion.  

            •  I for one appreciate your effort to explain (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marykk, maurganne

              Church dogma.

              All human institutions are flawed and still can have some good in them. I don't see the Catholic Church as any more evil or good than any other human institution.
              Matters of doctrine always involve subtle distinctions that matter  a great deal to people inside the fold. But to those outside they can sound contrived.

              Abortion and capital punishment are not like purely internal matters of dogma like the trans-substantiation of the soul. They are among the most explosive political issues of our time. As far as I can see most American Catholics just ignore the Church prohibitions against birth control even by married couples. Yet many of them are still swayed by Church teachings on Abortion. Your comments help to clarify why that position, which sounds contradictory to me, makes sense from their point of view.

              I still think it is useful, as a political matter, to draw attention to such contradictions. Dogma, when it is not self-evident, loses much of  its moral value.

            •  The point is that the entire elaborate (0+ / 0-)

              belief system, centuries old reasoning, etc that you are so thoughtfully explaining to us morons is just a crock of bullshit insofar as in practice it is blatantly ignored and - in many cases - exactly the opposite course of action is carried out.

              Much like the high sounding ideals you can read about in this country's founding documents are just so much BS when the constitution is blatantly ignored, the top government officials refuse to do anything about it (or, more likely, are themselves complicit  . . . ), and so on.

              •  Neither the US nor the Catholic Church is (0+ / 0-)

                all bad. In fact both are better than most similar organizations.

                But it is true that the Church has a long, old  literature which it can use to obfuscate actions  that are best understood simply: its strategy is to grow and survive. Not inherently evil or good. All organizations do this. They simply have done it longer and  better than most.

      •  Please (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but that is the fundamental Catholic religious teaching

        A fundamental teaching maybe, but not THE fundamental teaching. We're not that simple.

        And I'm not sure that the Church had a position on the rights of the unborn for the first couple of thousand years. The current position ( which I agree is woeful) is built upon concepts that developed in the debates about other subjects entirely. It's kinda like legal precedant.

        •  Two points (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marykk, organicdemocrat
          1.  I did not mean to suggest that the teaching that a fetus is a human being with an immortal soul was the only fundamental Catholic teaching.  Just that it was the fundamental teaching put at issue in the abortion debate.  Opposition to capital punishment is not similarly based on any fundamental teaching, but instead is a statement of policy by the pope and the bishops.  As the bishops' statement on capital punishment makes clear, while the bishops think it is inappropriate, support of capital punishment is not per se incompatible with Catholic teaching.  
          1.  The Catholic Church claims that it has, in fact, had the same position on the rights of the unborn since the inception of the Church.   You can see some discussion of that history here.  
      •  Actually, you're all wet (3+ / 0-)

        They may post-justify their position in these terms to make it more palatable and to cover over their virulent misogyny. But you need to study church history. here wasn't squat in church doctrine about abortion until the mid 19th century and when it did appear, the reasoning was the Biblical condemnation of Eve for sinning by eating the apple "In sorrow shall you bring forth children." The church declared that if women sinned, they needed to be punished for that sin through the pain of childbirth. Of course, now the church wants to make it all nice and pretty and pretend it was about "unborn children" but look back at church history; it wasn't.

        Rob Portman: He sent your job to China.

        by anastasia p on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:45:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama isn't performing abortions, not mandating (3+ / 0-)

        women get abortions, he has no power to stop abortions. His sin is his opinion that differs from church teaching, a church he is not a member of, on a law that has been in place since he was a child. He actually shows respect for those who disagree with him on this.

        However if he was performing or mandating abortion you'd be right.

  •  There is a growing disturbing movement in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Catholic Church against Obama. We are from Texas but attended mass in North Carolina in March of this year. The Priest in that small town church likened Obama to Hitler. I nearly walked out and I would have except that my husband would have died if I did and I didn't want to embarass him. It was a tiny little church and the guy was a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. I still think about it and wish that I had walked out. Our church in Texas isn't political, but it seems they have gone full tilt on abortion since the election. But they still pray for peace and social justice. I am keeping careful eye and will write them if I have to. During he 2004 election I wrote the Bishop of Houston/Galveston Diocese about preaching against Democrats. They assured me they were not going to do that, and they didn't.

    •  This is disturbing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The strategy here seems to be to express opposition to wars and discrimination against immigrants quietly. Then to protest loudly against abortion. This way the Church stakes out a position as an arbiter of morality, yet gets to push its own political  agenda.

      It won't work in the long term because thinking people such as yourself will see right through it.

      Throughout history, when the  levels of education and affluence in a society improves, more and more people get access to original Church documents. Then they are turned off by the self-serving nature of much of its teachings.

      It already happened in most of Europe. Ireland being the most recent example. It is happening in the US now. In another century it will spread to South America. Or may be we can all get plunged into another thousand years of Dark Ages. Let us hope not.

      •  You might want to check out the USCCB's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linnie, organicdemocrat

        web page.  Take a look at the "life issues" which include capitol punishment, disabilities and end of life issues, for example.  Then go to the social justice issues, which include arms control, debt, death penalty, housing, Iraq, labor, nonviolence, poverty, social security, welfare and a host of others.  More than lip service, although they surely don't get the attention that abortion does, and I acknowledge that some - but not all - of the bishops bear responsibility for that.

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:07:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Having an obscure web page somewhere (0+ / 0-)

          is one way of showing to the converted that they are serious about moral teachings. Then when it matters politically express much louder outrage against abortion because it helps to undermine Obama.

          As the commentor noted, it is not working. There are more and more educated and thinking people in this world. Ironically, some of us were educated in part by the Church itself.

          •  There's nothing obscure about it. (0+ / 0-)

            If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

            by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:05:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I still haven't found it. (0+ / 0-)

              Please provide a direct link. It is buried somewhere so that only the dedicated defenders of the Church can find it.

              Not as prominent as the loud and sometimes offensive attacks on abortion and democrats in general.

              •  OK, let's try again (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Go to the home page.  See the menu down the left hand side of the page?  Now click on a link, for example, "Life issues" or "Social justice issues"  Each item on the menu brings up a submenu with links to pages that with more specificity.

                If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:13:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You just made my point exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                  Hoe many steps do you  have to navigate to find the vociferous condemnation of abortion?

                  This continues to be a hilarious discussion.

                  •  Same number of clicks (0+ / 0-)

                    to "Migrants and Refugees" eg as to abortion.

                    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                    by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:26:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Which one is top of the list? (0+ / 0-)

                      You think that is an accident?

                    •  BTW I still havent found migrants and refugees. (0+ / 0-)

                      Are they hidden in the basement somewhere?

                      •  Apparently you have not clicked on (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        "social justice issues"  where you would find the menu:

                        •  Arms Control
                        •  Campaign/Human Development
                        •  Catholic Social Ministry Gathering
                        •  Catholic Social Teaching
                        •  Debt
                        •  Death Penalty
                        •  Domestic Issues
                        •  Environment
                        •  Faith-Based Initiative
                        •  Faithful Citizenship
                        •  Housing
                        •  Government Liaison
                        •  Immigration
                        •  International Issues
                        •  Iraq
                        •  Justice, Peace & Human Dev.
                        •  Labor Issues
                        •  Middle East
                        •  Migrants & Refugees
                        •  Nonviolence
                        •  Poverty
                        •  Social Dev. & World Peace
                        •  Social Security
                        •  Trafficking
                        •  Welfare

                        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                        by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:31:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh, and if you noodle around (0+ / 0-)

                        in "legislative issues" you'd find this, dated less than ten days ago:

                        Bishops support introduction of DREAM Act
                        Say it will make difference in the life of many immigrant young persons


                        WASHINGTON—In an April 3 letter to sponsors of the legislation, Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, Utah, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, expressed the support of the USCCB for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (or DREAM Act), legislation which would legalize the status of thousands of undocumented youth in the United States.

                        The legislation (S. 729, H.R. 1751) applies to young persons who entered the United States before the age of fifteen, have been physically present in the United States for five years, and have earned a high school diploma. The bill would also repeal federal restrictions that limit the ability of states to offer them in-state tuition.

                        The letters were sent to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), primary sponsors in the U.S. Senate, and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), primary sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

                        "This legislation would make a difference in the lives of undocumented youth who were brought to the United States by their parents and now, because of their lack of legal status, face obstacles to their future," Bishop Wester wrote.
                        The bill would apply to students in both public and private schools, including Catholic schools. Young persons would become eligible for permanent legal status upon completion of two years of college or two years of honorable service in the military. Approximately 65,000 youth per year would benefit from the DREAM Act.

                        "The DREAM Act represents a practical, fair, and compassionate solution for thousands of young persons who simply want to reach their God-given potential and contribute to the well-being of our nation. We urge Congress to pass this measure as soon as possible," Bishop Wester said.

                        DREAM Act 2009: New Materials

                        I'm not suggesting by any means that the Church is perfect, but let's give credit where credit is due.  

                        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                        by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 06:35:55 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  For those outside the flock (0+ / 0-)

    who are willing to consider the Church's views on things with an open mind, you might find this piece on the Stations of the Cross to be interesting - but you have to read all the way to the end.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 04:20:08 PM PDT

  •  Ah, fuck em. (2+ / 0-)

    No offense to the Catholics here assembled.  But this country will be better off as the influence of Catholic bisohops, Baptist preachers, Mormon elders, etc. continues to wane.  When an institution must rely on controversy to justify it's existence, it's just time to go.    

    Don't tell me about the "new politics" if you're an asshole.

    by Ms Johnson on Sun Apr 12, 2009 at 05:45:18 PM PDT

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