Cardinal Seán O’Malley Calls Out Throwaway Culture of Planned Parenthood

Cardinal Seán O’Malley has taken a whole life approach to abortion in the past, reminding us, “Poverty is a dehumanizing force that leads people to feel trapped and to make this horrible choice.  The Gospel of Life demands that we work for economic justice in our country and in our world.  In a society where the rich are getting ever richer and the poor poorer, abortion looms ever larger.” He has called us to be pro-woman and pro-child, urging us to walk with mothers, especially mothers who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. And he has rejected an approach that focuses on denunciation: “The Pro-Life Movement needs to be the merciful face of God to women facing a difficult pregnancy.  Being judgmental or condemnatory is not part of the Gospel of Life.”

And now Cardinal Seán is speaking with great clarity and directness on the appalling behavior of Planned Parenthood, as they crush human beings to death, harvest their organs, and bargain over compensation for their grisly work of extracting the body parts of children:

Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a “widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many.” The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society. The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy.

If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance through the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel. If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit

It is time to stop funding Planned Parenthood and shift those resources to community health centers, which are more widespread and operate in a way that is consistent with human dignity.


Pope Francis’ Small Request

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical outlined profound challenges that humanity must face if we value human dignity, the common good, and our relationship with God and one another. But it also contained a lot of short, insightful bits of wisdom from the Holy Father. Among these, one of my favorites is when Pope Francis asks that believers return to the “beautiful and meaningful custom” of stopping to give thanks to God before and after meals. He explains:

That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labors provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need. (227)

To approach each meal as the pope describes is to reject the myth of the autonomous individual who is able to provide all that he needs for himself. To thank God and experience true gratitude reminds us of our dependence on God and others. It humbles us. And it reminds us that we have responsibilities to others, generating that sense of solidarity that the pope describes.

We benefit from this prayer by living in reality, rather than being deluded by myths surrounding our own power and control. We benefit by responding to this gratitude in our personal lives—in our treatment of others and the way we consume food and other goods. And finally, we benefit by receiving a constant reminder that we are called to support measures that ensure that everyone in our society has access to the basic needs that we no longer take for granted. Short prayers can be one of the little things that transform our lives and the world around us.

Shopping Our Way to a Brighter Future?

This post by Ken Homan, SJ is also featured on The Jesuit Post.

Have you seen the new piece from Huffington Post Highline, The Myth of the Ethical Shopper? It’s a pretty fierce condemnation of the way we try to make social change happen in the world. For years, our model of creating social change, especially as it relates to consumer products, has been name-and-shame. It has been somewhat effective, but not nearly to the level we hoped it would.

We’ve scolded Nike, Walmart, H&M, Coca-Cola, and plenty more for their absolutely abysmal human and labor rights violations. In April, John Oliver looked at the horrifying history of workplace abuse in several of these companies. It would be nice if we could pretend that these issues were a problem of the 90s. After all, that’s when we all took great offense at the clothes we were wearing. But it’s an issue that has not only persisted, but has become worse. Read More

John Oliver, Pope Francis, and Jesus on Food: Reflections on Feasting and Famine

This week I watched a disturbing (yet somehow still hilarious) exposé by “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver on food waste in the United States.

Here are a few of the figures Oliver presents in order to illustrate the magnitude of the problem:

  • As much as 40% of food produced in the US never gets eaten.
  • Americans throw away $165 billion worth of food every year.
  • That amounts to 20 pounds of food per person each month, the equivalent of throwing away enough food to fill 730 stadiums over the course of the year.

Read More

Around the Web (Part 2)

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Real Politics After the Culture Wars by Caleb Bernacchio and Philip de Mahy: “A new approach to politics grounded in local questions should be construed as neither a retreat nor a rejection of the need for evangelization. Party politics must not be conflated with prophetic witness. What is needed is a politics of the common good and the witness of groups such as the Dominicans who can serve as a ‘contrast society.’ It is also important to remember—with St Ignatius—that ‘love ought to be put more in deeds than in words’ and that charity is often the most powerful witness.”

On Planned Parenthood controversy, ‘The New York Times’ swings and whiffs by Jonathan Merritt: “When The New York Times editorial board remained silent for an entire week amid a fierce Planned Parenthood controversy, I looked at my watch and assumed they must be out to lunch. Today, the historic newspaper’s editorial board published a response to the situation and proved that, yes, indeed they are.” Read More

Around the Web (Part 1)

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Pope Francis’ Popularity, or Lack Thereof by Kerry Weber: “True dialogue requires humility. If we want to respond to the Gospel call to mercy, we have to be willing to acknowledge that this call might summon us to unexpected places, and might come from someone very different from ourselves. It might jar us, challenge us, surprise us. And we might not like it.”

The Flag of the Demos: Catholic Social Teaching as the Antidote to Neoliberalism by Michael Stafford: “Neoliberalism has ushered in an era of unprecedented inequality, entrenched poverty, crony capitalism, political and economic monopolies, and various forms of destructive rent-seeking behaviour by the elite. It has led to the concentration of enormous wealth in a very small number of hands. Obviously, concentrated wealth equals concentrated power, and that power has been consistently deployed on behalf of the interests of the rich and the large corporations and banks they control. Under the dominion of the rich, our government has devolved into a mechanism for privatizing gains, socializing risks and losses and extracting new rents and tolls from the demos.” Read More