To be Consistent and Side with the Vulnerable, Progressive Catholics Must Defend the Unborn

MSW writes:

In short, the Catholic left has cared less about its own integrity and more about strengthening ties with Democrats on other issues. Sloppy moral reasoning has employed narrow factoids and slim, exceptional cases to promote indifference on the issue. A libertarianism of the left on social issues has become as pronounced, and as pernicious, as the libertarianism of the right on economic issues. Both are unworthy of Catholics….

Liberals claim that they speak for the voiceless, but how can anyone believe there is moral consistency when their voices are silent in defense of the unborn? We defend the undocumented. We defend the unemployed. We defend all those who are defined in our society by what they lack, all those “un’s,” but not the unborn? How is that morally consistent?

Liberals excoriate those who deny the science about climate change, and appropriately so. We insist, rightly, that science yields important knowledge that must be respected as such, and not subjected to ideological censors. We value education, believing that ignorance is a curse akin to a plague, and in a democracy, a lethal curse. Yet, strangely, liberals seem unable to discuss what happens in a surgical abortion. They surround the procedure in euphemisms. Yet no one can truthfully deny that abortion is a violent act, gruesome even. On this issue, and this issue only, liberals are encouraged to turn away from the reality of the thing itself.

Liberal Catholics love Pope Francis, but he has not been shy about denouncing abortion. He sees it, rightly, as part and parcel of the throwaway culture that is generally indifferent to both human life and the life of the planet in its pursuit of a lifestyle of ease for those rich enough to afford it….

When I lived in Washington, I came to know many wonderful Catholics who are engaged in fighting for immigrants and for the poor and for the environment. I also came to see how few were the times when these Catholic activists were willing to challenge their Democratic allies for their indifference to the cause of prenatal children.


Cardinal Seán: End the Government Shutdown

In a statement on the government shutdown, Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston writes:

Governing the democracy of the United States is always a challenging task. It requires not only intelligence, expertise and experience but also a capacity to collaborate, cooperate and the willingness to consider appropriate compromise at decisive moments.

The present moment in our country is clearly decisive: the government is, at best, only partially functioning. This has caused multiple consequences: the safety of the citizenry is compromised and essential services are endangered or not being provided. While not proposing a plan for a viable effective compromise I am taken by the humanitarian impacts of the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of government employees have had their lives upended. The vast majority of Americans depend on a regular paycheck, failure to receive that as due and expected translates into painful choices: balancing food and fuel; paying for mortgages and rent; restricting necessary transportation; rationing family health care. Imposing these burdens on individuals and families who serve the nation daily violates the social contract in a well-ordered society. It is an injustice and should be named as such.

Determination of the specific elements of a viable compromise rightfully rest with the executive and legislative officials of our government. But two moral imperatives should be preserved in any agreement: first, to end the suffering of our citizenry and second, to not use vulnerable and threatened immigrant families as a pawn in the necessary negotiations citizens rightfully expect of their government.


Confronting the Malady of Populist Nationalism

Claire Giangravè writes:

“Populism is an ancient malady. Even Christians have been faced with its force,” said Father Rocco D’ambrosio, a diocesan priest and professor of Political Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University, in an interview with Crux Jan. 10….

D’ambrosio spoke at a conference titled “Power and populisms” along with Vincenzo Buonomo, dean of the Gregorian, as part of a cycle of lectures commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights….

Today’s populist leaders, or “new Caesars,” said D’Ambrosio, “are immature, corrupt, with monolithic institutions at their back and are weary of measures of control.”…

“I think it’s a Christian cultural deficit,” said D’ambrosio of the Catholic adherence to populist politics, calling out the United States as a ground zero of what he defined as the “great marriage between the political right and right-wing Catholics.”

According to the scholar and author of the book “Will Pope Francis Pull it Off?” the pontiff’s social push for the poor is often misunderstood in the United States, leading to a general refusal of his vision.

“Take a young person, a 20 or 30-year-old in the United States. He grew up with most priests and bishops telling him that being a faithful Christian means fighting for certain principles such as bioethics, sexual morality and family morality – which are important, no doubt – but setting aside all the others such as peace, justice, commitment toward immigrants, solidarity, fighting poverty and corruption etc,” he explained….

Many Catholics, he said, “take a part of the Christian teaching, exclude another and, on a practical level, tie themselves to those who have a populist vision of politics.”…

In a 2017 interview with the German weekly Die Zeitrendeva, Francis said that “Populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century proved,” a message echoed by the speakers at the conference in Rome, who at the same time urged people not to lose hope….

He recalled that in the Italy of 1926, in the wake of a global war and during the rise to power of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini – strengthened by the populist writings of the French writer Charles-Marie Gustave Le Bon – the priest and politician Father Luigi Sturzo urged his countrymen to be the seed that grows under the snow.

“Let’s hope that the DNA has the strength to beat the malady, that the malady is not chronic but transitory,” he said. “Under the snow, the seed.”


Where the Gospel is, There is Revolution

Via Rome Reports:

He explained that Christ gave the disciples this prayer, along with the Beatitudes, as teachings that represent an authentic revolution.

POPE FRANCIS
“This is the revolution of the Gospel. Where the Gospel is, there is revolution. It is as if Jesus said, ‘Continue on, you who carry in your heart the mystery of a God, who has revealed His omnipotence in love and in forgiveness!'”

The pope said that love thus becomes an unlimited love for all, also for sinners. Therefore, Francis invited people to pray to God as if they were talking to a father, instead of praying like “parrots.”

POPE FRANCIS
“The pagans think that by speaking, speaking, speaking and speaking they are praying. I also think of many Christians who pray, forgive me, speaking to God as if they were a parrot. No, praying is done from the heart, from within.”

God precisely gave the Our Father and the Beatitudes to the simplest, not to the arrogant who pray for people to see them. That is why the pope began this reflection.

POPE FRANCIS
“How many times do we see the scandal of those people who go to church, and are there all day or go every day, and then they live hating others or talking badly about people. This is a scandal. It is better not to go to Church if you live like that, like an atheist. But if you go to Church, live like a child, like a sibling, and give a true testimony, not a false testimony.”


Cardinal Tobin Rips Trump’s Dishonest, Dehumanizing Anti-Immigrant Speech

Cardinal Joseph Tobin released the following statement on President Trump’s speech on Tuesday night:

I listened with deep disappointment to the dehumanizing words used to describe our immigrant sisters and brothers. These men, women and children are neither numbers, nor criminal statistics, but flesh and blood people with their own stories and histories. Most are fleeing human misery and brutal violence that threatens their lives. False and fear-filled caricatures seek to provoke a sort of amnesia that would have this great nation deny our roots in immigrants and refugees.

Last June, Pope Francis said in an address at a conference on international migration: “We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society.” Those coming to our borders seeking asylum or escaping crushing poverty are not pawns in a political debate, but rather the strangers and aliens our Scriptures constantly instruct us to welcome. As a Shepherd to God’s people in Northern New Jersey, I beg all our legislative leaders to come together for the common good. Work through your differences for the good of all. Lives literally depend upon it.

 


Why a Pro-life Democrat Should Run in 2020

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Jacob Lupfer writes:

No candidate who favors ending abortion in the U.S. can win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Party leaders are more stridently supportive of unrestricted abortion rights than they have ever been.

Abortion-rights activists exert unprecedented power over the party, and as a result even abortion-skeptical Democrats have been decimated over the past generation. Fewer than a handful of anti-abortion Democrats remain in Congress, and the party signals its disdain for candidates like them at every turn, forcing any Democrat who dares present a nuanced position to repudiate the heresy….

But the best argument for a Democrat pro-lifer is rather a statistical one: About a quarter of Democrats believe abortion should be generally illegal, according to Gallup. Nonwhite Democrats, a group that is already rumbling about being taken for granted, are more opposed to legal abortion than white Democrats. The presence of a pro-life Democrat in the 2020 race would give voice to these 21 million disaffected Democrats…

Not to be overlooked, however, is Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana. A Catholic Southerner…Edwards ran an ad in his 2016 campaign about his family’s decision not to abort after their daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb…

Edwards, or former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, another pro-life Democrat from a conservative state, could capitalize on the disgust — evident in the election of our current outsider president — that Americans feel toward both parties, not least the stale abortion politics that benefits only party bosses and politicians….

A pro-life Democratic candidate would instead unify religious people, overwhelming Democrats who affirm abortion on demand as an article of faith and churchgoing Republicans who want to criminalize abortion but are apparently untroubled by policies that demonize and harm vulnerable people throughout American society. Faith leaders on both sides squander their credibility and integrity at election time as they contort their holy texts and social teachings to line up with 100 percent of their party’s platform….

Indeed, a broad theological consensus exists, articulated most thoughtfully in Catholic social teaching but present in most streams of religious thought, that politics should uphold the dignity of all people, affirm the sanctity of life and prioritize concern for the most vulnerable people.

The party that offers a coherent ethic reflecting these values would capture a majority and do right by all Americans — born and unborn.


Some Trump Apologists Have Traded Christianity for a Church of Trump

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Millennial Catholic Christine Emba writes:

According to Falwell’s creative theology, Christ “went out of his way to say that’s the earthly kingdom, I’m about the heavenly kingdom,” and loving your neighbor as yourself only applies to the latter.

The man whose institutional mission includes being “a voice for the voiceless” then meditated on the uselessness of the poor — “A poor person never gave anyone a job. A poor person never gave anybody charity, not of any real volume. It’s just common sense to me.” He then suggested that it might be immoral for Christians not to support Trump….

Falwell’s flawed exegesis is comically absurd, but its implications are profoundly unfunny. While the Liberty University president purports to be an evangelical leader, his statements are in total contradiction to Christian truth. This isn’t just benign confusion: This is heresy.

And, like many heretics, Falwell and his fellow evangelical Trump apologists are on their way to founding a new religion, one in direct conflict with the old. This new religion doesn’t have much to do with Christ at all. Instead, it centers Trump as savior above any other god.

Michael Gerson writes:

Headed into a possible impeachment battle, the most ethically challenged president of modern times — prone to cruelty, bigotry, vanity, adultery and serial deception — is depending on religiously conservative voters for his political survival. And, so far, it is not a bad bet…..

He is the enemy of their enemies. He is willing to use the hardball tactics of the secular world to defend their sacred interests. In their battle with the Philistines, evangelicals have essentially hired their own Goliath — brutal, pagan, but on their side.