Can of Worms: Politics and Religion, Guest Post 2

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Today's Can of Worms Post is by Kate of Just Call Me Kate.  She leans to the left and will continue our week of Worms.  Once again, I am honored to have Kate (who I know IRL) guest post here!  Thank-you so much Kate!  (Also, each post was written and scheduled to post before seeing what the others wrote - or even knew who was asked to write and from which side.)

Thank you, Rebecca, for asking me to write this post!  In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that my “area of expertise” is theology/ministry and definitely NOT politics, so… here’s a grain of salt for you!  The relevant parts of my life story are: I have been happily married for 4 years, I have two gorgeous children, and I am currently working on my Masters in Pastoral Ministry.

The body of Catholic thought that has most affected my lived faith for the past 10 years is Catholic Social Teaching.  Since this facet of Catholicism is often called “the Church’s best-kept secret,” I will list the seven principles found in the USCCB’s list (there are other lists) but I invite you to visit the link for summaries of each principle.  The 7 Principles are:

1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community and Participation
3. Rights and Responsibilities
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
5. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
6. Solidarity
7. Care for God’s Creation

It is in keeping with these themes that I have chosen to vote Democrat for the past two Presidential elections.

From what I understand of the political system in the United States (see the disclaimer above!), the President does not have much power over the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – which, of course, is the main concern of anyone who is politically anti-abortion.  While s/he can appoint Supreme Court justices who may or may not reopen and overturn the case, it is important to keep in mind that no Republican has thus far appointed a justice who did just that.

I’m going to spend some time on the abortion issue for a minute – even though I am by no means a single-issue voter – because it is such a source of contention between the “two sides.”  I firmly believe that, if abortion was criminalized in this social climate, all we would end up with is women and babies who die because back-alley abortions.  Our society is not ready for such a step.  There is very little support for the women, children, and families who are forced to make “the choice.”  (And anyone who has ever been pregnant has made a choice!)

Democrats tend to offer women, children, and families the support required to choose life.  The pivotal issue in the most recent election was health care reform.  I asked myself: What is one of the main concerns of a middle class woman faced with pregnancy?  I know what mine was, twice.  That is, How am I going to pay for my prenatal care and for the birth of this child?  Those who are materially poor (I include myself in this number) can “count on” programs like Medicaid to either take the place of or cover the gap left by health insurance.  And, while Republicans tend to cut funding, Democrats tend to maintain or increase funding to this and other similar programs.  In Obama’s case, he went a step further and suggested overall health care reform.  What better way is there to affirm the Life and Dignity of each Human Person than to take their health care outside the realm of profit margins?  What better way is there to assure a mother that she will not be left alone to care for her child?

Health care reform also affirms other principles of Social Teaching: Rights and responsibilities, and Option for the poor and vulnerable.  Indeed, Call to family, community and participation plays a part in this issue as we are all asked, “Are you your brother/sister’s keeper?”  The Catholic’s answer is a resounding YES!  I AM!  We care for each other in a wide variety of ways, and one of those ways is paying taxes.  If health care reform involves increased taxes, then so be it.  The common good is just as important as, and must be balanced with, individual rights.

To continue my defense of my “Pro-Life” stance, I’m going to point out what I hope is obvious to everyone.  Human persons live all over this beautiful planet.  They are not only American.  They do not live exclusively in so-called First World countries.  Indeed, even terrorists posses inherent, God-given dignity that no one can take away.  This idea is not one that sits comfortably with the post-9/11 crowd, but it is our faith nonetheless – Christianity is often “difficult” and rarely “comfortable,” and we would do well to remember that.  Catholic Social Teaching reminds us about the Life and Dignity of the Human Person.  Given these Truths, I could not in good conscience vote for any pro-war, pro-torture, or pro-death penalty agenda.  Likewise, I cannot support gun laws that enable Americans to protect so viciously what is “theirs” (an attitude with which Paul VI would have profoundly disagreed: “…the right to private property is not absolute and unconditional” (Populorum Pregressio, p 23).  Read on for the conditions.)  These are all Pro-Life issues, and I feel passionate about them.

Other “miscellaneous” issues that are represented by CST are things like living wage, immigration and the rights of immigrants.  Again, Democrats tend to deal with these issues somewhat more “Catholic-ly” than Republicans.

I definitely can’t forget to mention a clear sign of the times!  That is, Care of God’s creation and our current dependence on fossil fuels for energy.  As our faith tells us, alternative sources of energy must be developed – and it is the Democratic leaders who are traditionally more in favor of supporting research toward that end.

All these issues combine into one giant Pro-Life issue.  This comprehensive view of what it means to be Pro-Life is more than anti-abortion.  And it’s why I voted for Obama.

The Can of Worms continues.  What do you think?


  1. Kate - first of all, thank you for your post. it's well-written and voices many of the same things I have heard over and over from many democrats trying to justify their party's side in the pro-life discussion. Unfortunately for democrats (I feel), their party has allowed Planned Parenthood to frame the discussion so that they must be pro-abortion to even be democrats.

    Catholic Social Teaching is something I mention in my post as well (running tomorrow). Unfortunately, I disagree that just because Roe v. Wade is unlikely to be brought up to be revisited that it is ok to disregard a political candidate's stance on abortion.

    As for Health care reform...let us not forget the contentious battle regarding funding for this abomination of a "right". And this so-called "executive order" to prevent tax dollars from funding was such a farce. Many "pro-life" democrats (I say that lightly) and especially Mr. Stupak are currently suffering the anger of their constituents for their non-existent spines when push came to shove on the issue. Recently, Ms. Pelosi couldn't even state that Jesus Himself had a "right to life" before He was born. God Incarnate! So, I'm sorry...but the democrat position as a pro-life one is not something I will ever buy.

    while I will have many things and sins to account for (I'm sure of it!) and discuss with God when I meet Him face-to-face, I am very happy that abortion/support for abortion/support for unequivocally pro-abortion politics will not be one of them.

    I agree wholeheartedly that there is not enough support for women and pre-born. But I believe that stems from our society's claim that, "Hey, you're poor, you're too young, you don't WANT IT....you should just have an abortion." As for "back-alley" abortions...if you have ever seen the inside of a place that does abortions (I have) - you might wonder if we really have gotten out of back-alley abortions in this country.

    Obama very clearly stated in 2008 when speaking to Planned Parenthood conference that one of his main goals would be to pass FOCA which would render EVERY pro-life person's efforts to respect life in the womb since the heinous decision in 1973 completely irrelevant.

    I am trying very hard to be civil in this comment. Please forgive me if it is written in a way that does not convey that. It is definitely my hope that it will be charitable and explain how I feel about what you wrote nicely and respectfully.

  2. Thanks, Kate (which is my favorite girls name!) for the insightful and thoughtful post! I enjoyed reading your thought process behind the immediate issues. While I completely support the seven tenants of Catholic Social teaching, I'd like to point out that there are multiple ways to achieve and uphold these teachings, including the free market system. (Hang on with me! Don't run away! :) I’ll come back to that later.)

    First- you mentioned the president's power in abortion is limited. I disagree. Yes it's true that they appoint judges to the Supreme Court when there is a vacancy, and this is the only avenue to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but there are other ways to promote/hinder abortion as well. President Obama appointed many, many pro-choice people to positions within his cabinet, including Kathleen Sebelius as the sec of health and Hilary Clinton as the sec of state- both positions which hold power to help or hurt abortion. Within the first week of office, Obama overturned the Mexico City Policy and sent $457 million to fund abortions in other countries. He also funds the United Nations (UNFPA) with $50 million dollars to promote abortions. He is working on overturning the pro-life conscience protection. He signed an executive order to have taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research. Shall I go on? The point is that the president DOES have power when it comes to abortion- and this president is the most pro-abortion president we have ever had.

    You mentioned you’re not a single-issue voter. I commented on this yesterday. It’s not that Catholics should be single-issue voters, but that some issues are non-negotiable. If I was dating someone who announced he thought rape was good- it wouldn’t matter if everything else about him was perfect- he’d get the boot. The same is true with political candidates. They may be perfect in every way- but if they support abortion, we cannot vote them or support them in any way. My husband and I recently faced this with a Republican candidate in a different state that we wanted to help support financially- Peter Schiff for Senate of Conn. We LOVE this man’s views on economics and the Constitution- but when we found out he was pro-choice we were heart-broken and had to withdraw our support. So I recognize the difficulty of this topic.

    I completely agree with you in regards to our ultimate goal in abortion. Our goal must not stop with making abortion illegal, but making it unwanted and unnecessary. We must work to provide clear teachings on abstinence as well as provide support for girls in troubled situations.

    However, the goals will practically be achieved in that order. To say that we can’t make abortion illegal, even though it is murder, because some girls will risk their lives for it regardless, is not consistent. We do not make stealing legal (well, actually it is through taxes, inflation and the federal reserve’s artificial interest rates, but I’ll save that for another post!)- but we do not make stealing legal because some will steal anyway. We do not (or should not) tell our children, “Don’t have sex, but if you can’t control yourself here’s a condom.” This is nonsensical and sets us up for failure. The first step to reducing abortion must be to make it illegal.

    More in a few minutes…

  3. The FREE MARKET has made this world MUCH MUCH BETTER. World poverty has declined dramatically in direct proportion to the spread of market institutions in the world. The World Bank statistics are easily consulted to prove the following:

    • in the past 50 years, more progress has been made against poverty than in the previous 500!
    • in 1820, the % of people in absolute poverty was 85%. By 1950 it was 50%. In the 80s it was 33% and in the 2000s it was 18%!!!
    • for the first time in history the percent AND number of people in absolute poverty has decreased (from 1980-2000) Yet we are led to believe the opposite- that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer!
    • The choleric intake of the world has increased by 30%.
    • Life expectancy has increased.

    Imagine if you will that all of the machines used to produce, transport and communicate were gone. NOW try to produce.

    YOU + MACHINES = lots of output.
    YOU + NO MACHINES = very little output.

    In this environment we would all be poor! The economy can’t produce enough. Some things wouldn’t exist at all- such as tvs. We would have to triple our hours and we still wouldn’t produce enough. That’s the way it WAS 250 years ago! The free market is the answer to this! People make profits and invest them in capital equipment so that they can produce more at a lower cost- and the increase of abundance of goods lowers the prices and increases the spending power of the dollar!

    So- less time working, more goods, lower cost, more spending power.

    Sorry if I went overboard! Just passionate about the free market helping Catholic social teaching!!! I’m going to make myself stop now- but if anyone wants me to continue, I will happily type away!!! :)

  4. Wow, lots of passion in the comments this morning. :-)

    I really appreciate that you brought in the issue of the environment. I like to joke that if I were a single issue voter (which I am not) my issue would be the environment. After all, having all the right policies for education does not help children if you abort them, and having all the anti-abortion laws does not help babies if you've destroyed the world into which they would be born!

  5. Kate, what you are describing and espousing here is known as the "Seamless Garment" argument (promoted by Cardinal Bernadin years ago). It has been used by Catholic Democrats for years to try to justify their support of pro-abortion candidates. The "seamless garment" theory (that we must evaluate all issues equally, even placing pro-life on the same level as support for a health care bill) has been shredded by the teaching authority of the Church. All issues are not "equal" and cannot be evaluated as "a whole." Read my guest post of yesterday (on this blog) for specific teachings, including the following, which is in the comments:

    (http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features/mbrumley_issues_oct04.asp) This article goes in-depth, even quoting Cardinal Ratzinger (before he was Pope Benedict), who said something quite clear:

    Cardinal Ratzinger made this point recently in connection with abortion and euthanasia on the one hand and capital punishment and war on the other. In his letter, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion,” he set out general principles regarding reception of the Eucharist by those who support abortion rights and euthanasia. Ratzinger wrote, “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage way, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    There is a hierarchy of truths, and there are non-negotiables. We can differ on policy that best helps the poor and the environment (I contend that the liberal solutions will make things worse, not better), but we cannot "seamless garment" the non-negotiables.

  6. By the way, as long as one does not support a pro-abort candidate because> of his pro-abort stance (and Obama has even voted four times for infanticide when he voted against the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act), then one may still receive Holy Communion. However, one may not vote for someone who is pro-abortion/pro-euthanasia (and the other non-negotiables) unless there is a proportionate reason to do so (and that would be hard to find). So, there is a tiny bit of wiggle room regarding the voting and still staying out of serious sin, but not much. I will try to find the direct quote about that....

  7. Hello all! Thanks for your comments. I haven't read them all yet (I have the beginnings of a headache & I'm having trouble processing everything at once!) :)

    One thing I feel it necessary to say right now is that LIFE is the "non-negotiable" issue, and in my interpretation that simply goes beyond abortion. So, yes, being anti-abortion is non-negotiable but so is being anti-war. While Obama might be the most pro-abortion president (thanks for enlightening me, btw - I told you politics are not my strong suit!!) Bush was the most pro-war. Neither candidate can truly win the Catholic vote.

    I COMPLETELY agree that making abortion unwanted and unnecessary is the ultimate goal. But I do disagree on the order. We need to clean this society up before we can demand that the non-Catholics // non-Christians // atheists give up abortion. My concern, then, is starting from common ground (supporting parents and mothers) and then moving toward more contentious ground (eliminating abortion).

    More later.

  8. Kate, I am sorry about your headache. I will pray it goes away! I hate headaches.

    You said, One thing I feel it necessary to say right now is that LIFE is the "non-negotiable" issue, and in my interpretation that simply goes beyond abortion.

    You have just descried the "seamless garment" philosophy I mentioned in my first comment. It has been discredited by the Church as a legitimate argument, since the Church herself says not all the issues are equal (see yesterday's guest post).

    Also, you said: So, yes, being anti-abortion is non-negotiable but so is being anti-war But this is your opinion, and it's not the teaching of the Church. In fact, the Church's teaching on war is nuanced. Just wars are permitted. The issue of abortion and war are not on the same plane.

    Here again (without the typo, it is "waging war" not "waging way"):
    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

  9. To add to what Lauren said, to say that we shouldn't make abortion illegal because women will die in back alley abortions sounds compassionate, but we can't avoid the fact that the woman makes the choice to have the abortion. A bank robber puts himself at risk when he robs a bank, and he might very well die in the process, but he made the choice to walk into a bank armed and ready to steal. He chose to commit a crime, and if abortion was illegal, the woman would also choose to commit a crime, and she would assume that risk.
    That said, I agree that we need to help women facing crisis pregnancies, but to do so by supporting a health care system that funds abortion seems like a dog chasing its tail... There are better ways...
    Leila's quote from Pope Benedict is perfect, and I'm not really sure how you can argue with that...
    Lauren, I completely agree about the free market system, and I actually read a conservative commentator saying that if we just took the government regulations off the health insurance companies, it would solve the problem! She made the analogy that if a hotel didn't have beds in every room, they would go out of business in a matter of weeks. Similarly if a health insurance company started consistently dropping people off their plans, no one would want to be insured by them!
    Obviously, it is much more complicated than that, but it makes logical sense. Logic is good, right Leila? ;)
    The fact is that anything run by the government is going to be highly inefficient. For example, Medicaid has its perks, but a friend of mine went on it when she was pregnant with her first, and it took her months to get on the program. She was halfway through her pregnancy before she could even see a doctor! She is a college grad whose husband was in full time grad school, and she went through the proper channels... so the delay was not her fault in any way. I can't imagine craziness when the government is trying to manage the health care of a substantially larger portion of the population...

  10. Thanks for the great post Kate. It's really, really interesting to hear from a Catholic who actually shares some of my own political opinions.
    I'm also grateful for your concern for the environment. I get discouraged seeing all the TV programs that focus on having large families and my perception of the Catholic Church as encouraging one to have as many children as possible. I say this only because human populations are growing exponentially and in these times of needing to conserve resoures, it makes more sense to me to bring less users of resources into the world. I'm sure this will incite many links to sources saying the growing human population is a "myth" but I tend to believe science.

    I have really mixed feelings about your goal of eliminating abortions. I really think that if you are adult enough to have sex and conceive, you should be adult enough (and empowered enough as an adult) to make the best decision possible.

    Thanks for letting me add my lefty two cents

  11. p.s. I'd also add that healthcare is a human right and not a privelge for the few

  12. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for your post! I'm glad you laid out the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in your post, because they are my criteron for voting as well, but (as an oversight) I didn't actually mention them in my post (which comes Friday).

    It's funny though, because while I do use the seven principles, I also found the most recent USCCB voting guide "Faithful Citizenship" to be very helpful in sifting through all the competing voices regarding "how to be a Catholic" when we step into the voting booth. Basically, the gist of this document is, that abortion is absolutely not the only issue (as you so rightly pointed out) and that using the beautiful blessing of CST, we know that, and we know what the other issues are. However, because abortion is the ultimate injustice against a total innocent, and is always and everywhere wrong, it must be the most important issue.

    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I disagree with the Church's teaching on immigration, war, death penalty, just wage, the environment, nuclear disarmament, and all of the other aspects of CST that play into life in the US. I actually don't disagree with any of the Church's social teachings, at all. Period.

    But I guess what I'm saying is that for me, though I loved the idea of being a Democrat (and am in fact still registered as one), it's been next to impossible for me to vote for a Democratic candidate because I just can't in my conscience, square voting for someone who might support 9/10 CST principles, but also genuinely thinks that people ought to have the right to kill their own child. In fact, given the fact that in the last century the Democratic party has often been the one championing the little guy, and trying to stand for the voiceless, it baffles me how they can support abortion, when it is such an obvious violation against the most voiceless of all human persons.

    Sorry for the novel! I loved your post, and in fact, I too use the principles of CST to determine who I vote for -- but I do have to *very respectfully* disagree that abortion is equal to all other issues, which does not mean that the others aren't important.

    I hope this jumble made sense. :)

  13. Gwen, thanks for giving me the idea for another post.... the myth of overpopulation. Science is actually on our side of this issue. Ask a demographer about overpopulation. (The entire population of the world could fit...easily.... in the state of Texas, leaving all seven continents essentially empty. Hardly a world teeming and overrun with bodies.)

    Watch my blog in coming weeks. :)

  14. Gwen, regarding abortion... since Christa never answered my post addressing her questions, perhaps you could? Thanks!

  15. Sorry, still off topic, but Gwen... the world has more than enough resources to feed everyone. There is grain and food rotting in silos that cannot reach people. Why famine, then? Corrupt governments and war lords who intercept food and supplies that should be going to the people. Corrupt officials who purposely starve their own people. It is not a lack of food that causes famine and starvation... it's an abundance of sin that keeps food from the people. Read up on what happens when food is delivered to Third World nations, and read up on the political systems which promote the conditions of poverty for its citizens.

  16. Sorry Leila, I don't remember your question about abortion.

    I'm not budging on overpopulation and I look forward to seeing what "sources" you use.

  17. Gwen, it was this post. She never responded back.


    Also, I will be using demographic numbers (square footage of the earth vs. how many people live on the earth). I hope that will qualify as scientific in your eyes.... It's pretty objective stuff. I will post that when I can (school is starting soon, and I am swamped, as you can imagine, with so many children). I look forward to your response once I do the post.... As I will continue to say, you are an honest liberal and I respect you for that.

  18. I feel a little badly "hogging" the conversation here and diverging from the positions made by Kate. I went back to the post and hope I can remember/answer all of your questions.
    I do agree life begins as a single cell, at the moment of conception when sperm meets egg and cells begin dividing.
    I do believe abortion is killing a fetus or in early stages, a group of cells madly growing and dividing towards becoming a mini human.
    I understand that pro-life people consider this murder but I can't see it as murder. Murder would involve someone maliciously killing another person for their own personal gain. I realize that abortion clinics do make money from their procedures and that you might see that as gain. But I don't see anything malicious about a woman making a decision she sees as best for herself. I see this decision as less cruel than bringing a fully formed infant child into the world you do not want or refuse to put up for adoption (a truly wonderful thing to do).
    That said, i am grateful that there are options in the community I live in, options including pregnancy help lines sponsored by local churches, entities like CAtholic Charities. I can't imagine the decision is ever truly easy and I support women getting as much help as they need and then some.

  19. Hi again! For lack of time, energy and knowledge, I'm not going to touch the diverging conversations here... I hope that doesn't offend anyone!

    The current war(s), that Bush started especially after 9/11, are NOT JUST WARS. At all. Period. There is no nuancing required to be against these conflicts.

    Also, I'm not sure if I'm just not making myself clear or if you think I'm just plain wrong, but I don't see myself as falling into the "seamless garment" camp. Instead, I'm trying to argue that healing our society - turning away from being a "culture of death" - is the only way to irradicate abortion. It will be MORE difficult to convince people to keep their babies as long as it is THIS difficult to raise them.

    Megan, I'm sorry about your friend and Medicaid.. but as a woman working on her Master's degree with a working husband who has his Bachelor's.... Medicaid was a "Godsend" for me during both of my pregnancies.

    I promise I will read the Benedict quote and the free market stuff in more detail.. but that'll have to wait until I get home from work. :)

    P.S. Thanks for keeping it kind!

  20. Gwen, thanks again for your honest response. I will take your response and put it back over on my blog the next time I do a post on this issue. Thanks again!

  21. I wanted to come back and clarify this part of my comment: "while I will have many things and sins to account for (I'm sure of it!) and discuss with God when I meet Him face-to-face, I am very happy that abortion/support for abortion/support for unequivocally pro-abortion politics will not be one of them."

    I realized in re-reading that it sounds very accusatory and I am sorry for that. I truly meant to only speak of my own sins and issues, but in the context it sounds very self-righteous and for that, I am sorry.


  22. Kate, thanks for agreeing to read the Benedict quote again. And please read the JPII quote and the other Benedict quote from the guest post yesterday.

    Also, that actually is the seamless garment argument... that taking care of all the social ills is the key to being "pro-life"... but that is not what the Church says. Some specific issues actually trump others. Abortion and the right to stay alive trumps everything else, including health care, just war, etc. (again, read the quotes from yesterday's post).

    The problems with voting in Democrats is that they not only actively promote abortion (taking out the "rare" in the Democratic Platform was deliberate and hard-won for the pro-aborts), but they also fund Planned Parenthood with millions of taxpayer dollars; PP is the nation's biggest abortion provider. The first thing Obama did as president was make abortion more accessible with some executive orders he implemented the first or second day in office.

    Also, the US gov't helped the government of Kenya promote a pro-abortion constitution (against many objections from the people) which is being voted on today. Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are committed to promoting the right to abortion around the globe. Read more:


    Hillary even hinted that food relief in Third World nations would be contingent on those countries acceptance of "reproductive rights".... chilling, but that does not surprise pro-lifers.

    You say you are not political, but you must become political. You must find out what your Democratic Party is up to. Not the feel good "compassion" that they talk about, but what in actuality their policies are and what they are funding and promoting. It might be very different than you think. It's important to know the politics and ideology of the left (which has taken over the Democratic Party, and which is largely godless), and not just go with a party that sounds like it "cares more."

    Thanks for listening.

  23. Wow...step away for a few hours and the comments have exploded!!!

    Two quick thoughts before I go make dinner:

    1) I agree that Iraq was probably not a just war- though that is with hindsight. I thought it was when it began. HOWEVER I need no hindsight to say GET OUT OF AFHGANISTAN!!! Republicans are not the only party of war...see the above and Kosovo for more on that.

    2) I'm DYING to go into the free market and healthcare, but don't want to take over the post. I've already written two excessivly long comments! Just say the word...

  24. It's my first time here, found your blog through Rae's.

    Just a question regarding just wars and those going on right now. I think it's hard to say. I mean, I think that the people oppressed under Hussein were happy to be free of that. How many people lost their loved ones because they did something against his regime? Do you think that those who were oppressed wish that he was back there now? Pulling out of the countries is not a simple thing.

    Do we as Christians only care about the welfare of those in our country? Where do we draw the line as to who to help and who to stay out of their business?

  25. Wow ladies, once again, very heated (as I expected) comments.

    Kate - I'm glad to see you've felt everything was respectful and I commend you for stepping into the fire, so to speak!

    My thoughts from today's conversation (I will have more details in my post, but this is for now).

    I too agree with the standpoint that ALL life is important and that if we only focus on abortion when we vote for a candidate, we are missing the rest of the issues. Leila, I know you will be telling me that I'm falling under the seamless garment argument here, but I respectfully disagree.

    To follow-up on this (and a little from yesterday), I do understand that in some cases war can be considered "Just"; just as (according to the doctrine of double effect) abortion can be as well. In my mind, both circumstances should be equally as rare.

    I very much agree with Kate that the first step can't be just outlawing abortion (my reasoning is somewhat different and I'll get into that in my post - probably Saturday). I think we need to start by preventing teen and 'unwanted' pregnancies that result from relationships AND we need to create a safe (mentally and physically) environment for a woman who is pregnant as the result of an assault FIRST if we are going to get rid of abortion.

    I do see the argument of if a person committing a crime is harmed in the process, he took the risk. But I feel that by criminalizing abortion, we are turing our heads and creating the harm that may come to the woman (beyond the harm to her and her unborn child that is inherent in abortion).

    Lastly, the conversation ALWAYS seems to come back to abortion, but Kate talked about other issues. I've said it before, abortion is a horrible evil, but knowing that people eat 'cookies' made of dirt is just as horrible.

  26. Two quick comments: Since we are Catholic, we must think with the mind of the Church. The Church does not equate abortion with all other issues of "life" as the seamless garment folks do. The Church talks explicitly of "non-negotiables" and a hierarchy of truth (see the pope quotes). The issues of health care or war or even poverty do not trump the issue of abortion (again, see the pope quotes). This is the mind of the Church. You may disagree, but you must be honest and admit that you disagree with the Church, not with me.

    Also I think you misspoke about double effect. Abortion is always evil. The principle of double effect is not abortion. There is no abortion when double effect comes in. Any and all abortions are wrong. An unintentional death of a fetus while treating a mother for a pathology is not the same as a direct abortion, ever. It's not just another name for abortion, it's a completely different action and situation. So, I'm just clarifying a misstatement there. There is no abortion which is ever moral, for any reason, even to "save the life of the mother". We don't ever kill one person in order to save another.

    I have no problem with anyone giving their opinion on these things, but please be aware that when you deviate from what the Church teaches, it is just your opinion then, and not Catholic teaching.

    Great conversation! :)

  27. IN regards to the opinion:

    Father Richard Neuhaus writes "The somewhat implausible assumption is that what one thinks up by oneself is more interesting than what the Church teaches." He goes on to point out that thinking with the Church depends on thinking at all. We have to think for ourselves so that we can think WITH the Church. "People say they have difficulty with one teaching or another. That is not necessarily a problem. The problem arises when we assume that the problem is with the teaching and not with ourselves." (Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth, pg. 13)

  28. Lauren, that last quote is brilliantly perfect! :)

  29. Kate- last night my husband and I watched a Catholic documentary that made me think of you and your commitment to our planet. I highly recommend you check this out. It's long- 1:20, but totally worth it. (We snuggled up with some Ben and Jerry's to watch it! Nothing says romance like B&J and a documentary. :) Ok- maybe we're nerds...)


    All of these CIA episodes are TOTALLY worth your time. They are well-researched and documented. They are eye-opening and sometimes quite shocking.

    I'd love to hear your (or anyone's) thoughts on it.


  30. oops- that last comment was directed at Rae, too! :) I knew I'd read someone saying the environment was their #1 issue- I just thought it was a post, not a comment. Check it out, Rae!!! :)