Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Real Torture President

I agree with those who say it is time for a Nuremberg type truth finding tribunal on the torture question.

But what is the torture question? In particular I am interested in discovering those individuals who have made the legal justifications for a policy which allows the dismemberment and torture of innocent civilians for the material comfort and protection of Americans at home and others abroad.

Let me read to you one of the procedures that has been legally justified by government attorneys as well as their allies in Congress, the media and in academia:

"The primary form of abortion used at or after 16 weeks’ gestation is known as “dilation and evacuation” or “D&E.” 11 F. Supp. 2d 1099, 1103, 1129 (Neb. 1998). When performed during that stage of pregnancy, the D&E procedure requires the physician to dilate the woman’s cervix and then extract the fetus from her uterus with forceps. Id., at 1103; App. 490 (American Medical Association (AMA), Report of the Board of Trustees on Late-Term Abortion). Because of the fetus’ size at this stage, the physician generally removes the fetus by dismembering the fetus one piece at a time.3 11 F. Supp. 2d, at 1103—1104. The doctor grabs a fetal extremity, such as an arm or a leg, with forceps and “pulls it through the cervical os … tearing … fetal parts from the fetal body … by means of traction.” Id., at 1104. See App. 55 (testimony of Dr. Carhart). In other words, the physician will grasp the fetal parts and “basically tear off pieces of the fetus and pull them out.” Id., at 267 (testimony of Dr. Stubblefield). See also id., at 149 (testimony of Dr. Hodgson) (“[Y]ou grasp the fetal parts, and you often don’t know what they are, and you try to pull it down, and its … simply all there is to it”). The fetus will die from blood loss, either because the physician has separated the umbilical cord prior to beginning the procedure or because the fetus loses blood as its limbs are removed. Id., at 62—64 (testimony of Dr. Carhart); id., at 151 (testimony of Dr. Hodgson)." Stenberg v. Carhart (Thomas, J., dissenting).

The dismembering of a child is not illegal in this country. The partial-birth abortion ban did not eliminate it. Partial-birth abortion involves carving out a baby's brain with scissors. But back to the above torture method.

The dismembering of innocent people to kill them is torture. Under any international law regime, I'm sure we can agree on that. Additionally, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2297, states that: "Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."

But on the same day that President Obama announced waterboarding is torture, he stated that he was in favor of removing all restrictions to abortion through the Freedom of Choice Act, even if it was "not highest legislative priority." In other words, he has promised to sign FOCA, but it is not at the very top of his agenda. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i1P9NpsaoSA1i90w91eoA3oXq1OwD97SGVI00



FOCA would spread child torture. As President, Obama has already rescinded the Mexcio City Policy, which has authorized funding of international child dismemberment and torture. I want to have the names and memoranda of the people who justified this. President Obama has also nominated, Dawn Johnsen as head of the Office of Legal Counsel for the White House. Dawn Johnsen has crafted the legal justification for child dismemberment and torture by comparing pregnancy to slavery. http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=YzcyODUwNjAwNzg3YTYyZjBiOWU3ZTQwZmYzOGIwOGQ=

Additionally, President Obama's Secretary of State has expressly stated that she intends to spread Margaret Sanger's vision abroad. This includes child dismemberment and torture as well. I want all legal memoranda and persons who gave Mrs. Clinton the legal justification for this as well. http://www.sba-list.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ddJBKJNsFqG&b=4149803&ct=6866179

I also want any name of any person who legally justified the President allowing funding of UNFPA which forcibly tortures and dismembers children without even the consent of the mothers in China. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040114.html. What torturers might refer to as a twofer.

I also want Senator Patrick Leahy and his staff to be included in the Nuremberg-type inquiry. This Catholic United States Senator voted against reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, to prevent child dismemberment, but is calling for a truth commission to investigate the forcible pouring of water over three terrorists' heads. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00019, http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200903/030409a.html, http://www.lifenews.com/nat4965.html.

We need to see the memos that helped Senator Leahy justify funding child dismemberment and the elimination of conscience protection for doctors so that they will be forced to participate in child dismemberment and torture.

We also need to investigate those outside of government who have produced legal and moral opinions justifying child dismemberment. For example, on October 17, 2008, Dr. Douglas Kmiec, who has called for a Nuremberg style inquiry of Judge Bybee, stated the following legal justification for child dismemberment and child torture: "Sometimes the law must simply leave space for the exercise of individual judgment, because our religious or scientific differences of opinion are for the moment too profound to be bridged collectively. When these differences are great and persistent, as they unfortunately have been on abortion, the common political ideal may consist only of that space." http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-kmiec17-2008oct17,0,163397.story , http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-torture-lawyersapr23,0,3839563.story. In other words, we need a legal space for child torture. We need an inquiry of all academics who have produced legal and moral opinions of this sort to justify child dismemberment and torture.

So you see now, who the real torture president is: President Barack Obama. He appoints those who promote, he argues for and he funds child torture. More than that, he is implementing regulations that will require doctors to betray their calling to heal by forcing them to torture children. Not only that, but many Catholics are using the Faith in a blasphemous way to justify this horrendous torture policy. Additionally, to add to the injustice, these same engineers of a legal system which tortures 42,000,000 innocent children worldwide every year are calling for the prosecution of an administration that approved the waterboarding of 3 guilty terrorists but who dared to speak out against child torture. They want you to be distracted by these "torture memos."

I will not keep my eye off the ball. And neither should you. The real torturers need to be stopped. The child torturer President Obama is receiving an honorary award from a Catholic University named after the world's best Mother. This is a disgrace. I would take a moral lecture from King George III more seriously than from President Obama.

President Obama has no credibility on the torture question, because he is the most powerful supporter of child torture in the world and he is using his influence at home and abroad to spread it. Let us not act otherwise and be fooled into labeling anyone else the "torture president" that title belongs to the man currently occupying the White House.

UPDATE

Obama/Clinton adding further evidence to be used against them at the future international human rights tribunal: http://www.c-fam.org/publications/id.1134/pub_detail.asp

NEW UPDATE

I've been officially blocked from commenting on Mark Shea's blog after I criticized him referring to those who justified torture of evil doers for the defense of others as "moral idiots" by pointing out that would mean St. Thomas Aquinas is a moral idiot. Additionally, he singled out Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., a contributor to This Rock magazine, which is produced by Catholic Answers an apostolate that Mark Shea advertises and comments on. http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/05/rhetorical-creep.html

Mark Shea's tone has gotten so bad that The Anchoress has stated that she is unsure if she can read his blog anymore. (see the above website's combox).

Plus, I pointed out that perhaps he should focus on the mote in his own eye considering he contravened the Catechism by implying that not voting in the presidential election was a valid choice: "2240 Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes, to exercise the right to vote, and to defend one's country." (emphasis added).
http://markshea.blogspot.com/2008_09_01_archive.html#2261908891378464539 , http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2008/09/unfair-to-mark-shea.html.

I think this last point I made is what got me blocked from commenting on Mr. Shea's blog. But that is pure speculation, I'd be interested to here why I got blocked.

Mark, if you are reading this, I'm praying for the both of us. But I am really worried about the ugly name calling that you have consistently engaged in on this issue. It is not good.

MOST RECENT UPDATE

As far as I know, I'm still blocked but at least Mark, to his credit has apologized for the "moral idiot" name calling. http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/05/mea-culpa.html. I still think he needs to recognize that the ideas espoused by those who do not agree with him are well considered and not idiotic in light of those Doctors of the Church who disagree with him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oversimplification of the Torture Debate

Too many have been quick to judge our soldiers and civil servants who authorized and implemented enhanced interrogation techniques.

Now I must admit, I have not read the complete report or the memos. But from the information in the above link, I think many are being quick to judge. After all, something that everyone finds so obviously torture and immoral is not so quickly dismissed by gifted and saintly minds.

For example, St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Universal Church, argued that death and other punishments were moral responses to unjust aggression: "Our proposition is proved, fourthly, from reason. Granted that it is lawful for the State to protect its citizens from disturbers of its peace from within, by executing them with various forms of torture, then this is also lawful when there is no other possible way of defending those same citizens from external enemies; since, in order that the State may be preserved, it is necessary that all enemies, internal as well as external, may by kept off. And since this is the law of nature it is incredible that it should be set aside by the Gospel." St. Robert Bellarmine, De Laicis, Ch. 14.

Indeed, the Angelic Doctor himself, St. Thomas Aquinas, held that it was lawful for the public authority to maim guilty individuals: "Hence just as by public authority a person is lawfully deprived of life altogether on account of certain more heinous sins, so is he deprived of a member on account of certain lesser sins." Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 65, Article I. Call it a wild guess, but I think he would condone the waterboarding of evildoers.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not contradict the beliefs of these Doctors of the Universal Church: "2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law."

Notice two points in the above passage.

First, the prohibition does not prohibit torture for the purpose of defense of others. The techniques used by our armed forces, which I am not sure are even torture, were implemented not to obtain a confession of guilt, to punish the guilty, frighten opponents or satisfy hatred. The interrogations were implemented to get actionable intelligence to prevent ongoing attacks, which those being interrogated had helped plan and put into place. In other words, the interrogations are a use of proportionate force against an unjust aggressor to repel an act of violence.

Second, if the use of intense tactics against evildoers was intrinsically immoral, then the additional prohibition on the intended amputation, mutilation and sterilization of "innocent persons" is superfluous. Indeed, the following entry in the Catechism supports the interpretation that the prohibition of torture against evildoers is conditional and prudential: "2298 In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors. "

The Church admonishes her pastors, calling their actions "regrettable," "[un]necessary for the public order," and not "in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person." The Catechism never states that the actions taken were intrinsically immoral and always wrong. Indeed, the human rights violated by torture are described not as inviolable, but as simply legitimate, i.e., worthy of recognition.

The discussion on torture is not an unequivocal as the Catechism's teaching on abortion and the value of innocent human life: "2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation."

The use of enhanced interrogation is in keeping with the Catholic teaching to avoid killing murderers if it is possible to stop their wrongdoing by lesser means. If we could not get information from those detained at Gitmo, we could not take the risk that they would continue to further their conspiracies to kill Americans with outside operatives. Therefore, without the ability to use these techniques, our government will be encouraged to either apply the death penalty or kill enemy combatants abroad rather than capture them for further interrogation:

CCC 2267 "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. . . . .'"


For some, like KSM who helped mastermind a second 9/11 on Los Angeles that he refused to help stop after he was captured, the waterboarding made him undo his evil plot and; therefore, the technique was an instrument of justice by undoing the disorder that KSM introduced into our society by his evil actions: CCC 2266 "The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party."

To those who spend more than five minutes condemning the men who used waterboarding and other enhanced techniques to keep us safe, I must say shame on you. You have taken the bait of an administration that has violated the most basic laws of Christ's Church and humanity.

There is a President in the White House, who in his first 100 days has contributed money to kill millions of innocent babies. He spent his career as a law professor teaching young attorneys that killing innocent babies was a positive moral good for the benefit of women. He used his power as a state legislator to help facilitate infanticide. He made a campaign promise in 2007 to Planned Parenthood to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would help murder more babies by removing all abortion restrictions. The fact that FOCA might have zero chance of passing is a non-sequitor. The fact that President Obama was willing to offer the death of innocents for political power is what is relevant. He has picked a Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton who has publically endorsed the racist, eugenic and murderous views of Margaret Sanger. More than that, Mrs. Clinton has stated that the Sanger Vision is the American Vision for women and children at home and abroad. He has picked a Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who accepted money from a late-term abortionist, George Tiller, and who vetoed pro-life legislation as governor of Kansas. President Obama has picked a nominee for head of the Office of Legal Council Dawn Johnsen who has justified abortion by comparing pregnancy to slavery! Not to mention the fact that President Obama has proposed rescinding essential conscience protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to kill babies. All the while, Catholic politicians like Senator Patrick Leahy have supported a "torture truth comission" while opposing legislative efforts to undo President Obama's rescinding of conscience protections and the Mexico City Policy. Even worse, many so called pro-lifers have gleefully joined the anti-waterboarding witchhunt bandwagon. But I say enough with the outrageous outrage! Where is the outrage where it is needed?

Where is the outrage! Where are the comparisons to Nazis for these people! Where are the calls for Nuremberg for Obama, Clinton, Sebelius, Johnsen, Pelosi, et al.? No, instead we have Catholics who argue for the appointment of Johnsen and Nuremberg for an federal judge, Judge Bybee, who gave his best legal opinion at to lawful methods of interrogation. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-torture-lawyersapr23,0,3839563.story; http://volokh.com/posts/1239717805.shtml.

We get others who compare the use of rough techniques on killers and thugs who plot to kill us to communist political repression. http://markshea.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-would-jack-bauer-do.html. Moreover, they cite as moral authority individuals who support other grave evils in support of their claims, i.e., Andrew Sullivan.

No. You will have to forgive me. I will not jump on the bandwagon. I cannot stand the idea of whipping up the American public into a frenzy over the actions of some individuals who, in the exercise of their public duties, might have gone too far in protecting us from evildoers. Not for three terrorist who were waterboarded. Not for 3,000 or even a million terrorists. Not while that effort is support and led by a group of pundits, politicians and an administration that supports, funds and implements a national and international system of laws that continues to kill 50 million innocent babies a year worldwide by surgical abortions and only God knows how many more countless innocents through abortifacents and embryonic stem cell research.

So while some have argued that the current "torture" debate has illustrated the "mental murder" of "rightwingers" and the Republican Party. I think that the current outrage over this waterboarding issue, in light of the most grave evils being performed right now by the present administration, shows how the current debate on torture has made many prone to oversimplification of the moral questions posed.

Our law must protect the innocent. This is a clear imperative from God, Himself. Those who violate this known law, like the Nazis, were not allowed to hide under the protection of positivism. And neither should the current administration: CCC 2273 "The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights."

When I start hearing calls for a Nuremberg for President Obama, then I'll start to take those of you with selective outrage seriously. Until then, you can count me out!

UPDATE

For further reflection please read a well thought out article at http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0612fea4.asp by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., "a professor at the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico. He is a prolific writer on matters of liturgy and canon law." Id.

NEW UPDATE

In a previously unpublished St. Thomas Aquinas Commentary on Romans 13, he interpreted it thus: "From this it is clear that it is not only lawful but meritorious for rulers to execute vengeance on the wicked, when it is done out of zeal for justice." St. Thomas Aquinas, Letter to the Romans Commentary at 512, available at http://vivificat1.blogspot.com/2009/02/st-thomas-aquinas-biblical-commentaries.html. (emphasis added).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is Government Provided "Universal Health Care" Catholic?

A favorite argument we hear from supporters of President Obama is that President Obama is very "Catholic" in his social policy, despite some "minor disagreements" over whether killing innocent babies is good for women or evil murders.

But is this true? Is Government created and managed "universal health care" Catholic?

Not according to Bishop Sheen: "They [the socialists and totalitarians] are saying what is important only is social health not personal health. That is not true. Social health is conditioned only upon individual health. And if a doctor would leave any patient simply because he could not pay for his care or because he was apparently incurable or for any other reason in order to serve the abstract claims of society he would be selling the pass."

Indeed, Bishop Sheen reminds us that personal, not socialized health care is one of the bulwarks of human freedom and democracy: "He [St. Luke] meant that those who are preaching the word of God and those that are caring for bodies are about the only professions now that are left in the world that care for persons. This is how democracy survives by recognizing the worth of personalities and may these two professions always be comrades in arms marching together for he health of soul and body of persons."

Therefore, socialized medicine as offered by President Obama is anti-Catholic, anti-democracy and anti-human. But what more can you expect from a man who is willing to pay for the murder of innocent children at home and abroad?

If Catholics want to do more to help give health care to the poor, give more of your time and money to Catholic hospitals and organizations, like the Knights of Malta, who have dedicated themselves to access to health care. Let us not give more money and power to a government that does not value personality or human life as intrinsic goods. Our democracy depends on it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stirring the Pot, Food for Thought

"Our proposition is proved, fourthly, from reason. Granted that it is lawful for the State to protect its citizens from disturbers of its peace from within, by executing them with various forms of torture, then this is also lawful when there is no other possible way of defending those same citizens from external enemies; since, in order that the State may be preserved, it is necessary that all enemies, internal as well as external, may by kept off. And since this is the law of nature it is incredible that it should be set aside by the Gospel." St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Universal Church, De Laicis, Ch. 14.

Bishop D'Arcy to Fr. Jenkins: The Bishop is the Shepard of His Flock!

American Papist has some great commentary on the news that Bishop D'Arcy has published a response to Fr. Jenkins's recent defense of his decision to invite President Obama to Notre Dame despite the Bishop's judgement against the invitation.

http://www.americanpapist.com/blog.html

Fr. Jenkins attempted to argue that the canon lawyers he consulted said his decision was in full conformity with "Catholics in Political Life," USCCB. But Bishop D'Arcy rightfully points out that conformity with Catholics in Political Life" is to be determined by the bishop of the diocese, i.e. Bishop D'Arcy. http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/statements.htm

This is a great day! Bishop D'Arcy has done a wonderful thing for his diocese and for the Church as a whole in reminding us that it is the bishop, no matter how imperfect, that stands in the shoes of Christ when it comes to the governance of His sheep, not universities, professors, theologians, canon lawyers or the laity.

We have been given a similar warning from St. Ignatius of Antioch, 50 A.D.-117 A.D., in his Epistle to the Ephesians: "He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, God resists the proud. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God. " Id. at Chapter 5.

Moreover, we are taught to flee instruction from those who practice things unworthy of God, for example funding and supporting abortion: "For some are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practise things unworthy of God, whom you must flee as you would wild beasts. For they are ravening dogs, who bite secretly, against whom you must be on your guard, inasmuch as they are men who can scarcely be cured. There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible— even Jesus Christ our Lord." Id. at Chapter 7.

And who can be said to be "practising things unworthy of God"? Those who endorse abortion and those, who in defiance of the bishops, give these people intellectual cover and praise. We should no more deny the teaching authority of a bishop by dismissing it as partisan, than we would accuse Christ of being a Republican partisan because we disagree with His teaching: "It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself. " Id. at Chapter 6. Therefore, how can anyone, who is Catholic justify giving a platform, an honor and listen to President Barack Obama at Notre Dame as someone who is entitled to give instruction. Especially, when this is done in defiance of Bishop D'Arcy.

The short answer is you cannot.

P.S. St. Ignatius of Antioch's Epistles can be found at: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pet Peeve: Quoting a Fictional More

I recently watched the Dr. Doug Kmiec and Dr. Hadley Arkes debate that happened a month ago at Villanova. One of the debaters, Dr. Kmiec, engaged in one of my most disliked pet peeves; quoting the fictional St. Thomas More.

I really enjoy the movie a Man for All Seasons, as well as the play, but there is a problem with it; it is not real. The acting and characterization are excellent but St. Thomas More did not actually say many of the statements in the movie. In fact, the movie and play was written by Robert Bolt, a man more interested in holding St. Thomas More up as an example of the upholding of modern, not Catholic, conception of the individual conscience.

What is great about the movie is that it explores the characters in a dramatic and human way that helps us imagine what life must have been like for St. Thomas More and the intense pressure he was under to betray Christ and his great courage in defending Our Lord.

But the movie is not reality. Please do not cite it as authority as to what St. Thomas More would say.

Turning back to the initial example; Dr. Kmiec quoted fictional More's statement to his family that he would not arrest Richard Rich for "being a bad man." Dr. Kmiec used this quote to highlight the fact that we should not shun other "bad men" like President Obama but should engage and cooperate with them.

This is a terrible injustice to the legacy of St. Thomas More, who was most upright in enforcing the law of men and God. You see, St. Thomas More informed by his Catholic conscience would know that abortion is murder. He would punish those guilty of abortion as committing a crime. Indeed, he took great pride in his defense of the faith, including punishing heretics with the force of law. Does this sound like a man who would just let the current administration's endorsement and funding of abortion as a good just slide? St. Thomas More stood against the King of England, a.k.a. the sovereign of England, and willingly lost his head for Christian Marriage and papal authority.

What do you think he would do against a mere elected official, with limited Constitutional powers, a.k.a. not a sovereign, who was endorsing murder of the innocent? At the very least he would not have helped him get elected. So much for the fictional More.

As a response to this terrible misuse of St. Thomas More's and my name, I plan on having a weekly or bi-weekly quote from the real St. Thomas More to help people guide their consciences during these difficult times when President Obama has begun assaulting the innocent child in the womb and the consciences of doctors and nurses who do not want to participate in their murder.

Link for the Debate: http://www.moralaccountability.com/mission/arkes-kmiec-debate/

Friday, April 17, 2009

Note to Obama: Who Ever Denies Me Before Others I Will Deny Before My Heavenly Father

Some quick food for thought:

Jesus made clear that if we deny His Name before others that we would have no inheritance with Him in heaven: "Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. " Matthew 10:32-33.

Unfortunately, it looks like the President is asking for trouble on this front by asking that Jesus's Name be covered up while he gave a speech at Georgetown University: http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46667

But what should we expect. After all, we wouldn't want Jesus to get in the way of the President's economic agenda or inspire us to be "divisive" by preventing us from going along with the President's anti-life agenda.

Georgetown should be ashamed of itself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome to the New Tone!

Remember Last Year: "What Obama said was that Pennsylvania's small town voters are bitter about losing jobs and that to explain their frustrations, they 'cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.'" (Might it not be possible that people "cling" to religion because they love Christ, rather than because of poor economic circumstances?) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89604711

After making that statement President Obama apologized and stated that he misspoke: "Obama said Saturday that he deeply regretted if the way in which he worded his statement had offended people." Id. (note that he did not apologize for his belief but for how he said it).

A year later, President Obama adds this follow up: Dddddddid I stutter?!

From a new Department of Homeland Security Document on "Rightwing Extremism" (http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=94803):

First, let's establish that there are bitter people out there:

"rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment." DHS at 2 (bitter about losing jobs).

Second, clinging to their guns and religion:

"Rightwing extremism in the United States . . . may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion . . . ." DHS at 2 (religion).

"Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups,as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement." DHS at 3 (guns & legal purchasing).

Congratulations to all those Americans (including Blue Dog Democrats!) who are anti-abortion and pro-legal gun purchasing, you are all possible rightwing extremists. You earned this label without ONE citation to a researched fact!

Welcome to the new tone. I cannot believe that Notre Dame University is helping to usher in this new tone and is honoring it with a degree. Why does anyone think this man and administration are interested in honest dialogue?

P.S. If this does not qualify as rash judgment or calumny I don't know what does!

CCC 2477 "Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.[277] He becomes guilty: - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; . . . ;[278] - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them."

CCC 2479 "Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity. "

P.P.S. With respect to encouraging President Obama with an honorary degree:

"CCC 2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen!

Apparently us Catholics are in some pretty desperate need of this affirmation, considering that according to recent polling 15% of us are unaware of this fact!

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/holidays/april_2009/79_believe_jesus_christ_rose_from_the_dead

"Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. And if Christ be not risen again then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again. For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. And if Christ be not risen again your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep. For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:12-22.

UPDATE

"The Holy Father affirmed that the Resurrection 'is not a theory, but a historical reality': 'It is neither a myth nor a dream, it is not a vision or a utopia, it is not a fairy tale, but it is a singular and unrepeatable event: Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, who at dusk on Friday was taken down from the Cross and buried, has victoriously left the tomb.'"

http://www.zenit.org/article-25647?l=english

Friday, April 10, 2009

Can You Drink Death Like Water?

I'm taking the rest of the Triduum for my own reflections on the death and resurrection of our Lord, but I thought it appropriate to leave this reflection from Bishop Sheen's "Life of Christ" which I highly recommend:

"But He will not allow us to pick and choose His words, discarding the hard ones, and accepting the ones that please our fancy. We need a Christ Who will restore moral indignation, Who will make us hate evil with a passionate intensity, and love goodness to a point where we can drink death like water."

Have a Blessed Good Friday and Easter!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Are You Jesus's Friend?

"I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father." John 15:15.

I was thinking about this verse this Lenten season. Am I Jesus's friend? He wants us to be his friends but too many times, especially in Western Society, we confuse Jesus's desire for friendship with our syrupy definition of being friendly.

I think this is how we end up with pro-choice Catholics who present themselves for communion and claim partisanship on the part of those who want enforcement of Canon 915. These friendly types think: "Hey, Jesus said He wants to be my friend, so I should be able to share communion with all His friends and everyone who want me disinvited is against Jesus's friendliness."

But is this true? Cicero reminds us that: "Now friendship may be thus defined: a complete accord on all subjects human and divine, joined with mutual goodwill and affection." Cicero, On Friendship, Paragraph 17.

Can those who are pro-choice Catholic's truly say that are on complete accord with Jesus the Lord, "on all subjects human and divine" when they reject his teaching on the sacredness of human life from conception until natural death that is found in His Church? I think not.

Indeed, can anyone who hold Catholic teaching call any pro-choice person his friend and Jesus his friend at the same time? The answer is no. Which is why the invitation to honor President Obama at Notre Dame is a disgrace. The current President is no friend of Jesus because Obama is not in accord with Christ on Life. Indeed, President Obama is hostile to Christ's teaching on life.

At this point some may object: But President Obama says he is a Christian and wants to have middle ground by reducing abortions. I respond that first of all, wanting to reduce abortions should never be discussed in terms of "middle ground," not wanting babies to be killed is the minimal amount of decency we should expect in society. Second, I would like to offer a warning from Scripture on false friendship:

"Every friend declares his friendship, but there are friends who are friends in name only. Is it not a sorrow unto death when your bosom companion becomes your enemy? "Alas, my companion! Why were you created to blanket the earth with deceit?" A false friend will share your joys, but in time of trouble he stands afar off. A true friend will fight with you against the foe, against your enemies he will be your shield-bearer. Forget not your comrade during the battle, and neglect him not when you distribute your spoils."

Despite President Obama's declaration of friendship he does not stand with us against the foe of Life and human dignity. He subsidizes the foes of human dignity, by paying for abortions and embryonic destruction and attacking human conscience.

We cannot be friends with Obama and friends with Christ, we must choose, one or the other. However, does this mean we must despise Obama? No! Christ teaches us that we must love our enemies as our neighbors, but that doesn't mean our enemies are our friends.

We must defeat the President and his followers at every turn, we must pray for their conversion, we must preach the Gospel to them both in season and out and finally we must find a way to work with them when we must to advance our goals and never advance theirs.

However, we must never honor our enemies and those who act as enemies of Christ, with honorary degrees or otherwise.

How must we proceed? Might I humbly suggest a reflection for each of us as we begin the journey of taking our country back for God:

"Most important of all, pray to God to set your feet in the path of truth." Sirach 37:15.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Call to Arms to My Fellow Jurists: Adopt the Natural Law!

A few weeks ago there was quite a bit of controversy created by certain legal minds regarding the Pope’s statement that jurists must do all that is possible to legally protect human life. There was much handwringing about whether the Pope was asking something radical and new of jurists, but there was very little offered in terms of practical steps we jurists could do to adopt this instruction. I humbly offer the following solution: Adopt the Natural Law!

Too many of our fellow soldiers in the culture wars have bought into the idea that adopting the natural law as an interpretive framework for our legal system would be hypocritical in light of our complaints of the so-called Living Constitution theory. Moreover, they fear that once the natural law is expressly adopted by jurists that it will merely become a tool of activism, to be manipulated by the vast number of secular liberals that graduate from our many venerable legal institutions.

To my fellow jurists who make these complaints I respond: The natural law is not our enemy. The natural law must not be feared. The natural law is the basis for our democratic institutions. The fundamental concepts of the natural law are that we are made in the image and likeness of God, that we have an obligation to pursue truth and that as a consequence of these two facts we owe certain obligations to ourselves and others which are understandable to our reason.

These points reflect the same legal principles cited in the Declaration of Independence that were used to justify our right to legal independence from Britain:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In other words, the Founders expressly stated that the legal and interpretative frame work that they instituted this government under was natural law and natural rights. To ignore this fact, is to ignore the very foundation of our country, God. Furthermore, it ignores history and our nation’s laws.

The natural law would not be a weapon of secular liberalism. Can any of my fellow jurists name one serious liberal legal scholar who utilizes the natural law to advance his ideology? Indeed, the recent case of Dr. Doug Kmiec highlights the fact that the adoption of natural law is mutually exclusive to the advancement of liberal ideology. As he has made his now infamous decline into a legal theory which has embraced the legal legitimacy of abortion and the elimination of legal marriage, based solely on a fictitious democratic pluralism, he has distanced himself completely from the natural law.

Can you please point me to a legal philosophy that has a more ancient, better analyzed, better tested history and a more universal origin than the natural law? I would say that the newfangled legal theory of positivism relied upon by many “conservative” jurists is far less tested and provides absolutely no protection against authoritarianism, either in the form of totalitarianism or imposed by the multitude under the form of a false democracy.

Can you show me a legal theory that has found greater favor with the Church and Her saints and scholars?

Can you show me a legal theory of interpretation other than the natural law that appears as a fundamental legal principle in any founding document of the United States?

Without reliance on the natural law as a fundamental principle of legal interpretation and governance, we are left with an unconvincing and hollow call to arms to our fellow Americans, lamely requesting such abstractions as "limited Government," etc. Without a clear moral basis and philosophy rooted in the natural law such statements are perceived to be more selfish and heartless in origin than the liberal desire to expand government to "help" our fellow man.

The left, without any moral authority, due to their self-expressed “above my pay-grade” relativism, uses the language of right and wrong. This language of morality is what the American electorate is hungry for. We will can gain no traction by discussing solely policy with them. We must also use the language of morality and we have the authority to use it because we do rely on the natural law and the belief that there is an objective moral order found in that natural law to which all men must adhere.

It is the adoption of the natural law then that will satisfy the desire of so many of our American jurists, to stay true to America’s laws, her people and her founding principles while at the same time God, His Church and the least of these, the unborn. If we, Catholic and American jurists, adopt the natural law, this will be our strength, that our motto will be that of our country’s, “In God We Trust.”

Thursday, April 2, 2009

President Obama at Notre Dame University: Source of Dialogue or a Moral Arsonist?

We have been informed by the Notre Dame University administration and President Obama’s press office, that President Obama was selected as a speaker to encourage dialogue. With all due respect, this reason does not hold up to scrutiny.

The primary purpose of dialogue is for the parties to inform one another in truth as to the truth to aid in the formation of conscience. As Catholic’s we are obliged to inform our conscience and the conscience of others with and in the truth:

“Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.” CCC 1783 (emphases added).

In addition to informing our conscience and that of others we are obliged to recognize that “charity always proceeds by way of respect for one's neighbor and his conscience: ‘Thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.’ Therefore ‘it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.’” CCC 1789.

In other words, dialogue with an individual requires that both parties: (1) wish to inform one another’s consciences in truth; and (2) respect each other’s conscience.

It is for these two reasons that great violence is done to the English vocabulary when one refers to Notre Dame University’s invitation to President Obama to speak and be honored with a degree as dialogue.

First, President Obama does not act as one who believes in informing conscience in truth through dialogue. Indeed, in a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood he expressed his desire to “turn the page" on the abortion discussion. President Obama has already informed us of his goals: “On this fundamental issue [abortion], I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield.” Moreover, the President of the United States has described the issue of when the human rights of a baby begins as being “above my pay grade.” Yet despite admitting ignorance of when a child is entitled to human rights he then proceeded to take actions which subsidize the death of little children by rescinding the Mexico City Policy and ordering the funding of experimentation which requires the direct killing of embryonic human beings. On top of all of that, he has picked a Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, who recently stated while receiving the Margaret Sanger Award, that one of the primary goals of United State's foreign policy is going to be the spread of Margaret Sanger’s vision, which is racist, apocalyptic and murderous. Lastly, he has stated that to him a sin is an action that does not conform to his values. Does that sound like someone who is open to dialoguing in truth to you?

Second, it has recently been reported that President Obama is going to eliminate all conscience protection for doctors, nurses and pharmacists who do not wish to participate in abortion. I cannot help but appreciate the irony of President Obama’s Catholic supporters who cast those of us who object to his being honored by Notre Dame as intolerant in the name of tolerance and democratic pluralism, while supporting a man who makes war on the conscience of our brethren doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Turning back to the Catechism, when we wound a man’s conscience we “sin against Christ.” What then can be said of a man who has taken action to not only wound a man’s conscience, but to obliterate it and subject it to his own will and public policy? Is this not war against Christ? Is this not a grave crime against charity?

This reminds me of a story by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen regarding communism. He described a city block that contained four houses. The first three lived in harmony and tolerance. The first neighbor wished to heat his house with coal, the second wished to heat his house with wood and the third wished to heat his house with gas. Among these three there could be dialogue and compromise. Then a fourth neighbor, preaching tolerance and compromise, moved into the fourth house, he was an arsonist and wished to heat his home by burning the other three. Bishop Sheen’s point was simple, it is impossible to compromise with the arsonist!

As much as it pains me to say it, the current President of the United States is a moral arsonist. As we spin our wheels arguing back and forth with his Catholic agents regarding tolerance he is burning down the house of conscience to the ground, he is burning the house of life to the ground and by continuing to encourage and pick wayward Catholics like Kathleen Sebelius for powerful positions, he is burning the moral and teaching authority of Christ’s Church and Her Bishops to the ground.
We should be tolerant of this man, but not of his opinions. Might I offer a parting suggestion to the President of Notre Dame? Instead of letting President Obama speak, speak to him, perform the spiritual act of mercy of admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant and counseling the doubtful. Instead of handing him an honorary award hand him a Catechism of the Catholic Church and a Baltimore Catechism.

Oh, at last but not least, tell him that if our Holy Martyrs were willing to be fed to lions not to light incense before the image of the Emperor of Rome, he’s got another think coming if he thinks we going to take the next four years lying down or that he is going to get any honor from us if he does not change his ways.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Right of Conscience: Take a Stand!

President Obama has declared war on the human conscience. However, you need not take this lying down. Like St. Thomas More you can register your defense of the human conscience in the annals of history and let the President know that you oppose his abuse of human rights by going to the following website: http://www.adoctorsright.com/

Where Is the Fire?

To my fellow Americans and Catholics. This is my first post. The title of my blog is a reference to a talk given by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen when expounding on the lack of passion in Western Society in the face of Communist passion.

My goal at this blog is to answer the call of Bishop Sheen implied in the question, to bring the fire, the pentecostal fire we receive through the Church to our society and the world.

Thomas More is my confirmation name, when I was sealed with the pentecostal fire of the Holy Spirit, and I plan on using it as my posting name. St. Thomas More was a patriot with the fire and I place this blog under his protection and patronage and I ask this in the name of Christ, our Lord.

I hope that you enjoy and that we can help each other grow in holiness and spread the fire.