Monday, July 13, 2009

My Reactions to New Encyclical Soon!

Just finished reading it.

I recommend it to anyone. The main point to be driven home is that the Pope finally made explicit what was always implicit in Catholic teaching: you cannot be for poor people, the environment or social justice unless you are first and foremost pro-life.

Finally seeing it in black and white, is just awesome.

Bottom line, one cannot use the "social justice" issues to ever outweigh being 100% pro-life, because being 100% pro-life is the only legitimate and authentic way to pursue social justice. Any other program, that denies the right to life, will lead to disaster and human destruction.

"One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty[66] and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways. . . . Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away[67]. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual." Caritas in veritate Paragraph 28

"If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational systems and laws do not help them to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible: it takes in not only the environment but also life, sexuality, marriage, the family, social relations: in a word, integral human development. Our duties towards the environment are linked to our duties towards the human person, considered in himself and in relation to others. It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society." Paragraph 51

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Did Obama Promise to Reduce Abortions in Rome? NO!

I have read with interest several articles and blog posts reporting the great victory of Obama promising to reduce abortions during his recent visit with the Pope. But the Reuters story is more ambiguous regarding Obama's promise to reduce abortions. It implies that many in the Vatican may have misunderstood Obama's abortion stance in much the same way that his message is misunderstood by many here in the States, especially after his Notre Dame speech. Therefore, I thought I would dig into reporting of the event, Obama's past statements and the Vatican's interpretation of the event. Not surprisingly, Obama with his skillful rhetoric has made even many of the Vatican believe that he is willing to compromise on his pro-abortion stance, when, as Cardinal Rigali would say, the "truth is opposite."

Here is a portion of the Reuters' report: "'Obama told the pope of his commitment to reduce the number of abortions and of his attention and respect for the positions of the Catholic Church,'" Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters after he was briefed by the pope. Obama supports abortion rights and says his policy is to change economic and social conditions so as to put more women in situations where they do not feel they have to have an abortion." (emphasis mine)

Indeed, one of Obama's advisers pointed out the exact difference between Obama's position and an actual desire to reduce the number of abortions:

"Melody [Barnes, the Director of Domestic Policy Council and a former board member of Emily’s List] testily interrupted to state that she had to correct me. 'It is not our goal to reduce the number of abortions. 'The room was silent. The goal, she insisted, is to 'reduce the need for abortions.'"

Obama is a skilled politician. He loves to speak in ways that lets his listeners fill in the gaps with what they want to hear. He purposely speaks in a way that causes this confusion. Here is a quote from his book Audacity of Hope as reported by Real Clear Politics that is highly instructive: "'I serve as a blank screen,' Obama writes, 'on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.' He notifies readers that 'my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete.'"

He speaks of reducing the need for abortions and people hear, "I want to reduce abortions." But he does not. Unless of course you count his desire to put a condom in the pocket of every oversexed teenager. Bottom line, he does not care about reducing abortions.

Indeed, John Allen's reporting for the National Catholic Reporter makes it clear that this purposeful confusion by Obama is precisely what transpired at the Vatican this week: "Responding to the pope’s concerns, Lombardi said, Obama repeated his pledge to adopt policies aimed at bringing down the abortion rate, by addressing social conditions that sometimes compel women to have abortions. Although Obama has said that before, the fact that he did so in the presence of the pope, in the eyes of many Vatican personnel, lends the pledge extra weight." (emphasis mine)

We need to carefully scrutinize and critically analyze everything Obama and his minions say and do on this issue to not get caught up in his trap of having us believe he has a desire to compromise with us! He has one goal, the implementation of a strong centralized government, that manages the largest economy on the planet with him at the helm.

Obama will take over the economy promising to reduce the need for abortion. But here is the catch, we know that abortion is never needed. To agree with him that his position is a good one, is to admit that abortion is needed. He has offered nothing but the traditional pro-choice position yet so many of us, including Vatican officials act like he is saying something good or new!

I'm waiting for him to say he will find ways to reduce the availability of the choice of abortion, to more accurately reflect the view of the majority of American's that abortion should be limited to a particular set of circumstances. That would be change and compromise from a pro-choice politician. All Obama offers now is a smokescreen to weaken our resolve, to move forward his socialist and anti-life agenda and to hide his absolute contempt for human life.

After all this is the same man who, despite wanting the most powerful office for protecting humanity in the world said the following in response to this question by Rick Warren:

"Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade."

The response was flip and in the style of Pontius Pilate. It is the response of a man who is not interested in the truth or in the dignity of the human person, which is a necessary prerequisite to any true human development as laid out by Pope Benedict XVI in his new encyclical, Caritas In Veritate,

We should not promote his efforts by accepting what he is reported as saying at face value. All we have is Father Lombardi's interpretation of Obama's statement, but viewed in the context of all of Obama's other statements on abortion reduction, he has made no new compromise, he has said nothing new. He just did the same thing he always does, he told some people whose support he wants, what they wanted to hear.

We, on the ground here in America, need to make this known to our fellow citizens and to Catholics around the world who only get superficial exposure to President Obama and his message, including the officials in the Vatican. Obama cannot be allowed to continue to perpetuate the myth that he wants to reduce the number of abortions while he finds new ways to pay for them.