Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a Republic, stupid

A current article on Catholic Culture provokes me to write under this title. It is entirely likely that we have devolved into a democracy, though our founding fathers did their best to avoid that trap. I can see only two ways out: the first is to recover the function of a republic; the second is less pastoral.

OK, I must say this while I can

Let us be very clear. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us:
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75 God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,77 by the very commission of the offense,"78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
"The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being's right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death."80
"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."81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."82
2275 "One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival."83
"It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."84
"Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity"85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
So, it follows that:
- a Catholic cannot participate in the procurement of an abortion
- a Catholic cannot vote for a politician who supports abortions

Then we would have to find that:
- a Catholic cannot vote for Obama
- a Catholic cannot vote for Biden
- a Catholic cannot vote for Pelosi
Nor can a Catholic vote for any of quite a few others who will be on the ballot in November.

Referring again to 2272, one may well contemplate which of the various self-professed Catholics are already outside the Church, through self-excommunication.

I'm sure that many Catholics are unaware of this penalty. And perhaps most are unaware that it does not require an act by a bishop or the pope. It is as inescapable as it can be: a matter between the person and God.

(N.B.: the title refers to the reality that blogs can be placed under government censorship, under the current election laws and regulations. In theory, that cannot yet be done for a few months. Also, the reason I felt I needed to be as explicit as to say "a Catholic cannot" is that from what I have read, 54% of the laity and of the bishops voted for Obama in 2008.)

Dawkins and his ilk keep on...

So one of the commenters on Fr. Z's site today made mention of a melee on Richard Dawkins' site. One of the commenters there wrote:

As usual.... vapid, nebulous response. Never an answer. Never any proof. Full of "because I say so"......

I know he was commenting on a message from a Christian, but if we consider the position of atheists, I could offer the same comment. He also spoke of circular arguments, but those are pretty much what the atheists offer, as well.

The one interesting thing about atheism is the refusal of its practitioners to comprehend that they, too, are exercising faith. Their faith is in opposition to ours, but they can offer no more proof than we can. They simply pretend, because they scoff at faith.

Other news, of the excellent flavor

My daughter is in her final year at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. A year ago, without letting us know she was doing it, she completed her own path to baptism and confirmation! This year, instead of doing anything silly, she spent Spring break with her chaplain (a fine priest) and other cadets on a trip to Vatican City. In two weeks, we will journey to Connecticut to witness and celebrate her graduation from the USCGA. We are so blessed.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Updates, various

Blue Henn, thanks for the comment. I have corrected the settings I had in place for comments, so in future, if you have something to offer, it won't go into the ether....

Yes, I am in full communion. I was baptized last June, and confirmed that same day, as was my wife.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some changes are better than others...

I have received news that our pastor of the last six years has resigned. I am sad for our loss, but sadder still for his. He carries the cross of alcoholism, and has in the past year not carried it so well as we might wish. Moreover, he has medical issues which are likely the consequence of past alcohol abuse. My thoughts and prayers go with him, always.

Fine priest that he is, he has been my rock through the times when I was impatient with the process on the road to my baptism. He was ever ready to discuss what troubled me, and always helpful in providing sources to answers in greater depth than his time might permit for our discussion.

I pray that our Archbishop will be able to place him in a parish or other position where the stresses may be less than in our own parish.