Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anybody Else Watching the USCCB?

Weird stuff.

The first bits I saw had a lot of griping about abortion and the catastrophic consequences of FOCA being passed, including the effects on Catholic hospitals and health care providers. It's good that this is being noticed here at the 11th hour. Maybe a display of guts over the last 30 years would have prevented our arrival at this precipice, but hey, better late than never.

Then came a bit on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with some focus on the ACORN shenanigans that have come to light recently. Funny how supporting an organization that has been unabashedly partisan hasn't drawn any ire from the church/state separation crowd.

The last part I saw was a small panel with Cardinal George of Chicago and Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco. I was very disappointed in their comments. Apparently, in a segment I somehow missed, Bishop Martino (who freaking rules as we have already established) spoke about issuing canonical penalties for politicians who support abortion in the same way that Archbishop Rummel did for segregationists in New Orleans a few decades ago.

It warms my heart to think that Bishop Martino might read my blog.

His Eminence responded that a politician who claims to reject abortion personally while voting in favor of such measures so as not to force his view on another is different from a politician who claims to believe personally that a certain racial group is inferior and then votes that way. Of course, he provided little rationale for this position. I certainly fail to see one. The politician who claims to reject abortion personally but tries to Cuomo/Biden/Pelosi his way out by citing an unwillingness to subject others to his opinion has already rejected the teaching of the Church.

Abortion is homicide. Politicians vote in favor of measures punishing homicide quite frequently. If one believes abortion is homicide, they should have no problem prohibiting others from diong so. The excuse is irrational and uses logic that would only be acceptable to an insane person. It's not like this issue hasn't already been addressed at the highest levels anyway.

Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cried from earth to Heaven.

Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii

His Excellency, Archbishop Niederauer, then gave a very confusing answer to the question by saying that Archbishop Rummel's situation was different because it had to do with events going on "within the Catholic Church." I think his point was that Rummel's initial efforts were in desegregating the Catholic schools in New Orleans, so it was "entirely" a Catholic matter.

This doesn't make sense either. The issue went well beyond that and into the political realm very early on. It was absolutely a threat made based on political positions held by self-proclaimed Catholics in elected office. I have no idea how this makes it any different or less of a scandal. If anything, the sheer difference in gravity makes it worse.

That's not the end of this story, though. Another reporter stood up two questions later and mentioned that, with all respect to the answers described above, Catholics really wanted to know how to take an allegedly Catholic politician who espouses pro-abortion stuff. Cardinal George simply responded by saying that this was "clearly answered" in the Faithful Citizenship document from the USCCB.

Clearly? Is that why you had people on both sides of the issue claiming that the document supported their views? Is that why you had bishops all over the country basically ditching the entire reasoning of Faithful Citizenship and throwing it in the trash? As my colleague Karl mentions below, Faithful Citizenship "succeeds minimally." We saw how well "minimally" does at the polls.


Alexander said...

Would the FOCA really force doctors and nurses (and Catholic Hospitals) to aid in abortion under pain of Federal Law?

Throwback said...

From the way it's currently written, there is a definite danger of it having that effect. It isn't explicit, but the language would seem to carry that requirement.