Bishop Finn (or is it Cardinal Bertone?): Call Your Office!

On Monday, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City joined a long list of bishops issuing increasingly apocalyptic warnings about the consequences of Barack Obama winning the presidency. He urged voters to consider "their eternal salvation."

Evidently, Cardinal Bertone considered his eternal salvation and reached a different conclusion about the consequences of Obama’s victory. Yesterday’s front page of L’Osservatore Romano, the official newspaper of the Vatican that Bertone signs off on, featured a laudatory article that read like it had been written by David Axelrod.

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And, the Pope himself broke precedent to send a telegram of congratulations to President-elect Obama. Hmmmm. I wonder. If you listen really carefully, will you hear the sound of gnashing of teeth in several stateside chanceries?

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9 years ago
No, I don't think so. Rome has much greater diplomacy, courtesy and charity than much of the world. After all she patiently tolerated Charlie Curran and Hans Kung for a long time hoping for their reform before rebuking them. The inevitable will also come due for the likes of Joe Biden and other Catholics in the new administration who offer their immediate material cooperation in the widenning of the killing of the unborn, which will come about through federal funding of domestic and international abortion. Unlike remote material cooperation, it cannot be obfuscated by the ''I am personally opposed to abortion but cannot impose my views on others'' defense. The hammer will drop, even though it may not be able to be dropped on the head of the non-Catholic at the top of the US government.
9 years ago
The Vatican rightly congratulated the newly elected U.S. President. That does not mean that the Pope agrees with Obama on many of his immoral stances. The Catholic Bishops spoke up for human life and decency and did exactly what I would expect them to do. It has nothing to do with arrogance. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. You can choose to live by the rules of Christ and his church or you are free to leave. The statistics show that the over 50% applied to all "self described" Catholics (even those that are not practicing). I am sorry , but if someone hasn't been to church in 10 years, they are no longer a Catholic, so stop calling yourself a Catholic. McCain won the majority (only slightly) of true Catholics that attend church regularly. Catholics that voted for Obama should be ashamed of themselves. Millions of babies and their souls are crying out today!
9 years ago
Mr. Winters post shows how the U.S. Bishops have taken a completely unrealistic approach to the pre-eminent moral issue of our day. Mr. Mulcahy, thank you for articulating this. What really offends me is those bishops who assume that those of us who carefully come to a conclusion such as yours are not taking our faith, or the injustice of abortion, seriously. ''Bruce'' seems to enjoy discussing hammers, and ''true'' Catholics while using Pope Benedict's precise ethical language. My answer to Archbishop Chaput's challenge to consider if I could vote for Obama and face the aborted children in the next world (a rather strange metaphysical question in my opinion) is that they might very well thank me for voting in a manner hoping to reduce human suffering and injustice across the board. Frank Pavone, Randall Terry and their ilk are guilty of playing politics with a very important issue in a manner that belies their faith. In our diocese they ''hammered'' the bishop, a well-known, strongly pro-life man, in an attempt to manipulate swing-state voters. Fortunately he held firm. The image of people called to ''arms'' by picketing outside our church with the picture of an aborted fetus to greet, or should I say ''hammer'' people as they left church the Sunday before the election has caused the so-called ''right to life'' movement to lose all credibility with many Catholics.
9 years ago
Respect for Life occurs when the Catholic Church - all of us, not just the hierarchy - sees its mission as the continuation of Jesus' teaching of the two greatest commandments: love of God and love of neighbor as yourself. The institutional church shows that it does not notice its own lack of love of neighbor when it offers minimal respect for the scarred life of known and yet-to-be-revealed abuse victims. Consider that they continue to hide the abusers until their brave survivors report them, or sometimes, confront those who attacked them. It appears that the institutional church remains blind to this fault. Occasional personal apologies to a handful of victims, such as occurred when the Pontiff visited the USA, falls flat when not accompanied by personal pleas for forgiveness. Nor does the institutional church give credence to the incurable nature of a sexual abuser's disease (denial is its hallmark). To give asylum may ''protect'' future victims but asylum lacks meaning without offering reasons for removing a person from society. When the Pontiff gave MA Cardinal Law responsibilities in a [lesser] Roman cathedral he failed to explain his removal from the US by ignoring the fact that sexual abusers are unable to recognize their disease. But not only US Catholics caught on. No one wants to be a deer caught in the headlights of hypocrisy. Both they and all guilty bishops and religious orders' superiors need to acknowledge, apologize & ask forgiveness for allowing the abusers to reach so many victims. Only then will the ''Faithful'' [who elect persons of integrity to national office] begin to find reason to respect their Pontiff's dictates. And unless the pronouncement concerns dogma, many Faithful will not find it reasonable to follow it. Peg Hirsh
9 years ago
This election season has seen the further out of sync orbiting of "Planet Bishops" as over 50% of Catholic voters chose Obama -- probably with little fear about their salvation for choosing "hope" over "fear." Is there no saving our episcopal leaders from the arrogance of their own self-styled infallibility in this area? Their continued irrelevant issuings is birthing a different American church, but who knows what?
9 years ago
Most people, lacking Micheal Sean's amazing powers of vaticanological perception, probably assumed that the congratulatory telegram from the Pope to Obama was a routine diplomatic courtesy between heads of state. It was really a coded message to Obama, telling him to ignore all of that ''eternal salvation'' nonsense. Also, if you play the audio version of the Latin translation of the L'Osservatore Romano article backwards, you can hear the phrase ''Don't listen to that Finn guy!'' The final piece of the puzzle will fall into place next month, when there will be a surprising new addition to the Nativity Creche in St Peter's Square.
9 years ago
As one who voted for Obama, I'd offer this perspective. I tried to balance the Republicans ostensible support for life with their evident willingness to conduct an unjust war; use torture; hold people convicted of no crime indefinitely, without charges or hope of release; routinely enact policies exhibiting a preferential option for the rich and powerful; demonize illegal immigrants (in blatant defiance of biblical injunctions); blame the poor and people of color for the injustices perpetrated on them; eviscerate the United States Constitution; damage the environment without regard for future generations; and tarnish the reputation of the United States. All of those charges seem to me quite true, but the Republican support for life rings hollow. With Republican presidents for 20 of the last 28 years, somehow support for life was never as central to their agenda as tax cuts for the rich and attempts to impose an American imperium on the world.
9 years ago
I grew up in a very strict home, where you could not question anything, or you'd be sent to hell. We weren't allowed to read anything unless it had the official IMPRIMATUR. But thank God we were sent to Catholic School and I discovered the library, and noticed that majority of books didn't have the IMPRIMATUR, I didn't tell MOM! I am Pro Life, anti abortion, pro peace, I also believe in the Constitution of the United States. I may not like that Democrats do support abortion rights, I also know that Republicans just pay lip service to being Pro LIfe. So I had no problem voting my conscience and voting for the Common Good, for Barack Obama. It is impossible to have one issue hang up the rest of the very important issues to human life. Thank you
9 years ago
Mr Winters is a very talented writer in my opinion, who really needs an editor.The Bishops like Finn spoke up for the unborn and this article implies that the Vatican took a day off from its vigilance and gushed like all good people everywhere.St Paul referred to people like Finn when he said "Preach the Gospel in season and out of season".The crowing tone of the article and the horror at the use of such language as "Eternal Salvation" makes one really wonder.Keep writing but get an editor.
9 years ago
Mulcahy's comment about Republican inconsistencies on life issues hit the nail on the head, for me anyway. I'd go one giant step farther and say the Republicans prey on Catholic voters and Catholic values for their own political ends. On the other hand, Biden and Pelosi displayed appalling ignorance of the church's teaching on abortion in their embarrasing interviews on Meet the Press. Shame on them all, D's and R's. Neither major candidate was ideal, but Obama was the lesser of two evils. The other sad outcome of this election cycle, for me at least, is my diminished respect for our bishops. Too many of them displayed disregard for our political freedoms and tried to marry church and state while threatening us with damnation of various sorts. Shame on you too. I pray for a fruitful bishops plenary in Baltimore next week.
9 years ago
Every decision we make in life impacts our fundamental option, to use a phrase from moral theology. The decision we make in voting is one such decision. While there are many laudable things about Barrack Obama, we have to realize that he has pledged to sign the Freedom of Choice Act should it pass. This piece of legislation goes well beyond the status quo of Roe vs. Wade. It would overturn every reasonable limit to abortion that has passed in many states throughout the country. What is more, FOCA would make abortion a fundamental right under American law. I don't believe any Catholic can support such a policy, nor could we support anyone who would support such a policy with our vote, especially if we know that such a person has pledged to support such legislation, as the president-elect has done. Four decades ago bishops rightly excommunicated people who supported segregation throughout the South. Abortion deals with the deliberate destruction of another human being, something far more weighty on the moral scales. If we support those who would continue such a practice and expand it into a fundamental right, how can that not effect the state of our souls?
9 years ago
I am not willing to go guite as far in saying that the Vatican was telegraphing anything. I do agree, however, the Bishop Finn and his hysterical cohort overplayed their hand on abortion. The resort to teaching authority is the last gasp of a badly flawed argument. Unless one considers the possibility that Roe was rightly decided, not in its ends but its arguments, one cannot move forward. The fact is, abortion was punished with a fine - which is hardly a penalty befitting the taking of a life. The fact is, federal oversight over state legislative majorities in the area of equal protection under the law is entirely appropriate in a natural rights democracy and in beneficial to the Church - especially given that such protection will one day overturn Blaine Amendments which prevent state funding of Catholic schools and also prevent Baptist dominated southern states from abusing Catholics when many in those parts still believe the Pope is the Antichrist. The Court in Roe got it right on its main point - until and unless the unborn are recognized as independent subjects of the law at the federal level, abortion regulation is a violation of the privacy rights of women. The Right to Life movement has not dealt with these issues, or the possiblities of the return of back alley abortion. Until they offer some viable legislative proposal, it is hardly damnable to not support it. I don't care what is in the hearts of Republican candidates. I care about what they propose. Until they give me something on life, no prelate can claim I am committing sin for not falling in line.

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