Dodd's Departure & the Changing Face of Politics

I last saw Sen. Chris Dodd a couple of weeks ago outside of St. Joseph’s church where we had both just attended Mass. I first met him in 1974 at the kitchen table in my home in Connecticut. He had come there en route to a campaign event in our little town which had a church hall large enough for such a gathering. A lot has changed in between those two meetings. I will leave it to others to assess Dodd’s career but I would like to focus only on the way politics itself has changed.

Back then, Dodd’s campaign manager was Stanley Israelite. Stanley knew everyone and everyone knew Stanley. He made introductions. He called ahead to make sure things were ready. He did not micromanage: In the days when blackberries were still something you picked wild in the meadow and before the advent of emails and cell phones, micromanagement was an impossibility. A politician and his campaign needed to rely on groups like my mother’s group, the Democratic town committee, to put on a good event. I do not recall there being any television ads in that first congressional campaign or any polling. There was Stanley and the future congressman – one of them, or one of their aunts or uncles, was bound to know you or someone you knew. I know there were problems with this type of politics – there really were smoke-filled rooms! But, there was something organic, something pre-modern, something human about those old campaigns.


In 2004, I was working on a campaign in Connecticut and Dodd was running for re-election. Stanley Israelite had an office in Norwich but he was not running the campaign. That was now in the hands of professionals. The contemporary campaign is run by consultants who do ads or direct mail or polling. Some of them are very smart but they have created a campaign culture that emasculates a candidate: The candidate’s job is to be a spokesperson for issues and a fundraiser. The professionals decide everything else and they do not necessarily know anyone in the state or district where they are working. They are hired hands, committed first to their own flourishing. They know the polling data, but they don’t know people.

An example may make my point. I was working for a candidate who had a photographic memory and a real command of issues. We were looking forward to debating our opponent because of these strengths. Someone from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee came up to Connecticut to make sure that we were doing "debate prep" correctly. Of course, my candidate had been preparing for the debate all his life, but this campaign professional wanted us to do "role playing." I have always resisted role-playing. I have always thought that real human events require that we not cast them as things to be played with and that a candidate should not assume "a role" but be his or herself. We nodded to the campaign consultant sent from Washington and as soon as we were alone, I turned to my candidate and said, "I have always thought that role playing was inhumane." He burst out laughing. Oh, and we won the debate.

We saw some of the difference the two styles of doing politics produce at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s wake last summer. His good friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch spoke movingly about both the Senator and about his career. Hatch, of course, is as conservative as Kennedy was liberal but that fact did not keep them from becoming friends. Dodd was of that generation that remembered the time when politics was not all manufactured, when candidates were not emasculated, when friendship co-existed with political and intellectual rivalry. I fear those days are gone.

Something fine and bracing has gone out of our political life when candidates are turned into commodities, and when politics is seen as a skill-set rather than a connection of human beings with dense, overlapping affiliations and friendships. I do not see how we can ever get that something back. No candidates, of either party, have been able to resist the onslaught of the professionalization of political campaigns. I know some people are celebrating Dodd’s departure from the Senate today and others are mourning it. I am mostly mourning the loss of the Stanley Israelites of the world, of Sen. Hatch’s Utah equivalent of Stanley Israelite too for the ghastly modern campaign is a truly bipartisan phenomenon. I am mourning the departure of the humane version of politics that was still possible when Chris Dodd came to sit at my kitchen table in Connecticut in 1974.




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9 years 6 months ago

Partial birth abortion ban needs maternal health exception

Conduct stem cell research to help Alzheimers and diabetes.

Courts should decide abortion cases based on woman’s health.

Voted NO on restricting UN funding for population control policies.

Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP.

Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion.

Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.

Voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives.

Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime.

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life.

Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions.

Voted NO on banning human cloning.

Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record.

Expand embryonic stem cell research.

Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance.

The Editors at America Magazine would do well to examine the positions a " Catholic " politician assumes wtih regard to right to life issues. At a minimum, restrained adulation for pro-abortion " Catholic " politicians seems well advised.
Nancy Dallavalle
9 years 6 months ago
Thanks for this post, Michael.  Maria's comment only serves to underscore your point.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
I am wondering, in 1974, was Chris Dodd's view on the fundamental Right to Life, partisan or bipartisan? Did he believe then, in 1974, that ALL Human Life was created equal?
Jeff Bagnell
9 years 6 months ago
America does seem like an arm of the DNC sometimes.  It's too bad.
Vince Killoran
9 years 6 months ago
Ah well, the gang's all here today to comment of Sen. Dodd's record of opposing the re-criminalization of abortion.  It's become predictable:there seem to be exactly two things our "bloghogs" love to contribute to the AMERICA website- snide comments about the Jesuits and abortion (okay, they do weigh in about the Mass translations,  "disobedient" nuns, and liberals in general).
BTW, MSW's posting wasn't even really about Dodd!  What can our friends say about his voting record on labor unions, the environment, education, poverty and hunger, etc.?
9 years 6 months ago
Unrelenting support for abortion simulataneous with partaking of the Eucharist; publicly avowed support for same sex marriage on June 22, 2009. Superfluities, huh?
Vince Killoran
9 years 6 months ago
An individual Catholic may oppose the recriminalization of abortion and to support same-sex marriage and still receive communion. 
9 years 6 months ago
[Note: The following memorandum was sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick and was made public in the first week of July 2004.]

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion
General Principles

by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: "Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?" The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).

2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

4. Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
Jeff Bagnell
9 years 6 months ago
I assume that he voted against hunger.  Poverty too.  
I guess this means that The Republicans tend to vote in favor of hunger and poverty.  
Vince Killoran
9 years 6 months ago
Ah yes, "The Memo."  I'm guessing anyone who spends their time on Catholic blogs has read it. The problem with it is that it was never an authoritative theological statement on the issue.  Since its author became pope he has had a number of occasions to deny communion to politicians who refuse to re-criminalize abortion and he didn't( nor did J.P. II)-or any of the Church's top U.S. prelates. for that matter.  Maybe it has something to do with the difference between not supporting re-criminalization and "promoting" abortion. Since the memo wasn't addressed to me I don't know.  
I do know what Cardinal George said a few years ago-i.e., that there is room for Catholic politicians in good faith to differ on whether to pursue judicial, legislative or cultural strategies to limit abortion. B.XVI did not refute this claim. 
Jeff Bagnell
9 years 6 months ago
Thanks for clearing that up.  It's good to know that Ratzinger's memo can be ignored.  I'm sure he feels the same way.  Maybe that's why Cardinal McCarrick didn't release it initially.
Vince Killoran
9 years 6 months ago
If we are to accept your interpretation, not only have the cardinals ignored but the Pope has ignored his own memo as well.
9 years 6 months ago

So that it is not lost upon the reader: this statement uges an individual to EXAMINE THEIR CONSCIENCE, and so arrive at the appropriate decision with regard to wether one should receive the Euchrist. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
9 years 6 months ago
Vince: you may well be right; however, it does not obviate the need on the part of a politician to make prudent and moral decision about the state of their soul and so determine wether he or she receives the Eucharist.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
Canon 750 of The Catholic Church states:

"Each and everything set forth definitively by the Magisterium of the Church regarding teaching on Faith and Morals must be firmly accepted and held; namely those things required for the holy keeping and faithful exposition of the Deposit of Faith; therefore, anyone who rejects propositions which are to be held definitively sets himself against the teaching of the Catholic Church."

This includes Respect for The Sacredness and Dignity of every Human Life, and Respect for The Sacraments, including the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
I am annoyed with the way a few commenters hijack almost every topic so that the commentary is only about abortion, leaving no room for honest and creative response to the article at hand. 
This feels sick to me, and makes me wonder just what kind of Church I belong to.
I vote to vet comments, rejecting anything with the word abortion in it.  Otherwise just turn comments off completely.  
The writers here are good, giving well thought out explanations and opinions to timely issues.  I am grateful for their contributions.  They deserve better commentary, or none at all.
9 years 6 months ago
"I vote to vet comments, rejecting anything with the word abortion in it" . -Beth Cioffoletti

Dear Beth: This commentis fairly telling. Don't you see? It is about Dodd. He made his life about abortion. As a Catholic, I am puzzled as to why this does not concern you.
9 years 6 months ago
Please tell us how many of the six Catholic Supreme Court Justices have been refused communion when any five could overturn Roe/Wade at Starbucks any morning. And They won't ..and bishops are silent about that because all except one were appointed by Republicans. With Dodd gone The republicans were hopeful for a Conn, Senate seat .. their hope lasted 24 hours. When Blumenthal announced .. say goodby to Republican chances..with such weak candidates nationally, the republican party's gleeful hopes for a fall Congress change looks like the sad crowd outside line-up at American Idol.. ambition is not talent..
9 years 6 months ago
virginia parker
9 years 6 months ago
"I last saw Sen.Chris Dodd a couple of weeks ago outside St. Joseph's church where we had just both attended  Mass." MSW didn't mention whether or not he also observed him receiving communion, did he? Isn't it rather disingenuous then for a reader to bring up the abortion issue as relevant commentary for discussion here, more especially given Winter's focus is not on the Senator per se anyway:  "I will leave it for others to assess Dodd's career but I would like to focus ONLY on the way politics itself has changed." And that exactly what was done in this post, the subject was politics rather than Dodd's time in the Senate.
It's rather disappointing then to see in all the lengthy commentary that has followed; none of it is a direct response to what Michael wrote; all is either in support of the first comment made to it or a reaction against it.  Like Beth, I'm sorry once again to see some very fine writing ignored with another "hijacked" post being aborted, (so to speak). AMERICA and its readers deserve better.
9 years 6 months ago
Dear Beth: final thoughts-from Archbishop Charles Chaput

" I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth - which means candor ".
Gabriel Marcella
9 years 6 months ago
Perhaps the cheapening of human life is the reason that our politics are not as "humane" as they were in 1974. According to the dictionary humane means compassionate for humans. Students of American culture have noted for some time a certain coarsening of our ways, of our language, of the way we treat each other, and indeed of our politics. I suspect that the loss of respect for human life explains MSW's "mourning the departure of the humane version of politics that was still possible when Chris Dodd came to sit at my kitchen table in Connecticut in 1974." Keep up your good work and challenge those who would vet submissions to America and draw inappropriate comparisons with Harvard professors.
9 years 6 months ago
I last saw Sen. Chris Dodd a couple of weeks ago outside of St. Joseph’s church where we had both just attended Mass.

Some thoughts from Archbishop Charles Chaput on the political arena and what it means to be Catholic ....

The Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years. And now we’re harvesting the results - in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. I could name many good people and programs that seem to disprove what I just said. But I could name many more that do prove it, and some of them work in Washington.

The problem with mistakes in our past is that they compound themselves geometrically into the future unless we face them and fix them. The truth is, the American electorate is changing, both ethnically and in age. And unless Catholics have a conversion of heart that helps us see what we’ve become - that we haven’t just “assimilated” to American culture, but that we’ve also been absorbed and bleached and digested by it – then we’ll fail in our duties to a new generation and a new electorate. And a real Catholic presence in American life will continue to weaken and disappear.

Every new election cycle I hear from unhappy, self-described Catholics who complain that abortion is too much of a litmus test. But isn’t that exactly what it should be? One of the defining things that set early Christians apart from the pagan culture around them was their respect for human life; and specifically their rejection of abortion and infanticide. We can’t be Catholic and be evasive or indulgent about the killing of unborn life. We can’t claim to be “Catholic” and “pro-choice” at the same time without owning the responsibility for where the choice leads – to a dead unborn child. We can’t talk piously about programs to reduce the abortion body count without also working vigorously to change the laws that make the killing possible. If we’re Catholic, then we believe in the sanctity of developing human life. And if we don’t really believe in the humanity of the unborn child from the moment life begins, then we should stop lying to ourselves and others, and even to God, by claiming we’re something we’re not.

Catholic social teaching goes well beyond abortion. In America we have many urgent issues that beg for our attention, from immigration reform to health care to poverty to homelessness. The Church in Denver and throughout the United States is committed to all these issues. We need to do a much better job of helping women who face problem pregnancies, and American bishops have been pressing our public leaders for that for more than 30 years. But we don’t “help” anyone by allowing or funding an intimate, lethal act of violence. We can’t build a just society with the blood of unborn children. The right to life is the foundation of every other human right - and if we ignore it, sooner or later every other right becomes politically contingent.

One of the words we heard endlessly in the last U.S. election was “hope.” I think “hope” is the only word in the English language more badly misused than “love.” It’s our go-to anxiety word - as in, “I sure hope I don’t say anything stupid tonight.” But for Christians, hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that’s why – at least for a Christian - hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is “no, we can’t,” instead of “yes, we can.”

No,I am sorry. I will not apologize for diverting attention away from Mr. Winters grief.

William Kurtz
9 years 6 months ago
I hope all those commenting here saw the profile of Professor Robert George in the Dec. 20 New York Times Magazine, especially the comment by John Haldane, a Scotman described as an advisor to the Vatican and "an orthodox Catholic opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage."
Haldane wrote after the 2008 election that "Obama won in part because American voters 'took moral exception to some of the policies pursued by the Bush administration, and I believe that in this their judgment was correct.'"
Haldane added that he could not have recommended voting for either candidate in 2008, and referred to "the running sore of structural deprivation running through American society, or the prosecution of an unjust war."
But, he said, "there has been a tendency of social conservatives to either hold their noses because they are more concerned about abortion, or just not to notice the smell."
9 years 6 months ago
Bill- You left out the rejoinder: When I asked George about the letter, he was derisive. “John, thanks for the advice!” he said sarcastically. “Gosh, I wish we would have taken it. We would have the strong and vibrant social conservative movement that you guys have in Great Britain!”

Thank you. The article was exceptional. Professor Robert George is fresh air, indeed.
9 years 6 months ago
I wonder if the individual's that commended on this acticle actually read it. It was not about Sentor Dodd's record, but how much politics has changed since he started running for political office. From  a personal and respectful atmosphere to one of  impersonal and disrespect.
Today we have politicians that care about their image and sell that image instead of their veiws. They do not respect other points of veiws. It's becoming uncivilized and no one is listening or really debating the issues
Lewis A Moeller
9 years 6 months ago
That is the point, Mr. Moeller. It SHOULD be about his record. The failure to respect life opens the door to all kinds of disrespect.

This man, this purportedly Catholic man, this man educated by the Jesuits at Georgetown Prep, mind you, dedicated his life to ensuring abortion for all. But we are supposed to ignore all that. Why? Here is the argument: Mr. Winters is so clever. And, well, he goes to Mass with Mr. Dodd. And, hey, they are just so smart at America Magazine. In fact, we are so clever that the Doctrine of the Faith just doesn't apply to us. That is for those simple minded folk, you know, who really believe in the Doctrine of the Faith, whole and entire. The Mr. Winters of the world feel sorry for us. We just don't understand how complicated the world is.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
Maria, I respect your beliefs.  I do not think that you are in any way "simple-minded" and I do not feel sorry for you.
Like you, I believe in the sacredness of life.  This belief is central to my Catholic Faith. And yet the world that I live is constantly assaulting this sacredness.  We kill each other.  Every day in the paper, locally and globally, there are stories of killing.
You focus your energy on saving the lives of the unborn, and seem to be saying that when we honor the lives of our unborn children, the world will heal and the killing will end.
I come at the it from the other direction, believing that when we honor the lives of each other, the world will heal and the killing of our unborn children will end.
I do not believe that either of us is wrong.  In fact, I think that both of us are necessary.
However, I do not understand your insistence if I do not see things as you do, I am somehow wrong. 
Understanding and living my Catholic Faith is a life-long process for me.  I find that there is tension between love and truth, and love always trumps.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
"I come at (the) it from the other direction, believing that when we honor the Lives of each other..."

Honoring the Lives of one another is consistent with honoring All Human Life, unless you do not believe that All Human Life is created equal to begin with.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
Nancy D., I do believe that all life is equal to begin with.  How does this affect which direction I come from?
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
Beth, if you do believe that all Human Life is created equal to begin with, then you would protect ALL Human Life from the beginning.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
I am doing what I can to protect human life from the beginning to the end, Nancy.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
This does not change the fact that in this Country, which professes to believe that ALL Men are created equal, the unalienable Right to Life endowed to us from our Creator is protected for some and not others.
9 years 6 months ago
Dear Beth: Thank you so much for your comments Want to respond but can't right now as I am out the door. Will post later today, OK? Thanks Nancy for all your input, as well. Peace. Maria
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
The problem, I think, Nancy, has to do with the law, Roe v. Wade, which allows that abortion is not criminalized.
Will repealing this law protect the unborn?  I am not sure.  Abortion was common before the law was passed in 1973.  During my college girls, I remember girls knowing where and how to obtain abortions. 
It seems to me that the effort to end abortion in this country must be much broader and wider than passing a law that will criminalize those who provide and receive abortions.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
We are a communal Faith united by Love. The Sacredness of Life is the Heart of it, as it has been since the beginning, "Let US Make Man In Our Image."- The Blessed Trinity
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
The self-evident Truth, that ALL Men are created equal, refers to Mankind, not just citizens of The United States of America. That being said, only God knows where we would be today, had we not compromised His Truth, to begin with.
9 years 6 months ago

Dear Beth: I apologize for taking so long to respond. My thoughts on the sacredness of life have evolved over time. In my mid-fifties, I survived, just barely, the 60' and 70's. I was lost in the wilderness for decades. Only very recently have I come to understand the over-arching and destructive effects of abortion and contraception.

So. That said, if one looks at the history of contraception, among other historical events, one can track the disintegration of family, church, society. Consider this timeline:

The Comstock Act, (ch. 258 17 Stat. 598 enacted March 3, 1873) was a United States federal law which made it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious" materials through the mail, including contraceptive devices and information. In addition to banning contraceptives, this act also banned the distribution of information on abortion for educational purposes.

The Comstock Law prohibition of birth control was not overturned until U.S. v. One Package of Japanese Pessaries in 1936. Birth control is a regimen of one or more extra actions, devices, or medications followed in order to deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant.

Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL) in 1921 and thus laid the groundwork for overturning the Comstock Laws. In 1923, she formed the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control and served as its president until its dissolution in 1937 after birth control, under medical supervision, was legalized in many states. In 1937, Sanger became chairperson of the Birth Control Council of America and launched two publications, The Birth Control Review and The Birth Control News. In the early 1960s, Sanger promoted the use of the newly available birth control pill. She toured Europe, Africa, and Asia, lecturing and helping to establish clinics.

Sanger died in 1966 in Tucson, Arizona; eight days shy of her 87th birthday and only a few months after the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, which legalized birth control for married couples in the US, the apex of her 50-year agenda. Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, a social philosophy which claims that human hereditary traits can be improved through social intervention. Methods of social intervention (targeted at those seen as "genetically unfit") advocated by some negative eugenicists have included selective breeding, sterilization and even euthanasia. Sound familiar?

The Catholic Church remains resolutely opposed to artificial birth control, but Pope Pius XII announces that the Church will sanction the use of the rhythm method as a natural form of birth control. Previously, the only option approved by Rome was abstinence.

1951-1962-Sanger involved in promoting the development of the Birth Control Pill (BCP).

1952-1952 – Christine Jorgensen becomes the first widely-publicized person to have undergone sex reassignment surgery, in this case, male to female, creating a world-wide sensation.

1957 – The word "Transsexual" is coined by U.S. physician Harry Benjamin.

1961 – Illinois becomes first U.S. state to remove sodomy law from its criminal code (effective 1962).

1962-1.2 million American women on the Pill.

1963-2.3 million American women are using the Pill. The Pill becomes the most popular form of reversible birth control in America. Despite general public approval for birth control, ghosts of the Comstock Laws linger. Eight states still prohibit the sale of contraceptives, and laws in Massachusetts and Connecticut still prevent the dissemination of information about birth control.

1965-June 7: Estelle Griswold and Lee Buxton take their Connecticut case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. By a vote of 7-2 in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Court strikes down the Connecticut law prohibiting the use of birth control as a violation of a couple's right to privacy. Just five years after the Pill's FDA approval, more than 6.5 million American women are taking oral contraceptives. Vatican II comes to an end and the Roman Catholic Church implements some reforms - but a decision on the Pill is not made.

1966 – The Compton's Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was the first recorded transgender riot in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City by three years.

1965-1965-1975 Divorce rates doubled.

1966-The National Organization of Women (NOW) was formed with Betty Friedan as president. The book Homosexual Behavior among Males by Wainwright Churchill breaks ground as a scientific study approaching homosexuality as a fact of life and introduces the term "homoerotophobia", a possible precursor to "homophobia

1967- Over 12.5 million women worldwide are on the Pill. December: The Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP charges that Planned Parenthood clinics, which provide the Pill and other forms of birth control in low income and minority neighborhoods, are devoted to keeping the black birth rate as low as possible.

David Niven and Deborah Kerr star in the Hollywood film Prudence and the Pill. Birth control once considered obscene and vulgar, is now a pop culture icon.

July 25: Pope Paul VI reveals his decision on the Pill in an encyclical titled Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). To the dismay of Catholics around the world - and ignoring the recommendations of the Papal commission on birth control - the Pope states unequivocally that the Church remains opposed to all forms of birth control except the rhythm method.

1969: Danger of BCP is brought to national attention. 1969 – The Stonewall riots occur in New York.

1969 -Dr. Lonny Myers founded the National Abortion Rights Action League.

1970: Catholic Americans make their own decisions about birth control. IN SPITE OF CHURCH DOCTRINE 2/3 OF ALL CATHOLIC WOMEN ARE USING CONTRACETPIVES and 28% OF THEM ARE ON THE PILL. June: In a victory for feminists and the women's health movement, the FDA orders that all oral contraceptive packages must contain patient information insert detailing possible side effects from the Pill.

1970 – The first Gay Liberation Day March is held in New York City.

1972- March 23: The U.S. Supreme Court, ruling in Eisenstadt v. Baird that a state cannot stand in the way of distribution of birth control to a single person, strikes down Massachusetts law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to unmarried women. SO NOW WE DON'T CARE IF WOMEN ARE EVEN MARRIED. 1972 – Sweden becomes first country in the world to allow transsexuals to legally change their sex

1973-The number of users reaches 10 million. The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

I repeat: 50,794,089.

Reported Annual Abortions - 1973-2005

1973 744,600 615,831
1974 898,600 763,476
1975 1,034,200 854,853
1976 1,179,300 988,267
1977 1,316,700 1,079,430
1978 1,409,600 1,157,776
1979 1,497,700 1,251,921
1980 1,553,900 1,297,606
1981 1,577,300 1,300,760
1982 1,573,900 1,303,980
1983 1,575,000 1,268,987
1984 1,577,200 1,333,521
1985 1,588,200 1,328,570
1986 1,574,000 1,328,112
1987 1,559,100 1,353,671
1988 1,590,800 1,371,285
1989 1,566,900 1,396,658
1990 1,608,600 1,429,577
1991 1,556,500 1,388,937
1992 1,528,900 1,359146
1993 1,495,000 1,330,414
1994 1,423,000 1,267,415
1995 1,359,400 1,210,883
1996 1,360,160 1,225,937
1997 1,335,000 1,186,039
1998 1,319,000 884,273 *
1999 1,314,800 861,789 *
2000 1,312,990 857,475 *
2001 1,291,000 853,485 *
2002 1,269,000 854,122 *
2003 1,250,000 848,163 *
2004 1,222,100 839,226 *
2005 1,206,200 820,151 *
2006-08 1,206,200 **

1973- Dignity USA is the oldest and largest national lay movement of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Catholics, our families, and our friends. Begun in 1969 in San Diego under the leadership of Fr. Patrick Nidorf, OSA, first as a counseling group and then a support group in Los Angeles, Dignity USA has been a national organization since 1973.

1974- Just 15 years after President Eisenhower declared that birth control is not the government's business; the government supports birth control clinics in 2,379 of the nation's 3,099 counties. Of all the methods dispensed, the Pill is most popular.

1975 – Homosexuality is legalized in California.

1977 – Harvey Milk is elected city-county supervisor in San Francisco, becoming the third out American elected to public office.

1978-The first so-called "test-tube baby", Louise Brown, was born as a result on July 25, 1978 amid intense controversy over the safety and morality of the procedure: In Vitro Fertilization.

1978 -WHAT DO YOU KNOW? National Coalition against Violence was founded for battered women. Hmmm. Interestingly, women are not only disrespected, they are physically assaulted now in large numbers with horrifying frequency. 1978 – San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White.

1979 – The first national homosexual rights march on Washington, DC is held.

1980 – The United States Democratic Party becomes the first major political party in the U.S. to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank.

1980s- In spite of the Pope's ruling against the Pill and birth control, ALMOST 80% OF CATHOLIC WOMEN USE CONTRACEPTIVES, AND ONLY 29% OF PRIESTS BELIEVE IT IS INTRINCIALLY IMMORAL. Also, 51.5% of adult women work outside the home.

1982- The Pill's impact on women in the work force is significant. With highly effective birth control now at their disposal, 60% of women of reproductive age are employed in America.

1984-An estimated 50 to 80 million women worldwide take the Pill.

1987 – ACT UP stages its first major demonstration, seventeen protesters are arrested; U.S. Congressman Barney Frank comes out.

1992 – The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10; allows homosexuals to serve in the military for the first time.

1993-Minnesota passes the first statewide anti-discrimination law protecting transgender people.

Mid 1990's- A number of books were published on the topic of sexual abuse by Catholic Clergy. The topic became a focus of intense scrutiny and debate after the Boston Globe published a series of articles covering cases of sexual abuse.

1996-Dolly the Sheep. A team of Scottish scientists had the first cloning success.

1998 – Matthew Shepard is murdered. Viagra is introduced. November 6, 1998: In a report published in Science, Thomson ET. Al. at the University of Wisconsin develop an immortal line of embryonic stem cells taken from embryos donated from IVF clinics

1999 – California adopts a domestic partnership law.

2000-Vermont becomes the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions.

2002- The series of articles on the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Globe received a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The Globe was honored, according to the Pulitzer website, "for its courageous, comprehensive coverage ... an effort that pierced secrecy,
stirred local, national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church.

2004-Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage while eleven other U.S. states ban the practice through public referendums. Domestic partnerships are legalized in New Jersey.

2006-The United States Senate fails to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.

2007-Oregon, Colorado, Ohio, and Iowa ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the private sector. On August 9, 2007, the Logo cable channel hosts the first presidential forum in the United States focusing specifically on LGBT issues. Six Democratic Party candidates participate in the event. GOP candidates were asked to attend but turned it down.

Goodbye, Good Men, by Michael S. Rose is published. It came to similar conclusions as Cozzens and Engel, namely that an underground group of homosexuals had infiltrated seminaries and corrupted the formation process to the point of causing a drop in vocations. Rose's conclusions were found to largely have merit.

2008 – The "civil union" law goes into effect in New Hampshire. Domestic partnership" legislation in Oregon came into effect in February 4. On May 15, 2008, the California State Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples equal marriage rights, thus making California the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. The California Supreme Court also becomes the first high court in the United States to recognize sexual orientation as a suspect classification, reviewing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the same manner as discrimination on the basis of race, gender, and religion. However, Proposition 8 passes in November, eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry. In May, Portland voters elect Sam Adams (Oregon politician) mayor, making it the largest city in the US with an openly-gay mayor.

2009-Iowa and Vermont become the 3rd and 4th American states to allow same sex marriage. Vermont became the 1st state in the Union to permit same-sex marriage by going through a legislative vote, as opposed to a judicial challenge. Colorado from 1 July 2009, allows certain domestic partner rights (such as health insurance and property rights for unmarried (including same-gender couples. On May 6, Gay Marriage Law signed in Maine. On May 6, Gay Marriage Law signed in Maine. US state of Washington provides domestic partnerships in all areas of statute law. California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in November 2008, with a 6-1 vote. Nevada legally provides a domestic partnership .US state of Washington provides domestic partnerships in all areas of statute law. 26 May, 2009: California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in November 2008, with a 6-1 vote. Nevada legally provides a domestic partnership.

New Hampshire legalizes civil marriage for same-sex couples (eff. 1/1/2010). Colorado allows certain rights for same-sex couples; Wisconsin legally provides a limited number of rights within a domestic partnership (eff. 8/3/2009); Delaware outlaws sexual orientation discrimination. India decriminalizes gay sex between consenting adults; District of Columbia recognizes same-sex marriage, however, can not be performed (just like New York). On November 3, 2009, Maine’s same-sex marriage law was repealed by referendum. Maine's domestic partnership law remains in effect. Washington state voters approved to keep same-sex realtionship rights as Domestic Partnerships by 51 percent. December 12: Annise Parker elected mayor of Houston, Texas, which becomes the largest city in the United States with an openly-gay mayor.

11/20/2009-Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.

When we fail to remain open to life, I believe, we no longer honor God. We become our own Gods. We decide whether and when and how to bring life into the world. Life is no longer about duty and obligation. It is about our "rights". And so we abort, discard, re-define and then manipulate life to our own ends.

We demand to control life. Infertile? I DEMAND fertility. No problem. In Vitro Fertilization. No longer is marriage even necessary because we have the means to discard life. Once this happens, who is obligated to whom? With marriage no longer necessary, we can re-define human relationships, altogether. Homosexuality, yes. So, why not discard our sexuality, pervert it, and change it altogether. What is wrong with sex changes? I don't like being a man. I want to be woman. God was wrong. He put me in the "wrong body". More cries for the right not to be discriminated against. Everyone is a victim. Victims, because people forgot: every right assumes a duty. No longer interested in duty, all we are left with is the sin and horror of the world that that these “rights”, namely sin, have created.

These rights are the sin that have created the broken world in which we all must now live. Children grow up without a mother and a father in the same house. Divorce. Parents live in different cities. Children move from house to house. Their parents re-marry and so children must contend with multiple parent figures. Children are depressed. We wonder why. We send them to Psychiatrists. Now we drug children. Please, tell us what is wrong. Why are children shooting each other?

Mother and Father “must" work because they cannot manage on one income (code=we MUST have more money and we MUST have our way) and so no one is home to care for children. Some of our children are in treatment for substance abuse before they are out of High School. There is sexting. Pornography. Homosexual proms. Indiscriminate sex begins in Elementary School. Children engage in oral sex. We cry: how can this be? Well, no one is home raising children. Women were liberated all right. Liberated right into hell. We need to re-member that we are not God. It is only God who can give and take away life.

9 years 6 months ago
Sorry. I left out AIDS.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
thank you, Maria.  Believe it or not, I actually agree with much of the outrage that you express.  Artificial contraception is poison to womens' bodies, and why they/we fell for it will haunt women for generations to come.  The broad acceptance of abortion that somehow came in with the surge of Feminism, tainted that entire movement.  Until women truly take back their bodies and refuse the poisons of hormones and contraceptions, they are still being ''used''.  Until women honor the lives of their unborn children, they are trapped in lies.
The sacredness of life is central to my Faith and the reason I am Catholic.
Catholic opposition to abortion is based on the spiritual insight that human life is sacred.  The Incarnation makes our very flesh and blood holy.  Members of the body of Christ, we are each and every one, unique manifestations of the divine, and necessary.
Do the unborn have the right to legal protection?  The unborn are somewhat different from other living persons.  For one thing, they are unseen.  The most important difference is that they are intimately and vitally co-joined with the bodies of their mothers.  They cannot live outside of this other person.  
Many people in America (roughly half) sincerely believe that in its earliest days of development, the unborn life is essentially the body of the mother, not a separate body.
A mother can, and usually does, abort an unborn life before anyone else even knows that the beginning life existed.  There is something terribly profound about the symbiotic relationship of newly forming life in the body of a woman.  The dependency is so utterly total.  We truly are part of each other, members one of the other.  Inter-related.
For these reasons, I believe that efforts to build an honoring of life in culture, and thus end abortion, must begin with an honoring of the mother.  Her needs.  Poor women get more abortions than others.  What can we do to relieve this woman’s poverty?  How can we hold her in love?
Rather than forcing a deep fracture in the social order of our country - and believe me, repealing Roe v. Wade would bring about a backlash of corruption that would rival Prohibition, excepting that this time there would be a lot more anger - Catholics should teach the sacredness of life by living it.  
Catholics now have only slightly less abortions than all the other Faiths who do not oppose abortion.  Why is this?
9 years 6 months ago
Dear Beth: Thanks so much for your response. And Christ came to us in the same hidden. helpless and dependent way. Abortion in this context, in the context of the Incarnation, is too heinous and horrific to contemplate. The Body of Christ is literally dismembered.This dependence, this inter-relatedness is something I had not thought about, in just this way.

"Catholics now have only slightly less abortions than all the other Faiths who do not oppose abortion. Why is this?" This is an important question. I think, in part, Archbishop Chaput tells us why: "we haven’t just “assimilated” to American culture, but that we’ve also been absorbed and bleached and digested by it". Culture ovecame Catholicism. It infiltrated the Church. I also believe that people who survived this culture of death, and have now returned to the Church, are in need of Catechesis. I contemplate how Catechesis could be re-introduced to adults in parishes. as a stuctural, permanent stone. Something that would recur at regular intervals, like the Church Calendar. I cannot believe that people would reject the Faith if people understood the beauty and Truth of the Catechism. I cannot begin to tell you what I did not know. And still don't know. It is embarrasing; however, I know I am not alone.I thank God for my conversion of heart and soul. Now, I want the world to know how merciful God is. I make myself a nuisance.

Thanks for your listening. I am sorry if I have been strident with you.
William Kurtz
9 years 6 months ago
Thank you Maria, by adding Prof. George's rejoinder to John Haldane, you made my point. To Prof. George (and you?), maintaining a "strong and vibrant social conservative movement" apparently matters more than taking any notice of the unjust war and "running sore of structural deprivation running through American society," presumably a reference to widening inequality.
There are moral issues beyond what the religious right has determined them to be. Mr. Haldane seems to consider war and poverty to be two, and I would add capital punishment and the environment- or as evangelicals say, our stewardship of God's creation.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
I think that you/Arch.Chaput is right about how Catholics have been bleached and absorbed by the culture.
Catholics have much wisdom and truth to bring to the culture.  I think that the sacredness of life is the heart of it.  Let us teach it and live it.  Others will follow.
We are a communal faith, loving and needing each other.  Thank you for engaging with me at a personal level.
9 years 6 months ago
"State of the World," 2010 Pope Benedict XVI

...Ladies and Gentlemen, at the end of this rapid overview which, due to its brevity, cannot mention every situation worthy of note, I am reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, for whom "all creation groans and is in agony" and "we ourselves groan inwardly" (Rom 8:20-23). There is so much suffering in our world, and human selfishness continues in many ways to harm creation. For this reason, the yearning for salvation which affects all creation is that much more intense and present in the hearts of all men and women, believers and non-believers alike. The Church points out that the response to this aspiration is Christ "the firstborn of all creation, for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created" (Col 1:15-16). Looking to him, I exhort every person of good will to work confidently and generously for the sake of human dignity and freedom. May the light and strength of Jesus help us to respect human ecology, in the knowledge that natural ecology will likewise benefit, since the book of nature is one and indivisible. In this way we will be able to build peace, today and for the sake of generations to come.

It seemed apt.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
"I have set before you Life and death, the Blessing and the curse. Choose Life, then."- Deut.30:19

...and his name shall be called "Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."-Isaiah 9:16
9 years 6 months ago
Oh. That is lovely, Nancy. Thank you. The God of our Gladness, hmm?
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
If we can't speak the truth, then it becomes politics as usual.
William Kurtz
9 years 6 months ago
I agree that an interesting topic was unfortunately diverted. Maria reminds me of a brilliant Yale professor of the 1950s named Willmoore Kendall, who I believe was a mentor of sorts to William F. Buckley. Kendall was a conservative who managed to alienate virtually everyone, even those who largely agreed with him, with his tendency to always steer conversations down dead ends. He would always be asking liberals, "but what about Alger Hiss," whether or not the question had any relevance to the conversation at hand.
Beth Cioffoletti
9 years 6 months ago
Heck, the Founders of our country didn't even think that women were full citizens, much less the slaves or unborn.
Anne Danielson
9 years 6 months ago
Isn't this article about the "humane version of politics that was still possible" before the fundamental Right to Life became a "political" issue rather than a universal Truth?


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