Russell Shaw on FOCA

Since lots of our readers are interested in this topic, vis-a-vis our new president, here is Russell Shaw writing about FOCA. (If you’re up on this, you’ll know what it is. If not, get up on it.) In Our Sunday Visitor’s blog, the Daily Take.  Shaw, former spokesman for the USCCB and author of many books, says FOCA may be a pro-choice fundraising tool, but it’s also a ’serious threat.’ He responds to recent here to recent arguments made by Former US Ambassador to the Holy See Thomas Melady, the law professor Douglas Kmiec and the commentator E.J. Dionne. 

And once again, when commenting on these issues, remember no ’ad hominem’ arguments please.  The motto of our magazine is ’Veritatem Facientes in Caritate.’  Doing the truth with love, or, in this case, charity.

James Martin, SJ

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9 years 4 months ago
The argument that it will never pass is shallow. Perhaps not in its entirety; but separate sections may pass. The same argument was used by the Catholic Center Party in Germany in 1932. Among the curious factors is "the insolence of our elected officials" [Walt Whitman] who attempt to override all state laws on the subject.
9 years 4 months ago
I hesitate to correct a Jesuit father in a Latin matter but should it not be "veritatEm".
9 years 4 months ago
I find myself somewhere in the middle ground of this debate. On the one hand I think that there is very little chance that FOCA will pass. Obama is smart enough to know that this would set off a fire storm and make it much harder to achieve unity on his priorities such as health care reform. On the other hand, I don't think it hurts to remind FOCA supporters that this in fact would set off a fire storm. Being vocal and getting out in front on this issue is probably the best way to make sure that FOCA is never brought up. So I'm not staying up at night worrying about this, but I'm not sitting on my hands either. I've been talking about this issue with people in my community and writing to my elected leaders. However I have been doing so in a very respectful and measured way. I am somewhat concerned at the heated rhetoric coming from many within the pro-life community when it comes to FOCA. The demonization of Obama and the apocalyptic tone of many pro-lifers are a sure fire way to cut off dialogue. I think it is imperative for the pro-life movement to take Obama up on his proposal to work on common ground inititives on abortion. Doing so will give us a strong argument against FOCA that is likely to resonate with Obama. We in the pro-life movement need to extend a sincere hand of partnership to Obama in working on those areas where we can agree (e.g. the need to reduce the incidence of abortion, provide better support to women in crisis pregnancies, promote adoption, and reduce teen pregnancies), but we must simultaneously make it clear to him that pushing forward with FOCA would definitively undermine any such common efforts. Let's challenge him to unite us, and make it clear that FOCA would divide us. Faced with this choice, I can't help but think Obama would choose unity.
9 years 4 months ago
Focusing on FOCA is a distraction. The only way for the pro-life movement to advance the interests it cares about (the protection of the unborn) is to look inward at what in its proposals are not working, like echoing the conservatives "federalist approach" and ignoring economic issues - to the point of adopting Republican resistence to raising taxes on the wealthy. As the Lord said, before removing the speck from another's eye, remove the beam from your own.


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