Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What Obama forgot to mention in his welcome to Pope Francis!



Forgive me, I promised not to be negative, but then I woke up to this.

A welcoming speech by the President (well, by his speechwriter) that made me choke a little.

I thought I'd take a few excerpts of the speech and add some words that Obama surely inadvertently omitted (in red, with links to evidence provided)...


Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

...all Americans, from every background and of every faith, value the role that the Catholic Church plays in strengthening America. From my time working in impoverished neighborhoods with the Catholic Church in Chicago to my travels as president, I’ve seen firsthand how, every day, Catholic communities, priests, nuns and laity feed the hungry, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, educate our children and fortify the faith that sustains so many.

[Aaaand....I am suing the Little Sisters of the Poor, all the way up to the Supreme Court, demanding that they either violate their religious vows or face crushing fines and ruin.]

What is true in America is true around the world. From the busy streets of Buenos Aires to remote villages in Kenya, Catholic organizations serve the poor, minister to prisoners, build schools and homes, and operate orphanages and hospitals. And just as the Church has stood with those struggling to break the chains of poverty, it has given voice and hope to those seeking to break the chains of violence and oppression.

[Except for the thousands of victims of sex trafficking that the Catholic Church was most effective in helping over many years. My administration pulled all federal funding for those programs because the Church would not violate her sacred tenets by providing contraception and abortion advocacy and services.]

You call on all of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to put the “least of these” at the center of our concern. You remind us that in the eyes of God our measure as individuals, and as societies, is not determined by wealth or power or station or celebrity, but by how well we hew to Scripture’s call to lift up the poor and the marginalized, to stand up for justice and against inequality, and to ensure that every human being is able to live in dignity – because we are all made in the image of God.

[Well, "all" except for millions upon millions upon millions of human beings against whom I advocate with vigor. I am hugely thrilled to consistently and unashamedly promote and ensure the killing of unborn human beings, and even the newly-born if they survive an attempt on their life, in the name of what I hold most sacred -- abortion.]

You remind us that “the Lord’s most powerful message” is mercy. That means welcoming the stranger with empathy and a truly open heart – from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life. It means showing compassion and love for the marginalized and the outcast, those who have suffered and those who seek redemption.

[Oh, except for the increasingly desperate and specifically Christian refugees who are the victims of an ongoing genocide in the Middle East. Those folks I will not welcome.]

You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. Yet around the world at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith. Believers are prevented from gathering at their places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned. Churches are destroyed. So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and intimidation.

[Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Whee-boy, that is funny!! Whoops, sorry, back to my speech, and watching carefully for bolts of lightning....]



+++++++


Well, you get the picture. I'm trying to be less of a cynic, but when I wake up to this load of bunk, it's hard!

And I didn't even go into how Obama's administration decried Catholics in Poland as dangerous bigots for opposing gay "marriage"! But let's just pretend that Obama is a friend of the Church.

God bless the Holy Father! May his very presence bless our troubled land!







268 comments:

  1. It is a load of crap, but to be honest, I'm surprised he didn't attack the church right there in front of the world. I'm surprised he didn't personally attack the Holy Father. I'm surprised and thankful.

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  2. Part of me almost wishes Obama had (verbally) attacked the Church, at least, it would have been honest. Obama's not doing himself any favors by putting on a fake persona.

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  3. Love this. It says what I was thinking. On the Patrick Madrid show this am, he discussed what the Legislatures were told about behavior when he speaks to them. Pretty funny. Why do they care or want selfies with him when they are so opposed to what the Church is for?

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  4. //Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances//

    I am curious, how do you think this is violated by the present administration?

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  5. Marcus - that whole "free exercise" part is in jeopardy due to the HHS mandate, as well as the most recent Supreme Court ruling re: gay "marriage."

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  6. JoAnna, firstly excuse my ignorance what is HHS?
    And how does it effect the free exercise of one's religion?

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  7. I am mortified by this president and all he has done to destroy the sanctity of life and marriage and to prohibit "Catholic" religious freedom in this nation. He is only parroting talking points given him by his speech writers. (I wish he were Pinocchio so we could see his nose grow every time he lied.) I pray that our next administration is able to repair the damage that has been wrought upon our nation in the name of progressivism and inclusivity.

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  8. Marcus, please read the following, which explains one of the issues: http://www.becketfund.org/littlesisters/

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  9. Good link, JoAnna. Marcus is from the UK, so he might not be aware of all that is happening here in the U.S.

    Marcus - the HHS is the Health & Human Services department and they are mandating contraception to be included in health insurance, which directly violates Church teaching. Especially for religious communities, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, who shouldn't be forced to violate their consciences.

    Here in America, we are quickly approaching the time when we will only be allowed freedom of worship, but not of actively declaring our religious beliefs in the public sphere :(

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  10. Thank you that, I understand how that might cause difficulties. Our health care is not private, The NHS is operated by the state on behalf of all subjects. There is private health care, but that is for the very rich and negligible in terms of its footprint and effect. In the UK we all pay our National Insurance as do our employers, and that theoretically funds our healthcare and well as state pensions and social security.
    The problem effectively disappears. There are no Little Sisters of the Poor or any other charity providing health care because the need does not arise.

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  11. It's different in the UK since you guys have an official state religion (something that is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution). Sad to say the abortion rate in the UK is pretty awful, though. :( I hope UK medical providers aren't forced to participate in abortions against their will.

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  12. JoAnna like I said we don't have medical providers other than the NHS, there are some. The NHS provides the healthcare the electorate as a whole ask for.
    One of the biggest threats to freedom of religion here, and I really don't want to over state it, is Sunday trading, if you work in a shop you can be asked to work on a Sunday. That's a neo conservative policy, not one from the left.
    But I really would not want to overstate it. We are free to believe what we like, free to worship, we are free say what we like, we are doing it here. And so long as my freedom of religion does not place restrictions on the freedom of those of other faiths and none, that freedom is fairly safe.

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  13. I think the Pope through Obama some shade. He mentions that he comes from an immigrant family (Obama's father was also an immigrant) and then segues into his discussion about this being a "critical moment" for "marriage and family." Then he goes onto discuss religious freedom. The end mentions the need to "protect the vulnerable in the world." It's so subtle and yet spot on. I'm sure that the media is going to overlook those comments and what the Pope is alluding to.

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    1. that's Threw not through Arg... I'm sure there's more typos.

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  14. //Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof//

    Marcus, hello! The first part is called the Establishment Clause, and the second part is called the Free Exercise Clause. Today, many people erroneously believe that the two parts are sort of living "in tension" with one another. But that is not what the Founders intended at all. The first part actually facilitates the second part.

    The Constitution is a document that limits the government and protects the people. So, religious expression is what is being protected from the government here, not the opposite. Sadly, our own people don't know that anymore, as they have lost all sight of our own history.

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  15. Marcus, you said of the UK:


    We are free to believe what we like, free to worship, we are free say what we like, we are doing it here.

    And yet, not all Christians there are able to actually LIVE their faith, no?

    February 28, 2011|6:01 pm

    The U.K. High Court suggested Monday that traditional Christian beliefs on sexuality are "inimical" to children.

    The ability of Christians to foster children has been thrown into doubt after the High Court made clear today that it would not intervene if local authorities stop Christians with orthodox views on sexuality from becoming foster parents.

    Clarification had been sought from the High Court over whether married Christian couple Eunice and Owen Johns could continue to foster children after Derby City Council blocked their application because the couple had said they would not be willing to promote the practice of homosexuality to a young child.

    Both parties wanted clarification on whether the couple should be excluded from consideration as foster parents under Britain's equality laws because of their Christian beliefs concerning marriage.

    The landmark ruling, handed down by judges Lord Justice Munby and Justice Beatson, suggested Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics would not make suitable foster carers.

    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/49219/#oHJM4kppYop2l0rd.99
    Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/49219/#4YMsMjWT13uJxev6.99

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  16. //So, religious expression is what is being protected from the government here, not the opposite.//
    In your opinion what should that mean? And how is it being threatened?

    Our polities are very different so I am just interested as much as anything else.

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  17. Well the first thing to say is that the couple are not fostering on their own behalf, they are fostering on behalf of the Local Government. That LG has policies on discrimination that reflect the social attitudes of the electorate, which as democratically elected them.
    No one is saying that the couple should not hold the opinions they hold, all that is being said is that those opinions should not be passed on to children in the care of the Local Government, in the care as it were, of the community as a whole. As I read it the couple were not prepared not to pass on their opinions. They were therefore deemed unsuitable to care for children on behalf of the local government.

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    1. Exactly.

      You know that the old Soviet Union had "freedom of religion" in its constitution, right? So long as that did not translate to anything or any action publicly, people were free to hold their own beliefs in their heads! Hardly freedom of religious expression, no?

      You are agreeing, then, that the Christian couple's right to express their Christianity only goes as far as their minds? That the government dictates what is or is not allowable religious expression of Christianity? How is that religious liberty, then?

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  18. //So, religious expression is what is being protected from the government here, not the opposite.//
    In your opinion what should that mean? And how is it being threatened?


    Well, the history of America is that people were fleeing religious persecution. That was the whole reason that we left Europe, no? Freedom from an oppressive government that would not let people worship freely? Meaning, live their faith out in the open, without needing the state's "permission"?

    So, that is what the Constitution guarantees. The idea of "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution. And the monuments (etched with Scripture and talk of God) and the Fathers' and presidents' speeches (peppered with references to an Almighty God to Whom we owe all and from Whom we get our rights) bespeak the truth that they would be horrified to see what our government is doing today.

    What are those threats to religious liberty today? Here is one list:

    http://www.adfmedia.org/files/obamareligiousfreedomattacks.pdf

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  19. Marcus, a key difference in the US is that we believe one's religious beliefs should not prevent one from effectively entering government (or participating in government). So it would be considered a problem here if a fostering couple had to go against their briefs in order to participate in a program (especially since those beliefs don't seem to hinder effectively caring for a child). We ste also not a pure democracy - we don't function of single majority beliefs or vote gets the most say. The US was founded on the idea that even minorities get full participation. So we would see that couple's religious freedom as possibly being violated.

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    1. Sorry, my phone makes typing and communicating so hard. Ugh!

      Anyway, basically, this couple is being excluded from participating in a fostering program because they hold a minority belief. That to us is not religious freedom.

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  20. And here is one man's thoughts (sent out by the Knights of Columbus. Thankfully, the Navy Chaplain was finally cleared.)

    Reflections
    Lawrence P. Grayson

    Selective Enforcement is Persecution

    Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and presidential aspirant, recently asked why the government is willing to make religious accommodations to Muslims detained at Guantanamo Bay’s military prison, but not to Christian county clerks who abide by their faith.

    Kim Davis, the subject of his concern, is the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages, she refused to issue marriage licenses for such unions. Her faith holds that same-sex marriages violate God’s law. Even though religious freedom is the first of this nation’s explicitly stated constitutional rights and the Kentucky state constitution, which she swore to uphold, defines marriage as only the union of one man and one woman, Davis was jailed.

    While bakers, photographers, caterers, and others in wedding-related industries have been fined for following their consciences and not supporting what they consider sin, Davis is the first to be imprisoned for her Christian beliefs.

    Similarly, in May 2014, when a federal court ruling made same-sex marriage legal in Oregon, Marion County Judge Vance Day felt that he could not perform these ceremonies because of his religious tenets. He instructed his staff to refer same-sex couples seeking to marry to other judges. Last fall, he stopped performing weddings altogether. Now he is being investigated by a judicial fitness commission, in part because he acted on his religious beliefs.

    The plight of these individuals reveals how the legalization of same-sex marriage and penalties for non-adherence are leading to crises of conscience for Christians. In contrast, significant tolerance has been shown to people of non-Christian faiths. A large and growing number of cases illustrate the differences in treatment.

    At Guantanamo Bay, both men and women serve as guards. Several Muslim men, who are high-value detainees -- one of whom was an al-Qaida leader and others who are reputed to have been involved with the September 11 attacks -- have objected to having female soldiers shackle and escort them when they leave their cells because Islam teaches that a Muslim man can only have physical contact with women who are related to him. A judge initially banned the use of female guards, but earlier this year rescinded the order based on the Pentagon’s gender non-discrimination policies.

    In another recent case, Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Modder, a Pentecostal military chaplain for over 19 years, may be discharged from the Navy for cause. He has been charged with counseling sailors, in accord with his religious beliefs, against homosexuality and premarital sex. It is claimed that he is “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the modern Navy, even though he has consistently received glowing fitness reports and a recent letter of commendation that referred to him as the “best of the best.”

    The U.S. military, where uniformity and standards of dress and grooming have long been considered important to unit cohesion, is changing regulations to accommodate a variety of religious beliefs and practices. Under a recently changed Department of Defense Directive, Muslim service members can request to wear a beard and carry prayer beads; Wiccans can seek to carry “magick” wands; Jews can get permission to wear a yarmulke while in uniform; Sikhs can have long hair; tattoos can be allowed as religious body art; and piercings through the skin or body parts may be permitted.

    Even with these changes, a Sikh advocacy group has complained that the accommodations are not guaranteed, but must be requested. Hence, commanders can still deny them the opportunity to wear their religiously-mandated turbans and beards while in uniform.



    (to be continued below...)

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    1. (continued...)

      Last year, a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy posted a biblical verse on a whiteboard outside of his room. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization devoted to keeping the military free of religious expression, filed a complaint. Although the whiteboard was for the cadet’s personal use and the quotation did not violate Air Force regulations, authorities quickly had the verse taken down. The militant foundation said that the Bible verse created a hostile atmosphere by elevating one religion, Christianity, over others represented at the academy.

      The Defense Department also has begun to grant exceptions to a longstanding policy that bars military troops from wearing uniforms in public parades. In July 2012, it allowed troops to wear their uniforms in the San Diego LGBT Pride parade. About 350 service members marched, some waiving rainbow flags. When the military contingent stopped at an intersection, a Navy senior chief dropped to his knee and proposed to his boyfriend, who accepted. In another gay pride parade, two male service members held hands as they marched.

      In April 2014, members of the Missouri National Guard were invited to attend an event at a local Baptist church at which children were to thank them – as well as firefighters, police and other rescuers -- for their dedication and service in protecting this country and its religious freedom. They did not attend, citing a military regulation that prohibits their participation in any religious or ideologically-related event. Yet, a month earlier a military color guard was allowed to march in the Washington, DC gay pride parade.

      of policies and regulations that discriminate against Christian-related events, beliefs and actions is persecution. The nation has made religious accommodation to prisoners who are being tried for killing over 3,000 American civilians, to long-standing military dress policies to allow turbans, beards and magick wands, and to permit uniformed military to march in gay pride parades, but will not accommodate a county clerk, a cadet posting a Bible verse, or a Christian chaplain counseling sailors, each acting in accord with his or her religious beliefs.

      Was Governor Huckabee right in saying that what happened to Kim Davis is an example of the current “criminalization of Christianity”?


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  21. Marcus, so if someone naturally feels a sexual inclination to something or someone, must we be okay with that and call it "what they are by nature"? Serious question. You are making a very big claim there and I want to make sure you believe that principle.

    Sarah, you are absolutely right. And the amazing thing is, holding a Christian belief (and actually, ALL the orthodoxy of all major world religions believe homosexual acts to be sinful, not just Christians) never used to be a reason to exclude folks from foster parenting in the UK. Not until about three seconds ago historically. And so, you have the government who has very recently come in and said that simply because the government decided so, Christians who actually live and profess their faith cannot do what they have always been able to do. Suddenly, something that was not "discriminatory" before in any way, is against the government rules. If that is not an example of a government usurping a citizen's right to religious liberty, I don't know what it. But again, I have no idea if people in the UK have or value religious liberty. All I know is that it's the raison d'etre of America.

    And my own grandparents came from Lithuania where the Soviets DECIMATED the Catholic Faith and tortured and mass murdered Catholics, terrorizing them out of their faith. So, I, too, claim relatives in the Soviet Bloc (not to mention the terror of the Middle East, where my Christian Arab father was born and raised). That is precisely why I am diligent about this issue, Marcus. :)

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    1. Yes, sadly, their beliefs weren't in the minority (still aren't in many places) for most of history. And their beliefs aren't even purely religious, but consistent with natural law and good parenting practices. So that adds to the concern!

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  22. Whoops, if my last comment does not make sense, it's because Marcus removed his comment. Sorry for any confusion. My points stand.

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    1. Sorry about that, but as you can see its rather easy to start talking about specific people and I would rather not do that. I don't like personalising issues on or offline.
      My mother was from East Prussia BTW, which is now Lithuania.

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  23. I am going refrain from speaking about this actually. I don't know the facts. I was not in court, I have not read the judgement. I don't really want to say anything about the couple that might be inaccurate and therefore injurious to them.

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  24. I agree with the hahahahaha at that last part. I want to laugh but I think I'd just end up crying. What a joke. I'm saving this post; thank you for writing it.

    Jamie

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  25. Marcus, I really wish you would speak about this other UK couple, who own a Bed and Breakfast:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY4SiMlFPuk

    I am very, very interested in what you think of what they say on their video after the Supreme Court ruled against them? They seem so rational and lovely. I really do hope you do watch and comment. This doesn't seem like freedom of religion to me. God bless this sweet and humble couple. God will redress all injustice.

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  26. B.S. Obama. Yeah, the same one who poured scorn on the Beatitudes on a prior occasion. Ugh.

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  27. “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
    -Pope Francis

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    1. Unknown, I am going to break my own rule and post as a "reply". Not only is what JoAnna said below exactly right, but the pope was talking about celibate priests with same-sex attraction! So, the people he was talking about were already assumed to be chaste! That makes quite a big difference. The press conveniently omits that very important part of the interview.

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  28. "The MSM misinterpreted his comment as blanket approval for homosexual acts, and their headlines reflected their misunderstanding. Even now, whenever there’s a news story about the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, reporters are quick to mention that Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge?” about homosexuals.

    However, as is often the case, the media didn’t bother to look at the Pope’s words in context.

    Pope Francis said, in full,

    'A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters. The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.'

    A catechized Catholic who reads these words knows that they are perfectly in line with Church teaching. Pope Francis essentially just restated paragraph 2358 of the Catechism, which says,

    'The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.'

    When Pope Francis said “Who am I to judge him?”, he was referring to paragraph 1861:

    'Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.'

    Pope Francis was referring to the judgment of persons with his “Who am I to judge?” comment. He was not saying that a person’s moral acts can’t be judged, because (as he knows) the Catechism says otherwise."

    You can read the rest here.

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  29. If you were to read all four gospels thoroughly in search of Jesus’ teachings on homosexuality it would be a futile endeavor. Not only would you come to the end of the gospels without finding anything attributed to Jesus on the subject, you wouldn’t even find a single reference to the issue in any context.

    Jesus’ silence on the subject suggests that an issue which can be controversial and/or fraught with emotion these days was simply not a central issue in his lifetime 2,000 years ago in the land of Palestine. The fact that he didn’t address this issue leaves us all to ponder what he might say were he here today.

    I find it ironic that so many "Christians" choose to speak on homosexuality so callously.

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  30. I would rather not comment. To do so would involve me in making a judgement either about this couple or the couple who sought to stay in their B&B. I am not in a position to judge either.
    What I will say is that we are living at a time in which there are competing sets of rights, which have yet to work out how to resolve.
    It seems to me that the way we begin to resolve the issue is to begin to listen to the experience of those we disagree with.
    To my mind there is far too much opining and polemicising and not enough listening.
    And that goes for all sides of most debates in our world today.

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  31. Hi You Are Bigots! Anonymous and calling names. Such courage. Because Catholic housewives might hurt you. ;)

    You might want to check your Bible a little more closely if you think that Jesus was silent on the nature of marriage:

    http://www.catholiclane.com/was-jesus-really-silent-on-same-sex-marriage/

    Now, let's discuss.

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  32. Marcus, did you watch the video? That is what the couple said, and they were overruled by the court because sexual "rights" trump every other right known to man.

    Listening to each other is great, but that cannot change truth or the moral law.

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  33. In fairness, I think the President's welcome to Pope Francis really was gracious. I am not a fan of President Obama, and I know many things were left unsaid, but overall, I was not offended at all.

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  34. MaryMargaret, unfortunately, the speech lacked integrity and was a typical political speech. He (his speechwriter) did not mean the words. I think the Bible says something about empty flattery.

    But of course it sounded pretty. It just was not true.

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  35. Leila, I know that President Obama is truly an enemy to part of what the Catholic Church teaches. But, I think he truly has an affection for Pope Francis. I choose not to judge the President on what he does or does not mean. I don't know what he means, but my best guess is that he was trying to avoid those issues where the Holy Father disagrees and tried to focus on areas of agreement. I am not, in any way, giving the President a pass on his clearly anti-Catholic sentiments.

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  36. I think, and hope, that the Holy Father will speak much more clearly to the US Congress and to the UN!

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  37. "I choose not to judge the President on what he does or does not mean. I don't know what he means"

    But we can tell what he means by how he acts and the policies he supports, can't we? It's what someone does, and not simply what he says, that tells us about the man.

    Anyway, I think the links in the article speak for themselves. These are his moves and statements and policies, not mine. They are clear, and they are contradictory to his words.

    But ultimately, I pray that Obama does change his heart and actions to match his very eloquent words today.

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  38. I generally disagree with what President Obama does, too. He certainly does not support all of Pope Francis's message. I think this was just a general, kindly greeting. No one could think that PBXVI agreed with President Bush's policies, but both were gracious towards one another?

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    1. Sorry I am using "Reply" but the post is not letting me post a new comment, for some reason.

      AMEN, MARYMARGARET, AMEN! I agree with you 100% that President Obama's comments were gracious and kind and genuine toward our Holy Father. Leila's judgmental statements about President Obama's speech are without merit. I think the original post said there would be citations and links to evidence, but maybe something else is wrong with my computer because I don't see any. President Obama supports legalized abortion and contraception. Obviously he has beliefs contrary to the Church. It didn't stop Pope Francis from meeting him and engaging with him in a kind and respectful way. President Obama did not comment on the Church's horrific record of protecting our children from abusive priests, or the Bishops' failure to acknowledge the harm for decades.

      MaryMargaret is right. Not one Pope would be in agreement with and support any of our Presidents and their political views and policies.

      This hatred and vitriol directed at President Obama disappoints me every time there is another political discussion here. Give it a rest, Leila, and let's talk about everything our Pope has done and will do while on this visit.

      And while I am an intermittent visitor, I am not a Catholic housewife, so the commenter above with the nasty attacks (which I also do not care for) is offending or annoying someone other than a Catholic housewife (if there is such a category of Catholic women).

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  39. I don't know MaryMargaret. Bush was known informally as a most "Catholic" president, even though he was not Catholic. And Bush never, ever tried to screw over Catholics. He would never pit his administration against any Catholic charities, religious orders, business owners. Never, ever. They truly liked one another, the pope and Bush.

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    1. HA! Now I have to laugh this time. Oh, yeah, President George H.W. Bush? Mr. "Executed more criminals via the death penalty in Texas as Governor than any other?" And his Dad? The previous President? Mr. "I would be proud of my granddaughter if she chose abortion?" Would it be okay, Leila, if the First Lady Laura Welch Bush (openly pro-choice) gave a speech about how wonderful the Pope is? Would we also hear about how terribly hypocritical that was?

      George H.W. Bush "CLAIMED" to be pro-life, but I don't believe it for a second. He was secretly relieved the Supreme Court did not overturn Roe v. Wade. I will grant you that he was a "Catholic wannabe." The difference between these two men (Obama and Bush) is purely political. One is conservative and one is liberal. It has nothing to do with their faith or religious liberty or anything else. It is politics. They both genuinely admire the Pope and the Church. I will give them that. But George Bush an informally Catholic president? Oh no, not on social justice issues and care for the poor, my friend, not at all.

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  40. Pro ACA,

    Every single red line (my satirical lines of what Obama "meant" to say) is a link to an article that backs it up. So, click those red parts and you will be taken straight to the evidence.

    And please, tell me when the Bush administration went after Catholic charities, sisters and business people in court, or when his administration warned of the nefarious doings of the Church in a foreign society? Please, I'm waiting with baited breath.

    You know, don't you, that the US bishops' Fortnight for Religious Freedom was begun BECAUSE OF the threats to our Church by the Obama administration, not the Bush admin, right? And you know that Pope Benedict explicitly mentioned those threats to religious liberty in America, right? For a pope to say so explicitly is quite remarkable!

    So, if you can't come up with any comparable situation with any previous presidents (name your president, I"m not picky), then perhaps it is you who should "give it a rest"?

    As for social justice, you might want to read up on Catholic social justice and subsidiarity. And I recommend a book by the man I'm calling the new Chesterton, Tony Esolen, Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching.

    And, Laura Bush? Really? She was the First Lady, and she imposed her views on exactly no one.

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  41. Leila's judgmental statements about President Obama's speech are without merit.

    This is laughable. Without merit? Click every link in red and read the merit. It's all true. Not only that, it's much worse. I could have kept writing all day, but I didn't have the time.

    "Without merit". Shaking my head....

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  42. It is now permitting me to post a comment. Sorry I had to use "Reply" for my last two comments. The links are working now too. By the way, the ACA only mandates that an employer offer and cover contraception and education and counseling services on contraception. It doesn't mandate that employees actually receive counseling and education, which is what your original post implies. Not at all.

    In terms of the secular world and business, as opposed to religious charities, Leila I believe you have contended that the ACA mandate not exist there either. But of course not everyone is a faithful Catholic and many many people use artificial contraception and expect that it be covered under their health plan. And many Christian Protestant faiths that adamantly oppose abortion do not oppose artificial birth control, and do not contend that it is abortifacient. Those faithful Christians use artificial birth control via the birth control pill and expect that it will be covered under their health plans. Indeed, long before the ACA, many states mandated that if an employer was providing health insurance to its employees, it must also provide contraceptive coverage in the same way other health services are provided, so there is nothing new about that for most northern and eastern states, who have had that rule in place for years. There is nothing particularly heinous or evil about what President Obama has done about health care that has not been done before. Again, the venom just seems out of proportion to what is standard politics.

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  43. Pope John Paul II meeting with George W. Bush and shaking his finger in the President's face lecturing about the atrocity of the War in Iraq. There is an example. Was he acting as a Catholic President then?

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  44. Aaaah, the Becket Fund. There is an important role for organizations like that, to be sure. The charitable groups that refuse to do the permitted work around because it too violates their beliefs certainly have the right to litigate the issue and it is wonderful that the legal assistance is there because of the great work of the Becket Fund and others. Again, this is not a surprising casualty of a mandate on health coverage - the issue needs to be resolved in the courts.

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    1. Never mind my first sentence below. You mean their defense of the nuns. No, the issue does not need to be "resolved in the courts". Our government needs to not sue nuns, or Catholic business owners. Imagine that. This is all new, you know. No one had sex "rights" trump religious freedom before. Why does it need to be resolved in the courts? We never had a problem before. Who made it a problem and why are you going along with it, as if it's a real constitutional crisis?

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  45. "Aaaah, the Becket Fund. There is an important role for organizations like that, to be sure."

    What are you talking about?

    Also, you may not be alarmed and horrified by the HHS mandates, but the United States Catholic Bishops are. And these are folks who love the idea of universal health care. Why do you suppose they are against it? And why aren't you? You are Catholic, right? Do you participate in the Fortnight for Freedom activities every year since we have been under Obama's attacks? If not, why not? The Bishops have asked all of us to pray against the loss of religious freedom in our land under Obama. But you don't see it? What do they see that you do not?

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  46. "Pope John Paul II meeting with George W. Bush and shaking his finger in the President's face lecturing about the atrocity of the War in Iraq. There is an example. Was he acting as a Catholic President then?"

    Could you please provide a link to this incident?

    And could you please respond to what I actually said, which was the fact that Obama has openly PERSECUTED Catholics and Catholic charities?

    Guess what Francis did today, unscheduled? He made a very important stop at the Little Sisters of the Poor.... whom Obama is trying to ruin. Why do you suppose he stopped there?

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  47. "They both genuinely admire the Pope and the Church."

    Hold up. Did you just say that Obama "genuinely admires the Church"?

    You said that? Or were you talking about GB the elder? Because otherwise that makes no sense at all.

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  48. Here is what I mean about "without merit." Obama's speech about our Holy Father was not Obama extolling how he and his administration have done things consistent with the Church or are acting with the blessing of the Church or in some way measuring up to what Pope Francis has demanded that we Catholics and humans do to live out the Gospel. Not at all. Instead, he was complimenting the Pope and the Church for its historic role in shaping our lives and our society and for the success that it has had (although obviously not perfect) and that this Pope has had in living out the Gospel.

    Obama is not saying that he is living out the Gospel as this Pope demands we do or that his administration is. He is admiring and acknowledging what the Church and this Pope has done. What is so wrong about that? What would you prefer . . . that he ignore the Pope altogether? Really? I would love to have seen your blog after that one! I am not contending that Obama is more in line with the Catholic faith that Bush is. No President has been in line with the Catholic faith. I am contending that our Presidents respect and admire our Holy Father and the Church and they say so and act respectfully when they meet him. Obama has done nothing more than any other President would have done under similar circumstances.

    And I think you have generally permitting respectful dialogue and disagreement here and we are allowed to criticize your posts when we think they go over the line into vitriol if we want. If that is not allowed, then let me know. I fully respect your right to disagree with me and tell me everything you said was appropriate. We just disagree. But just as it is okay for you to tell me to "give it a rest," and I'm not offended by that, I assumed it was okay for me to do the same. Again, if not, let me know. Thanks!

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  49. Pro ACA, I told you to "give it a rest" after you told me to. That was pretty rude of you, in my "house" and as a fellow Catholic. A bit disrespectful. I like a vigorous debate, but telling me, essentially, to be quiet on my own blog is just weird. "Give it a rest" means shut up, no?

    And, I expect the president to be respectful. What is appalling is not the speech, but the fact that it's a farce. He said all these wonderful things at the same moment that he is persecuting and suing the Body of Christ. I don't recall that happening under any previous president in my lifetime, do you? It's one thing to disagree, it's another to actively go after the Church. Let me repeat: To actively go after the Church. And again: He is actively going after the Church.

    I hope that makes sense. If you can tell me when other presidents have actively used their power to go after the Church and her charities and people, let me know.

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  50. Obama most certainly does admire the Church, and he is entitled to. As I said, the religious liberty issue needs to litigate itself out. I see both sides of the issue. Leila, this is not a Catholic country. The Catholic charities do not want to comply with the work around on the mandate and have a right to refuse to do so, but the Government has a right to resolve the issue in the courts. THere is no evil intent there, despite the incredibly politicized USCCB. The USCCB fought universal health care the second it was coming from a Democrat. Even before the contraception mandate was in there, they were fighting it. Ohhhh, I could go ON AND ON about where the USCCB and I do not see eye to eye. I have to go now because it is many hours later here, I work full time and need to be up at 6:00 a.m. I have truly enjoyed the banter and discussion and appreciate the time. Thanks!

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  51. Is it too much to ask that our president not be actively attacking and suing the Church and her people? I don't give a whit if he is not living up to the gospels, but he's doing much worse than that... he's attacking the Church. He's suing the Body of Christ. He's limiting our religious liberty, illegitimately of course. He's trashing the Church abroad. He speaks nice words while his administration is going after the Church. I know I am repeating myself, but please someone tell me that they understand what I am saying, lol.

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    1. I most certainly do! I have just followed everything you said with growing admiration. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are alive and well in you, my Dear!

      Delete
  52. but the Government has a right to resolve the issue in the courts.

    Nope, it doesn't. Because the government has no right to impose an unjust law. (MLK and natural law, remember?)

    An unjust law is an illegitimate law.

    Freedom of religion trumps sexual "rights" (which do not exist in our Constitution).

    Who is your authority if not the bishops and the Pope?

    And the argument that "this is not a Catholic nation" would only be valid if we were talking about forcing Americans to attend mass or believe in the Trinity, etc. We are doing no such thing. We are allowed to refuse to participate in sin. No government can mandate such a thing. It has nothing to do with "living in a Catholic or non-Catholic nation". You have bought the talking points of the left. They are not the Church's beliefs or talking points, nor do they show up in the Constitution, so I'm not sure where you are getting this stance, except from the popular media or the Democratic Party.

    Thanks for the discussion!

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  53. "I see both sides of the [HHS mandate] issue."

    And I see both sides of the abortion issue. But that doesn't mean that both sides might be right. One side is dead wrong, even if we can understand *why* they might do or believe what they do or believe.

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  54. "THere is no evil intent there"

    You know this... how? I'm not saying there is without a doubt evil intent, but how do you know that Obama is acting from a pure and good heart?

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  55. Leila I watched the video, and I like I said I am not going to make comments about private individuals. It one of the rules I have.
    On religious freedom.
    In my country it used to be the case that the religious were free to punish heretics and apostates, quite often by death. (Yes I know it was done by the secular authorities, but they were also religious).
    That religious freedom no longer exists. Am I pleased it no longer exist? Yes I am.

    I do not think that people should be compelled to act against conscience.
    But neither do I think that people should be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.
    My religious freedom does not extend to a freedom to limit the lawful freedoms of others.

    We are free in this society not to be discriminated against on the basis of race, class, creed, biological sex, or sexual orientation.
    Now I see the conflict, and I don't see how that conflict is easily resolved. It is a dilemma. But philosophy and ethics in particular is full of dilemmas.

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  56. Pro ACA - do you know the reasoning behind the Church's teaching against contraception? Or do you see it as an arbitrary rule that should be changed?

    Marcus Small - RE: "sexual orientation": what discrimination? Marriage is between one man and one woman, period. Outside of that, if a person is attracted to people of the same sex, that person is loved by God and should be treated as such.

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  57. //Marriage is between one man and one woman, //
    The law has been changed with regard that. It has been changed by the sovereign will of Parliament.
    One might disagree with that, one is entitled to disagree, and say so and many do. But that is the law.

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  58. Marcus, so as long as human law says something, we must go along with it? It is just? We must remain silent when those laws are voted in?

    What if it's one day legal for people to marry animals or children? We go along? What if laws say that black people are not fully human? We go along? My question to you: What makes a law just or unjust? It can't simply be our opinion, right, or even society's decision?

    I'm off to the funeral of little Daniel Elijah. God bless.

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  59. And are you saying that Christians who don't agree to participate in sin are "discriminators"? Because sexual sin has ben sexual sin since the beginning. But once the spirit of the age says that we love sexual sin (against Christian faith), then what is sin is turned on its head, and Christians must submit? Truly curious.

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  60. Leila //Marcus, so as long as human law says something, we must go along with it? It is just? We must remain silent when those laws are voted in?//

    If one disagrees with a law, one make the case for change. So one does not remain silent. At the beginning of the decade in which I was born homosexual acts were illegal and subject to imprisonment. People broke their silence and campaigned for changed. And the law was changed.

    This is democracy.
    The law of land, is the work of human beings. Governments make laws and governments repeal laws. In democracies the laws tend to reflect the will of the people. The will of the people is not written in stone, it is subject to change.


    My prayers for Daniel Elijah and his family, for you, the congregation and the priest officiating at service. A difficult day.

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    1. I should say also that the will of the people is not infallible, democracies can get it wrong. We are imperfect people in imperfect societies trying to make just laws, as best we can.

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  61. Leila we are not going to agree about this. There we are. I am one of those Christians who is happy to affirm the loyalty love and commitment of monogamous homosexual relationships. I am glad that those relationships have legal recognition with the legal protections in terms of inheritance etc to that I enjoy as a married man. Lets agree to disagree.

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    1. ///etc to that I enjoy.../// should be ""etc that I enjoy...""

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  62. Marcus, what about God? Where does He fit in? And if you disagree with Leila, who speaks on behalf of Christ's Body, the Catholic Church, founded on Saint Peter, then you are disagreeing with Jesus Christ. And I really don't recommend agreeing to disagree with Jesus.

    Please think it through. Marriage is inherently tied to procreation, two men or two women can NEVER consummate their union, they can never give themselves fully to one another. God defines marriage, not us, we do not know better than God, we place our trust in Him.

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    1. Wait, Leila is now the Magesterium? She speaks for the church? Be careful in imputing authority where there is none. Only your local Bishop and the Pope have that degree of authority over you in matters of FAITH. She does not speak for Jesus.

      Delete
    2. To clarify, I meant that Leila is repeating/sharing the teachings of Christ's Church. This isn't just her personal opinion.

      Delete
    3. Civil marriage does not require consummation for the marriage to be valid. American marriage laws have never followed the Catholic understanding of sacramental marriage. We largely adopted the Puritan understanding of marriage (non-sacramental, may be dissolved for cause).

      Delete
  63. I don't agree with many things President Obama has done. I do not believe he's an "evil" man that hates the Catholic Church though. I believe his policies and actions reflect what the people who elected him want. Most Americans do not want to live via the Church teachings. Right or wrong, that's a fact. Many Catholics who consider themselves faithful Catholics do not live via all the teachings. Again, right or wrong, that's a fact.

    President Obama shouldn't have sued the nuns but I understand why he did. His healthcare plan includes birth control. He probably knows Catholics that use birth control because so many do. If he makes an exception for them, he'll have to make an exception for all that asks. I prefer the exceptions or some kind of accommodation.

    Leila's blog made me sad to read because I can't imagine living somewhere under a leader that I despised this much. I never agree 100% with any politician but I've also never had hatred for them either. Most are sincere in wanting to do the best they can with what they have to work with.

    I thought President Obama's speech was fine considering the time and place.

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  64. Margo
    //what about God? Where does He fit in?//

    I don't claim to know 'whether there is a transcendent source of value in the world, one that specifies goals for us and makes demands on how we live and behave.' I believe that there is. So how do we decide what those goals and demands might be? Well we have scripture, tradition and reason. Within reason we might include knowledge about the world which arises from philosophical inquiry and the natural sciences.
    But we could be wrong, our conclusions, erroneous. Therefore we should constantly subject our conclusions to critical scrutiny, recognising that 'no idea is above scrutiny and no human being is below dignity'.

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  65. Any self-identified Catholic who uses contraception is, in fact, a dissenting Catholic, not a faithful Catholic. Faithful Catholics adhere to all church teachings, including the teachings against contraception.

    LizaMoore, if dissenting Catholics want to procure contraception, they are free to do so. They have free will, including to commit sin. But insisting that the Church SUBSIDIZE their sinful behavior is ridiculous.

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  66. JoAnna, I agree with you. I was stating why President Obama is suing the nuns.

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  67. Excuse me? Using contraception makes one a dissenting Catholic? Who are you to say that? People use contraception for all sorts of reasons. Reasons that may completely nullify any guilt on their part. That isn't for you to say. By your definition, most people who haven't just left the confessional are in fact dissenting Catholics. Do you know anyone personally who adheres to ALL church teaching ALL the time? I don't. You should really convert to Mormonism or Orthodox Judaism if you have that mindset.

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  68. I'm not the one who says that, PRG. The Church says that.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 2370:

    "Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

    Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality."

    The Church also teaches there is NO circumstance which justifies the use of contraception.

    And yes, I know plenty of people to do their best to adhere to all Church teaching all the time. Myself. My husband. Leila. Many of Leila's readers. Do we succeed all the time? No. But when we don't succeed, we are contrite and go to confession. Then we try again.

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  69. And where exactly does it say using contraception makes one a dissenting Catholic? Many people can accept church teaching and still be unable to implement it fully into their lives. That's where spiritual direction comes into play to help people progress.

    Oh, and you're wrong about there not being any circumstance which justifies contraception. Rape victims can use the morning after pill.

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  70. Do you understand what an "intrinsic evil" is, PRG? The Catechism passage I cited clearly states that contraception is an intrinsic evil. Do you think that Catholics may freely, and with impunity, commit intrinsic evils?

    Rape victims may only take recourse to the morning after pill if it can be confirmed that ovulation has not yet occurred. In that case, it's not contraception - it's defense against an unjust aggressor.

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  71. BTW, Obama is no friend of the Catholic Church. He's simply a secular leftist. He and Bernie Sanders are trying to tie themselves to Pope Francis to gain support from Catholics. With the Ann Coulter types on the right and the Obama types on the left, the outlook for Catholics is dismal.

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  72. From Humanae Vitae: "Neither the Church nor her doctrine is inconsistent when she considers it lawful for married people to take advantage of the infertile period but condemns as always unlawful the use of means which directly prevent conception, even when the reasons given for the later practice may appear to be upright and serious."

    The Church condemns as ALWAYS UNLAWFUL the use of contraception. So any Catholic who uses contraception is committing an unlawful act. Faithful Catholics do not deliberately, willingly, and freely commit unlawful acts.

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  73. JoAnna-

    I disagree. Contraception pills were often prescribed for reasons other than contraception such as trying to medicate irregular periods. For someone who was not having sex.....say a teenager it was not unlawful for them to take contraception. I have also heard of a married couple taking it but abstaining from sex.

    These days things are a little different. Doctors are a lot more willing to deal with underlying issues and/or provide alternatives for people who object to contraception for any reason. But there was a time when such alternatives were not available or were not widely known.

    It is unlawful to use the contraception to contraception. Taking the pill does not necessarily mean the Catholic sinned.

    But if anyone is concerned talk to your priest! That's one of the reasons we have them.

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  74. Talking to you is like talking to a brick wall. Thank goodness you aren't my priest.

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    1. If your priest is telling you it's morally permissible for you to contracept, then he is misleading you. The culpability is on him, but as soon as you know better (now), the culpability is yours.

      If you are using the Pill for acne or endo, that's another story. That would not be contracepting, that would be using hormones to treat an actual pathology (though there are better ways than using the Pill).

      Delete
  75. StarfireKK - hormonal therapy to treat a medical condition =/= contraception, even if there is a contraceptive side effect to the medication.

    Contraception is "any action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act [sexual intercourse], or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (Humanae Vitae 14).

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  76. How so, PRG? You've yet to provide any evidence to support your claim that faithful Catholics may freely commit intrinsic evil and still consider themselves faithful Catholics. I, on the other hand, have provided Church teaching to back up my claims.

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  77. By the way - if your priest is telling you that you may freely commit intrinsic evil and still consider yourself a Catholic in good standing, you need to find a different priest. The one you have is leading you astray.

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  78. A man strenuously and repeatedly argues that a child who somehow survives a botched abortion should be left unaided to die - to ensure that a mother who "legally" contracts for her own child to be murdered gets due value for her money.

    He brazenly declares in front of the world - and of his pre-teen daughters - that if they should "make a mistake" in life, they should resort to murder to escape being "punished" by the consequences.

    If this is not evil personified, then one has to wonder what is.

    "Woe to those who call evil good," once said a Man. Nevertheless we still have neo Nazis today idolizing Hitler. And if one looks hard enough, one could also, I suspect, find sycophantic fan clubs for Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. An "evil and adulterous generation" is how the said Man described this kind of lot.

    For those not fully familiar with the depth of depravity of Barack Hussein Obama, here he is at work. Listen carefully to him. (Caution: what comes out of this man's mouth is chillingly, diabolically, sub human. Want to hear the devil speak? Look no further.)

    Barack Obama argues against giving medical care to babies born alive after botched abortions


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  79. JoAnna, Don't put words into my mouth. You don't know anything about me. You fail to realize that Catholics use contraception without fully consenting to it. For instance, in many cultures, women have little say in when they have sex. The husband makes that decision. Using NFP to avoid requires cooperation between the spouses. A woman in this situation may want to avoid pregnancy but her husband wants sex when he wants it. What does she do? These are the issues pastors deal with all around the world everyday. Your approach is to hit them over the head with a two by four. The black and white approach does not work well in these situations.

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  80. Church teaching is clear on that, PRG. The spouse may never consent to using contraception herself (or himself). If the other spouse chooses to do so, then that is THEIR sin, not the spouse who declines to contracept.

    13. Special difficulties are presented by cases of cooperation in the sin of a spouse who voluntarily renders the unitive act infecund. In the first place, it is necessary to distinguish cooperation in the proper sense, from violence or unjust imposition on the part of one of the spouses, which the other spouse in fact cannot resist.46, 561).] This cooperation can be licit when the three following conditions are jointly met:

    when the action of the cooperating spouse is not already illicit in itself;47

    when proportionally grave reasons exist for cooperating in the sin of the other spouse;

    when one is seeking to help the other spouse to desist from such conduct (patiently, with prayer, charity and dialogue; although not necessarily in that moment, nor on every single occasion).

    14. Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the question of cooperation in evil when recourse is made to means which can have an abortifacient effect.48


    Source: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_12021997_vademecum_en.html

    Culpability can play a part in any sinful situation. If someone is not aware that contraception is sinful (perhaps because their priest has led them astray?) then their culpability is lessened, definitely. But the fact remains that contraception is an intrinsic evil.

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  81. Civil marriage does not require consummation for the marriage to be valid. American marriage laws have never followed the Catholic understanding of sacramental marriage. We largely adopted the Puritan understanding of marriage (non-sacramental, may be dissolved for cause).

    Non-consummation is grounds for civil annulment. What is interested is that "marriage equality" is not, and even the secular authorities have to change the very basics of the rules for gay couples (who cannot consummate obviously): In the UK, it is consummation is required for heterosexual couples, but NOT REQUIRED for homosexual couples. Interesting, no? Why did they have to change the rules for gay couples? Because gay couples cannot consummate a marriage. God and nature gave them no ability to do so.

    And no matter what the incidentals of marriage that we have adopted, and even errors, we have never in the history of humanity, believed that marriage could consist of two grooms. In fact, the heterosexual nature of marriage (based in biology, not bigotry) was a given, until two minutes ago, historically.

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    1. 2. Your marriage is defective - ‘voidable’ marriages

      You can annul a marriage if:

      it wasn’t consummated - you haven’t had sex with the person you married since the wedding (doesn’t apply for same sex couples)

      you didn’t properly consent to the marriage - eg you were drunk or forced into it
      the other person had a sexually transmitted disease when you got married
      the woman was pregnant by another man when you got married

      Marriages annulled for these reasons are known as ‘voidable’ marriages.


      Emphasis mine. Why do the same rules not apply for gay couples?

      https://www.gov.uk/how-to-annul-marriage

      Delete
    2. I meant to say, "marriage equality is not 'equal'!"

      Different rules apply about what makes a gay "marriage". How is that an equal thing?

      Delete
  82. LizaMoore, what "Catholic" rules have we been living under before Obama came to save us from them? Serious question. And how come no one knew that we were all living under "Catholic" laws before the last few years when we heard about it? I'm interested which laws are "Catholic". Thanks!

    I don't hate Obama. I hate evil. I pray for Obama's conversion and that we would be together in Heaven one day. I hope that doesn't translate to hating the man. I despise what he stands for and how he has directed this nation.

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  83. Margo, I was going to ask Marcus the same question. Thank you.

    Marcus, there is no place in the history of Christian thought, Scripture or human reason that puts homosexual sex acts in the realm of morality much less "marriage". How do you reconcile this total break from Christian morality? Haven't you simply gone with the spirit of the age?

    And what of natural law? Why do we know that men should not kill men? Why do we know that it's wrong to own slaves? Why do we know that it's wrong to lie? If there is no transcendent moral law, a natural law, then what is there but either individual or societal opinions? How do we get past "might makes right", or "he with the biggest guns determines morality"?

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  84. A woman in this situation may want to avoid pregnancy but her husband wants sex when he wants it. What does she do? These are the issues pastors deal with all around the world everyday. Your approach is to hit them over the head with a two by four. The black and white approach does not work well in these situations.

    Why not speak to Mother Teresa's nuns about this? They work all over the world with the poor and downtrodden, and they teach NFP only. Mother Teresa was outspoken about it, too. Will you tell them they don't know what they are talking about? Or will you bless them for being faithful and changing so many lives and leading so many folks to Christ and to Heaven, precisely because they are completely faithful? They are not dissenting Catholics. There are millions of folks who are faithful and not dissenting. Not because they never fall, but because they never try to justify or pre-justify their sins. That is why we have thousands of saints, real humans, to look to as role models. There are saints all around us! Praise God.

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  85. //Why do we know that men should not kill men? Why do we know that it's wrong to own slaves?//

    We believe that it is wrong to kill, we believe that slavery is wrong. If it were question of knowing, how is that we have only just found it out. When was slavery abolished in the US? When in the British Empire? Within the last two hundred years. What seems obvious to us was not obvious to people living two hundred years ago.
    You are proposing that an extra mental grounding for morality exists. The problem is that there of no evidence for an extra mental grounding for our moral intuitions.

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  86. Should read //The problem is that there is no evidence for an extra mental grounding for our moral intuitions.//

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  87. What seems obvious to us was not obvious to people living two hundred years ago.

    Actually, Marcus, a quick reading of history of even thousands of years ago shows us that mankind has always grappled with the morality and evil of slavery. Always. By contrast, mankind never, ever, ever grappled with the idea of "two grooms" or "two brides" getting "married", because it was unheard of.

    If so many people still do justify slavery (and lying, and cheating, and adultery, etc.), then how do we really know it's wrong? Answer: Because natural law is accessible to our human reason alone, no revelation needed. If our societies' laws are not based upon the moral law, God's law, (as MLK says, quoting Augustine and Aquinas), then we are free to do whatever we wish, so long as we convince enough people (or gather enough gunpower) to our side. No?

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  88. Marcus, the more I think about it, the more astonished I am that you would say that we humans have "only just found out" in the last couple hundred years that slavery is a grave and inhumane practice. Surely you have read accounts of the barbarity of slavery, the quest to be free, even in our own Bible. "Let my people go..." Why, if we always thought it was good and well?

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  89. My post just got eaten. Basically I said that I'm sorry I misinterpreted your words here and other posts that mention Obama as hate. I'll keep it in mind that you don't hate him.

    It's impossible to have a conversation here. Even when you agree you get attacked and words that you didn't say get attributed to you. It's a really strange way of debating. I never said that Obama was saving us from anything.

    I stand by my original comment that I don't agree with some of what Obama has done, like suing the nuns, but I understand why he did it and don't think it comes from being evil.

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  90. LizaMoore, but you said somethings about people not wanting to live under Catholic laws, and I'm hoping you will clarify what those laws might be. Honest question. So many people think that the Church has somehow been running this land, but I never hear exactly how, or what those laws are, or why no one suspected they were "Catholic" laws until a couple of years ago? I wish you could read tone. This is a vigorous discussion and it's for the lurkers. You don't have to agree with me, but make your case, for them. If the argument on your side is strong, you will have educated some people.

    I understand why Obama imposed the HHS mandate, too. He's an idealogue who wants contraception and abortion and free sexual expression for all. I get it. That's his thing. But just because I understand it doesn't mean it's right or good, and it doesn't mean, even, that it came from a pure heart. I can't know. I can't read his heart, but I know when evil acts are implemented, and I am bound to oppose them as a Catholic, esp. as they pertain to sweeping public policy. Bottom line, no matter why he did it, he's wrong, the law is wrong and immoral, and so we oppose it, whether Obama has a sweet and clean heart or not. His policies are evil. Understanding why he likes those immoral policies and why he defends them in court against nuns is irrelevant to the question, really.

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    1. "I wish you could read tone."

      Meaning, the generic "you". In my tone in real life, I'm not trying to be nasty. Trying to get at an answer. I love when people ask me questions. It gives me a chance to work out my thoughts even more clearly (or correct myself).

      Delete
  91. Marcus, you are from the UK. Why do you think the UK has separate consummation requirements for marriage, for gay couples vs. a bride and groom?

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  92. It is true that slavery has been admonished from early times by various ethical traditions. But the fact remains that people, including the devout, have owned slaves without any sense that it was wrong. If it was that obvious it would never have been permitted by the church.
    My point though is that there is no proof that natural law exists. It is still a matter of debate amongst moral philosophers.
    I wish that there were proof. Life would be simpler.

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  93. "My prayers for Daniel Elijah and his family, for you, the congregation and the priest officiating at service. A difficult day."

    Thank you, Marcus! It was very difficult. A tiny little casket is always hard to see. But the joy at the knowledge of God and His mercy was immense. The Church is a wise Mother and the mass is balm for the soul. And our God knows our suffering, as He has suffered right along with us, in the flesh. Praise Him!! So grateful to be a Christian today. So much hope!

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  94. "My point though is that there is no proof that natural law exists. It is still a matter of debate amongst moral philosophers.
    I wish that there were proof. Life would be simpler."

    Proof as in scientific proof? How would we get that?

    Life (principles), well, it is simple. Christ came and died and rose. He founded His Church. She is teaching and has been teaching in his name for 2,000 years. And it works. The saints are proof of that. They all lived the same morality. They all attained union with God and the heights of virtue. No one did so by flaunting the moral law.

    The virtues are natural law. Live by the virtues. Chastity (not sodomy, not homosexual acts, not adultery, not fornication, not masturbation) is a virtue.

    If someone owned another human person in chattel slavery without a whit of conscience, then he was not a "good" person. Chattel slavery means treating another as an object. It's likely that good people did have indentured servants, and treated them well. That is another issue. But unless one has a deadened conscience (as we are seeing more and more with sexuality), one can ascertain the moral law with human reason.

    What have you read on the Natural Law? Which authors?

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  95. //Marcus, you are from the UK. Why do you think the UK has separate consummation requirements for marriage, for gay couples vs. a bride and groom?// Well is I know the answer to that one I would be a Queens Counsel.

    However to side step a little, what the law makes provision is legal recognition with the legal protections for committed lifelong monogamous homosexual relationships.

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    1. Wait, I'm not understanding. Are you saying you don't know the answer? I know the answer. It's because gay couples cannot consummate a marriage. It's an impossibility. Even the state knows that.

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  96. And of course, natural law predates Christianity, since it's God's universal law. But we have a sure teacher now, for the confused, who are swept away on the winds of the spirit of the age.

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  97. Simon Blackburn, AC Grayling, Anthony Kenny, just to name three.
    Its late on this side of the Atlantic, so I am not dipping out deliberately, and Friday is an internet free day for me. So if the conversation is still live on Saturday I will catch up then.
    So I will wish you all good night and be on my way.

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  98. I meant that not all people live by the Catechism. In my mind, the Catechism is Catholic "rules" or Catholic "laws". In our country, people can choose whether they want to abide by them or not.

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  99. Marcus, do those thinkers believe in natural law or disbelieve?

    LizaMoore, I guess I'm asking you for specifics. What (specific) "rules" have they been living by (the catechism's rules) that they want to now be free of? And why didn't they know it was a "Catholic" or "catechism" way of living before now?

    And can people legitimately decide that the moral law is not for them? (No matter their creed?)

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  100. Birth control - I'm pretty sure that birth control was never allowed by the Catholic Church. I'm sure that President Obama knew that Catholics are not supposed to use birth control. I'm also sure that he knows that there are many people who think and say they are faithful Catholics that use birth control.

    People can and do decide that the moral law is not for them no matter their creed. In regards to Catholics and non-Catholics who use birth control, I think they are probably doing the best that they can with their personal circumstances. Mostly likely not in an evil way. If someone directly asked me about their situation, I'd tell them my understanding is that it isn't allowed and to get to a priest who can counsel them correctly.

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  101. But LizaMoore, you are confusing something. The HHS mandate did not suddenly allow birth control for people. People have had the "right" to buy and use birth control for decades if not centuries. Do you ever remember a time in your life where birth control was not readily available to all? I am almost 49. I have never known a time in America where someone could not readily get birth control or condoms. Never. In fact, they are as copious as anything, and every Walgreens on every corner is open for business.

    What the HHS mandate did was to tell religious people (and others) that they MUST PROVIDE AND PAY FOR other people's contraception (which they were never forbidden to get!). That is a violation of the rights of Catholics. Our protest of that unjust mandate to violate our consciences is in no way "forcing" others to live a Catholic life. How could it be?

    The force and mandate are all coming from one side, and it's not the Church.

    Also, I think everyone who sins or commits an intrinsic evil is "doing the best they can" if they are ignorant of the moral law. One of the first steps is to tell people the truth, though. That is a mandate from Christ. We are to have zeal for souls, and we don't want to see anyone committing grave sin, no? That obligation may be uncomfortable, but the cross is uncomfortable. Even the prophets tried to get out of their obligation to speak the truth among a sinful people. They were often (mostly) stoned to death or killed by their own people. Yikes! Being a follower of the Lord is not for the faint of heart. But it's the way to holiness and peace and joy.

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    1. In other words, everyone is as free to buy and use contraception now as they were in, say, 1969, 1985, 2000, 2010. The only difference is now the state is FORCING Catholics to give it to people and pay for it. And we had the audacity to say, "Nope".

      That is the state violating *our* rights, not a case of people looking to throw off oppressive "Catholic" rules (that they never were under in the first place!).

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  102. Regarding calling other Catholics "dissenting" or "Catholics" like people around here like to do, please listen to our Pope's address to Congress today.

    "But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject."

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  103. Leila, I agree with you. We're in the minority on the issue. People want their health plans to pay for birth control. Every health plan I've been on, first my parents plan, then myself and now my family plan covers birth control. So when President Obama enacted his plan, it included birth control because that's what people expected. That's what I'm saying. That's all. I'm not saying I approve of it or endorse it. I just understand why he included it.

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  104. I don't think dissenting Catholics are "evil." Nor is it intended as an insult, or to degrade others. It's a simple fact. If you are a baptized Catholic who dissents from Catholic teaching, you are a dissenting Catholic. That's not a judgement, it's a statement of fact.

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  105. "People want their health plans to pay for birth control. "

    I don't. In fact, my insurance doesn't cover the necessary components needed for the use of my preferred method of NFP (Marquette), which can cost ~$30/month (plus an initial outlay of $150 for the monitor). Yet I'm not demanding that the government subsidize my preferred method of birth control. I just pay for it myself.

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  106. PRG,

    A couple of thoughts.

    First, the pope's address was wonderful! I love Papa so much!

    Second, we are on a debate/dialogue blog. This is what we do here. We talk about what it means to dissent, what is true doctrine, what is false teaching, what it means to be virtuous, what virtue is and what sin is, etc. Not many Catholics today even think of such things at all. I started this blog because I was never taught any of it. I used birth control for years and my husband came this close to having a vasectomy. I cannot imagine if we had continued like that, or if we had not learned the truth before he did. God is merciful!!

    Third, I am a sinner. I have a long way to go. We are all sinners.

    Fourth, surely the pope's words were not meant to negate or remove the Spiritual Works of Mercy, two of which are "Instruct the Ignorant" and "Admonish the Sinner", correct? And since we know he was not abolishing those, then how do you think we are to go about doing that?

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  107. So when President Obama enacted his plan, it included birth control because that's what people expected. That's what I'm saying. That's all.

    I am not sure I agree. I don't think anyone thought about it much until the "war on women" (contrived) strategy was started (awkwardly) by George Stephaopolous to a startled Mitt Romney. It's like it was planned and orchestrated, and not organically called for. It was weird. You can still watch that scene on Youtube. Very bizarre, out of nowhere, and then this "war on women" narrative (they want to take your birth control!) started up and has not stopped. Check it out and watch how it went down. No one was talking about this before that.

    Anyway, the Constitution was designed to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority when it comes to things like this. Our religious freedom and freedom of conscience (as the Pope affirmed today) comes before anyone else's "right" to have me pay for their sins or sexual lifestyles, including their contraceptives. I don't have confidence that the courts will still go by the Constitution, but I can hope. And I can speak loudly as a citizen.

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  108. Not to mention that I've never actually had an insurance plan that DIDN'T cover contraception and sterilization, so I'm really confused that President Obama thought there was such a need to FORCE insurance companies to do so. I mean, if he thinks it's such a wonderful thing, wouldn't it have been a better idea to give incentives to health care companies that provide contraceptive coverage instead of forcing it on everyone?

    And isn't the entire reason PP is in existence (by their own claim) is so all women can have free or low-cost contraception? Were they failing in that regard? If so, what are they doing with the $127 million in excess revenue they generated (see their 2014 annual report).

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  109. All of us who are baptized are Catholics. What purpose does it serve to categorize people as "faithful", "dissenting", or "Catholic"? Unless the person is formally teaching ideas contrary to the faith in a public setting (Nancy Pelosi et. al), then let's give people the benefit of the doubt. People struggle with morality. I like the midrash of Jacob's Ladder as souls climbing to the heavens and descending based on how near or far they are from God. Not everyone is in the same place. Sometimes people go up many rungs and fall down many others. Quoting the catechism doesn't bring someone to God. Conversion usually comes from the heart, not the head. But I digress...

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  110. Generally I do give people the benefit of the doubt, unless they do or say something that shows their ignorance. (Such as stating in a blog combox that contraception is not an intrinsic evil.) At that point, I perform a spiritual work of mercy by instructing the ignorant.

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  111. Joanne, I think that if birth control is covered, NFP methods should be covered also. In my experience, doctors do not respect NFP as a reliable method. I've only had 1 doctor that did not dismiss it. I wish very much that NFP would catch on for the majority of women. That's not going to happen until the medical establishment fully embraces it. Aside from the religious aspect, it's really good to know your body.

    Leila, I agree that the Constitution was designed to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority. I'm not sure that birth control is one of those things.

    I'll google George and Mitt Romney and watch. Maybe the words "war on women" came out of nowhere but not the issue of wanting a health plan that covers birth control.

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    1. Please forgive me for misreading your name JoannA. Sorry!

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  112. Joanne, PP has many locations but it doesn't cover the entire nation. There are places in the US where there are not many options. Especially low-cost options.

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  113. Local health departments give out free or low-cost contraception as well (and did so prior to Obama's HHS mandate). 9,000+ of those around currently, including in 98% of congressional districts.

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  114. LizaMoore, do you know why the Church teaches against contraception or do you see it as an arbitrary rule? Thanks.

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  115. Leila, I agree that the Constitution was designed to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority. I'm not sure that birth control is one of those things.

    I'm not sure what you mean? By tyranny I mean forcing Catholics/Christians to participate in mortal sin instead of being able to have a conscience exception to such things. The state has no right to force me to commit or participate in sin. That is tyranny.

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  116. I've read some of what Pope John Paul II has said. Summary here -
    http://www.catholicsagainstcontraception.com/statements_by_john_paul_ii_1978_1996.htm

    Definitely not arbitrary for Catholics.

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  117. All of us who are baptized are Catholics. What purpose does it serve to categorize people as "faithful", "dissenting", or "Catholic"?

    For instance, my daughters wanted to marry men who were strong and faithful Catholics, who would be on the same page as them spiritually and in their daily lives, working toward sanctity and virtue. They did not want men who were Catholic but who were okay with fornication, contraception, skipping mass, not going to confession, disobedience to the Church, etc.

    You can see it would be okay for them to look for "faithful Catholics", yes?

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  118. Leila, are you saying that because my health care plan covers birth control, as Joanna's plan also does, means we are participating in mortal sin? We're not using the birth control coverage (feel fine assuming Joanna is not), but we do pay and use that health care plan.

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  119. LizaMoore, that's not what I'm saying at all. The HHS mandate mandates that Catholic or Christian people/employers/businesses provide and/or pay for contraception for employees. To a Catholic, that is like the government saying that we must provide and pay for porn for our employees. No government can force such a thing. To provide contraception or abortifacients as business owners would be to cooperate in a mortal sin. The government cannot suddenly say to all Catholics: "You must provide this (sinful) service/product, or face ruinous fines."

    It has nothing to do with having a plan, ourselves, that provides birth control. As long as I don't use that, I have no part in that sin or decision.

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    1. This is a government mandate on employers, not employees.

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    2. Got it. Thank you for explaining further. I disagree. I think the sin is all on the people who are using the birth control.

      Delete
  120. So, if you were to provide porn to your son, or pay for his porn (earmarked), you would not be culpable for any sin? Because that would be a sin in itself. So, I'm not following.

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  121. But you are right that the bigger sin and culpability would be on the user of contraception and on the politicians who forced others to provide it against their will.

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  122. The porn example does not fit because there aren't any medical issues that are cured with porn.

    I feel like you are trying to force me to say I'm against the Church teachings or are hoping I slip up so you can correct me. Not fun.

    I'm satisfied I have made myself clear. Leila made it clear that she doesn't have hate for the President. Have a good night.

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  123. You seem to always assume the worst of my discussions with you. I am sorry for that.

    Just today I read this from Matthew Kelly:


    What makes a great conversation? First and foremost, great conversations take time. They aren’t simply a quick exchange of ideas, and they cannot be rushed.

    Great conversations are centered on great questions. Excellent teachers, priests, and doctors hone the art of asking penetrating questions that move a conversation in a positive direction.

    Great conversations are constantly seeking deeper, more complete expressions of truth — the anchor upon which all great conversations rely to consistently move to deeper levels.


    Instead, everyone is so darned sensitive. It hinders good conversations. I hate walking on eggshells. sigh....

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    1. Still having trouble posting without replying. Sorry about that.

      Here's my understanding of what can happen on the blog. If your original post is sarcastic or cranky, some readers, (well at least me) feel perfectly entitled to call you out on it if we disagree with the message and/or how it is said. That is why last night I said "Give it a rest, Leila" on the anti-Obama rant. It actually did not mean "shut up" at all. It was more "ugh, here we go again . . . why can't we talk about what is cool about the Pope visiting instead of using it as an opportunity to take another crack at Obama." That's what I meant when I said "give it a rest." You responded telling me I should give it a rest. Perfectly fine. I was not offended at all, but it really appeared as if you were ticked off at me.

      LizaMoore is trying to have a respectful disagreement and can get NOWHERE because she has her words picked at incessantly. So she decides to move on. It's fine. I usually don't move on but could not stay later last night.

      No one thinks you need to walk on eggshells. But there are times when you take potshots, and when people come back at you in kind, you get defensive and claim it's your house and what we said was rude and disrespectful.

      Your absolute refusal to acknowledge that you can "dish it out" but you sometimes "can't take it" is a weakness. I've got a laundry list of weaknesses much longer than that, but it would be good if you occasionally acknowledged that you get defensive. I know I do.

      Delete
  124. "The porn example does not fit because there aren't any medical issues that are cured with porn."

    Nor with contraception, sterilization, condoms, morning after pills, etc.

    Using the Pill for acne? I still say that an employers freedom of religion (constitutional) trumps anyone's right to get a pill for acne (which can be purchased directly, or a waiver given). If only Obama mandated that cancer or asthma meds were paid for..... Now there's something that is not about sexual ideological agendas, and is humanitarian and universally understood as legitimate medical treatment.

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  125. Not to mention that hormonal therapy for the purposes of treating a medical condition was always covered, even by Catholic employers, and even if contraception for recreational purposes was not...

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  126. ProACA, yes, I admit that I often (quite often) get frustrated with the discussions here. I get cranky, indeed. I am often sarcastic (trying to be less so, but alas, that takes time). And when I am speaking to fellow Catholics, I get especially frustrated when we "disagree" on an issue that is already clear in Catholic teaching or as a directive from our bishops. I try to bring people around to logically understand the Church's position. Leaving the discussion with a difference of opinion on a teaching of the Church is not satisfying.... I want people to see the beauty and the consistency of the Church and her wisdom. And when Catholics side with (or appear to sympathize more with) the secular world rather than Christ's Church, I get (you guessed it) frustrated.

    I push people to go further. It's what I do and it's who I am. I hope it's not to the level of sin! Do you think it's sinful? If so, I will consider that. Or is it just more "obnoxious" (to you and maybe to others, if not to all) than sinful?

    Anyway, I like to get to the logical conclusions and I wish there was a way I could do that without offending some people. We all have different temperaments. I get energized and motivated when people push me to defend my position. I love it! Some people hate it and get drained.

    This blog (and Leila!) is not for everyone. Still, I'm glad you are here!

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  127. And I very much appreciate the welcome, the patience, and the understanding. Thank you Leila. God Bless.

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  128. Sorry to keep deleting and reposting
    I write in ‘Word’, then copy and paste, its easier that way. But sometimes I miss bits out. Is there an edit function?
    Leila you wrote earlier,
    //Proof as in scientific proof? How would we get that?//

    As Sir Anthony Kenny, puts it “A claim to knowledge needs to be substantiated;’
    This is one of the reasons why I am not a Catholic. There are many reasons why I might want to be a Catholic. However from the way in which Catholicism is often presented, in order to become a Catholic one would have to accept as true a set of propositions that I don’t know are true.
    In order to become a Catholic, in so far as I understand it, one would have to be able to say that ‘I know X is true’ rather than ‘I believe X is true’ or ‘I don’t know whether X is true but I am willing to live as if it might be true’. As often presented it seems that the Catholic Church requires assent to a set of claims to knowledge that are unverified, and unverifiable.
    And there is the problem, “A claim to knowledge needs to be substantiated; ignorance’ on the hand’ need only be confessed."
    That ignorance leaves me without the possibility of standing within the Catholic Church. Because of that ignorance and the obligation to be honest about it I stand outside.
    Now with reference to the above I could be wrong. Perhaps things are not quite as strict as all that.

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  129. Marcus, I wish there were an edit function, but no. :(

    I'm running out the door, but quick question: If we can't know the moral law with certainty, then what of Christianity's claims can we know, and how?

    And I would point you to Augustine's "faith seeking understanding". When we struggle, we trust the Church that Christ founded and the understanding will be given to us. It is absolutely astounding. But God rewards the humble and childlike and resists the proud. If we think we can "know" everything by figuring it out ourselves, instead of trusting Christ's Church, even when we have doubts, we will always struggle. This is not to say that great intellects cannot find their way to the Church! Quite the opposite. Lots of folks "think" their way into the Church because it's so logical, cohesive and consistent. But ultimately, those who struggle are being asked by God to humble themselves and submit, and then see what God does for them. ;)

    It's like Pascal's Wager in a sense.

    ‘I don’t know whether X is true but I am willing to live as if it might be true’. I think that is a legitimate way to enter the Church in other words. So, come on in? :)

    Also, I am not sure you have read anyone who defends natural law... I think you would really like Dr. B.:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/06/if-you-read-only-one-book-this-year.html

    He was a die hard atheist before his conversion.

    And he wrote this for fellow Christians or the "half-persuaded". There is also Anthony Esolen, whom I consider the new Chesterton.

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  130. Thanks for the links. I understand that about faith seeking understanding, St Anselm makes a similar point. In some respects my third option, //‘I don’t know whether X is true but I am willing to live as if it might be true’// is also similar.
    At an individual level thats fine. Indeed at a corporate level, that is the body of people who have chosen to live as it were true, thats also ok. The problem comes when we try to make it a public truth. Then I am asking my neighbour to accept something that they may have no reason to accept.
    The next problem comes when we try to universalise it further to make it into a legal truth. In a democracy that requires the consent of the people or at a least a majority of them.
    Where secularism goes wrong is when it tries to exclude religious people from the democratic conversion. Where religious people get it wrong is when they do the same, when they try to exclude the non religious from the democratic conversation.

    ON MORALITY:
    It seems to me that there are certain moral intuitions that appear to be pretty universal both geographical and across history The Golden Rule is an example of that. One might talk about the Natural Law in that sense. However all we can say is that these moral intuitions exsit because we exist. Whether a natural law exists independent of the human mind's ability to intuit it is a moot point.

    ON THEOLOGY:
    I am happy to conclude with both Aquinas and Tillich that God is Being itself, or the Ground of being. It also seems to me that reality does appear to have some comprehensibility, a logical order, a logos if you will. So as grammar is natural to language, so the logical order is to reality, (the presence of grammar in language seems to be an aspect of this). I am happy to say to atheists, and I do, that I can assent to the truth of the above. \
    So far that is very abstract. How does one get from there to the incarnation? Dawkins writes that he is not so much bewildered by a belief in a cosmic lawgiver, but by beliefs in the minutiae of Christianity, such as the resurrection and forgiveness of sins.'

    Thats why I conclude, that we can only say we believe these things, we cannot assert that we know them. We live, to use Nicholas of Cusa's phrase, in Learned Ignorance.

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  131. On the issue of non consummation. Lets take the example of a heterosexual couple who for no fault of their own are unable to consummate a marriage. Does that remove from them the possibility of being married? It we say that it does, then I would argue that we are doing them an injustice. We are saying that even though they may promise to ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live’ society will not afford to them and their relationship the respect and importantly the legal protection that marriage gives.

    It is for me, therefore, an issue of justice.

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    1. "...married? It we say that it does..." Should be "...married? If we say that it does..."

      Delete
  132. But what is unjust about saying that if a couple cannot complete the marital act, then they cannot marry? Marriage always assumed consummation, and heterosexuality. In fact, there are few things aside from the heterosexual nature of marriage that could fit your criteria for what you said:

    "It seems to me that there are certain moral intuitions that appear to be pretty universal both geographical and across history"

    Also, on the issue of belief vs. knowledge. So are you saying that for things like the Peloponnesian War, or the Revolutionary War, or the existence of Alexander the Great, etc., we can only "believe" they happened or existed, and we cannot "know" that they did? What is the threshold of proof (or evidence) for you?

    Have you read any authors who argue for the truth of natural law?

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  133. //Also, on the issue of belief vs. knowledge. So are you saying that for things like the Peloponnesian War, or the Revolutionary War, or the existence of Alexander the Great, etc., we can only "believe" they happened or existed, and we cannot "know" that they did? What is the threshold of proof (or evidence) for you? //
    Very high.
    History is something that takes place in the present. It reconstructs the past on the basis of the evidence available. Put another way and by a better trained thinker than me, ‘Here in the present we find documents and other objects which we suppose, survive from the past, and we weave interpretations around them. These objects, and their interpretations, belong to the present. History is not a set of facts, it is the story we can draw from them.’
    Lets take the ancient religious history of my own country. I grew up not very far away from Stonehenge (in North American terms it was practically in my backyard). So here we have an artefact from the past. Its assumed that it is religious artefact. So that's assumption number 1. We have no written access to the minds that conceived the monument, They did not write things down. The artefact itself is a circle of stones, some, the large ones, coming from the locality, and others from South Wales, (which is long way off). The stones in the circle are aligned on various points of the S
    sun's journey across the horizon during the year. The major alignment is with the midwinter sunset. Is it a religious site or a calender? Is it both? We have a set of facts which we interpret. In my life time that interpretation has continued to change. In the end we shall never know the full story.
    Now that's perhaps an extreme example, its pre-historic. But even when dealing with historic times we still have to ask 'what documents don't we have?' ' What artefacts have not survived?'

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  134. Just for clarity, I will repeat (because you used the words "know" vs. "believe"):

    So are you saying that for things like the Peloponnesian War, or the Revolutionary War, or the existence of Alexander the Great, etc., we can only "believe" they happened or existed, and we cannot "know" that they did?

    Also, back to the issue of marriage. Was Jesus, in your opinion, being unjust when he said that some are physically incapable of marriage?

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  135. The natural opponents of the truth, historical or otherwise, are those who make statements which are not supported by, or have ceased to be supported by, the evidence. With the regard to the events in history of which you speak, What is the evidence for the revolutionary war? Overwhelmingly in the positive I would say.
    So with regard to the natural law, the question remains very simple, 'what evidence is there that it exists outside of the human mind?'

    //Was Jesus, in your opinion, being unjust when he said that some are physically incapable of marriage//
    That's an interesting translation. He was speaking about eunuchs. As to who was he referring to with the expression 'eunuchs who have been so from birth'? I don't the answer, so I won't leap to one. I will have to check the commentaries.

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  136. So with regard to the natural law, the question remains very simple, 'what evidence is there that it exists outside of the human mind?'

    Wait, so the moral law is a human construct? Is that what you are positing?

    As for the evidence that marriage is a natural law issue, where did Hillary Clinton, an educated woman, get her history so wrong when she said just a few years ago (before the political winds turned):

    “...the fundamental bedrock principle that [marriage] exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.”

    Was her knowledge of history faulty?

    As for Jesus' statement, yes, he speaks of being incapable of completing the marital act, the requisite for marriage. What is the marital act?

    (Which commentaries do you check and what is their authority to interpret Jesus' words, just curious.)

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  137. I have check the commentaries. Some are eunuchs i.e. those incapable of sexual relations, because of defects from birth, some are made like that by other men, some he says will choose live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom. The latter is to be understood metaphorically. It refers to voluntary celibacy. Jesus is responding to a question from the disciples after his teaching on marriage and divorce, which seems to them to be so hard that it would be better not to marry. And like with St Paul's discussion of the relative merits of marriage and celibacy in 1 Cor. 7, Jesus is suggesting that some might be called to celibacy. He is using eunuchs as an example and then metamorphosing them to make his actual point. He is not saying that eunuch from birth may not marry, he saying only that they don't. Is it a state of affairs he approves of or disapproves of? We are not told.

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  138. Marcus, except that's not what he's saying. He says "incapable". Why are eunuchs or those who have defects from birth "incapable" of marriage?

    That is the question you have not answered.

    The Church has always understood it one way, from the very beginning, with no controversy.

    Why are (literal) eunuchs and those with defects from birth "incapable" of marriage, as Christ says? (Put aside the good of voluntary celibacy for now.)

    Thanks!

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  139. The commentary I used was the New Jerome.

    As to Hilary Clinton, well she is politician, and was speaking as a politician, not an historian or as an anthropologist.

    //Wait, so the moral law is a human construct? Is that what you are positing?//
    No I am not saying, I am asking whether or not there is there any evidence for an alternative view, i.e. that the moral law exists independent of the human mind's capacity to intuit it?
    All I am saying is 'I don't know?'

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  140. Here is the text. Where does he use the expression 'incapable of marriage? I am assuming that you are referring to Matt. Ch19 v12.
    "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

    Even though Jesus does not explicitly tell us I think that we can assume that eunuchs probably did not marry. Do we know what Jesus thought about that does he approve or disapprove or is unconcerned either way? We are not told.

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  141. Some translations are thus:

    “Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (19:12).

    But let's back up and look at what leads to that passage:

    He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    Marcus, what is a "one flesh" union of man and woman?

    Also, Hillary is not an anthropologist, but we don't need an "expert" to tell us what we can't not know. There is no one in any culture, in any era, who would not have understood that passage to be true... until the gay "marriage" push of two minutes ago historically. Surely you can see that? There is no area of humanity, no era or place, where a bride did not presuppose a groom. Until two minutes ago in the western secular world. It's so universal that it was never even grappled over!





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  142. Marcus, when did you start to believe that two men could literally be married to each other? Because I'm guessing there was a time not long ago when you would have looked at Hillary Clinton's statement and agreed. It was not controversial.

    (I don't know your age.)

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    1. Probably around about 24 years ago. But lets look at it a different way. What is wrong with two people of the same sex making promises to ' ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live’? What would be objectionable about persons making such a promise receiving the legal protections for their relationship?

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  143. //Have you read any authors who argue for the truth of natural law?/

    I have now managed to dig out Fr Copleston's
    ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Copleston ) book on Aquinas, so I will look at his chapter on Morality on Society.

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  144. Awesome! I have not heard of Fr. Copleston (that doesn't mean anything, since I am no scholar). Also, C.S. Lewis writes of it (I believe he calls natural law, "tao"). The best modern expert in my opinion (and as I've said) is J. Budziszewski. He speaks of things unheard of before the sexual revolution, specifically the assignments of abortion and sexual license and homosexuality as "goods".

    You asked:

    "What is wrong with two people of the same sex making promises to ' ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live’?"

    People are free to say and do whatever they want, but it can't be called "marriage", not legitimately. Marriage implies bride and groom, conjugal union. Two men do not have the "stuff" of marriage.

    What would be objectionable about persons making such a promise receiving the legal protections for their relationship?

    What interest does the state have in affirming romantic relationships? The only reason the state has ever had an interest in affirming marriage is because the male/female union is unique among all unions, in that it produces children from its union. That is why the state cares about marriage. It's not affirming people's romantic choices.

    24 years ago you believed in gay marriage? How did that come about (sincere question)?

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    1. I should clarify: There were societies, such as ancient Rome, that did see abortion and infanticide as "goods". And yet, it was a thwarting of the natural law, or "what we can't not know".

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  145. "What is wrong with two people of the same sex making promises to ' ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live’?"

    What does it mean for two gay people to "forsake all others" and be "faithful"? In what way? If that means sexually, then what is wrong is that homosexual acts are gravely immoral.

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  146. Quite simply a friend came out, I had to go away and think, and pray, work out how to respond to that revelation.
    Its easy for me, being heterosexual, I don't have to come out, don't have to take that risk . So my response was and still is to listen to the experience of others. And continue to think about it.

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  147. Quite simply a friend came out, I had to go away and think, and pray, work out how to respond to that revelation.
    Its easy for me, being heterosexual, I don't have to come out, don't have to take that risk . So my response was and still is to listen to the experience of others. And continue to think about it.


    Thank you for this. This is exactly how I think it happens for most people. They hurt for someone they love. But I don't get how it goes from that, to acceptance of, or even the possibility of, ontologically, gay "marriage". That's the disconnect.

    I have people in my life whom I love deeply who have had abortions. I know women who have had abortions, and who are pro-"choice" and many of them, their circumstances, my heart goes out to them. It ACHES for them. But that does not mean I would "think about it" and then suddenly jettison all we know from Christ, from natural law, from logic, and begin to affirm abortion. Now, others react differently, and that is why we have legal abortion on demand now. It's precisely because we love gay people and we don't want them to be sad, that we are now embracing sodomy and gay "marriage".

    But is that all it takes? Should we be moved to leave the moral law (or deny it) and our Faith (which we MUST ignore) because we see people's "experiences" and react?

    Is that what it means to be Christian, or is it something more? Something with as much compassion, but without discarding Truth as well?

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  148. "Teach children to be excited at every gesture aimed at overcoming evil."
    -Pope Francis 9/27/15

    Pope Francis said this just now. How can we teach our children what is evil if we can't identify what is evil? If there is no moral law?

    When God said, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil!" did he expect that we could never know? Or that there was no moral law that we could access with our reason, or through His revelation?

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  149. Marcus,

    Where religious people get it wrong is when they do the same, when they try to exclude the non religious from the democratic conversation.

    Can you provide an example of this? Just one example, if you will? From what I’m seeing, it’s only the secular culture that is increasingly attempting to stifle the voices of believers in the public square. And that is patently in every sphere in which the secular world is being stumped by the arguments (even non religious, medical or scientific arguments) being advanced/highlighted by believers. What I’m seeing is “religious folk” attempting to interrogate the cultural elite about their various developing agenda, only to be met each time with a stock standard “Just do it!”, “Get with it!, “It is time!” or “The science is settled!” response. There is no truth in the assertion that “religious people are trying to exclude the non religious from the democratic conversation”. Rather, it is the religious people who are constantly inviting/seeking further conversation on matters of great and even existential importance; while it is the enemies of democratic freedom that are working ever more furiously to shut it down!

    “Dawkins writes that he is not so much bewildered by a belief in a cosmic lawgiver, but by beliefs in the minutiae of Christianity, such as the resurrection and forgiveness of sins.”

    Has Dawkins ever been able to refute the logical arguments (not to mention the documented testimonies) for the Resurrection (as being the key factor in the rapid and widespread acceptance of Christianity, even at the cost of unimaginable torture and death to thousands of its adherents)?

    What is the evidence for the revolutionary war? Overwhelmingly in the positive I would say. So with regard to the natural law, the question remains very simple, 'what evidence is there that it exists outside of the human mind?'

    Why, for argument and consistency’s sake, does the natural moral law have to exist outside the human mind (or heart)? If everything in the universe is governed by one or more inbuilt ordering laws (as is obvious to even the ordinarily observant), why should the human mind (and heart) not have their own guiding law(s) written into them? Indeed, is it not precisely the mind that does not conform to any common law/order/logic /reasoning/sense in its function (as, for example, in its perennial, natural understanding of the fundamental things that a marriage entails) that is viewed as clinically insane? Yes, I am suggesting that a vast number of people in the West are now logically insane, or at least, dangerously deluded. How that might have come to be is a discussion for another day.

    What is wrong with two people of the same sex making promises to ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as they both shall live’? What would be objectionable about persons making such a promise receiving the legal protections for their relationship?

    Because sometimes a question is best answered with a question: What is wrong with five people of the same (or mixed) sex making promises to ' ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as the last of them shall live’? What would be objectionable about persons making such a promise receiving the legal protections for their relationship?

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  150. Francis
    //Can you provide an example of this? Just one example, if you will?// I said 'where' followed by 'when'. In other words, where this is happening or when this is happening. If if its not happening at all there is no problem.

    //it’s only the secular culture that is increasingly attempting to stifle the voices of believers in the public square. //

    I also see that happening, and I call it out.

    //Has Dawkins ever been able to refute the logical arguments (not to mention the documented testimonies) for the Resurrection (as being the key factor in the rapid and widespread acceptance of Christianity, even at the cost of unimaginable torture and death to thousands of its adherents)?//

    I think the experience of the resurrection clearly changed the lives of those who experienced it, and indeed continue to experience it albeit now in a psychological/spiritual manner. The problem for us, at this remove is whether or not this was a purely psychological experience or something more than that. We were not there. So we are asked to take a leap, both into trusting the testimony of the first believers, and trusting that they were not subject to some kind of mass delusion.

    //Why, for argument and consistency’s sake, does the natural moral law have to exist outside the human mind (or heart)? //

    I think I agree with the logic of that question. In the Mystery of Things A C Grayling wrote. "The perennial ideas that grip the human philosophical imagination and more or less exhaust (in both senses) its endeavours can be summarised as two: the idea of meaning or value in the universe, and the idea that reality has an ultimate nature. The two ideas are linked, in that they supply or at least suggest interpretations of each other. The first idea is connected with all our questions about whether there is a transcendent source of value in the world, one that specifies goals for us and makes demands on how we live and behave. Questions of deity, morality and aesthetics lie under this heading, and even a negative answer - one that says there are no transcendent grounds of value, and that we must therefore find them within - is vitally important to us. The second idea might seem now to be the possession of philosophy's daughters, the natural sciences; but these latter in their own turn generate new forms of the ancient question, and so far have made slow progress with such puzzles as, for example, the nature of mind. The idea of reality prompts questions about knowledge, truth, and meaning - in short: the relation of mind to the world - and as with the first idea, it invites us to seek not merely knowledge but understanding of everything comprehended under it".

    There do appear to be some fairly universal human moral intuitions. Whether they are grounded in something that transcends the human mind, either in the natural order, or the divine mind is a question that in the end may defeat our attempts to answer it. However those few, universal moral intuitions might be the ground upon which we build our moral systems. How do we do it, by doing philosophy and building carefully and being open to the possibility that the moral system we build may always be subject to revision.

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  151. //Because sometimes a question is best answered with a question: What is wrong with five people of the same (or mixed) sex making promises to ' ‘love, comfort, honour and protect each other and, forsaking all others, be faithful to each other as long as the last of them shall live’? What would be objectionable about persons making such a promise receiving the legal protections for their relationship?//

    My answer I suppose is to ask a further question, namely 'How do we do ethics?'
    One might say that we begin with revelation and as it were work down, how does revelation apply to us? And then work out the details. Or one might decide on an ethical a priori and work up from that base line.

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  152. My answer I suppose is to ask a further question, namely 'How do we do ethics?' One might say that we begin with revelation and as it were work down, how does revelation apply to us? And then work out the details. Or one might decide on an ethical a priori and work up from that base line.

    Marcus,
    If you start with this question, “How do we do ethics?” you would look at that body of scholarship already available to us (Ethical Theory), glance at the relationships between the branches, pluck out the commonalities within its entire volume, and formulate questions from there. Pick out the skeletal commonalities.

    At a brief glance, one would plainly see that all branches of ethics are tied to God’s law - across the board, no exceptions. One can see concretely how universal moral systems acknowledge (explicitly or not) divine law, and how this acknowledgement drives human laws (encouraging good, discouraging and punishing bad) of all of human society.

    So the question from a bird’s eye view- even if the question doesn’t funnel down very far into further questions – shows very basic ethical realities at a cursory glance.

    A priori evidence deals with the principle of non-contradiction and is the basis for all math and logic, you may know. So you could use this method as a foundation for reason if you’re measuring certain quantities for graphs, charts, etc. that illustrate or measure ethical relationships (i.e., who believes what, how many times that surfaces, etc.). You can analyze by filtering per certain characteristics, looking for contradictions, recognizing relationships between data sets, cancelling out duplicates, looking for a certain result, etc. It’s if/then reasoning. It’s “cell” to “cell” dialogue, so to speak. It requires no experience relating to the subject at hand. Standard data collection and analysis.

    The a posteriori method always begins with a description (describing what one observes or experiences) and accumulates facts this way. It is just as scientific as the a priori method because both are sub-structures of reason and both are acceptable methods in all branches of science.

    So as far as answering ethical questions goes, the point is that there are concrete conclusions in Ethical Theory that we already have before us. However one may choose to manipulate the available data depends on what one is looking for at the end of the day.

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  153. But even when dealing with historic times we still have to ask 'what documents don't we have?' ' What artefacts have not survived?'

    Marcus,
    The point is not that we need to worry about what we do not know or what we do not have before us. The point is that we look at the evidence that we can observe. That’s just scientific exploration at work. That’s historical and archaeological evidence at hand.

    We don’t worry about what we don’t have or don’t know.
    We go by what we do know. We explore, discover, and learn. We are always open to new discoveries, but that doesn’t paralyze us from having solid facts in the here and now, so that we can make solid conclusions in the here and now. That’s the nature of the beast. That is no threat to the reality that we can really “know” something/anything in the present moment just because we lack the full set of questions and the full set of answers to all those questions, right now.

    Should something else unfold relating to a new discovery about this place or person or working theory, that’s fine. It’s still positive data. We don’t work from the unseen or unknown to make positive declarations about what we see. That makes no sense because you can’t take a negative lens to make a positive proclamation.

    Your point takes the long way to say, ‘I believe we can know that true events happened or true structures exist based on historical archaeological findings.’ That’s one avenue of verifying an event or studying an historic place, yes.

    The ultimate point is that there are many ways to verify what we believe, not just one, as I’m sure you’d agree. We look at the positive data with positive application, gather details of what we know (a priori and a posteriori), and we reason. We don’t get lost in speculation of all of the things we don’t possess. We can make very firm inferences with what we do know. We can theorize and even test those theories (for a measurable outcome) in some instances.

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  154. However all we can say is that these moral intuitions exsit because we exist. Whether a natural law exists independent of the human mind's ability to intuit it is a moot point.

    Marcus, why is that “all we can say”? There is much more to be said about the origin of a lawful intuition than just, “this intuition ‘exist[s] because we exist’.”

    The actual starting point to your inquiry would be, “Since there are, in fact, moral intuitions that appear to be universal, then there is obviously no escaping the reality that the load and burden of morality is felt upon the human heart, no matter who you are, even if natural law isn’t explicitly understood. Knowing this, what specific elements does this moral law or intuition contain? How is it that its application can be so vast? Where does this intuitive burden come from?” Start deducing from there, right.

    To say that “moral intuitions exist because we exist” answers nothing in terms of origin of the law (or Originator), as you probably agree.

    If we want to make any reasonable conclusion about an objective reality that is felt (or even known) outside of self, then we take the known experience of humanity and we see how we weigh morality or moral dilemmas as a human race.

    We look at the universal tool – God’s law – that we all use (whether we explicitly know it as ‘natural law’ or not) when weighing moral actions or decisions of the mind. Ethical Theory explains all of this. That is our reference.

    We purposefully do something or not do something based on God’s law.
    The morality is always in the decision being made in the mind, using the gauge of reason. And all ethical codes are tied to God’s law. Universally. No other law is held up as the standard among all people.

    There exists no other law – besides God’s Divine Law – which is explicit in contrasting “right or wrong” for all people. We line this up next what is revealed. We see the positive data there. It doesn’t need to delineate into guesswork at all, concretely speaking. We see this, we record it. We see this in various situations, we record it. We manipulate the cells of data, we look for relationships, if/then, how many, what kind, etc., right? My point is that we can definitively say a lot more than what your comment supposes.

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  155. It also seems to me that reality does appear to have some comprehensibility, a logical order, a logos if you will. So as grammar is natural to language, so the logical order is to reality, (the presence of grammar in language seems to be an aspect of this). I am happy to say to atheists, and I do, that I can assent to the truth of the above. \
    So far that is very abstract. How does one get from there to the incarnation? Dawkins writes that he is not so much bewildered by a belief in a cosmic lawgiver, but by beliefs in the minutiae of Christianity, such as the resurrection and forgiveness of sins.'


    Marcus,
    That’s actually not abstract. It’s very concrete and observable. We can observe order in nature and in the cosmos. We can literally measure the reality of the known universe, even. We can observe order with the laws that govern the physics of our world, right down to our mathematics, which are even more compartmentalized than grammar rules in language (to ref. your previous analogy).

    Follow the same mode here. To leap from here to there - going from vast to specific- you go the route of deduction. Start with a broad observation then start funneling down, distilling down the thoughts. It is standard approach to problem solving.

    Why Dawkins is “bewildered” by that, who knows? It’s pretty basic knowledge that deduction includes assessing the facts at our disposal.

    If Dawkins can grasp a ‘cosmic lawgiver’, then why doesn’t he follow the paper trail of what that cosmic lawgiver has revealed about Himself? Why does he not consider the collection of evidence to aid him in deducing? Why doesn’t he follow the orally transmitted information (oral tradition)? Why doesn’t he trace back to the origins of an institution to see where in the world it claims its authority from (the Church’s institution by Christ)?

    He acts mystified with basic facts and, in turn, lashes out at the Church and believers. The facts are there for the taking. No need for his bewilderment. One can get as specific as one needs to because the facts are there. Rather straight forward “if A, then B” thinking.

    You’re tying together the idea that there is observable order to the universe with a very specifically detailed Doctrine of the Church. That is fine. Reason it all down. That’s called ‘funneling down’ in problem solving. Reducing and eliminating contradictions and/or duplicates, is really what it is.

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  156. Nubby, thank you for I am not sure where I agree and disagree. But your post seems helpful warrants further reading in the morning when I have a fresher mind.

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  157. ///thank you for /// should be

    thank you for that. I...

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  158. Nubby, thank you! I learn so much from you when you take this tact, because I can't articulate any of it, but I know that it's exactly right when I read it.

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    1. Let's just call it a day and officially dub Nub 'Thomasina Aquinas' :)

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    2. P.s. Seriously, though, for someone who didn't have the chance to take logic and philosophy courses, this forum is so helpful for lurkers such as myself to take the salient points from many keen minds here to use time and again in discussions in real life and for that I'm grateful.

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    3. Ha- like Aquinas, no. I’m glad people find it useful, though.
      Just a point in terms of answering broad questions like, “How do we do ethics?”: A person looks at which working theory is available to answer that. We reference the working theory. So we “do ethics” by looking at Moral Philosophy, specifically Ethics. Same idea behind all logical problem solving. Find the theory, apply the formula (if there are any to apply), solve. Pretty systematic, not nearly as philosophical or captivating as Aquinas, but hopefully efficient –ha. Nerdy tips come in handy for logical conversation.

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  159. Maggie, Amen, amen, amen!!! And I'm so glad it's helpful. That is exactly why I do this whole blog thing. And Thomasina Aquinas it is. Or, Dr. Nubby. :D

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  161. Nubby
    I will begin where I don’t quite agree, and move on to where I might be in agreement.
    //The point is not that we need to worry about what we do not know or what we do not have before us. The point is that we look at the evidence that we can observe. That’s just scientific exploration at work. That’s historical and archaeological evidence at hand. //
    My point was only to say that we should say only what can be justified by the evidence. In his book 'The Voices of Morebath, Reformation and Rebellion an an English Village' the historian Eamon Duffy tells the story of resistance to the reformation in a Devonshire Village in Tudor England. It is a remarkable story because of the accounts kept by the church warden throughout the period of the two Tudor Queens. (Church Wardens accounts were not usually so detailed). Duffy is at pains to say however that we should not extrapolate from this 'keyhole' into past to create a wider a picture. It tells it about Morbath and nothing more. It might reflect the wider situation, but the evidence does not take us that far.

    So yes we need to worry about what we do not know, so long as we don't say we can know things that evidence won't support.


    //At a brief glance, one would plainly see that all branches of ethics are tied to God’s law//

    Are they? is that true of Epicurus? Lucretius? David Hume? Jeremy Bentham, J.S Mill, just to name a few. How does the moral thinking of these tie to God’s Law.
    Moreover ‘God’s law’, you seem to be speaking God’s existence were a settled issue. Is it? How so?


    //To say that “moral intuitions exist because we exist” answers nothing in terms of origin of the law (or Originator), as you probably agree.//

    Yes I agree, the question why are there moral institutions rather than no moral intuitions, is not unlike the question why is there something rather than nothing?

    I am not necessarily going to leap to the answer ‘God’, certainly not the personal God of most people’s theism. That is not because I don’t believe it, it is because I cannot prove it.
    But it does seem to me that the very notion of goodness in the human mind, (not necessarily the agreement on what is good) alongside the universal moral intuitions, coupled with the seeming order in reality, its comprehensibility, all these do seem to point beyond themselves to something deeper.

    Whether that is the God of Christianity, I am not sure.

    //Marcus,
    That’s actually not abstract.// No should I have written something like minimal.

    I have not responded to everything you have written. But you have made me think. So thank you again. Perhaps we can be more sure than I had thought. I will have to think further.

    Do you mind if I put some of your thoughts to some of my atheist friends.

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  162. Are they? is that true of Epicurus? Lucretius? David Hume? Jeremy Bentham, J.S Mill, just to name a few. How does the moral thinking of these tie to God’s Law.
    Moreover ‘God’s law’, you seem to be speaking God’s existence were a settled issue. Is it? How so?


    Marcus,
    As a general field of study, Moral Philosophy breaks down into Ethical Theory, which is further broken into three branches. All are tied to concepts of moral law (divine law) no matter what one may be measuring for, especially in normative and applied ethics. Those people you mention still would have to hold up the same standard if they’re really going to morally measure something. I’m not speaking of proof of God’s existence, I’m speaking of His Law, which is felt and known without explicit proof of God.

    Even if these people you mention attempted to skirt around God, they’d still be faced with ideas of absolute evil. If you talked with them and they acknowledged absolute evil as existing, they would’ve then conceded to a higher moral law (God’s law). If they measure, they measure against the standard. They cannot escape in practice, try as they might to keep things merely theoretical.

    They wouldn’t be able hold up any other law (to say something is good or bad) because there is no other law to compare against. What would they say?

    If they want to measure good life by “happiness” (like J. Bentham or Epicurus), happiness is dependent on a larger context of good and evil, right? Avoiding unhappiness, avoiding pain, avoiding…evil (that would mean unhappiness). So when they plug into the formula, so to speak, to gauge what they’re measuring for, moral law is there. Eventually practice is required over theory, right?. It’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of concrete proof of moral law.

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  163. Duffy is at pains to say however that we should not extrapolate from this 'keyhole' into past to create a wider a picture. It tells it about Morbath and nothing more. It might reflect the wider situation, but the evidence does not take us that far. So yes we need to worry about what we do not know, so long as we don't say we can know things that evidence won't support.

    Marcus,

    We don’t need to worry about evidence outside of this history lesson at all. Why would we? Is there an invitation to do so?

    Is the deeper question here, “How does the Church develop or “get” her doctrine?” We have oral tradition and written tradition. Doctrine is not based on speculation. There are treatises and genuine writings outside of the biblical accounts, so we don’t need to speculate anything wider. The “keyhole” into the past, itself, is wide enough for the Church to come to universal belief and express that in dogma and doctrine. I’m not seeing how this ties into an invitation to faith - unless one doesn’t think the “keyhole” is wide enough?

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