Friday, April 13, 2012

Quick Takes: Too much to talk about!

After a Lent with no political blogging for me (but you should've seen me on facebook, ack!), I have too much to say. So much going on. I could talk about Ms. Rosen's condescending snark attack on Ann Romney and mothers everywhere, but I think y'all know what I would say about that. And hey, she finally had to apologize. So, on to other subjects in this edition of…

1) In light of the protracted fight ahead regarding Obama's HHS mandate, we all need a laugh. Here's something to bring a smile to your face, courtesy of our own Stacy at Accepting Abundance:

(In the next episode the good doctor is visited by agents of the federal government who fine him heavily, put him out of business, and eventually throw him in jail. Ah, good times!)

2) And if you want to keep laughing (or cheering), please, oh please, read this delicious post from Bad Catholic, about the ghoulishly ridiculous "40 Days of Prayer" from those crazy kids at Death, Inc. Planned Parenthood and their clergy (who knew they were so religious?). Their little pamphlet of blasphemy reads like it could be a bad SNL skit.

As Bad Catholic puts it:
True to their aging, crippled form, Planned Parenthood has left me speechless. Not because they’re too offensive, but because they’re too embarrassing for words. They’ve given me 347 ways to mock them, all at once, and I’m left feeling like a hyperactive kid in a candy store.
Read the rest, here. You'll love it.

The pamphlet of "prayers" (to which god the prayers are directed is not specified) is here. Read all forty supplications. If I didn't know better, I'd almost think that these guys were sitting around feeling punchy one night, trying to outdo each other, slapping their knees, belly laughing till beer came out of their noses. Yes, the "prayers" are that bad/outrageous/offensive/ludicrous/ironic/hilarious. And totally sad, for not one of the prayers is in honor or memory of the 54 million shredded and dismembered human children whose bloodied remains ended up in the trash after the abortionist's successful day of "sacred" work.

One of my favorites is Day 36: "Today we pray for the families we’ve chosen. May they know the blessing of choice."

What the…?! Who the hell "chooses" their family members? I'm pretty sure this gem translates to: "We only protect and love the offspring that we handpicked to our liking. They should be damn grateful they're alive and not in the medical waste bucket like their sister!"

3) While the worshippers of Moloch cough out their meaningless "prayers" and methodically continue their killing, those who still keep in touch with their own humanity will be moved by this stunning pro-life sculpture, which takes my breath away:

Martin Hudáček of Slovakia

I have no words. And that's the beauty of this work.

4) Hey, now these are the kind of secularists I can get behind! Loving my brother and sisters, who tell it like it is:

5. The predictable "Throw off the shackles of the Church and find the 'historical' Jesus!" media stories were out in time for Easter again (yawn). Andrew Sullivan's Newsweek piece got the most play this year. And a slightly amused Father Barron was there for the rebuttal:

I seriously love Fr. Barron.

6) I also love Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist, philosopher, 1623-1662:
There is a pleasure in being in a ship beaten about by a storm, when we are sure that it will not founder. The persecutions which harass the Church are of this nature.
I get almost too much pleasure out of being a Catholic. The fact that centuries and even millennia do not separate the minds and hearts of faithful Catholics simply and always blows my mind.

7) I've saved the most important Take for last. As I reported on my other blog:

Since Carla* introduced us to Reece's Rainbow, I've been struck by the way that our little cadre of Catholic bloggers and facebookers have come together in the past two months to support (and adopt!) the orphans. It's been such a community effort, a time of grace.

So imagine my delight when Rebecca at Shoved to Them announced that her friend at Simply You jewelry offered to host a major fundraiser for the RR orphans! It runs for two weeks (until April 26), with 20% - 30% of all proceeds going to Reece's Rainbow! The quality of the pieces is amazing, as you'll see when you check it out.

The great thing is that Mother's Day is just around the corner. So you know what to do -- get something here for your mom (or mother-in-law), your grandma, or yourself. Then, use the party code below when checking out:

You've gotta shop anyway, so why not simultaneously help those orphans whom we love? Go to Rebecca's blog if you'd like more info:

And, as always, spread the word!!

*Please pray that Carla's Henry, who has been in the hospital for too long now, will be able to get home soon.

Thanks to the wonderful Jen for hosting!


  1. Might I respectfully suggest that you continue your Lenten discipline of not commenting on politics on your blog as you come across as vitriolic and the polar opposite of an example of the Catholic faith that would draw people in?

  2. This is vaguely related to your Death, Inc. (um, I mean Planned Parenthood) take. My son, who's 14, said the other day, "I watched this video thing on FB about abortion. It was really gross." I said, "Yes, it's very gross." He then goes on to describe what he witnessed, which was, in fact, gross. He paused for a moment and said, "You know they tear a baby apart during an abortion?" I said, "some people don't think it's a baby." He said, "If it's not a baby, then what is it? I can't believe people would just kill a baby, why can't they just take care of it or give it someone who will? It shouldn't be legal." And that is why I love my boy so much.

    I would also like to add, that we've never had a "real" talk about abortion. We talk about how important it is to be respectful to other people, and to take responsibility for one's actions and to always try to do the right thing, even if the right thing is hard. From those talks he logically concluded that abortion went against all of these "basic rules of human decency". Just thought I'd share. Happy Friday

  3. Jen, I am sorry that you don't like my style. That's okay. Primarily my blog is for Catholics (I think you are Lutheran? And I'm guessing pro-'choice'? Correct me if I'm wrong.) and I am usually directing my posts to them. If you read the "Read Me First" link on the top of the blog, you will see that, and also some other points, including this:

    Can I be counted on to dialogue respectfully and unemotionally with those who disagree? Yes, absolutely. But I will speak the plain truth as I see it, even if it's unpopular or makes people uncomfortable. I don't sugarcoat, because a) we need to be able to dialogue like grown-ups, and b) it wastes time. Time is valuable, people! Many may chafe at my straight-talk approach; they are free to read other, more soothing blogs.

    Hope you'll stick around, but if not, there are other great blogs out there you'd like! Blessings!

    Angela, I love your son! And, that's been my experience, too. Kids are naturally pro-life, and repelled by the violence of abortion.

    1. I am indeed a Lutheran and I am pro-life. I read blogs who despise Obama but they somehow manage to do so without sounding like they are raging and screaming. Every time I have surfed to your site for Quick Takes, I come away feeling like I have been screamed and wailed at.

      I have read your "read me". It's great that your site is primarily for Catholic but you get non-Catholic readers too. (Some of your Catholic readers have also commented elsewhere that they find you mean-sounding.) I'm simply telling you how you come across to non-Catholics. Your site is bound to come up in a search engine for people who may be interested in Catholicism and they'll be turned away because it sounds like you hate anyone that isn't like you. I know you don't -- you advocate tirelessly for Reese's Rainbow and I think that's lovely. However, a lot of people may just see one entry and think that you represent all of Catholicism.

      As far as the "vitriol", this is a prime example: While the worshippers of Moloch cough out their meaningless "prayers" and methodically continue their killing, those who still keep in touch with their own humanity will be moved by this stunning pro-life sculpture, which takes my breath away:

      That could be stated less angrily. Yes, the people at the Humboldt County Planned Parenthood are wrong but claiming that they're worshipping a false deity does not do anything but make you look like you hate them and you hate non-Catholics. Any Californian could also tell you that Humboldt County is where all the hippies are so this whole "40 Days of Prayer for Choice" should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

      I'm not saying you shouldn't call things out -- even I agree that Hilary Rosen should have left Ann Romney alone. There are things that need to be called out. Abortion is an evil but it's an evil caused by other evils. Perhaps look at the causational evils before you rail at those who choose to abort their kids?

  4. Jen, in my confusion about your comment (haven't heard you post here before), I went to your blog and saw the prominent "Obama 2012" campaign button on the sidebar. I think I understand why you don't want to hear my political thoughts! Like I say, I prefer clarity to agreement, and now I have clarity. Blessings!

  5. And Jen, if you could point out which of the "vitriol" you most take issue with, I'll gladly enter a dialogue with you! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the prayers Leila!! Luv ya!!

    Carla and Henry

  7. Hahahaha! Oh Leila, you're so full of vitriol! How dare you say anything true and/or inconvenient! It offends me deeply. As you can see from the recent media storm, the Catholic faith is all about acceptance and tolerance and drawing people in...didn't you know that?

    Actually, I love that sculpture. It is beautiful. And I'm glad you're back to political commentary...I missed it!

  8. 1) Day 36: "Today we pray for the families we’ve chosen. May they know the blessing of choice."

    Translation: We love the word "choice"! Choice! Choice! Choice!
    Choose! Chose! Choosy!
    Whether that choice be an evil choice or not, it is to be celebrated! Because "choice" is our buzz word. It's our favorite word meant to indicate power and freedom. It's our mantra at PP, and if we use it long enough and loudly enough, you'll believe our propaganda. Nothing trumps that superlative word in our English language!

    2) That pro-life sculpture screams pain, humility, mercy and forgiveness. In a word, "love". It's powerful in the truest sense.

    3) Go Secular Pro lifers!

    4) Fr. Barron is the whip. I loved his "Catholicism" series on television! He is so gifted at teaching and engaging a wide audience.

    5) Oh, and, contrary to your above commenter: I enjoy your political posts.

    1. Choosey mothers choose choice!! :D *sigh* Yup, they love that word.

  9. I didn't find any clarity. But whatevs. As a Catholic, I hate to say it, but I am getting used to it.

    I also found that sculpture breathtaking. Wow.

    Off to see what Bad Catholic has been up to... have a great weekend!

  10. #3-Wow!
    #5- Me too!
    #7 - Me thinks there may be some new earrings in my future!

  11. Vitriol? Jen, I'm curious to know what, exactly, in Leila's QT is vitriolic. I can't see it. Perhaps your perception is skewed?

  12. Ahem. There's nothing like a chastisement from a pro-death Protestant to get things rolling. I'd love to respectfully suggest a thing or two to you too Jen...

    1. She identified as pro-life.

    2. Identifying as pro-life does not mean one is pro-life. It's impossible to be pro-life and support Obama no matter how hard you try to justify it. He's the most pro-abortion president in history.

    3. I have to agree with JoAnna. That's hard to see. In fact, he is not just the most pro-abortion president in the history of the union, but he also crosses the line into allowing infanticide. There is really NO PLACE for this in a civilized society. Someone who allows infanticide is not morally fit to be the leader of the free world.

  13. i think i puked when i read the PP prayer.

    that sculpture choked me up though.

  14. @Jen - silly! The very title "Little Catholic Bubble" says it all. An echo chamber in which one's ideas are bounced around without outside infiltration. It is silly to try to suggest ideas to someone who is not interested in any opinions but those which match their own. Save your sanity, skip this quick take.

  15. @Jen - silly! The very title "Little Catholic Bubble" says it all. An echo chamber in which one's ideas are bounced around without outside infiltration. It is silly to try to suggest ideas to someone who is not interested in any opinions but those which match their own.

    ... ehh, noob. Rookie mistake.

  16. Hi imperfectkate! This is imperfectLeila speaking. I gather you and Jen are already acquainted? :)

    Jen, thanks, and I appreciate your thoughts. However, I do not "rail at those who choose to abort their kids". You might want to read more of my posts, and you would see that. I do, however, rail against those who make their living killing kids, and those clergy who write crap like the PP clergy did in defense of killing kids.

    Yes, I am aware that some sensitive folks find my words "mean". Sorry, I'm a no-nonsense mother of eight. It's how I talk and who I am. And, I have plenty of non-Catholic readers who are not offended in the least by what I have said, and are very much intrigued. It's really a matter of taste, I guess? I cannot please everyone, nor will I attempt to. Ultimately, I am accountable to God and my family and no one else.

    But you are surely welcome here! I will happily dialogue. (I think you were the one who insulted me and JoAnna on a previous blog post of yours a few months back? Forgive me if I am mistaken. Nevertheless, I am happy to engage you.)

    By the way, my line about Moloch was one of my favorites! Not gonna be making changes there. Would you change your mind if you held the dead body of one of the children sacrificed to the god of 'choice'? I'm hoping maybe you'd be a little more horrified then. And you might also rethink supporting a man for president who is cool with leaving babies to die after surviving a botched abortion (now that's extreme, and a little "mean" don't you think?) and whose "women's health" mantra is entirely about abortion politics. You are aware that Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards is in his inner circle, correct? You say you are pro-life, but how so? Do you pray with us, donate to the cause and vote pro-life? How evil is abortion in your mind, exactly? I'm truly interested. I don't presume to know; I'm sincerely asking.


    1. I'd love to answer you back but for the sake of not monopolizing your combox, I'll email you. You should have it by midnight PDT tonight.

  17. PS: As written below: "PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others." Thanks! That's just so I can look at the bottom and find the latest comment and not go searching.

  18. And imperfectkate, you said this: "Jen - silly! The very title "Little Catholic Bubble" says it all. An echo chamber in which one's ideas are bounced around without outside infiltration. It is silly to try to suggest ideas to someone who is not interested in any opinions but those which match their own. Save your sanity, skip this quick take."

    No outside infiltration? Seriously? Do you even read the Bubble or are you a hit and run commenter? We are all about taking on all comers here of every persuasion. Um, the title is, like, supposed to be sort of… funny, you know… ironic in a sense. Please, try to be informed about your subject (in this case, this blog) before you say something that makes you look foolish.

    If you actually want to debate something, then by all means, bring up a topic.

    Thanks and blessings!

  19. Jen, really, I'm going to try to see your side on this. I completely disagree though. Leila is a friend in real life and she is nothing if not sweet. She gets fired up about issues, but I have never seen hate come from her. Fire about things people believe in is a GOOD thing, and one of the reasons I was drawn to her in the first place.

    It is very hard to see someone speek out against the candidate you're supporting without getting upset. You may feel like she's being hateful because you are seeing it through different glasses.

    Leila, still cracking up over Bad Catholic's quote. Love him. And you know I love that sign from Secular Pro Life

    1. Actually, her speaking against Obama isn't an issue for me at all.

  20. One more thing, Jen, as I am scratching my head. You said that this was stated "angrily":

    While the worshippers of Moloch cough out their meaningless "prayers" and methodically continue their killing, those who still keep in touch with their own humanity will be moved by this stunning pro-life sculpture, which takes my breath away:

    Nope, it wasn't. It's hard to read inflection in a blog post, but here's how you should read it: Very matter-of-fact. Very deliberate, calm and unemotional. Just plain.old.truth. No foaming at the mouth, no rage or red face. Just facts, ma'am. Sorry if you read huge globs of emotion into it. Sadly, it's pretty mundane. The banality of evil and all...

  21. Jen,

    Do you believe anger has any positive role in the Christian life? If so, under what circumstances? What would that look like to you?

    Do you equate anger with hate?

    Did Jesus Christ come to bring peace, or a sword?

    Not a literal sword, of course. But I do believe far too many make far too much of Jesus' message of 'love and acceptance'. First, that's only half the story. Second, 'love' does not equate with 'kindness', and 'acceptance' does not equate with 'approval', whether that approval is tacit or explicit.

    For Leila to express anger and derision toward a group of people who are: a)'ordained' toward the salvation of souls through Jesus Christ, and b)engaged in outward and public behaviors directly antithetical to that professed mission is, in my opinion, quite appropriate, even necessary.

    Would you ask a vegan for a Big Mac? Asking God to protect abortion (murder) is far more absurd than that, no? We must call things their proper names; praying to God for protection of murder is either not prayer, or is not directed to God.

    1. I'd love to answer your questions but it would be unfair to take up too much space in Leila's combox. Would you like to email me? I'm jen at grace-filled dot net.

  22. I second what LJP said, and it was said well!

    And -- how can you be pro-life and pro-Obama? I don't get that. Didn't before the election, didn't after, will never.

    1. See above. I would love to explain it via email.

  23. Stacy said: "how can you be pro-life and pro-Obama? I don't get that."

    Unfortunately, I do get it. I accomplished it through a good dose of heterodoxy and self-delusion. I had one foot in the camp of "of course abortion is murder, but we can't legislate morality!" and the other foot in "I'm not going to vote on a single issue, and there are more important things than, Obama is so charismatic and refreshing!"

    Then...God happened. I took the express train out of the fairy-tale world of subjective reality and finally grasped the hard truth that if a society does not respect the basic dignity of human life then all else is straw (as I mince St. Thomas' beautiful words)

  24. I am quite literally stunned at the "vitriol" comment.. I do not see it at all! Perhaps it's a case of reading things differently?

    I'm not sure I've ever commented here before, but I regularly read your blog, and I very much appreciate your ability to fully be yourself, say things straight-forwardly and to take on good debating.. it's a lost art.

    Uhh so, hi? I'm Lauren!

  25. Would you ask a vegan for a big mac? :) Leila, great quick takes and thanks for the Mother's Day gift idea...I think my sisters could use something new and pretty, too.

  26. Lauren, hi! Nice to meet you!! :) And, thank you!

    I truly hope that Jen pops back in to answer the very good points made by LJP and others. No wild emotion, just straight up dialogue.

  27. Oooooooh, I get it now.

    "Vitriol" = "statements that prick my conscience."

    "echo chamber" = "statements that prick my conscience."

    The comments make more sense now.

    Stacy, I agree. Just like you can't be Catholic and pro-abortion, you can't be pro-life and pro-Obama. Obama is arguably the most anti-life president in the history of our nation.

    1. Actually, you're pretty far from the truth regarding where I stand.

  28. Oh wow, those prayers...

    I like #38. Cloud of gentleness. It's too much!

  29. Love your takes, Leila. I know that I am really a little too busy to comment much here, but I definitely enjoy reading.

    That sculpture...I saw a photo of it on first site of it brought tears to my eyes. I know of women who regret their abortions and I think that sculpture is very relevant and poignant.

  30. Oh my..I'll first say...I didn't feel like I was being yelled at as I read your post. I guess it rests in the perspective of the reader, huh? I learn so much from your posts Leila. Great job on getting said what needs to be said. And I can't be pro-Obama and pro-life. Those are polar opposites. Geesh.

  31. Jen, if you don't mind, we have a lot of readers who follow the conversation, and as we are not insulated (as imperfectkate thinks) we like to have all sorts of opinions written here for all to see. It would really be difficult to carry on two conversations (one on email, one here), so why not just keep it here? Don't worry about monopolizing comboxes. That's okay here in the Bubble, and people want to follow your thoughts and even join in. We like to talk and talk and talk. Please, post whatever you have right here.


    1. Will draft a response to everyone as soon as I get enough time to do so.

  32. "I'd love to answer your questions but it would be unfair to take up too much space in Leila's combox. Would you like to email me? I'm jen at grace-filled dot net."

    Jen, thank you for the offer, but I must respectfully decline your invitation. I didn't ask the questions for my own personal knowledge...I come to Leila's blog to engage, clarify, learn, and hopefully enlighten in a communal environment. Private email conversations/debates are not conducive to this. I honestly would like to know your answers, and I hope you decide to share them here.

  33. Jen - I don't believe I made any remarks regarding where you stand that conflict with anything you already said. I, also, invite you to clarify here in the combox for all to see.

    You know what I find ironic? The libs on Facebook who accuse me of being in a bubble, echo chamber, etc., and then unfriend me the moment I challenge their delusions or post an article they find offensive.

    1. I'm not one of those people JoAnna. I have friends who span the political spectrum and if I don't like what I see on Facebook, my response is usually "whatever" and to move on to the next status update. It would be a hugely boring world if everyone agreed with me.

    2. OK... it's refusing to let me post my response so I put it over at my blog ( It's password-protected so it stays on this discussion and the password is "leila".

  34. Jen, if you cut it up into two or three parts, then just cut and paste it into three comments, I'm pretty sure it will work.

    Meanwhile, I read it, and if you want to put it here, I will be happy to respond. If not, others are free to go and dialogue with you over there.


    1. I tried that and it refused to let me do it. I can try again now that my son is in bed.

  35. I read it Jen and I don't really see the point in responding if you're just gonna post and run. Also, I don't dialogue with trolls. I guess your location pretty much explains it. California is full of misguided individuals.

    1. One post does not a troll make. I also apologized for it (and linked my apology). I would probably have come back that weekend if I hadn't had a sick kid. If you don't want to accept my apology, that's your decision.

  36. While I didn't see any vitriol in Leila's post, I did see it in the comments:

    "There's nothing like a chastisement from a pro-death Protestant to get things rolling."

    "Also, I don't dialogue with trolls. I guess your location pretty much explains it. California is full of misguided individuals."

    How welcoming!

    Anyway, I actually had a question for you all, and am truly interested in the answer, as I've been wondering about this for a while:

    I've been told many times here that a fetus (unborn baby, whatever you like) is morally equivalent to any other person. Abortion is murder - it's killing a person just like any other. If that's the case, abortion should be just as illegal as murder. So then, if abortion were made illegal, if the Roe vs Wade decision were reversed right now, what would be the punishment you'd propose for a woman who (knowing the legality of her decision) chose to have an abortion? Would you say she should be punished the same as someone who, say, hired a hit man to kill her four-year-old child? If not, why?

    Sorry, but I'm going to have to post and run (too much work to do, plus I can't really contribute anything to a discussion on this, and you all know I'm not a troll), but I'm genuinely interested in your answers and will read periodically when I get a chance. Thanks!


  37. Hi Michelle! I am pretty sure that we (and I) have either on this blog or via email linked you to the answer to that question. I thought we had a good discussion about that? About to step out for the night, but I will try to find that and repost it.

  38. I think we discussed it on Stacy's blog, but I don't remember quite coming to a conclusion. If we did, my mistake!

  39. Michelle, I only said that I don't dialogue with trolls because that is how Jen always is. She posted countless messages across all of our Catholic blogs about the same thing, without bothering to stick around to dialogue about it. Posting and running like that or saying "I'm stepping out of this conversation" after posting and then not coming back is being a troll. That's exactly how she behaves, and I'm not going to waste my time talking to her when she behaves in that manner ever time she shows up.

  40. Leila, found it! If you search "hit man" you get to the exact comment.

    Kara, in that case, I understand.

    1. Actually, I made the effort to respond but stated that I had to step away because I did not know if I would have the time necessary to dialogue all of this out. The comments section refused to let me post it and after getting error messages for 10 minutes, I put it on my own site.

      For the record, I apologized for the one time I posted and ran. Kara can make whatever decision she wants about me but I would appreciate if you gave me the benefit of the doubt and at least read my response.

    2. After reading your response, I don't think you're a troll. I do understand where you're coming from, and I think you explained everything well. Your concerns regarding tone and turning people off to Catholicism are valid as well, though I would probably attribute that more to the facts of Catholicism than to Leila's presentation of them. As a liberal atheist, I find that coming here for discussion both humanizes people with polar-opposite beliefs from mine and makes me very, very worried. Dialogue is important, though, and even though I've taken issue with many things Leila has said (and how she has said them), she and her commenters are always willing to discuss, which is refreshing and hard to come by.

      And I have to say, as a fellow Obama-supporter (for the most part), I hope you stick around!

  41. What penalties existed prior to Roe v Wade, Michelle?

  42. JoAnna, I believe it was the abortion provider who was considered to be breaking the law (not quite sure what the actual consequences were, I'm sure it's out there somewhere), but I mostly meant to ask what your ideal situation would be - what you think it should be, and how it'd differ (or not) from an otherwise identical situation with a born child.

    Must go, but I do look forward to your responses!

  43. Going to try posting this again:

    OK.. my son is remaining asleep for the moment and my stomach is too irritated for me to get a nap (gotta love migraines) so I can hopefully answer everyone's questions. After this, however, I am bowing out of this discussion because I don't have the time to devote to it this weekend.

    First of all, I am not in Danya's words a "pro-death Protestant". I am indeed Lutheran and while I was ELCA for 9 years, my husband (a pastor) and I jumped ship in 2010 to a small Lutheran denomination which is pro-life. Abortion wasn't the issue -- it was issues with the leadership. I'm also not anti-Catholic -- far from it actually.

    Addressing the reasons for my first comment, every time I've surfed back to this blog or ended up on it through a link, I've always ended up on a post where Leila is phrasing things in a way that seems inflammatory. If it were just me, I'd probably skip it but I've seen other people make the same comment I have and wonder what her problem is. Had I not seen her Lenten posts in which she was tirelessly advocating for the Reese's Rainbow kids, I'd probably have written her off. Thing is... I *want* to believe that there is good in people so I came back after Lent was over. Thinking that maybe she didn't realize how she sounded, I made my comment here and worded it as neutrally as I could. Apparently, even that managed to raise some eyebrows. If this is normal for Leila and she's not intending it to be taken as I and others are taking it, that's great. My concern however was that someone wanting to know more about Catholicism would surf on here and take Leila to be an example that represents all of Catholicism and be completely turned off. If she's not concerned with that, more power to her.

  44. Next installment:

    OK... addressing her question of how evil I think abortion is, I think it *is* murder and that it shouldn't exist. The place where I differ with Leila and probably most people reading this is how to stop it. Legislating it away will not solve the problem -- abortions still took place before the decision of Roe v. Wade and would still take place if Roe v. Wade were overturned. This isn't a lie cooked up by Planned Parenthood -- this is what has been shown through testimony of women who had them when it was illegal. When South Dakota's legislature tried passing a law banning it in 2004, their pro-life governor refused to sign it on the grounds that it did not provide for regulation of it while the constitutionality of the law was tested. I agreed with him in that if we can't get rid of it, let's at least regulate it so that we're not having women die in addition to their babies.

    So how exactly would I get rid of it? As I replied to Leila, it is an evil that is an end result of other evils. Poverty is a factor, lack of adequate sex education is a factor, and the attitudes our society has about sex are a factor. Focusing on the second one, most high school students do not adequately understand how their bodies work and do not understand how pregnancy occurs. Some of them have parents who do educate them on these things but many get their education on the bus or in the cafeteria. This also extends to things like what to do if they get an STD or what to do if a woman finds herself pregnant. My experience in working with teenagers in Montana is that there is nothing posted in the high schools and that Planned Parenthood is the default option because it's the only one they might have heard of. My solution would be to make the numbers of crisis pregnancy centers as available as information on Planned Parenthood is. I have told all my pro-life friends to put their money where their mouths are and fund their local crisis pregnancy centers so that there would at least be another set of options. Having spoken to friends of mine in college (and I went to a pretty liberal state school in California), those who had abortions did so because they thought it was their only option. Addressing the issue of poverty, there are some Planned Parenthood clinics in the inner city that do just provide women's health services. A solution: help fund a free clinic to provide the same services. I give to that cause as well. As for the attitudes of our society, it's a bit harder to change that because the idea of casual sex is everywhere. With the teens I've worked with, I've handed them a copy of "Real Sex" by Lauren Winner which deals with chastity and how it isn't necessarily celibacy but instead appropriate actions before marriage.

    As far as what else I do to be pro-life, I:
    -am part of Amnesty International's efforts to end the death penalty (life is life)
    -am part of California's efforts to end the death penalty in our state
    -am part of Amnesty International's efforts on behalf of those suffering human rights violations
    -have been active with Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations serving the persecuted church worldwide
    -support financially (as much as I can) and prayerfully those looking to adopt
    -help solicit donations for the local food pantry
    -help with awareness about WIC (started by Jimmy Carter to give women one less excuse to abort their kids)
    -pray for an end to abortion and an end to the evils that lead to it
    -vote for candidates who support every aspect of life, not just on the abortion issue
    -help with preeclampsia awareness which *does* kill women and their babies every year (I'm a survivor)

  45. You apologized, yet I did not know you did until today. I'm willing to guess that most of the other people you mass posted to didn't know either. I don't follow your blog...

    Your behavior in this thread alone shows troll-like behavior.

    I did read your response. Does it not start out with, "After this, however, I am bowing out of this discussion because I don’t have the time to devote to it this weekend." So, again, you are posting and shutting the door. It doesn't make sense, and it's unfair in a conversation. Why should we bother? That's all I'm saying.

    Leila has asked you a couple times to stop using the "reply" button, and to use the comment box instead, and you are continuously ignoring that request, also...

  46. Continuing:

    Even though I'm near Sacramento, I don't have the option of praying outside an abortion clinic or demonstrating at the state capital for several reasons. One: I'm a pastor's wife and anything I say/do has the effect of my husband saying it or doing it. This means that if I'm at a rally and someone who is pro-choice sees me, it has the effect of my husband condemning them. It's stupid reasoning but it's unfortunately what I deal with on a daily basis. Two: I have a medically fragile child and large crowds are not good things for him. Three: we have people in California who would fight to make my husband's parish lose its tax-exempt standing if it was perceived as participating in politics in any fashion. Me praying at a clinic or taking part in a rally is enough ammo for them. Four: I'm an introvert and those things are not in my calling. (I've prayed about doing them and received a clear "no" every time.)

    OK... onto the fact that I have an Obama sticker on my blog:

    I'm aware that Obama is pro-choice and that he has the ear of Cecile Richards. Considering the number of Catholic blogs I read and the number of Catholic friends I have, I'd have to be living under a rock not to know that. The reason I'm supporting him is that he does a better job addressing the issues of poverty, education, and assistance to the poor than any of the Republicans that are running this year. I fail to see how any candidate that has been in the race can claim to be pro-life when the Republicans support the death penalty. If you claim to be pro-life and support the death penalty, that's hypocrisy and I know that the Catholic Church teaches that much. I'm also in a situation where "Obamacare" is a necessity. Both my son and I are uninsurable without it and the only reason we have insurance is that my son qualifies for Medicaid and we get benefits through my husband. The medical insurance industry in this country is profit-driven and not driven by attention to patient care. Every Republican candidate in any race that affects me has ties to the industry and votes to limit care. It has been the Democrats who have fought for things like getting behavioral services for autism covered (now a law in California and affects me because my son is autistic), keeping state programs which pay for mammograms/pap smears for low-income women (both in Montana and in California), and who have come to my aid in getting services for my son covered under Medicaid. Every time I've asked one of my Republican legislators for help, they send me a pat letter thanking me for my phone call and espousing what they believe. You may not agree with my support of Obama and that's fine -- I'm the one who is accountable for it and I'm the one who gets to cast my particular vote.

  47. Hopefully the last installment:

    Addressing LJP: anger can take many different forms and it can be a good thing if it spurs action. The problem with blogs (and this has been brought up on this thread) is that all that exists are words and no context. If all I see are angry words, it leads me to believe that someone is an angry person. This is why I made the point that Leila sounds angry and vitriolic -- she has said some pretty strongly worded things and as I don't know her in person, this is all I and others have to go by. (Kate is not the only one who has commented thusly -- my Twitter feed is full of people today wondering what the problem is.) Anger can also lead to some extreme actions that are not of God. The murder of Dr. George Tiller was not of God -- it was the result of someone's anger. Ditto with Pastor Paul Hill who was executed in the state of Florida in 2004 -- he killed someone in his anger.

    Kara/Joanna/anyone else who has claimed that I made the comment out of frustration at seeing Obama slandered: I'm not that kind of person. My denomination's hierarchy is anti-Obama and I'm Facebook friends with them, meaning that there are a number of times when I bite my tongue at what they have to say and they bite theirs at what I have to say. (We have an understanding that as long as I'm not promoting anything that the denomination has a policy against, they really don't care where I stand politically.) Joanna, I've never unfriended anyone on Facebook for posting something I didn't like. If I did that, I'd have only a handful of Facebook friends.
    As far as calling me a liberal, that's also not totally correct as "liberal", "conservative", and other labels only work inasmuch as you have a benchmark by which you can measure them. I'm probably to the left of most of you but I'm far to the right of society. If anything, I'm moderate.

    And yes, I'm the one who posted the HHS comments and it was on more than just your blogs. Thankfully, there were a few people who very quietly and tactfully called me out instead of inciting a flame war on my blog as happened when JoAnna commented. (I deleted the comments almost immediately so very few people saw her comments or the nasty ones responding to hers.) I apologized in my Quick Takes the next week. (Link: I also have a different perspective on the situation because I am directly affected by the exemptions. My husband is a pastor which means that we are part of a denominational insurance plan. My denomination has no opinion on contraception (just abortion itself) so despite the fact that we are exempted, it isn't an issue for us though we could be exempt from the mandate if it was. The Concordia Plan for the LCMS (for example) is the same way. Most of the religious groups that got the exemption are on their own insurance plan specific to their sect. Insurance for the various parts of the Catholic Church doesn't work that way which is why there's the fight with the administration. I signed the HHS petition and I could probably resolve the whole battle if the USCCB and the Obama administration wanted to ask me what to do. (The answer: broaden the scope of the exemptions to cover ministries not insured by religiously administered insurance plans.)

    I think I've covered every question asked of me, every generalization made about me, and everything else. If you want to know where I stand and who I actually am, y'all are welcome at my blog at Other than the sticky post at the top regarding my Obama sticker, anything less than two weeks old is open for comments.

  48. And the reason I'm bowing out is that I'm sick (sinus infection and migraine), my son is starting to cough and after two hospital stays last year (including one where he was intubated and almost placed on ECMO) I'm being super careful, and I'm on my own with him this weekend as my husband is out of town until late tomorrow night at a missions event. I honestly am surprised I've had as much online time as I have today and I don't want to commit to a discussion here unless I can actually be present for it. I've offered to talk to anyone by email that wants to and the offer still stands. I'm jen at grace-filled dot net and I don't bite.

    Thank you Leila for being charitable about all of this and encouraging me to try again at posting my response. I enjoyed all the blogging for Reese's Rainbow that you did during Lent and I have Orphan Report on my Google reader.

  49. @Kara: I didn't see her request until a few minutes ago. I'm also not the only one to have made that mistake.

    @Michelle: thank you.

  50. Your concerns regarding tone and turning people off to Catholicism are valid as well, though I would probably attribute that more to the facts of Catholicism than to Leila's presentation of them.
    This made me smile, Michelle! I hope to keep proclaiming those facts as clearly as I apparently have been. :) With so many entering the Church each year, specifically because the message of Jesus Christ (the real message, not Andrew Sullivan's teddy bear Jesus), it does make me scratch my head about the "people being turned off" to Catholicism. It's really quite vibrant and growing where I am. The big parish I belong to was standing room only for Holy Week, and so many, many young people and families! I doubt that the Episcopal churches, for example, had those numbers and that demographic.

    Jen, thanks, and I hope you feel better. I"m glad your thoughts are out there, and I would just remind you and everyone that policy issues (like "What is the best way to help the poor?" which can have many answers) would never, ever, under any circumstance, trump a human being's legal and moral right to be alive and be safe from a killer. I said legal and not just moral, because laws are a huge part of what protect any of us (including little helpless ones) from being killed by others who seek to harm us. Wouldn't you agree? And any man who would leave babies out to die without medical help, even when they survived an attempt to abort them, is not morally fit to be a leader of a nation. There is something "off" there. Even NARAL and PP didn't go that far. But Obama has and does.

    Also, the Church teaches that the death penalty should not be utilized in almost any circumstance today (modern world), but that ultimately its the decision of the state. A very clear teaching of Catholicism is that the death penalty, while ill-advised in most cases, is not intrinsically evil. Abortion, on the other hand, is intrinsically evil. If you could please be clear on that teaching of my Church.

    Here is what the Church (popes and bishops) have said about the "non-negotiables" and Christians in the public square:

    I am glad you have the Orphan Report in your reader! Thank you! It is so near and dear to my heart. Those children are so loved by God, and so precious, made in His image. One day, I am really going to probe some of Michelle's statements about the "joy of being on this wonderful earth!" as an atheist, when the suffering of so many is so unfathomably great. But that is something to stay tuned for, as I don't want to spell out my arguments here, yet.

  51. Michelle, thanks for looking up that link. I'd hate to rehash it (I am finding that it's harder and harder for me to sit at the computer and answer stuff as often as I used to).

  52. JoAnna, I believe it was the abortion provider who was considered to be breaking the law (not quite sure what the actual consequences were, I'm sure it's out there somewhere), but I mostly meant to ask what your ideal situation would be - what you think it should be, and how it'd differ (or not) from an otherwise identical situation with a born child.

    Personally, I am fine with the penalties just as they were before Roe v Wade.

    Michelle, there is a judge in Canada who let a woman get off scott free after she killed her born child (baby). He said it was pretty much okay what she did because it was so similar to abortion, which Canada accepts as morally fine. What do you think of his reasoning. Shade of Peter Singer, but he has a point, right? Do you believe the lady should have been charged for the strangulation death of her newborn?

    Here is the beginning of the story:

    An Alberta judge has let a woman who strangled her newborn son walk free by arguing that Canada’s absence of a law on abortion signals that Canadians “sympathize” with the mother.

    “We live in a country where there is no protection for children in the womb right up until birth and now this judge has extended the protection for the perpetrator rather than the victim, even though the child is born and as such should be protected by the court,” said Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

    Katrina Effert of Wetaskiwin, Alberta gave birth secretly in her parents’ downstairs bathroom on April 13, 2005, and then later strangled the newborn and threw his body over a fence. She was 19 at the time.

    You can find the rest, here:

  53. Michelle, Prior to Roe v. Wade the doctors and abortion providers were punished criminally not the mothers. The idea is not to traumatize or make an example of a woman who made an emotionally-laden decision but to prohibit the loss of life and the exploitation of women. A prosecutor doesn't gain anything for the State/Society by tossing the woman in jail except for a public relations nightmare.

    Leila- Thanks for posting the picture. All I can say is "Wow!" I don't normally "get" art but that.......that is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. The baby forgave his mom and he still exists!

    Jen- Leila is spirited that's what makes her so much fun to read. I'm sure some might be taken back at the strength of her words but to lay at her feet the idea she's turning away those that would otherwise embrace Catholicism.....that's a little dramatic, don't you think?

    Most Catholics do not mince words until we deal with our separated brethren. We tend to be more carefully when talking to our protestant cousins because a) we know the Catholic teachings are often misunderstood and b) our Pope told us to play nicely in the sandbox.

    But when Catholics are among themselves, we don't talk that way. Maybe it is a cultural thing- we just don't appear to be as sensitive to tough love, blunt, matter-of-fact tone. In fact, most priests I've encounter are far, far, far worse than Leila in dosing out the tough-love.

    (Please understand, I'm not saying we all talk the same way. Just in our neck of the woods- Leila isn't out of line.)

  54. Ugh, sorry for the typos. Why do we never see them until after the comment is publish? - Kat

  55. Aw, thanks StarFireKK! And, I hear ya on the typos!

  56. Jen,

    Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response. I'm not aware of whatever history there may be with your commenting here, but in my opinion, in this instance, I would not consider you a troll...for what that's worth.

  57. It's interesting that you say Catholicism is vibrant and growing where you are, and I was about to say that I see increased atheism/agnosticism where I am (probably just by virtue of being on a big, liberal college campus). Looked it up, and AZ does seem to be becoming more Catholic, and my state appears to have little change.

    It's not too important what I think, since we all know you find my positions inconsistent. But you all pride yourselves on consistency, so I mostly want to understand why, if a fetus is morally indistinguishable from a 4, 10, 20, 50, or 90-year-old, seeking out and getting an abortion would not be something society should want to punish. If, say, Mississippi's personhood bill were passed on a national scale (which, correct me if I'm wrong, would reflect your belief that personhood begins at conception), why would you make a legal distinction between abortion and murder?

    If a fetus is equivalent to an adult, if abortion is murder, and murder of an adult is something society stands to gain from punishing, I truly can't understand why you wouldn't want to punish a woman who got an abortion as an accomplice.

  58. Michelle, then clearly you don't understand that Catholicism is all about mercy and healing and salvation. We Catholics are the ones who offer myriad ministries and help for the women who have been victims of abortion, and who are struggling in the aftermath of the horror of abortion. So many ministries, so many outreaches, so many prayers, so much help and love and forgiveness offered. Wouldn't it, in fact, be inconsistent if we were screaming for the heads (or prosecution) of these women? Especially as they have been utterly lied to, and told that this is not a baby, but a blob of tissue? What is inconsistent? Abortion makes many victims. The obvious ones (like the dead little girl whose picture I showed you, the one you couldn't be sure if she needed love or death "depends on the circumstances of her killing"), and then the other victims of abortion: The grieving mothers. Did you see the sculpture above? What do you think of it?

    Now if you could answer my question about the Canadian woman who strangled her newborn? Thanks!

  59. And yes, I would expect to find much secularism and atheism on a big, liberal campus. Not a shocker. Also, remember, because of that secularism, the western world is dying. The Church is growing and vibrant in many other places and continents. We are a universal Church (as we should be, if Jesus is God!) and the individual dioceses will grow or shrink depending on many factors, most specifically the orthodoxy and faith of her members. And, of course, the blood of the martyrs (of which there were more in the last century than any other in Christendom) are the "seed of the Church." So, we are doing okay! :)

  60. Leila, wouldn't you say that Catholicism is all about mercy and healing and salvation with the crucial addition: for the repenting sinner? If someone blithely goes about their sex life without being open to life, then becomes pregnant, seeks an abortion because it doesn't suit their life plans, wouldn't you say there is guilt involved here, which if unrepented ought to be punished (by God? society?)? I am very uneasy writing this, but I would also resist the temptation to automatically victimize the woman who aborts (though she often is a victim). A poor analogy that came to mind is the Swedish anti-prostitution law, which only penalizes the john, not the prostitute. She is free to solicit "business", but not accountable, always considered a victim. Very often, she will indeed be a victim, and I would agree that hardly any woman enjoys being a prostitute. But many who would have alternative ways of making a living choose not to, for a variety of reasons. Should the woman not be equally accountable for immoral behavior, if it is illegal? Of course prostitution will always exist, just as drug abuse and abortion always will. But should we make it easier by legalizing it? Shouldn't there be accountability from both providers and users? I'm grappling with this concept, and I am sure someone has a pertinent answer why I am wrong. Thanks!

  61. Sebastian, I hear you, and yes, there are some women who may be just that evil to kill their unborn child with full consent of the will (and full knowledge). Of course, God will only forgive those who want forgiveness! But the idea that the Church (or Catholics) would be lobbying suddenly for these women to be thrown in jail, when that has never been our stance, seems odd. I like how StarFireKK put it, above, just speaking generally about the prudential nature of such a path:

    Michelle, Prior to Roe v. Wade the doctors and abortion providers were punished criminally not the mothers. The idea is not to traumatize or make an example of a woman who made an emotionally-laden decision but to prohibit the loss of life and the exploitation of women. A prosecutor doesn't gain anything for the State/Society by tossing the woman in jail except for a public relations nightmare.

    I can't speak to the prostitution issue, or why the citizens there wanted their laws to fall out that way. Not every immoral act should be illegal (Aquinas, right?). We know that. But with abortion, the bottom line of the law should be to protect the lives of citizens. If prosecuting the abortionists accomplishes that end, then there is no need to go the step further and take the time and money and effort to prosecute the women (most in desperation or being coerced) as well. Doesn't seem prudential at all.

    Does that make sense?

  62. Leila, yes that makes sense, many thanks! Just to be clear, I wasn't implying that the Church was lobbying for the punishment of those women, nor was I sure I would advocate it. It's clearer now!

  63. Sebastian, thanks! And, I totally understand. :)

  64. Michelle, while I've got you here, let me ask you. Take a look at this girl (fourteen years old, in the condition she is in because of abuse and starvation and neglect):

    In your opinion, is this girl fully human? Is she a human being like you, for example? And, if you say that she is a human being, is she also a person (because I know you make a distinction between humans and people)? And if she is a person, is she a person like you? Does she have full human rights and innate human dignity, as you do?

    I'm sincerely interested. Thanks!

  65. No, I don't understand. Every crime, on some level, is emotion-laden. Why not offer help and love and forgiveness to the woman who orders the murder of her born child? Why not offer the same to someone who kills anyone else? What I see in your answer is an enormous disconnect - if, as I said earlier, a fetus is a person and an abortion is a murder, then truly the only logical response is that getting an abortion should be legally indistinguishable from having someone kill your born child. Where did I go wrong there?

    If it makes more sense, consider if abortion had been illegal for, say, a decade. Every woman knows that, regardless of what she's been told, it's illegal and equivalent to murder. Why would you treat abortion and murder differently?

    (And, as I said before, this isn't about my own viewpoints, which I know you find inconsistent and which we've discussed before. I'm only trying to understand the logic behind yours right now.)

  66. (As for the 14-year-old, yes to both, and it's great that that family is going to adopt her. I also meant to tell you that I'm impressed by the work you're doing with Reece's Rainbow, and I think it's excellent. Not meaning to be rude, but I'm not going to answer any other questions about dignity/personhood because I really, really just want to get to the bottom of my question without cluttering the discussion with my own viewpoints. Really, they're irrelevant right now. I just want to understand yours.)

  67. Michelle, Sebastian was confused, too, and now understands. I don't know if I can be more clear.

    As for knowledge… If the schools finally educated students on the humanity of the unborn, and if the media told the truth about abortion (ha ha!), and the nation understood that abortion is murder, and if abortion had been made unthinkable and illegal, and if there were no abortionists (because they were in jail or retired) and if, decades into this new era of truth and inclusion of all human beings to the table of life, a woman committed an abortion on herself, then yes, I think there could be charges then, and a judge would determine what the culpability would be (as in any such case even today… I believe women can be charged today with self-abortion, no?). Also, there are other remedies in that instance… including community service, education, etc. Again, depending on the woman's mental state. Sound fair?

    You said, "Why not offer help and love and forgiveness to the woman who orders the murder of her born child?" Well, I actually have seen that happen. Cases of mental illness, for example, and hey, look at the Canadian case! By the way, love and forgiveness often comes with legal penalties as well. Why are they mutually exclusive in your mind? Think of the origin of the word "penitentiary".

    Now, if you could answer my question about the Canadian case. It's relevant. I want your views.

    Also, why does the 14-year-old have equal status to you? Thanks!

  68. That's a bit more consistent. I do think the general resistance to placing blame on the woman is indicative of some inconsistency and/or acknowledgement that fetuses aren't equivalent to adults, but I think for now this is reasonable. Thanks!

    They aren't mutually exclusive, necessarily, but when someone is considered to present a sufficient danger to others (usually murderers fall into this category) they aren't welcomed back into society. While individuals may love and forgive them, and in some cases they may deserve it, you would not hear a judge give a guilty verdict and a sentence of love and forgiveness. There has to be a balance between addressing the suffering of the criminal and addressing the wrong done to society.

    I'm not sure on the Canadian case, because to me it is different from abortion (pre-viability), but I do think she should be charged. Were I in your position (making no distinction between fetuses and adults), then yes, the judge's response would be consistent. He would also be justified in acquitting any murder, though.

    As for the 14-year-old, if she has any mental capacity/awareness, then why not?

    Alright. I unfortunately must drop out of the conversation - like I said at the beginning, no time! Thanks for the responses!

  69. How do you know that the girl in the orphanage has any more awareness than this girl (had she not been murdered):

  70. And if she had no real awareness (the 14-year-old) would she cease to be human? Or just cease to be a person?

  71. I'm doing a kamikaze email check while my son takes apart the linen closet.

    LJP/Sew: Thanks.

    Leila: thanks for responding.

    1. Jen: Thanks for what? For the record I do not agree... ;)

  72. Jen, I think Sew's first comment was agreeing with my original post.

  73. Michelle - by your logic, if a man who shoots another in self- defense doesn't get the same penalty as a man who shoots another in revenge, it means we don't value the lives of the two victims equally.

  74. "Every crime, on some level, is emotion-laden. Why not offer help and love and forgiveness to the woman who orders the murder of her born child? Why not offer the same to someone who kills anyone else? "

    We do.

    Historically "Crimes of passion" come with reduce sentences because it is less likely the person will commit the crime again.

    We also allow defenses of diminished mental capacity which include but are not limited to: temporary insanity, battered-wife syndrome, postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    I'm sorry you see a disconnect but it really isn't there. Law doesn't have unlimited resources they aren't going to spend time investigating and prosecuting a group of people that 90% of the time are going to have a compelling defense.

  75. Every crime, on some level, is emotion-laden. Why not offer help and love and forgiveness to the woman who orders the murder of her born child? Why not offer the same to someone who kills anyone else?

    As, in "we" Catholics/the Church don't/doesn't offer forgiveness, etc? False.
    The Church will always leave the door open for spiritual healing.

    If you're commenting on the law of the land, then you have degrees of punishment doled out according to the court system. That's neither here nor there as pertains to the Church nor her members.

    It's a nebulous point.
    There is no disconnect as far as grace and forgiveness mercy and healing which are freely extended through the Church to every single person on this earth.

  76. Leila,

    Thanks again for all that you do. I adore that amazing statue you posted. Hoping you're having a marvelous Easter Season!

  77. catholic bubble leia. i appreciate your satire, i appreciate your heart, i appreciate this blog, and gives me more courage to stand up to Truth.

  78. I don't understand why the death penalty is not "intrinsically" evil.
    @Kara: California has over 36 million people in it--I don't think it's logical to assume anything about any ONE individual because they are from California. Also, there are more CATHOLICS in California that there are members of any other Christian group or religious group.

    1. Because the State has the legitimate right to protect its citizens from harm. Back in the day before maximum security prisons, sometimes the only way for the State to protect the populace from dangerous criminals was to execute them.

      Are there more people in CA who identify as Catholic than any other religious group? Probable, especially given that Hispanic people traditionally identify as Catholic, and CA has a large Hispanic population. However, like being pro-life, there are many people who IDENTIFY as Catholic but don't practice their faith (Nancy Pelosi, for example).

  79. Johanne, here's how the Catechism puts it:

    Legitimate defense

    2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not."

    2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

    If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's.

    2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

    2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

    2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."

    Expanded here:

  80. Thank you. This makes sense to me. What I understand this to say is that if life in prison without the possibility of parole is available than the death penalty would not be allowed (according to Catholicism). This seems especially important in light of the fact that some people have been exonerated years of horrible crimes years after their conviction due to DNA evidence.

    This same argument, by the way, is one of the arguments made by pro-choice people.

    @Joanna. Yes , that is true that more people in CA identify as Catholic. Though I'm not sure of the relevance of your comment about some people not living by their Catholic faith, unless you are saying that is more commonly true of Catholics in California than Catholics in other states. I don't where Nancy Pelosi is from.

    As an aside, as a non-Catholic, I only know if someone SAYS they're a Catholic--I can't evaluate whether or not they are living out their faith. For all I know YOU are not a "real" Catholic. I don't mean in any way to imply that you're not, and it's not anyone's obligation to offer their credentials to me, or anyone else. I'm just sharing my bemusement when I hear religious folks claim that other members of their faith are not "real" members of their faith. At times I have described conversations I've been a part of on "The Bubble" to other Catholics and have been told you sound like members of a "fringe." I'm not saying they're accurate, I'm just saying it's confusing. I guess that's why there are so many religions and so many sects within those religions. People feel a need to find their niche.

  81. @Johanne, it's because Kara said, "California is full of misguided individuals" and your response to that was that California has the largest percentage of Catholics. Sure, it may have the largest percentage of people that IDENTIFY AS Catholics, but that's different than people who actually identify as Catholic and practice their Catholicism.

    If I was out at Burger King, and I saw someone who self-identified as a vegetarian eating a Whopper, I wouldn't consider them a vegetarian even if they self-identified as one.

    And it's actually pretty easy to identify who is living their Catholic faith and who is not, because the beauty of our Catholic faith is fully available for all to read in the Catechism. Therefore, if you come across a Catholic blogger teaching against a truth as explained in the Catechism, that's one example of a person who is not living out their Catholic faith in that respect, even if they identify as Catholic.

    If you go through the archives of the Bubble, you will not find a single post that rejects any element of the Catechism, so you can be sure that Leila not only identifies as Catholic but also practices her faith in all aspects. Not one of us is perfect in our practice, because we are all sinners, but there's a difference between failing to live up to a teaching that we recognize as valid and rejecting that teaching wholeheartedly.

    Nancy Pelosi, incidentally, is from California. She is also someone who self-identifies as Catholic but thoroughly and wholeheartedly rejects many aspects of Catholic teaching as found in the Catechism, and moreover is on public record as doing so. As a consequence of her public words and actions, she has been instructed by her bishop not to present herself for the Eucharist, and should not be considered an authentic source for Catholic teaching.

  82. JoAnna, thank you. Well put. It's pretty easy to know what the Church teaches. It's very clear and available. If folks think that I or JoAnna, for example, are part of a "fringe", then they'd have to think that the Pope is a "fringe" Catholic, too. Of course, they probably do think that, ha ha! But unfortunately for them, the Pope is in actuality the touchstone of Catholic orthodoxy. Want to know what is authentic Catholicism? It's adherence to the teachings of the Magisterium, which is the Body of Bishops in union with the Pope. An opinion which contradicts those teachings? That is what is inauthentic. Your friends may not know that, and it doesn't surprise me. If you read my reversion story, you'll see that most American Catholics are woefully ignorant of what the Church is, what Church teachings are, and what it means to be a Catholic.

    That's why I started teaching 17 years ago (when I finally figured it out myself) and that's why I have this blog.

  83. By the way, here is a litmus test if you want to know if a Catholic friend has any clue about the Church and her teachings. Ask how she feels about infallibility, contraception and women priests. If she laughs or says that she does not believe those teachings (or thinks they are outdated and dumb), then she does not understand the nature of the Church. In fact, she stands outside the authority of the Church and in opposition to it. To be a faithful Catholic means, at the very least, knowing that the Church is not a democracy, but is a revealed and received religion. It also requires humility and obedience. And, finally, it requires, at minimum, weekly Sunday mass attendance and attendance on Holy Days, and reception of the Sacraments. One other question you might ask is how often (if ever) they go to the Sacrament of Confession. The response you get could tell you a lot.

    Again, so many of us understand that kind of ignorance (because we were there), but their word should not be taken as authoritative or knowledgable.

    If the guy eating the Big Mac said he was a practicing vegetarian, It'd give you pause... I don't think you would be confused about whether or not he was a practicing vegetarian.

  84. Or how about this:

    You have two people standing in front of you, Paula and Amy.

    Both say they are practicing Catholics.

    Paula is for abortion rights and gay marriage and does not attend weekly mass and does not go to Confession and thinks the Pope is an old man, out of touch. She uses contraception and never bothered to get married in the Church.

    Amy says that abortion is intrinsically evil, is against the redefinition of traditional marriage, gets to mass every week and on Holy Days, frequents confession, loves the Pope and submits to his authority on the teachings of our Faith, wouldn't think of using artificial contraception and has a sacramental marriage.

    Paula says Amy is a "fringe" Catholic. But Amy lives her life in concert with Church teachings (and when she falls, she gets to confession).

    Can you tell which Catholic is living according to the Church, and which one has actually rejected Church teaching? I don't think it's too confusing, if we just look at it on its face.

    (Again, not judging individual souls… just pointing out that it's not as confusing as it first may seem, determining who is living as a faithful Catholic and who is in the "fringe" -- or dissenting -- camp.)

  85. Also, Johanne, you said this:

    This same argument, by the way, is one of the arguments made by pro-choice people.

    Actually, no. It's not the same self-defense argument. The Church is very clear (and we all know) that a helpless baby can never be an aggressor. The iron-clad principle is that we are never morally allowed to directly kill an innocent human being. And self-defense can only be used in the case of an aggressor. So, both of those points come together very clearly to a 100% pro-life stance.

    Abortion advocates try to argue that one may kills a defenseless baby in "self-defense" but that is illogical on its face.

  86. If a woman wants to kill her baby due to "self-defense," then by all means lets give the unborn due process of law prior to their executions. I'd love to see PP et al charge and prosecute an unborn child for attempted murder.

  87. Leila
    Sorry to let this drop. I've been traveling. Re: the guy eating a big mac. yes, I'd know he was not a vegetarian but that's because I know meat when I see it! :) Not so with many Catholic practices.

    Regards to the abortion argument. You're right---that is not a direct analogy. I meant the argument of self-preservation, of having the right to protect one's own life. Thanks.

  88. Johanne, did you read my latest post? I think you will find the discussion interesting as it's based around one of your comments. I'd love to have your Catholic friends pipe in with their thoughts. Thanks!

  89. PS: Motherly instinct is always to protect the life of her child even before her own. That is a beautiful thing about women and motherhood….

  90. Also, which Catholic practices is it hard to know about? Maybe you could mention them on the newer post….

  91. Dismemberment is an ugly word, but that is the ugly truth of abortion.


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