This is the piece you are gonna want to read…

…if you are trying to think through the question of abortion, “Eucharistic coherence”, voting and all that, particularly in light of the possibility that SCOTUS is about to finally hand the “prolife” movement the pyrrhic victory of overturning Roe. The fantasy that this will magick away abortion is of a piece with the entire right wing fantasy that law can change hearts and minds. It will not. So if you are a Catholic who wants to actually think with the Church, or a prolifer who wants to actually save lives and not simply impose a regime founded on force, fear, blood, and iron that will, soon and very soon, be destroyed by a democracy that has had it up to here with MAGA antichrist religion, this is my crie de coeur. It is directed to those Catholics who still a) think with the Church and not with the GOP talking points and b) still think that before a democracy changes, free citizens have to be persuaded, not have policies rammed down their throats by fanatics.

Only 13% of Americans want to outlaw abortion. As long as that remains the case, the entire project of trying ram it down the throats of 87% of their fellow citizens will remain an inherently authoritarian project as doomed as Prohibition. Here’s just the start, but please read the whole piece and give it some thought:

American Bishops are struggling with the idea of “eucharistic coherence.” The issue presented to them is, in a nutshell, what to do about politicians (most obviously, the observant Catholic President Joseph Biden) who hold a pro-choice position on the question of abortion. Should they be subject to some as-yet-to-be-defined discipline? 

The argument put forward seems very simple to a portion of American Catholics: How can you square what the proponents of this move term “support for abortion” with a Catholic faith that teaches abortion to be an “abominable crime” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271)? 

On the other hand, many Catholics see the move as an attempt to politicize and even weaponize the Eucharist on behalf of a shortsighted political agenda that does not deal with the enormous social, political, theological, and moral complexities of the American Church. 

Among this latter group would appear to be the pope himself. In a recent interview, when he was asked about “bishops who want to deny Communion to the president and others who hold office,” Pope Francis flatly declared: “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone, to anyone. I don’t know if anyone in that condition came, but I never, never refused the Eucharist. As a priest, that is. Never.” 

Pope Francis then added: “The problem is not the theological problem—that is simple—the problem is the pastoral problem: How do we bishops deal with this principle pastorally? And if we look at the history of the Church, we will see that every time the bishops have dealt with a problem not as pastors, they have taken a political stance on a political problem. . . . What must the pastor do? Be a pastor. Be a pastor and don’t go around condemning. . . . But if he goes out of the pastoral dimension of the Church, he immediately becomes a politician: You see this in all the accusations, in all the non-pastoral condemnations the Church makes.” 

I am not a bishop and will not presume to tell them their job. But I am, I hope, a faithful member of the flock—as well as a citizen of the United States charged by the Church with the job of actively participating in our democracy. As a layperson, it actually falls to me, far more than to the Church’s shepherds, to do the work of sanctifying the secular order. I do this out of a desire to protect human life from conception to natural death as the Church teaches. 

At the altar, the priest presides. But in the world, we laity preside. So when the bishops contemplate barring a president of a secular nation-state from the Eucharist on the grounds of “eucharistic coherence,” this directly impinges on what the Church itself declares to be my proper sphere of authority as a layman and citizen called to involvement in our political process. 

The rest is here. My prayer is that this will help contribute to a national conversation that is long past due in the Church. Let me know what you think in the comboxes.

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96 Responses

  1. I agree with changing of minds being of higher importance than changing laws. But that doesn’t mean changing laws isn’t important. This will almost certainly save lives. There will be women who think twice about having the abortion if it’s illegal. There will be some who go to the clinic, find it’s closed, and think twice and decide to keep the child.
    How many? Hard to say. Maybe not many, but if even one life is saved, it isn’t a pyrrhic victory.

    I’m just as appalled at you are at the MAGA world and devolution of American conservative Christianity, but I’m able to give credit where it’s due. This is a good thing. It’s a good thing done by the political right and opposed vigorously by the political left. Ironically it was facilitated largely by man who doesn’t have a pro-life bone in his body, but it’s still a good thing.

    1. This will not save lives. Women will die because of this. Just like Agnieszka T. in Poland. Just like Savita Halappanavar in Ireland. Or like Ana almost did out in Texas, when she had to take a right flight to Colorado to terminate a wanted pregnancy because no Texan doctor could take care of her (https://www.wbur.org/npr/1083536401/texas-abortion-law-6-months). Or like the wife of Senator Peters, who almost died when her original doctor denied her an abortion and she had to have an emergency procedure from a different doctor (https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/13/gary-peters-abortion-story/). Our like so many women who have dangerous pregnancies who want children, but are will now be forced to carry their tragedies for months.

      Women die when they don’t have access to abortion, and that blood is on the hands of every bishop and priest who has never had to face the choice of a dangerous pregnancy. All those clergy who have never raised a family, who have never stayed up all night with a sick toddler, who have never once understood the risks of pregnancy. And maternal mortality is increasing in the United States! Women are more likely to die from childbirth today than they were 30 years ago! I was disgusted when the bishops fought access to health care with their “Fortnight for Freedom”. I stopped attending church when they tacitly endorsed Trump. Now, I will never accept a sacrament from their filthy hands ever again. I would rather burn eternally than worship the small, mean, petty, spiteful god they claim. You can starve the hungry, drive out the refugee, neglect the sick, impoverish the poor, poison the water of those who thirst, and execute the imprisoned, but as long as you oppose abortion, you are sanctified in the eyes of the hierarchy. I pray that in 50 years, all that remains of their churches are museums, shopping malls, and ruins.

      1. JM Rouh wrote “Women die when they don’t have access to abortion” Read the late Dr Bernard Nathanson “The Hand of God”. He was an abortionist, political suppporter of legalized abortion, and one of the founders of NARAL. He later had a change of heart. In his book, the wrote about how he and the other abortionist made up out of whole cloth the number of women who died from illegal abortions.

      2. Wow, there was a lot of anger in your response. You just might get your wish of burning eternally.
        To your point that women die when they don’t have abortions
        1. There is a death with almost every abortion, the child.
        2. There are many cases where women and almost all the children die during an abortion.
        3. Many women who have abortions suffer afterwards a lifetime of depression and quite a few attempt and and succeed with suicide.
        4. If the law is changed, it is not outlawing abortion nationwide. It is putting it back in the hands of the state for the voting people of that state to elect officials who will decide the law.

      3. Stop politicizing things that have nothing to do with legality of abortion. The first publicized case in Poland was in September last year. When it turned out that the cause of the mother’s death was because of appalling state of the hospital she was admitted to, her case was suddenly hushed. The hospital was previously already investigated and penalized several years ago because of conditions within and they were not improved.
        (If you want to politicize the case, hospitals are in the care of local governments and that particular one is in opposition to the ruling party in Poland.)

        The second case, Agnieszka T. in Częstochowa is ongoing since December 2021. She was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain. The first of her twins died and a week later, the second. There are vivid descriptions how she was left with a rotting corpse inside her, which, according to medical experts, is simply untrue. A uterus is a sterile environment and has no bacteria that would cause rotting. In a normal pregnancy if the fetus dies in the first trimester, it will desiccate and there will be a miscarriage within 1-2 weeks which will look like a particularly plentiful period. There is typically no indication for manual removal of the dead fetus in the first trimester unless there is no spontaneous miscarriage.
        In multiple pregnancies, manual removal of a dead twin is always counterindicated. In case the pregnancy is sufficiently mature, the surviving twin is delivered pre-term.
        If the pregnancy is not sufficiently mature, the mother is monitored until the surviving twin is brought to term.
        In the first trimester, manual removal is counterindicated if it cannot be ascertained that the twins did not share the amniotic sac. Even if they didn’t, there is very high risk of breaking breaking water which carries a very significant risk of miscarriage and is considered medical malpractice.

        I can’t speak for the other two cases, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were similar.

      4. And just one more comment

        Your argument stems from a complete lack of understanding what abortion entails.

        This is not a question of biology. An embryo and a fetus are biologically a separate human being. Genetically, also the placenta is a separate being with a different genetic code.
        Claiming that a fetus is part of a woman’s body is essentially the same as claiming that a tapeworm is part of its host’s body.

        This is not a question of biology or genetics. Abortion ends the life of a human being. Whether this is acceptable or not is a question of philosophy, theology and ethics. If you deny the personhood of a growing embryo/fetus in utero, it’s acceptable. If you accept its personhood, abortion is murder.

        Now, even if you accept the personhood of the growing child, whether this murder is permissible or not is another question of ethics. Capital punishment is permissible in some places and I don’t think anyone questions the personhood of the death row inmate (though the classical argument for capital punishment does mention voluntary shedding of personhood by the accused perpetrator once he or she commits a crime that carries capital punishment).

        I also want to comment regarding this: “I would rather burn eternally than worship the small, mean, petty, spiteful god they claim”.
        There’s human life on one plate, what equivalent value do you place on the other plate to balance it out?
        Mother’s life? Abortion legislation worldwide holds that mother’s life is superior to that of her child. This is in line with medical principles that a known quality (mother’s life) is superior to an unknown quality (fetus’s life) and that since the developing fetus is dependent on the mother, her death will result in the fetus’s death, too.
        Nobody is asking expecting mothers to make a heroic decision to hold off potentially teratogenic or lethal therapy.

        But if it’s no longer the question of mother’s life, well, the balance is suddenly no longer so obvious. If you start factoring in life quality of the mother if she bears a child that she can hardly support, well, you could say the same about a tenant that cannot afford the rent and rather than move to a smaller apartment, he prefers to murder his landlord.

        And it goes further if you realize that some women have an abortion because they don’t want to have to stay up, because they don’t want to change diapers, they don’t want morning sickness or stretch marks, or because they want to participate in Olympic games. East German female athletes were impregnated three months before big events and underwent abortions 2-2.5 months later (just before the event) which resulted in a performance boost that was undetectable by anti-doping testing (even if it was detectable, it would not be distinguishable from a miscarriage and it would be absurd to punish women for a miscarriage just because it might be a state-funded performance-enhancing program.

        My point is, once you get into the question of motivation for abortion that goes beyond “mother’s life is at stake” and you start judging whether an abortion is justified or not, the answer is that it probably isn’t, and you’re looking for validation, not justification.

    2. It is perhaps “ironic” to us that a certain man played a part in this. I rather think God likes it this way, to answer the prayers of sinners by the hand of sinners.

  2. There is no ”on the one hand Catholics who adhere to the Church’s teaching on the legality of abortion” and ”on the other hand Catholics who are wary about politicizing the Eucharist”. This stuff only exists in the mind of political hacks on both sides.

    The Church’s teaching on the legality of abortion is clear enough. Those who ”think with the Church” oppose it. Period. Any Catholic who wishes to engage in politics knows this. Biden is wrong. The Democratic Party platform is wrong.

    The matter of Biden receiving the Eucharist is a different matter altogether, pastorally and in matters of canon law. Whatever one’s view on this matter, it does not change the above. Insinuating that the Pope, who is clearly on the side of the more pastoral approach, also would sign up to the Dem’s platform on abortion, is ludicrous.

    Finally, the ”so many percent oppose this or that” argument is false. First of all, that’s not how a representative democracy works. Roughly 21 states, if not more would ban abortion after Roe is gone, and that’s perfectly legitimate. Second, the argument is a morally defunct. Since when does the Church’s teach that we are to align our personal and political lives with whatever opinion currently has a majority? If that’s the case, stuff the migrants at the border in camps in Rwanda, I say. That is already being proposed, you say? Yes it is, and it’s perfectly valid for a Catholic to vote for those who propose it, I suppose? Authority of the layman and polling numbers, amirite?

    1. The Church’s teaching on the *legality* of abortion is, painfully obviously, not clear at all. It’s teaching on the morality of abortion, like its teaching on the morality of habitual drunkenness, or the evil of war, or the existence of poverty, or the right to health care is clear enough. But its teaching on how to eliminate these evils and achieve these goods is enormously complex and filled with ambiguity, indecision, and confusion. That is why bishops are trying to figure out stuff like “Eucharistic coherence” and have to deliberate it and try to come to a prudential judgment.

      1. @ Mark Shea

        I, and others, in our comments here, have provided ample evidence of the Church’s clear and unambiguous stance on the legality of abortion, and of the role of the politically active catholic in this matter. That includes quotes from the CCC, the USCCB and Pope Francis.

        Do not confuse this matter with the matter of Biden receiving communion. Biden is clearly wrong when talking about abortion, but whether he should be denied communion is a secondary issue, and many, including the Pope, have weighed in on this. As far as I can judge, the prelates have by and large settled for ”the local Bishop decides”.

      2. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19741118_declaration-abortion_en.html

        11. The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others: all discrimination is evil, whether it be founded on race, sex, color or religion. It is not recognition by another that constitutes this right. This right is antecedent to its recognition; it demands recognition and it is strictly unjust to refuse it.

        22. It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.

      3. “A law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion is in itself immoral.” CDF Declaration on Procured Abortion, 1974

      4. There is no ambiguity, indecision, or confusion in the Church’s teaching about whether abortion may be legal: it may not. Civil authorities *must* ban abortion through criminal law. It’s right there in the Catechism. Any Catholic who says that abortion should not be a criminal offense is wrong. Any Catholic who directly and purposefully works to prevent the criminalization of abortion defies the Church and commits mortal sin.

        There is room for debate on who should be punished (doctors clearly yes, maybe not mothers) and in what amount (clearly a $10 fine is insufficient, but capital punishment is off-limits), and what factors might mitigate guilt (more leniency for impoverished single rape victims; less leniency for married lawyers for whom a baby would prevent them from making partner).

        Criminal law cannot by itself eliminate abortion, and we must do much more to build a culture of life. But the Church teaches that criminalization of abortion must be part of the approach. The position that abortion should be legal is not one that a Catholic may hold.

      5. Your mad cult of death is going to push for the arrest, trial, jailing and execution of post-abortive and miscarrying women. Every single woman who ever miscarried and had a D&C will be in your crosshairs and have to prove she is not a murderer. You guys are nuts.

  3. “The Church’s teaching on the legality of abortion is clear enough.”

    Really? Where, exactly, can I find the Vatican’s prescribed legislation regarding abortion?

    It appears that you are confusing legality with morality, something that can happen when one is writing in a huff and not thinking things through. I suggest that you go for a walk, smell some flowers, and then consider things more calmly. And maybe take a moment to make fun of Mark, for spending the past 10 years assuring us that Roe would never be overturned.

    – joel

    1. Never read “Evangelium Vitae” by Pope St. John Paul 11?

      “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it.”

      “[W]hen it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil.aspects.”

      John Paul indicates that a lawmaker can vote for a more restrictive abortion law, but adds two conditions: It can be done only if “it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law,” and the lawmaker’s “absolute personal opposition to procured abortion [is] well known.”

    2. 2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation :

      “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.” 80

      “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”

      That will do, I guess? Also, spare me the psycho babble. If I make a mistake, you point it out, like Striker did yesterday. I’m more than willing to admit I do make mistakes.

      1. Good Lord, I stand corrected. I really didn’t think the Church mandated anti-abortion legislation. Prohibiting abortions among their own adherents is one thing, but prohibiting abortions for everybody in society is something else entirely.

        I’ve been saying for years that, in spite of the Church’s many glaring flaws, they at least weren’t stupid. I now have to backpedal that. No free country can enforce an abortion ban and remain free, and I have now learned that the Vatican isn’t smart enough to see that.

        – joel

      2. @joel:

        This is no different from affirming/denying the right to life of any other category of people, be it prisoners, people of a different color, religion or age.

        If you’re fine with denying the right to life for unborn humans because you consider that category as “not a person”, I understand you would also be fine if there was a religion “Aaaism” that claimed adherents to “Baaism” are not persons and if Aaaists gain a government majority, they can institute legislation that will deny Baaists voting rights, then it will deprive them of property, freedom and finally will give Aaaists the right to kill a Baaist on sight.

        Just a different optic that you’re free not to share.

    3. @ Joel

      That’s always been the issue, and that was my beef with ben as well. I think ”what you like to prohibit should apply to your own group and what I like to prohibit applies to all” is not a tenable position. It doesn’t work on an interpersonal basis and it is detrimental to a democracy.

      1. Five Parrots in a Shoe wrote “Prohibiting abortions among their own adherents is one thing, but prohibiting abortions for everybody in society is something else entirely.”
        Artevelde wrote ” what you like to prohibit should apply to your own group and what I like to prohibit applies to all” is not a tenable position.”

        In 1962, after warnings over several years Archbishop Rummel of New Orleans excommunicated several prominent local catholics who opposed desegregation of the catholic schools in the diocese. By your arguments, the Archbishop was wrong.

      2. @ bps4

        I think he was wrong, but I fail to see what that has to do with what I said.

      3. @Bps4 correction. I think he was RIGHT, but I fail to see what that has to do with what I said.

  4. Mark, do you believe that just as divorce in the Old Testament was the result of “hardness of heart” according to Jesus , that Roe v. Wade also rose from hard-heartedness?

    1. Of course. Our abortion regime is the pressure release valve on an economic system that always directs punishments down the ladder to the weak rather than burdening the rich and powerful with the task of providing for the weak. The wealthy tell poor women “Kill it cuz we won’t help you raise it” and this become the new normal. Abortion rights are, in the end, designed to protect the rich and powerful from creating a world in which every child is welcome. Then the rich blame the women for doing what our economics forces them to do. People don’t have abortions for fun.

      1. Wrote “economic system that always directs punishments down the ladder to the weak rather than burdening the rich and powerful with the task of providing for the weak. The wealthy tell poor women “Kill it cuz we won’t help you raise it”
        Pro-lifers hear this a lot—Leftists say “You’re not really pro-life because you don’t support—pick one: Obamacare, limitless funding for public schools which don’t teach anything but are a jobs program for the stupidest people who graduate from college, limitless social programs that kill individual initiative to better ones condition etc…
        Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring Md has a big sign in it’s lobby—“We provide healthcare regardless of ability to pay”. There are similar signs in other religious-run hospitals across the US. My own diocese of Arlington runs 2 free clinics (you can google them). Almost every church in my diocese either runs or supports a food pantry offering free food to any in need. The St. Vincent DePaul Society offers help to anyone who needs rent assistance. I’ve supported the NW Center in DC for years, which offers housing, help in continuing schooling, employment help, daycare etc to mothers in need.
        It’s a significant part of the “good news” of the gospel to help ones neighbor. But what leftists throw in pro-lifers faces is “You’re not really pro-life unless you vote democrat and embrace all the democrat baggage along with your vote”(Bernie Sanders actually said “I don’t like charity”)—I, obviously, don’t believe that.
        Wrote “People don’t have abortions for fun.”
        Can I suggest you read pro-abortion rights feminist Naomi Wolf’s article in New Republic, “Our Bodies, Our Souls”? Ms Wolf details a common practice among wealthy Marin County teens: the girl gets pregnant on purpose, and if the guy agrees to pay half and comes with her to the abortion clinic he’s “a keeper!” Don’t know about you, but that sickens me….

      2. You have lost your mind. Abortion rights are designed to kill helpless innocent children in the womb. Most of those poor children happen to be poor, black and brown. The other large percentage happen to be upper- and middle-class white woman. Many have had multiple abortions. Margaret Sanger would be proud of your demented writings
        You regret the possibility of Roe V Wade being overturned? Seriously? Are you Catholic? This is demonic and you clearly suffer from diabolical disorientation. A small percentage of Germans were against the Nazi regime, so I guess that means it was acceptable in the real world ? As a Catholic you know the clear church teachings on abortion.

    2. It should always be remembered that the legalization of abortion under Roe v. Wade was forced upon the American people, not chosen by them via a democratic or electoral process.

      1. That is incorrect. It was no more forced upon the American people than the coming overturning of Roe will be. The judicial activism of the Supreme Court is a direct result of its role under the constitution, the gridlock caused by a winner-takes-all system, a growing emphasis on ideology and the unwillingness of either political side to even see the other as legitimate.

      2. Massachusetts and New York – both heavily Catholic – relaxed restrictions on abortion in the years preceding Roe v. Wade. And both Democrats and Republicans were responsible.

      3. In the real world , 13 state legislatures that represent their constituents and the will of the people would limit this barbaric act of destruction of innocent human life the moment Roe is overturned and Biden is urging congress to codify this into law so state legislatures cannot form their own policy according to the will of the people, you are 100 percent correct that law is the not the beginning or the end of the pro life ethic by any stretch, but Caesar should have the authority to make it illegal to wield the literal sword against a child.

  5. Biden signed a statement saying that “a woman’s right to choose is fundamental”; that he himself directed the WH to “prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion”; and called voters to elect more pro-choice Senators and get a pro-choice majority in the House. That’s a far cry from “safe, legal, and rare” (that even nineties Bill Clinton seemed to espouse by his actions). That’s the most abortionist rhetoric that any US president ever had. To come from our second Catholic president is outright demonic.

    Also, I don’t believe defending a human right by law against the majority is not authoritarian. And even if it’s authoritarian, the abolition of slavery was authoritarian, shoved down the throats of the Southern states, and rightfully so. Black people had a right to freedom then as the unborn have a right to life now.

    Don’t mix matters. This is not about weaponizing the Holy Communion.

  6. Five Parrots in a Shoe:

    Where exactly? Are you kidding? In every document that talks about abortion. For example:

    “The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: “How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?” When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun. To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom” (Evangelium Vitae 21)

    See also the Catechism and literally everything else.

    I am afraid Mark’s position about having to convince people instead of changing the law seems to be contrary to Church morals and teaching. A law that permits abortions is immoral, gravely unjust and, therefore, it is actually not a law at all. It should be repealed. no matter how many people are in favor of it.

    1. Every person fighting against abortion has always seen that the legal and political battle is only part of it. It is a false dichotomy to claim otherwise. Changing hearts and minds has always been part of the battle.

      1. @K50

        But creating the social and economic condition that further a culture of life and family hasn’t always :p

      2. Religious conservatives have never been interested in changing hearts and minds.
        They’re about breaking people’s wills.

  7. Isn’t it telling that although Alito wrote the leaked opinion, it is Justice Clarence Thomas who is the target of the wrath of the “hey hey, ho ho” astroturf protesters?

      1. @ Joel

        Thanks. Yes it is apparently Roberts who is the odd man out among the GOP nominees, which is not surprising. And yes, Thomas is probably the most politically motivated, which is why he gets most of the ire.

      2. I kind of feel sorry for Chief Justice Roberts. His only real goal is to make sure the rich and powerful always get what they want: low taxes, light regulations on business. He doesn’t care one way or another about abortion, gay rights, guns, or any of the other issues that ordinary people fight about, and when those issues come up he will just read the polls and rule accordingly. It enables the Court to appear apolitical, above the fray, at least most of the time.

        But now he is surrounded by wild-eyed Republican zealots on the Court, and they are about to trash the Court’s reputation for a generation or more, and perhaps swing the mid-term elections toward the Ds. This is a nightmare for Roberts. I don’t like him much, but I acknowledge that he is a conservative first and a Republican second, unlike his peers.

        – joel

      3. @ Joel

        I think your assessment of Roberts is spot on. It won’t come as a surprise I don’t share your opinion on the conservative judges, at least not all of them.

        More interesting, in my opinion, is whether the overturning of Roe will make a difference in the mid-term elections. That, I guess, would depend on middle-ground Americans who tend to vote GOP (or at least have done so on occasion, or are willing to) and for whom the right to abortion matters a great deal, particularly those in states that will enact stricter law after the overturning of Roe.

  8. I don’t think I’d go as far as to say pro-choice politicians don’t promote abortion. Sure, few or none of them promote forced abortion. (This is presumably what they mean when they call themselves “pro-choice, not pro-abortion,” which is otherwise a meaningless distinction.) But they are pretty explicitly in favor of expanding access to abortion and making sure it’s even further entrenched than it already is. As things currently stand, not everyone who wants an abortion can currently get one, and pro-choice people see that as a problem to be solved.

    To put it another way, I would love for more people to read my favorite Webcomic, so I’ll take any reasonable opportunity to plug it. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to call that promoting the comic, but that doesn’t mean I want to force anyone to read it. (Phantomarine, if you were wondering.)

    Sure, the “safe, legal, and rare” slogan runs counter to that, but to be quite honest I can’t remember ever having heard a pro-choice person use it. I only ever hear it from pro-lifers asking what ever happened to it.

    I do, however, completely agree that the ones doing the best job of promoting abortion are the ones driving up the demand. What’s more, I suspect that’s largely intentional. The more prevalent abortion is, the more dire the need for measures opposing it, and the more significant those measures can be (desperate times, desperate measures, you know), and the more atrocities people will overlook in the name of implementing those measures. (Just make sure to wave your hands enough that they don’t notice that said atrocities are what’s making abortion more prevalent. It’s all liberal propaganda, you know.)

  9. One thing interesting to me here is the idea that that statement was leaked. Is that something that happens a lot with the US Supreme Court? I wonder if the leak was deliberate. Could it be that the justices are trying to test the political water before making some legally clear act? Anyone know more about how this works?

    1. @JJ

      “Theories abounded over the possible source of the leak, from a clerk for a liberal justice hoping to raise public pressure on the court before it publishes its decision to a conservative who wants to soften the impact of the decision when it comes – in other words, nobody knows.”

      English newspaper The Guardian

      apparently the Twitter account SCOTUSblog is a good source of info too.

      1. Update: we still don’t know the identity of the leak, but the fact that the GOP seems to object rather strongly to this leak, while the DEM’s are mostly silent, seems to indicate that those who support overturning Roe suspect it’s a liberal leak. Perhaps they also have an idea as to who it is.

    2. There has never been a leak of this kind. The nearest thing to a “leak” has been an occasional tidbit of gossip from the lunchroom.

  10. Those who dedicate themselves to upholding an unjust status quo will always see their empty works washed away in the end. Voices crying to heaven for justice shall be heard.

  11. I think the USCCB is a good source on a Catholic position on Roe vs. Wade decision and on this potential development: In January 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States gave our nation Roe v. Wade and its companion decision Doe v. Bolton, and in so doing effectively removed every legal protection from human beings prior to birth. The legacy of Roe is virtually incalculable. In its wake it has left death and sorrow and turmoil.

    Millions of lives have been destroyed before birth and even during the very process of being born. Countless women have been traumatized so deeply by abortion that they spend years struggling to find peace, healing, and reconciliation. Men grieve because they could not “choose” to protect a child they helped bring into existence, and society has increasingly coarsened by toleration and acceptance of acts that purposely destroy human life.

    This is great news if it actually happens, and is entirely consistent with what the vast majority of the church in its efforts to spread a gospel of life. We will see, there hasn’t been a decision yet (fingers crossed).

  12. “The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others” -CDF 1974

  13. The church’s opposition to abortion has been present almost since its beginning. And the moral justification has been that the fetus, from conception, is indeed a human being. Scientific advances such as imaging in the womb and DNA confirm that the fetus is human, carries human DNA, and has separate DNA from the mother and father.

    Yet, abortion has persisted for this long history, and even today, large swathes of people, even Christians and Catholics, want abortion to be available. Why is this, given the church’s moral justification and teaching? Why are people’s consciences slow to accept a criminalization of abortion?

    I believe it has to do with justice. Women are by nature more vulnerable than men, and pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing increase this vulnerability. The church tries to make a case for justice for the unborn – justifiably so, but cries for justice for women are sparse. The closest thing I can find to a church document for women’s rights is in Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII. Sadly, it is just one paragraph – and more of an acknowledgment rather than a pronouncement.

    “41. Secondly, the part that women are now playing in political life is everywhere evident. This is a development that is perhaps of swifter growth among Christian nations, but it is also happening extensively, if more slowly, among nations that are heirs to different traditions and imbued with a different culture. Women are gaining an increasing awareness of their natural dignity. Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument, they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons. ”

    (If there is more from the Vatican on women’s rights, or if I’ve missed anything else in Pacem in Terris, please let me know).

    We used to be able to raise a family on one income. In today’s society, it is increasingly hard to raise a family even on two incomes. There are two stereotypes of women getting abortions. 1.)Feminist women who want to be men 2.)Greedy “career” women who don’t want to raise children. Both miss the reality that many (most) women getting abortions are pressured, desperate, scared, traumatized, poor… vulnerable. So it is in the hearts of many good people – let the woman have her chance to live her life.

    I don’t fault the church for making a strong case against abortion. i do wish the church would make a stronger case for empowering and supporting women – concretely, as in, funding or lobbying for funding. Services. Counseling. Legal assistance.

    “We love your unborn child but we despise you” is the disconnect that needs to end.

    Demonization of women getting abortions needs to end, and support and compassion need to get started – to avoid the abortion to be sure, but support for the mother and child afterward.

    1. The responsibility of the Church is to get souls into heaven. It is a MORTAL SIN to kill your child, which includes both the father and the mother, and anyone else assisting is such an evil act. With God’s mercy, we have the sacrament of Confession. Hopefully those involved in such grave sin will seek forgiveness and repentance before death.

      1. ”The responsibility of the Church is to get souls into heaven”

        Sounds like a truncated, if not outright heretical kind of Catholicism to me

      2. Artevelde, you seriously believe the concept of Salvation is heretical? The Catholic Church is not a NGO.

  14. I would like to take this to a different issue with the leaked opinion. Roe v. Wade was decided on the right to privacy, with abortion unfortunately the prime recipient of that right. As Alito wrote – the Roe decision was egregiously decided; so I guess that means our tight to privacy was egregiously decided. I can see it now government interference with medical decisions, interference with who I can marry, in terms of race or gender, the ability for married couples to use contraception, or unmarried folks to use contraception. I am fundamentally opposed to abortion, but the basis for overturning Roe puts many other private decisions in possible jeopardy.
    P,ease don’t say that Alito said this decision applies only to abortion, but remember that the SCOTUS said Gorr v. Bush was limited only to that specific yet it had been used 200 plus times by the lower courts as basis for their decisions.

    1. “I would like to take this to a different issue with the leaked opinion. Roe v. Wade was decided on the right to privacy, with abortion unfortunately the prime recipient of that right. As Alito wrote – the Roe decision was egregiously decided; so I guess that means our tight to privacy was egregiously decided.”

      So shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided, the constitutional scholar John Hart Ely (who was pro-choice) wrote an article “The Wages of Crying Wolf.” He argued that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision without basis in the Constitution. Although a few things in it are obsolete (his statement that it makes little sense to say abortion has to be permitted while simultaneously not striking down anti-sodomy laws is obviated by Lawrence v. Texas), I think his main points were strong, and some are repeated in Alito’s draft opinion. But what is pertinent right now is the fact that Ely agreed that there is a right to privacy in the Constitution, but argued that it made no sense to use it to try to defend abortion. One need not give up a right of privacy to say that there is not right to an abortion.

      “I can see it now government interference with medical decisions, interference with who I can marry, in terms of race or gender, the ability for married couples to use contraception, or unmarried folks to use contraception. I am fundamentally opposed to abortion, but the basis for overturning Roe puts many other private decisions in possible jeopardy.”

      Let’s go through these one by one.

      “Interference with medical decisions”: The government does this with or without Roe. Can you get access to medical marijuana in every state? No. Even while Roe is on the books, the government is interfering with medical decisions.

      “Interference with who I can marry, in terms of race or gender”: You don’t need privacy to say the government can’t interfere with them. Neither Loving v. Virginia (on interracial marriage) nor Obergefell v. Hodges (on same-sex marriage) relied entirely on the idea of privacy; both of them also cited the Equal Protection Clause. One could throw away any idea of a right to privacy and still affirm those on those grounds, which I would argue are the stronger basis for them anyway.

      But let’s suppose that, hypothetically, the Supreme Court were to say that Loving v. Virginia was wrong, and that states can criminalize interracial marriage. Do you think that a single state would actually do such a thing? It’s a profoundly unpopular policy and there is simply not enough political support to enact it. Some states might still have them technically on the books (but currently unenforceable due to the Supreme Court decision) but we’d see a rapid repeal if the Supreme Court were ever to declare such a thing. Interracial marriage is not being threatened.

      Interference with marriage based on gender is more plausible. While same-sex marriage has gained much more acceptance, some still oppose it and I could see a few states refusing to recognize it again. However, this would be a small minority; the states that already recognized it will continue to do so, and many of the states that previously didn’t recognize it would want to stick with the current status quo and continue to do so. Only a few at most would actually change things back. Additionally, as mentioned before, there is an alternative rationale for Obergefell v. Hodges other than right of privacy, so someone can still affirm it without a privacy right.

      “Ability for married couples to use contraception, or unmarried folks to use contraception”: As far as I can tell, there is very little political desire to criminalize the usage of contraceptives outside of the kinds that cause abortion. Like the issue of interracial marriage, even if the Supreme Court were to publicly declare you can ban it, there really isn’t the political desire to do so. So even if the Supreme Court were to say that the usage of contraceptives can be criminalized, I don’t think we’d see actual laws against it outside of perhaps abortion-causing contraceptives, but that still leaves a lot of them available for access.

      Additionally, consider what John Hart Ely noted in the aforementioned essay concerning Griswold v. Connecticut, where the Supreme Court asserted the right of privacy as the reason you can’t prohibit contraceptive use:

      “The Court in Griswold stressed that it was invalidating only that portion of the Connecticut law that proscribed the use, as opposed to the manufacture, sale, or other distribution of contraceptives. That distinction (which would be silly were the right to contraception being constitutionally enshrined) makes sense if the case is rationalized on the ground that the section of the law whose consti- tutionality was in issue was such that its enforcement would have been virtually impossible without the most outrageous sort of governmental prying into the privacy of the home. And this, indeed, is the theory on which the Court appeared rather explicitly to settle… Thus even assuming (as the Court surely seemed to) that a state can constitutionally seek to minimize or eliminate the circulation and use of contraceptives, Connecticut had acted unconstitutionally by selecting a means, that is a direct ban on use, that would generate intolerably intrusive modes of data-gathering. No such rationalization is attempted by the Court in Roe-and understandably not, for whatever else may be involved, it is not a case about governmental snooping.”

      As seen here, one can easily defend Griswold while simultaneously condemning Roe.

      This is what is so startling to me about Roe v. Wade. One can excise it from the constitutional canon while leaving virtually everything else intact. Other cases involving privacy either are substantially more concerned with privacy (Griswold) or can be justified on other grounds (in the case of the marriage cases, the Equal Protection Clause).

      1. JSR wrote “Interference with who I can marry, in terms of race or gender” — You should read what Justice Alito wrote. He said this is limited to Roe v Wade, because a 3rd party (the unborn child) is considered.

      2. A problem with Alito’s legal opinion here is, the personhood of the third party is not settled. A pregnant woman cannot, for instance, claim a child tax credit whilst the child is in the womb.

      3. Hrm. I seem unable to reply directly to bps4’s reply (from May 4 at 7:46am) so I’m going to have to reply to my own post. Hopefully it will be listed after his. Anyway:

        “JSR wrote “Interference with who I can marry, in terms of race or gender” — You should read what Justice Alito wrote. He said this is limited to Roe v Wade, because a 3rd party (the unborn child) is considered.”

        I did read what he wrote, and I’ll be honest: His argument there is very weak in my view. A far better argument for why decisions like Griswold or Obergefell would stand but Roe would fall is that the privacy right makes little sense to apply to abortion to begin with.

        But that ultimately wasn’t my point. My point was that even if one takes Alito’s opinion (which, for the record, was a draft opinion, so the actual opinion could change things up) as actually denying any unenumerated privacy right, I still don’t think it would make much of a difference in the issues I noted. Either it’s things the government does interfere with even with Roe on the books (medical treatment), it’s cases that could be sustained on grounds other than privacy (interracial or same-sex marriage), or it’s things that there really isn’t much desire to do by legislatures anyway (banning the use of non-abortion-causing contraception or getting rid of interracial marriage).

    2. I hope that somehow Roe is not overturned. I feel terrible for all the men who are going to get stuck with 18 years of child support, just because they wanted to have a little fun.

  15. Mark, sorry that your culture of death Democrat friends are unhappy that the American holocaust might slow down.

  16. To me, this looks like the proverbial dog who finally caught the car it was chasing after. Rebecca Hamilton wrote a piece outlining some of the possible legal and political fallout from this decision:
    Message to Pro Life Catholics: You Never Have to Vote Republican Again

    The thing about opposing a woman’s right to choose is that its a double-edged weapon: if you take that away as a fundamental principle, that leaves the door wide open for things like China’s One Child Policy or the forced sterilization of women for any reason. And before you think that such a thing would not happen in the US, I’ll remind you that it was being done to migrants under the Trump administration.

    On a personal level, I’m not as distressed as I’ve seen others who share my left-leaning political persuasion. The reason for that is because as a male, I don’t have as much skin in the game. Truth be told, I’ve grown weary of having that metaphorical axe constantly hanging over our heads. However, I also sincerely think that the overturning of Roe vs Wade is the step towards permanently encoding the right to abortion into our laws, either through the legislative process or even a constitutional amendment.

    Some of that sentiment was echoed in another earlier piece by Hamilton:
    The Court Should Overturn Roe Soon. We Need to Move Forward from There

    From the article:
    “If women end up dying because of bad laws — and this could easily happen — any overturn of Roe that we get will itself be overturned in a short time. And that will be permanent.”

    I’m fairly confident that is exactly what’s going to happen. I may not worry about myself or the permanent overthrow of abortion rights, but I do worry about all the women in the interim who will suffer or even die in the process, so all things considered, I would’ve preferred to avoid going down this path. Yet here we are.

    People forget that we’ve been down this road before. The standards set forth to legalize abortion were not done on a whim; they were a response to real-life situations:
    Opinion: I Saw The Horrors Of The Pre-Roe Era. Let’s Never Go Back
    Horror, Death, and Illegal Abortion: The Cook County Septic Obstetrics Ward

    What I believe will ultimately happen, is that we’re just going to go full-circle and come face to face with the reasons why we, as a society, decided to legalize abortions in the first place. Some might think that the exceptions for “saving the life of the mother” might deal with the fallout, but we you stop and think about the realistic implications of the laws that are being passed, its easy to see that doctors across the board will face a far greater legal liability for performing an abortion than they ever will for simply letting the mother die.

    So, given that incentive structure, what do you think is going to happen? I guess we’ll see soon enough.

      1. We’ll settle? You talk as though the objections to the upcoming ruling are ideologically one-sided. Things are not always what they seem on the surface:

        “Let’s talk about SCOTUS, dirty little secrets, and hypocrisy….” by Beau of the Fifth Column
        https://youtu.be/a4zUTEU7mD0

        Notice the relatively high percentage of Catholics that were mentioned. Cases of “pro-life” women sneaking into a clinic to get an abortion, only to rejoin the protest soon afterward, are common enough to become its own recurring meme.

    1. You are 100% correct about this being a double edged weapon. The door will now be open for the government to force birth control, sterilization etc. under the guise of population control.
      Overturning Roe does not do away with the right to choose It takes that right away from women and gives it to the government. God help us.

  17. My 18 year old tried to engage me in this conversation. He was almost bouncing off of the walls in a spirit of jubilation. I finally had to ask him to stop. It made my stomach churn so viciously I couldn’t continue.

    Culture wars make me feel literally sick to my stomach. I trust our Holy Father, but I don’t trust the culture warriors. They literally make me ask God to take me while I’m young. Then I repent and say, “please take me when my youngest has found someone nice to take care of her.”

  18. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19741118_declaration-abortion_en.html

    11. The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others. It does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognize this right for some and not for others: all discrimination is evil, whether it be founded on race, sex, color or religion. It is not recognition by another that constitutes this right. This right is antecedent to its recognition; it demands recognition and it is strictly unjust to refuse it.

    22. It must in any case be clearly understood that whatever may be laid down by civil law in this matter, man can never obey a law which is in itself immoral, and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.

    1. Paragraph 11 must not be read or implemented so as to fall into the heresy of Consequentialism. i.e. you cannot do a whole bunch of evil things to satisfy “hence it must be protected above all others.” The only way to achieve this is to realize that paragraph 11 is universal.

      “The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental – the condition of all the others. Hence it must be protected above all others” applies to the pregnant woman as well as to the unborn child. Indeed, the unborn child is dependent on the woman’s body itself for sustenance. So must the members of society more powerful than the pregnant woman provide the pregnant woman support to continue her life. For example, key items such as food, housing, medical support, protection against harassers.

      1. @ workbeastie

        Agreed, and I would add that is also important not to overestimate the scope of paragraph 22. Both ”can never obey” and ”nor can he vote for it” must be understood properly, i.e. as relating to laws, not people or organisations.

  19. Just as they aligned with the Nazis in Germany (for fighting communism) the Catholic Church is now perpetually aligned with racists in America.

    As a colored Catholic, I want the American Catholic Church destroyed, as it has become a fully racist Church now. This is already happening.. the same judges have packed black voters into districts to dilute their vote, and be able to exercise their rights, denying past felons the restoration of rights, raising barriers to voting, destroying the voting rights act.. All with the support of the Church and the Catholics. Watch as all the civic institutions get destroyed by these thugs on the court so that libertarian thugs can rule this country.

    I am hoping for evil so that the people who worked to destroy me and my blood will get theirs in turn. The Catholic Church is evil and racist here, just as in Nazi Germany, and in Rwanda. Let it be destroyed.

    I never thought as a Catholic I would cheer on the destruction of the Church. When these libertarian thugs eventually step on the Church, I will cheer.

    Watch this space… here would be no need to avoid sin and vote Republican again for Catholics, as the Roe v Wade is done. The rest of the Republican agenda is against Catholic teaching, No prizes for guessing how that will play out .. prudential .. something (cough)

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/religious-right-real-origins-107133/

  20. I feel so conflicted about this. On the one hand, if Roe falls, that’s a huge deal for the pro-life case (or maybe not as some have commented here). BUT it’s also a win for the Republican Party, for which I have zero respect. From robbing Obama of a court pick for reasons that were reversed once Ginsburg died, to nominating and electing an obvious swindler and authoritarian to the presidency. I think it boils down to this: does my hatred for the Republican Party outweigh my moral conviction against abortion? At the end of the day, I think I need to be glad Roe will (probably) be struck down.

    But here’s the other point: I have ZERO control over any of this shit. Zero. I live in a state that votes a certain way, I am spoon fed media from outlets that have predictable viewpoints that make me feel good or bad, right or wrong about things according to my mood. It’s like we all live in a reflection of a reflection; that which is being reflected is a fiction anyway, cooked up by people with motives beyond our purview. I care that babies don’t die. Does the Republican Party? Do the democrats? Does my neighbor? Do I really care? Or are they like me who only want to see their opponents lose in a reality we can’t fully see?

    This is true in the Church, with influencers and self-ordained bishops telling me not only what to think, but also telling me my final destination based on a hot-take from the internet. The great Thomas Merton wrote that “Mass media is an illusion.” How many of us have chosen to hate our brothers and sisters, look down on others, demonize entire groups of people based on our reaction to mass-media? If Roe falls, I pray that the circle-jerk hating, blaming, looking down on others and sneering at someone who hasn’t read a certain encyclical or voted the wrong way, will end, or at least drop a degree or two.

  21. Decades ago, literally, I stopped voting for Dems because of the far-left’s push on abortion (which BTW has been muted in large part). But I just could not bring myself to vote for Reps because I knew darn well most weren’t pro-life. As Mark has said on more than one post, abortion goes down when Dems are in charge because they actually care about pro-life issues that impact women and children (the child tax credit for a recent issue) and enact them if they can. The Reps in most cases only gave lip service to pro-life (“I’m against abortion”) and ignored everything else (welfare queens pop out babies so they can get more from the gov’t, so cut welfare, SSI, etc.). Well, Trump has changed that. The issue now isn’t just abortion, but the actual survival of the country. If Roe does go back to the states, Rs in Congress have used up their only issue for existing. Almost every other issue the Rs have are very much anti-life, anti-American, anti-democracy. So, my opinion is – well, Rs, your court packing may have worked (there are articles out there that are saying the leak may be wrong), what else have you got? You’re against health care, against Medicare, against Social Security, against helping working people, against decent schools, etc. Enjoy your Pyrrhic victory – you may have lost your only issue to keep former Dems in your fold.

    BTW, decades ago, FDR toyed with the idea of court packing when rumors abounded that the SC would overturn Social Security. The SC rapidly DIDN’T overturn SS. This may all be a trial (no pun intended) balloon.

    1. @ Towa

      I am not sure about what you say about former Dems, but I do think that the relationship between Catholic Bishops and the GOP will become less cordial. After all, on the federal level there will be little the GOP has to offer them. The Dem’s can offer a better deal.

      One caveat though: the things you mention (healthcare, etc) are things the social democratic side of the Dem’s has to offer, and the Church will generally welcome them. Unlike many social democratic parties of old in Europe, who were more or less neutral when it came to cultural matters, the Democratic party is *also* a quite radical socially liberal party, and that may once again make the bishops reconsider.

      Case in point, decent education: you can charm a Catholic Bishop with making a good education readily available, especially to those on the margins, but not if your definition of decent is: ”No Latin writers, cause that’s a white thing and at least 15 hours of LBGTQ sensibility a week”.

      1. Considering that San Francisco smacked down a lot of the outlandish education recommendations a few weeks ago, I’m not too worried. Right now, the only issue we should be concerned about is MAGA and the liars and fascists who enable them. Since the R’s don’t want to do that, anyone who cares about democracy in the US has to support the D’s. IMO, everything else, including abortion is a side issue to be dealt with when sanity is restored and the MAGAs are gone.

      2. @ Towa

        Glad to hear that about SF. I may be less inclined to be as negative about the GOP as you are, but then again, I’m not an American, so the whole thing is less emotional for me, for lack of a better word.

        Nonetheless, the weight of the USA in the world being what it is, I – at this moment in time – also prefer the Dem’s, but mostly for reasons of international policy and defense.

      3. The majority of US Catholic Bishops are already Democrats. The small number of faithful Conservative Bishops can be counted on two hands.

    2. Towa1, Why I will NEVER be a Democrat. The party believes in science, yet claims men can become women, and men can be pregnant They falsely state that racism is systemic in the country, and that white supremacy is the biggest threat to our country. The biggest threat right now is WWIII. They want to indoctrinate our young children with gender identity ideology. They want to eliminate ALL fossil fuels immediately, including the cleanest burning natural gas, without any actual sustainable energy replacements. Try living in the northeast (New York) and pay for an electric home heating bill vs natural gas. They demonized the police and actually promoted defunding their departments. They encouraged bail reform and promoted liberal prosecutors that refuse to enforce current laws. Pure genius, who would have ever thought crime would go out of control? They refuse to enforce illegal immigration. Over TWO MILLION illegal entries since the Democrats took office. How many terrorists or hard- core criminals illegally entered our country? They suffer from projection, falsely claiming they are for free speech, that they are against misinformation, and that the other party is destroying our democracy. Just yesterday Biden posited, with a straight face, that the republicans will next remove lgbt children from classrooms, and outlaw same sex marriage, simply because the Supreme Court decided the States should determine the laws regarding abortion. Does any person actually believe that nonsense? That said, I also believe most Republicans are as phony as the Democrats, but they clearly are the lessor of two evils.

  22. Well Mr. Shea, you’ve long argued Roe would never be overturned, thus in that it appears you were wrong once again, thy bitterness is not overly surprising.

  23. Mr. Shea, there’s no mutual exclusivity between changing laws and changing hearts and minds; in the case of abortion, both objectives rest on foundations of justice and charity. Anyway, how often do you get contacted by the National “Catholic” Reporter about a job?

  24. I can’t help but think that we wouldn’t be in this mess if Clinton had picked the last 3 justices. We’d also have a lot more people vaccinated

    1. Thanks for the caricature; I needed that chuckle. …and all the best to your long term cardiovascular health; maybe you’ll get lucky!

  25. The Catholic Church teaches that it is a strict, grave obligation of public authorities to extend the protection of laws against homicide to the unborn. Denying this protection to the unborn is the essence of the pro-abortion or so-called “pro-choice” position. Holding this pro-discrimination position and acting and speaking in accordance with it is grave matter. I.e., a mortal sin. This was made clear in the Declaration on Procured Abortion from the CDF in 1974:

    https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19741118_declaration-abortion_en.html

    Thus, the notion that “the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a sin, but does not teach clearly what the law should say about it” is exposed as a deception.

    The following document from the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts will make it clear why it is a mortal sin each and every time a priest (or bishop) gives Communion to Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi. In a nutshell: doing so teaches that the promotion of the “legality” of abortion through speeches and government policies is not itself gravely sinful–a mortal sin. Thus, the hierarchy in the US and many other countries are living in habitual mortal sin–the only possible exceptions being those bishops who refrain from the mortal sin of distributing Communion to publicly-known “pro-choice” people.

    http://tinyurl.com/pont915

    Other documents:
    http://tinuyurl.com/canon915
    http://tinyurl.com/peters915

  26. Here’s a Catholic position on abortion and the social teachings, given by St. John Paul II during his first apostolic visit to the United States in 1979:

    “I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life—from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages—is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God. Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person. Human life is not just an idea or an abstraction; human life is the concrete reality of a being that lives, that acts, that grows and develops; human life is the concrete reality of a being that is capable of love, and of service to humanity.

    Let me repeat what I told the people during my recent pilgrimage to my homeland : “If a person’s right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother’s womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole of the moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life, not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the First Giver of this life, but also in respect of the essential good of the human person”.

    Human life is precious because it is the gift of a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is for ever. Life is also precious because it is the expression and the fruit of love. This is why life should spring up within the setting of marriage, and why marriage and the parents’ love for one another should be marked by generosity in self-giving. The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish. The fear of making permanent commitments can change the mutual love of husband and wife into two loves of self—two loves existing side by side, until they end in separation ….

    All human beings ought to value every person for his or her uniqueness as a creature of God, called to be a brother or sister of Christ by reason of the Incarnation and the universal Redemption. For us, the sacredness of human life is based on these premises. And it is on these same premises that there is based our celebration of life—all human life. This explains our efforts to defend human life against every influence or action that threatens or weakens it, as well as our endeavors to make every life more human in all its aspects.

    And so, we will stand up every time that human life is threatened. When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life. When a child is described as a burden or is looked upon only as a means to satisfy an emotional need, we will stand up and insist that every child is a unique and unrepeatable gift of God, with the right to a loving and united family. When the institution of marriage is abandoned to human selfishness or reduced to a temporary, conditional arrangement that can easily be terminated, we will stand up and affirm the indissolubility of the marriage bond. When the value of the family is threatened because of social and economic pressures, we will stand up and reaffirm that the family is “necessary not only for the private good of every person, but also for the common good of every society, nation and state” When freedom is used to dominate the weak, to squander natural resources and energy, and to deny basic necessities to people, we will stand up and reaffirm the demands of justice and social love. When the sick, the aged or the dying are abandoned in loneliness, we will stand up and proclaim that they are worthy of love, care and respect.”

    https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/1979/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19791007_usa-washington.html

  27. A few days late to this discussion, but I’d like to shift gears. Mark wrote: As a layperson, it actually falls to me, far more than to the Church’s shepherds, to do the work of sanctifying the secular order. . . . So when the bishops contemplate barring a president of a secular nation-state from the Eucharist on the grounds of ‘eucharistic coherence,’ this directly impinges on what the Church itself declares to be my proper sphere of authority as a layman and citizen called to involvement in our political process.” I have followed this issue fairly closely, and I feel pretty informed about the arguments on each side. But this is the first time I’ve encountered an argument that denying the Eucharist to Joe Biden would violate the rights of people who aren’t Joe Biden.

    If the Church decides to deny the Eucharist to a public official, it is not out of a desire to “sanctify[ ] the secular order.” It will be because a bishop determined that doing so is necessary to aid the official’s soul and protect the institutional Church and the people of God. If the judgment of an official’s bishop is that he’s Hell-bound for facilitating abortion and scandalizing the faithful, then barring him from the Eucharist is an act of mercy. It’s not about politics or government. It’s pastoral care.

    Suppose Biden’s bishop bars him from the Sacrament until he repents. How does this interfere with Mark Shea’s participation in the political process? Would it mean that Mark could not vote for Biden in 2024? No. This interdict would not extend beyond Biden. It would not be the Church’s judgment that Biden was disqualified from holding office. It would mean that the Church determined that he was obstinately persisting in grave sin. A state of grace is required for receiving Holy Communion, but it’s not required for the presidency.

    But even if the interdict were functionally a declaration that the official was unfit for office. that is still not a violation of Mark Shea’s rights. If the Church determines that voting for Biden is impermissible, then there is no right to vote for Biden. Error has no rights. The right to vote and the authority to lead a secular state are subject to the Natural Law and subordinate to its requirements. The Church does not need to, as the saying goes, “stay in its lane” and avoid taking actions that would influence the secular authorities and the voters who put them in power.

    1. Precisely. It would not extend beyond Biden, because your evil cult of death does not care in the slightest about Eucharistic Coherence and the many outrages against the Eucharist you guys commit. You simply want to vengefully target one person for the sake of raw, nihilist power.

    2. @ Marymax

      Your last paragraph is correct, but that doesn’t mean that any of this is even remotely likely to happen. The Church has no stamina for something like its decades long fight against the Italian state.

      The Church is also not *very* likely to bar Biden from communion, unless he stupidly persists in insinuating or declaring that his position on abortion IS the Catholic position. That might eventually push The Bishops to the brink.

  28. I can’t respond directly to JSR so I will do so here:
    Blake Masters, a Tucson-based venture capitalist, boasts on his website that he will only vote to confirm federal judges “who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion.” (Arizona Mirror)
    Governor Greg Abbott is trying to block some children from being able to go to school to get an education. The Texas Republican says he will challenge the Supreme Court to overturn its 40-year-old decision that requires states to pay for the public education of all children, regardless of citizenship status.
    In response to a question about loving, Mike Braun, Republican Senator of Indiana said: “When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways,” Braun said. “When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they’re going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It’s the beauty of the system, and that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves.”
    Leading light of the US Senate M. Blackburn: One day before Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings began, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., released a video in which she unironically denounced liberals for wanting Supreme Court justices who will be “a rubber stamp for their cultural agenda,” while declaring that the 1965 Supreme Court decision that legalized a right to birth control was “constitutionally unsound.” Further reading for you: It’s also why just last month three GOP candidates for Michigan attorney general denounced Griswold during a debate. As Matthew DePerno, the Donald Trump-endorsed attorney general candidate, declared: “Griswold, Roe v. Wade. Dobbs — these are all state right issues. … It’s going to be a state right issue on all of these things — as it should be!”

  29. “When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined… As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Vitae, III)».

    FWIW I agree 100% with you that the woman procuring the abortion should not be punished. But the Church teaching is that the state must enshrine protection of the unborn within its laws. It’s not something that some American right winger just made up. Laws protecting the “right” to abortion are unjust. They are evil laws and we should say full-throatedly that they are evil laws.

  30. “The Church’s teaching on the *legality* of abortion is, painfully obviously, not clear at all.”-Mark Shea

    I can’t disagree with this statement more. Let me give 4 quotes from Pope St. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae:

    “The State is no longer the “common home” where all can live together on the basis of principles of fundamental equality, but is transformed into a tyrant State, which arrogates to itself the right to dispose of the life of the weakest and most defenceless members, from the unborn child to the elderly, in the name of a public interest which is really nothing but the interest of one part. The appearance of the strictest respect for legality is maintained, at least when the laws permitting abortion and euthanasia are the result of a ballot in accordance with what are generally seen as the rules of democracy. Really, what we have here is only the tragic caricature of legality; the democratic ideal, which is only truly such when it acknowledges and safeguards the dignity of every human person, is betrayed in its very foundations: “How is it still possible to speak of the dignity of every human person when the killing of the weakest and most innocent is permitted? In the name of what justice is the most unjust of discriminations practised: some individuals are held to be deserving of defence and others are denied that dignity?” 16 When this happens, the process leading to the breakdown of a genuinely human co-existence and the disintegration of the State itself has already begun. To claim the right to abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and to recognize that right in law, means to attribute to human freedom a perverse and evil significance: that of an absolute power over others and against others. This is the death of true freedom: “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34).”-
    *********************************
    “By the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”

    ******
    “In the Encyclical Pacem in Terris, John XXIII pointed out that “it is generally accepted today that the common good is best safeguarded when personal rights and duties are guaranteed. The chief concern of civil authorities must therefore be to ensure that these rights are recognized, respected, co-ordinated, defended and promoted, and that each individual is enabled to perform his duties more easily. For ?to safeguard the inviolable rights of the human person, and to facilitate the performance of his duties, is the principal duty of every public authority’. Thus any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them, would not only fail in its duty; its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force”.94

    72. The doctrine on the necessary conformity of civil law with the moral law is in continuity with the whole tradition of the Church. This is clear once more from John XXIII’s Encyclical: “Authority is a postulate of the moral order and derives from God. Consequently, laws and decrees enacted in contravention of the moral order, and hence of the divine will, can have no binding force in conscience…; indeed, the passing of such laws undermines the very nature of authority and results in shameful abuse”.95 This is the clear teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who writes that “human law is law inasmuch as it is in conformity with right reason and thus derives from the eternal law. But when a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; but in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence”.96 And again: “Every law made by man can be called a law insofar as it derives from the natural law. But if it is somehow opposed to the natural law, then it is not really a law but rather a corruption of the law”.97″
    ************************************************
    “While public authority can sometimes choose not to put a stop to something which-were it prohibited- would cause more serious harm, 92 it can never presume to legitimize as a right of individuals-even if they are the majority of the members of society-an offence against other persons caused by the disregard of so fundamental a right as the right to life. The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom. 93”
    *********
    That’s pretty clear. The Supreme Pontiff said that abortion being wrong is a matter of natural law, that laws permitting abortion are not binding, and that the state can never legitimize the so-called right to abortion, even in the name of appeasing the majority. Pope St. JP2 was aware of the difficulties in enforcing abortion law and of the argument made that women would still get unsafe abortions anyway (see section 68) but he still remains undetered in his assessment that laws permitting abortion are intrinsically unjust (though one may vote for a law restricting abortions in some but not all cases, under the principle of double effect).

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