Friday, February 20, 2009

Nancy Pelosi: "Socialist" or "Scary Person" or Catholic?

Got a ranting email from someone today yelling that Nancy Pelosi is a socialist and a marxist. How dare she argue that the rich should help the poor? How could she not? She's a Catholic. Yep, got blessed by the Pope last week. I disagree with her stance on abortion, but when she's right, she's right. The email called her a "very scary person." Here are some quotes from other "scary people."

“The Father sent the Son into the world to defend the poor.” – St. Augustine.

“If someone who has the riches of this world sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 Jn 3:17). It is well known how strong were the words used by the Fathers of the Church to describe the proper attitude of persons who possess anything towards persons in need. To quote Saint Ambrose: "You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.” – Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (On the Progress of Peoples), 1967, #23.

“A consistent theme of Catholic social teaching is the option or love of preference for the poor. Today, this preference has to be expressed in worldwide dimensions, embracing the immense numbers of the hungry, the needy, the homeless, those without medical care, and those without hope.” – Pope John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern), 1987, #42.

“As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a fundamental “option for the poor” -- to speak for the voiceless, to defend the defenseless, to assess life styles, policies, and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor. This "option for the poor" does not mean pitting one group against another, but rather, strengthening the whole community by assisting those who are the most vulnerable. As Christians, we are called to respond to the needs of all our brothers and sisters, but those with the greatest needs require the greatest response.” – U.S Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice For All, 1986, #16.

“As individuals and as a nation, therefore, we are called to make a fundamental "option for the poor". The obligation to evaluate social and economic activity from the viewpoint of the poor and the powerless arises from the radical command to love one's neighbor as one's self. Those who are marginalized and whose rights are denied have privileged claims if society is to provide justice for all. This obligation is deeply rooted in Christian belief.” – U.S Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice For All, 1986, #87.

“The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximization of profits; the preservation of the environment over uncontrolled industrial expansion; the production to meet social needs over production for military purposes.” – (U.S Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice For All, 1986, #94.

“Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matt 25:41-46).

“And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.” (Luke 6:20-26 NAB)

“His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.” (Lk 1:50-52 NAB).

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Monday, February 09, 2009

How Bad is the Economic Situation in the USA?

How bad is it?  This graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows how bad things are.   People are hurting.  Tell your representatives in Washington to get busy and get done for regular folks what they did last December for the super rich folks on Wall Street.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Confronting Abortion: How?

To Anne B., Ed F. and Bill G.:

Thanks for your thoughtful and cordial comments.

Overall, I think we share the same goal: the cessation of the killing of life in the womb. Many of us favor pro-life in any and all situations (e.g., no capital punishment, no war, no euthanasia).

Mother Teresa calls us to care for the last and the lost, the lonely and the least, of our society. Abortion is one of a host of Social Justice issues we must confront as Catholics. The question is, how?

Some things politicians can and should do for us all (e.g. universal health care; clean water, etc.), things we cannot do on our own. It would be nice if politicians would outlaw abortion, but in the many years since Reagan's election, they have done relatively little of any real substance to stop abortion. On the other hand, we can stop abortions by convincing young people to not abort the children they conceive. Even better, we should challenge their ethical standards and behavior across the board.

Concerning Obama, as I understand it, the Illinois vote you cite, Bill, was a moot point, because there was already a law on the books which mandated that doctors protect the life of a child who survived an abortion attempt. Obama’s voting against the particular law you and others continually cite made no difference in the practice of protecting children in Illinois. People constantly citing that case skew the reality of the situation.

McCain is not pro life. In 2000, he was against repealing Roe v. Wade, a position he changed for the recent election. In the third debate in 2008, he clearly stated that the abortion question should be returned to the States to decide, State by State, which virtually assures legalized abortion in this country.

The only pro life candidate in the last election was Ron Paul. We all should have voted for him if we wanted to back the pro life position with our vote.

Many are screaming that Obama is pro-abortion. I do not think he is. He clearly states he supports a woman’s right to choose. That doesn’t mean he is advocating, or forcing, or encouraging women to abort babies. He will not use the power of the State to legislate morality in this case. Frankly, he can’t. Neither can any President. Until the constitution is changed, or the Supreme Court’s reading of Roe v. Wade changes, there is nothing a President can do to make abortion illegal. Presidents take an oath to uphold the constitution. It is up to us to change the constitution, not blame Presidents for abiding by the law as it stands.

I wish abortion were not legal. Like the Everyman in A Man For All Seasons, I wish rainwater were beer (or Diet Pepsi since I don't drink). But it isn't. All the Republican candidates, who took Catholics votes in the years since Reagan was elected, have not done anything of real substance to make abortion illegal. This President will not make abortion illegal either. He is just honest about it.

Abortions decreased under Clinton. They increased under George W. Bush. Abortion has as much to do with people being able to afford children as it does with making it legal or illegal.

Even if abortion becomes illegal in the USA, it will be legal in other lands. There is no way to stop women from aborting babies, or men from paying for abortions, if they choose to do so.

I say forget Washington. No law forces a person to abort. If we want to end abortion, let’s work to change the hearts and minds of people. When no one shows up at the abortion clinics, abortion ends.

Let's stop yelling at easy targets (politicians) and get down to the hard and challenging work of speaking with our young people. We need to help them understand, desire, and practice the truth we live by, i.e., the Love of God in Christ Jesus.


Fr. Rick

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