The Pro Life Heresy
EWTN Talk Show Hosts:
The New False Priests;
TELEVISION (AND RADIO)
The New “Conservative” “Lay” Organizations like
Partly – Party Politics
The Church Itself
Over the past few decades, we have seen the growth, the resurgence after two or three centuries, of a number of Catholic lay/non priest workers. Seeing them in churches, and in self-proclaimed Catholic religious media organizations. Like EWTN/RN: Eternal Word Television Network, and Eternal Word Radio Network. But how effective, how good, have these new lay organizations been? In the early days of democracy, it was particularly the secular/religious half breeds, the half-trained clerics, that ran many secular operations, that were particularly resented by Protestants, and then the growing Democracy movements. In part because, often when lay persons dabble in religion, without adequate religious training or commitment? They get religion … wrong. They teach and apply Christianity, in … skewed ways. We will have been finding here and elsewhere, that often, when lay persons take over too many religious roles – and vice-versa, when religious persons try to take over secular institutions – often they are ill trained, and ill suited for this kind of crossover. And often, especially? Our secular/religious workers, tend to intermix and confuse religion and secular ideas, in ideosyncratic, eccentric, and wrong-headed ways; combinging classic well-established religion, with … their own political ideas, in a horrible mish-mash. (As Sinclair Lewis began to note, in his famous novel, Babbitt, in 1922). And particularly notable, and egregious, in our own time? Has been the whole new phenomenon of “Conservative” or Right-Wing Christianity. Which follows only the portions of the Bible, and of the Church, that seem to match a politially “conservative” philosophy. While opposing “liberals.”
It is easy to see, that many, many huge problems could result, when lay persons, who are poorly trained or “form”ed in religion, attempt to become major religious spokesmen. Indeed, the major evil, coming from “conservative” Catholics, has been the increasing “conservative” politicization of religion, and Catholicism. A politicization that is very selective, and narrow, about which bishops or cardinals it follows; which parts of which religious encycicals it reads; which parts of which saints, it follows. Particularly destructive, as it turns out, has been the conservative obsession, with the single issue of Abortion. Which ignores constant attempts, by dozens of bishops, cardinals, popes, to note that there are many “other issues” that are important in life, and in the Church; and that a well-balanced Catholic would always consider what Cardinal Bernardin called a “seamless” web of many social issues, in daily life. While avoiding what the Pope himself called, a dis-“proportionate” focus on a single issue, like abortion.
There have been many, many problems with the New Conservatives, or “Neo Cons” as they came to be known, in the 1980’s and 90’s. And after many years, those evils are now rather fully empowered and institutionalized; the bad ideas of the Neo Cons, have now been around long enough, that political and social institutions have been built around them. In particular, false anti-abortion ideas, by now have a certain institutional sponsors, and power. Making the bad ideas of neo conservatism, harder than ever to root out.
But in fact, we can begin to note some of the major institutional bases of the problem, here and now. To be sure, liberal organizations have caused problems here. But here we will need to examine particularly, the a) “conservative” and b) “Catholic” institutions, that now back anti-abortionism. Especially c) the new “conservative Catholic” media networks, like EWTN. The huge networks that are actually, largely responsible for spreading, particularly, the new conservative and anti-abortion heresies.
How Did it Start?
How was it, that suddenly half-trained, half-baked lay Catholics, were suddenly speaking as the voice of the Church, as the Voice of God himself, from major media megaphones … without the Church itself, objecting? We will discuss that at length, later. But briefly, the reason is in part, that fewer and fewer people want to become fully trained, dedicated priests or nuns today; so the Church felt compelled to accept more and more half-trained workers, into its midst. And as it accepted lawyers? The Church was vulnerable to … being manipulated by very clever arguments; arguments that however were not adequately rooted in real, core religious tradition. Such persons were able, for instance – like Karl Keating, Attny. – to take minor elements of genuine Catholic tradition – and build them up, blow them up, into the centerpiece of a new semi-Catholic, but mostly lay, pseduo-religion; centered not around Jesus, but on the preservation of the embryo. And on voting Republican in every election. As we will have been seeing her and elsewhere.
So why doesn’t the Catholic Church itself do something? In fact, the Church a) knows that it has to some extent opposed abortion in the past; and perhaps it b) thinks of this new and more adamant opposition, as a valid extension of the past. Or perhaps the more cynical elements of the Church have thought of furthering this new extreme doctrine, as an c) interesting new trial balloon. In an era in which more and more priests are not entirely sure that the word of the church and “God” is not just the word of men, many in the Church have wanted to simply, experimentally, start allowing new ideas thought up by priests, as Church doctrine; proclaimed as the voice of God. But to be sure, this would be a very bold and heretical move; allowing the “Traditions of men” into the canon after all. While d) we suggest here that probably no current, small set of human beings, really has the authority to do this well, or at all. Confirming this, e) our current examination here suggests that whoever started this new theology, made many errors in Tradition and theology. While these theological errors moreover, have had drastic practical effects, on real lives, too. So that this new anti-abortion theology, has not stood the test of time. And should therefore be rejected for many very good reasons, as having been the “word of God” at all.
Indeed, there are many reasons for rejecting EWTN/RN’s extremist, one issue theology. Which presents an heretical Catholicism, centered not on God, or Jeusus; but on the embryo. As follows.
For some time, the “Pro-Life” or anti-abortion movement has in many ways dominated American Catholic churches. And eventually, this movement has played a decisive role in politics, in elections, too. Especially after arch Pro-Lifer Karl Keating, Attny., began distributing his “Voter’s Guide” for concerned Catholics. Keating, the attorney, telling us – in effect – that the Pope, God, were commanding us to vote for the most anti-abortion candidate in every election. Pro-Lifers telling us in effect, that God was commanding us to vote Republican. In every election.
The constantly-implied conclusion of the Pro Life movement, is that abortion is so bad, that it is the single issue that we must attend to, in every election. That we have to vote, in every election, for the most anti-abortion candidate. And since in America, the most anti-abortion party is the Republican Party, the constantly implied (and occasionally explicit) message of anti-abortionists like Karl Keating, on media networks like EWTN, was this: God commands us to vote Republican in every election. But we will show here that this, the prevailing Pro Life theology, is false. This, the “one issue” anti-abortionism that dominates many people today, that dominates many churches, that has determined one election after another in America, is 1) not true to the Bible itself. Nor its it 2) true to God, therefore. Nor is it even 3) true to the Catholic Church. Therefore, to believe and follow the common, one-issue Pro-Life or Anti-abortion position, is to commit a heresy. It is to go against the Bible, against the Church, and against God.
What are the main features of the modern anti-abortion movement, and this new heresy? As defined in part, by the apparently many different verious of Karl Keating’s “Voter’s Guide for Concerned Catholics,” anti-abortionism has gone through many significant revisions it seems, over the years. (Keating’s own guide seems to have been revised many times since c. 1999, 2004, 2006.) And therefore, we should not refer to any single guide as a fully reliable, definition of anti-abortionism. But here and now we can outline a rough outline of anti-abortionism, as it was often held in effect, by Karl Keating. And/or by the network on which he constantly appeared: Eternal Word Television Network, including especially its radio branch, Eternal Word Radio. Karl Keating in particular, appeared so often on EWTN, c. 1999-2005 etc.. (on “Catholic Answers Live,” which was for some time a regular feature on that network), and Keating’s views were so influential, that in effect, Keating’s position, defines EWTN’s extremely influential, extremely popular position on this subject. So that we will borrow from those guides – and from many things Karl Keating said on the air – to begin to get a rough idea of the Pro Life position.
In general, what do Pro Lifers, anti-abortionists, say? Typically, religious anti-abortionists assert at least one or two – and in extreme cases, all – of the following:
a) It is typically asserted that Abortion is bad.
b) More often, it is claimed that abortion has been firmly, historically declared by God himself to be very bad. To be against the Bible, especially.
c) Then too, it is often suggested that abortion is against the specific traditions of many churches; like the Catholic Church. Its “Tradition,” “doctrines,” “dogmas”; or its “Magisterium.”
And in fact, to be sure, we will allow here that many organizations like the Catholic Church do often say that Abortion is bad. But the question will be: HOW BAD DOES IT SAY IT IS? That is the question. Amazingly, we will find that often, the key authorities – saints and cardinals and popes – in the Church itself, said many things that would imply that a young embryo is not a full human being. And therefore, killing one is not, say, murder.
Anti-abortionists, try to establish that abortion is evil. As so evil, that abortion is declared to be the only issue we should consider in elections. To do that though, this movement has to claim that the embryo is a full human being; not just a clump of cells, or an incompletely “form”ed body, without a human mind or spirit or soul.
But to be sure, to try to prove that an embryo is a full human being, anti-abortionists typically use a wide range of questionable assertions. Here is a list of some of the major assertions of anti-abortionists, found at one time or another on say, EWRN:
d) To establish abortion as really evil, anti-abortionists try to claim that an embryo is a fully, human “child,” for example.
e) It is often insisted, particularly in the Church, that an embryo is a full human being, “from conception.” (As indeed, one or two recent encyclicals seemed to suggest to many; like Humanae Vitae, or Evangelicum Vitae?). Even when the embryo is just a few days old; an unconscious clump of cells the size of a pin-head.
f) It is next claimed that furthermore, since the embryo is a human being, therefore, killing it is not just killing a lump of cells or protoplasm, or some sort of proto-human; it is killing a real, full, human being.
g) Moreover, they say, since abortion thus kills a human being, and furthermore, a human being that must be considered innocent, therefore, killing an embryo, some Catholic ethicists argue, is an “intrinsically evil” thing. Since it is always, they claim, “intrinsically” wrong, to deliberately kill an innocent human being.
h) Furthermore, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being, it is said, abortion is even worse than many accidental killings; killing millions of say, civilians, in wars. Because it is not an accident; but is the intentional, conscious, “deliberate” killing of them.
i) Continuing this line of thinking, many anti-abortionists have even finally said that, because it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being, abortion is finally, “murder.” (See archbishop Chaput? Calling abortions “little murders”?).
j) Carrying all this still further, next it is claimed that not only is abortion evil, not only is it murder; it is an evil, a murder, that is even worse than normal murders – because of the great numbers of deaths involved. Many millions of embryos are killed every year. So that abortions today are said to amount to mass murder.
k) Given all this, abortion is not to be allowed, it is often said. Even when abortion appeared necessary to save the life of the mother (against Aquinas, below);
l) Even in cases of pregnancy from rape.
m) Or incest.
n) In fact, serious as it therefore appears, this single, “one issue,” is constantly, unrelentingly declared to be more important than any other issue in life. To be much worse than all other sins we see today. So much worse, that it is claimed by religious media networks like EWTN/RN, that the single issue of abortion, trumps, outweighs, all other issues. It is the one thing we need to think about in life. It is the most egregious sin around, today; the sin that most needed correcting.
- o) Finally therefore, following the above reasoning to its conclusion (its reducto ad absurdum?), the radical anti-abortionism of EWRN came to constantly say, that since abortion is the supreme evil, Christian voters were obligated, by God, to vote against any and all political candidates that supported abortion.
p) Or, as the corollary of this, it is said especially in Catholic media, by Karl Keating and others, that the Roman Catholic Church requires Catholics to vote only for the most anti-abortion candidates.
q) Or – in a very slight amendment to this position – if there are no absolutely anti-abortion candidates in any given election, then we were instructed by Attorney Karl Keating and EWTN, that we must vote for the most anti-abortion candidate. The lesser of two evils.
r) And finally, if the political party in America that most opposed abortion, happened to be the Republican Party? Then the stand of EWTN’s anti-abortionists for example, asserts implicitly, that the Pope, and God, are telling us that we have to vote for the Republican party, in every election.
Non-profit organizations like EWTN, to be sure, often a) cannot make this last point entirely openly or explicitly. No non-profit network, can legally make its support for a particular political party, entirely explicit. Not without losing its religious or non-profit, tax-exempt, status. IRS laws insist that non-profit agencies, can only examine “issues.” And cannot enter politics, to support one political party, over another.
Yet b) even when it did not often explicitly say this, EWTN’s constant, systematic presentation of the train of thought outlined above, constantly and inevitably lead EWTN’s listeners, to this conclusion: that the Church and God, were ordering them to vote Republican.
The idea that God was commanding us to vote Republican, was constantly implied on EWTN. For example c) the radio constantly – and in this case, explicitly – around 1997-2006, supported “conservative” ideas. And opposed “liberals.” While it is well known that the Republican Party is the conservative Party; and the Democrats, are more liberal. Then too, d) EWRN especially, constantly supported countless Republican candidates and politicians by name; while attacking Democratic candidates and officeholders, constantly. All this and more, made EWTN’s general allegiance with the rest of Right Wing talk radio, and Rush Limbaugh – and the conservative or Republican Party – clear enough. Clearly, listeners were being told that the Church and God, were conservative; and it was clear enough therefore, that anti-abortionists were constantly, implicitly, ordering us to vote for the conservative party; antiabortionists were telling us that God was commanding us to vote Republican. Even if this opinion was seldom openly, explicitly expressed – announcers were fairly careful about that; they did not want to violate IRS/non profit rules – still, it was clearly, constantly, overwhelming implied. Especially on the radio branch of the EWTN Network; which seemed highly influenced by, eager to simply line up with, Rush Limbaugh’s radio extremism.
This therefore, was the train of ideas, that lead to one of the most deeply offensive and influential, false new theologies, of the last 100 years. Following roughly the train of thinking outlined above, the public has been constantly told in effect, by Karl Keating and EWTN/RN, that God and the Catholic Church order us to vote Republican.
This was a theology that has been no doubt extremely convenient to (if it was not engineered by) the Republican Party. It meant that for some time, we have had a major Christian media network, telling Christians that the Church – and God – demands that we vote Republican in every election. (If only EWTN could convince listeners that God wants us to drink Coke instead of Pepsi too). But finally of course, we will be showing here, that this radical anti-abortionism is indeed, all too convenient to just one of our political parties. So that all this leads many of us to suspect that behind all this, behind the anti-abortion movement, is not God, but … the “traditions of men.” Especially, behind it all, are some political philosophies. Or most specifically, the political philosophy, of the Republican Party. Which was presenting itself on EWTN in effect, as God.
To be sure, networks and organizations like EWTN – “Eternal Word Television Network; and especially its radio branch, EWTN; “Eternal Word Radio Network” – rarely made the alleged necessity of voting Republican, absolutely clear or explicit. Because anti-abortionists are often found within religious or non-profit organizations. So that, under IRS rules for non-profit organizations (501 c 3’s,” typically), they cannot engage in politics. Legally, according to tax laws, they cannot just simply, flatly tell us to vote Republican. They cannot explicitly, openly, back a particular political candidate. (Or try to influence ongoing legislation?). The can’t do this legally, without losing their religious or nonprofit exemption, from paying many taxes. But we will show here that while anti-abortion organizations only seldom, explicitly back one political party or candidate, they frame their assumptions and issues in such a way, that the listener is lead to this inevitable conclusion: that the only party that stands right with God, is the Republican Party. As outlined above.
No religious or non-profit agency, that gets special tax breaks from the government, can openly advocate any particular political party. The IRS allows non-profit organizations to say, advocate general social “issues,” as they call them. But not to speak in favor of specific political candidates, or specific parties. Yet, anti-abortion organizations have long since found sly ways around such rules. Without simply, openly telling us that we should vote Republican, the message was still clear enough. From c. 1997 to 2005, the radio branch of EWTN especially, was overwhelmingly, constantly, aa) supportive of a “conservative” position. While it was well known that the more conservative party in America, was the Republican one. And then too, EWRN for example was explicitly bb) critical of “Democrats” and cc) “liberals.” All of which means that, in America, that EWTN occupied the very same position, as the Republican Party.
Indeed, dd) the EWTN network – especially with Karl Keating at the helm – constantly supported by name, dozens of Republican candidates and officials, like George Bush I and II. Supporting them ee) over “Democrats,” and specifically-named persons like Hillary Clinton. Sometimes based on their stand on “issues” like abortionism; but often, not.
Ultimately, though EWRN for example, claimed to be centered solely around “issues” like abortion, and to be neutral as regards politics, and specific parties and candidates, finally this anti-abortionist radio network, its talk show hosts and lay guests, ended up conspicuously, continuously, supporting Republicans over Democrats. Even explicitly. And overwhelmingly: by a factor say, of at least thirty to one. (As this writer knows personally, from having listened to hundreds of shows, c. 1998-2004-2008). Though the network seldom if ever announced itself as an adjunct of the Republican Party, it would seem fairly easy for a good college professor, trained in media Content Analysis or some such, to prove statistically, that EWRN especially, c. 1995-2005, overwhelming supported all the descriptive details of the Republican Party, over the issues of the Democratic party; by a factor of easily, ten to one. Probably, 100 to 1. So that statistics should show, that the network effectively supported not just a social “issue,” but also, overwhelmingly, a political party. And a political philosophy. Whose political and philosophical – as opposed to religious – character, is confirmed here. Not only as we begin to note that EWTN’s anti-abortionism fits the Republican agenda; but also as we show that its position does not fit the Bible, or the real sayings of the Church itself.
But just tallying up favorable references to Republicans, on EWRN, vs. unfavorable references of Democrats, would be enough to show an overwhelming bias in favor of conservative Republicans. And to demonstrate that the anti-abortion movement, as exemplified by EWRN, typically had a barely-disguised political affiliation and purpose. Even though there are some liberal (and possibly even Democratic) priests that appear occasionally on a network like EWRN, the regular staffers, the talk show hosts, were essentially copying Protestant evangelical political predecessors, like Pat Robertson. And like Pat, the talk show hosts on EWTN were clearly affiliated with the Republican party, in their leanings. Indeed, since they constantly presented themselves as “conservatives,” and attacked “liberals,” they essentially identified themselves with the right, “conservative,” patriotic, militaristic wing of the Republican party. “Conservative” and “liberal,” in this era (c. 1995-2007) were essentially code words for Republican, vs. Democrat.
s) Statistics alone therefore, of Republican descriptors, are undoubtedly enough to show that most anti-abortionist networks like EWRN, in effect, backed one political party: the Republican Party. But as a matter of fact, though most of the time anti-abortion media have been aware of the IRS rules, now and then they, in moments of indiscretion, may even explicitly tell people they must simply, vote Republican.
t) Ultimately therefore the anti-abortion movement, as exemplified by EWRN and Karl Keating, constantly lead millions of Catholics, inevitably, to this fatally simplistic conclusion: that the Bible, and God, were ordering to vote Republican. More specifically, it was claimed that all this was also absolutely ordered, dictated, by a careful examination of holy Catholic doctrines. By an examination of Catholic teachings, which are variously called it “doctrines,” “dogma,” “Tradition,” its “canon” “law”; its “Magisterium”; the definitive “sayings” and commands, of Popes and Saints.
Our main subject here in fact: anti-abortionists typically tell us that God himself, the Church, the Bible, command us to oppose abortion. But our main point here will be that this common claim, is simply, false.
Still, anti-abortion organizations like especially Eternal Word Radio Network – EWRN – were able to make their claim to religious foundation, seem plausible; partially since EWRN for example, employs or draws on the writings and work of dozens of professional religious sophists, “apologists.” On dozens of people whose job it essentially was, to find and quote those parts of Catholic tradition that seemed to support the anti-abortion position. And if there were any parts of Catholic tradition that did not support EWRN’s political opinions? Then these anti-abortionist activists and polemicists, simply “twist”ed and massaged those parts around. Until they finally seemed to support a strong Pro Life position.
u) All this was done, in an extremely coercive way. Since all this was now said to have been declared by the Bible and by the Church, this pro-Republican anti-abortionism, was also constantly presented simply as “The Truth.” (A favorite phrase of EWRN regular Fr. John Corapi, for example). Anti-abortionism, we were constantly told, was simply the absolute holy truth.
v) And then the Bible was searched, for those few parts of the Bible, that could be used to support this position. While any dissenting parts, any parts of the Bible that did not seem to support anti-abortionism, were simply left out, or twisted. By infinitely clever, lawyerly apologists.
w) And so finally, the Pro Life position, anti-abortionism – and the alleged necessity of voting Republican in every election – was presented to everyone, as the word of God;
x) Against which there could be no appeal, no argument; it is “non negotiable.
y) And then? Many concluded that since abortion is murder, not only voting against it, but even say, murdering abortion providers, was morally correct; so that anti-abortion murders and terrorism were finally justified.
Most of the premises above, were very fatal, just in themselves, to a full, well-balanced Catholicism. But the last conclusion finally, is the devastatingly authoritarian – and deeply offensive – conclusion of the anti-abortion movement. Ultimately, anti-abortionists are extremely presumptuous; they presume to speak for or even as, the Church … and then for God. Even though they are not trained priests. And in their vanity and presumption, they have done absurd and dangerous things. In say, one of their milder conclusions, they typically say that the Bible and the Church – God – commands us to vote Republican, in every election. This conclusion was constantly said to be so firm, that finally, it was constantly implied, you cannot be considered a Catholic, or even a Christian, unless you vote Republican, in every election.
God says “vote Republican.” This, we were constantly told in effect, implicitly, was absolutely certain. Extreme anti-abortionism, voting entirely according to the “one issue” of abortion, was the command of God. Voting for any political candidate that supported abortion – or for a candidate who merely supported related issues, like stem-cell research – was declared to be totally impermissible. And against God himself. Abortion was said to be “murder.” On the air, we were constantly told by Karl Keating and God – apparently one and the same – that abortion was totally wrong. And since it was so totally wrong, since it was the greatest evil there ever was, or the greatest evil that we see today, we were assured constantly that no compromise on this was possible. As Karl Keating constantly said, voting against pro-abortion candidates, was a “non-negotiable.” A phrase to be sure, that is not found in the Bible itself. But a phrase trumpeted again and again, by various religious anti-abortion networks, like EWRN, as the word of God.
To be sure, all this is deeply offensive to many truly religious people. Some might have wondered, who made Karl Keating, Attny., our pope. Who officially gave Karl Keating and EWTN, the right to speak for the Church? Or for that matter, who ever made Karl Keating and EWTN, the voice of God?
And then too, beyond telling us how to vote? Ultimately our self-styled new popes, the talk show radio hosts, began rehersing extremist statements, that would finally set off one anti-abortion terrorist, after another.
Indeed, for many, nothing can match the religious presumptuousness, the cheek, the nerve, and the destructiveness, of one or two attorneys and a radio network, telling us that they were the voice of God. And that God ordered us to vote Republican in ever election. But EWRN network made sure, that any listeners who called in to question all this, who criticized the network or its views, were quickly hung up on. Only fans of EWRN and anti-abortionism, were really allowed on the air for any length of time. Only supporters were allowed free rein, given the final word, on EWRN’s religious talk shows. All other callers, were curtly hung up on.
[Elements of the radically anti-abortion position are continually reaffirmed by EWRN, on literally thousands of occasions. In just one random, recent example among many, elements of this were once again summarized by EWTN’s “Assist. President of Theology,” Mr. Colin Donovan S.T.L, on his show, 3:12 PM ff. Central Time, March. 5, 2010. There Colin once again affirmed among other things, the thesis that abortion involved the deaths of millions of human beings; and that therefore the issue of abortion outweighs all other issues. That we do not in effect, need to follow Jesus, and take care of the Health Care of the poor and sick; that is an unimportant issue, compared to saving embryos.]
But? Undoubtedly it would be better, for anti-abortion “Catholics” to begin following the Bible again more closely, after all. And following their own class theologians, as well. Indeed, the anti-abortion movement is increasingly adopted by even Bishops; and yet it will have been after all, simply, a mistake; the Pro Life movement, though seemingly well intended, was merely the first and more obviously fatal, of many new, contemporary heresies. Even as it presented itself as the essence of all that is good and holy.
What the Bible,
And the Catholic Church.
Pro Life anti-abortionists have claimed for some time that their own personal anti-abortion, conservative philosophy, is the voice of the Church, and of God. But we will have been showing here, that any very strong or adamant Pro Life position, any antiabortionism that insists that we must vote Republican or anti-abortion in elections, was actually, clearly, condemned by the Church itself. Here we will be showing that focusing so narrowly on the single issue of abortion, is exactly and precisely, the “one issue” Catholicism, which has been condemned by many Bishops and Cardinals. In fact, the excessive focus, fixation on abortion, was condemned finally, by the Pope himself. Though the Cardinal Joe Ratzinger – who is our current Pope, Benedict XVI – a) unfortunately seemed to offer remarks that allow for the excommunication of politicians who publicly support (a serious mistake, as we will show here), he also said, very pointedly and explicitly, in his 2004 memo, “Worthiness to Receive,” that b) there can be “proportionate”ly more important things, issues than abortion to consider, when voting in elections for example; and that therefore c) voting for pro-abortion candidates “can be permitted” (Appendix I).
Given the fact that the cardinals and the Pope, were against anti-abortionism, some might well have wondered, how a private individual, an attorney like Karl Keating, could have been allowed to present so many false things as the word of the Church and of God, without the Church itself finally stepping in. It is hard to see how EWTN could have been allowed to say the things they do, before an audience of millions, year in and year out … without someone objecting. Perhaps the problem has been that the Catholic Church itself for example, is not really sure of its own position. Indeed, there are indications for and against abortion, in the history of religion and ethics and science. But if so, then we here offer some guidance to the Church. By showing that there is definitely not enough material in the Christian tradition especially, to support any very strong or adamant anti-abortion theology. Here we will show, for example, that a) the Bible itself does not really support such a view. As the Bible itself does not consider the embryo fully “form”ed in the womb (Ps. 139); and indeed the Bible even has God ordering a priest administering a “dust” or powder, that would often induce an abortion, and sterilization, in the biblical book of Numbers, Ch. 5. Nor does b) ancient Catholic tradition really support anti-abortionism; since two major theologians – and saints; St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas – suggested, following Ps. 139, that the very young embryo for example, was not sufficiently “form”ed, to have a human mind or “soul.”
Given contraindications in the Bible itself, and in much of Church tradition furthermore, finally, c) recently, the leadership Church did partially step in against EWTN’s and/or anti-abortionism, it seems. When again, around 2004 for example, the future Pope or “Holy Father,” Cardinal Joe Ratzinger, said, in a memo to the USCCB (the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), that focusing just on one issue like, specifically, abortion, was bad. The Pope saying that the Pro Life position was bad, in that it ignored other, “proportionate”ly important issues. So that the future Pope himself, Benedict XVI himself, finally told Catholics explicitly, that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted” (Card. Joe Ratzinger, 2004 memo, “Worthiness to Receive”). So that EWTN & Karl Keating’s antiabortion beliefs, have often been directly against the Pope himself. And the saints.
Against the anti-abortionists, the current Pope himself, no less, told us that we did not have to vote for anti-abortion candidates. Furthermore, d) all this was confirmed by other major leaders in the Church. As when the head of the USCCB, Cardinal McCarrick, for example (c. 2007?), condemned such “one issue” Catholicism. This particular cardinal also criticized the over-emphasis on abortion in elections; for assigning too much importance, to just one of many issues. Cardinal McCarrick we will see, and/or others, also explicitly said that the Church was “not telling you how to vote.” Though indeed, Cardinal McCarrick and others like Bishop Steib, began to firmly censure any extreme fixation just on a single issue; like abortion. Because they said, concentrating just on a single evil or aspect of life, neglects many other important things. As Cardinal McCarrick and others were to say, a given political candidate might be “with us” on one issue (like a mild stance against abortion?), but then be “against us,” against the Church, on other important matters.
Christianity itself, the Bible itself, The Church itself therefore, do not firmly, unequivocally support the Pro Life position that so many have assured us is the holy word of God. Indeed, in our present book here, in a sense we will essentially, simply, piously support the Bible and the Pope and the Cardinals said, against EWTN/RN and other anti-abortionist organizations and individuals. All you have to do to oppose anti-abortionism, is to be loyal to the Bible and the Church. Here we will show over and over, that whatever Karl Keating and EWRN claimed, the Bible and the Church themselves do not support any very adamant Pro Life position at all. In fact, two or three cardinals – and then finally, our current “Holy Father,” Pope Benedict XVI – constantly warned several times, about any such dis “proportionate” focus on just “one issue,” like abortion. While regarding specifically, the major organ for anti-abortionism worldwide? ETWN; Eternal Word Television Network? The Cardinals even warned even about EWTN/RN specifically it seems. Note particularly, Cardinal Mahony’s rather public war with EWTN founder and head, Mother Angelica, c. 1997-2001. And Mahony’s statement to the effect that persons without adequate training in theology had been given access to media, and were spreading false theologies around. Which was taken by some to be an attack on mainstream secular media; but which is just as well taken as an attack on the new presumptuous secular/”Catholic” media networks, like EWTN/RN and Relevant Radio. So that not only the anti-abortion “theology,” but also the major organization that promoted it – EWTN/RN – have apparently often criticized by the Church itself; condemned by at least one Cardinal or two. And arguably, by the Pope himself.
Disproportionate, “one issue” anti-abortionism therefore, has been rather firmly condemned, we will show, by the Bible; by the saints and Church Tradition; and by many of our current Cardinals; and by “Our Holy Father,” Benedict XVI too. That would seem to end the case, and put EWTN permanently out of business. But EWTN and other allied organizations have managed to continue, due to various dishonest practices; like false on-air “debates” that pretend to represent both sides of the question, but that never really, fairly do that at all. As we will see, the rhetoric on EWTN is extremely one-sides, and dishonest.
So how can we stop this? Here we will have begun to note to Christians, that EWTN and the conservative anti-abortion position are not really backed by the Bible, or the Church. But in addition to these other authoritative opponents of the movement, we will also note here, e) that there is one more testimony to the evils in pronouncing anti-abortionism holy: the poisonous practical, physical results or “fruits” of it. Specifically, remember, the reason that several cardinals and a pope, began to speak against the one-issue fixation, is that it ignores too many other, perhaps “proportionate”ly worse evils. Anti-abortionists, by just looking at the embryo, ignore so many other important issues … and allow many other evils to grow. And indeed, the results or dangerous outcome of narrow anti-abortionism today, begins to fully justify the cardinals’, the Pope’s warnings, against the movement. The anti-abortion movement in effect, ended up electing countless conservative/ pro-military, nationalistic right wing Republicans in America, 1980-2007. “Conservative” Republicans that to be sure, opposed the relatively minor sin or abortion … but neglected other, far more important issues. Like aa) avoiding unnecessary wars. (We would argue that Iraq and Afghanistan are “just,” but unnecessary). And those who we “good” on abortion, also were bad on other issues; like bb) preventing environmental disasters like floods (in New Orleans and the tsunami in Indonesia). And bad about cc) cc) helping the poor, with Welfare and so forth. And bad about – one of Jesus’ most central causes – dd) helping the sick. In 2009/10, “conservative” Republicans, were “good” on protecting the embryo … but not so good at all, in protecting poor minorities and adults, from disease: in 2009-10, Republicans voted, 98% or so, against extending health insurance, better health care coverage, to 30 millions uninsured Americans. Even though Jesus himself had constantly emphasized these issues; even though helping the poor and the sick, was part of the very core of Jesus’ message. “Conservatives” some might say were “good” on protecting embryos and clumps of cells; but bad on avoiding the environmental disasters and lack of health care, that no doubt, killed tens of millions from lack of good health care. And that might kill hundreds of millions more; if we don’t begin to pay attention to the bigger picture; to what Jesus really talked most about. Not doubt, many millions have died from neglect of the many other important issues, besides abortion. So that anti-abortionism is not only a heresy, from the religious point of view; it is also, in many respects, literally, physically fatal. (Some argue that the embryo is human; so that abortion is also very fatal to millions; but we argue here that the embryo does not seem adequately human at all; because it does not have full human intelligence, or “spirit”).
One-issue theologies like Anti-abortionism can kill – and we will show, have already killed – many millions; even billions of human being. And so, the bad practical, material effects of the Pro Life movement, were not so good. (In part, we will add by the way, this came about because of the movement’s far too narrow definition of “life”; which saw and honored the physical life only of embryos, but not adults. And not the Life of the whole ecological system.)
But to be sure, we will not stress here, just the physically fatal disasters that have already come, from neglect of other aspects of life. A merely practical, prudent approach – being concerned with saving physical lives of millions of adults – often carries little weight among such religious fanatics and cultists. Such people typically, listen only to purely religious- or Bible-based arguments’; arguments based on religious texts. And so therefore, to be sure, our present book will note in passing, as part of our argument, many awful practical disasters that have already been caused by neglect of other – say, Democratic – issues; like the environment, and so forth. But our book will base itself, in even larger part, on ethical and religious arguments. Arguments derived from … the core authorities of Christianity. On especially, the Bible itself. And then, for Catholic, Catholic “Tradition” with a capital “T”; Catholic doctrines, dogmas, canon laws, the sayings of saints; the doctrines; the Magisterium; the Cardinals and the current Pope.
The practical disasters caused by narrow on-issue theologies, are bad enough. But for those who will not listen to Reason, we will cite religious arguments; we will cite religious tradition. Here we will have begun to show for instance that Karl Keating, EWRN’s radically “conservative” views, for example, were not entirely consistent with the entire Bible. And for that matter – ironically, devastatingly, for a “Catholic” radio network – EWTN’s view were eventually criticized by many (if not all) Bishops – and then by at least two or three Cardinals. EWTN’s radical anti-abortionism was ironically, criticized by one cardinal after another … including the cardinal that was soon to become the Pope; Benedict XVI. So that finally, EWTN and the “Catholic” Pro Life position, do not have a leg to stand on. Finally we will show, their position must simply, officially, be declared a heresy. And all those who continue to hold is, should be publicly criticized by the Church itself, and then refused communion: anti-abortionists should be excommunicated, as they call this: kicked out of the Church. (Ironically, the same remedy they have already had applied to their opponents, like Rep. Pat Kennedy (Dem. RI).
The reasons for excommunicating anti-abortionists are clear. Indeed, after a) EWTN founder Mother Angelica suggested on air, that Cardinal Mahony was wrong about theological matters (c. 1997? See our remarks on Mahony here); after b) the Vatican, Cardinal Ratzinger of the CDF (Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith) said that voting for pro-abortion politicians “can be permitted”; you would think the many various anti-abortion organizations like EWTN and Fr. Frank Pavone’s “Priests for Life,” would simply have been shut down; as indeed, they should have been. By the time of the 2004 memo, it should have at last become obvious to everyone, that the Church did not back any very strong anti-abortion position. And EWTN and Frank Pavone, should simply have ceased operation. And/or the Church itself should have stepped in to shut them down. But unfortunately, these corrective measures did not happen. For several reasons we are exploring here. In part because EWTR remained on the air; and convinced listeners to keep sending money, contributions. Since EWTN dishonestly, does not adequately tell its listeners about EWTN’s rebellion against the Cardinals, and the Pope, listeners keep funding it.
Unfortunately, the institutional power of the new conservative coalition, is huge. And few Catholics really know that EWTN/RN and related organizations and even priests, are not really working with the Church and God, but against them. So that already, significant damage had been done. And more is expected. Already, these dishonest institutions have done immense damage to the truth of the Church and of God. And for that matter, to the political process, and the national integrity and security of the United States of America and the world. While anti-abortionism protects embryos, it kills many grown children and adults, through neglect of other issues. The narrow focus of anti-abortionism ignores so many other important issues, that it will undoubtedly have done significant damage, to the welfare of the poor and the sick, of America, and of the whole world. The Pro Life movement elected many conservative Republicans that worshiped and revered and protected the embryo … but who were not so good in getting alone with our “enemies”; not so good at avoiding unnecessary wars, worldwide. Conservative anti-abortionists protected – indeed worshipped – the embryo. But their continued obsessive, fixated, narrow focus just on the embryo finally neglects – and seriously endangers – the rest of the whole, living population of the earth; currently six billion human beings. Just as the Cardinals warned, anti-abortionists see and respect the embryo; but they criminally neglected dozens of others; (often Democratic) issues. Like the care of the poor and sick. The major issues of Jesus himself. Even though Jesus himself spoke continuously about helping the poor and the sick, even today, 2009/10, anti-abortionists like Sheila Liaugminas seem willing to block universal health care, helping the poor and sick, if such legislation backs abortion. Sheila letting the one issue of abortion, cancel out more help for the sick and poor; cancel out, the main issue of Jesus himself. So that finally the new EWTN anti-abortion cult cannot even be said to be Christian; since it no longer really follows Jesus Christ. Since it ignores, neglects things spoken of hundreds of times by Jesus; to follow an issue never mentioned specifically by name in the Bible itself; not even once.
The new embryo cult therefore, is not even really Christian; it violates one Christian principle and authority after another. While aside from its baselessness with regard to religious authority, finally, we will show that its practical consequences or “fruits” are even far worse. Finally, it is the narrowness of the growing anti-abortion cult, that has already cost many lives; and that puts the entire future of mankind at risk. Though the movement’s blinkered neglect, for example, of environmental disasters, like floods, plagues, famines. All of which are neglected, by Mother Angelica’s allegedly “compassionate” but all-too- narrow focus, just on the single issue, of the embryo.
Effects in the Political Sphere:
EWTN Encourages Religious Terrorism
Mother Angelica and Karl Keating’s narrow ideas, have influenced millions of people, votes, in America, and worldwide. Because their views were broadcast worldwide, over an extensive media network (EWTN/RN; and related organizations), the Pro Life movement, was able to throw one election after another, into the conservative camp.
Karl Keating and his EWTN show, “Catholic Answers Live,” was especially responsible for this. For more than a decade, even before the many versions of his Voting Guide began to appear, his distinctive, radical, mono-maniacal, single-issue emphasis on abortion, had already become the prevailing, distinctive message on Eternal Word Radio Network. On this network, the issue of abortion was (and still is?) constantly repeated; usually at least a dozen times a day; even a hundred times. Abortion was spoken of often, for a half hour or more, every other day. Protecting the embryo was undoubtedly, the main, distinctive message of Mother Angelica, and EWTN network. There is no doubt: though EWTN/RN pretended to cover many aspects of Christian and Catholic life, its central and most distinctive message, was just this one issue. Which was we find here, a heresy.
The anti-abortion movement was a heresy. And worse, this heresy was broadcast to hundreds of millions of potential listeners. Millions of often uneducated Catholic Hispanic and Irish Catholic women were told, dozens of times a day and even more, that God himself had firmly us that abortion was hugely evil: according they claimed, to the Bible itself; according to the Catholic Church itself; and according to God himself. And therefore it was constantly said, this one, single issue – abortion – should be the one issue that that is supposed to dominate our lives. Especially, it was the issue that was supposed to outweigh all other issues, and determine our vote, in every election. As Karl Keating, attny., constantly assured us. And this heresy has some very effective resources available to it: the entire resources of the EWTN media network, made it a most effective megaphone. So that Mother Angelica and Karl Keating and Frank Pavone, eventually convinced millions that their extreme, narrow view of God and life, was the whole, the “full,” the complete, the real vision of the Church, and of God. The Church was the “fullness of truth” they (incorrectly) claimed; and so their anti-abortionism was all we needed to know in the voting booth. Or more specifically, we needed to know that the Republican Party was the most anti-abortion party. So that God was telling us to vote Republican. The continuous implicit – if not (due to IRS rules) often explicit – message.
God tells us to vote Republican: this was the real, deeper message, repeated at least a dozen times a day, of the movement. When we go to vote, we were constantly told that the only issue that we should really consider, is the candidate’s stand on abortion. It did not matter what a candidate said or did about any other evils. It did not matter how good candidates were in other spheres (like the subject of the war in Iraq and the killing of innocent civilians in that war). We were firmly told over and over, obsessively, by Karl Keating and (Fr.? Dr.?) Colin Donovan especially, that no other issue could ever really be as important as their issue. Because, they claimed, no other issue was a “life issue”; no other issue involved the lives of human beings (an incorrect assertion we find here; given the many lives at risk in environmental disasters). It was said that abortion demanded our most concentrated attention … because only it involved human lives. And because in fact it involved a sin as massive as “murder.” In effect they claimed, since the embryo was a human being, killing it was murder. And since millions of embryos were killed, that meant it was mass murder; the killing of tens of millions of human beings, human persons. So that finally, because of the immensity of this sin, no political candidate could be supported or voted for finally, if he or she did not firmly, absolutely oppose, abortion. It did not matter it seems, if the candidate started lots of wars that killed lots of people. Or if a candidate withheld health care from millions, leading to their deaths from disease; all these things, we were constantly assured, paled into insignificance, compared to the One Supreme Issue: Abortion. And the Holy Embryo. Indeed, the issue was so important than some callers voiced to the conclusion on EWRN (c. 2007/8; just before the assassination of Dr. Tiller), that people were justified in killing abortion doctors. Though the movement technically denounced this view, by its own logic, such a conclusion was inevitable and almost irrefutable. So that soon enough, (a good EWRN listener?) soon actually murdered an abortion doctor, Dr. Tiller. While not long after that, Fr. Frank Pavone was so helpful, as to repeat to other Relevant Radio listeners, the addresses of other major abortion doctors, in the US.
Finally, the very, very extreme message was reaching its inevitable, logical conclusion. If 1) embryos were full human beings, then 2) killing embryos, deliberately killed an innocent human being; therefore 3) abortionists were murders. Indeed, 4) since many embryos were killed, abortion was mass murder. And therefore 5) since it is considered ethical in some frameworks, to kill a murder, to save lives, then finally … EWTN and Frank Pavone, without every making their final conclusion explicit, lead the EWTN anti-abortion cult to its extreme but inevitable conclusion: 6) since abortion was mass murder, therefore, it was OK to murder abortion doctors. (See Relevant Radio, the month of Dec. 2009, backing the “Manhattan” Declaration; which insists that indeed, it is not licit to obey an unjust law; and implicitly that laws protecting abortion doctors from being murdered, for example, might well be ignored?). Though this last conclusion was explicitly denounced on the network, many listeners rightly concluded that this murderous conclusion was inevitable; given the logic of all the earlier assertions by the network. If you believe the major points of the movement, then there is no escaping this final, murderous conclusion. Even the Church itself allows taking violent action to stop a murder, often. As many call-in listeners pointed out.
The Recent Perversion of the Church
And American Values and National Integrity
EWTN and Frank Pavone’s extremist views, have lead inevitably, recently, to encouraging a new kind of religious terrorism: to inspiring anti-abortionist murders, and assassination. Including most recently, not just the bombing of many abortion clinics, but most recently the murder of Dr. Tiller, c. 2008/9, for example. But even before these latest extreme, evil “fruits,” the movement had already, long since encouraged one sin after another. First of all, not only was anti-abortionism 1) encouraging a heresy; it was 2) a heresy that was already becoming more and more influential. So that its lies were becoming more and more widely believed. Indeed, 3) by 1994 or so, the movement was in the process of taking over the Church itself.
Did this movement take over the Church itself? We will have noted that after all, there have been many, many priests appearing on EWTN; many of whom it turns were seduced by it; by media glamour and fame, and the mantle of being the prophet and crusading public figure. As it turns out, many priests were seduced, egged on by EWTN’s clever apologists and talk show hosts and staffers, to final put aside more equivocal theologizing; to simply, adamantly, crusade for a single issue. To come up with a few simple, dramatic positions. And to try to make Christianity “relevant” at last; by demanding that we all act on these simple ideas, in “everyday life.” (To echo one of the main mottoes of “Relevant Radio”; a modest but significant network of a dozen or so radio stations. “Bridging the gap between faith and everyday life.” The problem being, that this is a huge gap; and a deliberate one by the Church in part; since there are many details in life the Bible did not have room to address; so that the Bible did not tell us whether to drink Coca Cola or Pepsi. But fools rush in where angels fear to tread; and Relevant Radio quickly crosses the sacred boundary between religion and everyday life). By demanding for example, that we vote on the basis of these questionable theological theories.
Anti-abortion, pro-life politics to be sure, most normal people correctly saw, lead to very extreme conclusion. The views supported by Karl Keating and EWTN, we find now, were obviously far too narrow, extreme, and unbalanced. And so it should come as no surprise to hear that when things came to a head around the time of the 2004 election or so (?), when it became clear that EWTN or even the Church itself, were attempting to manipulate the c. 2002-2004 elections in America, at last, all this came under a little more public scrutiny. Karl Keating’s extreme voting guide in particular, was soon rightly, lampooned by, at least some of the press, (around the time particularly of the 2002 or 2004 election? His voting Guide was put up against an imaginary one for “unconcerned Catholics”, and so forth? Check the Internet for references). Yet still, EWTN by that time, had been pushing Karl Keating’s views for many years. And it did not really back away from them, even under fire. Even when the Pope himself told EWTN in effect, it was wrong: that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted.”
The Pro Life antiabortion movement, has been huge; it is tied to many hundreds of allied organizations in the Conservative Coalition; and many anti-abortionist speakers and individuals. So that for several decades, the movement has had enough institutional power, to effectively, control America itself. Due to the efforts of Mother Angelica, Karl Keating, EWTN, Fr. Frank Pavone, and others, various degrees of religious anti-abortion sentiment, have convinced millions of Christians to cast their votes for Republican candidates. Thus determining the course of America; and of the world.
Anti-abortionism to be sure, ironically, has until today, never been quite strong enough to achieve its major (alleged) objective: it has never managed to make abortion illegal. Still, the “conservative”/anti-abortion voting block (usually about 19% of the voting populace), historically has thrown enough votes into the conservative Republican hat, to determine the course of countless minor and major elections, in America. In one election after another, from around 1980 to 2007, the “conservative” Pro Life or anti-abortion movement, helped elect one pro-war Republican after another, to office. From Ronald Reagan in 1980-88; to Bush I in 1988-92; and most recently Bush II, who ruled America from 2000-2008. In the brief interval in which the Republican Party did not control the presidency itself – as it did not, in Dem. Bill Clinton’s presidency, 1992-2000 – still, anti-abortionism and Republicanism, still controlled Congress. The anti-abortion vote contributing to a significant Republican majority in Congress, even during Bill Clinton’s presidency. While anti-abortionism could never achieve its major aim – outlawing abortion again – it had however, helped build the Republican Party, and the Conservative Coalition. And to back its “issues.” Even though to be sure, those issues often did not seem very Christian, or Christlike. (The Republican Party for example, refusing to “love your enemy”; preferring to go to war with them).
Claiming to speak for God, made the voice of networks like EWTN, far, far more effective than anyone would have thought just from the ratings statistics of the various radio and TV stations (Arbitron ratings and so forth?). The new Catholic radio stations presented themselves not as what they were – simple private individuals voicing their private opinions on the Church; and/or a few rebellious priests edging away from the Church – but as the definitive word of the Church, and of God. And so many people gave these networks, far, far more attention than they deserved; attributed to them far, far more authority than they actually had.
The Pro Life movement has therefore been incredibly effective; though ironically, in achieving dozens of ultimately non- and even anti-Christian objectives. Mother Angelica, Karl Keating, EWTN, and their one-issue theology of anti-abortionism, have determined one election after another in America, for nearly 30 years. Electing one “conservative” Republican after another into office. And after the movement thus dominated America, America in turn finally dominated the whole world. So that for some time, the theology of conservative anti-abortionists have controlled the world. Even though – as we are showing here – anti-abortion theology is substantially false. Even though it cannot be supported by the Bible itself. Even though it is not even consistent with Catholic doctrine. And for that matter …
… Even though Karl Keating is a lawyer. And Jesus himself once said, “woe to you, lawyers” (Luke 11.45-52). And his complaint against them, and the Pharisees? Was that precisely, they tended to focus on the “letter” of the “law”; while ignoring other, weightier measures (Mat. 23.23, 2 Corin. 3.6, etc.).
[Regarding Karl Keating, specifically? It is said that Karl Keating, attny., the main voice behind one-issue anti-abortionism, has become a “deacon.” But for many centuries, from the start, permanent deacons were not allowed in the Western church; the diaconate was conferred only as a temporary step, while waiting to become a priest. This was tentatively changed by Pope Paul VI, June 27, 1967, in Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem. However, there were objections and reservations to allowing permanent deacons. And such a status it seems, is in any case to be granted, according to local Bishops and their own authority. While a Deacon is to be under the authority of priests and bishops. Here were suggest that if Karl Keating’s deaconate is with the Catholic Church, his deaconate should be reviewed. And that a bishop should firmly instruct him to discontinue his one-issue anti-abortionism. While finally, in light of our experience with Karl Keating, though he began his Deaconate after his many errors, we request that the Catholic Church review the new, experimental, permanent Deaconate program. Though to be sure, perhaps Karl’s message has been moderated, since entering?]
The fatally narrow, unbalanced theology of (Pat Robertson and?) Mother Angelica, in fact, has dominated the Church, and America, and the whole world, for years. While recently, though a Democrat – Obama – was finally elected President in 2008, this false theology shows signs of being about to take over the Catholic Church itself.
This extreme movement’s narrow ideas, long since began to backwash into the Church itself; and is even now, partially taking over the hierarchy of the Church. For decades, the anti-abortion networks like EWTN, constantly begged, egged on Bishops to support its position. And with the network’s clever think tank of apologists and talk show hosts, constantly advancing sophistical arguments to sell their positions, eventually more and more Bishops were seduced. Eventually even bishops – like Bishop Chaput and Archbishop Burke for example – began to appear on EWTN. To support major elements (even implicitly, all) of EWTN’s fatally narrow philosophy.
With more and more bishops recently endorsing the new heresy, it appears that this new heresy is poised to all-but-inevitably take over the Church itself. Especially when EWTN darling and protégé Bishop Burke, was appointed to a major court in the Vatican itself, c. 2008.
And as the cult of the embryo takes over the Church, we begin to see more and more aggressive attempts by the new Republican Catholic Church, the cult of Fetus, to manipulate and control elections and politics, domestic affairs, in American and in the world. By 1980 the issue of abortion was already controlling elections. By c. 1988, the Church itself was increasingly directly involved in attempting to determine the course of elections in America. Particularly, it had been applied with regard to the candidacy of especially, Catholic politicians; like 1) Sen. Gary Hart around 1988, and then later in the presidential candidacy of 2) Sen. John Kerry around 2004. In those races, we already heard voices claiming to represent the Church, that any Catholic politician who publicly stood up for abortion, could and should be refused communion. And if these voices usually stopped short of flatly telling Catholics not to vote for these – Catholic but Democratic – candidates, that was already an apparent logical implication of the anti-abortionist argument. So that no doubt, the Catholic and Fundamentalist anti-abortion vote, had a great deal to do with the defeat of – to cite two random examples – these two possible or actual Catholic but Democratic candidates for the American presidency, for example.
For many years, various voices from the Church itself apparently – urged onward, by the new half-religious, half-political “Catholic” radio networks – have been quite successful in manipulating the political process in America. Even though it seems that the Church, by various treaties and laws, is not supposed to interfere with foreign governments, or elections, outside Vatican walls. (See our remarks on the Lateran Treaty, IRS rules for non-profits, and various laws and rules governing nations like the Vatican itself). In particular, the Church has allowed a voice representing itself as the voice of the Church – and therefore, as the voice of God – to tell us that God was commanding us not to vote for Democrats, in effect. Most recently, 3) the alleged right of the Church to excommunicate prominently pro-abortion political candidates, was to be sure in part, reaffirmed by Cardinal Joe Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s 2004 memo; indeed this memo was more fully entitles, “Worthiness to Receive Communion”; and asserted precisely, the alleged right of the Church, bishops, to refused to administer communion, to excommunicate, Democratic politicians that publicly supported abortion. This made sure that 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry was defeated in 2004. While the anti-Democratic effort continues today. As recently as around Oct. or Nov. 28, 2009, US congressman Rep. Patrick Kennedy (Dem. R.I.) announced that two years previously, in 2007, his own Bishop (Bishop Tobin, of Providence RI?) had sent him a letter, advising this prominent Democrat, to reconsider continuing to present himself at his Catholic Church for communion. Effectively excommunicating him. Kennedy rightly replied to be sure. By reminding the Bishop that after all, Democrats backed other important “issues”; like universal health care, helping the poor and the sick. (As no doubt Pat’s more famous relative, Sen. Ted Kennedy, tried to remind the Church; asking apparently unsuccessfully for forgiveness or other, before he died in 2009). Yet to date the Catholic Church is increasingly dominated by the political philosophy of Republican conservatives. And all such pleadings have been ignored, denied, turned down.
This new heresy, this new Tradition of Men therefore, this republican Catholicism, the heresy of one-issue anti-abortionism – or favoring only Republican “issues” – has not really disappeared. When American EWTN protégé/darling/stooge, archbishop Burke went to the Vatican to head a major court in the Vatican itself, c. 2008/9, that marked the ascendancy, almost the apotheosis or deification, of the Pro Life heresy. So that we can expect to see this same effort appear again and again in the future. And to succeed in making sure Democrats do not get elected. Just as in the past. Unless or until, we and others can get the Church to begin to see the narrowness and political bias, in more and more Catholics, priest, and now even … archbishops.
To be sure, while the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2004 memo, mistakenly re-affirmed the possibility of excommunicating those who prominently back abortion, overall, Joe Ratzinger has also tried to balance out his views; allowing that after all, the bottom line is true too: focusing too much just on one issue, ignores “proportionate”ly more important things; including after all we clarify here, Democratic issues. So that voting for pro-abortion candidates, surprisingly, “can be permitted” (Card. Joe Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, “Worthiness to Receive Communion”; our Appendix I). The “Holy Father” finally taking into consideration of, after all, more important things than embryos. The things Democrats look at. Like health care; helping the poor. Like avoiding the biblically-verified wars, and “plagues” and “famines” and other environmental disasters, that have already historically killed hundreds of millions of human persons. And that could potentially destroy the whole earth, and all of mankind.
Proportionately, there are therefore many far, far more important things than, than the embryo, and abortion. So that the continuing partisanship of much of the Catholic Church in America, its continued bias for the “conservative” or “Republican” Party, and only its “issues,” like abortion, is therefore, not indicated by the current Pope, Benedict XVI. Who for that matter, is today sometimes known as the “Green Pope.” For his advocacy of environmental issues, after all.
The Pro Life Heresy
Cardinal Joe Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s
“Worthiness to Receive
Allowing That Catholics Voting for Pro-Abortion Candidates,
“Can Be Permitted”;
And “Proportionate”ly More Important Issues
Here we will present one of the parts of Catholic Magisterium, that anti-abortionists like Fr. Frank Pavone do not face: the full text of all of the parts of Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI’s 2004 memo that are presently available to the public. Though allegedly some parts of the memo remain confidential, and have apparently not been released, amazingly, Ratzinger’s memo as we have it now, in the presently-definitive form – as apparently given to us by the USCCB – explicitly allows the following: that 1) voting for a pro-abortion candidate, for other reasons than supporting his stand on abortion, is apparently at most, a minor sin: a “remote material cooperation” in a sin. So that 2) therefore, voting for a pro-abortion candidate, as the memo explicitly says, “can be permitted.” 3) Particularly, when other issues seem “proportionate”ly more important. This is 4) what Cardinal Ratzinger, himself – the future Pope – is found to say here; specifically in his final note at the end of his 2004 memo.
Here is the memo allowing abortion, from the cardinal and future Pope. Printed here, as completely as it has been available to the public, to date. With important sections presented by us in boldface. The memo to be sure, considers abortion a “grave” sin; and even, incredibly (if not infallibly?), allows that some bishops might find themselves in a situation where there should deny communion to some. On the other hand though, it is time for everyone to notice the next part; in the note at the very end, it finally allows that 1) ordinary people can vote for politicians who support abortion, voting for them “can be permitted,” if they vote for them for 2) proportionately more important issues.
“Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles
by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision,
based on a reasoned judgement regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to
the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full
communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a
penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy
Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?” The practice
of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a
consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf.
Instruction “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” nos. 81, 83).
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical
Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that
authorise or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a “grave and
clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. […] 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 propoganda campaign
in favour of such a law or vote for it’” (no. 73). Christians have a “grave
obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if
permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the
moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This
cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of
others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it”
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.
For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the
application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not
for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy
Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war,
and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may
still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse
to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among
Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with
regard to abortion and euthanasia.
4. Apart from an individual’s judgement about his worthiness to present himself
to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself
in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone,
such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an
obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).
5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal
cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician,
as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and
euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the
Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy
Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning
him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they
were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence,
still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy
Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative
Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics”
, nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a
penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgement on the person’s
subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to
receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy
to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a
candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion
and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour
of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons,
it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the
presence of proportionate reasons.]”
(Reported in L’Espresso, July 3 2004? Found in Catholic Culture (“Catholic Culture”; “culture” “library”; “Pope Benedict XVI”; “June 2004”; “Worthiness … ”).
Substantially this version was listed in the Vatican web site c. 2010; though by 2007-2011, various dishonest organizations have introduced their own subtly twisted version of it; twisting especially the last, all-important paragraph. These forgeries and desparate well-intended but evil distortions and forgeries, demonstrate the evil that well-intended fanatatics can do; twisting and bending the truth, to suit their own desperate delusions and desires.
Comments on Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s Memo
What should be our summary here, of the above parts of the memo that have been released/leaked to date? Regarding the document as (for now) definitively leaked to us by the USCC? The various liberal and conservative spin doctors of the Church, may have since top-spun/perverted the original wording of this doctrine, as it was originally released in 2004. But we take the original as definitie here. And? It allows us to vote for pro-abortion political candidates. So a) long as we are not voting for them, to specifically support their pro-abortion stance. And b) in the presence of “proportionate” reasons. While c) we have outlined dozens of issues proportionately more important than the embryo.
Like most religion to be sure, the memo from the future pope is rather equivocal; trying to entertain two opposite opinions at the same time; (in the Bible, roughly, conservative/literal; and liberal/metaphorical; here, anti vs. pro abortion). To conservatives, who look for a first, simple message, the first parts of this document seem to offer anti-abortionists, conservatives, much support. This document seems to say on the surface, that abortion to be sure, is a) bad. A grave sin. It is b) “intrinsically” bad. And c) therefore it is “never licit” or good, to “formally cooperate” in an abortion. Or d) to vote specifically for abortion. Or to e) vote for a pro-abortion candidate, specifically and explicitly to support his stand for abortion.
The anti-abortion parts of this document, have often been quoted by conservative anti-abortionists (like Liaugminas, above); the parts that, taken by themselves, appear to say that abortion is firmly, unquestionably wrong; that it is all but the supreme evil a human being can commit. Especially, conservative Catholics love to quote one or two parts of the text. The part that says that abortion is a grave sin. Or especially that seems, when taken just by itself, to tell us that abortion is absolutely firmly wrong, because it is “intrinsically” wrong: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion” among Catholics on individual wars and other issues involving human life – whether they are just and so forth – this part says. But basically, abortion, many claim this says, is always – or as others would add, “intrinsically” – bad. So that f) those who “formally” persist in supporting abortion, it says, might even be denied communion.
These conservative ideas, expressed in this document, were enormously influential; and they or a prototype of them, played a major role in determining the election of 2004; when pro-abortionist (and Catholic) Democratic candidate John Kerry was defeated by anti-abortion conservative, George Bush. Likewise the general idea – that those who formally support abortion might be denied communion – was earlier used c. 1979-2000- 2004, to attack potential American Democratic presidential candidates, from Sen. Gary Hart, to Sen./VP Al Gore, to Sen. John Kerry, and many others. And the attempt to suggest that the Church could and should excommunicate politicians who supported abortion publicly, was extremely influential in determining the vote; as it turned a small but significant portion of the Catholic vote (a few Hispanics, etc.), and a major share of Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists, against Democrats. Because they all believed that this was the word of God. Indeed, given the closeness of many votes, we could say that this kind of selective quote, quoting just the anti-abortion part of Catholicism, determined the election of at least two or three American presidents; and therefore determined the course of America. And by determining the course of America, the Roman Catholic Church determined the course of the world. As the Church in effect, elected presidents that opposed abortion … but were not so strong on other “issues;” who liked to start, however, say, wars.
Elements of the Roman Catholic Church have been controlling American elections for some time. But now it is time for our literal-minded conservatives, to learn to read a little better. To read more “full”y. To learn to read the other level of meaning, in most religious texts. Beyond simple rules, and “law.” Consider for example, that though parts of the above memo, seemed to prohibit abortion – and therefore to attack American Democratic party candidates, who usually supported abortion – still, there are other parts, other provisions in it, that would allow voters to vote even for pro-abortion candidates; to vote in other words, for Democrats.
Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s memo, read more closely, says first of all g) only that a Bishop “may” find himself in a position where he denies communion to a political candidate. Then furthermore, while it says that h) no Catholic should deliberately vote specifically for abortion, itself, directly; or i) vote for a pro-abortion candidate, if he or she is intending precisely to support that candidate’s advocacy of abortion, there are situations in which we can vote for a pro-abortion candidate.
Conservatives read and follow, only parts of the Bible, and only parts of Church doctrines and document. But let us all now look at Ratzinger’s memo far more closely; at not just the parts that conservatives like to quote, but all of what we have here. Note here that aa) though the document does say that abortion is bad, evil, bb) it next allows however, that there might be other worse things; “proportionate”ly greater evils. So that, if we have a pro-abortion candidate that, however, is stronger on other important issues, then finally, amazingly, the future Pope says that a Catholic can vote for a pro-abortion candidate. Explicitly the memo says, voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted.” To support, his stand, on other, proportionately important issues (and/or, we can vote for him for other reasons?):
“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy
to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a
candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion
and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour
of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons,
it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the
presence of proportionate reasons.” (First publicly reported in L’Espresso, around July 3 2004? Text here found in Catholic Culture: “Catholic Culture”; “culture” “library”; “Pope Benedict XVI”; “June 2004”; “Worthiness … ”).
Conservative Catholics therefore, are being misleading, deceitful; they are not really reading, presenting all of what the memo as we have it today, says. The fact is, though Cardinal Ratzinger’s memo says that abortion is bad, and that we should not vote to support it, still, we can vote for a pro-abortion candidate. If there are other important, “proportionate” considerations (or “issues” as others like McCarrick were to add).
This memo therefore allows us to vote for pro-abortion candidates; allowing that though abortion is bad, there are often more important issue. Unfortunately, however, this liberal side or part of the text, was ignored, denied. Or whitewashed, topspun, by conservative Catholics. Especially on media networks like EWTN/RN. Who almost never mentioned this part of the text. But who only read and followed, the other parts of Church doctrine, that they wanted to pick and choose.
The conservative reading of Church doctrine therefore, has been deceitful, partial, biased, univocal. Worse, the conservative mis-reading of the emerging Catholic doctrine – as expressed finally in the 2004 memo – unfortunately, was announced as the word of the Church, and of God; and was broadcast 24/7 all over America, and all over the world, by EWTN/RN. So that the simplistic, incomplete theology of the Right, of conservatives, predominated, triumphed, c. 1980 to 2007. Especially this memo was asked for, in connection with the 2004 election; and rumors of an early version of it effected the 2004 election (held late Nov., 2003; just before this memo was officially released, but well after reports of it had surfaced).
Indeed the whole election of 2004, Kerry vs. Bush, Democrat vs. Republican, was determined here, perhaps. By an essentially deceitful, incomplete reading of a memo from the Pope. In 2004 AD, the Democratic Party’s candidate for president of the US, was a Catholic: Sen. Kerry (Dem., MA). Yet Kerry appeared to publicly support abortion. Therefore, several conservative Catholics publicly said on EWTN/RN, that Kerry and other Democrats, should be denied communion; and that Kerry could or course not be voted for, by any Catholic, either. Because Kerry supported abortion. Eternal Word Radio Network especially, constantly, strongly implied this, constantly. Though EWTN only occasionally said this explicitly – in order to try to preserve its status as a tax-exempt, allegedly non-political organization – on the air, EWTN/RN constantly quoted those parts of Ratzinger’s memo, that appeared by themselves to support its anti-abortion, anti-Democratic stance. While omitting or “twist”ing the other parts. Over and over a) we heard the parts of the memo that suggested that there could be no disagreement on the “intrinsic” evilness of abortion; while we b) heard little that was honest, about the part that told us that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted.” If we heard about such parts at all, ever, on conservative radio, they were mentioned by callers, not hosts. And we were assured that even if the memo allowed voting for others in the presence of “proportionate reasons,” then it was constantly claimed that, however, there was however, nothing that was proportionate to abortion. Though the memo itself said no such thing. And our own findings here are that there are many current issues that are proportionately far more important: like avoiding even just, but unnecessary wars; protecting the environment; and providing health care for the poor and sick. Problems, “other issues,” that could involve, “proportionate”ly, far, far more deaths, than abortion does. Problems in which the entire fate of all of mankind in fact, hangs in the balance. The lives of hundreds of millions, billions of indisputably, fully human beings; grown children and adults. As well as the entire future of all of mankind.
So now, it is time to expose the deceitful selectivity and word-twisting, of religious conservatives. And to see the “fullness of the truth” of the Church, and of God. It is time for us to look at not just “part”s of Christianity, and Catholicism, and the Bible – and this memo – but at all of the parts; the “full” message. Reading more fully, we find here that Cardinal Ratzinger appears to say that, to be sure, abortion is bad; but it is not so bad that voters can’t vote for a candidate that supports abortion. If there are other pressing issues. Or in the Cardinal’s memo, a Catholic can vote for a pro-abortion candidate, given “proportionate reasons”:
“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion … but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it … can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons”
Conservatives have not been honest or good. They have been “deceit”ful. They have been false priests, false prophets. They did not really read the text to us, in a fair and balanced way; they only read to us the parts they wanted us to hear; and the parts as they interpreted them. But here, in the memo from Ratzinger, as it was presented to us by Cardinal McCarrick and his office, Cardinal Ratzinger – the Cardinal who was soon to become Pope, Pope Benedict XV – rather clearly says that Catholics and others can vote for pro-abortion candidates.
This memo would have seemed at first, to finally end the controversy; and to permanently silence EWTN/RN and its anti-abortion apologists. But to be sure, anti-abortionists – and the anti-abortion political party, the Republicans – made every effort to twist this memo; to twist even the definitive, final note in it, that told us that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted.” Indeed, EWTN and others tried to get rid of the Cardinal’s statement. By say, a) ignoring it, whenever they could. But here of course, EWRN was ignoring a cardinal and future pope. And EWTN would b) quote only the parts of the memo that seemed to support a conservative interpretation.
At times though, c) EWTN listeners, would call up the station, and call attention to this memo. Many such listeners were ignored; and not allowed on air. Thus EWTN systematically suppressed all readings, other than its own. And d) then too, when at last, some listeners were able at last to get past the EWRN screener, and to mention this on the air, when thus forced to at last hear the Cardinal, EWRN was however eager to try to twist the memo. And to try to turn it into yet another, anti-abortion statement. Quoting e) for example the parts that remotely hinted (but did not say?) that talking the life of an innocent person was always “intrinsically” evil, and that seemed therefore to hint that there could be no legitimate difference of opinion on the evilness of abortion; as compared specifically to the question of the rightness or wrongness, the “just”ness, of individual wars for example. But see our noting the fatal limitations of the “intrinsic” argument, above. Then too, its says that f) there can be no “legitimate diversity of opinion” on such things: but given the equivocality of this document itself – both condemning abortion but then allowing us to vote for pro-abortion candidates – this document condemns itself it seems; its own diversity. While in any case, if it wants to set down some simple, unequivocal ruling … what exactly was it? If any thing, it was that abortion is bad; but we can vote for pro-abortion candidates, given other reasons.
Consider especially, those parts of the memo that told us that we can “vote” for pro-abortion candidates “in the presence of proportionate reasons.” This part of the text seemed to rather firmly rebuff any “conservative,” anti-abortion reading. But to be sure, the apologists on EWTN, are trained by lawyers; and they are therefore, highly trained in dishonest, persuasive false logic, “sophistry”; they are perfectly capable of “twist”ing any such words around. And in this case, EWTN apologists regularly insisted that even if the Pope made provision for possible, “proportionate reasons,” in actual fact, there were no “proportionate reasons” at all. Abortion being so grave, and involving so many deaths. And yet, we might now respond: why would the future Pope make provisions for “other reasons,” “proportionate reasons” … if there could be no such things? Why make provisions for something that can never happen? Why would the Pope waste his time this way? And why leave an opening at all … if all this was so firm? Why would the Pope say we could vote for in the presence of “proportionate reasons”? The text clearly seems to assume, clearly, that there can be in fact, proportionately more important things, than abortion.
In another related attempt to “twist” Ratzinger, a version of the above, anti-abortionists try to continue to say that Ratzinger’s “proportionate” statement means this: that to be sure, abortion is always the supreme issue; we must always vote for anti-abortion candidates. So that the remark on proportionality, must mean that we are supposed to chose the most anti-abortion candidates. Or say, if several candidates are equally anti-abortion, then we can consider them according to their stand on other issues, that they hold in addition to that. But the memo as we have it to date, does not say that. While that apologetic by EWTN, end up asserting often, that we cannot vote for a pro-abortion candidate at all; yet it fact, Cardinal Ratzinger here clearly says that we are speaking of – and we can vote for – a candidate “in favour of abortion”;
“When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour
of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons,
it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the
presence of proportionate reasons.” (First publicly reported in L’Espresso, around July 3 2004? Text here found in Catholic Culture: “Catholic Culture”; “culture” “library”; “Pope Benedict XVI”; “June 2004”; “Worthiness … ”).
The last argument fails to note the memo’s assumption that there are other “reasons,” aside from consideration of abortion, that should get our attention, in elections. And we add, in “life.” While later, Pope Benedict XVI was to make many pro-environment statements; so that he came to be called the “Green Pope.”
Finally therefore, the “conservative” Catholic reading by EWTN/RN of this memo, and of other Catholic traditions, is g) not really conservative at all. Not in the sense that it really, honestly, obediently, conservatively, followed what the cardinals and Popes and the traditions and Tradition, really, fully told Catholics. The fact is, our “conservatives” were never honest or conservative at all. Specifically, one of the forms that their deceitful dishonesty took, was especially, to aa) be highly selective in what information, what parts of the Church they presented to us; and then they began to bb) “twist” and play word games, semantic games, sophistry, with the rest.
The fact is, all the “Conservative” arguments on EWTN, that try to tell us that the Pope firmly, unequivocally ordered us not to vote for any pro-abortion candidates, are simply dishonest, and wrong. Or in Biblical language, anti-abortion arguments are “lies,” and “sophistry,” “deceits” by “false prophets,” and bad priests. Lies that present a false idea of the Church; which were really motivated by, warped by the political philosophy of conservatives, the “traditions of men.” If the Church itself in general is not warped by such traditions, certainly, “conservative” Catholics are.
And the sin of Catholic “conservatives,” anti-abortionists, has been a very, very grave sin. They misrepresented the Church, and God. Indeed finally, because we are here ultimately talking about the perception, the presentation of God and Christ here, conservatives therefore, presented to us a false idea of Christ and God; they presented to us all, to the whole world, a “false Christ,” in effect.
[Regarding our own work here: A) we ourselves here are not engaging in a “propaganda campaign” in favor or abortion, but in a scholarly work. While B) we do not in fact endorse abortion, as much as merely oppose the idea that it is hopelessly evil, an evil outweighing other issues. Then too C) those who have or support abortions, not deliberately advocate the killing of an “innocent “human being … in part because they do not believe an embryo is a “human being.” While D) we ourselves actually dislike abortion; our object is not to support abortion, but is primarily to show that, however anyone might personally dislike it, no one should ever say that the Bible or God themselves firmly condemned abortion. Anyone can announce dislike of abortion as their own personal opinion; but to say that God himself commanded it, we have suggested here, is heresy. It misrepresents God. Therefore E) when the Church has often said abortion is bad, even the same as infanticide, “from conception,” that was in fact essentially a new or more dramatic and inflexible prouncement, when the Church began to articulate it very directly and adamantly, in Vatican documents, like Gaudium et spes in 1965, or Codex Iuris Canonici, c. 1983?; or CDF, Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Donum vitae III, as referenced in the Catechism p. 548. It was controversial at the time … and indeed, antiabortionism must now be regarded as an illegitimate attempt, in part by “modern” liberal clerics, who believe that the word of“God” and the Bible and Church Tradition, were always partially the production of men. Such persons now taking it on themselves, to simply begin accepting the men in the Church, as defining God, and the word of God; and beginning to therefore introduce their own new, human doctrines, as the word of “God.” Clearly though, F) this experiment in men playing God, has failed. And so we now need substantial changes in many recent key doctrines and documents. Note by the way though, that G) Ratzinger’s 2004 memo, is issued in very slightly more equivocal language than the 2000 Catechism and related documents; allowing us to vote for pro-abortion candidates. In any case though finally, we must insist here that any current command to excommunicate those who stand prominently for abortion, is simply, illegitimate; an intrusion of mere socio/political “opinions of men,” within the Word of God. An intrusion that is itself not consistent with the Bible; with Catholic Tradition of the Saints and 1917 Canon law; nor with Science; nor with God. The Church has often been accused by Protestants of not obeying the Bible, but instead the “traditions of men.” Though we ourselves do not often find that to be the case, we do find that here, for once, in the example of anti-abortionist sentiments in recent Church pronouncements, the accusation is perfectly true. Many might oppose, dislike, abortion, as their own opinion; but to pretend for a second that this opinion is from God, is simply, wrong. Even the Bible itself seems inconsistent with that idea. Any strong anti-abortionism therefore is not from God; it is from men. Therefore, no Church document should take a very strong position on it at all. At most, it might be regarded as a real but relatively minor sin; not as serious as killing an innocent human being, say. While, since we find here that any strongly anti-abortion position by the Church is exposed now as being not religion, not justified by religious tradition, but as being really one of the traditions of men, therefore, all past and any continued interventions by the Church, in the name of abortion, in the political affairs of the United States of America, must be seen not as a neutral or genuine religious impulse, but simply as an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to interject its own private political opinions, in an attempt to interfere with, take over, American domestic politics and government. In violation no doubt, of many American and international laws.]
. . .
God himself never pronounced firmly against abortion at all; only men pretending to speak for God, have done that. So how can we fix the obsession and heresy of anti-abortionism? First, we need our conservatives to learn about what “intellectual honesty” is. They need to see their dishonesty of their arguments. They need to see that often, conservatives and anti-abortion arguments work, trick others, by merely “twist”ing language around; playing semantic word games with us.
In particular though, the main way that anti-abortion apologists try to make their point, is by just mentioning misrepresentative parts of Church authority, and of the Bible. They only tell you about parts that seem, taken out of context, to support their own position; while leaving out the many, many other parts of doctrine that do not support their position. In Ratzinger’s memo for example, anti-abortionists in Catholic media rarely if ever mention it, except when it is brought up by callers; they like to leave out this Cardinal’s memo entirely. Or, if they have to talk about it, they quote only selected, misleading fragments of it. The leave out a some of the key phrases; like the parts of the memo, that tell us that voting for a candidate “in favour of abortion … can be permitted.” To see their sin, conservatives should read some key parts of St. Paul for example; where Paul warned that even “we” holy men and Christians, disciples, only see “part” of the truth, thru a mirror darkly. And that it is only one “day” or another, of the second coming that, as the rest of the Bible hinted, we would be allowed to see a “full”er vision, coming, of God. In the meantime, religious people see only “part” of the truth; part of God. The fullness of truth does not come until at least the Second Coming.
But perhaps we can at least see more than many, even here and now, on this subject; we can at least, read all the Bible; and read more fully, in what the Church has said, what Ratzinger’s memo fully said. So if we do that, what then finally, is the fuller picture of God, on the subject of abortion? The issue has been complicated by the fact that a) to be sure, the Church has often made a few partial statements, to the effect that abortion was rather bad; to be sure. Finally however, b) the Church has ultimately also made statements that allowed that abortion however, was not necessarily the worst thing, the worst sin. That there are other things that can be “proportion”ately more important than abortion. While indeed, the Bible itself never concerned itself with abortion much; unless it ordered a priest to perform one in effect, in Num. 5. While it suggests an embryo in the womb is “unformed.” And if “no one knows” the exact moment a soul enters the body (Ecc. 11.5), or knew in the time of Ecclesiastes, then simply don’t worry too much about things, and just do your practical work, your job: “let not your hands be idle” (Ecc. 11.6 NIV).
Those who want to be “conservative” and just do and follow what the Bible and the Church really, more fully said, should know and follow this. In fact, are, ironically, being more conservative than conservatives … by really, fully reading and following what several cardinals – and finally, our current Pope – really, fully said.
Indeed finally, it is time for the definitive word on this subject. And for Catholics, the definitive theology on abortion, would be what was recently outlined by Cardinals Mahony, McCarrick, and Ratzinger, (and Bishop Steib); and finally by Pope Benedict XVI. Who outlined relatively recently, a theology that to be sure, tells us that: abortion is bad. But even here they overstated the case. While their conclusion is closer to the truth: there are many worse things. So that Catholics are allowed to vote for pro-abortion candidates, in elections, if there are other, more pressing issues. The cardinals and “The Holy Father” outlining a theology finally, that might be called, roughly, the theology of “proportionate” “issues.” Or the anti- “one issue” theology. Which appears to be the real, definitive theology of the Church itself on this subject, today.
. . .
So what should we finally say therefore, about EWTN/RN? And about those radically, unequivocally, dis-“proportionate”ly “one-issue” anti-abortion laymen, like Sheila Liaugminas? And adamantly anti-abortion priests, like Fr. Ed Sylvia and Fr. Frank Pavone? We should simply note that they do not follow what the Cardinals and Popes, the saints and the Bible – God – told them to do. Therefore finally they – and all those hundreds of “Catholic” articles and media shows that insist or hint, that Catholic voters can never vote for a pro-abortion candidate – are simply, bad, false priests. They are resisting, disobeying, “twist”ing, the commands of saints, and Cardinals, and Popes. And such false religious leaders have done much damage. For that reason finally, it is best to proclaim simply, that ant-abortion priests like Fr. Frank Pavone and Fr. Ed Sylvia, are simply, dangerous, evil heretics. While by the way, they are anything but “conservatives”; they are rebels against the Church. With a radical and heretical, probably one-issue, certainly anti-abortion, theology.
Allegedly “Conservative,” anti-abortion Catholics, often claimed on EWTN/RN and elsewhere (on Relevant Radio etc.), that they and they alone, were the only true, real Catholics; the only Catholics who really tried to follow all of Catholicism. As opposed to “liberal” or “Cafeteria Catholics”; who would just try to “pick and choose” what parts of Catholicism they chose to follow. Especially, those who ignored the ostensible prohibition on abortion, were called “Cafeteria Catholic”; for picking and choosing which parts of Catholicim, of what the Pope said, to follow. But today it would be wise for EWTN and others, to remember that Christ himself warned about some dangers is accusing, “judg”ing, others. Specifically Jesus and others warned that those who “throw the first stone,” at others, often fail to see their own sins; the “beam” or “log” in their own eye. Even more specifically, following Jesus, the apostle Paul warned that those who accuse others of some specific evil, will often been found in the end, to have that same sin, in themselves. (As one would expect in post-modern theory too: we see sins in others, that we know all too well, from having it in ourselves; and from “project”ing our sin on others, or “the other.”)
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that ironically, those many media Catholics who constantly condemned, judged those who support abortion, in part by calling them “Cafeteria Catholics,” are here found to have been “Cafeteria Catholics” themselves. They also picked and chose which parts of Catholicism they see, and obey. In this case, the anti-abortionist Catholic just saw and quoted only parts of Catholic tradition – or indeed, only the parts of the Pope’s published memo – that they want to see. While ignoring – and disobeying – many other key sayings of the Pope, and several cardinals; and by much of the Bible itself; ultimately ignoring, disobeying, much of God himself. And thus they themselves were precisely, what they accused others of: they were “Cafeteria Catholics,” at best. To be sure, perhaps we all inevitably pick and chose somewhat; but let us be frank about it, and admit what we do. Let us not be hypocrits, like the anti-abortionists. Who claim to have the “fullness of the truth” … even as they ignore one part of the Bible, one doctrine of the Church, after another. After they ignore two saints, and canon law, and three Cardinals, and the Pope.
Catholic Pro Life anti-abortionism has ignored – and therefore disobeyed – all too many parts of the Bible, of the Church, and of God. Often – as we will see elsewhere even more clearly – with literally, physically, fatal results. Though we will only later more fully examine the literally fatal effects of ignoring some parts of God, here we might note at least, however, one or two fatal results, from ignoring, disobeying, the Bible and the Church: in effect, when anti-abortionists began insisting, especially in the 2000-2004 AD elections, that we must all vote Republican, the end result was that to be sure, we elected a candidate who was against abortion … but who wasn’t so strong on “other” “issues” (cf. McCarrick, Steib). What we got was a president (Bush II) who didn’t mind starting perhaps unnecessary wars, for example. Wars that killed many civilians in Iraq and so forth. While finally, who knows what the disastrous long-range results of the anti-environmentalism of many anti-abortion candidates, might be.
Anti-abortionists are guilty of many grave sins; and those sins have often been magnified hugely, when they insisted on electing candidates that agreed with their false theology. Given the closeness of the first, decisive election, in effect, “Catholic” anti-abortionism elected many anti-abortionist Republicans, like George Bush II, in 2000-2004. But George Bush’s warlike “American” and bellicose attitude, soon involved the United States in at least two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq). Perhaps to be sure, many might argue that a) Bush’s bellicose, pro-war attitude, was not bad; and that b) Iraq was a “just” war. Still, we suggest here it was probably an unnecessary war. While indeed, c) regarding the wars, the Vatican itself often informally said negative things about these wars; and about many US activities, about “Capitalism,” during Bush’s term. While in any case finally d) it may well be that Bush’s anti-environmentalism, aside from drowning part of New Orleans, will have longer-term, far more disastrous consequences. While Republican neglect of health care (Republicans voted against it prominently, in the end of 2009), probably allowed millions to die unnecessarily too.
But in any case, e) we should note that however, specifically, Republicans and George Bush’s record is eventually judged, and however anti-abortionism is finally judged, in general, any rigid, inflexible, obsessed theology like anti-abortionism, will always be far too narrow, to guide humanity through all of life. And any similarly narrow view of “life,” will no doubt, cause huge disasters in the future. The “one issue” theology of anti-abortionists or others, could well in the future, elect a candidate that is attentive to the embryo, but is neglectful of the lives of grown children and adults; and other extremely important issues. Today in fact, dutifully anti-abortion candidates neglect environmental issues, that could eventually, destroy the entire population of the earth – currently, about six billion, undisputedly human lives.
So, no matter what the final decision may be one day, on abortion specifically, it is clear that focusing our attention obsessively, exclusively, narrowly – or to use at last the fuller language of the Church, focusing im-“prudent”ly just on one dis-“proportionate” “issue” – is a very, very, evil thing. Supporting candidates that are attentive to only one or two issues in life, without thinking about other important issues, could neglect things, that could, eventually, destroy all of mankind. Specifically concentrating just on abortion, on the fetus, could lead to neglect of other issues like the environment; which could finally lead to things like … plagues, famines, floods, diseases, droughts. Disasters which have already, historically in fact, killed hundreds of millions of undisputedly human beings.
A major problem with Pro Life anti-abortionism therefore in fact, is that focusing on just one minor sin, and ignoring so many others, in effect, encourages other sins; through neglect For that reason, “one issue” theologies – like Anti-abortionism – therefore have rightly been condemned, by several Cardinals, and by the Pope. Because, in the language of the Church, to focus just on one “issue,” is a far, far too narrow, dis- “proportion”ate, Catholicism.
And finally therefore, given its fatal narrowness – and potentially massively disastrous, consequences – finally, the one issue, anti-abortion Catholicism of say Karl Keating, of EWTN/RN, of Fr. Frank Pavone and Ed Sylvia, of Shela Liaugminas (who often appears today on Relevant Radio), must now be firmly censured. In fact, the theology of anti-abortionism, should today be firmly declared to be, in the language of the Bible, a deadly “abomination.” An extremely evil and destructive heresy. One which is not true to the fuller understanding of the Church, and of the Bible. Indeed, Pro Life politics, anti-abortionism, is simply a heresy. One that worse, moreover, could have massively, physically fatal consequences for millions; even for all of mankind.
Pro Life anti-abortion theology therefore, is simply a heresy; one that must now be firmly dealt with by the people. And, with the Grace of God, by the Church itself.
All this we offer, in the name of Truth. And the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the year of our Lord, Dec. 25, 2009 AD.
Today, unfortunately, people get their religion not from a church – but from the media; from Radio, TV, and Internet. But good Christians and others now need to be warned: no media organization whatsoever, like EWTN/RN, is an entirely reliable authority on God, or the Church. In particular, the increasingly vocal “Pro Life,” anti-abortion movement, which uses the media, claiming to itself represent the Bible and God and the Church, is not actually supported by the Bible itself.
Consider indeed, the huge new “Catholic” media conglomerates, like EWTN/RN. They are not the official voice of the Church. They are private organizations. And much of what they say is not really what the Church supports. Particularly, the anti-abortionism of EWRN and associated organizations, like Frank Pavone’s “Priests for Life”, Karl Keating’s “Catholic Answers.” It was actually spoken against by major saints, like St. Thomas Aquinas. And by many others; EWTN’s “one issue,” dis- “proportionate” anti-abortionism, was recently opposed by Cardinal McCarrick. And by Cardinal Joe Ratzinger – who is now our current Pope, Benedict. Where the Pope said that voting for pro-abortion candidates, “can be permitted” (Pope Benedict XVI/Joe Ratzinger, 2004 Memo, “Worthiness”).
Many media networks and many Catholic activists, now falsely present themselves as the voice of the Church, or of God. But they are not; the real Catholic Church itself, is the Vatican. While the Vatican has actually opposed EWTN and its radical anti-abortion doctrine. Especially, real authority opposes the common EWTN doctrine that insists that we vote for the most anti-abortion candidate in every election; which means that God says, vote Republican.
Against EWTN and others, the real Church, the Pope, has actually opposed anti-abortionism and its advocates; for countless good reasons. In our book we summarize about a hundred Bible-based and logical and practical arguments, against any strongly anti-abortionist theology. Especially we note that 1) in the Bible, God orders a priest to perform an abortion (Num. 5.11-30). Then too 2) it said the young embryo is not completely “form”ed (Ps. 139); therefore 3) a major saints and theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas concluded, the embryo does not have a “soul.” So that therefore, a child in the womb, is not fully a human being or person. More recently, 4) real science cannnot support any claim that an embryo is human, and has a soul. Therefore, 5) at least three Cardinals, the USCCB, and the Pope, have finally condemned EWTN, or any one “issue,” dis-“proportionate” anti-abortionism. For these and many more reasons.
There are at least a hundred good, Christian, Catholic arguments, against Pro-Lifers, and against anti-abortionism. Arguments which we present in our book.
EWTN and other “Catholic” media networks, have therefore delivered a false, anti-abortion theology therefore, a false image of God; which has come to dominate America, and the world; the anti-abortion movement determined many elections in America, 1980-2008. But there are many false things, in our most religious media networks; false things, a false anti-abortionism, even in some of our priests and bishops. The problem is partially that recently the Catholic Church itself, began to encourage a “new evangelization”; which has allowed lay people, even talk show hosts, to appear to speak for the Church and for God. But historically, the Church opposed “evangelization” (when it opposed Protestantism). Because allowing ordinary and often unreliable individuals and media to speak for God, allows false doctrines to grow. As indeed many false doctrines about God have grown, with the new Catholic “evangelization.”
Specifically, what you hear today from “Catholic” talk show hosts and guests, the new self-appointed media voicepieces for the Church – and not just in mainstream media, but even in “conservative” religious networks – is the word of confused, and politically biased, untrained individuals. What we are hearing from “Catholic” networks like EWRN for example, is a mix of traditional, uneducated religion, combined with what the Bible condemned: political “philosophy,” the “traditions of man.” Particularly in the era of Rush Limbaugh and Right Wing Radio, what we hear on even religious radio and TV, is often slanted to the “Right,” or “conservative,” or Republican side of the political spectrum. So that finally, what we hear in even “conservative” religious media, presents not an objective summary of the ideas of God; they intermix that with, the fallible philosophies of man.
Take especially the message from “Eternal Word Television Network,” ETWN. Including especially its radio branch, Eternal Work Radio Network. These form the “world’s largest” religious or Catholic network, some say. Indeed, EWTN covers the whole earth with its message. As it presents itself as the authoritative voice of the Catholic Church; and therefore, as the voice of God. But it is time to note clearly that EWTN is not recognized by the Vatican as the official voice of the Church. Indeed, most talk show hosts on this network, are not priests, but are private individuals; lay “apologists,” and lawyers. They are not priests. While those priests on the network, have been influenced by its bias. Therefore, the picture of Catholic doctrine presented there, inevitably reflects their own private ideas; not real Catholic theology and doctrine. In fact, EWTN, Karl Keating’s dis-“proportionate,” “one issue,” anti-abortion theology, has often been strongly criticized by real Catholic authority: by at least two or three Cardinals. And indeed, by the Pope himself.
In fact, EWRN – and related organizations and shows, like Karl Keating’s “Catholic Answers,” and Fr. Frank Pavone’s “Priests for Life” – are daily broadcasting a message that should now be publicly denounced as a heresy, by the Church. These unauthorized Catholic outlets, are delivering a radical, “one issue,” “Pro Life,” anti-abortion message, that is in effect, a heresy, an apostasy. Specifically, they repeatedly insist that abortion is the “one issue” that should determine our votes in elections. But we will show here, that any very strongly anti-abortion position, is intellectually, doctrinally, theologically, biblically, wrong. Wrong according to more than one hundred arguments from the Bible; and wrong according to Catholic Tradition, and the current “Holy Father,” the Pope.
Outlining more than a hundred arguments against anti-abortionism here, we will show that the “Pro-Life” philosophy that you hear all over the world, from EWTN and related organizations and individuals, is in fact, false; is against the Church and the Bible too. It has been denounced as dis-“proportionate,” “one issue,” Catholicism, by two or three cardinals, and by the Pope. Yet in spite criticisms of EWTN by three cardinals, and the Pope, EWTN continues today. Unreliable radio, heretical religious media, have remained on the air. Indeed, they have dominated several presidential elections – and the world – with a false vision of Christianity; a false Christ.
As foretold, a false Christ – Christ the Anti-abortionist, or Christ the Holy Embryo, you might call him – has in effect, dominated several elections in America; and through America, the world (as foretold?). But now it is time to petition the Church to fix this.
We will show that neither the Bible, nor Christ, nor God, ever even remotely said that we must vote only for the most anti-abortion candidates in elections. While those many persons on EWTN who said anything like that – including Sheila Liaugminas, Karl Keating; Johnnette Benkovic; Fr. Edmund Sylvia, Fr. Frank Pavone – are simply heretics. Those many persons who today insist that God told us to vote only for anti-abortion candidates, “speak falsely” for God; they are using God as a mask, a front, for their own socio-political, ethical opinions. They are heretics. And they should now be prosecuted as heretics, by the Church. While the People should now be warned repeatedly: Pro Life philosophy, the anti-abortionism many Catholic organizations like EWTN/EWRN, and individuals like Karl Keating, and Frank Pavone, is false, unbiblical; is a heresy. Those who present it, pretend to represent the Church; but they are actually, simply, false prophets, false priests.