Tag Archives: homosexual marriage

The Travesty of Christians Supporting Homosexual “Marriage”

In my DVD, “Truth and Consequences,” I first declare the biblical truth concerning the infallible teaching authority of the Church, the “Magisterium” of the Catholic Church, then I give examples from both matters of faith and moral matters of the tragic consequences that follow from not having this great gift. You will be stunned when you see in this presentation how far the Protestant denominations have fallen over the centuries as a result of their rejection of the truth of the Magisterium of the Church.

In an earlier blog post, I gave some snippets from my DVD by way of eight major Protestant denominations, and I added the Mormons as well, that support abortion to various degrees. And we are not talking about “Bob and Pete’s Church of Fun,” here, we are talking about major denominations: 1. The Salvation Army 2. The Mormons 3. The United Church of Christ 4. The American Baptist Churches 5. The Southern Baptist Church 6. The Presbyterian Church (USA) 7. The Evangelical Luther Church 8. The United Methodist Church 9. The Episcopalian Church

All of the above support abortion to varying degrees. And this represents just nine of the 18 I present in my DVD!

In this post, I want to present to you just six of the 25 denominations I found that now support homosexual acts/homosexual so-called “marriage” as morally acceptable. Can you even imagine what Luther and Calvin would say of these their sons and daughters today?

  1. The Episcopalian Church. Do we all remember the “ordination” of “Bishop” Gene Robinson, the first openly and active homosexual bishop in the Episcopalian Church in 2003?
  2. The American Baptist Churches. In this denomination they take no position and allow individual churches to decide.
  3. Evangelical Church of Germany. This community is actually a federation of 22 denominations both Lutheran and Reformed—10 of the 22 now accept so-called homosexual “marriage.” These churches represent 30% of the entire German population!
  4. The United Church of Christ. These guys are popularly known as “Obama’s church,” because of the spotlight that came on this community due to Obama’s pastor for twenty years, Jeremiah Wright. Well, I suppose it is no surprise that these guys support homosexual unions. They were on my list of supporters of abortion as well.
  5. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (remember these guys? The “church” that declares on its website that a baby “does not have an absolute right to be born?” This that is the largest Lutheran body in the United States, just voted in 2009 to allow Homosexual marriage and created a liturgy to “bless” these unions.
  6. The Presbyterian Church (USA). You’ll remember these guys as well if you read my earlier post or if you’ve seen my DVD. This is the largest Presbyterian body in the United States. Not only do they accept homosexual marriage, but they just voted and approved the ordination of active homosexuals on July 8, 2010.

And on and on we go to 25 denominations, as I said above.

And folks, we are not talking about individuals in these denominations failing to live up to the teachings of its leadership. That will always be the case. As long as we are living in the world and in our fallen state as human beings, there will always be sin. But we are talking about so-called “churches” leading people into sin and claiming, in the words of Shakespeare, “fair is foul, and foul is fair.”

This leads me to two main thoughts among the many we could talk about. First, it leads me to give thanks to God for the great gift of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church that is the only institution on the planet earth that has preserved in its entirety the full body of Christian teaching for 2,000 years. Only its divine authority can explain this historical fact.

Second, it leads me to want to invite everyone I come into contact with to come to Jesus Christ in the Church that he established 2,000 years ago, the Catholic Church. In the words of a familiar Protestant hymn I was raised with, “All other ground is sinking sand.”

If you enjoyed this and would like to learn more, click here.

Truth and Consequences

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, in paragraph 2051, that the infallible teaching authority of the Church extends to “all the elements of doctrine:”

The infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed.

The reason for this should be obvious to Catholics. Without this great gift of an infallible teaching authority, we would be, as St. Paul says in Eph. 4:14, “… children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.” Yet, too many Catholics take for granted the great gift of the Magisterium of the Bishops in union with the Bishop of Rome that has safeguarded the truth of the Faith for 2,000 years. In fact, there is no human way to explain the reality of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5) that we have experienced in the Catholic Church for two millennia apart from this supernatural gift. But perhaps even fewer of us consider some of the consequences that have come as a result of the absence of this great gift.

In my DVD, Truth and Consequences, I gather multiple examples of what happens when you don’t have the infallible gift of what the Catechism calls “the [infallible] Magisterium of the Pastors.” by way of the real-life teachings of the sons and daughters of the “reformation.” I will toss out three here for us to consider:

Denying Mary, Mother of God

I can remember when the thought of believing Mary to be Mother of God was absolutely crazy to me when I was Protestant. And on the surface, one can perhaps understand the problem: If we say Mary is “the Mother of God” wouldn’t she have to be God? If a dog begets a dog, a cat begets a cat, would not Mary have to be God in order to give birth to God?

In truth? Not at all.

The error here is rooted in a failure to understand that Mary was not the source of Jesus’ divinity, nor was she the source of his human soul. She was merely the source of his Jesus’ body. But that does not mean she was and is not his mother because she did not give birth to a body, a soul, a nature, or even two natures; she gave birth to person, and that person is God. Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.

But more fundamentally here, we have to ask this question to those who deny Mary is the Mother of God: “If you deny Mary is the Mother of God, who is Jesus?” As I point out in my book, Behold Your Mother – A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines, Dr. Walter Martin gives us an example of what happens when you get this wrong on page 103 of his classic, Kingdom of the Cults (1977 edition):

… there cannot be any such thing as eternal Sonship, for there is a logical contradiction of terminology due to the fact that the word “Son” predicates time and the involvement of creativity. Christ, the Scripture tells us, as the Logos, is timeless, “… the Word was in the beginning” not the Son!

Think about this: In the process of denying Mary to be Mother of God, Dr. Martin lost Jesus. Jesus is no longer the eternal Son. But it gets worse, if that is possible. He also says on that same page:

The term Father incidentally never carries the descriptive adjective “eternal” in Scripture… the words Father and Son are purely functional…

Now he lost the Father. The immediate question arises: Who, then, is God in eternity before there was a creation? I suppose we would have to call God, “The Blah, the Word and the Holy Spirit!”

Double Predestination

In their 1997 book, What Unites Presbyterians, Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick and William Hopper (Kirkpatrick was, at the time, the highest ranking staff member, “the stated Clerk” as they call it, of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the largest Presbyterian body in the United States), on page 17, state:

Presbyterians have endorsed this conviction (Double Predestination), but with Calvin we have always had trouble with it for two reasons: First, if God predestines every person, and not all are called, elected, or predestined for salvation, then God has predestined some persons to Hell or eternal damnation. Second, if God has determined the ultimate fate of all persons, then the individual has no power to make any important decisions.

Presbyterians have learned to believe, also, in free will, realizing that these two doctrines are logically impossible to hold at the same time, but that each is free as taught in the Westminster Confession.

Those persons who can with a clear conscience accept what they are taught, regardless of apparent inconsistencies, are in some ways better off than those who think. It is almost unfortunate that Presbyterians are a thinking people…

There is always a creative tension between these two because we DO believe both even when we know that they are logically inconsistent.

The Catholic Response can be found in Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes 22 (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church), para. 5:

For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery…

I Tim. 2:4 tells us God positively wills “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” while II Peter 3:9 tells us God does not will “that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

To put it simply: In order to go to Hell, the Catholic Church teaches, a person must reject God’s salvific will for him.

I am truly grateful to God that the Catholic Church never asks me to park my brains on the doorstep before I enter the Church.

Abortion

“Thou shalt not kill” is not a Catholic only club. Pope St. John Paul II tells us, when it comes to abortion, in Para. 60 of Evangelium Vitae:

But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and… modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…”

Indeed, it is so clear. And when we consider that the moral law is something that is knowable, at least in theory, by the light of natural reason alone, apart from revelation (though God gives us revelation so that the moral law can be known with facility, certainty, and without the admixture of error), it was all the more disturbing to me that when I was doing the research for Truth and Consequences, I found 18 denominations that teach abortion to be licit in at least some circumstances. And my research was in no way exhaustive. Due to the limits of a blog post, I will cite just half of them here:

1. The Salvation Army

From their international website:

… termination can occur only when: Carrying the pregnancy further seriously threatens the life of the mother; or Reliable diagnostic procedures have identified a foetal abnormality considered incompatible with survival for more than a very brief postnatal period.

In addition, rape and incest are brutal acts of dominance violating women physically and emotionally. This situation represents a special case for the consideration of termination as the violation may be compounded by the continuation of the pregnancy.

2. The Mormons (LDS)

In the February 1973 edition of: “The Priesthood Bulletin,” the First Presidency (Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney), p. 1-2:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother.”

Got to give the “prophet” credit, he held out for 1 month after Roe vs. Wade!

3. The United Church of Christ

If you are not familiar with this sect, just remember Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “Obama’s Church.” That’s them!

This sect has supported the legalization of abortion at least since 1973. They are an official member of the “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights.” They are so radical that they joined with NARAL (the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) in supporting President Clinton’s veto of the ban on partial birth abortion in 1996 and 1997.

4. The American Baptist Churches

The General Board of American Baptist Churches affirmed that this matter is up to the individual in 1988 and reaffirmed it in 1994.

5. The Southern Baptist Convention

The largest Baptism denomination in the U.S. declared in 1971 that Southern Baptists should “work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

Thank God, they back-pedaled on that in 1980 and declared abortion to be permissible only “to save the life of the mother.” But when you okay murder in any cases, you’re not just on a “slippery slope;” you’ve slid to the bottom of it.

6. Presbyterian Church (USA)

This is the largest Presbyterian body in the United States. They condemned abortion outright in 1965. In 1970, a study report concluded that abortion could well be a “help” in cases of unwanted pregnancies.

Really? A “help?”

By 1983, the Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly adopted an official policy in favor of abortion calling it a “stewardship responsibility.” Today, they are official members of the “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights.” In 1992, the General Assembly stated “there is a basis in our tradition not only for a woman’s difficult choice for abortion, but also for the preservation of the lives of the unborn…”

In that same year, the Assembly also declared: “Possible justifying circumstances [for abortion] would include medical indications of severe physical or mental deformity, conception as a result of rape or incest, or conditions under which the physical or mental health of either woman or child would be gravely threatened.”

7. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

The ELCA, the largest Lutheran body in the United States, in 1990, adopted a statement that declared abortion to be acceptable in cases of danger to mother’s life, extreme fetal deformity incompatible with life, and in cases of rape and incest. They also declared that they neither support nor oppose abortion-restricting legislation. In 1997, they voted down a proposal to restrict abortion funding to cases of rape, incest, life of the mother. As a result, ELCA now funds elective abortions in their health care coverage and offers elective abortion in some Lutheran-affiliated hospitals. Today, on their website, the ELCA declares, in a 1991 statement of faith declared by a Church-wide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

A developing life in the womb does not have an absolute right to be born, nor does a pregnant woman have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy.

I suppose the truth is found somewhere in-between?

8. The United Methodist Church

The largest Methodist body in the United States, they helped organize and are members of “The Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights,” founded in 1973 and re-named “The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights” in 1993.

How euphemistic of them!

Along with the United Church of Christ, this denomination officially joined NARAL in supporting President Clinton’s veto of the Partial Abortion Ban in 1996 and 1997. Their “Book of Discipline” remains pro-abortion to this day.

9. The Episcopal Church

In 1958 they issued a strongly pro-life statement. However, at their 1967 General Convention they officially supported pro-abortion legislation for the first time. They stated abortion to be morally acceptable in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or danger to the physical or mental health of the mother. In 1994, the 71st General Convention expressed:

… unequivocal opposition to any… action… that [would] abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to a safe means of acting upon her decision.

In 1997, at their 72nd Convention, they expressed their support of partial birth abortion, but only in what they called “extreme situations.”

Their words speak for themselves.

In a future blog post, I will cite some examples among the 25 denominations I found that now support homosexual unions mimicking marriage. Stay tuned!

These are just some of the consequences that follow when you don’t have “the infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors” in union with the Bishop of Rome.

Politics and Religion Pt. 5 – Homosexual “Marriage”

Elections have consequences. Has anyone else noticed how there is a deafening silence from those who did intellectual somersaults in order to justify their “Catholic” vote for Barack Obama?

It was insane then, and it would be even more insane now to even try.

This administration has been a disaster when we consider all of the most important moral issues of our time that we have been discussing over my last four posts. President Obama has placed radically pro-death and pro-homosexual “marriage” people in virtually every area of government, perhaps most importantly, the two Supreme Court Justices he selected (Elena Kagan and  Sonia Sotomayor), and now hundreds of federal judges that will eventually impact the lives of every citizen in the United States, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

The Last Straw?

As we now consider the fifth of the “non-negotiables” we’ve been discussing, so-called homosexual “marriage,” this may well be the last stand for our civilization. Because the marriage and family is the very foundation of civilization, its demise, which is what homosexual “unions” represents, leaves our nation without any semblance of a true foundation. And with 30 states now having approved homosexual “unions” (though the overwhelming majority have not really been “approved,” they have been coerced by a tyrannical judicial branch of our governments on both the federal and state level), it doesn’t look good for the future of our country (and we could add here for Western Civilization in general).

The people of the United States are now conceding more and more freedoms to the government and at such a speed that it is truly frightening. We will discuss non-negotiable #6, “Freedom of Religion,” in my next post, but the combination of a nation spiraling out of control morally, and a deadened population that is more interested in protecting their “rights” to kill babies in the womb, contracept, and watch porn, then to even consider questions like, ”Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” “Is there a God to whom I owe worship and obedience?” – You know, little questions like these – we are in a precarious situation as a nation, and as a people.

Folks, I can’t think of a more important time in our history for us to stand up for truth as Catholics here in the good ole’ U.S.A.

Homosexual “Unions”

The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a document entitled: “Considerations of Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” 10, declared:

When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.

Notice, in this declaration, Catholic opposition is not limited to homosexual “marriage;” rather, it is to “homosexual unions,” which includes so-called civil unions as well. Catholics must reject any type of homosexual “union” that either involves sexual relations between homosexual persons, or any kind of “union” granting “rights” to these “couples” analogous to marriage rights… period. In fact, I am placing quotations around homosexual “marriage” in this post because, technically speaking, there is no such thing. “Homosexual ‘marriage’” is an oxymoron. Marriage is by definition, as the CCC says, “A covenant or partnership between a man and woman, which is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children” (Glossary definition of “marriage”, Cf. CCC 1601).

But unfortunately, we have to deal with the reality today that homosexual “unions” exist as “real privations,” which is the essence of what evil is. We must confront the reality that presents itself to us.

Homosexual unions are immoral on multiple levels. CCC 2357 declares concerning the illicit sexual behavior that underlies the reason why homosexual “unions” are always and in every situation to be opposed by Catholics:

[1] They are contrary to natural law. [2] They close the sexual act to the gift of life. [3] They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

CCC 2357 also says:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (here the Church cites Gen. 19:1-29; Rom. 1:24-27; I Cor. 6:10; I Tim. 1:10), tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” (here the Church cites the “Declaration on Sexual Ethics” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, paragraph 8).

Those who argue in favor of homosexual unions often proceed from a false assumption. They assume that because someone may have an impulse to commit a homosexual act, they should have the “right” to act on that impulse. But this is, of course, false. I am a German-Irishman—my “impulse” is to get drunk and take over the world! I am joking, of course! But seriously, I do tend to have a temper. Perhaps that comes from my German-Irishness, or perhaps it comes from the Marine in me… I don’t know. But I do know that my temper does not give me the “right” to punch someone in the nose! We all have all sorts of “impulses” that if we acted upon, most of us would be in jail right now!

Pedophiles from NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association) make the argument that they were “born that way” and they should, therefore, be able to “fulfill who they are!” No! Folks, No! This is an unacceptable expression of what they would call “love;” we would call a perversion. Likewise, homosexual acts are unacceptable expressions of love that are really not expressions of love at all; rather, they become selfish expressions of narcissism and hedonism that do not respect one’s own nature or the nature of the other in this unhealthy relationship.

Bottom Line:

I will leave you with this thought concerning “homosexual unions.” As a former United States Marine, I can tell you that according to the UCMJ under which I served (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), both adultery and homosexual acts were against the law and a Marine, or any military personnel, who engaged in these acts, could have been prosecuted and thrown out of the military as a result of these acts.

Because of the “Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Act” of 2010, this has all changed. And not only has it changed, but I now sound like a “radical” because I am in favor of what had been law in the United States Marines since its inception on Nov. 10, 1775.

In fact, not long ago I was shouted down during a talk I gave at a Catholic parish in Southern California for simply stating that I am in favor of a government passing laws in accordance with the Natural Law, including laws against sodomy and bestiality.

I was shouted down with these words: “That’s Fascism! How can you say that!”

Well, folks, the truth is: that is not Fascism. That is what is called morality. 

I Am Neither a Prophet Nor the Son of a Prophet… But…

When I published the CD set called “The Five Non-Negotiables” at Catholic Answers back in 2008, I stated this:

I find it fascinating that the military still holds on to these laws [against adultery and homosexuality] even though the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled, in essence, homosexual acts to be a “right,” according to the Supreme Court Ruling, “Lawrence vs. Texas” of June 26, 2003. This ruling overturned all existing anti-sodomy laws in well over 20 states when it overturned “Bowers vs. Hardwick,” the 1986 Supreme Court decision that upheld the states’ rights to pass those same anti-sodomy laws.

As then Senator Rick Santorum, the Senator from Pennsylvania, said concerning this decision on the floor of the Senate [By the way, I have since talked with Senator Santorum about this and he corrected me. This was actually an interview he gave to the media, not a statement he made on the floor of the Senate], we have pulled the rug out from our own feet with this ruling because we now no longer have a principle of law in the United States of America. For hundreds of years, Western civilization in general, as well as the United States, has based its laws upon Natural Law, which is nothing other than mankind’s rational participation in the Eternal Law, who is God himself.

Rooted in the idea that “we do hold these truths to be self-evident” as the Declaration of Independence said it, we have always understood that knowledge of God and the moral law is not a matter of supernatural religion that can only be known via the special revelation of Scripture and that involves membership in a particular Church. All can know God exists and all can know the essence of and obligations of the moral law through the use of reason alone.

With this foundation, we can know that homosexual acts are gravely disordered and contrary to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” to use the language of the Declaration of Independence. Folks, the United States Marine Corps has understood that if you want a strong and viable fighting force, you must have strong families…

You introduce homosexuality into the mix and you are adding perversion and problems beyond measure. Folks, a fighting force, a nation, a culture or a Church is only as strong as its families. Homosexual acts are contrary to the nature of love and life; they are contrary to the family. The Military understands this [used to!], and our culture once understood this as well. Yet, today we have a government that seems bent on jamming not only homosexual “unions,” but abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research and cloning down our throats [and now we can add the taking away of our religious liberty!]. And at times, it can seem as though we are powerless to do anything about it!

Well, my friends, I’ve got good news for you. I John 4:4 tells us “greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” I John 5:4 tells us “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Can you imagine what would happen if 67 million Catholics [Now, over 70 million] in the United States alone began to act like Catholics? What if 67 million Catholics in the US began to vote like Catholics! We would change this nation in one generation. My friends, it is time for us to stand up and act like Catholics. Sirach 4:28 tells us “fight for the truth unto the death and God will fight for you.” And as St. Paul said in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us!”

Unfortunately, we have now seen the military go the way of immorality as was predicted after “Lawrence vs. Texas.”

I recently had a long discussion with a retired Marine Colonel who worked his way up the ranks from a private all the way to Colonel, and was guaranteed “a star” (to be a General) if he were to remain in the Marine Corps. He turned it down and left the Marines because, in his words, “Tim, this is not the same Marine Corps you joined in 1983, and that I joined in 1986.”

He told me of spending about 4.5 days of his 5-day work week, before leaving the Marines in 2013, “dealing with sexual deviants.” Since 2010, there is no moral norm any longer. One of his last official acts as a Marine officer was to sign the paperwork to expel a 23 year-old WM (“woman Marine”) for raping her female Marine roommate.

According to this Marine Colonel, there is no leaking information like this to the media for fear of this administration coming down you like a ton of bricks!

But folks, the bottom line is this: Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do”? Our foundations have been destroyed.

But the good news is, as I said above, we serve a God who has a penchant for restoring that which has been destroyed by sin. I don’t know about you, but I am going to trust in him.

Politics and Religion Pt. 2 – The Question of Voting

There are many matters involving both faith and morals where there is room for legitimate differences of opinion among Catholics. As an apologist, I often get this question, especially during election cycles: “What about the death penalty? What about War? Shouldn’t Catholics be against War? What about the right to health and education?” In fact, whenever these issues come up in dialogue it always reminds me of an encounter I had some years ago.

I was giving a parish mission and it was going quite well. One afternoon, I was at lunch with the pastor of the parish and we began to talk about the then up-coming elections. When I voiced my strong concern that Catholics only vote for pro-life and pro-family candidates, Father responded: “Tim, I don’t think this is as black and white as you say it is.” When he said this, I must say I was shocked! He brought up the very issues I mentioned above. “What about the death penalty, war, healthcare, education, etc.” I attempted to explain that there are certain issues that are non-negotiable that Catholics are not at liberty to debate. Abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and so-called homosexual “marriage” are intrinsic evils that must be opposed by all Catholics at the polls (religious liberty was not in play politically back then as it is now).

When Father attempted to use the war in Iraq, the death penalty and other lesser issues to justify voting for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual “marriage” candidates, I attempted to reason with him. I explained:

1. For Catholics, our “just war doctrine” is found in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And notice, the Church does not say “just war theory.” It says, “just war doctrine.” The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can be debated among Catholics as to whether or not they were just in our given situation. But the fact that war can be justified in certain situations is Catholic doctrine. The Catholic Church is NOT pacifist! In other words, war is not intrinsically unjust. As Ecclesiastes 3:8 says: “There is a time for war and a time for peace.” Therefore, it is not one of the “non-negotiables” or “intrinsically unjust law[s]” that Catholics are bound to oppose.

2. Similarly, the death penalty has always been upheld as a legitimate and potentially just punishment in Catholic Tradition as well as in Scripture. Genesis 9:6 says, “He who sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God created man in his own image.” In CCC 2267, the Magisterium of the Church tells us the Church has always held to the legitimacy of recourse to the death penalty, and that has not changed, though, according to the Catechism, examples today of the necessity of using it are, “rare, if not practically non-existent.” Now, this latter statement in the Catechism that actually quotes Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical Letter, “Evangelium Vitae,” paragraph 56, is not making a dogmatic statement; rather, it is a matter of prudential judgment. Catholics are free to debate the issue of when the death penalty should or should not be employed. In fact, then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, when he was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said, in a document called, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles, 3:”

Not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father (John Paul II) 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 diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

So again, the key here, I said to Father, is to understand that capital punishment and the death penalty are not “non-negotiable” matters. They must not be considered as one of the “non-negotiables” for Catholics.

3. When it comes to education and healthcare, the Church does speak of these as being “rights,” among others, for example, in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World—Gaudium et Spes 26—as well as in Pope John Paul II’s 1988 Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici, 38.

I know this upsets some conservatives when I use this language. But they are rights nonetheless. However, because they are “rights” does not mean they must be free, folks! Nor does it mean they have to be or even should be provided by the government. This is a matter of debate, at the very least. In fact, the principle of subsidiarity and the Church’s condemnation of socialism must be taken into account here, but that is matter for another blog post.

But in order to bring clarity to this matter, think about this: I have a right to food and drink, but that does not mean under ordinary circumstances I can just plunder grocery stores at will and expect everyone else to pay for it! In other words, just how these “rights” to education and healthcare are to be protected and realized in the lives of people is a matter of debate. I always say to Catholic folks who believe healthcare should be provided for free by the government because health care is a “right,” are they willing to make Catholic education free across the board as well? After all, education is listed as a “right” by the same documents that list “healthcare” as a right.  Would our bishops be ready to pay for every Catholic who wills it to go to Notre Dame, or any other Catholic university? I think not!

The bottom line here is this: All of the rights the Church lists as such is not the question. The real debate is over the best way these rights can be protected and promulgated. And this is a matter of legitimate debate. And thus, these too — the right to healthcare and education — are not “non-negotiables.”

Unfortunately, I must say that my arguments didn’t seem to be getting anywhere until I had had about enough. My response became perhaps a bit too impassioned, but I remember saying to the good Padre, “You have the liberty of saying these issues are not black and white because they are not coming to cut your head off. But I guarantee you, Father, if the candidate you are voting for were to say—’On the day I am elected, my first order of business is that I am going over to Father Smith’s house and I am going to cut his head off’—I bet you would vote for the other guy! The fact is, they are coming to cut off the heads of millions more little pre-born babies in the sanctuary of their mother’s wombs, if we do not stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, and vote accordingly!”

Father’s response was: “You make a good point, Tim.”

But this is not about “making a good point,” is it? This, my friends, is literally a matter of life and death.

THE BOTTOM LINE

And I suppose this is the real heart of the matter. It seems to me that one of the most important messages we can send to Catholics today, is that when we speak of these five “Non-Negotiables,” (six now with the advent of the Obama Administrations assault on religious liberty) we are speaking about human lives and human souls being on the line. It seems too many Catholics have too often grown cold and indifferent with regard to what it is we are talking about when we talk about voting and when we talk about the “non-negotiables” that should inform the decision-making process of all Catholics.  When we are talking about the non-negotiables, the old saying applies, “But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

To the Heart of the Matter

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that it is “morally obligatory” for we who live in free societies with various representative forms of governments to vote in CCC 2240. And when it comes to laws in favor of homosexual so-called “marriage,” euthanasia, abortion, cloning or fetal stem cell research, and the assault on religious liberty, Pope St. John Paul II, in Evangelium Vitae, 73.1-73.2, has declared that each and every one of us has a “grave and clear obligation to oppose [these laws] by conscientious objection.” In fact, St. John Paul the Great also said, “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law…it is never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it.’” And notice here that even though the Pope was referencing abortion in particular, he does not limit himself to abortion. He teaches us the same applies to any intrinsically unjust law. We as Catholics need to understand that we are speaking of a “grave obligation” here! And we need to understand the seriousness of this matter more so than most because we are the ones who believe that what we do in grave matters will effect where we spend eternity!

According to our Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II, we have a “grave obligation” not to vote for any of these “non-negotiables.” Now, some may say at this point: “I’m not voting for abortion, I am only voting for a candidate who votes for it!” Sorry, folks, you’re not off the hook so easy. Because we live in a representative form of democracy, we are voting for abortion indirectly if we vote for politicians who are pro-abortion. This is out of the question for Catholics!

Is There a Loophole Here?

But what about this statement from then Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 letter that we quoted before, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles,” paragraph 6:

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 favor 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.

The key here is “proportionate reasons.” There are two issues we need to address here: First, in the case of voting for a pro-abortion candidate, one can only do so if, as Pope St. John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae 73, you have a case analogous to this:

An elected official whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality.

In the same way, if a Catholic voter finds himself in a situation where both candidates are pro-abortion, a Catholic may vote for the candidate that will best limit the harm being done to the innocent, or if you have a case where both candidates are so pro-death that the Catholic cannot bring himself to vote for either candidate, he can choose not to vote at all. That is a legitimate option.

In the case of voting for the candidate who “limits the harm done” more so than the other, this is not a vote for abortion, even though the candidate one votes for may be pro-abortion; In this case one is voting for the good of limiting the amount of harm being done in the best way available. As an example, let’s say you are faced with both candidates in an election being pro-abortion, but one candidate is in favor of limiting late-term abortions and the other is not. Obviously, curtailing late-term abortions would necessarily save innocent human life. That’s a good thing and certainly worth voting for.

Now, in the case of voting for a pro-abortion candidate when there is a pro-life candidate available, that is where the “proportionate reasons” of which Cardinal Ratzinger wrote would come in. That means voting for a pro-abortion candidate even though there is a pro-life candidate available because of other positions held by the pro-life candidate that are proportionally more grave than abortion. And this is a possibility. However, we should note here that there simply is no case today, at least not in the United States, where one could reasonably do so because there is nothing else in play politically in this country that would be proportionate to the horror of abortion.

Is there an example where there would be “proportionate reasons” to vote for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate? Yes! If, for example, we had an Osama Bin Laden-like character running for office against a pro-abortion candidate from one of our two parties here in the United States.

Now by an “Osama Bin Laden-like character,” I mean he would be against abortion while simultaneously being in favor of the genocide of whole peoples and religions (like all Jews and Christians!). One could safely say this would be a case where there would be proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, assuming of course that the other candidate is against this genocide. Why? Well, with abortion, as horrid as it is, we are talking about the murder of ca. 1.2-1.5 million innocent human beings per year in the United States alone. In this scenario we’d be talking about slaughtering 100’s of millions of people! But other than that scenario, or one similar, there is simply no proportionate reason I can envision where one could reasonably vote for a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate.

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