Seven Answers to the “Pro-Lifers are just Pro-Birth” Argument

One of the most common ad hominem arguments against the pro-life movement is that pro-life people only really care about the unborn, and don’t care what happens after birth (or about the conditions into which the child will be born).

Often, this argument goes hand-in-glove with the argument that if pro-lifers really want to be pro-life, they have to support giving more money to such-and-such a social program, or hand out free condoms, or endorse some other politically-liberal policy. Other times, the argument is that pro-lifers need to personally adopt kids, or else be content to let them get aborted. So, for example, the Facebook group “Pro-Choice Liberals” happily co-opted this quote from Sister Joan Chittister:

Here are seven reasons that argument is as bad as it widespread:

1. Even if the argument were true, it would be ridiculous.

Even if the charge that pro-lifers are only focused on birth were true, it would be a ridiculous argument. Imagine that you saw a woman save a drowning child. Are you really going to object, “Well, are you going to pay for his college education?”

She’s done an amazing thing, saving the life of a stranger. Criticizing her for not doing other good things is absurd. So sure, ensuring that children can’t be legally murdered for the first nine months of their lives isn’t the only moral issue, but it’s a darn good start. And if the choices are “I’ll protect you for the first nine months of your life, but then you’re on your own” and “I think it should be legal to kill you for the first nine months of your life,” that’s an easy choice.

2. The argument is logically fallacious.

Again, assume for a moment that pro-lifers really don’t care about what happens after birth. Would that make killing an unborn child defensible? Of course not. It’s a logical fallacy (an ad hominem attack, more specifically) to answer pro-life arguments by saying that you think pro-lifers are nasty people.

3. The argument is unspeakably melodramatic.

Think about what this objection is really saying. Usually, it’s that pro-lifers aren’t really pro-life because they don’t support this or that social program. That amounts to saying “you won’t give me money for this program? Do you just wish I was dead?” It’s closer to a teenage emotional meltdown than an actual political stance.

After all, in most of the cases we’re talking about, life and death are just not on the line. Wanting the education of your neighbor is a good thing. But not caring about your neighbor’s education or not caring if your neighbor gets murdered aren’t even in the same ballpark. So even if it were true that pro-lifers were just apathetic to your quality of life after birth, the argument still would be melodramatic and emotionally manipulative.

4. The argument is hypocritical.

To the person making the argument that if pro-lifers won’t fund x program, they must want people to die: right now, on Kickstarter, there are people trying to crowdsource money to pay for cancer treatments.

Whether or not you’ve personally contributed to any (much less all) of these people, surely we can agree that you could do more. You could find a way to give a few dollars more, even if it means working a bit more or spending less on yourself. But you haven’t. Does that mean that you want those poor people to die? I certainly hope not. More likely, it means that you recognize in your own life that there’s a difference between not paying for someone else’s medical care and not wanting that person to live.

5. The argument is more than a little condescending.

 Bear in mind that the argument generally consists of telling people that, unless they’re willing to support this- or that- social program, they aren’t truly pro-life. But it’s not like pro-lifers are somehow exempted from poverty, disease, and old age. It’s condescending to say to these people (in effect), “I know what’s best for you, and if you disagree, it can only be because you wish you and everyone like you was dead.”

6. The argument is demonstrably false.

As I said, even if the arguments about pro-lifers not caring about what happens after birth were true, it would be a bad argument. But the argument just isn’t true. This whole “pro-lifers don’t care about anything after birth” is a gross slander of a huge group of people, and appears to be rooted in exactly no empirical data.

If you look at the actual data, a very different story emerges. I know of no comprehensive data comparing the giving rates of pro-lifers v. pro-choicers, since most places don’t ask about that when you give. But we can get some strong clues by looking at Republican v. Democratic giving, and at red state v. blue state giving. (Now, I realize that not all pro-lifers are fiscal conservatives or Republicans; but that’s the underlying assumption of this argument. But even that assumption was true, the argument would be false.)

So here’s what we do know. Of the top seventeen most generous states for charitable contributions, all seventeen of them voted for Romney in the 2012 election [while true, this fact is slightly misleading, in that D.C. would have made it on that list if it were a state]. And of the seven least charitable states, all seven of them voted for Obama. (You can see the data for yourself)

And that’s just one measure. Huffington Post, hardly a bastion of moral conservatism, points out that Republicans (54%) are more likely than Democrats (45%) to donate money to charity, and far more likely to personally volunteer for a cause (33% to 24%). They’ve also assembled charts showing that people living in “red states” volunteer more than those living in “blue states.”

So it’s not just a matter of writing a check: the sort of people who are most likely to be pro-life are also the sort of people who are most likely to personally lend a hand. And anyone actually familiar with the pro-life movement already knows this. Pro-lifers are frequently the first to sacrifice personally: adopting kids, counseling women in crisis, helping struggling families out of their own pocketbooks. And if you actually were to listen to the speakers at the March for Life, you’d discover that this is exactly what the pro-life movement, as a movement, encourages.

So the argument gets it entirely backwards. It’s precisely the sanctimonious “you don’t care about people after they’re born” crowd who are least likely to help born or unborn people in any demonstrable way.

 7. The real debate is about the means, not the ends.

While they may not be as likely to personally help out, it’s nevertheless true that most liberals, like most conservatives, care about the elderly, the infirm, the poor, and the disabled. Are there selfish people who don’t care about others, or are content to use disadvantaged peoples as political props? Of course, and that’s true on both sides of the abortion debate and on both sides of the political divide. But for the most part, there’s genuine concern for human life on both sides. If you can’t recognize that, you’ve let partisanship totally cloud your ability to understand or empathize with people who disagree with you.

Vice President Mike Pence, in his remarks at the March for Life, said

 

You know, life is winning in America. And today is a celebration of that progress that we have made in this cause. You know I’ve long believed that a society can be judged by how we care for its most vulnerable, the aged, the infirm, the disabled, and the unborn.

That’s a beautiful articulation of both the pro-life movement and political liberalism at their best: advocacy on behalf of those too disadvantaged to advocate for themselves. (One might add “immigrants” to the list of those for whom society needs to care, but the statement is still powerful as it stands.)

So the question isn’t “should old people be allowed to live?” — unless we’re debating euthanasia, in which pro-lifers are once again the ones on the side of life. The question isn’t even really “is it my responsibility for ensuring that you have a good quality of life?” Usually, the question is “how best do we ensure that the most vulnerable among us are protected?”

And the answers to that problem are often tricky. Social Security does a lot of good, but there are legitimate reasons to believe that our spending is unsustainable. Virtually everyone recognizes that healthcare is important, and that there are major flaws in our healthcare system, but most of the proposed solutions are expensive, untested, and complicated. Education is important, but pouring more money into public education doesn’t always correlate to demonstrate improvements. To demand, “you must support my particular plan or else you want people to dieeeeee” is ridiculous.

This is why the quotation from Sr. Chittister above is fatuous: she openly assumes that if “you don’t want any tax money to go there,” then you don’t want children to be fed, clothed, etc. This assumes a particular solution to these problems (taxpayer-funded governmental programs), and with it a political ideology. It evinces a grave lack of charity towards those who don’t share her views on the size and scope of federal authority.

Pro-choicers tend to be more liberal, and tend to be more trusting of the government as a solution to these problems. Pro-lifers tend (although there are numerous exceptions) to be less trusting of the government to fix these things — which may be part of the reason that they show more of a proclivity towards volunteering and working towards solutions on their own. But that’s a question about how trusting we should be of big government, or how much we think throwing tax money at a problem solves it, not of how much we love our neighbor.

That’s not to say that the fiscally conservative answer is the right one to any of these questions. It’s only to say that these are the sorts of issue that we should be able to disagree upon civilly, without accusing the other side of not caring about human life. Virtually all of us that we would like (amongst other things) a well-educated, healthy society in which the most vulnerable are taken care of. We just don’t always agree upon how best to get there.

So instead of saying “pro-lifers only care about babies until they’re born,” a more accurate statement might be something like, “although pro-lifers disproportionately give more of their time and money, I don’t see eye-to-eye with many of them on the solutions to certain social ills.” But that argument would require nuance, and to view your political opponent as human, and as basically decent.

112 Comments

    1. I am a Christian. I have Christian friends and family who make the claim that they are pro-life. They want the child born which is completely morally right and ordered by God. I am pro-life as well. All of the life, not just the birth part. These same people condemn those mother’s after they have their child for needing government assistance. They say things like “why can’t they master the art of birth control!?!?!” or “if you’re going to have kids you should be able to support them!!!” or “I can’t believe my tax dollars are going to these women who just have more babies so they can get government assistance!!!” I find that to be disgusting. Their righteous moral superiority stops the second the child is born. We don’t know the internal lives of these mothers. We don’t know what kind of family they’ve come out of or what the trials they face every day. But let’s all stand in judgment after they’ve had the baby and are in genuine need of help. Do some abuse the system? I’m sure they do but that is GOD’s job to judge. Not ours. I know lots of Christian women who stay in horribly abusive relationships for money instead of going to a shelter and depending on the government for help. While there are Christians who are truly pro-life throughout the entire life of a human being, just as many are only pro-birth and then they stone the very lives that need help along the way.

  1. Thank you, Joe. Lately I’ve gone online to read Facebook responses to news items from a variety of sources–NYT, WaPost, Atlantic, Vanity Fair, etc. The March for Life and the Womens’ March last week elicited a few articles and readers produced an overwhelming number of statements like those made by Sr. Chittister–I really thought she had passed away since I hadn’t heard about her for many years (where had I been?). Anyway, your last sentence ought to linger, reverberate and stick in everyone’s craw, on both sides of the debate and political spectrum, but particularly on the side which is very unable to see. I contemplate Jesus weeping as he looked upon Jerusalem. I daresay this is not unduly melodramatic.

  2. 8. If, to count as properly pro-life, you have to support x, y and z welfare programme, then, by a comparable logic, to be properly pro-choice you have to advocate for smaller government, since having fewer government regulations means less restriction on people’s choice. But pro-choicers are more likely to vote for more government regulations. Therefore they aren’t really pro-choice, just pro-abortion.

    1. Mr. X
      I am not a swimmer.
      I am terrified of water over my waist.
      I have almost drowned a few times.
      And almost drowned a few trying to save me.
      If I am ever drowning – Please Save Me!

      I promise not to want to move into your house
      or
      ask you to pay my bills.
      Just save my life.
      …and I know you would try…because you are pro human
      Thanks
      Susan

      1. …And in the mean time
        Please consider
        That you can try to learn to swim
        Like many children do before the age of 5
        And pay a teacher to help you
        To conquer your fears
        Little by little, inch by inch, hour by hour
        With the help of God to give you courage
        In this way you will learn to love
        the waters you now fear to death
        It’s all very possible
        Just take the lessons
        And you will swim like a dolphin
        Or a flying fish
        Full of joy
        And wonder how you ever were
        Afraid of such a precious gift.
        And in need of so much needless help.

        God Bless You, and I hope you conquer your conquerable fears.
        At least you should try.

        1. Great poesy in response.

          Some, however, in the stead of learning to swim on their own, would rather “hunch in the belly of the State until their wet fur froze…” …with apologies to Randall Jarrell and the late ball-turret gunner…..

  3. Looks to me like we’ve just had that “broader conversation.” Nice job, Joe.

    Wonder what the good Sister would have to say? Four legs good, two legs bad?

  4. While I am ProLife, I am saddened and angered by the GOP because they only support preborn children. Once a child is born into poverty, many of the supports for struggling families, many of which are single-parent, are being systematically destroyed by legislative priorities.

      1. Kathryn is absolutely correct. Joe is overly simplistic. I am also pro life and have know other prolife people who are pro death penalty. That is hypocritical. That is not only un-Christian it is un- Catholic. The readings for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time are absolutely clear in the way we are to live. Humility and justice must be the hallmarks of the prolife movement. We must be people of the beatitudes. We must first and foremost be part of the Gospel movement which means the entire Gospel. Not just the parts we feel most passionate about. Humility always allows for hearing and joyfully accepting critcizim from others. If we are honest with ourselves, we can see some truth in Sr. Joan’s critique.

        1. Ron,

          Setting aside, for a moment, your demonstrably incorrect assertion that the death penalty is “un-Catholic,” there is also a substantive qualifier in the “pro-life” position. We are opposed to the deliberate/direct murder of INNOCENT life. Otherwise, legitimate self defense, just war, etc., would be gravely immoral as well.

    1. Oh please. That’s so stupid. Yes, because higher taxes gets people out of poverty, right, libtard? You’re the one making their parents poor by voting for the Demonrats.

  5. Thank you, Joe. I am pro-life (and Canadian, so the political aspect is still there but different):

    I worry, up here in the cold white North, that our Conservative political party has used the appeal to pro-life voters as a means of garnering support when they have no real plans to actually effect any change on Canada’s abortion laws, particularly as they’ve basically said to the pro-life crowd “oh OF COURSE we’ll do such and such, if it gets to vote” while saying to the pro-choice crowd “whelp, it’s not like we’ll ever let it get to vote”. So during our last election, which, while not as spicy as your latest one certainly had quite a bit of zest for Canadian politics, one question that many of us circled among ourselves was about which political party was actually more concerned with the lives of those children once they were born, since abortion probably wasn’t actually going to have a major change regardless of who got elected.

    In my observed experience, I really struggle with individuals who claim to be pro-life and then punish and sit in judgement on unwed mothers. This is the line where I see “pro birth” as opposed to “pro life”. A woman could get pregnant and have an abortion and, until she spoke about it, no one would know and she could maintain her ‘status’. Or she could choose life, choose to keep her child, and then be condemned by members of the church community for pre-marital sex. Condemnation is rationalized because the church doesn’t want to be seen as condoning her sin. I’ve witnessed this happen in both Catholic and Protestant churches.

    So I think you really hit the nail on the head when you latch onto “nuance”. Not all pro-life people should be categorized as “pro-birth”, and not all pro-choice people should be categorized as “pro-abortion”, but we should all perhaps take the time to evaluate our personal actions and reactions to see where our true feelings and the true feelings of our opponents really lie. It might help to inform better dialogue.

    1. LeAnna,

      Very well put (and I must say that I was amused by the delicate way in which you acknowledged our most recent election cycle). I completely understand why pro-life people would want to distance themselves from fornication and the like, since it’s both (a) immoral and (b) a huge factor behind abortion. But if pregnant single women feel like they will be shamed and ostracized if their pregnancy is discovered, that’s a huge factor driving abortion. The abortion industry thrives upon fear, and we’re unwittingly feeding into it when we’re judgmental of people who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock.

      It’s good to take a stand against sexual immorality, but I think it’s better (and more timely) to take a stand that all human life is precious, no matter how the child was conceived.

      1. Honestly, I think this is one of forces that prompted me to look further into Catholicism and eventually convert. I grew up in a Canadian Baptist church and running across this attitude was distressing. The Catholic Church in my home town certainly also had its share of people who were cruel to young unwed mothers, but that faction tends to be grumpy toward children in general and the local priests have done much to combat them… Sadly I have experienced someone having an abortion and keeping it secret for years because she was worried about how church people would react, including myself, and it has always pained me.

        Anyway, I really appreciate your post. It made me think about how I was engaging in dialogues with people regarding these issues and brought up more things to think over as I navigate I political sphere that uses the lives of the unborn to drive their votes (a problem among all Canadian parties, unfortunately). Happy Sunday!

    2. Hi LeAnna,

      My parish mission speaker this week spoke about his 18-year-old daughter who recently delivered a baby out of wedlock. He posted a photo of her holding her baby moments after birth. Tears were streaming down the young woman’s face but a smile of courage, faith, and joy lit that face too. He spoke of her shame and her sadness at the wagging tongues and judgment by the community, growing as her “Letter A” (or “F” for fornicator) grew larger with every passing month. She endured. Although the pregnancy was a punishment of sorts for her, she achieved a freedom from sin in reconciliation and received a powerful consolation at the birth of the child.

      In reaching her decision for life, he, his wife, and his daughter discussed the fact that no matter what choice the daughter made, she would throughout her life not be able to change her having been pregnant at one time of her life. She would not ever be able to change her having been a mother. This would be true no matter her decision. One action keeps truth hidden and the other keeps truth front and center.

      This story softly struck everyone listening.

  6. Nice job, Joe. The quotation from Sister Joan Chittister assumes that the government is the normative distributor of what is actually the PARENTS’ responsibility–to provide food, shelter, clothing and education. The state is not good at being a nanny. Even its welfare programs, while ostensibly helping children, end up producing more and more single-parent households. That hurts children in the long run. Of course, there are going to be situations where a family is temporarily “down on their luck,” but the charitable works of neighbors are always more effective than government programs at lifting someone out of poverty. Why? Neighbors can give something the government can’t–LOVE.

  7. Just curious, why is sister Joan chittister still a sister in the Church? And why are we still calling her a sister? I’m not trying to be mean spirited but aren’t religious people like her the ones who are running the Church into the ground?

  8. I go to Mass every Sunday, even when on vacation. In the last forty years the number of homilies I have heard about premarital sex is…let me get my calculator…ummmm…zero. On the other hand, I have heard a multitude of homilies about mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. You almost can’t hear a homily without hearing mercy or forgiveness mentioned.

    I have been heavily involved with 40 Days for Life since 2004, and the subject of premarital sex has never come up. How a new life begins does not matter. Keeping it alive does.

    I am well acquainted with a prolife pregnancy center that we refer women to. I know about all that the people at the center do to help a woman who comes to them. They counsel, educate, and support her–materially, mentally, and spiritually–so that she can bring a baby into this world with confidence for her baby’s future.

    Prolifers are, in fact, prolife.

    1. Exactly!!!!!!!!! I have heard ONE…in a very small church with about ten people there on that Sunday morning. St. Lucy’s in Troy, MI to be exact. An old Croatian priest mumbled it out. shook his head…

    2. I can remember many years ago when Ronald Reagan installed the Pershing II or ‘Peace Keepers’ in Europe and our Bishops’ Conference wrote a letter to all the faithful about nuclear war, etc. and my father says, ” These bishop throw this stuff out on the bomb when the are dead silent on the sins of fornication and shacking up which will and have sent people to hell on a daily basis!”
      — my father, the genius barber.

    3. Zing 2!!!!
      Great article though! I can’t imagine this nun…is she Catholic? Does the Vatican ever chastise any Catholic leaders for their mis leading Catholics?

  9. Thank you for this article.

    I’d like to comment a moment on the Sister Joan quote at the top of the page. It both breaks my heart and infuriates me to hear Catholics say things like that. I know that was only a fraction of what she probably said, but to literally point to a person’s position on taxes and extrapolate to their moral position on the poor, or in this case life in general, is not only absurd, but in my mind decidedly *anti* Catholic. That it came from a nun breaks my heart.

    I’m for a government safety net. I’m for government housing and food stamps. But by in large I’m against the far-reaching welfare-state programs that seek to push government first and foremost into every crack in our communities. *We* are called to be compassionate and self-sacrificing. *We* are called to step into those gaps and be the blessing to our neighbors, and to even do so without seeking their blessings at all. *We* are feed the poor and visit the imprisoned and sick. There is clearly space for both personal charity and government programs, but quotes like the sister’s betray belief in what I believe is one of Satan’s most effective lies in our American culture: government is the only way to truly solve your problems. Getting government to fulfill our person call to charity first requires arguing and debating with people who disagree with you, in order to convince them to vote the way you want them to. Then it requires either a change in tax appropriations or an increase in tax collection. Then it requires a professional person, paid by the government, to go administer the aid the government paid for with other people’s money. So instead of nurturing our own virtues by giving of ourselves in charity, we’ve convinced ourselves it’s better to nurture our self-righteousness and economic and political egos so that somebody else can solve the problem using other people’s money.

    Big government is literally the antithesis of charity. It can’t help it. It’s in direct competition with charity and community self-reliance, but will stop at nothing to crush this rival into complete dependence. It convinces us charity is not effective, and that virtue comes from having the right political or social opinions. This leads to virtue signaling instead of virtue. To *not* having to worry about the poor instead of actually learning to care for the poor.

    And here we have a sister perpetuating the lie that our opinions on taxation is the true determinant of our moral character. Makes me feel genuinely sick inside.

  10. A further response to those who insist that pro-lifers don’t care about people after they are born is this: pro-lifers are, almost always churchgoers and Christian. Look at the number of churches that sponsor food banks, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, homes for unwed mothers, schools and day care programs. Look at the church-sponsored health clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, group homes and rehab facilities. Look at the churches’ roles in serving communities in need, both on a daily basis and after disasters. And then answer this question: when Jesus asked us to do for the least of our brothers, did He tell us we were covered if we paid our taxes and let the government do it for us? No. He will ask what we did. He doesn’t expect us to end poverty or sickness or unemployment or homelessness ourselves; He expects each of us to do what we can to help. The pro-choice movement talks a lot about getting government out of their lives — but then demands government intervention in the lives of others. As someone who has been directly involved with helping individuals in desperate need of help, I can tell you that government programs are a disaster and fail much more than they succeed (especially by destroying the dignity of those they claim to be helping).

    1. Dennis, are you ever spot-on. A corollary to this is, to consider that the main cause of poverty today is single motherhood teamed with irresponsible or absentee/nonexistent husbandhood/fatherhood. “I don’t need no stinkin’ male” might work for Ashley Judd, but for few others without access to her wealth. The good Sister, upon hearing a conservative pro-lifer decry these destructive and amoral trends, would probably be the first to screech ‘ you’re racist’ or ‘you’re judgmental,’ while ignoring the disparaging, liberation-theology-nurtured beam in her own eye.

    2. Dennis – Righteous. ‘The pro-choice movement talks a lot about getting government out of their lives — but then demands government intervention in the lives of others.’ Your sentence logically reveals the double-speak, the logical incongruence, of the pro-abortion movement. Sister Joan’s wish to develop new language in order to weaken the prolife position reveals where her allegiance lies.

      Here’s another of her contradictions, from a LifeSite interview in 2010:

      LSN: It’s been reported that you hold positions that are divergent from Catholic magisterial teaching.  Would you say that’s correct?
      JC: Well, yes, I guess it is correct.  It’s not an opposition position…

      In other words, she diverges but does not oppose? Double-speak allows one to squirm around the edge of truth.

      This site contains commentary and concerns about Sr. Joan’s canonical status: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=4090

  11. Reverend Father, you are absolutely right that this whole point here is just a pro-abortion smear. I grant this.

    But this does raise an extremely important point: the Republican Party is not compatible with Catholic doctrine. Although it is great that they are anti-abortion, it is appalling that today’s GOP is pro-torture, pro-arbitrary war, pro-death penalty. Also their laissez-faire economic policies are tantamount to social Darwinism and Prosperity Gospel–not at all compatible with the Catholic tradition that began with Pope Leo XIII’s “Rerum novarum”.

    This is a uniquely American phenomenon. Catholics in Europe aren’t afraid of distributism/social democracy. There are many parties there that hold an ideology called “Christian Democracy” that is more in line with the Church’s teachings. We need Christian Democracy in America. That way, we will be immune to any charges of not being pro-life after the baby’s born: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_democracy

    There is currently a small third party called the American Solidarity Party which aims to raise interest in Christian Democracy. I strongly urge you to spread word of it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Solidarity_Party

    1. While we are always encouraged to debate, discuss, and evolve our approach to taxation and the role of government, we *cannot* ever justify increasing access and funding of abortions.

      The real work that needs to be done before trying to convert Catholics to the democratic party is to convert democrats to the pro-life movement. Once the Left annuls the diabolical marriage of abortion with women’s health and women’s liberation, then we can start talking about Catholics adjusting their views of tax and government redistribution.

      My personal opinion on the moral push for more government compassion is posted a couple places above yours. I think it’s a terrible lie that actually robs us of our personal call to holiness and instead fosters an attitude of “I cant do any good on my own, but Government can and should step in and solve all these problems.” We don’t build virtue by voting for compassionate government programs funded by other people’s money. We build virtue by giving of ourselves to people in need. As government gets bigger, people are both directly and indirectly discouraged from participating in their own private charitable work. There are mountains of examples and evidence that big government is the antithesis of charity, as well as how people in need are more likely to amend their lives after receiving private charitable assistance as opposed to distant government subsidies.

      I’d just like to warn you that your social perspective on Catholic morality is not inherently correct just because it makes sense to you. This is exactly why the RCC doesn’t take rock-solid stands on tax issues or economic theories, but instead always calls us personally to *LIVE* our faith through charity, while voting for the dignity of all human beings. To some, that dignity looks like direct financial redistribution to narrow the wealth gap. To others that dignity looks like self-determination through job opportunities and the benefits and deterrence of consequences of our individual life choices. It’s far more debatable than you make it out to be.

      But first, and ultimately, don’t make the mistake of preaching that economic or tax arguments should override protecting the unborn. Until the democrats quit doubling- and tripling-down on abortion, the moral decision of who *not* to vote for is perfectly clear.

      1. Nobody is saying that the welfare state is more important than abortion. But I think the Church has made a terrible mistake in essentially endorsing the Republican Party for the last few decades. Yes it’s true that the GOP’s pro-life position on abortion is far more important than any good the Democratic Party has been pushing; I am not disputing that. But we discredit our own cause by voting for the “lesser of two evils”. We need to start a political party that is pro-life from conception to natural death, that is in line with ALL of the Church’s teachings. Until that happens, the only thing we’re fighting for is the second-worst.

        1. Salutis Sacramentum,

          Already there is a close and heated battle among ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ Christians within our churches and within the polling booth. Third parties typically draw votes away from the one/two parties that most closely represent the Christian position. I’m not as hopeful as you that a prolife party would fare well in any election.

          The Catholic Church has not endorsed any political party. Rather, the Republican Party has chosen to adopt a platform more closely conforming to the Catholic prolife principle, while the Democrat Party platform is further removed from the predominant Catholic principle of anti-abortion.

          The position of the Church is that Catholics have an obligation to support Catholic principles. It would lose its tax-exempt status if it endorsed a specific political party.

          1. Basically what it comes down to is, the Democratic Party is 99% unacceptable to Catholics, whereas the Republican Party is 98% unacceptable to Catholics.

            I don’t judge anybody who, based off of that, decides to vote Republican. But I think it is wrong. I genuinely believe God desires us to put all of our efforts, vain they may be, into a party that’s 0% unacceptable to Christ, instead of 99%. There’s a reason why His beautiful Bride has given us a very rich set of social doctrines to abide by — because we should abide by them, instead of playing Russian roulette at the ballots every election.

        2. “Yes it’s true that the GOP’s pro-life position on abortion is far more important than any good the Democratic Party has been pushing”…

          The guy who has been bashed here for his Christian Democratic stance puffing an opinion that no Christian Democrat in Europe would hold.

          The US (I never say “America”, because I live in the American Continent, too) has descended into a political moralism I didn’t expect to see in my life. As I said here before, it’s simple: use democratic decision processes, let your members of congress and state legislatures decide, demolish your moronic voting system in which the majority of votes goes to the candidate who lost (!!!) the election, and/or make regional or national referendums, and stop whining.

          If one supposedly good “pro-life” policy by republicans surpasses all their stupid policies (worse still with your new “You’re fired” president) and cancels out all Democratic good policies, be my guest, go ahead and create your own “alternative society” in the woods.

          1. “…an opinion that no Christian Democrat in Europe would hold.”

            Which is why Western Europe is undergoing, dare I use the overused term, and existential crisis while much of the East, more recently liberated from slavery, is holding the line. Thanks for the inverse validation that the US is on the right path.

            I do think given the nature of our Republic, on which you really should educate yourself before commenting, I’d say you won’t see any great change in our “moronic” electoral college until New Yorkers and Californians can convince folks in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Wyoming that they know better than, y’know, you yokels.

            Until then, we’re saddled with a system designed by James Madison vice anyone named, say, Trudeau. How sad for us; we’ll muddle through somehow. Good luck to you, I’d guess in the Nort’Woods.

      2. Also, just to clarify, I have NEVER voted for a pro-abortion politician, and I never will, and I will never advocate anybody ever do so.

        1. I largely agree with these comments, Salutis. I wish I had read them before posting my final comment below.

          Anyway, I’d just raise the point that the American Solidarity Party was purposefully funded by intensely pro-abortion democrats in order to try to crack open the American Catholic’s stance against abortion, primarily by demoting it below social activist and government redistribution arguments. That’s why I first responded the way I did, about how we cannot lose sight of abortion being the greater of two evils. I am personally rather libertarian, but I could easily see myself voting for a democrat (I liked a lot of what Jim Webb and Tim Kaine said during the primary and election) if they just quit peddling abortion.

          Anyway, God bless. Thanks for the good discussion.

          1. I don’t believe that Democrats are pro-abortion, I have been a Democrat for 60 years and I am pro-life and not pro-birth. I believe we should take care of all gods children. I once saved a young girls life and won the Carnegie medal for doing so. I saw a lot of people that stood there and watched and did nothing. One man even asked me if I would have taken the chance if it would have been a black girl. I wanted to punch him.
            He was a republican council person, that I might add talked all the time about being pro-life, for the votes more then anything else. This kind of pro-life person in my opinion is not worth putting into office. He is still going strong. My point is don’t believe for a minute that the majority of Democrats are for abortion and that the Republicans are the only pro-life people out there.

          2. I have never heard a Democrat say that they are for abortion, I have heard politicians from the opposing party say that about Democrats. Now I do believe that there are more Democrats that are Pro-choice. Pro-choice does not necessary mean that they are for abortion. There are times when I believe that it may be necessary but I do not believe that it should be done just for the sake of not having the responsibility of raising a child.

        2. Again, Salutis,
          You say, “I don’t judge anybody who…decides to vote Republication.
          The next statement is “But I think it is wrong.” OK, I hear you saying that you don’t judge anybody, but what is the “it” which is wrong?

          The 99% and 98% unacceptable ratings you mention – Might it be 51% and 49%? From where have the numbers come? Fr. Joe makes clear his reasoning why a larger group may do something, but I don’t quite see much difference between 99 and 98. Are you suggesting that both parties are overwhelmingly unacceptable to Christ? In which case you would not vote? Or vote for a third party which has no reasonable chance of winning?

          If we need a party 99% acceptable to Christ, who is to say that He would not accept 98.99? What I’m getting at is the idea of an imperfect world, fallen man, and the perfection of Christ incomprehensible and unachievable on this earth. Can we not compromise in our feeble effort to avoid great evils (such as legal abortion). Given two imperfect candidates and two imperfect parties, why should you not keep the priorities of Catholic principles in mind and vote for the candidate who best approaches those? How is it not reasoned compromised rather than Russian roulette?

          1. There is no difference as far as murder of a child but I think that people are going too far with the whole thing, I don’t think that you or anyone has the right to tell a woman that she can’t take birth control. This happens before life exists so why do you and others insist on pushing your agenda to the limits. Planned parenthood does a lot of good things for women, but your GOD gives you the right to get rid of a good program instead of talking about getting rid of abortion only. I think that pro lifers push for way too much. You don’t want big government in your life but its ok for you too get into others lives. In our church a young girl became pregnant and the pastor made her get before the whole church and beg for forgiveness. I don’t feel that anyone should be treated this way. The girl was never the same and left the church. If you don’t want to be pushed back, don’t push at all and live life the way you want and be happy.

          2. Corby,
            You say:

            “…people are going too far with the whole thing (as far as murder of a child)”

            Murder of a child certainly goes too far. Since we talk about abortion, do you see that abortion is the murder of a child?

            You say: “…why do you and others insist on pushing your agenda to the limits.”

            I don’t know what I am pushing here! So how do you know what I am pushing? How do you define my agenda?

            You speak of my “GOD.” Is he not your God too? Or do you have a different one?

            I aim to get into another’s “life” to protect it. And the government does the same since most of us consider life a common good.

            You say your pastor made the young pregnant girl “get before the whole church and beg for forgiveness.” 1) Perhaps you and the girl need a new church? 2) Perhaps you need a new pastor who knows the difference between mercy/compassion and bullying- brutality.

            You say: “I don’t think that you or anyone has the right to tell a woman that she can’t take birth control.”

            No one here has espouses such a point of view. What moves you to claim blatant generalities and distortions of truth?

            Perhaps you want to see what is good about birth control, perhaps you cannot, and instead you blame me. As in Adam in the garden, as in Eve.

          3. I don’t blame, you just the actions of many. I do believe that people have different gods. But we should all be brothers and sisters and learn to get along.I don’t think that my GOD would want me to force my way of thinking on everyone else. I tell you how I feel and I hold nothing against you for telling me how you feel. but that doesn’t give you or me the right to force our way of thinking on others. Everyone I have talked to that belong to pro-life gets mad when a person disagrees. If you can’t talk how does anything get settled. Any way I hope that your GOD and mine takes care of yours and mine. I do put my name out there because I don’t have anything to hide and my way of thinking belongs to me and no one else.

          4. PS
            you say that I make distortions of truth when it comes to birth control. You have seen the lawsuits about birth control, and you have never heard politicians forcing insurance companies not to pay for birth control. Why do people believe everything a politician says as long as he is pro-life,Actions speak loader then words. I can’t say that I am proud of our new President even though he says he is pro-life my GOD tells me that there could be a problem.

  12. “Catholics in Europe aren’t afraid of distributism/social democracy.”

    Yes, and we see how well faith in general – except for Islam – and Catholicism in particular is doing in Western Europe.

    Better have a Plan B, because your Plan A to turn the US into the Euro-Socialist Worker’s Paradise has pretty much been discredited.

    1. “Euro-Socialist Worker’s Paradise”, lol. The welfare state works well in most of Europe: poor people can get health care, university education, labor protections, pensions, etc. Ask anybody in Scandinavia or Germany or Ireland if they think the welfare state is a failure that should be abolished and you’ll get resounding “heck no”. I don’t know why in the USA there is this prevailing myth that anything the government does is predestined to not work. But in any case, “laissez-faire” is certainly not a Catholic worldview; like I said, please give “Rerum novarum” by Pope Leo XIII, and also “Caritas in veritate” by Pope Benedict XVI, a read. The only modern political ideology that is compatible with Catholic doctrine is Christian Democracy.

      As for Catholicism not doing well in Europe: It’s the same as in the USA. In places like Fréjus-Toulon in France and Madison, WI in the USA, where there’s lots of love for the Church and Tridentine Latin Masses and Eucharistic Adoration, the faith is doing very well. In places where the faith isn’t taught and clown Masses are the norm, the faith is hemorrhaging.

      1. No one says LOL anymore 😉

        John J above presented a pretty good debate for the dichotomy between state-sponsored and private charity, better than I could do. Suggest you read it for a concise argument on just why you’re wrong about the Catholic Church being – or should be – an arm of the DNC (you were the one who called out the GOP by name).

        And these Euro-paradises survive well only in tightly controlled homogeneous cultures, with order imposed both from within and without. Is strictly keeping a society homogeneous in keeping with Catholic teaching? And let’s see what happens to all this ‘ordnung’ and social safety netting as middle eastern refugees – many if not most who have little love for the culture into which they’re being introduced, but whom I’m sure you’d say we are obliged to take due to what I am sure is your interpretation of Matthew 25: 31-46 – inundate and stress the system.

        1. Please stop with the strawmen, I have never said the Catholic Church should support the Democratic Party. I have explicitly said that we should get the ball rolling on a third party that is in line with ALL of the Church’s teachings, not just abortion. Just the same, I would never support any political party that is in line with all of the Church’s teachings *except* abortion, either. (Not that the Democratic Party is in line with much of the Church’s teachings, by the way.)

          I have also never said Europe is some kind of paradise; merely that they are evidence that welfare states can function well, contrary to what the GOP has been pushing for decades. I see no evidence that a welfare state must fail unless there’s “tightly controlled homogeneous cultures”. I have also said nothing about immigration, so please don’t strawman me about that either.

      2. This really isn’t the place for a debate on taxation and the role of government. I have posted my perspectives twice, but have also tried to do so in a way that isn’t argumentative as much as simply sharing an opposing perspective, although I may have failed in that attempt.

        This will be the last post I make on the issue. Comparing the governmental redistribution efforts in Europe to those in the US are apples-to-oranges. After generations of racially-motivated welfare programs convincing large swaths of urban minorities that they don’t need education or marriage to improve their lot, but instead only need government (specifically one party), the perspective on the role of government is very different in the States than in Europe. To go along with the *significantly* increased population size, population diversity, land size, and land diversity, our culture has always been one of self-determination. To that end government work has always been treated with less respect, and government workers typically give far less personal effort and take far less personal ownership of their projects than do private, individually-owned company employees. I know that’s painting with broad strokes, but regardless of specific empirical data, this *is* the cultural perspective. This is why expansion of government means something very different in the States than it does in Europe. This is why state-run healthcare, state-run childcare, state-run infrastructure, state-run end-of-life and state-run foster care, all are considerably less effective and less respected than privately-run companies and charities.

        I fully believe in a two-pronged approach, with a state-run safety net underneath a privately-run market to solve these problems. But the expansion of the former must inherently infringe upon the latter, and in our culture that is not an improvement in access, quality, or efficiency. So even if we ignore the failings in the European system (of which there are many, despite your sugar-coated perspective), that system will not take hold in nearly as productive ways in the States because of our 200-year old culture of independent self-determination and distrust of distant over-reaching politicians telling us how to run our families, communities, and businesses.

        I’ll read your response but will refrain from keeping this thread devolving into deeper antagonism. Government has a very important role, and our faith should most definitely form our perspectives on government. But with so many deep rabbit holes of cause-and-effect, culture, diversity, global economic positioning, self-determination, equality of outcome versus equality of opportunity perspectives and opinions, do not treat the question of “proper Catholic taxation and government” as superficially as “Europe does it better.”

        1. I agree completely that the welfare has mostly been a failure in America, but that’s because of some particular details (for example, I strongly oppose any unemployment benefits that disappear once you get a job, which was the case under LBJ’s ‘Great Society’; that’s merely subsidizing unemployment). It can be done well, as seen by all of the countries in the world (not just Europe) that have a fully-functioning mixed economy that benefits their citizens.

          You might think this is all irrelevant, but the point I’m making is that the Catholic Church in the USA has been doing a disservice to itself by supporting candidates that are pro-life on abortion but not anything else. The “vote for the second-worst” mentality for the past few decades has now resulted in the Church’s social doctrines appearing to the common person to be completely discredited, since it appears that the Church has now made an alliance with pro-war, pro-torture politicians. That’s of course not the case, but that’s what has been communicated by trying to cram ourselves into the GOP rather than voting for what’s right.

          1. Hi again Salutis,

            The Catholic Church has not been doing a disservice to itself by supporting Catholic its preeminent principles of life. The social teaching of the Church is null if there is no society of living human beings. The outline of JPII’s Evangelium Vitae speaks to the eminence: Chapter 1: Present Day Threats to Human Life
            THE VOICE OF YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIES TO ME FROM THE GROUND
            Chapter 2: The Christian Message Concerning Life
            I CAME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE
            Chapter 3: God’s Holy Law
            YOU SHALL NOT KILL
            Chapter 4: For a New Culture of Human Life
            YOU DID IT TO ME

            Humanae Vitae addresses the same issue of this chicken/egg issue: What is more important? Feeding a hungry world or allowing the world to suffer population implosion and other gravely ill dangers which follow our participation in the death of the unborn.

            The priority is and always will be life.

        2. Thank you, Josh, for sharing some excellent ideas and for pointing out the heightened passion for incivility within this thread. If we hope to achieve our deepest hopes for a land free of the heinous sin of legal abortion, we’ll need much more charity.

          Compounding the factors you mention are the moral consequences of legal abortion during the last 44 years, with increased rates during the recent decade– children raised in single parent homes with attendant poverty, (low) birth rates, divorce, fornication, legalization of ‘marriage’ between sterile couples, stem-cell research, sale of fetal body parts, etc.etc. The legalization of cheap and prevalent drugs to numb the conscience.

          Although many see justifiable reason to blame government for our ills, we ought not look to it to fix the problems we allowed it to hand us.

          Is it any surprise that many people may not have experienced much charity? It is up to us to develop and to demonstrate it as Christ did when he walked our land.

      3. When Christ teaches of the ‘Prodigal Son’ and his ‘Father’, we have an example that applies to politics. The prodigal son wants his independence from the dictates of his father and so “… gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously.” (Luke 15:13) We all know the rest of the story, how he repents and returns and is welcomed back by his father, and how he was allowed his place back again into the family.

        ‘Nanny state’ type governments are very popular with people such as the ‘prodigal son’. It allows them to subsist in their immoral state for long periods of time in relative comfort, and they are more likely to harm themselves through the long continuance of their vices, i.e.. drug over doses, sexually transmitted diseases, violent encounters and crimes, unhealthy nutrition, alcoholism, etc… whereby the liberal attitude towards them actually worsens their condition.

        So, conservatives understand that a ‘tough love’ policy is OK. When people live moral lives they will be rewarded for their moral behavior with an honest subsistence. And if people fall into immoral habits and behaviors, they will be punished for those bad decisions, and have an experience such as did the prodigal son.

        So, it is the promotion of virtue that should be the both the governments and the Church’s focus. Both should follow the ‘fathers’ example of not being too lenient on those who seek to live immoral lifestyles.

        The problem we have today is that the sense of what is moral and immoral has been confused, and liberals consider ‘prodigality’ to be a perfectly fine way to live. Moreover, they love the support and votes given to liberal causes by those who live prodigal lives. The general thought is “if there are enough ‘prodigal son’s’ then it makes it ‘normal’ to be prodigal”, and everyone can feel OK and no moral reform is needed.”

        So, government needs to be wise and understand this parable of Christ, and then use it as a guide for economic policies that support virtuous living.

        1. So you’re of the opinion that if you’re poor, it’s because you’ve lived an immoral lifestyle (drugs, fornication, crime)? It can’t possibly be because your parents were poor, and you couldn’t afford college, and you had to work three jobs and then got sick and couldn’t pay your bills — it’s because you’re evil.

          This is precisely the kind of social Darwinism/Prosperity Gospel that I’m talking about.

          Please give “Rerum novarum” a read. You might be fascinated to find out that the Church doesn’t believe poverty is a moral failure on behalf of the poor.

          1. No, I don’t blame the poor, even as I wouldn’t blame the poor Christ, His poor mother or any of the poor desert fathers who lived on basically nothing, but were so popular that they inspired the institution of Christian monasticism throughout the world. And all Christian monks and nuns take vows of poverty. So, no, I don’t consider poor people evil, and many might even be saints.

            However, evil and vice causes a lot of poverty throughout the world whether or not the vice originates from the rich or the poor. Who, for instance, cannot notice the countless rich celebrities who are made poor, or dead, through the practice of vice? I won’t even begin to start naming rockstars and actors who have either killed themselves, or overdosed, due to the vicious habits they developed and lived with in their lives.

            So, a government should promote virtuous living, and through the reduction of vices a reduction of taxes and economic drag will be the result. With virtue reigning in societies throughout the world where is there a need for police forces, judges, lawyers, extreme medicine such as HIV /AIDS research, doctors dedicated to STD’s, armies, A bombs, etc….etc… The whole world would be incomparably more efficient with the reduction, or elimination of vice and sin.

            And this was the problem with hippyism in the 1960’s and liberalism today. Liberalism does not understand that in any social expenditure or program, virtue needs to be stimulated and vice suppressed. But liberalism actually does the opposite, it promotes and supports VICE, and then demands and demonstrates for countless of billions of tax dollars to be spent for the remedies, or healing, caused by the vicious acts that they spawned. Liberal mass media, and cinema, promote all kinds of evils, such as divorce, fornication, drug use, violence, murder, abortion, vainglory, greed, promiscuity, worldliness, gluttony, drunkeness, vanity, etc… And all of these vices have a very great cost for a society, both for soul and body, morally and economically.

            So, liberalism and ‘nanny states’ are not the answer. True Christianity and the reduction of vices, and their multitudes of evil consequences, IS the answer.

          2. I have no qualms with the notion that the state should foster virtuous living. But that’s not an argument against a welfare state. Poor people in America often can’t get health care, can’t pay their rent, can’t afford to go to college, can’t afford to retire. If you’re saying it’s always or usually their own fault for their vicious lifestyles, then you are in fact preaching an anti-christian notion of social Darwinism/Prosperity Gospel. That is not Catholic whatsoever. There is nothing charitable about denying somebody food or medicine because you think they deserve it.

            If, rather, you agree that poor people are often impoverished at no fault of their own, then what’s so wrong with providing them with free health care, free education, etc. so that they can better themselves? Again, this is precisely what is written in many papal encyclicals for the past century. The Church teaches that ideally, we should have a “mixed economy” that is neither socialist, nor laissez-faire capitalist. (Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, CARITAS IN VERITATE, no. 37: “Economic life … needs just laws and forms of redistribution governed by politics”)

            I need to make this disclaimer again, despite having done so already: NOBODY IS SAYING THAT POVERTY IS A GREATER EVIL THAN ABORTION. Nobody is saying “vote Democrat”.

          3. Hi Salutis,

            Because of your plea to revisit some encyclicals, I revisited Caritas in Veritate, specifically the section you reference, which is a partial sentence only.

            Pope Benedict ended the sentence thus:

            “…and what is more, it needs works redolent of the spirit of gift.”

            Isn’t this “work redolent of the spirit of gift” the crux of disagreement? Where is our human dignity when our government demands the fruits of our labor? Where is the gift freely given? For we who receive, do we gift our gratitude or do we beg for more?

        2. Hi Awlms,
          Thank you for your beautiful post. I understood your honest subsistence to imply a subsistence at peace with whatever poverty or wealth God gives. It results from peace at knowing that a person has worked with God as God has worked with us. I see an awareness and acknowledgement of God’s blessings; I see gratitude.

      4. Hello Salutis,

        It is erroneous to say that there is in the USA…”this prevailing myth that anything the government does is predestined to not work.” This entire discussion proves that many believe the government can do much that is good.

        I argue further that the vast majority believe that in issues of national defense (that majority of course who do not subscribe to one world government), the government does much better than individuals. On infrastructure, on handling devastations due to natural disasters, and on some other matters, there is little disagreement.

        I agree that we need orthodoxy for faith to flourish. We need the new evangelization to spring forth as a stream, to waterfall to the rivers to the oceans to overpower the confusion, the decay, the pollution in our land.

  13. “….supporting candidates that are pro-life on abortion but not anything else.”

    We can discuss the merits of how’s and why’s of a mixed economy in a 21st century industrialized economy, but the above statement is inflammatory, judgmental, and patently false, which is where we disagree. Your definition of ‘pro-life’ and mine (and Josh J’s above) differ greatly. I also live in the real world, and a third party based on Catholic Magisterial principles has about as much chance of appearing as a serious contender in American politics as Pope Pius XI’s “Syllabus Errorum” would have of changing hearts and minds at an Oberlin radical feminist encounter group.

    I choose to be an example, change what I can, help who I can, and trust that in the end, the gates of hell will not prevail and Her Immaculate Heart will triumph.

    1. “I also live in the real world, and a third party based on Catholic Magisterial principles has about as much chance of appearing as a serious contender in American politics as Pope Pius XI’s “Syllabus Errorum” would have of changing hearts and minds at an Oberlin radical feminist encounter group.”

      My rebuttal is Phil 4:13: “I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me” (Douay-Rheims).

      The people living during the era before Christ probably also thought that there was no chance that the eternal God would become incarnate of a virgin, yet it happened. Why lose faith in God now?

      1. Well, if you think a “Magisterium Party” is Scripturally mandated, then by all means, don’t let me stop you.

        And if you still need to think the viewpoints you’ve expressed – to which more than adequate rebuttals have been posted so as to make you at least think you might not be 100% right – are the only correct ones for Catholics to hold, well, be my guest as well. I myself will hold both to my beliefs and to the Gamaliel principle.

        Guess we’ll see which one of us is closer to the truth, eventually. Best to you.

        1. Again, I really strongly urge you read “Rerum novarum” by Pope Leo XIII. (I also strongly recommend Pope Pius XI’s “Quadragesimo anno”, Pope John Paul II’s “Laborem exercens” and “Centesimus annus”, and Pope Benedict XVI’s “Caritas in veritate”.)

          Once you see what the Catholic Church teaches and has taught for the past century and a half, then we can argue about what “the correct position” for Catholics to hold is. If you think I am misunderstanding any of the Church’s teachings vis-a-vis these encyclicals, I’m more than open to being corrected.

          1. I did. I see all of them – especially St. JP the Great’s “Centesimus Annus” as critiques of the socialism you seem to favor, and of it’s twin brother, atheism. They all favor development of social consciences in line with Scripture and the Magisterium, which will lead to a general and reflexive consideration by all of the needs of all. An ideal, to be worked toward but not likely to be fully realized given just who is the prince of the world.

            The State-coerced imposition of Euro-socialism in the US, what you seem to imply is there, nowhere in sight. That’s quite an extrapolation, but we’re all entitled to our fantasies. Besides, as Josh J pointed out, for reasons cultural and environmental it wouldn’t work anyway. The last Presidential election should have made that clear.

            I am done – you may have the last word.

          2. “…what’s so wrong with providing them with free health care, free education, etc. so that they can better themselves?”

            And that’s the rub, isn’t it? Your use of the word “free” tells me all I need to know. Because in your world, “free’ really means “someone else pays..” And is coerced to do so.

            Reminds me of a line from that old song by Ten Years After…”tax the rich, feed the po’…til’ there are, no rich no mo’…..”

          3. If you want to live in a state-less society with no taxes, please feel free. There’s thousands of square-miles of uninhabited forestry in the world.

            However, if you wish to participate in civilization, then you need to pay taxes in order for society to function. How much taxes and for what purposes is just quibbling.

          4. Pretty condescending response. Actually it’s not quibbling – how much we are taxed and for what purpose is pretty central to the whole discussion. That you think it is “quibbling” speaks volumes.

            And I’ll stay where I am thank you. Your “straw man” accusations are themselves straw men – several of us here have very adequately addressed your assertions. Theres much on which we might agree on matters of faith and morals but on economics, afraid not. And as I said, we’ll see who is on the right side of history.

          5. The last time I read the Gospel it said that Jesus admonished INDIVIDUALS to provide the social and material support for their neighbors, not the government. One example was the ‘Good Samaritan’, who personally took charge of the situation. Another, was His teaching:

            “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy neighbours who are rich; lest
            perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee. (Luke14:12)

            If every Christian would just follow this mandate where would there be a hungry man in this country?

            Again, the problem is in the rampant vice in this country, and that the common man does not trust the poor, or homeless, in his house because of the real possibility that these same would rob him blind. So, when a liberal/socialist type government is easy on crime, they make it harder for the charitable populations to follow what Jesus admonished above. The ‘lambs’ become more wary of the wolves, pigs and lions roaming around. And for a sound reason.

          6. For those not familiar with the scripture above, regarding helping the poor, here is the second part of that scripture:

            “…But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind; And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just. ”

            This, apparently, is the Lord’s preferred type of welfare program.

  14. I’m fairly confident that St. Benedict would be heartily ashamed of Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB.

    “Because you don’t want tax money to go there.” Translated into Christian-ese, that would be, “because you don’t want to render unto Caesar what belongs to God.” For centuries, the Catholic Church, even Benedictine monasteries, provided the only “social services” that anyone ever could take advantage of. Now that the leviathan state has relieved Sr. Joan’s life of that particular labor, with what is she accompanying her order’s life of prayer?

    I recall being commanded by the head of my religious order not to perform charitable acts for show, indeed, not even to let my right hand know what my left hand is doing. Sr. Joan, and many other worshipers of Moloch, are therefore calumniating Christians based on not knowing what those Christians are doing, out of obedience to their Master.

    1. You really need to chill out and read close what Sr. Joan wrote. She never said that she doesn’t bother with acts of material charity to others. Calling her a worshiper of Moloch is massively uncalled for.

      1. I did read what Sr. Joan wrote. If we don’t fund programs by the government to do what the Church historically has done, we can’t call ourselves “pro-life.” Well, that is a direct rebuke of personal alms-giving, and a call to render unto Caesar what belongs to God.

    2. Richard,

      All you say rests quite reasonably with my faith, training, prayer life. A good reader would see that you have not called Sr. Joan a worshiper of Moloch. Then again, if she is not with Him, she must be with whom?

      Best,

  15. The arguments against Sr. Joan’s statement are good. Sr. Joan’s arguments are not completely logical. I am wondering what she has done for the pro-life movement? How many children has she been a foster parent to, or does she offer up a silent prayer everyday for the unborn and abused children, or does she even promote pro-life issues, or does she visit single women with young babies and provide verbal support or comfort or encouragement?? Is she all talk about me providing money or tax dollars but what is she offering to do? Does she collect diapers or baby food or clothing for a needy mom. Her statement is not credible since she has not walked in a mother’s shoes. She is not leading souls to Jesus with those words. Her words are misleading and confusing.

  16. Dear Farther-to-be. What did you think about Trump’s answer to an abortion question in which he said the pregnant woman who gets an abortion is a criminal who should be punished?

    ABS agrees with him.

    1. Sorry to intrude between you and our revered seminarian (your contemptuous “father-to-be” snark is rightfully disregarded).

      The conversation Trump had with Chris Matthews on this subject, Trump was obviously struggling as many of us do, with the subject of enforcement should Roe v Wade be re-considered. He basically said “some punishment, but don’t know what…”

      Given Trump’s understandable intransigence with this difficult topic, I’d love to hear your interpretation of “agrees with him.’ With what do you agree exactly?

      In the end, my understanding of Catholicism is that we consider the woman who aborts to be as much a victim as her dead child. The abortionist – a term that used to denote the lowest slime of humanity – not so much. What the law does regarding a woman, would most likely be situational. Given an unlikely-at-best outright abortion ban, including abortifacients, an activist who aborts in the 9th month as a political statement – yes, it happens – might by a court, be considered differently than a distraught 15 YO who aborts out of fear.

      In the end, if society wants abortion, there will be abortions. This world is a principality of Satan. The Church’s work is to change hearts and minds first; laws will follow.

      1. AK. Father-to-beis not a snark but a compliment. I had an uncle who was a priest and a father (his brother) who was at seminary with him a number of years ago.

        The woman who contracts for an abortion should be considered complicit in the murder of her unborn child and be charged with, at the very least, manslaughter.

        That men like you who see a perp as a victim reveals the putative pro-life movement is not so much a a pro-lifer movement but, rather, a movement that, long ago, conceded there is a right to choose.

        1. Hi Brain,
          I wonder if your question about punishment ought to be directed to secular authorities rather than to a moral authority.

          Josh J’s post below links to a talk by Bishop Barron which clarifies differences between moral and secular authorities. The Bishop makes clear the idea of the Church as a torrent of mercy for the sinner. Simultaneously, in the sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest could admonish the sinner to relinquish oneself to secular justice. I urge you to listen to this wise Bishop Barron. (On the recording, the Bishop did not address the idea of punishment after death….)

          I do not understand what is meant by the pro-lifer movement conceding a right to choose.

        2. ABS – OK, I get your point on the term. Seen too many attacks on Joe that sounded similar, and my family has experienced evangelical Protestant hatred and bullying. My son is in seminary, so given all that, I am a little sensitive.

          How you get “I am pro-choice’ from what I wrote, I don’t know.

          I can’t think of any society where the legal paradigm you suggest would long stand, at least in the West. I suppose in an Islamic-type culture, where justice is not tempered with mercy and the executioners/amputators sword swings freely. I can see the ‘artist’ who aborts at 8 months and displays her child in a jar as a political statement, yes. Can you really see sending a scared, impressionable 15YO, who got bad advice, to prison? Or even through the misery and expense of a trial? Would that serve God’s mercy or His Justice, either of those? And how do you handle the mid-point of those two extremes?

          You may think you have the canned answer to all that. I don’t, except change the culture so the problem isn’t there in the first place…

          1. Anyone who arranges for the murder of another is guilty of that murder.

            If you don’t think that is so, then you don’t consider abortion murder and, thus, you are really pro-abortion.

            If a woman conspired with another to kill you, would you consider her a victim?

            Margo. The Catholic Church has Legislative, Judicial, and Coercetive powers but this epic epoch has seen the rise of epicene ecclesiastics who fail to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify but rather, preach indifferentism, the putative unity of mankind, and peace achievable apart from Christ.

            Masculinity has been eclipsed owing to ecumenism (The Universal solvent of Tradition) and sweet smiles and soft expressions have replaced the Commandments of Christ.

            The Catholic Church is a perfect society and it has the legitimate power and right to put heretics to death (also the duty).

            What is more merciful, ridding the flock of wolves or letting them ravage the innocent sheep?

          2. “The Catholic Church is a perfect society and it has the legitimate power and right to put heretics to death (also the duty).’

            Father Joe, I am, in amazement, not utter, but amazement just the same, going to defer this one to you if you decide it needs any response.

    2. Hello Brain,

      I tried to verify your claims and could not. I checked many web sites including LA Times, NY Times, and Snopes.

      In May 2016, Trump sat for an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Matthews pressed Trump for his position on punishing abortion. Trump did not use the word criminal. He did say there ought to be some punishment, IF abortion were illegal; he did not specify that the woman ought to receive the punishment. Misleading reports quickly followed, fueling the assumption that Trump believed women having abortions ought to be punished. Because of the uproar, a few hours after his initial statement, Trump walked back and clarified his position and his prior statement. That was: IF abortion were illegal, there ought to be “some form of punishment” not for the woman but for the person performing the abortion. IF abortion were illegal.

        1. Hi Brain,
          I understand your two statements, but I’m having trouble putting them into an argument.

          You said, “The Catholic Church…has the legitimate power and right to put heretics to death (also the duty).” Literal or figurative moral death? The Church can and does declare mortal sin to be moral death, a denial of life with God and a loss of his beatific vision if one dies in such a state. I cannot completely fathom that the church has any legitimate power and right to put anyone to death except in instances of justified self defense. Else Jesus from his cross would surely have called down his Father to avenge, and that surely would have taken place.

          Are you suggesting that the church ought to mete out a temporal punishment if and when a person breaks a secular law (which the Church determines to be unjust)? How would this differ from excommunication which is the (common usual current) canon law punishment for the grave sin of abortion?

  17. Would you force a teen rape victim to carry her attacker’s child? He wouldn’t be convicted within 9 months. If never convicted, he can then sue for joint custody.
    That same victimized girl would be struggling with PTSD, depression, anxiety etc., and then you want to take away her healthcare? Her public education?
    What if that baby ends up in foster care because no one adopted him? What if a gay couple wants to adopt him?Or what if that little boy turns out to be gay himself?
    It astounds me how Republicans don’t like big government or regulations, but they want to control who can get married. If atheists can get married and raise a child, why not a gay couple? Marriage is a civil ceremony. It doesn’t have to be religious.
    You only care about babies if they grow up to be Christian, otherwise, you’ll let them suffer and judge them from a distance.

    1. You should watch this video of Bishop Barron where he talks about these exact issues. I am not defending the GOP, but the Catholic teaching on these very issues is far truer, and more focused on the true dignity of human beings, than you will ever achieve standing in a pro-choice circle.

      This is part 2. I strongly encourage you to watch part 1, but since part 2 deals directly with these issues I’ll post this one.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYWBNMOCrlo

      1. Thank you, Josh, for posting Bishop Barron. He is spot-on. Articulate, charitable, prudent, wise, well-versed, etc., etc. I cannot speak highly enough about his conduct on this show. What a gift God has given us in His Excellency. And in you too, Josh, for your sharing.

  18. I cannot completely fathom that the church has any legitimate power and right to put anyone to death except in instances of justified self defense.

    Margo. I assume you googled Mastro Titta and, thus, you can now fathom such a thing.

    You’re welcome.

    1. Brain – Yes, thank you? Ours is a different age and time than Maestro Tito; in addition, the Vatican City/Papal State are a sovereign nation, so Maestro’s function differed from the ecclesial courts of today. I cannot fathom a Maestro Tito today. Although I have heard it said that the Vatican does still maintain a prison.

      Hope you have a great day. Bye.

      1. Vatican City is a sovereign state with Franciscus as its head of state and so he could order the execution of, say, Cardinal Marx, but he prolly won’t because Cardinal Marx is a heterodox prelate executing the will of Franciscus.

        O,and the piece you earlier linked to – Cardinal Dulles – references the cultural conditions presumably influencing our previous approval of execution but he does not take note of the cultural conditions of today with its indifferentism, liberalism, and universal masonic values that causes us to refuse to actualise our Coercetive authority and power.

        Far better, it seems, to let the wolves ravage the innocent sheep in this age of mock mercy.

    2. Yes, and Pope Alexander VI threatened Giulia Farnese with excommunication if she went back to her husband.

      I invoke a permutation of the Gamaliel principle….if “we” as a Church, have been doing something, and there’s a reaction that ends that practice (re: the multiple events of the mid-19th century that led to the abolition of the Papal States, the good Maestro’s raison d’etre) and the practice doesn’t return, there’s a good chance that practice was not of God in the first place.

      One might give an inverse observation about abortion. Roe v Wade, 1973. A world progressing steadily towards more sexual “freedom,” women’s independence from men and “control” over her own body, more secular “enlightenment.” …one would think opposition to abortion over these past 40 years would melt like a snowball on a hot stove. Opposition seems to be growing, and Planned Parenthood is in trouble.

      Maybe that’s because God hates abortion and opposition to it is of Him. That there are no more Maestro Titta’s or Papal States – nor any seeming push from anyone aside from you, to make them reappear – is maybe because neither a Church-run worldly empire nor a fully-employed executioner wearing a Crucifix (the ultimate symbol of unjust execution) was pleasing to God.

      I could be wrong. Time will tell…God’s own time.

  19. This argument can be solved simply.

    Everyone who votes for NO ABORTION, should:

    – pay a tax for every baby born that the parent(s) did not want
    – those who voted for NO ABORTION are automatically eligible to receive unaborted babies,
    and will be selected, and mandated by the state to take care of the unwanted children

    Most parents who are going to ABORT either:

    A. Don’t have the money to take care of a child
    B. We’re raped and don’t want the child.

    Obviously there are other issues that can call for abortion, but those are the 2 main reasons.
    Reason A, the financial burden, being the most common scenario.

    With that stated, pro-birthers should be ready to sign up and save every child up for abortion, WITHOUT ANY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT. If you’re not willing to do this, then you’re just talking selective morality over coffee to make yourself feel good around your like minded peers who all have no real intentions of doing anything about it. Most people don’t really want the task of taking care of children up for abortion. I can see a very small percentage of pro birthers volunteering, but not enough people doing it to eliminate this issue.

    Abortion for the most part is not a MORAL issue, it’s a FINANCIAL issue. Due to the system we have in place, that has essentially been rigged for the rich since before you were born, abortion is one of the many side effects. In fact, money itself is tool of debt that keeps everyone enslaved. You are REQUIRED to pay an interest to private banks (hint: private banks for profit) for every dollar borrowed. So if $100 was the total amount of the world’s currency, and you are REQUIRED to pay a 1 penny interest per each dollar borrowed, and the world paid back the $100 debt, where does the 100 pennies come from?

    Exactly, it’s a tool of slavery, it’s not supposed to be paid back. It’s supposed to keep people in constant servitude chasing a debt that could never be paid. It’s designed to have people confused, arguing with each other about symptoms caused by this system, and placing blame on each individual to create turmoil. When in fact, if everyone worked together to change this financial system, people could have babies and not worry about abortion.

    Fact of the matter is, all of you have been duped into this system, you pay taxes to a system that kills innocent people in other countries, yet, you’re worried about abortion. It’s madness, from short minded people who don’t really think the whole thing through.

    EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED, nothing is isolated, it’s all connected. This is why the abortion debate rages, because all logic is out of the discussion, it’s perpetuated on pure emotion based on selective morality.

    Once pro-birthers volunteer to take over the financial burden that parent(s) who want abortions don’t want, then all of this will be an issue of the past. But no one wants to foot the bill, just like those who want abortions. Yet you want to look down on your fellow people casually while you really have no plans to do anything about it.

    If people had to take a test about their responsibility to other people, just like they had to take a test to get a drivers license, things would be a bit better.

    1. So much here that steams athwart the bullock, and so little time to respond. Sigh…one must cherry-pick.

      “Pro-Birther”…there’s a pejorative with plenty of catchy staying power. Calling Bill Maher….

      Now…since this is a financial, not a moral issue, then I suggest we take the discourse a step further….read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” and then, let’s see how we can re-shape the narrative of US public policy (public administration-speak) regarding the unwanted ‘birthed.’ I mean, let’s be reasonable about the costs of welfarizing so many who really serve little purpose but to absorb critical resources. I am certainly willing to work with “You Guys” and put my MPA to good use.

      Also, my Pit Barrel Cooker. Everyone is invited. Including Moloch and Baal.

      Did I miss any opportunities here for all-caps-izing? One must keep up.

  20. Abortion for the most part is not a MORAL issue, it’s a FINANCIAL issue. Due to the system we have in place, that has essentially been rigged for the rich since before you were born, abortion is one of the many side effects. In fact, money itself is tool of debt that keeps everyone enslaved. You are REQUIRED to pay an interest to private banks (hint: private banks for profit) for every dollar borrowed. So if $100 was the total amount of the world’s currency, and you are REQUIRED to pay a 1 penny interest per each dollar borrowed, and the world paid back the $100 debt, where does the 100 pennies come from?

    Exactly, it’s a tool of slavery, it’s not supposed to be paid back. It’s supposed to keep people in constant servitude chasing a debt that could never be paid. It’s designed to have people confused, arguing with each other about symptoms caused by this system, and placing blame on each individual to create turmoil. When in fact, if everyone worked together to change this financial system, people could have babies and not worry about abortion.

    1. This is the answer.

      What people don’t realize is 99% of our problems as a society could be solved by removing the financial system, and coming up with something much more humane. If water drops treated each other like we did, humans would be dead.

      Waterdrop 1: “No, I’m not going to form a water molecule with water #2 becasue he believes in this idea”
      Waterdrop 2: “Fuck you waterdrop 1, I’m not doing shit with you”

      It sounds ridiculous right, water molecules arguing and not doing it’s job it’s intended to do. Everything aorund us functions as it should, accept us. This is not to say we can’t, it’s just humans are creatures of habit, and you are in the habit of the men who duped you. It’s been thousands of years using currency to create value, when money itself is just paper to compensate time. Only the effort of PEOPLE and TIME matter. There’s too many religions, too many ideas on morality, we need a universal human responsibility. If everyone is able to live within basic means, many of these problems would simply not exist. When people are comfortable, they are hardly a nuisinace to others. IT’s when those who have less than have years to think about why, build up turmoil, then create ideologies to have the last word against a system of oppression.

      We all need shelter, food, and all of the basics. Yet MOST OF THE WORLD DOESN’T. Yet we have the resources to do this, to create a totally sustainable system where all humans needs are met, but we act like our resources are SCARCE. Our resources ARE NO SCARCE.

      Look into:

      https://www.thevenusproject.com

      While they don’t have all the answers, they cover a lot and can put your mind on things we can do now, that all take steps to eliminating most of our issues as a collective group of humans. When we put our best thinkers together with the intention of every human having the right to basic needs, NONE OF THESE PROBLEMS, especially abortion will be an issue.

      We’re still living in ancient times, and this thread is similar to a townhall gathering in the year 1283.

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