On Catholicism and the sanctity of life

Pope Francis gave an address to a joint session of Congress today. I hope to have an essay on the broader themes of his speech for tomorrow, but today I want to focus on one aspect which seems to have tarnished his halo with leftists who have pinned their hopes on him and are now disappointed, just as they did with President Obama.

Here is the offending passage:

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

That’s it. That was his only glancing reference to abortion. And he didn’t even use the word abortion.

But look at what he said: human life must be protected at every stage of its development.

As I’ve written before, I was raised Catholic. And although I can’t in good conscience call myself a believer any longer, that upbringing undergirds who I am. I can no more dispense with it than I can dispense with all the skeins of life which have made me who I am.

I’ve always been a liberal. And as early as I can remember, I’ve always disagreed with the Church’s position on abortion and birth control. Many times, I’ve disagreed vehemently with the Church, wanting finally to cast aside that part of me.

But as I’ve grown older, I have, I hope, grown wiser. What used to be black and white in my youth has become a symphony of grays. I still disagree with the Church on abortion and birth control. But I can respect its stance, at least on abortion.

How can I do this? Because unlike many of the evangelical Religious Right, the Catholic position on life is a total one. Again, turn to Pope Francis’ words: life must be protected at every stage of development.

Too many on the right shed crocodile tears for the unborn, and then cavalierly toss them aside once they leave the womb. It’s an ideological, theological concern, not a moral one. Once you’re delivered, you’re on your own. If you have substandard schools, no job prospects, are hungry and unhoused, that’s not society’s problem.

The Catholic stance on the sanctity of life doesn’t end at the delivery room. It extends for a person’s entire life. It encompasses social and economic themes. One of my religion teachers in high school would take students every summer on a road trip to protest at nuclear test sites. That is what a moral position on the sanctity of life should entail. Priests would regularly call for the end of abortion and the death penalty. “Life” wasn’t some political term by which to score political points; it was the very meaning of existence.

Yes, I know, many on the Catholic right mirror their evangelical brethren in their disregard for what happens to a human once she is brought into the world. But that’s their sin. The Church to which they claim to belong has a very different conception on what “life” means. Making sure everyone can live a decent life, free from want, violence, and oppression is the Church’s theology. And among its best members, it’s the theology practiced every day, in the most mundane ways, in the struggle to make the world a reflection of God’s love.

You can’t be for life in the womb and then insouciant about it once it comes into the world. That’s not “pro-life”; that’s “pro-birth”. Pro-birth is a sorry theology upon which to hang your hat.

I don’t think the Church will ever bend on abortion. It might bend on contraception. And of course I believe that legislation shouldn’t be written with religion in mind. But if more of the pro-life movement had a comprehensive view of life, it might win more adherents and success. That it focuses solely on what happens inside a woman’s body is testament that the movement is about control, not morality.

I’m no longer churched. But I’m glad that we have a Pope who lives in the same world of grays that I do, and that he has decided that he’s not one to judge.

140 Responses to “On Catholicism and the sanctity of life”

  1. 1 jacquelineoboomer
    September 24, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Good afternoon!

    • 2 57andfemale
      September 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Congrats, J’OB.

      • 3 MightyPamela
        September 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

        {{{{{ 57 & hubby & puppies }}}}} I have kept you in my thoughts, 57, although I have been errant in my TOD attendance. Way too much going on with my life to elaborate, I am sorry. My sports ortho used an injectible synovial serum called SynVisc, as I have the same problem as Mr57, no cartilege, also bone spurs, nasty business, which worked well for me until the 3rd application, by which time I developed an allergic sensitivity (story of my life). Last month he switched to a different synovial serum called OrthoVisc. I am still inside the window to determine effectiveness, and so far no great relief. But thought I would share some of this with you, maybe Mr57 would have better response. ❤ Love you.

        • 4 jacquelineoboomer
          September 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

          {{{{Hugs to you, too, MP}}}}

        • 5 Dudette
          September 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

          {{{ MightyPamela }}}

        • 6 57andfemale
          September 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

          Oh my dear MP. Wish I could come there and hug you right now, make you put your feet up and I’d make you a cup of tea.

          Tuesday night, our garage was broken into. They destroyed the door, lock, door frame and made a huge mess There was Mr. 57, on his feet, working all day to repair it. I’m back at work today, but he says he’s going to get down on his knees and scrub the kitchen floor. The doctor said at some point he will do something dumb and not be able to move. And he went and read all the warnings on the anti-inflammatory the doctor says he MUST take religiously for the next three weeks, and he doesn’t want to take it! I have my hands full.

          All my love to you. Hope the OrthoVisc works for you. I have a friend who had similar problems, but the synthetic cartilage is the next step no matter what.

          I feel like one of those roly poly toys we played with as kids, where you knock it down and it pops back up. Keep swingin’ at me, and I’ll pop back up. I’ve got the Mighty Pamela in my corner.

          You are loved, my dear friend.

          • 7 MightyPamela
            September 24, 2015 at 4:37 pm

            {{{{{ 57 }}}}} Hugs back to you, and my gratitude for your kindness and compassion. I will concur with Mr57 on taking the toxic approved chemicals big pharma tells us will ‘heal’ us! HaHa!! Anyone who can read, after perusing the ‘possible side effects’ will immediately understand all the drugs do is tell the brain the body is not feeling what the body tells the brain it is feeling. Small wonder we all keep repeatedly injuring ourselves, until we are broken and beyond repair without extensive and problematic surgical intervention. Sighs. 57, I am in full Light Working mode leading into the eclipse on Sunday, please know you and Mr57 are in there, all here who are struggling, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, and any who wish to be included, just think of it and you will be added to the caring! ❤ {{{{{ TOD }}}}}

            • 8 Betsy
              September 24, 2015 at 9:54 pm

              I couldn’t get the synvics (?sp) as there was so much arthritis in my knees so had total knee replacement and am so happy I did it. Good luck to you all.

          • 9 sjterrid
            September 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

            {{hugs to you and Mr. 57}}

        • 10 jackiegrumbacher
          September 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm

          MP, I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. It’s hard not to get disenchanted with medical solutions that never seem to work. I hope this last try does the trick. Please let us know.

        • 11 sjterrid
          September 24, 2015 at 4:58 pm

          {{Mighty Pamela}}

    • 12 MightyPamela
      September 24, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      JO’B! ⭐ ❤

    • 13 Dudette
      September 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      You’re winning and looking good, J’OB! Congrats!

  2. September 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

  3. 18 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    “What used to be black and white in my youth has become a symphony of grays.”

    “You can’t be for life in the womb and then insouciant about it once it comes into the world. That’s not “pro-life”; that’s “pro-birth”. Pro-birth is a sorry theology upon which to hang your hat.”


    Thank you for this deeply personal, insightful essay, LL! Just masterful!

  4. 19 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm

  5. 20 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm

  6. September 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Ah, a timely and excellent piece LL – luckily, I had stuff to do so had to take a break from Twitter, otherwise my head would quite possibly have literally exploded. It wasn’t so much the complaints about what the Pope said, more the targeting of the VP because he dared to talk about his Catholic faith in relation to abortion, the hair-on-fire brigade overlooking the fact that he keeps his faith personal, doesn’t impose it on anyone and is staunchly pro-choice.

    “What used to be black and white in my youth has become a symphony of grays. I still disagree with the Church on abortion and birth control. But I can respect its stance, at least on abortion.”

    I’m with you almost completely on that, although it’s not the Church I respect for its stance, it’s followers of it like Joe Biden who have a strong faith but recognize that many of those they serve do not share it, and therefore they don’t allow it determine the positions they take on social issues.

    It’s people like him who I respect more than anyone, it’s easy for me and people like me, I don’t have a faith to grapple with that would leave me with a moral dilemma.

    Joe’s like my Ma, an old time Irish Catholic, one with a strong faith, but with compassion too, and the decency to recognize that they can’t impose their faith on the people around them.

    Thanks a million LL.

    • 22 Dudette
      September 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      I love My VPOTUS!

    • September 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      I SO appreciated your superb tweets, Chips. If there’s anything you can say at all about Joe Biden, it’s that he’s principled and compassionate to the nth degree. These people are digging for dirt so desperately, it’s really pathetic.

      Yesterday on twitter, some guy who has some show on TV – his name is Steve Kornacki – chose to slime our VP just at the hour when the Pope was about to speak at the welcome ceremony by saying it was the anniversary of when VP was charged with plagiarism. I mean, WTF!!!

      • September 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

        {{Meta}} I saw that Kornacki tweet, unbelievable – the 28th anniversary, he said, of the VP/plagiarism controversy. 28th? And he thought that was relevant to the battle for 2016? All it left me thinking was, some folk are getting very nervous about polls like this:

        There’s nothing I would love more than to see Joe as President – but part of me doesn’t want to see such a good man subjected to this kind of crap. I loathe these people.

    • September 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Chips well said, like it like it like it, just cant understand how especially men do not advocate whole heatedly that women have the right to their bodies and that Taxas election blew me away how white women did not come in droves to vote for the Democratic candidate just does not make any sense

    • September 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      It’s your tweets which made me write the piece.

    • 42 0388jojothecat
      September 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I agree Chips with the belief that ones personal relationship with their religion and God is personal and should not be forced on others. So many Christians forget that God gave man/woman free will however men seem to take it upon themselves to control women’s bodies by telling them they must carry a fetus to full term even if they and the child might die, it’s Gods will. Once the child is born both have free will to starve or be hungry & homeless….no intervention from these same men to provide food or shelter.

      • 43 GGail
        September 24, 2015 at 3:26 pm

        I too agree jojo and I think this sentence of LL’s post sums up the ridiculous… “You can’t be for life in the womb and then insouciant about it once it comes into the world. That’s not “pro-life”; that’s “pro-birth”. Pro-birth is a sorry theology upon which to hang your hat.”

    • 44 jackiegrumbacher
      September 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Joe Biden knows begins with compassion and empathy for other human beings and everything in his life flows from that. His religious beliefs and convictions are his, but he has too much respect for and understanding of other people to impose his beliefs on them. If everyone who entered politics began with kind of self knowledge and human understanding, this country would be the most socially advanced in the world. Instead we have narrow-minded bigots who want to encode their personal beliefs and prejudices into law.

  7. 45 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm

  8. 46 jacquelineoboomer
    September 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you for your very thoughtful commentary, LL. I really appreciate it.

  9. 47 Nena20409
    September 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Congrats JO’B on your solid Gold ⭐
    You have done it again, LL.
    The Roman Catholic Church’s stand on abortion is consistent with it’s position on Life. The Ethic Theologians and Catholic Scientists recommended that Contraceptive Device/Method were also consistent with the Church’s values………unfortunately, the Pope in the early part of the 1960s……..He alone decided that the Church would ditch science and he alone came up with this convoluted degree by coming down hard and against the use of Contraceptive ‘methodology’.
    For years, until Rev Farwell and Co found the political gains…….ONLY Roman Catholic was adamant on any Medical Methodology used in preventing conception.

  10. 50 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    More awesomeness from our Awesome President

    Details here:

  11. 52 Nena20409
    September 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm

  12. 53 jacquelineoboomer
    September 24, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Terrible bus and Ducks Tour vehicle crash in Seattle, per CNN.

  13. 56 Nena20409
    September 24, 2015 at 2:42 pm

  14. 58 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm

  15. 59 overseasgranny
    September 24, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Sorry, LL, but Ireland has an abortion law in its Constitution, Amendment 8, which has caused death and tragedy. The minute one says a woman cannot have an abortion, you have pitted the life of the woman against the life of a multi-celled fetus. The woman may have a loving husband and other children and would be sorely lost to her family if she required an abortion to live and could not get one. We are finding it better to drop all references to abortion in the Constitution and will have a referendum as soon as possible. It still works best when the woman makes the decision in consultation with her doctor. The majority of the population has come round to this conclusion. Intense sex education and readily available contraceptives are the best measure to stop abortions.

    • September 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Don’t disagree with you at all. Hopefully the people of Ireland will be able to change the Constitution via referendum just as they embraced same sex marriage. As I said, I disagree with the Church’s position on abortion; my point is that unlike the evangelicals it’s not of the “love the fetus, disregard the child” crowd.

      And where have you been?? With the human wave washing across Europe, I’m very interested in your view of what’s being done / not done.

      • 61 overseasgranny
        September 24, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        LL, This migration is going to tear Europe apart. There are some real bigots in Ireland, sceered of the terrorists! Eek! Germany and France are getting the brunt. Every country is going to get a quota but we don’t know if they will accept what they must. The Pope has told all the parishes to accept migrants and sustain them. This is a test of what will be coming when the water wars start and the Climate Change migrations start. I am just amazed at the number of bigots that exist here after WWII. Lessons not learned.
        If you are interested, I will post links to good articles when I find them.

        • September 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

          Woah OSG, Ireland certainly has its share of bigots, but nowhere near as many as most European countries! For all its faults, it is a much more welcoming place for refugees than the likes of Britain, France and most of Eastern Europe.

          • 63 overseasgranny
            September 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm

            Sorry, Chips, but it is getting bad. Many right-wing US posters are on the Irish blogs and inciting racism. Rabid “Catholics” are anti-arab. Lots of NIMBYs around. In a strange way, Germany might be better able to handle the influx than Ireland. Lots of economic whiners in Ireland -” Look at all the Irish who had to leave and now the government wants to support Syrians here” kind of thing. It makes me sad.

            • September 24, 2015 at 4:05 pm

              Not denying at all, OSG, that there are bigots in Ireland, there are LOADS of them – but there’s just no comparison with the rest of Europe, certainly not politically: there are no far right political parties, no neo-Nazi movements like the French National Front or whatever the current version of the British National Front is, no organized racist groups at all. Declan Ganley is the closest Ireland has had to a far right politician in recent times – and he was never elected, despite all his millions. And there are plenty who make the point that because Ireland has been so dependent on other countries taking in its people over the years, Ireland is now morally obliged to help those who need it. The migrant/refugee situation in Europe is so chaotic and catastrophic at the moment I don’t blame people for being fearful about the consequences, but I don’t think it necessarily means they’re racist.

              But yeah, I agree, there is a creeping influence from the American right, which Ganley aligns with (and those nutters in the Iona Institute), especially on the abortion front – but Ireland laughed in their face when the gay marriage referendum came around. 🙂

      • 66 jackiegrumbacher
        September 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

        LL, your points were clear and your essay is just what’s needed to clarify the church’s position, which is consistent in defining ‘pro life’ as the totality of life. If the far right ever got to this point of maturity, I would actually have a little respect for them. As it is, their anti-abortion stance is, as you said, a form of misogyny and control of women. The Catholic Church comes from over 2000 years of an entrenched patriarchal tradition and has always had and perhaps always will have trouble seeing the world from a women’s point of view. Women are supposed to be obedient to the hierarchy, no matter what the cost to themselves. And they are always considered unworthy of priesthood, no matter what the level of their skill or the devoutness of their hearts. This is one of the many reasons why I drifted away from the Catholic Church in my early 20’s. Unlike my very devout sisters, I could not remain in a church that had so much contempt for who I am.

    • 67 jacquelineoboomer
      September 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      I went to an American Catholic high school way back in the 1960s. I remember our senior-year Religion teacher, a nun, reminding us of a couple of things. First, she reminded us that our bodies were temples given to us by God, and that we were responsible for taking care of them. She said if it were a case of saving another or saving ourselves, we had the responsibility to save ourselves. Then she went on to say that in the case of an unborn child who would be putting the mother’s life in danger, the mother’s life came first.

      A lot of us felt like responding, “Say WHAAATTT???”

      The reason why I still remember this is because it was a “shock” for us to hear it. She prefaced this part of the class by doing two things. First, since our school was an all-girls high school for the first two years but merged with an all-boys high school for junior and senior years, the nun separated the boys and the girls for this particular Religion class. Then she said, “Now that we feel you are mature enough to hear certain things, I will tell you certain parts of religious teaching you weren’t old enough to hear before.” All I remember was what I just posted, but she may have said more, not quite as shocking, which had less effect on my teenage brain!

      • 68 jackiegrumbacher
        September 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        JO’B that was a very enlightened nun and you were fortunate to have her. I never went to a Catholic school and had nuns only on so called religious Wednesdays when we were let off an hour early to get church education and on Sunday. The nuns were different from week to week and actually seemed to me to come from a different universe. The only thing I remember is a lot of warnings about dating, especially (yikes) non Catholics. Glad I never paid attention to those lessons.

        • 69 jacquelineoboomer
          September 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

          Ha! Enjoyed your story.

          And let’s just say (1) this nun was probably the most progressive we had; (2) I’ve always said anybody like myself who went to K-12 Catholic schools in the ’50s and ’60s developed a sense of humor FAST! We were the rock’n’roll generation, and the nuns were far from it. I never got in trouble in school, but – if you’ll excuse me for saying this – I couldn’t wait to get the hell outta there! 🙂

  16. September 24, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Making sure everyone can live a decent life, free from want, violence, and oppression is the Church’s theology. And among its best members, it’s the theology practiced every day, in the most mundane ways, in the struggle to make the world a reflection of God’s love.



  17. 71 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Statement by the President on the Occasion of Hajj and Eid Al-Adha

    As more than 2 million Muslims from around the world and across the United States mark the end of their holy pilgrimage of Hajj in Mecca, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslims around the world celebrating Eid al-Adha.

    This pilgrimage and Eid is about sacrifice, almsgiving, and equality. Thousands of Muslims around the world travel to Mecca and Medina, leaving behind all that is valuable and dressed in a simple white cloth – all standing shoulder-to-shoulder and equal before God. This experience signifies that no single person is more worthy than another. It is reminiscent of the principle upon which this country is built: e pluribus unum – out of many, one. Regardless of race, religion, and gender we are reminded that our rich diversity is what strengthens our Nation.

    Eid is also a time to give food, shelter and health services to those in need. Muslim Americans have always joined with other faith communities and entities to assist those suffering from hunger and conflict here at home and abroad. Once again, at a time of such desperate need, Muslim American organizations are among those at the forefront of attending to victims in this refugee crisis.

    May the prayers for peace from those on pilgrimage as well as those of all beliefs be heard and answered. For all those celebrating, Eid Mubarak from my family to yours

  18. 75 kid kanga
    September 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I swear it sounds like the sanders, emo-tarian crowd at it again. If VP Joe doesn’t run, they are making it easier and easier for me to vote for Hillary in the primaries.

    • 76 57andfemale
      September 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      I was interested to hear Hillary’s ideas on Obamacare. A lot of people were bitching that she was dissing it just by mentioning any changes, but I wanted to wait for the proposal, hoping she would push it to the left, and she did. Credit where credit is due. Major programs need tweaking, and ACA does need to fix some problems. Of course, it’s impossible with this insane Congress, but her policy proposals address some problems that even Dems are having with ACA, and I think that’s sound.

  19. 77 rikyrah
    September 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for this, LL. You always make me think with your writings.

  20. 80 Nena20409
    September 24, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    WH Presser with Josh “The Voice” Earnest.

  21. 81 jacquelineoboomer
    September 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm

  22. 82 Nena20409
    September 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm

  23. 83 Jeff
    September 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    got a horrible cold today. 😦

    Staying in bed and hope it gets better.

  24. 88 jacquelineoboomer
    September 24, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    So tragic:

  25. September 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Another thing that really bugged me about Boehner was when he introduced the Pope in Congress and then said to him, “good luck.” I mean, really? Such a weird thing to say to the Pope.

  26. September 24, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Were there GOP members who voted no too??

  27. 93 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:21 pm

  28. 94 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:21 pm

  29. 95 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm

  30. 97 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Ooooooo, I want these too! 😀

  31. 98 EricFive
    September 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I have been thinking lately about PBO and his “lame duck” years and it occurred to me that his presidency is something of an historic anomaly. Since 1960 no president has had a second term free of scandal. JKF was assassinated during his first term. LBJ didn’t run for a second full term. Nixon resigned during his second term. Ford and Carter were one termers. Reagan had the Iran/Contra scandal and onset of Alzheimer’s, while Clinton had the Lewinski scandal (which caused Gore to run away from Clinton and choose Lieberman, who scolded Clinton, as his VP). GWB had Katrina, people catching on to fact he lied us into war and collapse of economy. Since 1960, every president has been unable have a robust second term, except for PBO whose defiance of history’s precedents far exceeds skin color. In other words, PBO is showing them how it is supposed to be done (i.e., beating them at their own game).

    • 99 EricFive
      September 24, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      And Bush Sr. was a one termer. Sorry forgot him.

    • September 24, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Just one more reason why “WE” ❤ him and "they" hate him…

    • 101 jackiegrumbacher
      September 24, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Eric, President Barack Obama has always been above the norm and those of us who worked and voted for knew that from the beginning. He is a deeply moral man with a great love of his family and was never going to throw away his opportunity to transform both the Presidency and the US for something stupid.

  32. September 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm

  33. 104 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:32 pm

  34. 106 57andfemale
    September 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm

  35. 107 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 3:42 pm

  36. 116 JER
    September 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    LIVE NOW: Pope Francis Departing Washington DC – http://www.cbsnews.com/liveFeed/widget.shtml

  37. September 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm

  38. September 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm

  39. 121 Linda
    September 24, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    This person named Kate Snow on MSNBC is getting her own show. She is horrible.

  40. 124 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    And now back to our regularly scheduled program Chronicles in Totally Disgusting Law Enforcement

    Wilmington, Delaware:
    Cops are called to stop suicidal man in wheelchair from hurting himself. Unclear if the man actually had a gun. The man does not immediately respond to their commands, so the cops move from protected position with guns pointed, taking direct aim.
    Guess they forgot they were there to stop a suicide. Of course, they just have to shoot multiple bullets into him – to, uh, you know, make sure he’s not longer a threat. Yep, he’s dead. Nothing to see here folks. You can all go back to your own lives now.
    Hmmm, I wonder if that was a disabled vet. You may watch the video for yourself to answer any other burning question you may have.

  41. 127 57andfemale
    September 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm

  42. 128 Linda
    September 24, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    John Kerry speaks Italian, so does Pope Francis.

    • 129 mittromesia
      September 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      Secretary Kerry also speaks fluent French. He also went to boarding school in the very tiny village of Zug (57km south of Zurich)… I used to live on block downhill from the school. He is its most famous alumi in USA.

      • 130 mittromesia
        September 24, 2015 at 4:41 pm

        Secretary Kerry trivia: his wife is Teresa HEINZ Kerry. She was married to the billionaires HEINZ family. Her first husband was a us senator who died , Mr heniz and secretary Kerry were good friends. He married his hood friends wife. Teresa is also JEWISH, which isn’t important except that dumbass rightwing trolls online after the Iran deal accused secretary Kerry of hating Jews not knowing its the furthest thing from the truth. But that side of the political spectrum is devoid of intellect.

  43. September 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I can’t stop watching this!

  44. 136 Dudette
    September 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm

  45. September 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks LL. I have a similar background. I grew up Roman Catholic in an Italian immigrant family. I was quite devout and entered the seminary when still in high school. (They used to do that in old days.) As a young adult I became a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, lured mainly by the meditation practice.(Many Christian/Buddhists have dual citizenship as practitioners of Zen and adherents of Christianity.) Eventually I re-entered the Christian world, tried to make a go of it as a Catholic but found I could better identify with the Anglo-Cathoicism and progressive theology of the Episcopal Church. Yes, I think you are right about contraception. The Church could change on that. Paul VI went against the recommendations of the Vatican Commission on birth control to the great consternation of most. Interestingly enough, if you explore the history of the teaching on abortion the church has changed its position over the centuries. The central theologian of Catholicism, St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the critical difference that makes a human being is ensoulment, the moment when a fetus is infused with an immortal soul. He taught that this event happens sometime after third month of pregnancy. In the beginning of pregnancy he says the fetus has a “plant soul”. Later an “animal soul”, but not until the second trimester does “human ensoulment” take place. Therefore forms of abortion were permitted in earlier centuries in the church. The present teaching on abortion and ensoulment didn’t occur until the 19th century under Pope Pius IV, who was certifiably insane. He is also the pope that declared himself “infallible” and the “doctrine” of papal infallibility. He declared that ensoulment happens at the moment of conception, a new teaching. (And a strange idea, when you consider that about 2/3 to 3/4 of all fertilized embryos do not implant or stay implanted in the uterus and end up being flushed down the toilet. A rather bizarre notion that a large majority of human beings with immortal souls never reach birth and are discarded as waste.)

    In Catholicism there is a tradition that teaching and doctrine can evolve from a process called “Sensus Fidelium”, the Sense of the Faithful. In the matter of contraception there is near unanimous rejection of the teaching on contraception and it is simply ignored. Even priests don’t like to talk about it because they know it has no standing. Hence the “Sensus Fidelium” on contraception along with growing understanding of contraception may incline the hierarchy to change the teaching eventually.

    Cardinal Bernardin, the former popular social justice Archbishop of Chicago called pro-life a “seamless garment” as it applied to supporting life all through the stages of human development and mean abolishing the death penalty. His position is the same as Pope Francis, and is the orthodox position of pro-life teaching in Catholicism as I understand it. The right wing Catholics in the US have tried to distort that as they don’t support the safety net for children and families and are strongly in favor of the death penalty, contrary to the teachings of their hierarchy. In recent history all the popes have been in favor of a strong safety net, including govt. provide health care. ( As recently as 2012 the conservative Pope Benedict made a speech proclaiming the govt. responsibility to provide health care for all its citizens.) In recent years popes have also proclaimed a rather progressive social doctrine of equality and workers rights and against war. I appreciate you pointing out these things.

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