Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Steven W. Mosher

3/1/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I have spent the last 30 years fighting for a Culture of Life around the world. (In fact, I helped to set up C-FAM back in the late nineties, hired Austin to direct it, helped to fund it, and served on its board for many years.)

A Northern Virginia candidate for Congress boasts of having asked the Federal government to allow women to buy oral contraceptives over the counter.  She also says she is a pro-life Catholic.  Can she have it both ways?

Steven W. Mosher is President of the Population Research Institute located in Front Royal, Virginia.

Steven W. Mosher is President of the Population Research Institute located in Front Royal, Virginia.

Highlights

By Steven W. Mosher

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/1/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Steven W. Mosher, Barbara Comstock, Faith and Citizenship, contraception, Population Research Institute, moral coherence, politics, policy, Deal W. Hudson, Steven W. Mosher


FRONT ROYAL, VA (Catholic Online) - Author's note: I am not stranger to controversy, having been fired by Stanford University for my reporting on forced abortions in China's one-child policy, but the reaction to my article below, first published in Crisis, has surprised even me. It seems to me a straight-forward enough principle, namely, that Catholic politicians should not run from their faith in running for public office. But it turns out that, just as most of Our Lord's disciples abandoned him at key points in his ministry, so do many of his latter day followers, especially in matters concerning the political realm. I would like to thank Deal Hudson for first drawing public attention to one particular politician, Barbara Comstock, and the compromises that, in my opinion, she has made. He has done us all a service.

*****

Sometimes pro-life leaders must disagree, as when I read in these pages an expiatory article about Barbara Comstock by Austin Ruse, followed by an endorsement of her candidacy for the U.S. Congress.

My difficulty with Comstock, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Virginia's 10th congressional district, is that she has, in her own words, "spearheaded a request and a letter from House of Delegates members to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to ... make birth control pills available over the counter without a prescription for adult women."

Reading this hit me where I live, since I have spent the last 30 years fighting for a Culture of Life around the world. (In fact, I helped to set up C-FAM back in the late nineties, hired Austin to direct it, helped to fund it, and served on its board for many years.) Comstock's letter seemed to me a betrayal of Catholic teaching.  Why would faithful Catholics not question whether it is right to support her, given that there are other credible Catholic candidates in the race, such as Rob Wasinger, who haven't made such compromises?

We all understand that many Catholic politicians, starting with the sitting Vice President, are more than willing to compromise on Catholic teaching to win elections. And I have some Catholic friends who are apparently ready to do the same--in private. One of them, who prefers to remain anonymous, wrote me the other day that the purpose of her letter was not to spread contraception, but was instead an effort to take the 'war on women' away from the pro-abortion left. Besides, he continued, making birth control pills available over the counter would reduce the incidence of contraceptive use.

This is a curious defense, since Comstock herself asserted that her goal was to "provid[e] easier access to birth control" and "enhance women's access" to "oral contraceptives." If this doesn't mean that her goal is to "spread contraception," I am not a native speaker of English.  And since when do we violate the consistent teaching of the Church through 20 centuries in order to score political points?  (Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, don't answer that.) 

And, finally, how exactly does making a drug available over the counter reduce its use?  (I'm fairly certain that marijuana sales in Colorado are skyrocketing now that almost anyone can walk in off the street and buy it, aren't you?)

When I raised these objections with my friend he switched gears and went on the attack. He didn't agree with Comstock's letter, he now told me, but it was no worse than what we did in 2000 when we supported George Bush who believed that it was OK to kill some babies.

Well, that's not quite accurate, at least as far as I am concerned.  I did not endorse Bush in the primaries because there were pro-life alternatives available.  I did support him in the general election, as my friend correctly recalled, because Gore (and later Kerry), were both apparently untroubled by the wholesale slaughter of innocent unborn children up to the point of childbirth. 
Besides, it is glaringly obvious to me that there is a world of difference between attempting to change the policy of a U.S. government agency in an anti-life direction, as Barbara Comstock openly declares she has done, and George Bush's promise to try and move the country in a pro-life direction, by limiting abortion-on-demand, even if he didn't go as far as I would like.

Then there is this:  It may be just me, but I find it easier to accept an evangelical candidate who compromises on the Life issues than a Catholic candidate who does the same thing.  After all, an evangelical does not have the fullness of the Truth as taught by the Catholic Church.  A Catholic should know better. If such a candidate still chooses to stray--as in this case--well, I am more inclined to hold them accountable.

To this riposte, my friend shifted ground a third time, and began arguing that contraception is less serious than abortion. He wanted me to agree with him that there is nothing worse than abortion, because abortion kills and contraception doesn't.

Wrong again.

In its own way, contraception is an even greater tragedy than abortion.  Why? Because it involves the deliberate rejection of God's creative power, a spurning of His gift of life.  Remember that the only creating that God has done since Genesis is the creation of each individual, spiritual soul.  And He requires our cooperation.

Those couples who contracept, according to the soon-to-be Saint John Paul in his Discourse of Sept. 17, 1983, "claim a power which belongs solely to God, the power to decide, in a final analysis, the coming into existence of a human person."

And Benedict XVI added, at the Mass for the inauguration of his pontificate, that "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.  Each of us is the result of a thought of God.  Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." 

As Prof Charles Rice has pointed out in his new book, Contraception and Persecution, God has chosen to depend on human cooperation for the creation of new citizens for the kingdom of heaven.  The contracepting couple reject that gift by altering the conjugal act to prevent that creation.  What they say to God is something like this:  "For all we know, God, it may be your will that from this act of ours a new person will come into existence who will live forever.  For all we know, that may be your will.  And we won't let you do it."

That is a non serviam with eternal consequences.  The souls of aborted babies are with the Father, the Blessed John Paul taught us. The souls contracepted out of existence are -- nowhere.

That is why the Blessed John Paul, in the same discourse I mentioned above, went on to say: "Contraception is so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified.  To think or to say the contrary is equal to maintaining that in human life situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."

I am not a theologian, but would this not make contraception a violation of the First Commandment as abortion is a violation of the Fifth?

My friend backed and filled a fourth time, and began arguing that opposing contraception is political suicide.

He's probably right. We all know how hopelessly addicted our society is to sterile sex, after all.

Then again, no one is asking Catholic candidates for public office to make opposition to contraception the centerpiece of their political campaigns.

But is it too much to ask them, as a matter of personal honor and integrity, not to openly promote it?

I don't know why Barbara Comstock is advocating easier access to abortion-causing birth control pills. Someone should ask her.  But, in general, I have had more than enough of Catholic candidates who compromise Church teaching for political gain.

Besides, it is our duty to remind them that, while election cycles are short, eternity is long.  While global warming is not a problem in the here and now, it might be a problem for some of them in the hereafter.

*****
Steven W. Mosher is President of the Population Research Institute located in Front Royal, Virginia. Steven W. Mosher has endorsed Rob Wasinger in the Republican primary in Virginia's 10th Congressional District. This article first appeared in Crisis magazine and is used with permission.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

BREAKING NEWS - School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Rest in Peace, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete: Communion and Liberation Priest Enters Eternal Encounter Watch

Image of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to ... continue reading


How far will it spread? A New York doctor has tested positive for Ebola Watch

Image of 33-year-old Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, had recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A New York doctor who had recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola, the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Craig Spencer worked for Doctors Without Borders where he was treating ... continue reading


Same-sex couples line up to be wed in Wyoming Watch

Image of After the state formally dropped its defense of a law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Jennifer Mumaugh says that attitudes across the state have shifted in recent years to be more open to gay couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Same-sex couples began lining up around the block in Wyoming for marriage licenses this week. U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the state's gay marriage ban last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Will they riot after this? Autopsy, analysis shows officer Wilson was telling the truth Watch

Image of New analysis and witness reports suggest that officer Darren Wilson was being attacked by Michael Brown and shot him in self defense.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New evidence from Ferguson Missouri seems to vindicate the testimony of officer Darren Wilson, showing that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown may not be as cut and dry as many of the protestors in the area believe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Is this a sign of things to come? 2014 midterm most expensive on record Watch

Image of Early voting has already started in several states including Kansas and Illinois.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Well underway, the 2014 midterms are set to be the most expensive midterms ever, according to projections that the Center for Responsive Politics released on October 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While heavily overshadowed by global affairs like the ... continue reading


ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter