Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Steven W. Mosher

3/1/2014 (5 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 (5 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 August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... continue reading


Should Americans have job preference over unskilled-illegal immigrants? President Obama doesn't think so Watch

Image of New polls are showing that Americans are tired of illegal immigrants getting benefits at the expense of citizens and legal immigrants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to the Associated Press: "one of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted," which would "essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Caught in the act! This brutal video shows a CHP officer beating a woman on the side of the freeway Watch

Image of 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock is suing the California Highway Patrol after she was brutally assaulted by a patrolman on July 1.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A viral video has landed a California Highway Patrol officer in huge trouble after it was posted on YouTube. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The California Highway Patrol has announced that it has suspended officer Daniel Andrew after a video was posted online that ... continue reading


What Pope Francis said to make millions think about Abortion Watch

Image of On Saturday, August 16, 2014, during the apostolic visit to Korea, Pope Francis made a loud statement. However, he did not use words. He did not have to. His prophetic action brought to mind a saying attributed to his namesake, Francis of Asisi - I preach the Gospel at all times, but sometimes I use words.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When Francis began his service from the chair of Peter, much hoopla filled the media about some alleged softening in the opposition of the Catholic Church to what are dismissively referred to as complicated "moral issues" such as abortion. Sadly, even some in the ... 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, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:17-29
17 Now it was this same Herod who had sent to have ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2014 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... 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