Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

"It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians 'might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order,'" writes Hendershott quoting Jonsen.  Eventually, this doctrine was popularized to the "I'm personally opposed but . . . ." pabulum that sits easy on the lips of compromised politicians.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: abortion, dissent, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - According to exit polls taken during the 2012 Presidential election, approximately 50% of Catholics in the United States voted to re-elect Obama, who is, without question, one of the most pro-abortion Presidents in the history of the United States. 

Additionally, a large proportion of Catholic voters are members of, or identify with, the Democratic Party, whose platform "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to . . . a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay," and "oppose[s] any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."

The disconcertingly high percentage of "pro-choice" voters who continue to identify themselves as "Catholic," are assuaged, it would seem, by that common if now hackneyed dogma: "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but . . ."  It might be called, as Anne Hendershott named it in her excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, the "Kennedy dogma."

The "Kennedy dogma" is, of course, not a dogma of the Church. It is an anti-dogma if it is anything.  It is the bastard child of dissenting priests and some rich Catholic laity who ought to have been worrying about getting through the eye of a needle instead of slipping by Church teaching.  The "Kennedy dogma" is traceable to what I call the "Robber Council of Hyannis Port."  This latrocinium or "robber council" occurred at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts in 1964.  It was a monstrous brainchild conceived by the unsightly and miscegenous coupling of the Jesuits on the one hand and the Kennedy and the Shriver families on the other.

Pope Paul VI famously observed that the "smoke of Satan" had entered into the Church from "some fissure."  Well the "smoke of Satan," redolent of the "spirit" of the angel of death, entered into Democratic politics as a result of the Robber Council of Hyannis Port.  Like most smoke from the netherworld, it has left its indelible, sulfuric odor.  It is a spirit from which the Democratic Party--and the Catholics who identify with it--will have to be exorcised, and perhaps only after prayer and fasting.

There are several sources which describe what went on in the Robber Council of Hyannis Port.  One of these is the former Jesuit priest and emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, Albert R. Jonsen.  He mentions the Robber Council of Hyannis Port (though certainly not by that name) in his 2003 book The Birth of Bioethics.

As Jonsen tells the story, a group of dissident priests--most of them compromised Jesuits who held erroneous notions of conscience and were proportionalists--gathered together at the behest of the Kennedy and Shriver families at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port to brainstorm how they might enable the politically-hungry and Machiavellian Kennedy family sidestep what was seen as the politically embarrassing teachings of the Catholic Church on contraception and abortion.

The names of those who participated in the Robber Council of Hyannis Port are well known.  The list of names of those participating is a list of theological dissenters, they are known purveyors of moral diaphonia.  They are sophisticated merchants of moral rationalization whose dubious skill (I shan't call it a charism) lies in making a non serviam sound like a fiat mihi.

They were birds of a feather, or--perhaps better--snakes of a scale.  We recognize them as theologians whose names have been rubbed off the diptychs that bear the names of faithful or trustworthy Catholic moral theologians. 

There was the German Fr. Joseph Fuchs, S.J., a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and between 1963 to 1966 a prestigious member of the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth, and chair of the Commission's majority report which was rejected by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae vitae.  At one time orthodox, this theologian after an intellectual "conversion" of a rather questionable kind took a turn toward the dark side, ultimately rejecting the Church's traditional teaching regarding the natural moral law and any notion of moral absolutes.

There was the left-leaning Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J., then acting as dean of Boston College Law School, whose moral sophistry allowed him to hatch the schizophrenic notion hatched of legal positivism that, while abortion was "virtual infanticide," its legality was an entirely separate issue from morality.  There is perhaps no greater condemnation of Fr. Drinan that that of the late Cardinal John O'Connor who publicly chastised Drinan in the archdiocesan paper Catholic New York in June 20, 1996: "You could have raised your voice for life, you raised it for death.  Hardly the role of a lawyer.  Surely not the role of a priest."

There was then-Jesuit J. Giles Milhaven, S.J., who soon thereafter left the priesthood and religious life (like he had earlier left Catholic morality) to marry in 1970.  Milhaven was a notorious signator of the "Catholic [sic] Statement on Pluralism and Abortion," the New York Times ad of October 7, 1984, sponsored by that inaptly-named Catholics for a Free Choice.  That ad and his signature may be Exhibit 1 at his final judgment.

There was Fr. Richard McCormick, S.J., the proportionalist moral theologian and good friend of fellow dissenters Rev. Richard McBrien and Rev. Charles Curran, whose theories were implicitly lambasted by Blessed John Paul II's encyclical Veritatis Splendor, though, like a little boy who blamed anyone but himself, he never seemed able to admit it.

There was the famed dissenter and collarless priest Charles Curran, the only non-Jesuit in the group, and professor at Catholic University of America who is now at theologically milquetoast Southern Methodist University, after Cardinal Ratzinger while Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 1986 found not suitable or eligible to teach as a Catholic theologian.

"It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians 'might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order,'" writes Hendershott quoting Jonsen.  Eventually, this dogma was popularized to the "I'm personally opposed but . . . ." pabulum so prevalent today on the lips of compromised politicians.

According to Milhaven's recollection: "The theologians worked for a day and a half among ourselves at a nearby hotel. In the evening we answered questions from the Kennedys and the Shrivers.  Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics . . . and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion."

Where was a Pascal when we needed him?  In his Fourteenth Provincial Letter, Pascal took to task some of the Jesuits in his day (the 17th century) for what he took to be their lax teachings regarding homicide.  He called their rationalizing the "pursuit of that phantom which, airy and unsubstantial as it is, you hold to be a legitimate apology for murder." 

The "Kennedy dogma" devised by these dissenters is, if anything is, a "phantom" teaching, "airy and unsubstantial," and nothing less than a "legitimate"--or perhaps better illegitimate--"apology for murder."  It was the voice of Moloch, not the Holy Spirit.

Pascal took it unto himself "to show . . . how far" the Jesuits had "departed from the sentiments of the Church and even of nature itself."  "The permissions of murder," Pascal says as he chastises the lax sons of St. Ignatius of Loyola, "render it very apparent, that you have so far forgotten the law of God, and quenched the light of nature, as to require to be remanded to the simplest principles of religion and of common sense."

"What can be a plainer dictate of nature," Pascal asks rhetorically invoking St. John Chrysostom and which we could equally ask of the scandalous "Robber Council" of Hyannis Port, "that 'no private individual has a right to take away the life of another'?"

Would that a Pascal had been among these dissenters at Hyannis Port, a Catholic who may have had the prophetic backbone to have asked them point blank: "To come to the point, with you, fathers, whom do you wish to be taken for?--for the children of the Gospel, or for the enemies of the Gospel? You must be ranged either on the one side or on the other; for there is no medium here."

To the Kennedy and Shriver clans who, as Catholics wanted nevertheless to appear politically reasonable before the world, Pascal would have trumpeted this Jeremiad: " Woe unto you when men shall speak well of you! and the devil says: Woe unto those of whom the world does not speak with esteem!"

Here is the Pascalian ultimatum that the dissenting Jesuits numbered among the members of the "Robber Council" failed to heed: "Judge, then, fathers, to which of these kingdoms you belong.  You have heard the language of the city of peace, the mystical Jerusalem; and you have heard the language of the city of confusion, which Scripture terms 'the spiritual Sodom.'  Which of these two languages do you understand? which of them do you speak?"

Pascal would have issued his evangelical call to repentance: "Your murderous decisions being thus universally detested, it is highly advisable that you should now change your sentiments, if not from religious principle, at least from motives of policy.  Prevent, fathers, by a spontaneous condemnation of these inhuman dogmas, the melancholy consequences which may result from them, and for which you will be responsible."

But alas, the spirit of Pascal--like the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola--was not among the compromised Jesuits that day to clear out Satan's smoke, and so the jesuitical temporizers won the day at the "Robber Council" of Hyannis Port.  Corruptio optimi pessima.

Though Pascal and St. Ignatius were absent, God himself was, however, there, as he is anytime there is a decision over life and death.  And He asked the question of them--whether they heard it or squelched it so that they would not hear it we shall not know, but God knows: "Consider that I have set before you this day life and good, and other the other hand death and evil."  (Deut. 30:15) 

At best, what happened at this "robber council" was a failure of nerve, a rejection of the Gospel, an act of moral cowardice that led Frs. Jonsen, Fuchs, Drinan, Millhaven, McCormick, and Curran to compromise the Gospel of Life that day at Hyannis Port.  At worst, it was an express and intentional and knowing rejection of the Gospel of Life.

Like Esau, they either foolishly or intentionally exchanged their inheritance for a mess of pottage. (Gen. 25:29-34)  Either way, not a pretty sight.

Let them drink that mess or pottage to its dregs, and live with the moral heartburn of their decision and confront the Lord of Life with it on their conscience as a blot. 

As for me and my house, I chose life for many reasons, but perhaps foremost for the seemingly paradoxical reason that I no longer want to live I, but rather would have Christ live in me.  (Gal. 2:20)  And I know that if I do not chose life for the little ones, then I have also forsaken Christ, for whatever we have done or allowed to be done to the least of our brothers, we have done or allowed to be done to Christ.  (cf. Matt. 25:40)

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

RATCHETING UP SANCTIONS: U.S. Europe increase sanctions against Russia Watch

Image of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he is not considering adding new sanctions. Australia lost 28 citizens on Flight MH17. Abbott said that at the moment

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy have been announced by U.S. President Obama. It's all part of Washington's latest efforts to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Achievements and contributions… to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy,' Obama celebrates achievements of Muslims Watch

Image of A recent survey found that 72 percent of Muslim-Americans approve of the President, more so than any other religious group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the persecution of Iraqi Christians at the hands of Islamic jihadists continued, President Obama and First Lady Michelle released a statement this past weekend thanking Muslim Americans for their many "achievements and contributions...to building the very ... continue reading


U.S. Bishops say Obama's executive order 'implements discrimination' Watch

Image of Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pictured, and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo in a statement noted that the executive order, which will impact a fifth of the U.S. workforce, discriminates against faithful Catholics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new order by U.S. President Obama that forbids federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," has been denounced by U.S. bishops as "unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed" and, in effect, ... continue reading


Israel harshly critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, called 'an Alien' Watch

Image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent decision to use Qatar as a conduit through which to communicate with Hamas, effectively ditching an earlier Egyptian proposal which the group had rejected has stirred the pot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and Israel have been the staunchest of allies since Israel reached statehood following World War II - but this doesn't mean that the nations have always seen eye-to-eye. Indeed, the right-wing faction of the Israeli government are harshly ... continue reading


President Obama is 'mailing it in', bought the farm - spending lots of time golfing and goofing off Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lackadaisical. That word is used to define "lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy." Lackadaisical appears to described U.S. President Barack Obama as of late. The president is pending an awful lot of time playing golf while the nation and the ... continue reading


In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


'Suing the president is the right path to go down here,' Boehner declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The House of Representatives has no plans to use its own constitutional authority to withhold funding from actions by President Obama. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that if the president takes actions that exceed his constitutional authority, ... continue reading


Federal government says state death penalties are 'unconstitutional' Watch

Image of A federal judge has called California's death penalty unconstitutional. Surprisingly though, this judge is a conservative republican, a party that has long opposed federal overreach into state rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A federal judge ruled that California's death penalty is unconstitutional on July 16, claiming that the state's system is arbitrary, unfair, and cruel and unusual because of a lengthy process that leaves prisoners in the dark about their actual death row status. ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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