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Opinion: Bishop Martino is Right, ‘This is Madness People’

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier
October 22nd, 2008
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Bishop Martino understands that he is a Moral teacher of the faithful. He is called by virtue of his consecration to the Office of Bishop to protect the faithful from errant teaching.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I first read the news on everyone’s favorite “Vaticanisti” blog "Whispers in the Loggia”, edited by Rocco Palmo. However, by the end of the day the story had spread throughout both the old and the new media. Last Sunday, at a forum allegedly dedicated to assisting Catholic voters to exercise their “faithful citizenship” which was held at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Scranton, Bishop Joseph F. Martino sent shockwaves with four well chosen words. He arrived at the forum, listened for awhile and could not remain silent. Why? Because Bishop Martino understands that he is a Moral teacher of the faithful. He is called by virtue of his consecration to the Office of Bishop to protect the faithful from errant teaching.

After listening to some of the speakers attempt to take the most recent letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on “Faithful Citizenship”, turn it on its head through sophistry, and then use it as a framework to influence Catholics to support a candidate who has pledged as their first official act if elected to the Presidency to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” into law (even though an alternative exists which would at least limit the evil of procured abortion) the Bishop stepped up to the microphone. He told those present: “No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people”, referring of course to the current evil of abortion on demand as it exists in the United States of America since the horrible judicial opinions in Roe and Doe. Then he spoke those four words, “This is Madness People.”

Bishop Martino is right. I for one commend his courage. He showed that same courage in his well written letter of Sept. 30 which Catholic Online once again sets forth below for all of our readers to read and prayerfully consider. In it he explains what I believe should be obvious to anyone who has read Catholic Social teaching and, for that matter, anyone who has read the Catholic Catechism. The entirety of the whole body of Social Doctrine taught by the Catholic Church rests upon the first principle of the inviolable dignity of every human person and the inalienable right to life from conception, through every age and every stage of life, up to and including natural death. Everything the Church teaches concerning war and peace, economic justice, the common good, and solidarity requires this respect for all human life. This is not a matter of a “single issue” approach to politics or policy issues. Rather, this first principle, the right to life, is the very thread with which what the late Joseph Cardinal Bernadin called “the seamless garment” is woven together. When you remove it, there is no cohesiveness to the Social teaching.

As one who has written for many years on the entirety of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church - and supported every single aspect of it - I find it inexplicable that some whom I have read and admired for years, like Doug Kmiec, now actually try to use the fullness that is the breadth and beauty of Catholic Social teaching to undermine the absolutely binding nature of that first principle. However, I now regrettably believe that he, Nicholas Cafardi and others are engaged in doing just that. Like them I am also frustrated with the current administration and with many who have held public office for the last eight years, on both sides of the aisle. However, I will NEVER cast a vote for a candidate who has expressed his intention to do away with all restrictions on the intrinsic evil of abortion and, in so doing, to then open the gates to “legalizing” euthanasia and other evil effects by commoditizing human persons. The notion that it is ever “OK” to call such an evil act as procured abortion a “right”, allow the Police Power of the State to enforce it, and if this candidate succeeds in his efforts, then use taxpayer dollars to fund it, is reprehensible. It is to call a “right” what is always wrong, the unprovoked act of State supported lethal aggression against defenseless human persons who are our innocent neighbors. Talk about an unjust war! To support the involuntary eviction from the first human sanctuary of the womb by State sanctioned killing and at the same time, with a straight face, claim you are doing so in the interest of making that very act less frequent is, to use Bishop Martino’s word, “Madness”. It defies logic, violates the Natural Law, and clearly runs contrary to the very heart of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. And, as I have written repeatedly, it can never be considered a “moral” choice. One simply cannot do evil to accomplish what one argues is a good - and then attempt to cure the immoral nature of the act by claiming “I didn’t mean it”.

Senator Obama has pledged as his first official act upon assuming the Presidency to sign FOCA (The Freedom of Choice Act) into Law. He chose one of his appearances at Planned Parenthood to announce this fact.If he has withdrawn that promise, I invite Doug Kmiec, Nick Cafardi or any of the other Catholics now being used as apologists in his campaign to gain Catholic support, to please let me and all of our readers know about it. How can anyone with a straight face claim that Senator Obama really believes that abortion concerns a “moral issue” when he has promised to expand it, taxpayer fund it and protect it with the Police Power of the State? That is precisely what this horrid Legislation will do if it becomes law. FOCA will be lethal for our first neighbors, our children, to whom we owe an obligation in solidarity. It will also increase abortions by removing all restrictions throughout all nine months and even beyond. If passed, Abortions will be funded by money extracted from all American citizens through taxes! The “Freedom of Choice” Act is not about freedom nor is it about moral choice. It is about the triumph of what Pope Benedict rightly called “anarchic freedom" and his predecessor, the Servant of God John Paul II warned of as a “counterfeit notion of freedom”, giving some people the so called “right” (read “power”) to kill others who are innocent and without defense as a matter of positive law.

In the words of the good Bishop, "This is Madness People".

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