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The Sophist Candidate Separates Faith and Life

By Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

"I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception...."I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he continued in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America." - John Kerry

"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral. This doctrine, based upon that unwritten law which man, in the light of reason, finds in his own heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is reaffirmed by Sacred Scripture, transmitted by the Tradition of the Church and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium."- John Paul

Amidst the photo-ops of baseball, families, and hot dogs- well-scripted Americana- the Democratic Presidential candidate from Massachusetts has shown his true colors, and they are not red, white and blue.

On the Fourth of July, the day when we all reflect on the very meaning of freedom, he engaged in sophistry of the lowest order. He intentionally tried to confuse Catholics and trade off of his identification with the Catholic Church while absolutely renouncing the core of that faith.

Yes, intentionally. I said it and I mean it.

In Dubuque, Iowa, in an interview with the newspaper, the Telegraph Herald, Kerry said the words that begin this article. I know, some newspaper reports say it was somehow "unintentional"; after all he is trying to keep out of the controversy, right? Wrong! He knows exactly what he is doing. He is trying to delude Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and people of good will by his sophistry in order to be President.

John F Kerry knows that the truth concerning the right to life of all men and women, at every age and stage, is not a "religious" position. It is revealed by the Natural Law and therefore can be known and must be followed by all men and women. This nonsense he sputtered to the newspaper in Iowa was intentional sophistry and it must not be allowed to stand. Only Catholics can tear the mask off of this façade and I for one intend to do so.

Sophistry is defined as a "a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone". That is precisely what this Presidential candidate tried to do on the Fourth of July when he gave this interview.

The Catholic faith that the Senator wants to trade upon does not just speak to our "personal" lives. It is not "private". It speaks to the whole of life and is meant to inform and transform the entire way we both view and live our lives as Catholics and as human beings. Our Catholic Christian faith must be lived as an integrated whole. It is not like a hat that we take off when we enter public life. In fact, it is precisely there where we need to inform our participation in order to truly serve the common good of all men and women.

Our baptismal vocation compels us to live a unity of life. If our faith does not inform our participation in every sphere of life, it is not real, it is feigned. Those who claim adherence to the Catholic faith and then publicly renounce it in word and deed are engaged in an egregious error that puts their soul in grave risk. They also engage in public scandal.

The "separation between faith and life" that is being foisted by this man as a cover for his perfidy on this fundamental human rights issue has been called "one of the greatest errors of our age." That expression was a vital part of the "Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World" (Gaudium et Spes), the profound document of the Second Vatican Council that specifically dealt with our relationship with the modern world:

"43. This council exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come,[13] think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities. For they are forgetting that by the faith itself they are more obliged than ever to measure up to these duties, each according to his proper vocation.[14] Nor, on the contrary, are they any less wide of the mark who think that religion consists in acts of worship alone and in the discharge of certain moral obligations, and who imagine they can plunge themselves into earthly affairs in such a way as to imply that these are altogether divorced from the religious life. This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age."

This phrase "separation between faith and life" has been repeated numerous times by Pope John Paul II in his writings and became the framework for the "Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life" wherein the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith proclaimed:

"It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible. There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called 'spiritual life', with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture."

Well, John F. Kerry is morally incoherent. No, worse, he is trading off of identification as a Catholic while he rejects the very core of that identification.

What if we were talking about the killing of disabled people outside of the womb? I know the thought is appalling, but follow me on this one. What if, in some heinous evolution of a society that defines "freedom" as a raw power over others, the disabled were the next group to be deprived of their inalienable right to life? Then, along comes a candidate who said, "I personally oppose the killing of disabled persons but I will not allow my "religious" position to dictate my behavior as a President." How would we respond? We would all be appalled and rightly so!

Well, John F. Kerry is engaging in precisely that kind of specious public posturing. To say that one accepts what the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is to accept the fact that such a position is not simply "religious", rather it is revealed in the Natural Law. That's right, it is one of those inalienable rights that Kerry was supposedly celebrating on the Fourth of July when he gave this interview.

Senator Kerry, I appeal to you as a Catholic, you are openly rejecting the truth about life as infallibly taught by the teaching office of your Church. That's right, read those words at the beginning of this article. They are very clear! They ought to send you right to the Sacrament of Reconciliation! Next, you are rejecting the truth revealed in the Natural Law and therefore binding upon all men and women. Finally, you are engaging in deliberate sophistry, attempting to trade on the faith that you refuse to fully embrace in order to win an election.

I, for one, will continue to pray for you, while I do everything I can as a citizen to persuade others to keep you out of the Office of President of these United States.


Deacon Keith Fournier is a married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, who also serves the Melkite Greek Catholic Church with approval. He is a human rights lawyer and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University, Franciscan University of Steubenville and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. He is the founder and Thomas More Fellow of the Common Good Movement. The author of seven books, he recently wrote "The Prayer of Mary: Living the Surrendered Life" which will be released before Christmas.


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