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By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis calls abortion a symptom of a throwaway culture. Just last month, he said -It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day.

For anyone to say that he or she is a faithful Catholic and to be pro-abortion/pro-choice rights is totally inconsistent with Catholic teaching, which is clearly articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.  This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.Practicing Catholics who claim they are nurturing their children in the faith must teach their children that abortion is intrinsically evil, that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his or her existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

Senator Tim Kennedy knows that what the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is not just a 'religious' position which he can somehow personally support and then act in a manner which is absolutely the opposite in the discharge of his public office. He used to be a Pro-Life Senator. Now, he has renounced the truth about the fundamental Human Right to Life. He denies the dignity of the lives of our first neighbors.

Senator Tim Kennedy knows that what the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is not just a "religious" position which he can somehow personally support and then act in a manner which is absolutely the opposite in the discharge of his public office. He used to be a Pro-Life Senator. Now, he has renounced the truth about the fundamental Human Right to Life. He denies the dignity of the lives of our first neighbors.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/22/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: State Senator Tim Kennedy, unfaithful Catholics, moral coherence, Pro-Life, Right to Life, Diocese of Buffalo, New York, Bishop Richard Malone, Pope Francis, throwaway culture, faithful citizenship, Deacon Keith Fournier


BUFFALO, NY (Catholic Online) - I have a special fondness for Buffalo, New York. Many years ago, as a younger Pro-Life and Religious Freedom Lawyer, I served as the first Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). I represented the great Pro-Life hero, then Protestant Minister Rev. Paul Schenck - Now Fr Paul Schenck, a Catholic priest-  in Federal District Court in Buffalo.

The case arose out of his participation in handing out Pro-life material to women considering taking the lives of their children in the womb. It involved the constitutionality of so called "floating buffer zones" restricting only Pro-Life free speech around those horrid places. Years later, that lower Court case led to a victory at the United States Supreme Court. It was brilliantly argued by ACLJ Chief Counsel  Jay Sekulow. I had the honor of serving as Co-Counsel. The case was styled SCHENCK v. PRO CHOICE NETWORK OF WESTERN NEW YORK

A year after my ordination to the Catholic Diaconate, and shortly after the decision was handed down, I left the leadership of the ACLJ and began further theological studies. My fight for the fundamental Right to Life of our first neighbors in the womb has continued, on many fronts, and still informs my life work. My time in Buffalo, New York, in that legal  representation, as well as assisting Pro-Lifers there, endeared the City to me.

That is why I was deeply saddened and distressed to read the news of a Catholic State Senator named Tim Kennedy. He has renounced the truth concerning the Right to Life of children in the womb. He calls it an evolution and attempts the dance which others use to downplay the egregious nature of his action.  He may try to justify the fundamentally immoral decision he has made, as others have attempted to do in the past. It cannot be done.

He knows the truth - and he has rejected the truth. In a news story in the Buffalo News entitled Kennedy's 'evolution' to pro-choice stance earns praise, criticism he does that verbal dance of shame. We have seen it many times from other morally incoherent Catholic politicians. I will not even give it a place in this report because it is offensive and constitutes sophistry of the worst kind.

Senator Tim Kennedy knows that what the Catholic Church teaches about the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death is not just a "religious" position which he can somehow personally support and then act in a manner which is absolutely the opposite in the discharge of his public office. He used to be a Pro-Life Senator. Now, he has renounced the truth about the fundamental Human Right to Life. He denies the dignity of the lives of our first neighbors.

Contrary to the relativism of our age, Catholic Social teaching insists that that there are unchangeable truths which can be known through the exercise of reason. They are revealed in the Natural Law (Catechism #1950-1960). This Natural Law is present in the heart of each man and established by reason.This law is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties. (Catechism of the Catholic Church# 1956)

It is here we find those moral truths which should inform our life together in a just and free society. It is here where we find those fundamental and foundational human rights which we insist must be recognized by the civil or positive law as rightfully belonging to all men and women. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (paragraph 140) further explains:

The exercise of freedom implies a reference to a natural moral law, of a universal character, that precedes and unites all rights and duties. The natural law "is nothing other than the light of intellect infused within us by God. Thanks to this, we know what must be done and what must be avoided. This light or this law has been given by God to creation. It consists in the participation in his eternal law, which is identified with God himself.

This law is called natural because the reason that promulgates it is proper to human nature. It is universal; it extends to all people insofar as it is established by reason. In its principal precepts, the divine and natural law is presented in the Decalogue and indicates the primary and essential norms regulating moral life. Its central focus is the act of aspiring and submitting to God, the source and judge of everything that is good, and also the act of seeing others as equal to oneself. The natural law expresses the dignity of the person and lays the foundations of the person's fundamental duties.

This Natural Law is expounded upon and fully revealed through faith and revelation. However, foundational truths such as the dignity of every human person at every age and stage, the nature and ends of marriage, our obligations in solidarity to one another, are all knowable through the exercise of reason and are binding on all. These truths provide a framework for viewing and structuring our social life and building a common home.

We should recognize them, agree upon them and build a movement for freedom rooted in them. They are binding on all Catholics in public life. When they are renounced, that politician has renounced the truth, placed his or her soul in jeopardy and engages in scandal. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense. Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. (#2284, 2285)

The Senator has now become morally incoherent in his public service. That is not my phrase. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a directive instruction in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life." It called upon all Catholics to be "morally coherent" in the exercise of their citizenship.

Sadly, the trends among Catholics and Catholic politicians reveal a growing moral incoherence. That teaching document was directed to "the Bishops of the Catholic Church and, in a particular way, to Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies." It offered direction on what it means to act in a manner which is morally coherent in our political and social participation:

By its interventions in this area, the Church's Magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions. Instead, it intends - as is its proper function - to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful, particularly those involved in political life, so that their actions may always serve the integral promotion of the human person and the common good."

The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. 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. The branch, engrafted to the vine which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity.

In fact, every area of the lay faithful's lives, as different as they are, enters into the plan of God, who desires that these very areas be the 'places in time' where the love of Christ is revealed and realized for both the glory of the Father and service of others. Every activity, every situation, every precise responsibility - as, for example, skill and solidarity in work, love and dedication in the family and the education of children, service to society and public life and the promotion of truth in the area of culture - are the occasions ordained by providence for a 'continuous exercise of faith, hope and charity'

Living and acting in conformity with one's own conscience on questions of politics is not slavish acceptance of positions alien to politics or some kind of confessionalism, but rather the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person.


Here are a few examples of Natural Law positions.

We begin with the dignity of every human person. Human Persons are created in the Image of God. They have an inherent dignity precisely because of that, at every age and stage of their lives. This foundational vision informs the Christian position concerning the respect for every human life whether that life be in the first home of the womb, a wheelchair, a jail cell, a hospital room, a hospice, a senior center or a soup kitchen.

Another example of a Natural Law position is the truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, open to life and formative of family. Marriage is not some malleable construct which can be redefined by courts or legislatures. Marriage is the foundation of the family which is the foundation of the social order.

The family is the first society, first church, first school, first economy, first government and first mediating institution. In the words of Blessed John Paul II "the future of the world passes through the family." The human person is by nature - and grace - made for community and the first community which humanizes and civilizes us all is the family.Sadly, State Senator Tim Kennedy has also compromised on this truth. 

On September 12, 1960 then Senator John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the to the Houston Ministerial alliance while campaigning for the Presidency.  In that speech he laid out an approach to the role of religious faith which resulted in privatizing the truths informed by faith. He failed to acknowledge the existence of a Natural Law which can be known by all men and women through the exercise of reason and which is meant to govern our life together in Society. He committed what I call the Kennedy Mistake. 

He gave cover to countless Catholic politicians to be morally incoherent in their political participation. The Nation's first Catholic President made a serious error in that Houston speech which unleashed tragic results. The Senator from New York, who bears his name but is no family relation, has committed the Kennedy mistake.

We should be cautious in separating moral, social and economic issues in the body politic. We cannot separate the spirit, soul and body of a person. Human society is a form of corporate person. All of our political and economic concerns have some moral dimension because they concern the human person. 

The reason we should care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person and want to expand participation.  The reason we should care for all of the poor, in all of their manifestations is because they have human dignity.

Some of my readers may accuse me of being judgmental for speaking bluntly of this turn in the career of this particular Catholic public servant. I think his actions speak for themselves. What he has done is wrong. Renouncing the truth about life has consequences which he must face. 

Some may say I should be kinder and gentler. Tell that to the children in the womb. They have no voice but ours. Frankly, I intend to call attention to these kinds of defections among Catholic politicians throughout the upcoming 2014 elections and the 2016 presidential election.

I conclude with the Press release issued by the Senators own Bishop.

*****
Diocese of Buffalo 
Statement of Most Reverend Richard J. Malone


Bishop Richard J. Malone issued the following statement as a result of many questions and concerns raised by parishioners about the decision of New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy to change his stance on abortion.  The story was originally reported by The Buffalo News on Feb. 16, 2014.

When I first arrived in Buffalo, I was encouraged to learn of Senator Kennedy's pro-life position.  Today, I am extremely disappointed and deeply concerned about his turnaround on this most critical issue, the protection of pre-born human life.   

For anyone to say that he or she is a faithful Catholic and to be pro-abortion/pro-choice rights is totally inconsistent with Catholic teaching, which is clearly articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.  This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable."

Practicing Catholics who claim they are nurturing their children in the faith must teach their children that abortion is intrinsically evil, that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his or her existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person, among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

Pope Francis calls abortion a symptom of a throwaway culture.  Just last month, he said, "It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day."

We will continue to pray for and promote a culture of life.

---


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


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


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