Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

ANTHRAX IS BACK: U.S. Military accidentally ships live anthrax Watch

Image of Anthrax contaminants taken from building in Trenton, NJ in 2001. (Times staff photo by Jane Therese)

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some samples negligently sent by the U.S. Military contained live anthrax. Four lab workers from the United States and about 22 overseas, who come in contact with the shipment, are placed into post-exposure treatment, according to a defense official. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Rick Santorum Announces His Candidacy saying - It is Time to Take Back America Watch

Image of Rick and Karen Santorum

By Keith A Fournier

There is something which many in the main stream U.S. media do not know, here it is - not many people are listening to them anymore. However, they will listen to this song. And, they will understand it. The sentiment it captures will encourage the heart of a ... continue reading


Baltimore bloodshed continues with unbelievable violence over the holiday weekend Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

May has proved to be the most dangerous and deadliest month Baltimore has witnessed in more than 50 years. There were more than two dozen shootings over the Memorial Day weekend alone; city police have never been busier. Community leaders hope the members will come ... continue reading


BACKWASH: California water officials consider repurposing sewage into drinking water Watch

Image of Unlike non-potable reuse, where treated sewage is used to irrigate crops, parks or golf courses - direct potable reuse takes treated sewage effluent and purifies it so it can be used as drinking water.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it's "doable," few people in California are actually voicing any enthusiasm. Stricken by a crippling drought, water officials are going through some highly popular alternatives - and repurposing sewage water into drinking water is one of them. LOS ... continue reading


Gallup poll shows that one in four Americans not gay Watch

Image of Only 3.8 percent of Americans self-identify as gay, lesbian or transsexual.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Gay rights movements continue to disrupt society and political life, poll reveals that gay and lesbians are not as common in the United States as previously perceived. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new Gallup poll conducted in early May has revealed that ... continue reading


World's oldest woman reaches 116-years-old! Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

World's oldest woman, Jeralean Talley has added another year to her life - the world declared she turned 116 last weekend. Talley and her family, friends, the Inkster mayor and Congressman Conyers, delivered a message from President Barack Obama, celebrating her ... continue reading


The mystery behind brains discovered in the streets of St. Lawrence County Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How would you react if you unexpectedly and inexplicably found nine brains on the side of the road while on your early morning run? Like most people, you may find yourself shocked and completely clueless on the origins of the brains. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Died in Service. Thank Those who Serve. Pray For the Nation Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I am always drawn to these words of Jesus on Memorial Day weekend, - No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:13) Military service which leads to laying one's life down is certainly an expression of this kind of heroic ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Chaplains - A Reminder that We Are One Nation Under God Watch

Image of

By Fr. Randy Sly

The work of our chaplains extends much farther than the post chapel. They labor on land, at sea and in the air. There are 1.4 million Catholics in the military; wherever they are stationed, the chaplain is there. These chaplains can be found bringing Jesus Christ to ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Honor Our Nation with Heroic Sacrifice Watch

Image of Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you and your families.  Godspeed, and come home soon.

By Jennifer Hartline

Thank you, to every man and woman who has fought and is currently fighting for our homeland.  Thank you for doing everything within your power to make sure I and my children can sleep safely tonight.  I love and appreciate you and I pray God's blessing on you ... 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, Sirach 42:15-25
15 Next, I shall remind you of the works of the Lord, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:46-52
46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2015 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece ... 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