abortion

A Catholic Bishop Threatening Excommunication Over Immigration Policy?

Deal W. Hudson
June 20, 2018

Last week, Bishop Edward Weisenburger of Tucson called upon his fellow bishops to issue a “prophetic statement” on immigration that would support “canonical penalties for Catholics who are involved” in implementing President Trump’s immigration policy.

Why would the thought of excommunication even enter the mind of Bishop Weisenburger? Does he mean to say that any Catholic Border Patrol Agent or ICE Officers enforcing the law are “obstinately preserving in manifest grave sin”?

If so, what is the “grave sin” that meets the criterion of excommunication according to Canon 915?

The 19,500 employees of the U. S. Border Control and the 20,000 of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have the job of enforcing the law of securing our national borders. (There are approximately 20,000 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements Officers. Of the 19,437 Border Agents, 16,605 are assigned to the Southwest Border.) None of these are responsible for our nation’s immigration laws or for the administrative policies of implementing them.

These are the same agents and officers who, under President Obama, deported a record 2.4 million immigrants between 2009 and 2016. Janet Murguia, the president of the National Council of La Raza called Obama the “Deporter-In-Chief.”

Where was the bishop’s outrage then, towards President Obama or the ICE and the Border Patrol employees enforcing his policies?

Bishop Weisenburger believes that these same employees, working under President Trump, are now in spiritual danger; canonical penalties are needed “for the salvation of those people’s souls.” It should be noted that Bishop Weisenburger mentioned other “border bishops” who shared his pastoral concern.

Imagine being a Border Patrol officer reading the paper at breakfast and learning you are targeted for “canonical penalties” just for doing your job. He asks himself, “Do I have to confess my occupation to my priest in confession?”

So much for the “who am I to judge” spirit expressed by Pope Francis.

The Bishops have already started preparation to deny President Trump a second term in office. I’m sure I’m not the only Catholic to think it unnecessary, even cruel, to threaten all the Catholics among the 39,500 federal employees of ICE and the Border Patrol with excommunication.

Some bishops justify their high dudgeon by arguing that asylum is a life issue, “an instrument to preserve the right life.” By using the term “asylum,” the bishops are trying to link immigration directly with escape from torture or persecution.

That argument digs the Bishop’s hole deeper. Let’s assume immigration actually has the status of a life issue. If so, where are the bishop’s public threats of excommunication toward all the Catholics in Congress who support abortion-on-demand and the funding of Planned Parenthood? (Only two of the 89 Catholic Democrats in Congress are pro-life.)

Let’s face it, the bishops have lost all credibility when it comes to abortion. Any attempt to connect the moral seriousness of abortion to immigration is a non-starter. The laity won’t buy it any more than they did in the 2016 election.

Bishop Weisenburger himself resides in a state where three of its Catholic members of Congress are rated 100 percent pro-abortion by Planned Parenthood (Tom O’Halleran, Raul Grijalva, and Ruben Gallego, all Democrats). Has he publicly stated any concern for the salvation of their souls?

What makes the situation all the more absurd is the fact that immigration is not a life issue the way abortion is a life issue. There is no single solution to the immigration problem — it’s a prudential matter allowing disagreement among Catholics regarding law and policy, including disagreements with the Bishops.

Many bishops have become dismissive of this point when it is raised. Newark’s Cardinal Tobin thinks those who call immigration a prudential matter are seeking to reduce its importance, concluding, “I don’t have a whole lot of time for people who reduce things to prudential judgment.”

What does the Cardinal think about the Catechism’s teaching on just war?

“The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good” (2309). Immigration policy is precisely that kind of issue. Abortion, however, is wrong “under any circumstance” (2258).

Cardinal Tobin has no time for such distinctions.

However, the crucial distinction is alive and well in the 2015 “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” — “Decisions about candidates and choices about public policies require clear commitment to moral principles, careful discernment and prudential judgments based on the values of our faith.”

The intention of using excommunication to force Catholics into line about immigration policy is demeaning. It won’t be viewed as an opportunity for spiritual healing but as punishment for being part of the Trump administration.

For decades, pro-life Catholics have begged the bishops to get tough with pro-abortion politicians. A few stepped up to the plate only to be scorned and isolated by their brother bishops (Bishop Gracida, Bishop Bruskewitz, and Cardinal Burke).

This level of hostility towards Trump, his staff, employees, and supporters is dividing even further an already divided Church. I’ve yet to hear a single bishop object to threats of excommunication over disagreements on immigration policy.

None of them, evidently, wants to disrupt the episcopal momentum towards the defeat of President Trump in 2020.

Read Newsmax: A Catholic Bishop Threatening Excommunication Over Immigration Policy? | Newsmax.com
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Catholic Bishops Gear Up to Beat Trump in 2020

Deal W. Hudson
June 18, 2018

The Catholic bishops met in Fort Lauderdale a few days ago. The dominating topic of discussion was politics, specifically, their official guide to Catholic voters, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

The Pope Francis faction, led by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, called for a complete rewriting of the document since it no longer represented “the new body of teaching” as taught by the present pontiff, specifically mentioning climate change, poverty, and immigration.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego went a step further saying the present document doesn’t represent “Catholic teaching as it is now.”

These two are not the only ones who believe that in the space of five years, since Bergoglio’s 2013 election, the moral and social teaching of the Church has been so fundamentally altered Faithful Citizenship no longer speaks with the true voice of the Church. So much for an institution considered slow to change.

Other leading bishops, however, including Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, opposed writing a new document, arguing what was needed was a more straightforward, significantly redacted version of Faithful Citizenship along with an accompanying video for YouTube, etc.

When the votes were tallied, 77 percent of the bishops voted for the creation of shorter materials — a letter, video, and other “resources” to supplement Faithful Citizenship.

During this discussion there was no mention of Trump being the most pro-life president in our nation’s history. It should not surprise us at that omission since the intent behind the beefing up of Faithful Citizenship is to deny Trump a second term in office.

The bishop’s present silence about the president’s achievement is only another iteration of their attempt during the campaign itself to camouflage Hillary Clinton’s pro-abortion stance by arranging with moral indictments Trump about “The Wall.”

The strategy didn’t work. Faithful Catholics would not be bullied into seeing moral equivalence between killing the unborn and insisting on secure national borders.

Trump/Pence won 52 percent of all Catholic votes and 56 percent of mass-attending Catholics. In the election aftermath, the weeping and wailing at the USCCB must have matched that of Hollywood, the EU, and the mass media.

As it stands, the 2015 version of Faithful Citizenship is a flawed document. A close reading of it offers the Catholic voters several loopholes allowing them to ignore a candidate’s abortion stand if other “morally grave reasons” prevail. It remains to be seen, whether the new supplements will magnify these flaws or keep them buried in theological mumbo-jumbo where they belong.

We can fully expect, however, the redacted version of Faithful Citizenship to put the immigration issue front and center. This placement will create the impression of a de facto moral equivalence with settled life issues such as abortion. The bishops approved language that virtually guaranteed these new shorter materials will “apply the teachings of Pope Francis to our day.”

But just as in 2016 when the bishops pressed the immigration issue, it won’t work in 2020. For one thing, Pope Francis has spent all the capital of good will created by his election and his successful U.S. visit. Pope Francis, as it were, has no ‘coattails.’

If the bishops produce election materials that recast Faithful Citizenship to fit the Pope’s vision, it will only create greater distance between the bishops and their faithful. They will be relegating themselves to becoming just another cadre of grumpy Never-Trumpers.

At the very least, the bishops could have expressed common ground with the Trump administration on his efforts to defuse the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. After all, doesn’t this come under the rubric of “world peace”?

The bishops, instead, focused on the president’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement. The USCCB itself has been asked to sign the Paris declaration by its own Catholic Climate Covenant created in 2006. How much money will it cost Catholics if the bishops decide to play in European politics on that issue?

Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, the bishops ignored the opportunity of voicing solidarity with the president’s pro-life agenda and his the quest for peace between North and South Korea. Instead they prepared to sharpen their knives for the 2020 election. Is this what we now call “evangelization”?

Read Newsmax: Catholic Bishops Gear Up to Beat Trump in 2020 | Newsmax.com
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Pope Can’t Equate Caring for Immigrants With Abortion

Deal W. Hudson
April 10, 2018

Pope Francis get’s it. He understands why 52 percent of Catholic voters helped to elect Donald Trump in the face of fierce resistance from nearly all the of the U.S. Bishops, and the pontiff himself.

What Pope Francis gets is precisely what has historically pushed Catholic Democrats to vote for Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump — the abortion issue.

To remedy this, the pope has published an Apostolic Exhortation, On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” with the resulting headline from The New York Times: “Pope Puts Caring for Immigrants and Abortion on Equal Footing” (Jason Horowitz, April 9, 2018).

The headline, unlike most on the Catholic Church, is not an exaggeration, as seen in the following from the Pope, “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.”

This is no mere throw off line; he reiterates it, connecting the issue of abortion and immigration directly to politics: “Some Catholics consider it [migrants] a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. (Emphasis added) “Such a thing is understandable,” yes, Pope Francis gets it — he realizes that a political candidate who is pro-life will attract Catholic voters when pitted against a rival who supports abortion-on-demand while insisting our national borders remain porous for the thousands of illegal immigrants who cross it each month.

The context of these statements in an exhortation on the “Call to Holiness,” suggests Pope Francis realizes the issue of abortion for Catholic voters is not a “single issue” at all — abortion connects to concerns about the moral dissipation of the culture in general.

Catholics regard a pro-life candidate as someone who will stand against the increasing tawdriness of culture which mocks religion and puts deviance on display. In other words, a pro-life candidate resonates with the still socially conservative America. (This is why I predicted pro-life Catholics would support Trump as early as February, 2016).

In 2016, Catholic voters rocked the liberal, Democrat-aligned, Catholic establishment by ignoring the nonstop attacks on Trump and his “wall” by Catholic bishops, priests, nuns, professors, and journalists. Indeed, their voices chimed in with the same message throughout the campaign: Immigration is a “life issue,” putting it on par with the defense of innocent life. Pope Francis now seeks to codify that message. But it won’t succeed, and I will explain why.

His apostolic exhortation ignores the basic moral problem in equating immigration with abortion: prudential judgment (see my explanation here). Any Catholic’s opinion and action on what the bishops have called “Welcoming the Stranger Among Us” has no single answer.

Do we support the “catch and release” ordered by President Obama? Do we support enforcing our laws pertaining to entering the United States? Do we build walls? No church teaching obligates a Catholic to a specific answer to these questions of public policy.

On the other hand, the question about whether to abort or not to abort has only one answer — no. Abortion is not a prudential matter. Some have called it one of the “non-negotiables,” others a “settled issue,” but the moral difference is clear.

Certainly Pope Francis is right about this: at a general level, both abortion and immigration do meet on equal ground — the principle of loving one’s neighbor. But, as has been explained, that moral equality doesn’t confer equality on type of moral judgments Catholics are obliged to make, one is liable to a variety of answers, the other is not.

To give an example of the distinction, here is a portion of letter written by then President of the USCCB, Archbishop Wilton Gregory to President Bush about the Iraq War: As Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, then president of the USCCB, wrote to President George W. Bush: “People of good will may apply ethical principles and come to different prudential judgments, depending upon their assessment of the facts at hand and other issues” (“Letter to President Bush on Iraq,” Sept. 13, 2002).

I’m not convinced that Pope Francis recognizes the “good will” of those Catholics who disagree with his view of immigration. As he puts it, “This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad. In today’s world too, we are called to follow the path of spiritual wisdom proposed by the prophet Isaiah to show what is pleasing to God.”

Pope Francis has done his best to prop up the those Catholic Democrats who continue to promote abortion, support government funding of Planned Parenthood, and ignore the church’s teaching on life. His apostolic exhortation does not to change Catholic moral teaching because, as I have shown, the claim the Pope is trying to make cannot be rationally defended.

In spite of the headlines, the Pope’s gift to the Democrats will not be of much use to them in propping up their Catholic credentials. Lay Catholic voters will see through this claim just as they saw through the church’s barrage of anti-Trump rhetoric in the historic 2016 presidential election.

Read Newsmax: Pope Can’t Equate Caring for Immigrants With Abortion | Newsmax.com
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Cardinal Dolan’s Praise for Trump Interrupts USCCB Pattern of Criticism

Deal W. Hudson
April 13, 2017

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement that “welcomed the State Department’s April 4 announcement that it will withhold federal funding from the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) because UNFPA monies go to Chinese agencies that perform forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations.” Cardinal Dolan goes on to praise the Trump administration, but without a specific mention of President Trump who is primarily responsible for the defunding.

“This is a victory for women and children across the globe, as well as for U.S. taxpayers,” Cardinal Dolan said. “We are so grateful to the Trump administration for taking this important action to end U.S. support for UNFPA so long as it remains committed to China’s coercive abortion and sterilization programs.”

Why mention the lack of President Trump’s name? In the month of January alone, during President Trump’s first 11 days in office, the USCCB issued five public statements critical of the president, by name, on the issue of immigration: January 25January 26January 27January 30January 31. However, Cardinal Dolan did praise President Trump for restoring the Mexico City Policy:

“We applaud President Trump’s action today to restore the Mexico City Policy, which withholds taxpayer funds from foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas (often in violation of the host country’s own laws).”

In the month of February, the USCCB issued two more statements critical of President Trump or his “administration” on immigration, February 17February 23, while on February 10 praising the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for overthrowing President Trump’s Executive Order for a 90-day moratorium on issuing visas from seven nations on the Middle East.

On February 16, the USCCB issued a statement complaining, “The President has not yet signed the executive order on religious freedom.” On February 16, the USCCB praised the “Message from Modesto,” which specially called for the “disruption” of administration policies, and on February 17, the USCCB urged the “Trump administration” to “Care for Creation.”

In March the basic pattern continues: On March 6, a statement from the USCCB says President Trump’s latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. A “pastoral reflection” on March 22, reiterates the bishop’s concern about immigration policy. And on March 29, the USCCB states, “President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order on March 28, 2017 that rescinds and weakens numerous environmental protections, and effectively dismantles the Clean Power Plan (CPP)…”

Press statements are always carefully worded. The avoidance of addressing the president by name, or the substitution of “administration” or “Trump administration” signifies the unwillingness of the USCCB to treat the new president fairly. The attitude seems to be: use “President Donald J. Trump” when criticizing, but avoid the same when something positive has to be officially recognized. Among all the USCCB statements, only Cardinal Dolan has given the president the respect he deserves.

Read Newsmax: Cardinal Dolan’s Praise for Trump Interrupts USCCB Pattern of Criticism | Newsmax.com
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Some on Left, Right Don’t Get Trump Is Anti-Abortion

Deal W. Hudson
April 5, 2017

President Donald Trump’s executive order to defund the United National Family Planning Agency (UNFPA) sends a message to political foes both on the political left and the right.

The pro-abortion left will should not be too surprised since President Trump has already cut $400,000,000 in population control funds when he reaffirmed the Mexico City Policy a few days after his inauguration.

Anti-abortion leaders across the country are deeply gratified and congratulate the president for his decision.President of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, calls the defunding, “a tremendous sign to the nation and world about what we value and what we abhor. Removing funds from involvement in China’s coercive abortion and sterilization policies is the humane thing to do.”

Trump’s decision to defund was made on the same basis used by both President Reagan and President George W. Bush: UNFPA actively “partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.” It’s well known that China employs coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization to enforce its “One Child Policy.”

The One Child Policy, begun in 1979, was “officially” phased out in 2015, to be replaced by a “Two Child Policy.” But as the nation’s preeminent expert of China’s population control, Steve Mosher, has said, “The one-child policy in China may be over, but the two-child policy will still mean forced abortions of second and third children, it may mean forced pregnancy in years to come, and it will certainly mean other abuses.”

Asked for his comment, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., responded, “The United Nations Population Fund has been involved with deeply troubling practices. Why would we give American taxpayer money to an organization with limited accountability, who have used these funds to participate in coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization? Public money should never harm life and the flourishing of families.”

UNFPA funding approaches $1,000,000,000 so the loss of U.S. funding — $32,500,000 will have only a marginal impact, but combined with the money lost by the Mexico City Policy population controllers have suffered a serious setback.

With the defunding of Planned Parenthood’s $500,000,000+ already moving through Congress, there must be panic setting in among those organizations whose budgets blossomed under the terms of the Obama administration. That will eventually add up to over 1 billion dollars in lost revenue to the abortionists.

In the lost of UNFPA funding, however, there is another loss — public credibility.

With federal funding comes prestige, a prestige that opens doors to private foundations and major donors. These foundations and donors themselves can profit from being connected to an organization who enjoys a close relationship to the White House and Congress.

Austin Ruse, President of C-Fam, regards UNFPA defunding as an important step toward President Trump keeping his promises to his pro-life constituency, “This is a very good thing because UNFPA is a wicked agency and the US should not be involved with it.

“However, defunding UNFPA is a bare-minimum of the pro-life things we expect from President Trump. It is an easy thing, an important thing, but an easy thing. We expect more and bigger things.”

The UNFPA, on the other hand, regards the decision as based upon “an erroneous claim” that the organization “participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China.”

This is hard to swallow, given the evidence, but the more incriminating part of the statement is this, “We have always valued the United States as a trusted partner and leader in helping to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” (Emphasis added).

First, a “young person” who is aborted will never have the opportunity to fulfill any potential. Second, the UNFPA does not have the power — no one does, to “ensure every pregnancy is wanted.”

What UNFPA really means is that they will supply abortions to all women who do not “want” their babies. Finally, making childbirth “safe” merely provides another excuse for UNFPA to provide abortion to women who live in poverty or in the undeveloped countries.

This press release serves to corroborate the decision made by President Trump about the character and intentions of the UNFPA.

To the Never-Trumpers on the right, such as the neo-cons at the National Review, anti-abortion fundamentalists, and those marching under the flag of surrender represented by the “Benedict Option” — President Trump has once again proven his bona fides as being anti-abortion.

However, the Never-Trump crowd all share one regrettable characteristic: they are not interested in counter-evidence, it’s an affront to their pride.

To their shame, they will ignore the half-billion dollars in federal funding President Trump has taken away from those who pro-abortion, marching under the banner of population control.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops had not yet issued a statement when I contacted them yesterday, but I received a note that a statement would be issued today. Given that the USCCB has been consistently critical of the Trump administration, I was not surprised in the delay.

Read Newsmax: Some on Left, Right Don’t Get Trump Is Anti-Abortion | Newsmax.com
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