Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For the "regulars"

In case any of my family and friends are wondering where all these random people are coming from who are commenting on my empty envelope from the White House... both Thomas at American Papist and Fr. Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say? have posted the story on their blogs.

The amount of dissenters who have come to my blog via AmP or Fr. Z was a bit startling at first... I thought, "Why are so many people who think it's silly to protest abortion (in a non-violent way such as a letter campaign) reading AmP or Fr. Z in the first place???" Surely these people do not agree with the content on those two very pro-life blogs.

But I am thinking this is a good thing. If there are pro-abortion people out there who are actively reading AmP and Fr. Z, then they must care about the issue at some level. They must care what their opposition thinks. And, as Father Lopez once said, he's much more worried about those who are totally indifferent than those who have enough passion to care one way or the other. That is, it is easier to change somebody's mind who cares passionately about something than it is to get somebody who is indifferent to care enough to stand up for their beliefs (because they have no beliefs, or very weak or flip-floppy beliefs).

I'm fortunate that there are people out there who take the time to spread the pro-life word and to fight against the ever-present culture of death that has so subtley snuck into so many people's lives. Many young people today are searching for Truth, and they can find a lot of truth over at AmP and Fr. Z's blog. Perhaps the dissenters who read these blogs will have their hearts softened over time through the power of the Holy Spirit.


Cecilieaux said...

It would be helpful if people who call themselves "pro-life" deemed war, malnutrition and death-causing hunger, not to mention capital punishment as much a part of the problem as abortion. Pope John Paul II, for example, justified capital punishment and allowed his press secretary to water down his declaration that the invasion of Iraq was not in accord with the notion of "just war." It's only abortion that he unequivocally thought threatened "life." Once people are born, they're on their own; they're lives don't count as "life."

I do not disagree philosophically with the notion that abortion is ethically questionable at a minimum. However, I was turned off the "pro-life" movement many years ago after I told one leader I knew that I would go to his rally if he could avoid the racial epithet "n-----" for three weeks. Guess what? I have never been to a pro-life rally.

So, sorry, given what I know about the blinders with which people who call themselves "pro-life" operate, I do think that almost everything they say or do is sanctimonious hypocrisy. That includes symbolic empty envelopes.

Go ahead: show how afraid you are of open discussion. Censor this.

Erin said...

So... because one person you knew in the pro-life movement also used derogatory racist words, you were turned off to the entire purpose of the pro-life movement? That gives that one person a lot of power over you!

Personally, as I have commented before, I am opposed to the death penalty, as the Catholic Church instructs me to be. However, the Catholic Church has a definition of what constitutes "grave" mortal sin, one of which is abortion. Since it is a completely innocent and defenseless life unable to defend itself, it is the gravest of all sins to end innocent life. It is not as grave a sin to say "people are on their own once they are born" because that does not deliberately take their lives. The Catholic Church tells us to give to those in need, to help those lives that are already on this Earth. And that I do. The Catholic Church does not tell us that we must use the government to enforce giving which keeps people at some undefined standard of living. Doing nothing to help the needy is indeed a sad problem, but to say that people who call themselves pro-life don't see hunger as a problem is just wrong. Just because they don't all see the solution in the same way as you do doesn't mean they don't care or try to do what they can to help those in need.

Abortion is a direct violation against human life in that it intentionally ends a life, and it purports to know what is best for another person in terms of life or death; that is, that one person can decide whether another's life is of value enough to let them live.

"Just war" is not trying to avoid the issue that war is a terrible thing... but there is an element of self-defense and defense of other human lives involved in war in which there is none in abortion ("saving the life of the mother" can always be done by inducing labor; the baby doesn't have to be killed in utero in order to save the mother). I wish there were ways besides war to solve problems, but there do seem to unfortunately be people who cannot be reasoned with (Hussein, Bin Laden, Hitler, for example) and who are ending lives right and left. So, to say that somebody who supports war is a hypocrite ignores the fact that perhaps that person looked at it from the standpoint of saving other innocent lives when other avenues didn't work. I don't claim to be able to define each war as either just or unjust, but I can tell with certainty that abortion is always unjust... it always *deliberately destroys human life.*

The Catholic Church explains this in a much more perfect and beautiful way than I ever could. You could look at documents such as Humanae Vitae if you want more of an explanation. it's not just these pro-life people making stuff up... the Church teaches us how and why abortion is such a grave matter, graver than war or hunger or even the death penalty in some cases.

And I would hardly call it "censoring" when one does not allow comments on a blog. It is called deciding what to allow in my own personal blog. My blog is not a venue for free speech for all. I am hardly the one afraid of discussion - I am not the one who left a one-liner insult with no intention of follow-up until pressed to do so.

Erin said...

And I did mean to say that I apologize for putting my comments randomly on your blog instead of emailing you. I honestly could not find your email address when I looked for it on your blog.

Cecilieaux said...

Allow me to respond.

1. The one person I cited is the straw that broke the camel's back -- not the first or last bigot or warmonger or social Darwinist I have encountered claiming the label "pro-life."

2. The Catholic Church does not teach you to be against capital punishment. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2267, which says "the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty."

3. The "pro-life" movement is indifferent to hunger and other economic life-depriving circumstances fostered by greed. The history of its political alliances shows it. Time and time again, pro-life leaders ignored the slashing of programs to feed women, infants and children -- for example -- because they were too busy trying to get the slashers, who took from the poor to give to the rich, elected and re-elected.

4. As to war, let me offer the CCC #2261-2262 which states that the prohibition against deliberate murder "is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere." The passage cites the much broader application of the commandment by one Jesus Christ, of whom you may have heard, to anger, hatred, and vengeance, urging his disciples to "turn the other cheek, to love their enemies." As the gospels said he did when his own life was threatened and taken. This is not quite the manual for "homeland security."

5. Finally, once and for all, the one-liner you suppressed was a humorous response to what I deemed a silly thing. Ok, so we don't all get the same humor. But it was not intended to insult anyone. Nor was the second comment which you suppressed.

6. Asking people to comment on one's public statements, then picking and choosing which to allow is intellectually bankrupt. Even the Catholic Church got rid of its Index Librorum.

Sorry to go on so long, but there was a lot of material warranting a response.

My e-mail is, which is right below my picture on my blog.

Erin said...

1. It still appears that you have let individual people (instead of the pro-life purpose itself) turn you away. I choose to go based on the purpose of a movement and not by the individuals within it. Just as I follow the Catholic Church itself, even if there are some "bad apples" within it.

2. The Catholic Church does indeed teach that the death penalty is acceptable in rare cases... but as a regular thing, no, it does not. I notice you did not mention the rest of paragraph #2267, which states in its entirety after what you already wrote: "if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

Did you intentionally leave this out? It makes it clear that the Church is against the death penalty in all but the most extreme cases... which supports my argument anyway, that the death penalty is not quite as grave a matter as abortion.

3. Our system is hardly one which takes from the poor to give to the rich. The richest people pay the largest chunk of our taxes, which would then go to WIC (I assume that is what you are referring to when you say women, infants, and children). I am not pro-life for any political reasons, and I am disappointed that some people are, just as I am disappointed that people are pro-choice for political reasons without paying heed to the awful damage it does to women and babies. I vote for people based mostly on their pro-life views because again, that is the gravest life issue. If we don't stop the killing from the beginning, how can we defend any other rights of anyone if we don't fight first for the most basic of all rights, the right to not be killed by somebody else?

Erin said...

4. Again, picking parts of the CCC paragraphs to make them mean what you want instead of taking them in their entire context (not what Catholics are supposed to do, even if some other Christians do this). The entire wording of #2261 is: 2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous." The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere."

So you apply this to war? It specifically says the slaying of an innocent person. Under just war, the people are not quite considered to be "innocent" in that there is a reason behind the fighting, whereas an unborn baby is completely and totally innocent.

I do see how you could tie in #2262 with war... however, would you then also apply "turn the other cheek" to mean that self-defense is also murder, perhaps murder equivalent in its wrongness to that of abortion? Meaning that it is a sin for me to shoot an intruder in my house who is in the process of attacking my family?

I find the following on war:
2308: All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.

However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed."

2309: The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

- there must be serious prospects of success;

- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.

The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

5. Whatever its purpose, your first comment wasn't designed to spark intellectual discussion. It had quite a pompous air to it, as do many other comments you made (ahem... "Jesus Christ, of whom you may have heard..."). Perhaps you do not mean to be so snide... just know that you come across that way. Especially since it is in the context of you making comments on my blog - and you don't know me and have never expressed any interest in my blog before. You blasted a comment in and probably never expected to hear back from me. To your credit, you have now come back for an actual discussion, even if you do lace it with snide remarks (intentional or not).

6. I can choose to publish whatever I wish and ignore whatever I wish. This blog is primarily about motherhood and my family, so I may delete this entire post and all the comments at some point if I feel like it. You don't have to like it, but I don't have to allow all comments. People seem to think that manners don't apply when they are typing to somebody they don't know, and I really don't care for the rude comments. I have let quite a few of yours remain simply because there was also info in them which was refutable.

I assume you found me through AmP or Fr. Z, and I am wondering - you don't have to answer; obviously I cannot make you - why do you read one/both of those blogs anyway?

Erin said...

Just another thought...

2322 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.

Excommunication is the highest penalty. It is not applied across the board to those involved in war, capital punishment, and those who do not address poverty in the way you think they should. It is, however, applied in all cases of abortion, according to the CCC.

Erin said...

I see that I have had no further response yet in quite a while... at least, Cecilieaux had been responding much more quickly before, so perhaps he is done? Or is he digging through the Catechism trying to find where it says that if we fail to help the poor in some specific way, that is just as bad as participation in abortion? That is just as well for me if he is done, because I think I have made my point, and I should be spending my time on other things anyway, like taking care of my house and my girls and blogging about things which are happy for me instead of all this conflict. Not that I don't love to share the true teachings of the Catholic Church... I do love that we have a Church which has consistent teachings that are not open for negotiation!

Cecilieaux said...

I wrote a long reply and the site said it had been saved and was awaiting "approval." I don't understand why you say I haven't replied.

Cecilieaux said...

See? Like just now: "Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval."

Cecilieaux said...

Well? Are you going to approve my responses to your points? Or are you afraid I've proven you wrong?

Cecilieaux said...

Well? Are you going to approve my responses to your points? Or are you afraid I've proven you wrong?

Erin said...

I haven't seen any reply. I do see that there are comments on another post, but they don't respond to this.

But as I said, I really should be devoting more time on other things. I have laid it all out, and I follow the Catholic Church's teachings and the USCCB's guidelines on the formation of conscience when voting. There's really not much else left to say. Especially since I have already taken a lot of time to try to explain myself in a clear yet kind way, despite the rude remarks that have continued to be made to me. My family and other pursuits of mine deserve more attention than somebody who insults me by coming out of nowhere to decry my envelope post as "silly," calling my actions "intellectually bankrupt," saying that I believe myself to be "quite infallible, however, and is impermeable to reason." I have been reasoning with you, and it is my Church I find to be infallible, not myself! Thank God for the Church, because without Her teachings, things would be much more confusing.

I've honestly tried not to insult you even though we disagree, and I don't feel that it is the best use of my time to continue on with somebody who has made the above comments about me. You know my position, and I will pray that, if you are in fact Catholic (since you never said one way or another so I am not sure), and even if you are not, that your heart will be softened to the genocide that is abortion while you continue to care about and work for other aspects of social justice. And I do appreciate that you took the time to comment on another post that was not even on this topic. That was nice of you. :) It almost makes me willing to continue the debate, but not quite.

Erin said...

Okay, I approved all your comments that I have received since the one with the six points. And you're getting all pompous again with the "are you afraid I've proven you wrong?" Of course I'm not, because I have the Church on my side, and it's not me you are trying to prove wrong. I am merely stating what my Church teaches.

I have not received any comments. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you did in fact attempt to send them, and I would hope that you can do the same for me and believe I have not received a response.

If you send them again, I will read them, but I will not publish or refute them. I am done. It is not worth my time if you can't cut the snide remarks or even apologize for the ones you have made. "Jesus, who you may have heard of..." - ouch. That one was pretty below the belt.