Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Abortafacient Contrceptives?

Following up on the previous post here is some more evidence for that argument:

New Evangelical Documentary Exposes Abortifacient Qualities of the Birth Control Pill, Promotes NFP:

By Alex Bush May 27, 2009 ( – A documentary called “28 Days on the Pill” has been released that seeks expose the abortifacient properties of the birth control pill.  The documentary explains that many forms of birth control pills contain progesterone,...

Read the whole thing.

(Via Headlines.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't You Prefer Contraception to Abortion?

This is what an earnest young candidate asked me a few years ago during the RCIA Process. He reasoned, as many do, that it is the lesser of two evils. But I had to answer "no".

You see, it's not really abortion or contraception; the two go hand-in-hand:

"Most abortions are the result of unwanted pregnancies, most unwanted pregnancies are the result of sexual relationships outside of marriage, and most sexual relationships outside of marriage are facilitated by the availability of contraception. To turn this 'progression' around: contraception leads to more extra-marital sexual intercourse, more extra-marital sexual intercourse leads to more unwanted pregnancies; more unwanted pregnancies lead to more abortions."

Janet Smith (via the USCCB Pro-life page.)

The mentality that separates the sex act from procreation doesn't greet pregnancy as a happy accident. If sex is for gratification (mutual or otherwise) then the "burden" of parenthood doesn't exactly signal gratification to the reluctant parent. And that doesn't even address the fact that the contraceptive pill and IUD's are abortifacient by themselves already.

And even the so-called 99% effective method (birth control pills) fails sometimes. Consider that:

"Pro-abortion Alan Guttmacher Institute has repeatedly reported on major surveys that show 56%-58% of all women having abortions were using contraception the month they became pregnant."

(Hat tip to Physicians for Life.)

If President Obama offers contraception to "lessen the need for abortion" he is in fact promoting a mindset and technologies that will increase the actual number of abortions. There's no common ground between the pro-lifer and pro-choice positions in contraception.

For those desperate for common ground they have to consider sterilization. Good luck with that project.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dialogue: Answer to Example Number One's Question

Lo and behold, Obama does not want to reduce the number of abortions. He just wants to increase the use of contraceptives. Oh yeah, there's a common ground for him to work with the "Spirit of Vatican II" Catholics: they both reject Humanae Vitae. Guess where the rest of us are left?

Key Obama aide: "It is not our goal to reduce the number of abortions.”:

The goal, as reportedly stated by Melody Barnes, who is the President’s Domestic Policy Adviser and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, is to "reduce the need for abortions."

And what has been Obama's preferred method of "reducing the need for abortions" in the past?

Each of these prominently features the use of contraceptives as an essential means of reducing abortions.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dialogue, Part Four

Here's a link to some analysis about what dialogue should be:

stages in dialogue:

Father Robert Barron of Word on Fire has written a thoughtful article on dialogue, in wake of the speeches given at Notre Dame's commencement cermonies last Sunday. A snip:

It comes down to that slippery little word “dialogue.” I realize that to say that one is against dialogue is akin to saying that one is impatient with motherhood, patriotism, and sunny days. But the point is this: one should,

Read the whole thing.

(Via The Weight of Glory.)

Dialogue: Example Number One

Does the President want to reduce abortions? Or just the need for them? Is he ok with unneeded abortions? (Which pro-lifers will happily identify as all abortions currently being performed.) Enquiring minds want to know:

...and we're off:

Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America writes in Human Events of the specific nature of the conversations that have taken place in the Obama - administration-sponsored meetings about abortion, seeking to find common ground:This meeting took place two days...

Read the whole thing.

(Via Via Media.)

Dialogue, Part Three

It's not an endearing trait, but some things I approach with an air of deep suspicion. Calls to "dialogue" on abortion is one of those things. What does "dialogue" mean to the speaker? What does he want to change about the present state of the controversy? Is the possibility of reaching an agreement on a moral truth even exist for this person?

To get a possible answer to some of these questions start with the link below to Professor Beckwith's CRI article "Deconstructing Liberal Tolerance":

I’ll be on Hugh Hewitt and the Bible Answer Man next week, May 26 and May 28:

 I will be a guest on the Hugh Hewitt and Bible Answer Man programs on May 26 and 28. On the former I will be talking about my new book, Return to Rome: Confessions of An Evangelical Catholic (Brazos Press, 2009). On the latter I will be discussing a chapter I contributed to the new book published by Christian Research Institute, What is Truth?: The Best of the Christian Research Journal (CRI, 2009). The chapter, “Deconstructing Liberal Tolerance” was originally published in 2000 in the Christian Research Journal.

(Cross posted on Return to Rome and What’s Wrong with the World)

(Via Southern Appeal.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Of Course, It's Only Anecdotal

but it sure seems to confirm my intuition:

'Mancow' Waterboarded - Lasts 5 Seconds Before Deciding 'It's Torture':

Ranting “conservative” talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller decided he would prove that waterboarding isn’t torture by undergoing the interrogation method himself.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Little Green Footballs.)

Are There Any Pro-Abortion People Here?

Let's start the conversation here:

Twisted abortion logic:

A commenter here at SA (and many thousands of people before him) recently wrote:

Perhaps with a bit of reflection, Joe, you may realize that support for abortion rights is quite a different thing from support for abortion.

Does this type of statement make sense in any other case?  If not, why do people think it makes sense in the case of abortion?   Let’s try substituting some other practices, and see how it holds up.

Perhaps with a bit of reflection, you may realize that support for the right to rape is quite a different thing from support for rape.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Southern Appeal.)

Notre Dame: Another Perspective

Lest we be guilty of focussing exclusively on the negative and sensational here is another point of view:

[Robert Gotcher]


Greg, close your ears.

Last night I ran into Matt Alderman, of Holy Whapping blog, at the Extraordinary Form celebration of the Mass of the Feast of the Ascension at St. Stan's parish in Milwaukee. He had a great post recently about the ND situation--one which I almost agree with completely, especially these comments:

The same students and the same student culture (both pious and less so) is still there on campus[I know this is true, because my son is there and my other son is beginning in August.], and indeed, I'd say the caliber of the Catholic student population has improved since my time there. This one incident has not changed any of this. I agree something should be done--but I also think this event ought not to be exploited by those with some sort of beef against this place, or are unaware of how the territory has changed in recent years.

Read the rest.

Courtesy of Heart, Mind & Strength.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Vatican Has Spoken

and said that President Obama is not "pro-abortion". So that provokes a couple of questions:

    What or who exactly is the "Vatican"?

    And what does it mean to say that someone or some group is "pro-abortion"? Can we agree with the President that no one is "pro-abortion"?

Let's start with the first question:

Wiegel on L’Osservatore Romano’s “fideist credulity”:

My friends – smart people – are angrily scratching their heads over the latest squishy musings in L’Osservatore Romano.

I have posted about this here and here.  In the second case, the editor, who is a fine fellow and doing a pretty good job making the paper into something other than fishwrap, really blew it. 

Here is a piece by George Weigel in National Review online with my emphases and comments.

Parsing the Vatican Newspaper

It doesn’t always speak for the pope.

May 21, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

By George Weigel

2. In the normal course of events, L’Osservatore Romano does not speak authoritatively for the Church in matters of faith, morals, or public-policy judgment. The exceptions are when a senior churchman offers a commentary on a recent papal document (an encyclical, for instance), or on those exceedingly rare occasions when an editorial in the paper is followed by three dots, or periods, a traditional convention signaling that the opinion being expressed is from “high authority.” No knowledgeable or responsible analyst of Vatican affairs would regard commissioned essays in L’Osservatore Romano, even if they appear on page one, as somehow reflecting an authoritative view from the Holy See or the Pope. The same is true for statements by the paper’s editors or editorials without the dots. [True.  As I have pointed out in the past, unsigned editorials usually have more weight.  And there are some which have clues that they are even more weighty.]

Read the whole thing.

(Via What Does The Prayer Really Say?.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dialogue, Part Two

I'm consciously rejecting the "debate is bad, dialogue is good" idea right off the bat. Debate is a form of dialogue and arguably it's purest form. If dialogue is a search for truth by two or more parties, then debate is the potentially the best structure for that search.

But then I don't mean simply arguing to "win". Rather I mean supporting a position contrary to your interlocutor's with the conviction that it is true. And this with the fallibility principle: the recognition that no matter how convinced we are we may still turn out to be wrong. Properly understood as a search for truth in an adversarial fashion, debate in this sense aims to bring the opponents together in a better understanding of the truth.

I'm concerned that "dialogue" is for some a code word for talking pleasantly with no intention of pursuing the truth or even a conviction that we can know the truth. When the President announces the abortion positions are irreconcilable I'm concerned he means something like the above: "Let's talk, but don't expect me to engage what you have to say as if it really meant something to me." Or, as Foghorn Leghorn used to say, "Don't bother me with the facts, son, I've already made up my mind."

Enough already: here's another source for discussing "dialogue":

the dialogue about abortion:

Over at Via Media, Amy's started a discussion about dialogue.1) Who are the parties in the dialogue?2) Where is this dialogue situated?Should be an interesting conversation.To take things a step further, what are the necessary ingredients/principles in dialogue? What does dialogue look like in practice? I've made some efforts in the past to grapple with the concept of dialogue on my blog.I know

Read the whole thing.

(Via The Weight of Glory.)


is a popular word. But what does the speaker mean by that? The two Presidents' possibly facile invocation to dialogue provokes questions. Some among the so-called Pro-choice movement has declared debate off limits for years now. When the President says the positions are irreconcilable he may have this idea in mind.

Amy Welborn has challenged both ideas: that debate is counter-productive and that only "dialogue", whatever is meant by that, is appropriate between the two camps. She is challenging those imagining they are champions of dialogue to begin doing so. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this.

But if words are only instruments we use to extend our will, then dialogue is an attempt to at least prevent another from imposing their will on me and at most an attempt to impose my will on my "partner". If people take this attitude then dialogue is not an attempt to arrive at the truth, but an attempt to project one's one will, truth notwithstanding. Beware entering that kind of "dialogue".

So here are some more eloquent words about this issue:

Some things to consider when it comes to the "D" word:

Christ said that He would send His disciples among men as "sheep among wolves." This suggests that they would not find their activities only in debating forums, academic chairs, or gentle dialogues. Indeed, they were told that they would be persecuted. They would be told how to answer magistrates, almost as if it was not their words that were being rejected. This realization brings up the limits of dialogue. Argument can be rejected not merely because it is illogical or inconsistent, but also because it is true. Of course, it will be rejected in the name of some other truth, or apparent truth. But the fact is that much modern thought, in its intellectual inconsistencies, is ultimately not rooted in reason but in will.


...Chesterton remarks that the purpose of argument or dialogue is not ultimately to disagree but to agree. The purpose of disagreement is in the end to agree. That is to say, dialogue is intended to achieve something beyond itself. It is well that we do not agree before we understand why we should agree. On the other hand, it is also true that we refuse to argue or agree to philosophic positions because we are afraid of where the argument leads, if it leads to a coherence in the universe between reason and revelation.

The world is not divided merely by intellect and its understandings of things. It is more fundamentally divided by will, by the thesis that, as Benedict XVI said, "we want unlimited possession of the world and of ourselves." To accomplish this latter ambition, we have to lie to ourselves about ourselves and about the coherence of the world. To protect our self-generated view of ourselves, we have to develop a theory that justifies what we do according to our own wills. This is why, however useful, dialogue runs up against our wills that enable us to choose another view of the world but the one that is.

Read the entire essay.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notre Dame: the Highlights

There is an immense amount of verbiage flying through Catholic cyberspace about the President's appearance and award. So why not add my two cents worth?

The great bifurcation in American Catholicism has been going on for some decades now. It became visible with the public dissent over Humanae Vitae in 1968. With Bishops and the occasional Cardinal or two in the next three decades the "Spirit of Vatican II" Catholics grew apart from the rest while assuming many of the levers of power in chanceries across North America.

But Archbishop Hunthausen is gone, except to make an appearance to testify to his criminal incompetence. Cardinal Mahoney is busy fighting off attempts to force him to do the same. And from a tiny handful of bishops in 2004 who raised the issue of Senator Kerry's fitness to receive Communion, we now have almost 80 bishops publicly rebuking the Notre Dame administration for honouring the most pro-abortion President ever.

The John Paul II priests are becoming Benedict bishops. And so the "Spirit of Vatican II" Catholics are gradually losing their grip on power in the Church and have less and less to tie them to the Church as it exists. In the end they will have to decide just what it means to call themselves Catholic.

In the meantime here are couple of links that I found enlightening. There are many more in the post cited.

Pres. Obama's ND appearance: Links, commentary, analysis:

• The American Papist has a quick post noting that "a Catholic liberal, a feminist liberal, and a Catholic conservative ... all unsatisfied" with Obama's speech. The conservative is Notre Dame legend Ralph McInerny, who writes, in a piece posted today on The Catholic Thing:

division among Catholics has been widening for more than forty years.
How did it come about that so many Catholics have such a mushy notion
of what it means to be a Catholic? The teaching of the faith since the
close of Vatican II in 1965 has been scandalously inadequate. In many
cases it has been the deliberate substituting of stones for bread. It
began with waffling on contraception when theologians, real or
self-proclaimed, impudently rejected Humanae Vitae, one of the
great encyclicals of modern times. The scandal of the encyclical was
that it placed Catholics on one side of a line and the zeitgeist
on the other. Yet dissent from it was allowed to flourish. Moral
theology went into steep decline and the official body of Catholic
theologians issued Human Sexual Morality in which doubt was
cast on the long tradition of teaching on pre-marital and extra-marital
sex, abortion, masturbation, homosexuality, divorce – a systematic
dismantling of Catholic moral teaching.
• George Weigel, writing about "Obama and the 'Real Catholics'", makes some excellent points about the strategy employed by President Obama at Notre Dame:

What was surprising, and ought to be disturbing to anyone who cares about religious freedom in these United States, was the president’s decision to insert himself into the ongoing Catholic debate over the boundaries of Catholic identity and the applicability of settled Catholic conviction in the public square. Obama did this by suggesting, not altogether subtly, who the real Catholics in America are. The real Catholics, you see, are those like the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who are “congenial and gentle” in persuasion, men and women who are “always trying to bring people together,” Catholics who are “always trying to find the common ground.” The fact that Cardinal Bernardin’s undoubted geniality and gentility in bringing people together to find the common ground invariably ended with a “consensus” that matched the liberal or progressive position of the moment went unremarked — because, for a good postmodern liberal like President Obama, that progressive “consensus” is so self-evidently true that one can afford to be generous in acknowledging that others, less enlightened but arguably sincere, have different views.  <snip>

Whether or not President Obama knew precisely what he was doing — and I’m inclined to think that this politically savvy White House and its allies among Catholic progressive intellectuals knew exactly what they were doing — is irrelevant. In order to secure the political advantage Obama had gained among Catholic voters last November, the president of the United States decided that he would define what it means to be a real Catholic in 21st-century America — not the bishop of Fort Wayne–South Bend, who in sorrow declined to attend Notre Dame’s commencement; not the 80-some bishops who publicly criticized Notre Dame’s decision to invite the president to receive an honorary degree; not the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which explicitly and unambiguously instructed Catholic institutions not to do what Notre Dame did. He, President Obama, would settle the decades-long intra-Catholic culture war in favor of one faction — the faction that had supported his candidacy and that had spent the first months of his administration defending his policies.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Who's Digesting Your News For You?

If it's the MSM it's being abbreviated in very interesting ways:

The MSM strikes again:

Courtesy of a loyal SA reader and ND alum:

I’m not sure how the media missed it but yesterday we had an open-air mass and rally (the latter of which Bishop D’Arcy attended) and estimates put the crowd at least around 2000

Read the whole thing.

(Via Southern Appeal.)