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Originally Posted by John C. Hathaway
They're not the same thing, but they should be equal priorities. Even the Supreme Court ruled in _Planned Parenthood V. Casey_ that abortion must be legal if contraception is legal, because abortion is a "necessary" failsafe to contraception.


No doubt, if past is prologue, under an Obama administration infanticide will become a necessary failsafe to abortion.

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It isn't like Obama hasn't said what he will do when he is president. We all should know what he will do.

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Originally Posted by John C. Hathaway
They're not the same thing, but they should be equal priorities. Even the Supreme Court ruled in _Planned Parenthood V. Casey_ that abortion must be legal if contraception is legal, because abortion is a "necessary" failsafe to contraception.

All offenses against the dignity of life that plague our society--especially In Vitro Fertilization and Embryonic Stem Cell Research--are only consistent if coupled with a condemnation of contraception.


John,
IMHO, treating contraception and abortion as equal priorities is like considering striking one in anger and killing as equal. Or treating lust and adultery as equally treated.

The USCCB and others have called abortion an "intrinsic" which carries more weight. Don't get me wrong, contraception is wrong because it artificially prevents conception, but it doesn't kill a conceived person.

Otherwise, if you consider these equal, then you can argue that "deadly" or "mortal" sins are equal to "venial" sins. If that were true there would be very few Communions.

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Fr. Deacon Paul,

First, this is not just "my opinion." This is what Pope John Paul II taught in _Humanae Vitae_. It is also consistent throughout various Patristic writings that abortion and contraception are equated.

Yes, the bishops have listed abortion as an "intrinsic" evil; they do not even mention contraception in _Forming Consciences_, and that is a major fault of the document and shows how corrupt the USCCB is, more concerned about saying what people want to hear. Contraception *is* intrinsically evil.

I would argue you do not have the right analogy. You're saying it's like adultery versus lust or punching someone versus murder. In other words, you're saying that contraception is only a venial sin, which is untrue.

Contraception is a mortal sin; it is intrinsically evil. The more correct analogy would be to say that murder should be illegal but adultery should not.

Abortion and contraception are two different, yet related, evils, just as pornography and adultery are two different, yet related, evils. We cannot fight one without also standing up against the other.

Again, just look at what "the other side" says. On the one hand, they accuse us of being hypocrites for not supporting contraception to "prevent abortions," but, on the other hand, when they *see* a Catholic who supports contraception, they say, "See? Those Catholics don't really believe what they say they believe."

Personally, I'd rather be called a "kook" than a "hypocrite" by the other side. if you read pro-choice blogs, you'll see plenty of arguments that the National Right to Life Committee and the Republicans and James Dobson and others are not "really" pro-life, usually because these organizations and individuals support contraception, "incremental" measures and/or compromise.

You see no one questioning whether Bob Dornan or Joseph Scheidler or Judie Brown or Alan Keyes is "really" pro-life. They call them fanatical crackpots, but they don't question their pro-life cred., because these people are *consistent*.

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Relevant Radio talk show host Drew Mariani is calling on listeners, there friends and families to pray the Rosary tonight during Barack Obama's 30 minute TV campaign broadcast. Got to hand it to Relevant Radio for the way they've gotten Mr Obama's culture of death message on the airwaves the last few days.

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Originally Posted by John C. Hathaway

I would argue you do not have the right analogy. You're saying it's like adultery versus lust or punching someone versus murder. In other words, you're saying that contraception is only a venial sin, which is untrue.

Contraception is a mortal sin; it is intrinsically evil. The more correct analogy would be to say that murder should be illegal but adultery should not.

Abortion and contraception are two different, yet related, evils, just as pornography and adultery are two different, yet related, evils. We cannot fight one without also standing up against the other.

Again, just look at what "the other side" says. On the one hand, they accuse us of being hypocrites for not supporting contraception to "prevent abortions," but, on the other hand, when they *see* a Catholic who supports contraception, they say, "See? Those Catholics don't really believe what they say they believe."

Personally, I'd rather be called a "kook" than a "hypocrite" by the other side. if you read pro-choice blogs, you'll see plenty of arguments that the National Right to Life Committee and the Republicans and James Dobson and others are not "really" pro-life, usually because these organizations and individuals support contraception, "incremental" measures and/or compromise.

You see no one questioning whether Bob Dornan or Joseph Scheidler or Judie Brown or Alan Keyes is "really" pro-life. They call them fanatical crackpots, but they don't question their pro-life cred., because these people are *consistent*.


John,
I'm not completely convinced of your analogy; contraception is a sin but I wouldn't put in the "intrinsic evil" category. I do understand your point.
Many pro-lifers are taking a battle-by-battle approach to the war on the unborn, rather than try to risk everything in one great battle. This makes sense because of our human weakness and less-than-desirable faith.

I wish you the best in your endeavors and your idealism is to be admired.

May God be with you,
Fr. Deacon Paul

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Let us not forget that McCain supports embryonic stem cell research; the Catholic bishops have also clearly stated this to be an intrinsic evil. This is not a position a pro-life candidate holds.

Also remember McCain's very vocal leadership of the "Gang of 14" who blocked some real pro-life judicial candidates.

McCain in the Washington Post, 1999:
Quote
But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”

Not the words of a pro-life candidate nor someone who even has a basic understanding of life issues.

The so-called "battle to battle" approach has only ended in more compromise and failure to elect truly strong pro-life candidates. A case in point is Fr. Deacon's home state - he should well remember well when considering the fable of the "culture of life" as it relates to the Republican Party with the not-so-distant primary in his own state involving Senator Spector and Pat Toomey. McCain also supported Spector (as did Santorum).

John - in the case of this election I am sympathetic to your positions, as both candidates have endorsed positions that have been clearly stated as intrinsically evil by Catholic bishops. There can be no "proprtionality" between intrinsic evils.

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I can agree with Father Deacon Diak that Senator McCain is not 100% pro-life. On embryonic stem cells he is wrong and the position he holds is not pro-life. However, one compares his position on embryonic stem cell research with that of his opponent, Senator Obama. McCain does not support cloning for the purposes of research while Obama does. So there is a difference here. If both were pro-life on abortion, and disagreed on this issue then Senator McCain would still be the candidate closer to our beliefs (the statement by the USCCB discusses such cases). But one cannot speak of Senator McCain’s failure on embryonic stem cell research while not mentioning at all Senator Obama’s support for any and all types of killing from conception to past live birth (infanticide). Any killing of the innocent from conception to natural death is an intrinsic evil. If one decides not to see a difference between the two on the issue of embryonic stem cell research then one still must see that Obama is not an acceptable choice because of abortion. One may, of course, vote for a third party candidate. But since none will win it is very acceptable and responsible to vote for the candidate who will best further the cause of life, even if imperfectly.

I would be interested to see more information from the Washington Post article Diak quoted. The Post is one of my local newspapers and I have long ago stopped believing anything they publish. If one read the Post’s coverage of the Biden and Pelosi tangle with the bishops in September one would walk away thinking that it was perfectly ok with the pope to be Catholic and support abortion rights. The Post says a lot of things that are not accurate. National Right to Life indicates McCain is strongly pro-life on abortion, as does Priests for Life. The two major abortion rights groups give him a 0% rating.

Will McCain be perfect? Almost definitely not. But compared to the alternative, Senator Obama, he is far, far closer to us.

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I agree with the Administrator. McCain's platform is flawed but it is better than the alternative.

A 3rd party vote is basically a vote for Obama (by default). If there was any chance of a third party victory, I would vote for Charles Baldwin, Independent. See http://www.votesmart.org/npat.php?can_id=53051

I love his platform, which is a carbon copy of Ron Paul's (who is not running). I suggest voting for him only as an alternative for Obama; please, for the defense of a favorable Supreme Court, vote for McCain and pray that he will not hinder the growing pro-life movement.

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vote for McCain and pray that he will not hinder the growing pro-life movement.


Any counsel suggesting support of a candidate who himself stands for what Catholic bishops have stated as an intrinsic evil, and thus suggesting a potential compromise of conscience is not appropriate or sensible.

All we can do as clergy is to outline the truth of both's positions (both are in opposition to Catholic teaching on one or more issues) and leave it to the discernment of each soul.

Personally I cannot and will not vote for either major party candidate based on my own discernment, faith, and understanding of objective truth. I will also not suggest, coerce, or counsel anyone to do anything other than look at EVERY candidate seriously and strongly in the light of what the Church teaches us, consider their past statements, deeds, and accomplishments in comparison with what they are "selling" in the last few weeks of the election, and act accordingly to conscience.

Quote
A 3rd party vote is basically a vote for Obama (by default).


This is absolutely not true - anyone could easily say some such nonesense and could easily turn this around as "basically a vote for McCain" if he should happen to win. You vote for the person. That is how it works. A vote for that person is a vote for that person, and not anyone else. The major parties have been spreading that tripe since Teddy Rooosevelt ran as an independent.

No vote cast in good conscience is ever wasted. A dying man on a Cross with 11 scattered and frightened Apostles was certainly not seen as a "major party" of the time.

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I disagree with my brother, Father Deacon Diak.

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From “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States”
36. When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.

37. In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions. These decisions should take into account a candidate’s commitments, character, integrity, and ability to influence a given issue. In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.

When there is no perfect candidate one may certainly vote for a third party or not vote at all. A voter may also decide to actively support a flawed candidate (in this example, on life issues) so that an even more seriously flawed candidate might not win the election. There is nothing inappropriate or insensible about it. Indeed, it can be very appropriate and sensible to support a candidate who is imperfect and supports much of our agenda over a candidate who opposes all of our agenda (on life issues).

Christians do have an obligation to be part of the political process and to promote candidates who hold our values. For this election we can certainly choose the imperfect candidate who is closest to us. For future elections we must work to promote candidates who hold our values at all levels of government (local, state and federal) so that that the pool of candidates who hold our values grows and our choices become better.

A vote a for third party candidate can not be equated with a purposeful vote for the more flawed candidate, but the effect can be to put the more flawed candidate in office. That is certainly something to consider.

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And I likewise disagree with our esteemed Admin. Deacon Paul's comment went beyond what is given to us by our Church as a guideline for an informed conscience (and I have myself attempted to adhere to these two precepts throughout this discussion).

My issue with what is not "sensible" is a seemingly passionate suggestion by Catholic clergy of one candidate when that candidate stands for something that Catholic bishops have declared to be an intrinsic evil. Saying you will or will not vote for someone is one thing; to have a passionate plea for others to do as you do is something different.

A review of Deacon Paul's statement
Quote
please, for the defense of a favorable Supreme Court, vote for McCain and pray that he will not hinder the growing pro-life movement.
is far beyond sensible counsel to avail to one's informed conscience, not a position the Church would ever take publically in such a partisan manner, nor, I posit, one any Catholic clergy should be giving in this sort of manner.

Look at all of the candidates in all aspects of their record, inform your conscience, pray and vote accordingly.

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Originally Posted by Diak

Look at all of the candidates in all aspects of their record, inform your conscience, pray and vote accordingly.


Father Deacon Diak,

This seems to me to be a subtle form of relativism. I remember seeing Michael J. Fox in an interview a couple of years ago and he said that he had prayerfully come to the conclusion that embryonic stem cell research is okay and if people came to the opposite conclusion, then that was okay too. That is, of course, relativism in it's fullest form.

Most likely I'm misinterpreting what you wrote, but it struck me as a relative statement.

In Christ,
Aaron

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[quote=Paul B

Don't get me wrong, contraception is wrong because it artificially prevents conception, but it doesn't kill a conceived person.
Fr Deacon Paul [/quote]

In fact, some methods of artificial contraception can be abortifacient. The birth control pill can cause the wall of the uterus to harden, and reject a fertilized embryo, causing it to die-a very early abortion. The IUD is also abortifacient.

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I have tried to avoid this thread, but I'll now give in to temptation. I respect those who choose third party candidates who stand no real chance of winning but they support them anyway because their consciences would be offended by voting for either major party candidate. On the other hand, I also respect those who choose whichever major party candidate they believe to be the least flawed.

In my opinion, voting has become a rather unpleasant duty for Christians. Any choice is problematic in some way or another. I believe that the current state of affairs calls for us to be understanding and charitable with each other with respect to voting, realizing that different Christians will reach different conclusions. However, we all ought to be able to agree to pray for the following: for God to guide all of us as we vote, for God to guide all who hold office that they might act in accordance with God's will, for God to convert our culture, and especially, for the coming of God's kingdom and the fulfillment of God's will.

In the peace of Christ,

Ryan

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