Fr. Kerry & Pius
"My oath privately between me and God was defined in the Catholic Church by
Pius XXIII and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of
conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices ..."
Thus did John Kerry rebuke fellow Catholics who are demanding that the bishops
sanction him for supporting abortions and homosexual unions.
Katharine Seelye of the New York Times graciously points out that Kerry surely
meant John XXIII, as there was no Pius XXIII. The gaffe does suggest, however,
that Kerry is about as conversant with Catholic doctrine as Cardinal Ratzinger
is with hip-hop.
But the "Pius XXIII" side-splitter is insignificant beside Kerry's claim that
he can both vote for a woman's right to abort her child and to legalize
homosexual unions, and remain faithful to Catholic teaching.
Kerry is wrong, and scandalously wrong. For other Catholics, as untutored as
he, may assume that they, too, can act on Kerry's heretical views and remain
true to Catholic doctrine.
Whose duty is it to correct Kerry and, if need be, sanction him? The duty
belongs to Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston and the conference of U.S.
Catholic bishops. For Kerry is now a candidate for an office where his
decisions on law, funding and Supreme Court nominees may determine whether
countless unborn children live or perish. This one is going to separate the
Cardinal Woolseys from the Thomas Mores.
Nor is this a matter on which Catholics may, in good faith, disagree, like
minimum-wage laws. On taking innocent life, the church has spoken out
repeatedly, consistently, infallibly. As Kenneth Baker, S.J., writes in
Fundamentals of Catholicism:
The Second Vatican Council reiterated the constant tradition of the Church
when it declared in the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, "Life
must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion
and infanticide are abominable crimes."
In his Declaration on Abortion (1974), Pope Paul VI stated, "Respect for human
life is called for from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun
which is neither that of the father or the mother ... Divine law and natural
reason exclude all right to the direct killing of an innocent human being."
John Hardon, S.J., devoted seven pages of his Catholic Catechism to
demonstrating that from the first century A.D., "On the level of morality,
Catholicism has always held that the direct attack on an unborn fetus, at any
time after conception, is a grave sin."
Pope John XXIII, who called Vatican II, wrote: "Human life is sacred; from its
very inception the creative action of God is directly operative. By violating
his laws, the divine majesty is offended, the individuals themselves and
humanity are degraded ..."
On sexual morality, too, Church teaching is consistent and clear.
The Teaching of Christ: The Catholic Catechism for Adults, states: "homosexual
acts ... have throughout the centuries been condemned by the ordinary teaching
of the Catholic Church and by the formal judgments of the magisterium."
Now Kerry may believe as he wishes. What he cannot do is vote for abortions
and to elevate immoral sexual unions to the level of marriage and claim his
votes do not violate Catholic doctrine. In the first case, he is supporting
the deliberate killing of unborn children. In the second, he is sanctioning
what the church teaches to be unnatural, immoral and depraved conduct, and
placing it on a moral and legal plane with marriage, an abomination.
As a Catholic legislator, Kerry's obligation is clear. Pius XI addressed it in
Casti Connubi (On Christian Marriage) in Dec. 1930:
Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty
of public authority ... to defend the lives of the innocent ... among whom we
must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if
the public magistrates ... do not defend them, but by their laws and
ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors and others, let them
remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from
earth to heaven.
But the real problem is not Kerry or his Catholic colleagues like Kennedy,
Dodd and Daschle who vote and, one assumes, believe as he does. The problem
rests with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Many prelates have failed
dismally in their pastoral duty to correct, admonish and sanction our Catholic
lords temporal, even as some failed to protect Catholic children from
Rather than act as a pride of lions defending Catholic truth, they have, with
rare exceptions, behaved like a rabbit warren. Time to get off the lettuce
diet and return to the raw meat of doctrinal truth and episcopal duty to which
they have all been called.
© 2004 Creators
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