The pictures speak for themselves

The pictures speak for themselves

The San Francisco Chronicle has a photo gallery from the West Coast Walk for Life this past week. Twelve thousand pro-lifers showed up to protest the Roe v. Wade decision and demonstrate in favor of life. A few thousand counter-protesters in one of the most liberal cities in America showed up too. Guess who got the most pictures? Still, the photos are illustrative and it may be that the pro-abortion wackos are more worthy of illustration. after all, most pro-lifers are simple everyday folk, middle-class moms and dads. On the other side are an array of gay and lesbian groups (because they get pregnant?), anti-war groups (shouldn’t they be against violence done to children?) and the usual assortment of left-wing wacko anarchists and conspiracy theorists.

Maya Jones, a volunteer with Not in Our Name, a protest group, said, “We’re here today because abortion is a right, not a choice. As we come up against this Christian fascism that is condoned by our government, it is more important than ever for people to come into the streets and take a stand.’‘

Yeah, look at all the power we Christian fascists have. We’ve stopped gay marriage; removed all the smut from TV, movies, and the Internet; ended abortion … Oh yeah. But such delusions are all they have. In order to effectively hate us, they must turn us into the monsters we are not. We can’t possibly be normal bread-and-butter middle-class Americans, doing our daily work and raising our kids the best we can. No, we must be secretly planning to strip everyone of their civil rights and force them to be Christians at the point of a gun. So sad.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I participated on the walk and as I commented at another blog, the counter protesters were an interesting, angry and vile bunch. Wonder why the Chronicle did not show a photo of the guy with the “F—- the unborn” sign.

    As far as the Walk for lifers being fascists, we weren’t the ones attempting to suppress free speech or one’s right to assembly. Several of the counter bunch were those anarchist types who feel compelled to were a bandana across their faces…like how the KKK wear hoods.

    Yes, we were the ignorant, sheep listening to the Church telling us how to think and we had no right to express our viewpoint (“why don’t you leave our city and go back to the 13th century were you came from”).

    Progressives…so thoughtful, enlightened and intelligent…“free speech for thee, but none for me.”


  • It *is* a shame that so many anti-war groups support abortion.  But isn’t it also a shame that so many pro-life groups support nationalistic warfare, even against the pleas of their Bishops and Pope?

    The Consistent Life ethic group walked in the pro-life march this weekend – they believe all life is sacred, that all violence is (to use John Paul the Great’s words), “a lie.”  The Catholic Worker was also there, another anti-war group that is also full of people against abortion.  It is possible to be against both war and abortion.

    Yet it is hard to find them, I admit.  smile

  • While the Church’s teaching on abortion is a matter of doctrine requiring strict obedience, the teaching on just war allows for prudential decisionmaking on the applications of the principles for just war. While giving superior weight to what the Pope says on the matter, his declarations on the justice of a particular war are not infallible.

    Likewise, I wouldn’t characterize the War on Terror and the campaign in Iraq as “nationalistic warfare.” But that’s getting into a tangential discussion not related to this thread.

  • I don’t want to get in a tangent about war and so on, but I would like to talk about this idea that I keep coming across.

    The idea:  we don’t always have to listen to our Pope and Bishops.

    Or more specifically, we don’t *have* to listen to the Pope unless he speaks “ex cathedra,” or (and this is a new part to this argument), unless the Church has been teaching it for so long that it might as well be “ex cathedra”… but isn’t. 

    I. don’t. buy. it. 

    It’s too dangerous of a road to travel upon.  Once we start nitpicking Church teachings, we begin to question everything:  contraception, the death penalty, re-marriage, sunday mass, women priests, the sacraments (real presence, confession), abortion, war, the just wage, and on and on. 

    I mean, realistically, how many of us actually trust our Pope and Bishops on *all* those issues?  I’d bet that 90% of those who disagree with contraception and abortion approve of the war and the death penalty, and that 90% of those who disagree with the war and the death penalty approve of contraception and abortion. 


    I suspect political ideology.

    I’d bet that most people’s difference with the Church’s teachings are founded upon their political ideology, and not because they are so devoted to the Church that they know when they can and cannot dissent from its teachings.

    I should say that again.

    Many Catholics, if not most, trust their politics before their Pope – not because they have listened so closely to their Pope that they realize he has been saying, “you don’t really have to listen to me,” but because they’ve listened so closely to their politics that they’ve accepted its message: “you don’t really have to listen to your Pope.”

    Have we become so devout to our Church that we no longer have to listen to its teachings?

    Am I completely wrong here?

    I maintain that most american Catholics are *not* forming their consciences based upon the teachings of their Pope and Bishop.  They are listening to the world of politics and mass media.  They have been deceived by a world of materialism and violence, a world that says, “Trust yourself: trust yourself in wealth, trust yourself in violence.”

    But lets say I’m completely wrong.

    It doesn’t really change the fact that millions of Americans think they know better than a saint.  It doesn’t change the fact that millions of Catholics think they have better prudential judgment than a guy who is God’s leader on earth.

    The American Church is falling apart.  The Bishops are under attack and have stopped speaking.  And why not?  No one listens to them, not conservatives, not liberals, nobody.  I don’t even listen!  wink

    But the day that we start listening, *truly* listening to the succesors of the Apostles, (even when we feel we don’t have to!  even when *I* feel that I don’t have to!), is the day the Church will find its way again.  That will be the day abortion ends.  That will be the day families begin again.  That will be the day we finally find peace – in our hearts, and in our homes.

    God Bless, and thanks for the great website!

  • You’ve attributed something to me that I did not say:

    Or more specifically, we don’t *have* to listen to the Pope unless he speaks “ex cathedra,” or (and this is a new part to this argument), unless the Church has been teaching it for so long that it might as well be “ex cathedra”… but isn’t.

    I didn’t say that we don’t have to listen to them unless they speak ex cathedra. I said that the Church’s teaching sometimes lays out principles that we are then to apply prudentially. The Catechism itself says that it’s up to legitimate authorities to decide whether just war principles apply to particuolar circumstances.

    We make other prudential judgments as well. The Church lays out principles regarding matters that fall in the political sphere, but does not tell us which candidate to vote for.

    Now the pope or a bishop may have something to say in those matters, and we’re obligated to take them into account, but when a prudential decision is allowed, then we do our best to do what is right.

    Your assumptions about political ideology are just that: assumptions. I would bet that you’re wrong about them. There, it’s easy to do isn’t it. Provide date and facts, not assumptions.

    I can just as easily say that people’s decisions are not based on political ideology; that 90 percent of people who support the war and are against abortion and contraception are also opposed to the death penalty. Of course if I did say that, you would be well within your rights to demand proof for my claim. I can’t because I haven’t surveyed people. Have you?

    You base your magic solution for the problems of the Church on a foundation of assumptions and purported claims. I would suggest you build on facts and hard data.


    My friend, here is your data!  It’s a little old, but it’s the best I can do.  smile

    Basically, the data shows that the majority of Catholics dissent from their Church’s teachings, and that they split the vote on the last presidential election.

    As a person who’s active in both pro-life and anti-war work, I’ve firsthand knowledge of the kinds of people involved in both. Great people.  But they each dissent from the Church in their own way.  And it comes across, to me, as politically motivated.

    And then there is common sense.  How many people do you know who followed the Pope’s teaching on both contraception and the Iraqi war – two opposite ends of the spectrum in the political world?  There’s me.  And you?  And who else?  smile

    I’ve only ever seen a handful of people who followed the Pope on contraception (pro-life issues) and the Iraqi war (anti-violence issues).

    So I ask again – why? 

    If they aren’t listening to the Bishops and Pope (which the data shows), if they are split evenly between republican and democrat, my conclusion is that they are just like any other American – influenced mainly by politics and mass media.

    And I think if we examine our own lives, we’ll see how true that is.  That we listen more to radio-talk show hosts and TV talking heads more than we listen to our Bishop and Pope.  Or that we listen more to The Nation or The Weekly Standard or the New York Times or some other secular data source, more than we listen to the Gospels. 

    We can ask ourselves – how often do we spend listening to one group or the other?  That is probably a pretty good indication of who we are listening to (literally).

    The phrase “Prudential judgment”, (as I’ve seen it used in American political rationalizations) is a nice way of saying, “No, thank you, I’m not interested in your guidance as the Vicar of Christ.” 

    If the Pope and Bishops didn’t want us listening to them, they wouldn’t open their lips.  But that is, as you point out, just my assumption.

    I have to clean my house.  It’s been fun.  I look forward to seeing your data.  Firsthand experience and common sense works for me, too.  Though you might disagree!  wink

    God Bless and thanks for the great site!

  • Firsthand experience is anecdotal at best. It only applies to the people you meet. You can’t say it applies in general.

    As for the other poll, it doesn’t at all support your conclusions. I think I can be an authority on the intepretation of that particular survey.

    And you just don’t understand the difference between two different kinds of teaching. What the pope teaches on contraception is not binding on the conscience in the same way that his public opinions on the Iraq War are.

    You can twist it all you want, but prudential judgment is right there in the Catechism and throughout Catholic teaching. Prudential judgment means that in certain cases the application of moral norms depends on the circumstances encountered. The moral norm is that you shouldn’t kill someone else, but if the particular case involved self-defense or the defense of innocents then a prudential judgment is involved. You can’t always ask for a timeout so you can call your bishop or the Pope and ask what to do or present your case in detail.

    And I think if we examine our own lives, we’ll see how true that is.  That we listen more to radio-talk show hosts and TV talking heads more than we listen to our Bishop and Pope.  Or that we listen more to The Nation or The Weekly Standard or the New York Times or some other secular data source, more than we listen to the Gospels.

    You can’t speak for others. That’s lazy rhetoric. You can only speak for yourself. I don’t listen more to radio talk show hosts or TV talking heads more than the Pope. Speak for yourself.

  • Well, thank God, we got that in common.  smile

    I suppose the Pope’s new encyclical touches on all of this a little.  Our Church leaders want to help form our conscience, not tell us what to do.  They teach us about the truths of the faith, and we’re supposed to make prudential judgments and put that faith into action.  They don’t want to meddle in politics – telling us who to vote for or who to invade (or not invade).

    So I do agree with you, to an extent.

    Benedict (then Cardinal Ratzinger) said the same thing when discussing John Paul II’s stance on the war:

    “The pope [John Paul II] expressed his thought with great clarity, not only as his individual thought but as the thought of a man who is knowledgeable in the highest functions of the Catholic Church. Of course, he did not impose this position as doctrine of the Church but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by faith. The Holy Father’s judgment is also convincing from a rational point of view: There was not sufficient reasons to unleash a war in Iraq.”

    The Pope and future Pope didn’t *make* us trust their guidance.  They didn’t *make* us listen.  They didn’t reach into our conscience and bind it. 

    But they did everything they could to convince us that they were telling the truth.  They did everything they could to form our conscience without beating us over the head with a bat. 

    Okay, maybe a foam bat.  smile

    But we didn’t listen, and our only response was (basically), “We respect you, but that’s just your opinion.”

    It’s like saying, “whats the minimum I need to do to be saved?”  Well…  maybe you are right about “prudential judgment”, but come on…  deep down, this all indicates that something is very wrong with the American Church. 

    The polls show that the majority dissent on almost all the fundamentals of faith.  The Bishops are weakened and voiceless and grappling with the abuse scandal.  And the rest of us are using our great intellects and knowledge to claim that “prudential judgment” trumps trusting the Vicar of Christ and the successors of the Apostles.

    I do listen to the Pope, and my prudential judgment was to follow his teaching.  I left the military as a conscientious objector, risking prison in the process.  I wouldn’t fight in a war that my leader considered unjust.

    But now my friends are in Iraq, fighting and dying because they were told that the Pope was just expressing his opinion, and that it was our “christian duty” to trust our president and to wage war if he ordered us to do so. 

    Time is running out for us. 

    When the next war occurs, I hope we can remember all of this.  We’ll either be on the side that says, “trust your Pope, even if he doesn’t make you,” or we’ll be on the side that says, “trust your President, even if the Pope’s opinion is different.  He’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t know anything about this.”

    God Bless, and have a great weekend!