Monday, July 11, 2016

WHAT ABOUT POPE BENEDICT'S COMPROMISE ON AD ORIENTEM, USING THE CRUCIFIX AS THE AD ORIENTEM POINT OF REFERENCE


When we look to Calvary, symbolically or literally, we are looking east to Jerusalem, to the eternal city come down from heaven.

Thus Pope Benedict's marvelous compromise on celebrating the Mass toward the symbolic east was captured by exactly what he restored to the altars where he celebrated Mass facing the congregation, the crucifix was restored to its central location facing the celebrant. This has become known as the Benedictine altar arrangement.

And yes, Pope Francis has maintained this tradition of our Emeritus Holy Father--no contradiction here.

So rather than yank altars around in a Church today where there is clearly a divisiveness about ad orientem and a desire to squash the form of it with the priest and people facing the same direction, we should once again look to Pope Benedict's compromise which prevents yanking things around but simply places the crucifix dead center as the point of reference for the ad orientem celebration of the Mass.

58 comments:

Michael said...

But Father, note that Pope Benedict only ever intended the "crucifix as point of reference" practice to be temporary, until catechesis could be given and people adequately prepared. The idea was, eventually, for a shift to genuine ad orientem. The "versus populum crucifix" arrangement can't last forever.

Michael said...

And honestly, I think priests would care more about this on an ideological level than the people in the pews. After a while, the people would likely adjust, as they have to every other change, while the priests who hate the change would remain vocal about it and use "the people" as an excuse, long after it's been solidly established. That's my thought, anyway!

TJM said...

Michael, you are correct. I recall that my pastor used the sex abuse scandals as a reason for delaying a return to kneeling during the consecration.Fortunately our bishop didn't let him get away with that.My pastor is an Obama drooler,so one shouldn't be surprised by his conduct

Anonymous said...

Looks odd to have the celebrant facing the people with a crucifix in front of him, and then one behind him. At my parish, if we were to do ad orientum, the celebrant would be facing several chairs (where he and the deacon usually sit, as if on a throne). Would look awkward...it does seem odd though that we kneel for the consecration but not to receive communion---inconsistent.

In some more traditional Episcopal parishes where the altar has not been moved to the front, the celebrant for the liturgy of the word usually presides from the side (next to choir stall upfront), leading the prayers---that way we are all focused on the altar. At the time of the liturgy of the Eucharist, he (or she) proceeds to the altar. Sometimes too you will see (in that denomination) the celebrant wearing the alb and stole for the liturgy of the word (to emphasize the different parts of the Mass), and then put on the chasuble for the liturgy of the Eucharist.





Anonymous said...

TJM Sir what is an "Obama drooler"? Does he jump and jive and scream in the aisle?

John Nolan said...

At Santa Marta Pope Francis keeps to the silly Continental practice of two stubby candles at one end and a vase of flowers at the other - an altar arrangement which might appeal to a suburban housewife with no interest in liturgy.

Only where Guido Marini has influence do we have the so-called Benedictine arrangement.

TJM said...

anonymous, an Obama drooler is a code word for a fake catholic priest who loves the Abortion Party and its evil head rather than Jesus and His Church

Anonymous said...

Better an "Obama Drooler" than a "TJM Drooler."

A TJM Drooler is, of course, a fake Catholic who thinks his off the wall commentary is clever and his bizarre opinions are worth considering.

Jan said...

Anonymous 7.56, I think TJM sums it up well that those who support Obama and the Democrats also support abortion and homosexual 'marriage', thus excluding themselves from the Church. No one can vote or support proponents of abortion and Obama and his would-be successor Hillary are certainly that. Every Catholic worth their salt knows that.

TJM said...

Jan, thanks for your support and clear thinking. I will start referring to Anonymous as "Anonymous Drooler" because he obviously drools over and feeds on the left-wing pablum fed to him by a corrupt, national press. Anonymous Drooler is obviously not properly formed in the Catholic Faith, another Vatican Disaster II casualty.

Anonymous said...

At any Mass I have attended where a crucifix is placed on the altar, the priest rarely, if ever, looks at it. He is too engrossed with reading the Missal to look at the crucifix.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jan there are more issues than the two you stated.
I will not let the Catholic Church based on two or three issues tell me how to vote.
That was one of the reasons people came to America. They wanted to be Free.
I totally agree with you on the reasons you stated I honestly do but there are other serious issues.
If Hilary is not your new president we are in some deep deep serious trouble. I fear for the USA.
Yes the problems you state are horrible but there are others that could be the end of the world.
And.... Im educated and I am not kidding. You have to look at the entire picture. You just have to.
I know many many many people who are Catholic that Voted for Obama and who will vote for Hilary.
I don't care to discuss this any more. This is a free country. You need to be concerned about the other side
who allow guns that can slaughter children in a school. Children die for more reasons than abortion. And
President Obama has BEGGED this country to just have a vote on these guns. No sir... the church won't tell my soul
how to vote on this one. You should be a teacher when we have a pretend lock down and see the terror in their eyes. And President Obama BEGGED them to help.

Anonymous said...

And Jan please do not respond to me. I have had the last of this blog because of a comment from TJm.
I will not be insulted as a Catholic based on my political beliefs. After reading this blog I am disgusted.
Name calling, can't agree on simple questions, racists, women haters, creepy cemetery picnic blogs, calling priests the devil, Calling priests gay, insulting People. You would never know that this was to be a Christian Blog.
Ive shown this to my own priest.... he told me not to ever read this stuff again. You all are insulting to anyone who comes here for answers. You all know it all. You hate the Pope, The president, any other faith, its sinful to even have a service with the Jews, Gays are going to hell, And you dare to tell me how to vote. This blog would be the worst place for a person seeking information to learn about the Catholic Faith. It is a place of hatred for any others. You might also want to read another blog called Cemetery Picnic. Read the racists remarks there from one of the posters here that even taught RCIA classes. Read what he and Gene think on that blog about the poor and health coverage. What Evil behaviors. TJM takes the cake calling people names like a child.
How dare people on this blog play God and tell others to go to Confession. Father K was the only kind person here and he was constantly mocked and insulted. And those posts were allowed. I am a Catholic I am not God. I would never judge human beings the way you people do on this site. I am so Glad that I no longer live in Macon where there is a chance to run into any of the posters here who insult and then march up to communion with a smile on their face. I have tho found a Good Catholic Church and Guess what...... the priest totally agrees with Father K whom you all hate.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous (12:28)

I don't always agree with Jan but she makes her points in a rational way, as does everyone else on this blog. Your reaction is irrational, intemperate, hysterical, solipsistic, tendentious and possibly libellous.

I suggest you lie down in a darkened room with a cold compress on your forehead until such time as you are able to think clearly. If that doesn't work, seek professional help. I'm told that American women visit their therapist with the same regularity as they visit their hairdresser or manicurist.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for taking the time to read those posts, and to describe your reaction to them. Charitable conversations, following the classical rules of logic and rhetoric, are essential for Catholics as we move forward. I'm puzzled by your charges of racism, but I appreciate your efforts to describe these charges.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

John Nolan shares a perception about American women that I'm certain is erroneous. I could denounce him for his misconception, or slander the reverend author of this blog for publishing the misconception, or I could state clearly why I believe the perception is false, and even add that the misconception disturbs my peace of mind. The last approach seems best to me, and I recommend it to you for use in related matters.

Anonymous said...

John at 12:00 And still the name calling continues. And women are insulted.
Apparently in England if a woman expresses her opinion she must have mental problems.
Not so in America. All of us Male and Female Catholic and Non Catholics have Freedom of speech.

Flavius Hesychius said...

I don't see any name-calling in that 12:00 post. I see your posted response being called 'irrational, intemperate, hysterical, solipsistic, tendentious and possibly libellous', so unless we are part of a Kafka novel, you're not the one being called those adjectives.

Please calm down.

Anonymous said...

Dialogue thank you from the bottom of my heart for being kind to me.
I worried all day that maybe I should just not have expressed my opinions.
My "race" comment was based on the fact that one poster has called our president a terrible racial name and that poster even taught RCIA classes. He has a right to his opinion of the President but he is our President and deserves respect.
I am a faithful Catholic and Love God. It just hurt to be called "fake Catholic" Obama Drooler etc... just because I voted for a man who tried to support children and their families with a new gun law after Sandy Hook. Abortion is horrible horrible. But so is the opinion of the other side that people can "choose to buy weapons that kill children" and won't even allow a vote. I searched my heart before I voted. I voted for a person I thought could do something about military guns in the hands of people who also Murder Abortion is murder and so was the killings at Sandy Hook. Im a teacher I stood up of the children I see every day. The people here would not even listen... they called me a Fake Catholic.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Indeed. There is a tradition, of apostolic origin, of praying for the head of state, a tradition which Christians have followed faithfully even in times of persecution. So, the head of state deserves the respect of Catholics, even if that respect is accompanied by constructive criticism.

TJM said...

abortion is an intrinsic evil and no Catholic has the latitude to dispense with their obligation to oppose and not vote for a candidate who supports abortion on demand, even if the candidate is black. Under the Obama regime blacks have suffered the worst economically, we have record numbers of Americans on food stamps and public assistance, and the lowest labor participation rate since the Jimmy Carter years. While black on black killings in Chicago are rampant, the president continues his racially motivated and divisive strategy of focusing solely on gun deaths resulting from whites on blacks. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation which undercuts the political left's arguments on gun control. In Nice a truck was the instrument of death, so knock it off with the left-wing rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I can FEEL the holiness in the comments posted by Dialogue. I hope he is a priest.
What a wonderful Holy man to speak for the church.

Anonymous said...

The Pope himself has advised for people who are Christian not to support Gun Manufactures.
I will not support a candidate who believes in The right to buy military weapons that are even
able to kill police officers with bullet proof vests. My small vote cannot do anything about
people who drive trucks to kill. Catholics have to search their hearts and form a political conscious.
TJM you vote your way and I will vote my way. God speaks to our hearts differently. No vote is
for the perfect candidate because there is not one such person. And again name calling "left wing rhetoric"
There cannot be one post from TJM without something hurtful..... "knock it off" what an insulting statement.
Did you read Dialogue's comments. Do you pray for the President?

Anonymous said...

President Obama supports the poor. The Pope states that Heaven's door is closed to those who do not help the poor.
President Obama does not build walls he builds bridges. President Obama would not insist that many immigrants should be expelled from this country. Most of those immigrants are Mexican Catholics that attend mass every week.
President Obama is a faithful husband raising educated children. He has had no scandal.
President Obama is a Harvard Graduate and is Educated and represents this country with dignity when he speaks with other leaders of the world.
President Obama is calm, never have you heard him use profanity or say things in public that a mother would not want her children to hear.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous

As well as a sense of proportion, you might also try to develop a sense of humour. There was a scene in a film where a somewhat naïf Englishman (probably played by Hugh Grant) was at a smart New York party and a woman casually made a remark about her therapist. The poor chap, assuming she had some psychiatric disorder, was embarrassed until another woman explained that every woman in NY had a therapist.

In England we have had a woman as Head of State since 1952 and in the last few days have plumped for a woman Prime Minister for the second time in our history. You have yet to do so, and your only likely candidate turns out to be a crook. Since her opponent is a buffoon, I suspect she is home and dry.

And you, like us, have had your freedom of speech whittled away in the name of political correctness, irrespective of your sex.

Anonymous said...

Dialogue: It was not my intent to slander the rev. author of this blog. I know him as a educated, wonderful priest. My intent was to question the slander statements that have been made towards the President of The United States and those who have voted for him. I respect Fr. McDonald because he allows different opinions to be posted. I don't believe he wants his public blog to be just for members of the SSPX or the all male "Catholic Boys Club". The slander in my opinion has been the insulting comments here concerning Holy Priests and that they are not to be trusted or believed unless of coarse the poster happens to like that Priest. I do tho question when posters are allowed as they were several threads back to insult Priests of Different Religions by calling their church a "joke" and by calling their priests Gay and Lesbian. I do question when a person calls someone a fake catholic and an Obama Drooler just because they have very different opinion and to me that is slander. The slander that has been posted on this sight is towards The President, Those that voted for him and were led to disclose this, Father K, And Catholic priests because a seeker was told a priest could not be trusted or believed. Another Seeker several posts back was even told a priest in question was even representing the Devil "Even the Devil knows Scripture" To me calling a Catholic Priest the Devil is the true meaning of slander. But I will say. Father McDonald if I hurt your feelings about what you post here that honestly was not my intent. I have great respect for you sir.

Anonymous said...

John: Calling our Candidates Crooks and buffoons sounds like slander to me.

Anonymous said...

Flavius: The English Gentleman told me to seek professional help simply because I expressed an opinion differently from his. He used insulting adjectives to describe my posts. His opinion. But others do not all agree with him. And yet we do not call his opinions the adjectives he used for mine.
He insists now since others have commented that he was only "joking" Now it is myself who does not have a sense of humor.
He calls our Presidential Candidates Crooks and Buffoons. I guess maybe I do not understand what is the meaning of "name calling" To me that sounds like name calling. I think we just need to get back to discussing the Catholic Faith instead of accusing someone of slander when they themselves call Presidential Candidates what he called them.

Anonymous said...

I wish Fr. McDonald would write something about how a Catholic should make up their minds how to vote.
Maybe some Catholic Guidelines.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD --- Looks like you picked up a troll....

Anonymous 2 said...

TJM states that “abortion is an intrinsic evil and no Catholic has the latitude to dispense with their obligation to oppose and not vote for a candidate who supports abortion on demand, even if the candidate is black.”

This is incorrect and the guidance given by the Church is otherwise. To be sure, the premise that abortion is an intrinsic evil is indeed correct but the stated conclusion about voting does not necessarily follow. If it did, all that a candidate would have to do to secure the vote of a Catholic who chooses to vote would be to publicly oppose abortion, even cynically (but of course this never happens, right?).

No, the Church credits Catholics with more intelligence than this. The necessary guidance is contained in the USCCB document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

Abortion itself must always be opposed but this does not mean that one must always oppose, and never vote for, a candidate who supports abortion. Thus the document states:

“Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.


35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental mora evil.


36. When all candidates hold a position that promotes an intrinsically evil act, 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 policies promoting 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.


38. It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation. . . .”


The introductory video in the link is also very helpful.







Anonymous said...

Several members of Our Bible Study group read and post on this blog. Sometimes our entire Bible Study Group reads and discusses this blog. We meet several times a week in a private home. We have all learned so much.
We all agree that Fr. McDonald should give us some instruction on the Catholic way
of forming an opinion when you vote. We would love that. Since Father McDonald is no longer in Macon
maybe he can help us from "afar"

Anonymous said...

Anonymus 2 Thank you so much for that information .
Wow that is exactly what we wanted to learn about.
Thank You.

TJM said...

Anonymous 2, dead wrong. Read Catholics in Public Life promulgated by St.John Paul II. Some oily American prelates may try and confuse the laity on this issue but they are corrupt, more interested in maintaining tax exempt status than speaking truth to power. St.John Paul II even called them out on that during one of the American bishops ad limina to Rome.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that many of you had strong Catholic Mothers and Fathers. (I know Fr. McDonald did) I would bet that most of our priests on this blog had strong Catholic Parents as well. If you were lucky to have had those wonderful parents more than likely they would have made sure that you were enrolled in a school for Catholic children (so many children including us converts were not that lucky) I would imagine that in that Wonderful Catholic School that most of your teachers Loved her students as much as she loved the academic role she played. Your parents unlike many parents today probably supported the teacher and had a great respect for them. If your teacher thought that a vote for a candidate would help protect the safety of her students I see no reason why that teacher would not do that in a heartbeat. If her one vote could at least help a little to stop the insanity of guns in this country. She would more than likely have the support of your parents because they would know the teacher loved you almost as much as your parents did. For during the school day your parents trusted your safety and education to that school and teacher. Your parents expected that teacher and school to protect their most precious gift the child that God sent them to raise. A catholic teacher should never feel condemmed by God because she voted for perhaps a candidate who could help protect children. After a family and maybe a Priest a teacher loves your children almost as much as you do. It is an honor to work with them every day.

Marc said...

Anonymous at 12:42, I'm fairly certain that I'm the only SSPX attendee who posts here. So these comments are certainly not limited to SSPXers or men (since Jan, a prominent feature of the comments is a woman, as are Jenny and Carol and many other posters).

A2, the thing you quoted says what TJM said. We don't have candidates who are against abortion in a Catholic way, so we can opt to vote for the one who'll do less harm in that regard. None of our options are good options, especially this time around.

Gene said...

Yep, you have definitely got an Obama drooling, Leftist troll. You need to ban him now or he will do his best to wreck your blog.

Anonymous said...

Gene I am not a leftist troll. I am a member of the Catholic Church.
Father McDonald was my priest. I have no intention of wrecking
Father McDonald's blog. We are simply Catholics who are asking questions.
We have different views from you maybe but Father does not post only one
view on his blog. Without questions how will people learn?

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 1:13

I didn't advance any opinions for you to take issue with; I merely commented negatively on your rant which was directed firstly at Jan and then widened to include the other commentators on this blog. After reading your latest effort (which fully justifies my initial analysis) I am tempted to add incoherent and ungrammatical to the list of adjectives. Did you say you were a teacher?

From what you write I get the impression that you are one of those people who take a perverse pleasure in being offended, regardless of whether the slights be real or imagined; you even take vicarious offence for others, even politicians who deserve all the brickbats we can hurl at them - it's called public opinion, by the way.

U.S. domestic affairs are not my concern, so I have no problems with Obama. However, the leadership of the free world is everybody's concern, and my appraisal of the current two candidates is shared by most informed commentators over here.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Anonymous,

Are you confused? Check the times at the bottom of the posts. I posted that comment at July 15, 2016 at 9:52 PM. The comment you reference about him calling American politicians crooks was posted AFTER I wrote that comment. Indeed, checking the time signature of that comment, one finds: July 16, 2016 at 10:20 AM. Nearly twelve hours later. Since I do not yet possess the ability to time travel, nor am I clairvoyant, I'm not sure how your response makes any sense.

In fact, if you read my comment, you'd find I specifically reference the July 15, 2016 comment made at 12:00. That comment is devoid of any mention of politicians.

As an aside, he's quite right about Shillary and Drumpf. She is a crook; he is a buffoon. I will not be voting for either of them, and I think the next 4-8 years will be an absolutely terrible time to be an American.

Anonymous 2 said...

TJM:

Thank you for the reference to the document “Catholics in Public Life,” which I have now read. I do not read this document as inconsistent with the USCCB guidance. Indeed, the U.S. Bishops quote from it as helping to shape their guidance. My reading is that the USCCB document elaborates and particularizes the Catholics in Public Life document, which admittedly may require them to engage in some interpretation of that document.

Can you please provide further information on the calling out you mention, preferably with a link to a good report on that episode.



Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous (at 4:19 p.m.):

I am happy to help. As you may imagine, I have struggled with these decisions myself and have found the USCCB guidance very helpful in working through the necessary thought processes. This has been the subject of exchanges on earlier threads over the years.

By posting this information on the USCCB document, however, I by no means wanted to preempt Father McDonald. Therefore, if he thinks that the USCCB document should be clarified, supplemented, or even corrected in some way, I hope he will share these thoughts with us.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 7:49, Sorry, you sure sounded like a Leftist troll...unless I confused you with one of the many other Anonymi who hide their true identity and refuse the courtesy of even providing a suffix so all the rest of us can distinguish among cowards.

John Nolan said...

Could I make a plea to all the anonymous commentators here?
1. At least sign off with a pseudonym so that we know to whom we are replying. At the moment we have to make an educated guess based on an analysis of the style of writing. Since you often address named commentators on this blog, I would have thought this amounted to simple courtesy.
2. Remember that this is a blog primarily concerned with liturgy, although many other issues are also covered. As a result it attracts contributions from people who actually know what they are talking about. Take the trouble to read a comment and endeavour to understand it before firing off a response which usually misses the point.
3. Accept that brevity is the soul of wit and that debating tradition allows for trenchant comment and a certain amount of generalization and stereotyping; it also relies on humour. Rushing to take offence is childish and will only invite further ridicule.
4. This above all: never, ever be sanctimonious or resort to pious platitudes. That insults everyone's intellect and will get you slapped down more quickly than anything else.

Gene said...

John Nolan, Very good, indeed. Your post should be posted in an intro to the blog.

Anonymous said...

On the day of judgment we will not be asked what we have read, but what we have done, neither will we be asked how well we have spoken, by how devoutly we have lived. Where are all the Doctors and learned people who were famous in their day? They are now supplanted by others. In their lifetime they enjoyed fame, but now they are scarcely remembered.
How quickly the glory of this world passes, with its deceptive pleasures. If only their life had been on par with their learning then all their study and reading would have been to a good end. Many there are who care little for a good life in service of God, because they give themselves up to useless pursuits. They prefer to be great and seem educated in this world than to be humble, and therefore their illusions go up in smoke.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 8:36, So, educated people cannot be humble or devout? Is that your point? Or are you just trying to use God to justify your lack of education and you own self-righteousness?

Flavius Hesychius said...

Anonymous at 8h36:

It's funny that humility doesn't seem to prevent death, either.

George said...


Anonymous.@July 17, 2016 at 8:36 PM

Ah yes, Thomas a Kempis "The Imitation of Christ of Christ".

He was a priest so it can said that he had a certain degree of advanced academic education - so it should not be inferrred that he was any-intellectual.

He also wrote "If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him." Let's see...all things. Would that not include intellectual pursuits also? Yes there is vanity there if not tempered with the humility a faith perpective provides.

The motto ascribed to Thomas is "I have sought everywhere for peace, but I have found it not save in nooks and in books."

George said...

I meant to type 8:04 PM:

it should not be inferred that he was anti-intellectual.

George said...

And also it's the "The Imitation of Christ" of course(I don't know how I ended up appending an extra "Of Christ").

Anonymous said...

George at 8:04 Thomas A Kempis is my favorite Priest and Author
I carry the book everywhere.
I did not know about the other book.
I certainly will add that to my collection.
God Bless
Angie

Anonymous said...

George BTW I was not aware of his motto.
That would certainly apply to me as well.
I am a first grade teacher.
I guess Thomas and I just found each other.
Angie

George said...

Angie:

I read somewhere that "imitation of Christ" was one of St. Therese of Lisieux's
favorite books.

Jan said...



Anonymous, July 14, 2016 at 8:05 PM. I have just read your post and I agree with John Nolan that it was quite a rant. Thank you, John for pointing that out. You say there are a number of issues. Well, here is a priest's response to those who would seek to vote for those who uphold abortion:

"SIN TO VOTE FOR PRO-ABORTION POLITICIANS?
Fr. Matthew Habiger, HLI

Can a Catholic in good conscience vote for a politician who has a clear record of supporting abortion? Or is it a sin to vote for a politician who regularly uses his public office to fund or otherwise encourage the killing of unborn children?

I take the position that it is clearly a sin to vote for such a politician. Let us examine the issue. I shall appeal to arguments based on authority and to arguments based upon the consequences of such a vote.

Every Catholic should know that abortion is a gravely serious evil, and as such is never to be supported. In the Vatican's "Declaration on Procured Abortion" (Cardinal Seper, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1974) there is a discussion of "Morality and Law" (#19-23). "Man may never obey a law which is in itself, immoral and such is the case of a law which would admit in principle, the liceity of abortion. Nor can he take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it. Moreover, he may not collaborate in its application. It is, for instance, inadmissible that doctors or nurses should find themselves obligated to cooperate closely in abortions and have to choose between the law of God and their professional situation." (22)

Pope John Paul II in "Evangelium Vitae" states "I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. ... No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself and proclaimed by the Church" (EV 62C).

"The 1917 Code of Canon Law punished abortion with excommunication. The revised canonical legislation continues this tradition when it decrees that a person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic (Latae sententiae) excommunication" (Canon 1398) " The excommunication affects all those who commit this crime with knowledge of the penalty attached and thus includes those accomplices without whose help the crime would not have been committed" (Canon 1329).

"By this sanction the Church makes clear that abortion is a most serious and dangerous crime, thereby encouraging those who commit it to seek without delay the path of conversion. In the Church the purpose of the penalty of excommunication is to make an individual fully aware of the gravity of a certain sin and then to foster genuine conversion and repentance"(EV 62B).

The argument can be made that voting is a very remote form of cooperation in abortion. But is it all that remote? The legislator who votes for abortion is clearly a formal accomplice, giving formal cooperation with abortion. S/he shares both in the intention of the act, and in supplying material support for the act. If I vote for such a candidate, knowing full well that he will help make available public monies for abortion, or continue it decriminalization, then I am aiding him/her."

Any priest who tells you otherwise is simply not an orthodox Catholic priest.

Jan said...

Anonymous 2, in suggesting that it is okay to vote for politicians who support abortions is just simply not stating the orthodox Catholic position.

George said...

Jan:

What Fr. Matthew Habiger, HLI wrote has always been my understanding. There exists a hierarchy of issues and abortion would be at the top. There are those who will bring up other issues, but they are either ones in the realm of prudentiality, where a reasonable and understandable difference can exist as to whatever is decided by the those who are in power, or they are ones which have less of an negative effective impact on society as a whole, which would include the affect on moral attitudes.

Jan said...

Yes, George, I totally agree with your comments. St John Paul II The Great has a very long pontificate. His denunciation of abortion were well known. I doubt that there would be many Catholics of voting age who would not know the Church's position on abortion and I have to say I have heard priests in sermons say it is sinful to vote for those who aid, uphold and vote for abortion laws.

The above quote from Fr Habiger is on EWTN.

Also Hillary's running mate has voted consistently for abortion laws and has been praised by Planned Parenthood:

"Hillary Clinton may have made a fatal strategic miscalculation in naming pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate by sealing faithful, pro-life Catholics’ opposition to her ticket.

The Washington Post rushed to paint Kaine as a “Pope Francis Catholic,” suggesting that the Senator’s mastery of Spanish and pro-immigration stance somehow outweigh the fact that he supports legal abortion-on-demand, which Catholics understand to be the murder of an innocent human child.

In her bid to draw Catholics, Clinton crystallized her radical pro-abortion and pro-Planned Parenthood platform, confirming Catholics’ fears that their deepest-held moral beliefs would receive no hearing from the 2016 Democratic ticket.

Despite his lip service to being “personally opposed” to abortion, Kaine has faithfully toed the party line, consistently voting in favor of abortion rights on the Senate floor, a record that has won him a 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider. Kaine has declared himself to be a “strong supporter of Roe v. Wade,” the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion-on-demand the law of the land.

Planned Parenthood has blasted Pope Francis for his staunch pro-life message, accusing the Pope of hampering “women’s health” and taking “a back seat when it comes to reproductive health and women’s rights."