Saturday, September 17, 2022



We know there is a problem with illegal immigration on the southern border of the USA. We know too, that the current democrat administration is ignoring all the deaths, abuse and criminals who are entering the USA illegally and not doing their job to prevent it. 

Now Republican governors are fed up and are sending illegal aliens to democrat cities. Out of the millions who have arrived, Washington has received about 9,000, New York about 11,000 and other places fewer than that.

All are sent humanely on nice buses, with clean clothes and food and drink.

But those sent to Martha’s Vineyard, which makes Hilton Head Island look like Paupersville, they were put on a nice jet to bring them there.

The Protestant Episcopal Church is praised for taking care of these 50 people for two days until the elitist government there along with their exotically rich residents made sure to deport them as soon as possible to a military base away from their exclusive island and clubs located there and away from their eyesight. 

Martha’s Vineyard has about 17,000 permanent residents, but it swells to over 200,000 people during the tourist season now ended. Thus there are empty rentals and hotel rooms where these people could have lived until they were found jobs. Also, affordable housing could be built on the island to house them so they can work there. 

Keep in mind, many elitist highly place democrats live on this island, like President and Mrs. Barack Obama. 

Except for Fox, have you heard this kind of sad commentary?


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The immigration problem has been ignored by that last 5 administrations, Republicans and Democrats.

For decades the Bishops of the United States have urged for comprehensive reform, but Republican and Democratic administrations have done little or nothing. "The U.S. Catholic bishops believe that any comprehensive immigration reform bill should contain the following elements: a legalization program that gives migrant workers and their families an opportunity to earn legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship; a new worker visa program that protects the labor rights of both U.S. and foreign workers and gives participants the option to earn permanent residency; reform of the U.S. family-based immigration system to reduce waiting times for family reunification; and restoration of due process protections for immigrants, including asylum-seekers. In the longer term, policies that address the root causes of migration, such as the lack of sustainable development in sending nations, should also be part of the equation." USCCB

For decades Catholics and other Christians have responded to the needs of immigrants, housing and feeding them, providing resettlement assistance, lobbying for their human rights before government bodies.

The immigrants who were taken to Martha's vineyard under false pretenses have been moved to Joint Base Cape Cod, a designated emergency shelter, where the infrastructure exists to care for them appropriately.

"Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt." Exodus 23:9. Governor deSantis seems to have forgotten this Biblical injunction.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I'm worried about your support for a political party that has abortion and infanticide in its description. Catholics should be warned they could incur excommunication for being a part of or supporting any institution that advocates for infanticide, late term and early term abortion as well as euthanasia. All of these in their platform. They are as bad if not worse than the KKK and certainly elements of Nazism in their platform of death to innocent life.

As it concerns the immigrants, illegal as they may be, they were treated well on their flight in a nice jet to Martha's Vineyard and certainly the Episcopal Church did their duty. But you better believe exotically rich members of that church who live there did not want this publicity and did not want long term care of these people on their island. Housing is quite available there as well as jobs. They should have found housing for them and supplemented their rent until they could get green cards and work in the exotic homes and villas there as servants. But as you know, having had a "colored" maid back in the day, that it is one thing for this kind of workforce to work in your home but quite another for the entire workforce to live in your neighborhood. Fortunately that has changed, for the most part, in the south but not with migrants who work in exclusive enclaves like Martha's Vineyard.

Thomas Garrett said...

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King gave an extensive explanation of his distinction between just laws and unjust laws. He noted that a law is unjust if those who legislate such laws don't have to obey them (think "Affordable" Health Care Act). Such laws are unjust if they degrade humans rather than lift them up.

What could be more degrading than to get out of the bus in a beautiful place, only to have the elites who reside their react in horror as they look down their noses at Hispanics wandering their streets and properties. "Where's his leaf blower?"

Martha's Vineyard is the perfect "ground zero" to publicly demonstrate the naked hypocrisy of our liberal elites and their "Do as I say, I'm exempt" ethos. For decades Democrats railed at Republicans as the "party of the rich"--a lie which has been turned on its head. Now their new cry is that everything Republican is "white supremacy". Well, they showed their collective asses on that canard too.

Most laughable was the accusation that this is a "political stunt". No kidding! Of course it was. And a VERY effective one at that. Meanwhile James Taylor keeps strumming his inane yuppie lullabies to the boomers enjoying their cocktails. The lawns are clean once more. Ahhhhhh.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Your warning is worthless. It is also contrary to the Church's teaching. You should be worried about misrepresenting the Church.

Luring immigrants onto a plane with lies is not "treating them well." Using refugees as pawns in a partisan political stunt is not "treating them well." Saying they had a nice plane ride sounds a lot like the salve owners of yore who said they treated their slaves well since they provided housing and food for them.

If you think things have changed. "...for the most part in the south..." I'd encourage you to re-read the reports of the murder of Ahmed Aubery who was shot to death for jogging in the wrong (read: white) neighborhood.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Your warning is worthless. It is also contrary to the Church's teaching. You should be worried about misrepresenting the Church.

Luring immigrants onto a plane with lies is not "treating them well." Using refugees as pawns in a partisan political stunt is not "treating them well." Saying they had a nice plane ride sounds a lot like the salve owners of yore who said they treated their slaves well since they provided housing and food for them.

If you think things have changed. "...for the most part in the south..." I'd encourage you to re-read the reports of the murder of Ahmed Aubery who was shot to death for jogging in the wrong (read: white) neighborhood.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Fr K:

First, how do you know they were transported "under false pretenses"? Evidence, please?

Second, you are ignoring the point that Martha's Vineyard explicitly stated, as a matter of policy, that they wanted illegal immigrants to come to their jurisdiction. What meaning can it be to say you are a "sanctuary," but that such folks are welcome?

If, as you claim, Martha's Vineyard turned out not to be such a great "sanctuary," then that's "false pretenses" on that jurisdiction's part.

Is it possible you are falsely accusing the wrong people in this episode?

TJM said...

Martha’s Vineyard was a sanctuary city until it was not. It is an enclave for wealthy virtue signallers who are hypocrites on steroids. Did his majesty, Obama the Magnificent, offer any help? FrK you are so compromised it is stunning. Why anyone would take you seriously is unfathomable.

Jerome Merwick said...

Looks like Fr. McD has joined you in exposing the most basic hypocrisy of the clueless cleric. No doubt his craven lust for the last word will result in some sort of self-righteous "gotcha" towards us. But he can't undo what is all too apparent.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MARTIN Fox: False pretenses: "Migrants interviewed in Martha’s Vineyard said they had recently crossed the border in Texas and were staying at a shelter in San Antonio, where they were approached by a woman named “Perla” with the prospects of flying to Boston for work papers."

"There are eight cities in the state that are sanctuary cities. They are Amherst, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Concord, Newton, Northampton, and Somerville. What they do is legal, and how much they cooperate can vary from city to city." I note that Martha's Vineyard is not in the list. Is there another list that shows MV has declared itself a sanctuary city?

No, I am not accusing the wrong people. Desantis used Floriday taxpayers' money to fly these people to Massachusetts. He's to blame. Dumping human beings on a community without preparation was his intention and is what Desantis did. It's a political stunt. He's to blame. The stunt indicates he has little concern for the humans he used for this performance. He is to blame.

Thomas Garret - Using human beings in a political stunt is reprehensible. There's nothing laughable about it. Yes, it was effective - it will shore up Desantis' voting base, which was his intention all along. It will not improve the lot of the people he used, which was never his intention.

TJM said...

Fr K - you are becoming a parody

Your senile grifter is allowing millions of illegal aliens to flow into the border states and burden those states with the cost and burden of dealing with them. When a few hundred at a time are shipped to Democrat controlled cities up North they go bonkers and cry unfair. These southern governors are exposing the rank hypocrisy of you and your Party’s leaders who only care about their political power and accumulation of wealth. They clearly do not care about working men and women who suffer the most from these incursions. Thurston and Lovie on Martha’s Vineyard with their vast wealth cannot even handle 50. Maybe you would not need to import “undocumented democrats” if they reversed course on abortion and stopped snuffing out their future voters while in the womb. Enjoy the fraud of your ideology. A pastor of souls you are not

Thomas Garrett said...

Father Kavanaugh,

I'll tell you what's reprehensible:

A priest, an alter Christus, a representative of the One, True, Church, whose hands are consecrated using dishonest mental gymnastics to justify supporting a political party that supports sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance as a "civil right" and supports killing children in the womb.

SHAME on you, with a capital "S". You stand as a public betrayal of your very vows.

Fr Martin Fox said...

So, Father K, if Governors Abbott and DeSantis had the illegal immigrants sign papers -- in Spanish! -- attesting to them knowing where they are going, and what was offered them, you'd be OK with that?

How about if they were *paid* for their time? Even better?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

There is a notion some people have that when a person votes for a candidate for office, that person supports the positions of that candidate 100%.

That is a false notion.

Were it true, then those who voted for Jefferson are guilty of approving slavery, as Jefferson was a slave owner. Though he spoke against slavery, he owned more that 600 individual slaves during his adult life. Those who voted for Truman are guilty of the murder of tens of thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those who voted for Nixon bear the guilt of the Watergate Scandal crimes.

Obviously, many people vote for candidates without supporting everything that candidate believes, says, or does.

Our Church has made it plain - a Catholic voter may vote for a candidate whose position is in favor of abortion. Then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 2004: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal [intentional] cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

Each Catholic voter, in his/her conscience, may vote for the candidate of his/her choice. The Church respects that right. That Catholic voter is under no obligation to explain the process by which he/she makes that choice; we cannot be forced to reveal our conscientious reasoning. The Church also respects that right.

Catholics can and do disagree on how that conscientious decision is arrived at.

What's reprehensible is failing to respect - not agree with, but respect - the rights of individual voters.

Fr. MARTIN Fox - As for blame, I find it hard to believe that you agree with Fr. ALLAN McDonald in blaming the immigration mess on the current administration. You are a more sophisticated thinker than that. Surely, you understand that the decades of neglect of the immigration issue have taken place under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Surely, you agree with the Bishops of the United States in calling for comprehensive immigration reform as outlined in my previous quote from the USCCB.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

That theology is gravely and intrinsically flawed and quite out of date. Thus a Catholic could vote for Hitler as long as the voter did not support the genocide of 6 million Jews and 6 million Christians. Wow! Talk about stunted politics and morality!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Fr K:

You didn't answer my question: if the illegal immigrants signed papers attesting they knew exactly where they were going and what they would receive (or not), would you be OK with the bus/airplane trips?

I think I know why you don't answer that: because you suspect what I believe: the illegal immigrants who arrived in Martha's Vineyard probably would have signed and gone along, because the situation on the border is pretty bad, and Martha Vineyard looks pretty nice!

No, Mr. Biden did not originate this problem, but his decisions gravely worsened it after President Trump substantially improved it. Mr. Biden evinces zero intention to improve the situation. The wall would have helped (even if it isn't a complete solution). Curiously, after declaring he'd never spend a penny on the wall, Biden ended up quietly doing some wall construction.

If what you want is a comprehensive remedy, President Trump pointed the way. Once the border is secured, and the illegal inflow is staunched, then the political conditions are favorable for a deal.

TJM said...

Well this Democrat is not drinking the Kool Aid Father K is drinking:

"In a virtual town hall on Tuesday, Ohio Democrat David Esrati accused the president of corruption and called his son Hunter Biden a "dope fiend."
"I know I'm a Democrat and everything, but do you want to tell me what Joe Biden's done since he got elected when he was 27 years old?" said Esrati, the Democratic nominee for Ohio's 10th Congressional District. "How does he own all those houses? How is he worth what he's worth? I mean, yeah, a book deal here or there, but no, something isn't right about going in and serving your country and getting to be a multimillionaire."

Notice how Father K never states what that "proportionate reason" is? Why, because he doesn't have one he can point to. He just thinks he's being cool voting with the swells in New York City and Hollyweird, who are as hypocritical and venal as he is!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"You didn't answer my question: if the illegal immigrants signed papers attesting they knew exactly where they were going and what they would receive (or not), would you be OK with the bus/airplane trips?" As part of a politician's scheme to strengthen his voter base? No. They are still being used as pawns. I think a person escaping a terrible life might sign anything.

Re Biden's "zero intention." "President Joe Biden’s administration is being criticized across the political spectrum for moving too slowly on immigration. Immigrant-rights activists accuse the president of delay in unraveling hard-line actions taken during Donald Trump’s presidency and conservatives are critical of what they see as inaction to rising flows at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet as Biden reaches his first anniversary in the White House, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis finds that he has outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office, making significant change in the areas of humanitarian protection, interior and border enforcement and legal immigration." - Migration Policy Institute

A more detailed analysis of what Biden has done is here:

And here:

I don't agree that building a wall constitutes a good step in achieveing comprehensive immigration reform.

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - "That theology" is from then Cardinal Ratzinger. If you find it flawed, take it up with him.

Anonymous said...

Pope Venerable Pius XII, August 1, 1952 A.D. Apostolic Constitution: Exsul Familia Nazarethana:

"The émigré Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, is the archetype of every refugee family.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, living in exile in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are, for all times and all places, the models and protectors of every migrant, alien and refugee of whatever kind who, whether compelled by fear of persecution or by want, is forced to leave his native and, his beloved parents and relatives, his close friends, and to seek a foreign soil.

"For the almighty and most merciful God decreed that His only Son, “being made like unto men and appearing in the form of a man,” should, together with His Immaculate Virgin Mother and His holy guardian Joseph, be in this type too of hardship and grief, the firstborn among many brethren, and precede them in it.

"Therefore, when Senators from the United States, who were members of a Committee on Immigration, visited Rome a few years ago, we again urged them to try to administer as liberally as possible the overly restrictive provisions of their immigration laws."


Mark Thomas

Fr Martin Fox said...

Fr K:

"I think a person escaping a terrible life might sign anything."

Wow: you think illegal immigrants have no agency. How very condescending.

Mark said...

This thread demonstrates, once again, how our political conversation has become so degraded.

First, it ignores the facts. Here are some facts about the situation at the border from some people who might actually know what they are talking about (although their point about the Migrant Protection Protocols, or “Remain in Mexico” policy, still being enforced has now been superseded by events, including a SCOTUS ruling on the subject):

Along the same lines, under current law, even noncitizens who are here legally are not permitted to vote in federal elections. Undocumented migrants, therefore, are not permitted to vote in such elections unless and until they become citizens. For the vast majority this will not happen without a “legalization” program that creates a path to citizenship, a path that would itself probably take many, many years to travel, however much Fox News types like Tucker Carlson and others of his ilk might like to inveigh to the contrary. To refer to these undocumented migrants as “undocumented democrats” (presumably intended to be Democrats), therefore, is rhetorical nonsense.

Second, one major reason why the immigration problem has not been solved is that neither party, especially the Republicans, particularly wants to solve it. It is a wonderful political football, as the comments on this thread amply demonstrate:


Mark said...

Third, for both parties, abortion is also a wonderful political football, but the abortion game is in a league of its own. It is the gift that keeps on giving—a Trump card (pun intended) calculated to demolish all arguments for voting otherwise than as the card holder dictates. The immigration problem might actually be solved; the abortion issue will never be solved (unless, perhaps, the people in each state are allowed to decide the issue in a state referendum, but probably not even then).

Thus, even if there were a nationwide ban on abortion, the Democratic Party would seek to overturn it, and the Republican Party would seek to defend it (unless, of course, they determined it would lose them more votes/seats than they would gain, witness the Republican Party twisting itself into a pretzel over Lindsey Graham’s proposal for a 15-week ban with exceptions, not to mention Graham himself twisting himself into a pretzel by proposing it after he said the issue of abortion is clearly a matter for the states). And well-meaning priests like Father McDonald, and others, would tell us that we MUST vote for the Republicans, however odious and dangerous doing so might be in other respects, because voting for the Democrats (or perhaps more precisely for many, voting against the Republican(s)) would be tantamount to voting for Hitler and exterminating millions of Jews and others—a comparison that would deeply offend, or even horrify, many of those supporting a right to legalized abortion (including some very dear Jewish friends of mine) and one that, additionally, they (and notice I say “they” not “we”) would find incomprehensible (comparing, for example, at one extreme, a single cell present inside a woman’s body with a fully grown human being). And so it will go—on and on, ad infinitum.

Fourth, there is the usual hurling by certain commentators of insults and ad hominem remarks (typically directed at Father Kavanaugh).

Basta! It is beyond time to take our country back from those politicians and others in the media and elsewhere, who have sought to divide us from one another for their own political or monetary advantage. Let us show that we are adult enough to engage in self-government without them interfering, by talking through our disagreements in respectful grassroots political conversation, in which we see and treat one another as children of God, and then let us demand political leaders who properly represent the results of these conversations. And let us not continue allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the puppet masters for whom we are just a means to their tawdry ends. Let us, then, transform our Republic into a republic of virtue instead of whatever it is we have now. This will take time, effort, and commitment. But unless we do so, I fear for our future as a polity. The following article conveys well the extent of the challenge, and the danger, we face:

And in my next post, perhaps I will tell you how I really feel. -:)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Wow: you think illegal immigrants have no agency. How very condescending."

No, not at all. Your error (Wow!) is in thinking that the pressures experienced by individuals oppression have no impact on their agency.

Even our Church's moral theology recognizes the reality of such pressure. Ever hear of "Full consent of the will"? Anxiety, compulsion, oppression - all of these are recognized as mitigating factors when considering agency.

TJM said...


Tell the New York Times to stop dividing us and then we will talk. They are divisive central. The senile grifter in the White House is doing a fine job of being divisive as well.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What is interesting about the clergy (all of the different versions of Holy Orders) is that there is always a rush to judgement of those who do not seem to want to welcome refugees. Of course, the USA has always been generous in terms of its laws. What we are talking about is illegal immigration, euphemistically called “undocumented migrants.” They are breaking the law trying to enter the country by ignoring our laws concerning immigration.

But what is alienating scores of Catholics in this country is that bishops and others criticize our governmental leaders and the people in the pew for not being open to these people who are desperate to come here. But there are seldom condemnations of the governments that these people are fleeing or economies that keep them in destitution.

Should not the energy of the Church’s rhetoric and social teaching be on the various countries that victimize their own citizens and shouldn’t the Church demand that all people following the 4th Commandment (look up what the CCC has to teach about it) that we are required to be obedient to our leaders, both civil and religious when it comes to just laws.

Fr Martin Fox said...

First, Fr K, you said illegal immigrants might sign quote ANYTHING, unquote. That isn't just pressure, that reflects your demeaning view of these folks. That they have no backbone, no strength. Again, how very condescending.

Second, you term their arrival in America as, quote, "oppression." You view a bus or plane ride to Marthas Vineyard as "oppression." Even had they been arrested, which they were not, despite breaking our laws,enen that is not "oppression," but you claim they are SO "oppressed" simply being here that they "might sign anything."

Why would they come here with such great risk, if America is, in your words, "oppression"? It only makes sense when you view these folks in the very condescending and demeaning way that you do.

By the way, where are the illegal immigrants speaking for themselves to say that they ate "oppressed"? Why don't you quote them, rather tham paternalistically speaking for them?

Fr Martin Fox

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - You err in equating the "undocumented migrants" with "illegal immigrants."

There are many undocumented immigrants in the US who are here legally. Those seeking asylum, even without documentation, may enter the country legally. "U.S. law provides arriving asylum seekers the right to remain in the United States while their claim for protection is pending."

rcg said...

I wonder how difficult it would have been to find illegal immigrants laboring in Martha’s Vineyard before the arrival of this most recent group? When I lived in that area there was a problem with illegal immigrants from Ireland. I suspect the cooks and dishwashers are over-represented by non-native speakers of English. In any case, people are publicly recruited to make the trip to the USA from all over South America and are coached in illegal, and hazardous, methods to make the trip. They have to pay and/or work for gangs for their fare. They know what they are doing and for many it is not the first trip. They are playing their part in this game abetted by corrupt politicians anxious for their votes and cheap labor.

Mark said...


I believe that my language was broad enough to include_all_those who seek to divide us—I have the impression that you read things through a very specific lens, which prevents you from seeing things clearly. And sometimes, I suspect, you do not actually read at all. Thus, did you read this particular NYT article? The NYT (or, if you prefer, even the NYT) publishes a range of articles on the political/moral spectrum as well as some, like this one, that seem quite fair and balanced. For example, here is what the author says about Democratic politicians—and Democratic voters:

“It is also unclear whether Democratic politicians and voters are interested in making the compromises that would help them attract more voters. Many Democrats have instead embraced a purer version of liberalism in recent years, especially on social issues. This shift to the left has not prevented the party from winning the popular vote in presidential elections. But it has hurt Democrats outside of major metropolitan areas and, by extension, in the Electoral College and congressional elections.”

Democrats would do well to take note, no?

Isn’t it unwise, then, to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MARTIN Fox - Pilate gave into political pressure in condemning Jesus. "If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar!" Yet, he was a man of considerable backbone and strength. The mighty King David gave into his own desire for Bathsheba and committed murder and adultery. And he was a man of considerable backbone and strength.

You hear confessions. You know - or should know - how people give into pressure, coercion, and even ordinary daily temptations. Do you chastise them in the confessional, saying, "You have no backbone and strength!"? No, you recognize with compassion the reality of weakness and offer them the consolation of God's mercy.

Yes, people under pressure do all sorts of things. It is not condescending to recognize the weakness of our human condition.

No, I do not view a plane ride as oppression. The oppression they were fleeing was back in their homeland. Without hearing from them, we know that Venezuela has an oppressive regime in power, one that is guilty of persecution of political opponents, arrests, and torture, and extrajudicial killings. Maybe that sounds like Shangri-La to you, but to most folks that would be a country worth leaving. It is not paternalism to recognize the dire reality of Venezuela.

It might surprise you to learn that the current inflation rate in Venezuela is 114.1%. And we think that 8.3% is oppressive...

Mark said...

It does seem that the White House should be doing more to alleviate the pressure on Border communities by relocating arriving migrants elsewhere in a more organized fashion:

Their apparent failure to do more is not only morally wrong; it is bad politics as the optics created by the gambit of certain GOP Governors demonstrate.

But the deeper failure is the failure of both political parties in Congress to stop playing politics with immigration and actually fix the problem. The solutions are well-known by now, but they require compromise on both sides and, of course, a commitment to facts and truth as a basis for political conversation.

TJM said...


I actually do read articles from the New York Times to see what the new lefty talking points are so I am prepared to deal with their ever increasing silliness.

I find it hilarious that mayors of Democratic cities like Chicago, New York and DC are apoplectic because they have to face what people living on the southern border face in far larger numbers every day. There is a Democratic controlled city in Texas which has followed Governor Abbott's lead and is shipping illegal aliens up north as well. What we have in the Democratic Party and their limousine liberal friends in places like Martha's Vineyard is hypocrisy on steroids: NIMBY.

In constrast to what you may think, the optics do not look good for Democrats. If you had working class friends you would know that. I have some and they (not all Republican by the way) think what the Republican governors are doing is wonderful - sticking it to the man! I assume you know Martha's Vineyard has a "homeless" program (LOL) and voted for Biden over Trump 4-1. They declared themselves a sanctuary city. Now that the undesirables have been removed from their midst they can resume their virtue signalling. I laughed when I read an article where the locals were "enriched" by the experience, but then promptly booted them off the island. If they truly want to be enriched, I am sure more can be sent so they can "walk the walk" rather than just "talk the talk."

The US simply cannot absorb all of these illegal aliens and you know it. For the life of me, I still don't understand why they try and come here at all because the Left keeps telling us what a horrible, horrible, place the US is, full of racists, homophobes, etc. Kind of like John Kerry jetting off to Africa and lecturing the locals on Green Energy. Talk about optics!

Anyway, cheers! I enjoyed watching the obsequies for her Majesty the Queen. One of my son-in-law's first cousins was an officer of the Royal Household and participated!

Sophia said...

Sophia here: There is absolutely no "proportionate reason" to vote for pro-abortion politicians! Abortion and it's sister evil, Euthanasia /whatever euphemistic term is used for that, are INTRINSIC EVILS, hence the USCCB ALWAYS votes abortion to be the pre-eminent issue in every election as they did again in 2019! However, the disgraceful, startlingly scandalous fact was that 1/3 of the Bishops at that Meeting, actually voted "no" to that resolution. So although the resolution still stood, the dissenters' "no" votes undoubtedly gave cover to an unknown number of priests, including FR. K, - but reasonable to assume it was at least the same fraction as the dissenting Bishops- and 50% of the laity who voted for the most pro- abortion administration and House Members in our nation's history, in November 2020! The Democrat Party had definitely become precisely what Cardinal Burke warned in 2008 they would become, "the Death Party"!

Sophia said...

Sophia says: Fr. K justifies his continuing support for the "Death Party" which even now is gleefully anticipating being able to pass the Bill euphemistically named " The Women's Health Protection Act" should they win more seats in the Senate in the upcoming elections-God forbid! The Democrats in the House passed it in July but the Republicans in the Senate, managed to block it because it needed 60 votes! This Bill would enshrine in Federal Law an absolute right to abortion-for any or no reason-up to the moment of birth. It would invalidate every law in the country that protects unborn children, including parental consent and conscience protections for doctors and nurses who do not want to participate in the killing of preborn children. He says he is following his conscience when he does so. So I decided to once again refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and share some other things it says about Conscience: 1783 "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates it's judgements according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings."
This probably explains how some baptized Catholics can insist that they are following their conscience when they vote for pro-abortion politicians. Maybe they should properly form their conscience before they vote or do any number of other behaviors!

Mark said...

Perhaps all those politicians who play their manipulative political games with issues like abortion and immigration—on both sides of the aisle—would do well to pay heed to the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral service in Westminster Abbey today, words that were surely directed not only to the audience of world leaders present in the Abbey but to political leaders and others with power over people everywhere:

“Jesus – who in our reading does not tell his disciples how to follow, but who to follow – said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ Her Late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed. . . .

People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”

TJM said...


Although, I appreciate your last remarks, you appear to always want to find moral equivalence when there is none. The Republican Party supports NO itrinsic evils while the Democratic Party celebrates them. Would you find moral equivalence between FDR and Hitler? After all, many died under both men pursuant to their orders.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sophia says: "There is absolutely no "proportionate reason" to vote for pro-abortion politicians!"

The Church's guidance says that such reasons may exist. See Ratzinger quote above. If it were the case that such did not exist, the Church's guidance would not have told us that they did.

Following the guidance of the Church, not you, Sophia, is not "cover." Following the Church's guidance, not your, I make conscientious choices accordingly.

Yes, we must follow our conscience in voting. You suggest that, simply because a person does not vote as you vote, that is a sure sign that the other person's conscience is not well-formed. That is 1) arrogant, 2) wrong, and 3) self-serving.

It is not more an argument than saying, "You are wrong because I say you are wrong."

Fr Martin Fox said...

Fr K:

You're being ridiculous, because you are defending comments of yours that were ill-thought out.

You made the claim that "a person escaping a terrible life might sign anything." Then you cite entirely different circumstances, comparing these illegal immigrants to Pontius Pilate of all people, and to those in the confessional. These are inapt comparisons. The comparison to Pilate is offensive and absurd; these immigrants are not Roman officials, having lots of Roman soldiers handy as he deals with the mob. He was not suffering "oppression" (your word), and he did not, in fact, sign "anything." Are you saying you feel sorry for poor ole Pilate, that the mob was being so mean to him he couldn't bring himself to do what he really wanted to do?

A far more sensible reading would be that Pilate was willing not to crucify Jesus, and to taunt the Jewish leaders over their demand for Jesus' execution; but not going through with it was no great cause matter of principle to Pilate. Again, to suggest that illegal immigrants facing a plane- or bus-ride to Massachusetts is similar to Pilate's choice is bizarre.

The key phrasing was "might sign ANYTHING" -- that's not a diminished or compromised exercise of the will, as can indeed come up in a person's examination of conscience, but a total collapse. Anything? So you think they might sign a statement accusing an innocent person of a horrible crime? Anything? They might sign a statement denying their own faith? Anything? They might sign an agreement to consign their own children to sex trafficking? You said "anything" -- maybe you regret such a sweeping statement, or can't bring yourself to admit being so sloppy in expression.

Your attempt to salvage it by pointing to vaguely defined "oppression" doesn't help, because by your own admission, it wasn't what the governors of Texas or Florida did that is "oppression," but what happened in their home countries. Fair enough; however, that had ended by the time they crossed the Rio Grande. They had arrived at what amounted to "escape." Hence, the condition of oppression, which you claim so obliterated their agency that they might sign ANYTHING, had in fact ended. But according to you, they hadn't noticed their oppression had ended. I disagree with your "poor thing" condescension; I assume these people are pretty rugged and capable of making hard choices, and not made of sugar candy as you seem to think. Their long, dangerous journey attests to their toughness. They deserve better than to be patted on the head as if they were children, as your language about them does.

I repeat: your choice of words regarding these individuals is demeaning and condescending. Either that's actually your mindset; or else you don't even realize the meaning of your own choice of words.

Finally, I might point out that you are entirely uninterested in what these individuals have actually said on their own behalf! Many of them have thanked the governors who gave them transportation away from the border. (And it's not hard to see legitimate reasons they would do so. They are away from the unpleasant conditions at the border; and they are farther away from the place they sought to escape.)

But you seem not to care what they say for themselves; you prefer to speak for them. Again, how condescending.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MARTIN Fox - No, I did not compare the migrants to Pilate. The example of Pilate is offered to show that many people, past and present, are influenced by many things in their decisions and actions. I might have chosen Adam and Eve who acted under the influence of the Serpent to act in a way contrary to their own good.

"Are you saying you feel sorry for poor ole Pilate, that the mob was being so mean to him he couldn't bring himself to do what he really wanted to do?" I'm not sorry for Pilate, but he WAS acting our of fear - He didn't want to lose his job. Carroll Stuhlmueller, CP, writes in the JBC: "It is clear that Pilate finally acted for the sake of his own reputation and career." Mark 15-15a tells us, "Then Pilate, afraid of a riot and anxious to please the people, released Barabbas to them."

Again, I never said or suggested that a plane or bus ride was the cause of the migrants anxieties. Yes, I said, from the get go, that the oppression the migrants were experiencing was in their home country. No, the oppression they endured at home was not "obliterated" when they arrived at a squalid refugee camp.

And, no, I do not regret sayng "anything." Parents, desperate due to extreme poverty, throw in with drug dealers to make a quick buck by trying to smuggle cocaine across borders. Married men and women give in to blackmail when someone threatens to reveal their past sins. No, I do not regret saying "anything." Many people will do "anything" when thay are desperate enough.

What did they say? Some said they were grateful. One, Pablo Plaza, said, "“I feel — deceived. Deceived, and upset. They played with our feelings. They offered to help me travel, to find lodging, and ... they tricked me.” Another said that he had been "essentially kidnapped."

Sophia said...

Sophia Here: Fr. K. I guess you didn't see this-yet? so here it is again! "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates it's judgements according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings." Thus says the Catechism. AMEN! The Catechism also directs that #1785 "In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light of our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross...." #1786 "Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them." I know that you are aware of all this but some of the thousands who read this blog may actually be unaware of how clearly this is spelled out.
Your sophistry and specious arguments reveal and confirm that your ignorance, as defined in Moral Theology is "vincible" not "invincible"; that you have deliberately chosen to continue to defiantly support the Death Party, the Democrat party despite its diabolical policies.

Mark said...


“The Republican Party supports NO intrinsic evils while the Democratic Party celebrates them.”

1. Lying is intrinsically evil,

2. MAGA Republicans embrace innumerable lies of Donald Trump, including the Big Lie about the 2020 election,

3. Therefore, MAGA Republicans embrace intrinsic evil.

And this is just for starters.

For reference, see e.g.,

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sophia - You are wrong. I have seen and am well aware of what the Catechism says about the formation of one's conscience.

You are overlooking a step - a BIG step - between the formation of conscience and the act of voting.

Making a determination regarding the choice of candidates for office - voting - is an act of conscientious choice. Many factors must be weighed, some more seriously than others. The act of voting is a judgment - a voter judges which candidate he/she thinks is the best for the office.

As I posted above, the guidance of the Church is "A Catholic would be guilty of formal [intentional] cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

While you say, "There is absolutely no "proportionate reason" to vote for pro-abortion politicians!" the Church says that there certainly may be. I will, as I said above, side which the Church's guidance, not yours.

Sophia said...

Sophia here: No Mark, not every sin is an INTRINSIC evil, though all sin is evil! Lying is not typically considered among the especially heinous unnatural behavior characterized as intrinsic evils. But I realize that this was thrown at us so you could reference the Democrat talking point that "MAGA Republicans embrace innumerable lies of Donald Trump, including the Big Lie about the 2020 election". So, Sorry Mark, you did not prove your feckless point! There was no "QED" - Lying is usually a sin- venial or mortal, but not always. There are exceptions when it would not be sinful at all to withhold the truth as for eg. when the person asking has no right to know it. The term "intrinsic" is usually reserved for "non-negotiable" issues enumerated by the Church- abortion, euthanasia /physician assisted suicide or whatever euphemistic name it's given, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual acts/ "marriage", artificial birth control, human trafficking, especially of children etc. which therefore must never be promoted by law. Pre-eminent among these, for obvious reasons is abortion since it is the deliberate killing of pre-born children, the most innocent of human beings- at the hands of executioners hired by their own mothers, no less! I often praise Pope Francis for this clear, succinct, perfectly candid and accurate characterization of abortions-Catholic Teaching at it's best! Then there are the staggeringly high numbers involved. The horror of it is overwhelming! And to think there are those including a couple on this blog who are even now intending to vote for a Party which has already declared that they plan to expand the killing fields for these "wholly innocents" among other evils-including obliterating Freedom of Religion and Speech even in Medicine, should they prevail in this year's elections. The current Democrat Party is not the Party many of us faithful Catholics used to support. Continuing to vote for them cannot be justified, theologically, philosophically, morally or sociologically-only politically, depending on the kind of country you want this great Constitutional Republic to be "transformed" into!
And Fr. K. Holy Mother Church cannot take away our free will to sin or not to sin- not even God can do that- but she does have a RIGHT and indeed an OBLIGATION to instruct us in the formation of our conscience so we can more readily recognize that we are sinning.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sophia: "A Catholic would be guilty of formal [intentional] cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

I'll stick with the Church's voting guidelines, not yours.

Mark said...


Gotta love the word “feckless.” -:)

I hope you realize I was only challenging TJM’s assertion. My understanding is that lying is, in fact, widely considered to be an intrinsic evil. I stand to be corrected by the priests on the Blog. Until then, can you cite to sources that demonstrate that lying is NOT an intrinsic evil? I cited to a source demonstrating that it is, not for the author’s great authority, so much as for his clear explanation, including a passage from St. Thomas. I am happy to cite to additional sources supporting the claim that lying is an intrinsic evil.

This said, of course I am not suggesting that lying is generally on a par with abortion in terms of gravity, although one can imagine circumstances where a lie and its consequences certainly meet the standard of the “proportionate reasons” Father Kavanaugh rightly emphasizes in his posts. I would suggest that the Big Lie is precisely such a case. In my view, we are in grave danger of losing our Republic and the Rule of Law on which it is so dependent. Some people think the good end they pursue justifies the means of authoritarianism, (oxymoronic) Christian nationalism, or worse. I do not.

If you have been following my previous comments on this Blog, you will understand that I do not say things to “reference [a] Democratic talking point.” With respect, that is a cheap shot and too easy a way with comments with which you disagree. The fact that my own position might happen to coincide with a Democratic talking point is precisely that, a coincidence. I would be saying the same thing if the Big Lie had been promoted by the Democratic Party instead of the Republican Party. I am self-aware enough to know that, if I were unwilling to do so, I would lack integrity and intellectual honesty. Moreover, as I have made clear in my previous comments, I regard both political parties as almost hopelessly corrupt.

Instead of seeing politics through a Manichean lens, where one side is good and the other is evil, I advocate a third way that rejects such binary thinking. Please read Chapter 8 of my book “Professions and Politics in Crisis” (2021) where I make my political views clear (hint: I advocate transforming the Republic into a “republic of virtue” in the ways explicated in that chapter and elsewhere in the book). I am sorry if this makes life more difficult for you and others who might want to dismiss what I say with easy labels, but you will just have to deal with it.

Finally, although it is a bit dated now, I commend the following article in helping us to understand both the concept of intrinsic evil and how to form our consciences in voting:

Mark said...


To clarify an ambiguity in my first paragraph, by “the author’s great authority” I mean to imply that perhaps he isn’t (but for the reasons I give this doesn’t matter).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark - I agree with you that "The Big Lie" is such a case.

At present, Moore v Harper is the best (and worst!) example of the repercussions of the Big Lie as forces within the Republican establishment act in ways that are designed to undercut our Republic and the Rule of Law. Good ends do not - and cannot - justify immoral or illegal means.

Lying is always an intrinsic evil. Evil is "the absence of some good." When one lies, the good that is negated is the truth.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Political parties for the most part are corrupt due to the grave and intrinsically corrupt politicians, none more so than Catholic politicians who promote the BIG LIE, that a woman has the choice to murder their children which these lying presidents, legislators and judges codify in corrupt laws. Their BIG LIE, allows for infanticide and euthanasia. All other political corruption is peanut shells compared to these BIG LIES.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - The lie that killing innocents - including those non-combatants killed in war and euphemistically referred to as "collateral damage" - has nothing whatsoever to do with Trump's Big Lie.

"Whataboutism" isn't an argument. it's a diversion.

Lies that are endangering our Republic and the Rule of Law are hardly "peanut shells."

Unknown said...

In my opinion, Sophia has correctly stated the one fundamental principle - the GOD given right to LIFE from conception to natural death - the principle that must undergird all of our moral decision-making, including our democratic duty of voting. God's Word in the Church's teaching has not changed since the beginning of human life on earth, despite attempts to nuance it or rationalize it to fit our individual desires. The fifth commandment is always relevant. "You shall not kill (the innocent)." That commandment with its implied qualifier pertains to the taking of innocent human life, by abortionists and their supporters as well as by combatants and their commanders involved in war crimes against innocent civilians. The red herrings, thrown around this long train of commentaries by liberal democrats, smell rather rotten and not merely fishy to me. As a combat soldier in Vietnam and later a combat chaplain in Iraq, I had to counsel, and occasionally admonish, soldiers and commanders on correct moral decision making. As an idealistic young man, I thought democrat party politicians were concerned about the poor, the oppressed, the immigrants, that they among others were pro-life. But that changed in the 1980s when abortion began to be front and center in that party. Ronald Reagan, the first explicitly prolife president, won me over, and I have voted pro-Life as my first priority. Quite frankly, I cannot understand how anyone, certainly not any Catholic Christian, clergyman or layman, can possibly vote for any politician who espouses the genocide of the unborn, the perversion of human sexuality, the mutilation of the human body, even of children, enabling of human trafficking and drug dealing, the release of dangerous criminals, and other such insanity. May God deliver us from those who vote for such democrats or proabortion republicans!
Father Michael J. Cerrone III

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MICHAEL Cerrone - Quoting form the Catechism regarding the formation of conscience will always result in a person being correct. But the question goes farther and deeper than that.

I would like to know if you think I have beeing throwing around red herrings, and what they might be.

You state: "I cannot understand how anyone, certainly not any Catholic Christian, clergyman or layman, can possibly vote for any politician who espouses the genocide of the unborn..." I will pose a hypothetical in response:

A VOTER is asked to choose between two candidates for the U.S. Senate. Candidate ONE states that he is pro-choice. Candidate TWO states that he is pro-life.

Candidate TWO has lied about being his high school valedictorian, about graduating in the top 1% of his college class (he wasn't in the top 1% and he didn't graduate at all), about how many illegitimate children he has, about being an FBI agent, and about working for the Cobb County, GA, police, and about working as a "peace office" in Texas. The claims are untrue.

Candidate TWO claimed that he had a "dry mist" device that would cure a person of Covid. He said, "Do you know, right now, I have something that can bring you into a building that would clean you from covid as you walk through this dry mist? As you walk through the door, it will kill any covid on your body. EPA-, FDA-approved.” No such mist exists.

Candidate TWO has acknowledged that he threatened his wife with a gun held to her temple. His ex-wife stated: "The first time he held the gun to my head… He held the gun to my temple and said he was going to blow my brains out." Police confiscated Candidate TWO's handgun because he was deemed a threat to himself and others.

Candidate TWO has claimed that the air we clean in the United States moves to China and that dirty Chinese air moves here and we have to clean it up again. This is nonsense.

Candidate TWO has shown that he has no understanding of Darwinian evolution. He said, "At one time, science said man came from apes, did it not? That's what's interesting, though. If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it." First, no scientist claimed man came from apes. Second, there are still apes around because we and the current-day apes evolved from a common ancestor.

Candidate TWO has lied about his food service business, vastly inflating the number of employees and lying about ownership of chicken processing plants. He has lied about owning an upholstery company which he said is the largest in the U.S. No such company existes.

And the sad list goes on and on.

A U.S. Senator will be expected to understand and vote on matters of nuclear deterrence and national security. He or she will be expected to approve the nomination of Supreme Court Justices, Federal Judges, and to consent to the promotion of military officers to the rank (or equivalent) of general.

A Senator will be asked to vote on matters impacting agriculture and farming, immigration, weapon possession, taxes, international trade, medical care for veterans, highway funding, wetlands conservation, importing prescription drugs from Canada, and a host of other complex matters.

To return to your question, then. When judging between the two candidates running for the U.S. Senate, Candidate TWO, although he states he is pro-life, is judged by the VOTER to be patently and undeniably unprepared to assume and carry out the duties of that office.

That's how.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MICHAEL Cerrone - You might sugest that in the Candidate ONE and Candidate TWO scenario, the VOTER should simply abstain. However, in a state that is very evenly divided, doing so would contribute to the election of the candidate who the VOTER judges to be unprepared for the office. That is not, for the VOTER a conscientious choice.

Mark said...

Father Cerrone:

It is good to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. I remember well your time at St. Joseph’s in Macon in the 1980s.

To the matter at hand, what I find befuddling in all of this is that everyone here agrees that abortion is a horrible thing and desires a world in which it does not occur. Perhaps this is too obvious to mention, but it is worth doing so because this agreement is so easily overlooked in our disagreements regarding conscientious voting. Given agreement on the goal, then, the disagreements relate to means, specifically how best to bring about the end of abortion, as nearly as practically possible, as well as the weight to be given to other issues in voting.

Personally, and conscientiously, I do not believe that criminalization, or other legally coercive means, will be effective in ending abortion. Indeed, I suspect that such an approach is fundamentally counterproductive. In sum, although I am certainly open to persuasion on the point, isn’t it far preferable, and more effective, to persuade than to coerce—to transform hearts and minds to act from love rather than to compel them to act from fear? And the Hitler and Jews analogy just does not work. I strongly doubt that anyone who supports a legal right to abortion approves of the Holocaust. Instead, they see multiple relevant distinctions between the Holocaust and abortions. Even if one thinks that these distinctions are ultimately irrelevant and meaningful only to those who are ignorant or whose conscience is otherwise improperly formed, as understood within the natural law tradition, the question becomes how best to dispel such ignorance and how best to promote the proper formation of conscience. And on this question reasonable minds can disagree. I concede that the case for coercive measures is stronger when such measures are combined with private and public initiatives that truly support mothers and children.

But all these considerations apply before we get to the question whether, even if we think force and coercion could be effective in eliminating abortion, there might still be countervailing considerations why one might anyway conscientiously vote for a candidate who supports a legal right to abortion. Father Kavanaugh and I have tried to identify what those considerations might be. But here again, reasonable—and conscientious—minds can disagree

Mark said...

Although I find it distasteful and grisly to read such material, and feel like I need a shower after reading, I do think it is important, in seeking to dissuade people from seeking abortions, to have regard to the facts rather than inaccurate slogans, because repeating such slogans in difficult conversations, once again, risks being ineffective and indeed counterproductive. And so, when I heard Lindsey Graham on FOX News today repeating the slogan that the Democrats want to permit abortion on demand up to the time of birth, I decided to do some fact checking. Judge for yourselves:

Fr Martin Fox said...

If Father K's point, above, was to suggest that it is not "conscientious" for a voter to decline to choose any particular candidate -- and in so doing, that voter does it twice, and chooses not to vote for either "major party" candidates...

Then I disagree.

It is true that in some scenarios, a voter may reach the morally legitimate conclusion that a vote for a candidate who is very deeply problematic -- i.e., pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-redefining marriage, to name three of many possible problems -- is an acceptable choice, not *because* of, *never* because of, those pro-evil stances, but despite -- because it would be a way to block something even worse.

That said, I cannot think of any scenario in which the Church would say a voter is morally obliged to vote FOR any candidate, provided that a refusal to vote for that candidate is based on some legitimate objection; as opposed to, say, "I won't vote for her because she is left-handed."

There is a mindset that crops up at election time, to the effect that somehow, God "needs" me (or you) to vote a certain way. No, he does not. The issue with applying Catholic teaching to how we vote is that such choices are a moral act, and we risk sinning -- wrecking our own souls -- and giving aid to those who would do harm to others.

Thus, you and I are accountable for our own choices, including how we may choose (actively or by neglect) to influence others. Therefore, I am accountable for how I cast *my* vote.

But nowhere can I see that God makes you, me, or anyone responsible for the outcome of an election. I reject as invalid the argument -- so often made in the heat of an election -- that you or I have a moral obligation to vote FOR any particular candidate.

No: but I do have a responsibility to cast my vote according to judgments I can defend before God. If the candidate you insist with the greatest passion is the imperfect but necessary instrument of God, and therefore, I absolutely MUST vote for him or her, nevertheless does not sit well with me (again, for sound reasons)...

Then I can legitimately choose not to vote for that candidate, no matter how awful the alternative may be.

I am not responsible for the outcome of millions of voices and votes; I am responsible for my own.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. MARTIN Fox - No, I was not saying that a voter MUST for one one candidate or the other. The scenario I presented was about A VOTER making up his/her mind. I was not saying that ALL voters shold reach the same conclusion.

Any voter is free to vote or not to vote.

George said...

I'm willing to listen and have someone give me a proportionate reason to vote for a candidate, or one that belongs to a party that supports policies and legislation allowing abortion even up through nine months, trangenderism which includes gender changing surgery and drugs on teens and children (and this even without parental consent,) allowing millions of undocumented to walk across our border without having the necessary resources readily available to deal with them (including monitoring for, and vaccinating for disease) while busing and flying them to other locations in the country,major foreign policy blunders including the disasterous withdrawal from Afghanistan,and Fentanyl and other deadly drugs flooding across our borders. Need I go on?
Such things as inflation or bad economic policy can certainly be included among considerations but those don't reach the level of the above..
I'm willing to listen to any proportionate reasons but it will be a hard sell for me. Anyone voting for a candidate who espouses or legislatively assisted in the above must have some kind of proportionate reason, something I can't fathom, but which definitely has my curiosity.

Intrinsic evils:
Quoting from Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), St. Pope John Paul II said that intrinsically evil acts are any acts “hostile to life itself . . . whatever violates the integrity of the human person . . . whatever is offensive to human dignity,” These include such acts as abortion,homicide, genocide, and slavery.

So Intrinsic evils are those acts which are *always* by the gravity of their offense to God and to man,evil. By this measure lying is not intrinsically evil although it can in some cases be seriously sinful.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...


Both St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine taught that “every lie is a sin” [On Lying, n. 1; Summa Theologica, II-II, Q. 110, A. 3.]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that lying is wrong by its very nature, and intrinsically disordered: “By its very nature, lying is to be condemned.” [CCC 2485]

Aquinas again: "I answer that, An action that is naturally evil in respect of its genus can by no means be good and lawful, since in order for an action to be good it must be right in every respect: because good results from a complete cause, while evil results from any single defect, as Dionysius asserts (Div. Nom. iv). Now a lie is evil in respect of its genus, since it is an action bearing on undue matter. For as words are naturally signs of intellectual acts, it is unnatural and undue for anyone to signify by words something that is not in his mind. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 7) that “lying is in itself evil and to be shunned, while truthfulness is good and worthy of praise.” Therefore every lie is a sin, as also Augustine declares (Contra Mend. i). [Summa II-II Q 110 A 3]

As for your statememnt: "I'm willing to listen and have someone give me a proportionate reason to vote for a candidate", responses have been posted above

Mark said...


To follow on from Father Kavanaugh’s response addressing lying, is it possible that our consciences have become corrupted regarding the intrinsic evil of lying, just as they have become corrupted regarding other intrinsic evils, due to the prevalence and general acceptance of the practice in the surrounding culture? Related, perhaps we need to hear more homilies condemning the sin/vice of lying and dishonesty and exhorting us to exhibit the virtue of honesty and truth telling.

George said...

Father Kavanaugh and Mark:
All lying is a sin. That I don't dispute. All lies are not objectively seriously (mortally)sinful however. One can lie under duress. One can lie to save the life of another. There are degrees of lying as far as being a venial or mortal sin.
There is of course any evil that can occur external to the person telling the lie.
In many cases though any evil done (against God,by sinning)is just by the be person telling the lie on whom the consequences of the act are solely inflicted(to the person's soul by the sin committed).
So there are those acts which are evil, and then there are those which are intrinsically evil. Objectively and morally abortion,homicide, genocide, and slavery are always grave offenses against God and man and therefore by their very nature intrinsically evil, regardless of circumstances which can mitigate the imputation of guilt on the one who commits or imposes these acts.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George - There are three things going on here.

First: The nature of lying.

Is lying intrinsically evil in every case? The Church says it is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that lying is wrong by its very nature, and intrinsically disordered: “By its very nature, lying is to be condemned.” [CCC 2485]

Second: The moral culpability of the person who lies is impacted by the context.

Case #1. When asked if he is hiding Jews in the attic, the person who IS hiding Jews says, "No." The lies is intrinsically evil. But because the person asking "Are you hiding Jews?" has no right to the truth, the moral culpability of the person telling the lie is virtually negated.

Case #2. When asked if there is anyone on the building that is going to be demolished by explosives, the person responsible for clearing the building says, "No." He says this knowing that hiding in the building are 25 "illegal immigrants" and he thinks that, since they have broken the law, they have no right to any sort of protection from harm. Not only is this person guilty of lying, but he is morally responsible for the deaths of those in the building.

Culpability for the same lie - saying "No" - is highly impacted by the circumstances.

Third: Comparing Evils

"Abortion, homicide, genocide, and slavery, etc., are always grave evils. Telling a lie may or may not be a grave evil, depending on the circusmtances. Moral culpability for ANY sin is impacted by the circumstances.

Fr Martin Fox said...


I generally agree with you that -- speaking for myself now, only -- it would have to be a pretty substantial "proportionate reason" for me (again, speaking only for myself) to vote for a typical Democrat. But in the interest of being helpful, let me sketch out some scenarios that make sense to me:

- At the local level, a Democrat runs for office, say county recorder. Said office does not get involved with abortion or "transgender" witch-doctory, and does not set policy on marriage. To make it more challenging, let's suppose the Democratic candidate nevertheless endorses the usual Democratic position. Why would I ever vote for this Democrat?

I might, if the Republican had actually been caught embezzling, for example. Or, I might abstain, as I said above. But given the circumstances just sketched out, perhaps I might judge stopping embezzling sufficient reason here.

- At the state level, I might face a choice for Governor between a "moderate" Democrat versus someone who actually was a leader of the KKK. This actually happened in Louisiana not so long ago. I might actually decide that voting for "the crook" over the Kluxer (they actually ran ads like that) was the less bad option. I would certainly not be swayed by the KKK guy's claims to be pro-life and pro-marriage, and I might decide that he, as a kind of trojan horse, was more dangerous pretending to be a friend, than the Democrat.

- At the federal level, we have President Biden who many think is senile and mentally compromised; many thought so before the 2020 election. Now, suppose the situation were reversed; what if it had been a hypothetical Republican, who was otherwise better on pro-life and marriage, but appeared to be dangerously senile? Would that be a proportionate reason to vote for the Democrat, who despite bad positions on so many things, at least seemed up to the task of making life-or-death decisions in a crisis? Would it be an easier vote to cast if the Congress was decisively under GOP control, blunting much of the mischief the Democrat might attempt?

I think other scenarios could easily be sketched out -- all realistic -- in which a conscientious voter, wanting to be faithful to Catholic teaching, might with great reluctance vote for a bad Democrat over a worse Republican. You might judge the matter differently in your own decision how to vote; but these examples illustrate how they might not yield an obvious answer.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Archbishop Chaput explained it thusly, as I recall:

Are you prepared to explain your "proportionate reason" to the souls of aborted unborn children, if you met them at your particular judgment, such that your decision to vote against protecting them was justified?

I reiterate, again, that a morally acceptable choice is to abstain from giving ones vote to any candidate who endorses grave evil, even if that means excluding both a D and an R candidate, or even voting for no one in a particular contest.

George said...

Father Kavanaugh

I agree with all that you stated in your comment. My comments have to do with what constitutes an intrinsically evil act,e.g., what kind of acts are as I understand the term are intrinsically evil.

A child can tell a lie and If they are below the age of reason it is not even sinful. On the other hand, it is true that there can be circumstances where a lie told results in evil being done to another. There is a big difference in the two. Lying is lying, but is the lie of a child, or of an adult who my be concealing a private and personal matter, or lying to protect oneself or another from harm, to be equated with acts such as as abortion, genocide, and murder which are always objectively intrinsically evil,since these acts involve the unlawful taking of a human life and therefore can never be justified or the damage inflicted undone? Intrinsically evil acts are those acts which always result in grave harm to another human being external to the person committing the act. With lying, what is often the case is the person is only harming his or herself although yes, there are cases where another is harmed, though not necessarily is any serious harm done.
It is possible in some cases that lying can indirectly result in harm to someone by causing someone to commit an intrinsically evil act against another. There are no mitigating circumstances however that can change or undo the consequences of an intrinsically evil act, even while it is true that one who commits these grave acts can repent and be forgiven of their sin.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George - I would disagree with this statement: "Intrinsically evil acts are those acts which always result in grave harm to another human being external to the person committing the act."

An "intrinsically" evil act is evil in and of itself, regardless of the harm that it may or may not be cause.

Were the evil nature of an act to be determined by the nature of the harm cause to others, a lie might be told that results in great benefit. Is it then not a lie or not evil?

A bad "means" is always a bad means whether or not anyone is harmed by the act

George said...

Father Kavanaugh:

My discussion is on what makes something an intrinsic evil. That lying is an evil act is not in dispute. Is lying an intrinsic evil though? That a lie (an evil) might be told that results in a great benefit is an aspect that separates lying from being an intrinsically evil act.

Is not an act to be judged evil or intrinsically evil according to the results and consequences of that act?

With acts such as abortion,murder genocide and euthanasia, the consequences of such acts cannot be undone.

It is possible to repair the damage done by a lie. A person telling a lie can admit to it and accept the truth and repair as much as possible any damage done.
This is not possible with an act which is an intrinsically evil.

With a lie there can be a less serious or more serious aspect which is something that does not attend to acts such as abortion,murder, genocide, and euthanasia for which the consequences are always grave and no restoration is possible.

So just as there is mortal and venial sin, there is evil and then there is intrinsic evil.

Mark said...


I stand to be corrected by those who are trained in theology and Catholic ethics, but here is my take for what it is worth.

Your instincts in this matter are very sound, I think. The problem is that they do not align neatly with a distinction between intrinsic evil and other kinds of evil but rather with distinctions based on the gravity of the evil, whether intrinsic or not. As I understand it, an intrinsic evil is, precisely, an act (or perhaps an omission?) that is always wrong, no matter how good the consequences might be. So, using consequences as the criterion of an intrinsic evil is definitionally incorrect.

For example, someone who subscribes to utilitarianism or other consequentialist moral system might be able to argue plausibly that, in some circumstances at least, the good consequences of an abortion would outweigh the good consequences of the baby being born—if the developing fetus has severe physical or cognitive impairments, say, or if an abortion is the only way to save the life of the mother. But the consequences, however good they might be, can never make the abortion licit or “justifiable,” even though they might reduce subjective culpability and thus make it “excusable” in any given case.

The same reasoning as applies to abortion applies to lying—the consequences, no matter how good, can never make the lie licit, even though it might be excusable. Similarly with contraception (at least when not achieved through abortifacients) or masturbation, which are both “intrinsically evil” but surely not as grave as abortion, no? Moreover, I am not sure that the bad consequences of any act (or omission) can ever be completely undone, although I need to think about this some more. Does it depend on how far we trace the consequences, both for the agent and those affected by the agent’s act or omission?

I suggest that what this demonstrates is that the concept of intrinsic evil is best left for professionally trained theologians and Catholic ethicists to debate rather than for lay Catholics to bandy about in political discussion where it tends to be used for the emotional rhetorical effect gained from using the word “evil” and adding the word “intrinsic” (connoting the notion that the matter in question must be especially evil because, well, it’s “intrinsic” and never good in itself).

Isn’t it better, then, to follow your own instincts and argue about the relative gravity of an act (or omission?) regardless of whether it is “intrinsically” wrong or not?

Seen in this light, some might consider that it is never permissible to vote for a politician who supports a legal right to abortion, not because abortion is intrinsically evil but because it is tantamount to murdering a human being, an especially grave act, while others might consider that it might be permissible to vote for such a person because of other, “proportionate reasons.” Such reasons could include a sincerely held belief that making abortion illegal will not in fact reduce the number of abortions, given the availability of medication-based alternatives to a surgical abortion as well as the availability of surgical abortions in jurisdictions where they are legal or even in jurisdictions where they are not (so that it is better to rely on persuasion rather than coercion), and/or other very serious matters such as a mortal threat to the Republic and the Rule of Law represented by an opposing candidate who embraces the Big Lie, Q-Anon and allied conspiracy theories, etc.

George said...


Quoting from Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), St. Pope John Paul II said that intrinsically evil acts are any acts “hostile to life itself . . . whatever violates the integrity of the human person. whatever is offensive to human dignity,” These include such acts as abortion,homicide, genocide, and slavery. Thes violate both moral law and Divine law.

The Holy Father in His encyclical enumerated the evils I mentioned: abortion,murder, and genocide as intrinsically evil (one could include say, euthanasia as well).
I stand with Pope St John Paul II on this. For those who knew or are related to the victims of these acts, it is forever life-altering.

You are are missing the point here. The consequences of the above acts can not be undone. At least with a lie whatever damage done can be repaired(there is the possibility). And, in some circumstances even someone's life can be saved, and though that doesn't change the nature of the wrong, it does mitigate sinful culpability.
With abortion,murder,and genocide a life is taken and the lives of others are
profoundly affected. These are indefensible acts and no restoration is possible.
These are profoundly,profoundly evil acts for which no lie can compare.

As for something else you brought up, the Church does allow the saving the life of the mother as long as the intent is not to harm the unborn child.

And as far as abortifacients, these are used to chemically induce abortion, so they are intrinsically evil as well. Abortion is abortion no matter how it is carried out.

George said...

Someone who subscribes to utilitarianism or other consequentialist moral system might be able to argue plausibly that, in some circumstances at least, the good consequences of an abortion would outweigh the good consequences of the baby being born—if the developing fetus has severe physical or cognitive impairments"

It matters not to me what others subscribe to, other than needing my prayers and God's enlightenment.
As For me, I subscribe to Catholicism and no other teaching receives my attention in these matters.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Georder - We cannot undo the consequences of any sin. Yes, after a lie there can be reconciliation, but the harm done remains. Part of that relationship is damaged in a way that cannot be repaired by contrition and forgiveness.

Were we able to undo the consequences of sin we would not have needed a savior. When Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, an angel with a flaming/revolving sword was placed at the gate so that A&E could not, under their own power or by their on volition, re-enter Paradise. Even then we are given a hint that there will have to be a Divine intervention to remove the sin and repair the breach caused by sin.

Mark said...


I hope it was clear that I was not advocating utilitarianism or other consequentialist moral system. Indeed, I was using it to illustrate why the concept of intrinsic evil does not turn on consequences. This said, Catholic ethics do not totally ignore consequences. Taking possible consequences into account is part of the moral calculus that can reduce (or perhaps even enhance?) subjective culpability for an intrinsic evil and, of course, possible consequences are also relevant for those other areas of decision-making, not dealing with intrinsic evils, that are matters for prudential judgment.

Regarding the quotation from Pope St. John Paul II, I would suggest that lying to someone is certainly offensive to their dignity and violates the integrity of the human person. Indeed, that this is the case is probably why there seems to be a reasonably broad consensus that lying is an intrinsic evil. Can you cite to authorities that argue it is not?

Personally, I am very offended by someone lying to me or otherwise trying to manipulate me, as so many politicians (and others such as commercial advertisers) seek to do. And lest you think that I am partisan in this, let me make it crystal clear, if it is not already clear, that the Democrats also lie, which is one of the (many) reasons I think that they too are corrupt. For example, an instance I just read about this evening in the Washington Post is the lie, uttered by some Democrats, that the Republicans intend to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate.

Enough already with the lies, on both sides of the aisle, but especially the Big Lie about the 2020 election which, unlike the drip, drip, drip corrosive effect of the routine lies, such as the one about Social Security and Medicare, mortally and more immediately threatens the future and foundation of the Republic.

Regarding the abortion exception to save the life of the mother, I think you are thinking of the doctrine of double effect—for example, removing a cancerous uterus to save the life of the mother, which will result in the death of the fetus even though this death is not directly intended. The first draft of my previous comment mentioned this doctrine, but I removed it because I thought it would complicate matters unnecessarily. As I understand it, except where this doctrine applies, it is still impermissible to destroy the fetus through abortion to save the life of the mother.

George said...

Father Kavanaugh:

I agree with what you say that "after a lie there can be reconciliation, but the harm done remains. Part of that relationship is damaged in a way that cannot be repaired by contrition and forgiveness".

But is there no way to distinguish between a child who tells a lie to a parent, and an adult who tells a lie that say, results in the death of another?
Or the same child who pilfers a flowerpot from his neighbor and on the other hand someone who commits a bank robbery and shoots a teller in the process?

Are these acts to be considered of the same gravity and seriousness? Of course, the Church saying that some acts (even lying) are intrinsically evil doesn't mean that it considers the acts as being of equal moral gravity, and obviously in the above cases they are not.

It has been my intent in my comments to say that there can be at least *partial reparation* with some acts, whereas with certain evil acts,such as abortion, murder, genocide and euthanasia, there can be no acceptable and meaningful restoration with those,since a human life is taken by these acts and cannot be restored.

I took what St. Pope John Paul II said Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), when he referred to abortion,homicide, genocide as intrinsic evils, that he used the term intrinsic to mean that these acts are of such gravity and severity as to be much more evil than others. It may be that my understanding is wrong, but perhaps somewhere in Church teachings is a term which distinguishes the moral gravity of evil acts, one from another.