Skip to comments.U.S. Bishops' News Service Points out Differences between Bush and Kerry (on abortion) MONUMENTAL
Posted on 08/17/2004 12:58:23 AM PDT by cpforlife.org
Monday was in a way a watershed day for the Pro-Life Movement.
Three important news stories on Life were reported. One from the Pope, one from Cardinal Ratzinger, and one from the US Bishops.
The last one is perhaps the most important to the presidential election. All three are below.
U.S. Bishops' News Service Points out Differences between Bush and Kerry
Pope calls Women to Protect Right to Life
Cardinal Ratzinger Says it is Reason, not Faith, Which Compels States to Protect Unborn
WASHINGTON, August 16, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news service of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has published a story highlighting the "clear differences" on abortion between the two main presidential contenders.
Speaking of abortion, CNS says "no issue shows a clearer distinction between the major party candidates, Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts."
The article outlines the two stands stating, "As president, Bush has signed the ban on partial-birth abortions, which his administration has defended against court challenges; signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act; reinstituted the "Mexico City policy" that bars the use of U.S. foreign aid to promote abortions in other countries; denied federal funds to the U.N. Population Fund; and nominated pro-life federal judges."
Regarding Kerry CNS notes, "Kerry voted six times against the partial-birth abortion ban; was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have prohibited states from placing limits on abortion; opposes parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions; and has vowed to reverse the Mexico City policy and to 'only appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold a woman's right to choose.'"
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CNS STORY: Campaign '04 Candidates present clear differences on abortion issue
By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the Catholic world, at least, few issues have gotten more attention than abortion during the 2004 presidential campaign.
But putting aside the question of Communion for Catholic politicians, no issue shows a clearer distinction between the major party candidates, Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.
As president, Bush has signed the ban on partial-birth abortions, which his administration has defended against court challenges; signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act; reinstituted the "Mexico City policy" that bars the use of U.S. foreign aid to promote abortions in other countries; denied federal funds to the U.N. Population Fund; and nominated pro-life federal judges.
Kerry voted six times against the partial-birth abortion ban; was a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have prohibited states from placing limits on abortion; opposes parental involvement in minors' abortion decisions; and has vowed to reverse the Mexico City policy and to "only appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold a woman's right to choose."
"President Bush has compiled a record during his first term in office that can only be described as extraordinarily pro-life," said Steven Ertelt, editor and founder of LifeNews.com, in what he said was the Internet-based pro-life news service's "first-ever editorial."
"And when it comes to the key battles and judicial appointments over the next four years, only President Bush can be trusted to advance the cause of life," Ertelt added in the Aug. 3 editorial.
The National Right to Life Committee, which tracks the voting records of members of Congress on key pro-life legislation, gives Kerry a 2 percent pro-life voting record since 1984, saying he voted 92 out of 94 times against the position taken by the pro-life organization.
Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, joined the Senate in 1998 and has voted 11 out of 11 times against the National Right to Life Committee's position on abortion-related legislation.
Kerry and Edwards both get 100 percent, however, from organizations that support keeping abortion legal, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
In "Faithful Citizenship," their quadrennial statement issued every presidential election year since 1976, the U.S. bishops call abortion "the deliberate killing of a human being before birth" and say it is "never morally acceptable."
"We support constitutional protection for unborn human life, as well as legislative efforts to end abortion and euthanasia," they said. "We encourage the passage of laws and programs that promote childbirth and adoption over abortion and assist pregnant women and children."
More recently, in their June 18 statement on "Catholics in Political Life," the bishops said, "Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice.
"Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good," they added.
Christopher M. Duncan, chairman of the political science department at the Marianist-run University of Dayton in Ohio, said it is difficult to assess what role the abortion issue will play in the decisions of individual voters -- even Catholic voters -- in the 2004 presidential election.
"There is the hard-core group that I would call single-issue voters, and for them (the pro-life issue) is everything," he said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service.
But he said most polls show that "Catholics mirror the general population in their opinions on abortion," with about 55 percent favoring keeping abortion legal in some circumstances -- most notably, to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest -- and fewer than 10 percent supporting the criminalization of abortion in all circumstances.
Catholics who identify themselves as weekly churchgoers are more likely to oppose abortion than those who say they go to church less frequently, Duncan added.
Because Kerry is Catholic, the abortion issue "has become more of an issue than it would have been" for another Democratic candidate, the political scientist said. "If he'd been a pro-choice Baptist or a pro-choice Methodist, he would not have had nearly the same kinds of questions coming his way."
But abortion's biggest role in this campaign may be as a "leveraging tool to suggest that John Kerry doesn't know what he believes in," Duncan said.
Kerry himself has contributed to that impression with conflicting -- and often confusing -- statements about when he believes life begins and how that belief affects his stand on abortion.
In early July, the Democratic candidate startled many of his followers -- and raised the hackles of his supporters who are working to keep abortion legal -- when he told the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."
But in follow-up interviews with ABC News and The Associated Press, Kerry said although he believed unborn children were "a form of life," they were "not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be in the past."
"My personal belief about what happens in the fertilization process is a human being is first formed and created, and that's when life begins," Kerry told ABC's Peter Jennings July 22. "Within weeks, you look and see the development of it, but that's not a person yet, and it's certainly not what somebody, in my judgment, ought to have the government of the United States intervening in."
Kerry's opponents have been able to use such comments to "call his genuineness into question," Duncan said.
But how much effect does a president really have on abortion policy?
In the U.S. system of checks and balances, where Congress passes legislation and the president simply signs or vetoes it, a president's influence can nevertheless be substantial.
Both President Bill Clinton and the current President Bush showed their understanding of that when, in their first days in office, they signed executive orders affecting U.S. abortion policy.
In five executive orders on Jan. 22, 1993, Clinton reversed the ban on abortion counseling in federal family planning clinics; overturned the moratorium on federally funded research involving the use of fetal tissue; ordered a study of the ban on import of the French abortion pill, RU-486, for personal use; revoked the prohibition on abortions in military hospitals overseas; and voided the Mexico City policy which had forbidden U.S. foreign aid funding of agencies promoting abortions.
Eight years later, Bush signed an order reinstating the Mexico City policy, which had been in place from 1984, when it was instituted by President Ronald Reagan, until Clinton's action.
Clinton also twice vetoed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Congress failed to override the vetoes. Bush signed the legislation into law last November.
But a president's most long-standing effect on abortion might be in his appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the question.
Court observers say four justices -- Associate Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Chief Justice William Rehnquist -- are likely to retire in the next four years. Kerry has said he would not appoint a Supreme Court justice who would vote to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion.
LifeNews.com's Ertelt, in an Aug. 10 follow-up column to his editorial, said that likely turnover means that "the next president will have the power to determine whether abortion will remain legal for the next 30 years."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 2004 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CNS news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed, including but not limited to such means as framing or any other digital copying or distribution method, in whole or in part without the prior written authority of Catholic News Service.
The level of coverage on the abortion issue and the absolutely clear distinctions outlined between the two candidates is excellent.
This will be blacked out by the major media so we need to forward this to the MAX.
A clear and absolute shot into the black heart of Senator Kerry.
Please forward this to everyone you know. The major media will block it.
Please let me know if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
its called schism, which is what I believe we are in now....
It saddens me to ask this, but, What does this matter when half the Amchurchers are pro abortion? They are going to vote for the Babykiller anyway.
...and the vast majority of Amchurch clergy are pro-Babykiller Party.
If we Catholics acted like Catholics instead of pagans, America would not be in the mess it is presently in. Yes, I blame us and nobody else. If we were even half Christlike, this nation would be totally transformed to the good.
But we suck!
Don't be confused by interpretation of 'garment of life'
Father William Maestri - New Orleans
July 14, 2004
There is a mischievous concept that has made its way into what now passes for standard Catholic theology. This concept, in some quarters' dogma, goes by the name of "seamless garment of life" or "consistent ethic of life." The general consensus is that this concept was developed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, of fond memory.
As best I am able to determine the concept means the following: On a whole array of issues affecting human life, Catholic theology calls for the consistent prohibition against the taking of human life. From abortion to euthanasia, from the death penalty to war, killing is to be avoided.
The "seamless garment of life" removes Catholic theology from being a one-issue pro-life movement. Furthermore, the "consistent ethic of life" removes Catholic theology from any embarrassing inconsistency when it comes to defending human life.
Even holy cardinals are not immune from the law of unintended consequences. Today this "seamless garment of life" ethic is being used to discredit those who make moral distinctions, and valid distinctions they are, among the life issues.
Now, in the name of the "consistent ethic of life," all relevant moral distinctions within the nexus of life issues are dismissed as hypocrisy. In reality, the distinctions being made are sound Catholic theology.
There are a number of life issues which are to be understood intrinsically; that is, the moral nature of the act itself.
Abortion, euthanasia and human embryonic stem cell destruction are grave moral wrongs which do not permit of circumstances or prudential judgment so as to alter the moral evaluation of the act (even in those cases where abortion is regrettably tolerated to save the mother's life - such as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy - or when pain medication is given which also hastens death, abortion is never viewed as a moral good nor is hastening death the intention.)
The acts of abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of embryonic human life are wrong in themselves (objective). No extrinsic circumstance (fear, ignorance, etc.) or intention (no one would want to live that way, so it was merciful to end life) can change the moral identity of the act - gravely wrong. To be sure, there are circumstances which can diminish the degree of guilt attributed to a person.
This subjective element, the moral culpability of the actor, can be lessened if it can be shown that the intellect, will or emotions were impaired.
HOWEVER, no degree of lessening of the degree of guilt can change the intrinsically wrong act. An insane person who kills another has committed a grave wrong. However, because of the person's mental incapacity the degree of guilt and punishment must reflect this defect.
When those who hold that abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryos are grave moral wrongs against human life, the pressure is on to also reject the death penalty and war as if they are intrinsically wrong as well. To suggest otherwise is to be accused of an inconsistency which invites cries of hypocrisy and the dismissal of one's argument. What is one to make of this?
IT IS most unfortunate to see large numbers of Catholics being drawn into this most un-Catholic position. Catholic moral theology does not teach that the death penalty and engaging in war are intrinsic wrongs. These two issues are subject to prudential judgment by those competent civil authorities entrusted with these responsibilities. Certainly there can be protest and disagreement.
Other policies and programs can be advocated. All this lies in the realm of human judgment. The application of the death penalty and the decision to go to war, and the manner in which the war is conducted, are not matters of intrinsic moral judgment. Catholic moral theology recognizes, in principle, the right (and the responsibility) of the state (through proper authorities) to carry out the death penalty. The traditional Catholic understanding of war comes through our just war thinking - Catholic moral theology is not passivist. Catholic moral theology recognizes the right (and the duty) of a country to defend itself against unjust aggression as well as to come to the aid of a nation who is unjustly attacked.
IT IS often said that to allow the death penalty and to engage in war are anti-life. This is clearly not Catholic teaching. The use of the death penalty and to engage in war are done in the name of respect for life! How so? The death penalty and war against unjust aggression are done in the name of justice and the common good. In order to protect the innocent and vulnerable from those individuals and nations which exploit and murder, competent authorities turn to these means as a way of defending innocent life.
By contrast, abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryonic life never witness to life, promote justice, or serve the common good. These always advance the culture of death.
There is a consistent Catholic teaching on the duty to respect all human life. It is a consistent life ethic which honors relevant moral distinctions.
Is any more of Cardinal Ratzinger's interview available in English?
It appears to be in French only.........
Perhaps John Kerry could translate the Cardinal's teaching on the Life of the unborn and read it to his crowds on the campaign trail.
Some might say a weapon of mass instruction.
It's just that I would like to hear more deatails about what he said, I am very interested in the subject. I am glad the cardinal mentioned this.
This is more than just a Catholic issue. I see this as an
issue that maybe the defining element of faith in Yeshua
the God of Israel and in Jesus Christ. When I became a
true Christian and decided to live my faith and not just
profess belief, the passage from Deut:30:19 says it all.
I call Heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and
cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed
Everything else good comes along after a person elects to
choose life and decisions that promote life. JMHO
May I theorize for just an instant? This IS huge, in that collectively, the bishops are finally taking a unified stand against the evil one's ministrations. There have been some very courageous bishops who pre-dated this action and their courage shored up more of them to take a stand. Of course there are still those clergy who publicly disagree with God's commandment against killing and will spin this any number of ways, or say 'it is not the force of law'.
Most excellent! Thanks for posting.
We were discussing this at our recent family reunion, and my sister in law, who lives in Lee's Summit MO said that her Bishop sent out a letter stating that if a candidate doesn't support the pro-life position, it is ok to vote for that person if their 'Social Justice' ideas are in line with Catholic teaching. This is WRONG!! Life trumps all other ideas; a Catholic is only right in voting for someone who may not be pro-life if the alternative is someone who is more rabidly pro-abortion and would further erode any protections the unborn may have.
I just sent my Pastor and the Associate a link to that article by Fr. Maestri. They are both pro-life, but I know that the Pastor is a big Democrat supporter, so I hope this will help him in debunking that 'Seamless Garment' idea.
I know you won't like this but I don't approve of this use of abortion by politicized AmChurch at all.
But I'm neither Laura nor Barbara Bush ... the sort who believes that the number of abortions should be "reduced" while abortion itself remains perfectly legal "in the first trimester only."
And I'm not Georg W. Bush who -- though he says he believes life begins at conception -- legitimized the State's funding of human experimentation and who -- though he says he's personally against abortion -- stated "It's up to her" during his campaign when asked what he'd tell the daughter of a friend who'd been impregnated against her will.
Seriously ... the very phrasing of the question (personal counsel of a friend's daughter) begged for his "personal views" to come to the fore. They didn't.
Why? Because he HAS NO SUCH PERSONAL CONVICTION to speak of.
On the other hand -- what a marvelous opportunity for Pro-Life Catholics to feel like they've done something and pat themselves on the back for keeping in power the party -- and the very family, even -- who made abortion the linchpin of our population control program.
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