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Values: Abortion tops list (Area Catholics get warning from bishop)
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader ^ | 10/5/2008 | Steve Mocarsky and Sherry Long

Posted on 10/05/2008 12:07:11 PM PDT by markomalley

The most striking difference of opinion between the major presidential candidates on social issues is their opposing views on abortion.

Democrat Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to reproductive choice while Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is a steadfast advocate for the right to life of the unborn.

And in a potential swing state that has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, tens to hundreds of thousands of Catholics filling church pews today in Luzerne County are hearing a message from their bishop to withhold their vote from pro-choice candidates.

Priests will read to their congregations a letter from Bishop Joseph Martino in which he acknowledges the election and launches a verbal attack on “pro-choice candidates” whom he says “have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate.”

The letter, which reaffirms the church’s belief that life begins at conception, is being read in observance of Respect Life Sunday – a 36-year church tradition.

Abortion has been legal in the United States since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Jan. 22, 1973 – commonly referred to as Roe v. Wade.

McCain said that decision is flawed and should be overturned, according to his campaign. He said the issue should be addressed by the states, not the federal government or “activist judges.”

McCain calls abortion a “human tragedy” and partial-birth abortion “an abhorrent crime against the sanctity of life.”

Adoption is encouraged under the McCain plan, which advocates empowering faith-based groups and community organizations that could help mothers care for and support their babies or place them up for adoption.

Obama, on the other hand, opposes a congressional amendment that would change the landmark court decision.

Last year Obama co-sponsored legislation that would provide funding for more access to contraception, health information and preventive services, increased support for family planning and comprehensive sex education that includes teaching abstinence and safe sex methods.

For Democrat Dorene Schutz, 47, of Wilkes-Barre, Obama’s stance is the right one. She supports legalized abortion and said abortions should be funded with tax dollars only when they are medically necessary.

For 50-year-old Charles Peterman, an Independent from Kingston, the issue is a big one.

“The most evil thing on the face of the earth today is the legalization for a mother to kill her own baby in the womb,” said Peterman, who supports McCain. “Abortion is an affront to God. Its legalization has cheapened life around the world.”

Wilkes-Barre resident Tony Thomas, an 18-year-old Democrat, agrees with Obama’s position on abortion and sex education and suggests the government “fight unwanted pregnancies by adopting more comprehensive sex education in our schools and by loosening any remaining restrictions on emergency contraceptives.”

Planned Parenthood of America endorsed Obama because of his support of a “woman’s reproductive rights,” and the Illinois senator’s work to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies by providing better family planning resources, said spokeswoman Deb Fulham-Winston. Anti-abortion activism

Anti-abortion supporters are in the midst of 40 Days for Life, what committee member Mary Ann Haas calls a “prayerful” effort.

The group holds silent daily prayer vigils as part of a national campaign in front of the Planned Parenthood in Scranton. They pray for pregnant women, office staff and doctors. The vigils end Nov. 2, two days before the general election.

Haas said the group does not distribute pamphlets or approach anyone.

“Miracles have happened,” she said. “There is something about the power of prayer.”

Those who oppose Planned Parenthood’s stance on abortion tend to support McCain.

“If McCain gets in, we need (him to appoint) one more conservative judge and Roe vs. Wade can be overturned and it would be thrown back to the states,” said Betty Caffrey, president of the Wilkes-Barre Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life.

Caffrey said Obama, if elected, “will push through the Freedom of Choice Act. And if he does that, it will overturn all that we’ve done in the states. We feel very strongly now that he’s not the candidate we want elected president.”

The Freedom of Choice Act would prohibit government interference with a woman’s right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy. Same-sex marriage

Both McCain and Obama oppose same-sex marriage, according to Jeff Brauer, an associate professor of political science at Keystone College.

Obama supports civil unions and domestic partnerships while McCain does not, said Brauer, who is gay and a member of the Advisory Board for the NEPA Rainbow Alliance – a nonprofit agency that serves as a hub for activities and programming for the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bisexual community.

Brauer said both candidates voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, but for different reasons.

Obama said he voted against it because the amendment does not allow for federal recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. McCain said he opposed it because he believes it should be up to each state to decide on the issue. McCain has campaigned for state initiatives that would ban government recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships, Brauer said.

Brauer noted McCain voted for the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which banned federal recognition of gay marriage and same-sex partner benefits and decreed that a state was not required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state.

Paul Stebbins, a 28-year-old Republican from West Pittston, agrees with McCain that states should decide on the issue.

“I don’t know if the federal government would be able to allow it or restrict it,” Stebbins said. “In my personal opinion, I would say no.’

Stephen Cheskiewicz, 44, of Harveys Lake, said “same-sex marriage strengthens marriage; this has been proven by all of the committed relationships you have seen in Massachusetts over the past four years, like mine.” Stem cell research

McCain and Obama agree medical advances in the treatment of spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease can be achieved through stem cell research.

But they differ on how embryonic stem cells should be used and when research should be federally funded.

Using human embryos in stem cell research is essential for medical research advancement, according to Wilkes University biology professor Will Terzaghi.

Embryonic stem cells are obtained during in-vitro fertilization, after a woman’s eggs are retrieved from her body. The cells become embryos after being fertilized in Petri dishes.

McCain supports funding embryonic stem cell research, but does not want embryos created just for research purposes – a practice McCain refers to as “baby farming.” He supports funding for amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other research that does not involve the use of human embryos.

Both candidates voted for – and Obama co-sponsored the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007. The act, vetoed by President Bush, would allow the use of unused embryonic stem cells, which would otherwise be discarded.

Jack McIntyre, 67, of Plains Township, a Republican supporting McCain, says he believes embryonic cells should not be created just for research purposes.

“Recent scientific research has been promising. It has been shown in principle that adult stem cell lines can be manipulated to generate embryonic-like stem cell lines” without destroying a human embryo, he said.

Obama supporter Pete Klein, 68, of Dallas, said it is immoral not to use embryonic stem cells. “It is sinful and irresponsible to not support this life-saving and (life)-improving research.” Now go vote

The last day Individuals can register to vote in the Nov. 4 general election is Monday.

Those applying to register to vote must be:

A U.S. citizen, a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the election; and at least 18 years of age on or before Nov. 4.

Voter registration forms are available at the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections office, 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 207, Wilkes-Barre or the County Annex at 123 Warren St., Hazleton.

They also are available online at

Completed forms should be brought to: Luzerne County Bureau of Elections Voter Registration Division, 20 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 207, Wilkes-Barre.

For a link to the candidates’ Web sites and to read past Times Leader stories on presidential campaign issues, visit

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Politics/Elections; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: abortion; catholic; moralabsolutes; prolife

1 posted on 10/05/2008 12:07:11 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

The problem we have is that many of these PA Catholics are union members, and the AFL-CIO is for Oprah’s Obama, and they do as the steward says, not the priest.

2 posted on 10/05/2008 12:19:49 PM PDT by Theodore R. (Cowardice is forever!)
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To: Theodore R.

I’m near Scranton and most of the Catholics I know are democrats first, Catholic second.

3 posted on 10/05/2008 12:30:42 PM PDT by NEPA (Save a cow, tip a beer)
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To: markomalley

Notice this issue wasn’t brought up during the VP dabate. It’s called MORALS....

4 posted on 10/05/2008 1:14:26 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (I'm planting corn...Have to feed my car...)
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To: Theodore R.
I think you are wrong there. Many more Bishops than Bishop Martino are speaking out. Look at this list against Pelosi -- also applies to all Catholics in Name Only. BTW, over 56 now have come out for life and against abortion. The people are listening, because they are hearing for the first time that they excommunicate themselves by voting for someone who supports abortion/killing.

Updated: American Bishops who have spoken against Pelosi

Here is the complete list of American bishops who have responded to Nancy Pelosi's comments so far:
  1. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver was the first American bishop to respond
  2. ... Bishop James Conley, his auxiliary, joined him
  3. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington DC responded twice, first in a press release and second in a statement to The Hill. He has also appeared on Fox News, I am told.
  4. Cardinal Justin Regali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued this statement through the USCCB website...
  5. ... Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, joined him
  6. Cardinal Edward Egan of New York publised a strongly worded statement of his own
  7. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo issued a letter correcting Pelosi's claims
  8. Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh and...
  9. ... Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs have chimed-in
  10. Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, CNA reports has added his voice ...
  11. ... Bishop Oscar Cantu, his auxiliary bishop, has joined him
  12. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville has published an extensive letter
  13. Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa has a detailed response
  14. Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas has joined the USCCB's efforts
  15. Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin is on-board
  16. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston mentions the USCCB on his blog
  17. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando has written at length
  18. Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul/Minneapolis challenges Pelosi's statement
  19. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the US Bishops, has weighed-in
  20. Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, OR publishes in the Catholic Sentinel
  21. Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse, WI responds in a word document
  22. Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland, OH will comment in his September 5th column (PDF)
  23. Bishop Ralph Nickless of Sioux City, IA has one of the very best responses I've read
  24. Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco has invited Pelosi to a "conversation"
  25. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn: "Judging the Candidates"

{Last updated on September 10th.}


  • Previous #23 has been removed. Bishop Joseph Gossman of Raleigh, NC is actually the bishop emeritus, and the new bishop, Michael Burbidge has not, to my knowledge, made a personal statement.
  • Previous #16 has also been removed, it was an erroneous duplication of current #13.
  • #26 was added September 10th, although he published his column September 6th

5 posted on 10/05/2008 5:35:11 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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They are turning to Catholic first because they are learning that they excommunicate themselves by supporting abortion.

enter the Table of Contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church here

1: CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 2271  (618 bytes )  preview document matches
1 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion,

2: CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 2272  (580 bytes )  preview document matches
2 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A

3: CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 2322  (290 bytes )  preview document matches
2 From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a "criminal" practice (GS 27 § 3),

4: CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 2274  (554 bytes )  preview document matches
gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent

6 posted on 10/05/2008 5:36:32 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: markomalley

“I Beg You Not to Be Misled by Confusion and Lies”

Scranton Bishop’s Letter for Respect Life Sunday

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, OCT. 3, 2008 ( Here is the text of the pastoral letter Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton released ahead of Respect Life Sunday, to be celebrated this weekend. The bishop has asked the letter to be read at all Masses over the weekend in place of the homily, and a copy placed in all parish bulletins.

* * *

7 posted on 10/06/2008 10:00:20 AM PDT by victim soul
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