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Bishop Robert Vasa: Pelosi "is not formed by either Augustine or the Catholic Church"
Insight Scoop ^ | September 5, 2008 | Carl Olson

Posted on 09/06/2008 2:57:54 PM PDT by NYer

From the Bishop of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, in the most recent issue (Sept. 5, 2008) of The Catholic Sentinel:

I certainly commend the public official for going to Saint Augustine, a great theologian and philosopher, for views on morality but Augustine’s views need to be read and adopted in context. It is highly disingenuous, deceptive and intellectually dishonest to take this ecclesial sound bite from 1,500 years ago and treat it as if it is the last definitive word on the subject. This is particularly true since Augustine himself “vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion” despite the unavailability of accurate scientific information. Furthermore, according to Bauerschmidt, Augustine also called the use of means to avoid the birth of a child “evil work.” It would appear that the public official conveniently missed that part and thus does not allow Saint Augustine to form any part of her understanding of the evil of either abortion or contraception while boasting that this is precisely what she has done.

The spokesperson also attempted to further blur the concerns about the public official’s stand on abortion by indicating that the public official “has a long, proud record of working with the Catholic Church on many issues, including alleviating poverty and promoting social justice and peace.” I, too, could commend the pubic official for “working with the Catholic Church” on these issues but if the views on these issues are formed by the teachings of the Catholic Church, which are quite current, why does the public official seemingly work so hard to reject the teachings of the Catholic Church, as they are currently stated, regarding abortion and contraception?

If I were to think a bit more critically I would be inclined to conclude that the public official accepts the views of the Church which agree with her view and rejects those views which do not. In other words, she is not formed by either Augustine or the Catholic Church on any of these social or moral issues, but simply happens to agree on some points. This then would have nothing to do with any true conviction about the goodness, beauty or truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church but rather pure political expediency.

The spokesperson’s statement also implies that, as has often been posited by politicians of one stripe or another, because they hold and support properly Catholic views on the social issues of race, poverty, justice and peace that they should not be held accountable for their rejection of the Catholic teachings on the more direct life issues such as abortion, assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research. This is an inappropriate and unjust application of the U.S. Bishops statements concerning a “consistent ethic of life.” This consistent ethic is sometimes interpreted to mean that life issues as divergent as capital punishment and abortion, or assisted suicide and the loss of life in the war in Iraq, are equivalent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly in each of these instances, regrettably, a human life is at stake but the difference is that only in the case of abortion or assisted suicide do we deal with the direct and intentional taking of the life of a completely innocent person.

A person may work very admirably to alleviate poverty but this does not justify ignoring the greatest poverty which is the one which fails to recognize the value of life. A person may work very admirably to promote social justice but this does not justify turning a blind eye to the greatest injustice openly operative in our society which is the unjust deprivation of the pre-born of their most basic constitutional right, the right to life.

Read his entire column.

Also, I missed the August 26th statement by Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Fargo. Access it as a PDF document.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: augustine; oregon; pelosi; vasa
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To: NYer

Thanks for that list. I will check it periodically. I knew what I had was incomplete.

21 posted on 09/06/2008 8:26:12 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
Did you also see this from American Papist?

Flash: Pelosi *accepts* the Niederauer invitation {updated}

{updated 1:00pm - see below}
This comes as a surprise to me.
The Associated Press reports (and so far only they are covering it):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under fire from U.S. bishops for comments she made about abortion, accepted on Friday an invitation from the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco for a private talk.

Pelosi said in a letter to Archbishop George Niederauer that she'd "welcome the opportunity for our personal conversation and to go beyond our earlier most cordial exchange about immigration and needs of the poor to Church teaching on other significant matters."

...While Pelosi's letter said she was interested in speaking about "church teaching on other significant matters," it did not mention abortion specifically. Her spokesman has defended her comments, saying in a previous statement that the congresswoman "fully appreciates the sanctity of family."

(See my commentary on Abp. Niederauer's letter here.)

Okay, let's examine these scant details. There's no mention of a date, and if there were I'd imagine it would have made it into the story. As the story notes, there is no reference to abortion (why beat around the bush like that?). And we don't have a copy of the actual letter.

At least she has obligated herself to eventually having the meeting. That's something.

And in completely unrelated news, the Associated Press also reports:

A light earthquake has rattled the San Francisco Bay area. The U.S. Geological Survey's preliminary report put the quake at a 4.0 magnitude. The temblor hit just after 9 p.m. and could be felt throughout the region. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Hmm, I wonder when Abp. Niederauer found out he might actually have to follow through on his offer?

update: Diogenes also takes a look at what this episode means.

22 posted on 09/06/2008 9:09:42 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

That was very good. We got it from our priest this evening, hopefully it will be pointed out in a lot of Masses this weekend.

23 posted on 09/06/2008 9:31:03 PM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: Salvation

Thank you for posting the names and links! As expected, the more ‘progressive’ bishops have remained silent.

24 posted on 09/07/2008 4:39:21 AM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: ScottSS
I have come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church has made a grave mistake in allowing the government to act as an agent of the Church in carrying out social programs.

I don't recall any official document sanctioning governments to enact social programs on behalf of the Catholic Church. Perhaps I missed it. Would appreciate a link. Thanks!

25 posted on 09/07/2008 4:54:58 AM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: ScottSS; NYer

“I think the world would be a better place with a big Church and a small government.”

Depends on which Church or church...or ecclesial group.

26 posted on 09/07/2008 5:13:17 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: NYer

Economic Justice for All

Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy

U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1986

123. More specifically, it is the responsibility of all citizens, acting through their government, to assist and empower the poor, the disadvantaged, the handicapped, and the unemployed. Government should assume a positive role in generating employment and establishing fair labor practices, in guaranteeing the provision and maintenance of the economy’s infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, harbors, public means of communication, and transport. It should regulate trade and commerce in the interest of fairness [74]. Government may levy the taxes necessary to meet these responsibilities, and citizens have a moral obligation to pay those taxes. The way society responds to the needs of the poor through its public policies is the litmus test of its justice or injustice. The political debate about these policies is the indispensable forum for dealing with the conflicts and tradeoffs that will always be present in the pursuit of a more just economy.

27 posted on 09/07/2008 5:42:41 AM PDT by ScottSS
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To: ScottSS
Thank you Scott!

Government should assume a positive role ..

As I read it, this is a recommendation and one that makes perfect sense. The Catholic Church continues to do outreach to the poor but it helps when government also does its share. The problem, as I understand, is when Church organizations accept government funding at which point the government is then empowered to make demands on the organization. The one example that comes to mind is Catholic Charities adoption program where the government in England and in the state of Massachusetts now dictate that homosexuals have an equal right in adopting available children. Is this what you were referring to as well?

28 posted on 09/07/2008 5:51:37 AM PDT by NYer ("Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." - St. Jerome)
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To: ScottSS

This policy statement goes on to say:

124. The primary norm for determining the scope and limits of governmental intervention is the “principle of subsidiarity” cited above. This principle states that, in order to protect basic justice, government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacities of individuals or private groups acting independently. Government should not replace or destroy smaller communities and individual initiative. Rather it should help them contribute more effectively to social well-being and supplement their activity when the demands of justice exceed their capacities. These does not mean, however, that the government that governs least, governs best. Rather it defines good government intervention as that which truly “helps” other social groups contribute to the common good by directing, urging, restraining, and regulating economic activity as “the occasion requires and necessity demands” [75]. This calls for cooperation and consensus building among the diverse agents in our economic life, including government. The precise form of government involvement in this process cannot be determined from abstract. It will depend on an assessment of specific needs and the most effective ways to address them.


If you read Catholic forums, etc you can see the interpretation of this is that a Catholic should vote for the candidate that will use the governments resources to carry out the social responsibilities of the church. I do not think that is what the Bishops intended, and my point is that they haven’t clearly communicated that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is not acceptable just because that candidate will also enact legislation to help the poor etc, and they have allowed a situation to evolve where it is far too easy to pay taxes and vote and not take any responsibility for the outcome. They also have given up the ability to manage the results to protect and advance the role of the church.

There should be clear teachings and guidance on this, and my point is that by “copping out” and saying the government can handle everything , the voter can “feel good” about their choices, even though they have facilitated evil.
Just read any forum discussion about Universal health care (which you know will come with paid abortions etc) Democrat Catholics use this as the main reason that they support pro-abortion candidates.

I say take the issue off the table and have the Church take responsibility for these issues ( poverty ,health care etc) and as a result I think the Church should work to prevent the government from getting involved, because as these issues are determined to be he responsibility of government, the Church loses influence and funding in the actual practice, which is how you end up with government financed abortion, or anti- family policies, or in the extreme , anti-religion policies being bundled in with the social programs.

The interesting thing is the Bishops got it right when they said . “in order to protect basic justice, government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacities of individuals or private groups acting independently. “

I propose that the current menu of “social justice” programs enacted by the federal government would not exceed capacities of the church if our tax dollars weren’t sent to the government in the first place.

This is why I think a responsibility has been abdicated.

AN this is how you end up with elected officials like Nancy Pelosi who are doubly dangerous ; they are misinformed regarding the role and responsibility of the church vs government , and are willing to use the power of the government to tax and redistribute wealth to do things that private organizations should be doing, and in so doing think they are being good Catholics.

29 posted on 09/07/2008 6:11:42 AM PDT by ScottSS
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To: NYer

Yes ,Those are examples, I think we are defining this better- it’s hard for me to explain it simply- the statement “acting through their government” is where things go off the track I think.

and to take your example further, if Catholics vote for Obama, because “he will help the poor” and he facilitates legislation to create a “right” of homosexual marriage, for example, that is getting the bad with the good. And the Catholic community has given up any input into the execution of these ideals because they have empowered the government, through their vote, to act on their behalf.

I think the goals would be better accomplished if the money , power and oversight remained with the private organization.

30 posted on 09/07/2008 8:14:35 AM PDT by ScottSS
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To: dsc

Nicely stated.

31 posted on 09/07/2008 12:34:09 PM PDT by murphE (I refuse to choose evil, even if it is the lesser of two)
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To: murphE

Yeah, Shakespeare is so good that sometimes he even spills over on people who quote him.

32 posted on 09/07/2008 1:21:42 PM PDT by dsc
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To: NYer

“The Catholic Church continues to do outreach to the poor but it helps when government also does its share.”

Better to cut taxes and leave it all to the Church. Government messes up everything it touches.

33 posted on 09/07/2008 1:23:21 PM PDT by dsc
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To: NYer

NYer, my dear, Mahony?!? Do you need to ask? I know, you are an optimist, and that’s good.

I’m expecting Mahony’s statement the same day as my own courageous archbishop, the bankruptcy king, Vlazny. Around the time hell freezes over.

34 posted on 09/07/2008 2:38:31 PM PDT by baa39
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