Archive of February 16, 2012

CNA columnist begins series on living with same-sex attraction

Denver, Colo., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) -

In a new series of guest columns, CNA contributor Patrick Einheber will discuss his experience as a faithful Catholic with same-sex attraction.

“I was born and raised as a Catholic and have experienced same-sex attraction for as long as I can remember being aware of attraction,” said Einheber, a 37-year-old software engineer from Denver, Colorado.

“In college I abruptly and naively came to the conclusion that the Church was wrong about its views on same-sex relationships and marriage,” he told CNA. “I rebelled against the idea that Catholics need to understand and believe everything the Church teaches and so I stopped going to Mass.”

But after college, “I experienced a profound emptiness that God eventually revealed as a longing for him,” he recalled. “When I again sought the face of God and tried to learn why the Church teaches what it teaches, I began to see its wisdom and beauty and have been drawn onward ever since.”

Einheber's column “Before I Formed You” begins on Feb. 16, with an essay on “Same-Sex Attraction and the Choice for the Greatest Good.”

It marks the first part of a series looking at the topic from the perspective of both personal experience and authoritative Catholic teaching.

In his remarks to CNA, the new columnist criticized the media's presentation of a “false dichotomy” between “authentic, traditional Christians” on the one hand, and people who experience same-sex attraction on the other.

These categories are not mutually exclusive, Einheber noted.

“The world needs to know that there are people who experience same-sex attraction and still want to follow Christ on the narrow road.”

“I'm trying to really approach the situation with prayer, study and reflection so that I might truly understand the heart and will of Christ on this subject.”

The column's title comes from the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah, about whom God declared: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

That verse has long been one of Einheber's favorites – not only for its affirmation of human dignity at all stages of life, but also because of its “profound implications about God's plan for each of us even before his creation of us as male or female.”

In his column's first installment, the guest contributor discusses the desire for love and companionship, and how he “reached the conclusion that God and the Church actually do wish for my perfect happiness.”

The series is not meant only for others in the same situation, but for anyone interested in a thoughtful Catholic take on a sometimes polarizing topic.

“Even people who don't experience same-sex attraction themselves know people who do, and it's important to really understand the subject.”

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Bishops counter White House claim they opposed health care reform

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - The U.S. bishops have refuted the White House’s claim that they never supported health care reform in America.

“Since 1919, the United States Catholic bishops have supported decent health care for all and government and private action to advance this essential goal,” said Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif.

Bishop Blaire, who serves as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, responded to a recent statement by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

At a Feb. 13 press briefing, Carney was asked about the bishops’ dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. He replied, “I would simply note with regard to the bishops that they never supported health care reform to begin with, of which this is an important element.”

“This is not the case,” countered Bishop Blaire on Feb. 14. “Long before the current battles, the Catholic Church was persistently and consistently advocating for this overdue national priority.”

During the recent debates over health care, the U.S. bishops said that universal, affordable health care was “an urgent national priority and moral imperative.”

The bishops’ conference called for health care reform that is universal, protects human life, does not discriminate against immigrants and respects conscience rights.

Bishop Blaire explained that the bishops “opposed the final legislation” because it failed to meet these standards.

He added that their judgment has been “sadly but clearly borne out by the failure of the law and the recent regulation to protect conscience and religious liberty.”

The bishops had initially raised strong objections to a federal mandate announced Jan. 20 that required nearly all employers to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to employees.

They argued that the mandate did not include a sufficient religious exemption for those employers who held moral objections to such products and procedures.

President Barack Obama announced an “accommodation” on Feb. 10 that instead requires religious employers to purchase the same coverage from health insurance companies that will be required to provide the coverage in all plans they offer.

However, the bishops have argued that the new policy still fails to offer adequate protections for religious liberty.

Bishop Blaire called on those who have spoken falsely to correct their error and acknowledge the bishops’ “long and consistent record of support for health care which protects the life, dignity and consciences of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”

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Twelve attorneys general threaten to sue over contraception mandate

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Attorneys general from a dozen states say they intend to sue over the Obama administration's contraception mandate that requires many religious employers to violate the teachings of their faith.

In a Feb. 10 letter, the attorneys general voiced their “strong opposition” to the mandate, which they called “an impermissible violation of the Constitution's First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.”

They said that if the mandate is implemented, they are prepared to “vigorously oppose it in court.”

The letter was sent to the Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebilius, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor secretary Hilda Solis.

It was signed by Nebraska attorney general Jon Bruning, who was joined by the attorneys general of Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Colorado.

Bruning and his fellow attorneys general said that they are “deeply troubled” by the mandate’s “unprecedented coercion of organizations and individuals to act contrary to their religious beliefs.”

They decried the mandate for forcing religious employers to choose between effectively promoting “a message in contravention with their religious principles” and ceasing “activities of incalculable value” to society. 

The Obama administration has come under fire for the recently-announced mandate, which will require virtually all employers to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that induce abortions at no cost to employees.

Faced with a storm of protest, the administration announced an “accommodation” for religious freedom on Feb. 10. Rather than directly purchasing the coverage they object to, religious employers under the new policy would be forced to buy health care plans from insurance companies that would be required to offer these products free of charge.

Many critics have been quick to suggest that insurance companies will factor the “free” contraceptives into the pricing of health care plans, and so employers will ultimately be billed for the coverage, thus forcing them to violate their consciences.

Bruning has said that he is not satisfied with the “accommodation,” which he described as a false compromise that “still tramples on religious freedom.”

He and the other attorneys general urged the Obama administration to reconsider its decision, which they said is not only a “bad policy” but also “unconstitutional.”

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Moral theologians reject Catholic writer's defense of HHS mandate

Denver, Colo., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - Moral theologians have dismissed a Catholic writer's attempt to defend the revised contraception mandate, saying his own application of traditional moral theology is flawed and misleading.

“He's presuming that the HHS mandate is going to be imposed, and that Catholics have to figure out a way to live with it,” Father Thomas Petri said about David Gibson's defense of the mandate in USA Today.

“That's precisely what the Church is fighting against – saying 'No, it shouldn't be imposed!'”

Fr. Petri, a Dominican priest who teaches moral theology at Providence College in Rhode Island, spoke with CNA about the errors of Gibson's Feb. 14 article entitled “Contraception objections fail Catholic's (sic) moral reasoning.”

The Dominican said that Gibson, a Catholic writer for Religion News Service, was performing a “sleight of hand” that confused different issues and left out important distinctions.

Fr. Petri was joined in his criticisms by fellow theologian Father Gregory Gresko, a Benedictine monk who earned his Sacred Theology Licentiate from the Pontifical Lateran University's John Paul II Institute.

In his comments to CNA, Fr. Gresko objected to Gibson's claim that President Obama had offered religious institutions a way out of subsidizing employees' contraception.

In reality, he said, the president was continuing to demand the same contraception subsidy from employers – while playing the “shell game” of “appearing to be shifting responsibility from the Catholic institutions in question to insurance companies.”

“The argument that the Catholic Church would not be involved in paying for such coverage is illusory,” Fr. Gresko said. “Everyone doing business with insurance companies – employers and employees alike – would be paying for such coverage.”

On Feb. 10, President Obama announced a change to Health and Human Services' controversial rule on “preventive services.” Under the new rule, all insurance companies must offer without a co-pay contraception, sterilization and some abortion-causing drugs, even in plans purchased by religious employers that object to underwriting these services.

Under the new mandate, Gibson claimed, employers' support for contraception would be unintended and “remote,” rather than intentional and “direct” – since “the Catholic employer has no involvement or knowledge of the separate contract for contraceptive coverage between the employee and the insurer.”

The resulting “remote material cooperation,” he said, is “a perfectly legitimate way for a Catholic individual or organization to function in a sinful world.”

Gibson's argument drew from traditional categories of moral theology, which Catholics have often used to think through dilemmas or ambiguous situations.

Both Fr. Petri and Fr. Gresko, however, found Gibson's use of these categories to be flawed and inaccurate.

Fr. Petri acknowledged Gibson's argument that an employer, under the new mandate, “might not have involvement or knowledge of a separate contract … between employee and insurer” to receive contraception without a co-pay, since these agreements would be strictly between the insurer and employee.

But, as the Dominican pointed out, no Catholic employer is currently in that hypothetical future situation.

Rather, Fr. Petri noted, employers are now in the predicament of being forced to agree, knowingly, that such agreements will be made in the future as part of their contracts with insurers.

By confusing the two situations, Gibson drew attention away from the question actually facing the Church – which is not about whether to make contracts under which contraception could be provided; but rather, about whether to accept being forced to make such contracts in the future.

This confusion, Fr. Petri explained, could cause readers to confuse two significantly different questions: on the one hand, whether the mandate could be followed if imposed; and on the other hand, whether its imposition should be accepted in the first place.

But even the question Gibson focuses on – in his attempt to say Catholic organizations could follow the mandate in good conscience – is murkier than he would have readers believe, according to Fr. Petri.

Under the new mandate, Gibson claims, a Catholic institution's involvement in providing contraception “is 'mediated' because contraceptive coverage is provided at several steps removed from the institution.” Most commercial transactions, Gibson notes, involve some degree of material support for immoral acts.

Fr. Petri responded that Gibson had applied this distinction wrongly, by defining it incorrectly in the first place.

“Where he goes wrong,” the Dominican theologian replied, “is by identifying the so-called 'compromise' as requiring 'mediate' material cooperation, rather than 'immediate' material cooperation.”

“It seems to me that the HHS mandate involves immediate material cooperation – which, according to traditional Catholic moral teaching, is never legitimate. You're not allowed to 'immediately' cooperate with evil.”

In his article, Gibson defined “immediate material cooperation with evil” as meaning the “action of both the wrongdoer and the person aiding the wrongdoer are the same.”

Fr. Petri, however, took issue with this definition, saying that “immediate material cooperation” is normally defined as a situation in which “my action is necessary for the commission of the evil, and without my action the evil would not be committed.”

“It seems to me that this is immediate material cooperation,” Fr. Petri said of the HHS mandate. “Employers are, in fact, paying these premiums which are directly going to these 'preventive' services.”

Fr. Gresko, in his response to Gibson, stressed the Church's duty to reject the revised contraception mandate just as it did the first version – since both force believers to underwrite practices they oppose.

For the Church “not to fight the current battle at hand,” the Benedictine theologian said, “would be a deliberately active omission of carrying out its responsibility for the good of the Christian faithful” – specifically, its duty to defend believers “from immoral assaults on their religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”

“The Church’s cooperation with the alleged Obama compromise would lead to grave scandal,” he pointed out. “It would in fact be implying support for Obama’s position” – that contraception is a necessary form of health care that employers should be forced to support.

Fr. Gresko stressed the Church's obligation to stand not only for its own freedom, but also for the truth about human sexuality.

“Pregnancy is not a medical disease to be avoided, and consequently contraception, which has the formal intent to avoid a pregnancy at all costs, is not appropriate to be covered by insurance policies,” he stated.

“Encouraging the use of birth control has the real-life effect of encouraging sexual relations without regard for their inherent moral responsibility, such that when a pregnancy still does occur, abortion often becomes more a given next step.”

“The vast majority of abortions occur in the United States in this 'abortive-contraceptive' manner … What providing contraception indeed does is to encourage irresponsible sexual activity with the illusion of such action’s bearing no moral, personal, or social consequences down the road.”

Gibson's USA Today article also attempts to argue that religious institutions will not be paying extra costs to cover employees' contraception, because “studies show that providing coverage for birth control actually saves insurers money … and it is at least revenue neutral. So there are no costs to pass on.”

Fr. Gresko sees this argument as “specious at best” – because of the frequency with which failed contraception results in both pregnancy and abortion, both of which Gibson admits “cost more than contraceptives.”

But Father John D. Corbett, who teaches moral theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., offered CNA a different critique of these supposed cost-savings.

“It seems to me that if this argument, and subsequent policy, were enacted then the Church would be placed in the position of hoping that contraception be actually practiced,” Fr. Corbett observed.

“For if it were not practiced sufficiently, then there would be no savings,” he explained. “If there were no savings then there would be higher premiums through which the Church would be more or less directly paying for contraception.”

“This would put the Church in the position of saying 'A sufficient number of you must practice contraception to ensure that we will not have to pay for your contraception.' This looks a lot like formal cooperation.”

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Hundreds of bishops, priests to celebrate Mass with Pope in Mexico

Leon, Mexico, Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - A priest overseeing Pope Benedict's March 23-25 visit to Mexico said that nearly 200 bishops and 3000 priests are expected to concelebrate Mass with the pontiff in the city of Leon.

“All of the country’s bishops as well as representatives of the bishops' conferences of all the countries of North and South America have been invited to the Mass,” Father Jorge Raul Villegas, director of logistics for the trip, told CNA. 

Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, as well as other civil authorities and diplomats, have also received an invitation to the Mass which will take place near Cubilete Hill outside the city of Leon, the priest said.

Fr. Villegas said the chalice to be used during the Mass will be brought by the Pope from Rome. “This is the custom when he visits a country, and he leaves the chalice there as a momento. The altar and all the furnishings are especially for this celebration.”

The Archdiocese of Leon School of Music and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music of the Diocese of Zelaya will provide the music for the Mass and all “together there will be an orchestra of 260 musicians participating in the Mass,” he said.

Fr. Villegas added the orchestra is rehearsing the official song for the visit, which it will perform to welcome the Holy Father before Mass.

“The song is about welcoming him, about his presence in Mexico and on our continent as a sign of hope, about how we are welcoming him with affection, love and as a pilgrim of hope who is coming to speak to us in God’s name,” he explained.

Some 75,000 young people from across Mexico will volunteer to help with security and “will be dressed in white and yellow, the official Vatican colors,” Fr. Villegas said.

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Dispute between Pontifical university and Peru archdiocese not over

Rome, Italy, Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - The cardinal who carried out an apostolic visit of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru over its dispute with the Archdiocese of Lima said the case is not over and that one of the main problems facing Peruvian society is polarization within its institutions.

Cardinal Peter Erdo, who is in Rome for a meeting of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, told CNA on Feb. 15 that his visit in Lima focused on “the identity and the ecclesial and Catholic nature” of the university.

“I was in Peru and I held an extensive series of dialogues with many people, including university administrators and bishops,” the cardinal said.

“I have seen that Peruvian society is profoundly polarized by many problems, which can be seen as well inside the institutions, inside the Christian communities,” he added.

“So it seems that this conversation has not ended yet and will still have to be further developed.”

The rector of the Pontifical University, Marcial Rubio, has been called to Rome next week for a Feb. 21 meeting with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

In 2010, the Constitutional Court of Peru acknowledged the right of the Archdiocese of Lima to have a seat on the university’s board of directors, but university administrators did not follow the order.

On Sept. 23, 2011, the university assembly led by Rubio voted to refuse to comply with the Vatican directive to modify its statutes in accord with the Church’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae. The decision put the university’s status as a pontifical and Catholic institution in jeopardy.

Administration officials were also ordered to acknowledge the Archdiocese of Lima’s right to elect the university rector from among three candidates proposed by the university assembly.

On Sept. 21, the Archdiocese of Lima announced the Holy See would appoint an apostolic visitor to investigate the dispute. Cardinal Erdo arrived in Lima in December and met with university officials, the Archbishop of Lima and others involved in the case.

After the visitation concluded, some administrators said the Vatican’s directive was “non-binding” for the university.

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Pope urges African, European bishops to give youth cultural formation

Vatican City, Feb 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI says that bishops must pay particular attention to the cultural formation of their young people.

“You know well how much the Church esteems and promotes every form of authentic culture that offers the richness of the Word of God and the grace that flows from the Paschal Mystery of Christ,” he told a group of European and African bishops at the Vatican on Feb. 16.

“So the culture nurtured by faith leads to genuine humanity, while false cultures eventually lead to dehumanization: in Europe and in Africa we have had sad examples.”

The Pope was addressing a delegation of bishops who have been taking part in the 2nd Symposium of African and European Bishops at Rome’s Regina Apostolurum University Feb. 13-17.

He used his address to outline some of the key cultural challenges facing the Church in both continents.

“I think, in the first place, is religious indifference,” he said, “which leads many people to live as if God does not exist, or to be content with a vague religiosity, incapable of measuring up against the question of truth or the requirement of being coherent.”

He observed that especially in Europe, “but also in parts of Africa,” there exists a secularized environment that is often hostile to the Christian faith.

The Pope also identified hedonism as “another challenge to the announcement of the Gospel.” He said it has created a “crisis of values in daily life, in family structures” and even the way people “interpret the meaning of existence.”

In practical terms, he said, its symptoms can be witnessed in “serious social unrest” and “the spread of phenomena such as pornography and prostitution.”

But he urged the bishops not be discouraged, as “the risen Christ is always with us,” and because their dioceses contain many parishes and people “distinguished by a commitment to personal holiness and apostolate.”

The family as “the domestic church” is key to promoting a revival of their local Churches, and is “the most solid guarantee of for the renewal of society,” the Pope said.

“Within the family that preserves habits, traditions, customs and rituals imbued with faith you will find the most suitable soil for the flowering of vocations.”

Observing that “today’s consumer mentality” can often have a “negative impact” on fostering vocations, he called for particular focus on raising up “generous young people” in Africa and Europe, who “know how to responsibly take charge of their future.”

Pope Benedict underscored the fact that developing an atmosphere friendly to vocations care requires bishops to attend to the cultural formation of their young people.

The best way bishops can lead by their young people, the Pope said, is by giving them a personal example of sanctity.

“The moral authority and credibility that support the exercise of your juridical power, can only come from the holiness of your life,” he said.

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Wide range of religious leaders testify against contraception mandate

Washington D.C., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -

 Individuals from a variety of religious backgrounds testified at a congressional hearing about the threat to religious freedom posed by a new federal contraception policy.

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. explained that the debate is not about whether contraception should be illegal but whether religious employers that object should be “forced to pay for it.”

At a Feb. 16 hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Bishop Lori joined other witnesses to testify about religious liberty concerns presented by the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. 

The mandate will require many religious employers to violate their consciences by purchasing health insurance plans that include contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to employees.

Bishop Lori, who leads the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty committee, compared the mandate to a law requiring all delicatessens, including Jewish ones, to serve pork.

He asked whether a customer could “come to a kosher deli, demand to be served a ham sandwich, and if refused, bring down severe government sanction on the deli.”

“In a nation committed to religious liberty and diversity, the answer, of course, is no,” he said.

The bishop said that the mandate reaches “into the internal governance of our religious bodies” and forces them to use their own resources, either directly or indirectly, to provide coverage of services that violate Catholic teaching.

He also criticized the “accommodation” offered by the Obama administration on Feb. 10 as “simply unworkable” because of the large number of religious insurers and self-insured religious entities that would still be forced to pay directly for things to which they object.

Under the “accommodation” for religious freedom, religious employers will not directly purchase the coverage they object to, but will instead be forced to purchase a policy from an insurance company that will be required to provide the coverage free of charge.

Bishop Lori said that the administration had “no prior consultation” with the U.S. bishops before announcing the “accommodation.”

He also responded to Catholic Health Association’s positive reaction to the new policy, which the Obama administration has been using to justify its decision.

“Catholic Health Association does not speak for the Church as a whole,” Bishop Lori said. “The Catholic bishops speak for the Church as a whole.”

He added that freedom of religious expression must not be limited to religious organizations but must also extend to religious individuals running secular companies.

“Institutional rights rest on the foundation of individual rights,” he said.

John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, explained that while not all employees of the university are Catholic, they all freely agree during the hiring process “to respect and support” the university’s Catholic mission.

He said that the mandate would require the university to contradict itself, denying through its actions what it teaches in its classrooms.

Garvey pointed to the analysis of Harvard University economics professor Greg Mankiw, who found that the cost of the additional coverage will ultimately be incorporated into the policy and “passed on to the purchaser.”

He referenced a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, in which three senators supporting the mandate estimated that contraceptives cost a woman $600 dollars per year.

These costs will not simply disappear, Garvey explained, and even if they did, religious employers would still be forced to provide plans that covered the services they found immoral.

Garvey and Bishop Lori were joined at the hearing by ministers of various religious backgrounds and both men and women who serve as administrators at Catholic and Protestant colleges.

Belmont Abbey College – which has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the mandate – was among the groups represented at the hearing, as was the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which was involved in the recent Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case where the Supreme Court rejected the Obama administration’s narrow definition of religion.

Orthodox Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University, also testified at the hearing, arguing that the Obama administration has exhibited a “complete misunderstanding of the nature of religion.”

He explained that by carving out an initial religious exemption, “however narrow, the administration implicitly acknowledges that forcing employers to purchase these insurance policies may involve a violation of religious freedom.”

However, the strict stipulations attached to the exemption assume that religious organizations serving those of other faiths “are no longer acting in a religious capacity,” he said.

In this way, the Obama administration is posing a grave threat by “unilaterally redefining what it means to be religious,” he explained.

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Priest defends pro-life movement with secular philosophy

Denver, Colo., Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - Author and philosopher Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., released a new book that defends the pro-life stance with secular principles and argues for a fresh approach to the abortion debate.

“The pro-life movement needs a comprehensive philosophy that makes a case – a very logical case –  based on principals which are completely accepted by a secular society that shows that the pro-life position is correct, and ethical, and objectively true,” Fr. Spitzer told CNA.

The book, titled “Ten Universal Principles: A Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues,” was released on Oct. 1, 2011 by Ignatius Press and has already been hailed by scholars and average readers alike. 

Fr. Spitzer – former president of Washington's Gonzaga University and founder of the California-based Magis Institute – said that he wanted the work to be “very accessible” and help everyday Catholics learn how to oppose issues such as abortion and euthanasia by using philosophy.  

In a recent interview, he said that despite secular media often associating the pro-life movement with illogical religious fanaticism, it's actually those in favor of abortion who have poor reasoning.   

“Abortion,” he argued, “is based on objective falsities, logical errors, ethical problems, violations of ethical principals and a complete betrayal of the notion of rights.” 

The 10 universal principles discussed in the book are broken down into four sections under the topics of reason, ethics, justice and natural rights, and identity and culture.

Fr. Spitzer said that the sections outline basic concepts such as how objective truth can be known and how everyone can agree on principles like minimizing harm or guaranteeing essential human rights.

He said that using logical concepts everyone can assent to takes the argument out of the religious or political spheres.

In the U.S. especially, the movement in favor of legalized abortion has “claimed the entire territory of vocabulary and concept,” the priest said. “And because of that, in a way, they look like they're much more sophisticated than the pro-life people.”

However, he added, “all we have to do is reclaim the territory right back.”

“We need a vocabulary that neither the right nor the left will quibble with,” he emphasized. “We need a vocabulary that neither the religious nor the secular groups will quibble with.”

For instance, he noted, all people believe in things such as “inalienable rights,” despite the struggle often involved to ensure them.

The priest highlighted painful examples in the nation's history, such as the 1857 Dred Scott decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court essentially ruled that black individuals were subhuman and had no constitutional rights.

“The wording of that decision, it just knocks you over,” he said, “but if you look between the lines, its the exact same logic as Roe v. Wade” – the landmark U.S. case that legalized abortion in 1973. 

Although nearly 100 years apart, “both courts forgot about natural or inalienable rights. They never mentioned them.”

The second mistake both courts made, Fr. Spitzer said, is the illogical assumption that black people and the unborn needed to be proved human when the opposite process was required.

“Anyone who knows elementary ethics,” he said, knows “the principal of non-maleficence – don't do unnecessary harm.”

“If you're not going to do unnecessary harm, and you are uncertain, the burden of proof is on you to prove that the being under consideration is not human.”

Despite the tragic outcome of both cases and their societal impact, Fr. Spitzer said he's optimistic that a renewed effort to introduce basic philosophical arguments into the cultural debate will be successful.

He also said he believes that humanity ultimately wants to do the right thing.

“I think people honestly what to make an optimal positive difference with their lives, their time, their talents, and their energy,” he said.

“They want to make an optimal difference to family, to friends, to society, to their church if they have faith, to their local communities, to the little league, to the school board – whatever it may be, people are just generally exceedingly contributive.”

Fr. Spitzer also said the pro-life movement will continue to be effective given that people need to view these issues not just from an intellectual standpoint.

“Don't just look at them with your mind, but look at them with your heart.”

“Let's come back to our senses and get out of the political rhetoric,” he urged. Let's take “a good objective look from the vantage point of the mind and the heart, and just say, come on, what do you really think?”

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