Monday, May 25, 2009
Author Dawn Eden Weighs in on Catholic Jesuit Priest, Fr. James Martin's Public Support of President Obama on CNN
*This article is brilliantly written, honest and insightful. While I agree with Fr. Martin's principle of "Charity," I honestly believe that, in this particular case, it is being used as a "tool" to blanket the real culprit: moral relativism.
To be charitable is to be loving.
4,000 babies are going to be killed today.
The question I pose to Fr. James Martin is: How are we being "charitable" to them? How are we loving them?
Many thanks to Ms.Eden, for her passion, zeal, & tireless efforts in helping to build a culture of life! God Bless! ~Georgia
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Father James Martin's strife with the saints
by: Dawn Eden
"Why do we Catholics so often bayonet our own troops?"
That question posed last week by Mark Shea in the wake of the vitriol following Christopher West's "Nightline" appearance, applies even more to the treatment of Father James Martin S.J. following his CNN appearance last Sunday.
The author of My Life With the Saints,* interviewed on CNN after President Obama's speech at Notre Dame, made some comments that sparked outrage among pro-life bloggers such as Insight Scoop's Carl Olson. They were made more dramatic by the fact that Martin defended his points even as EWTN host Raymond Arroyo, interviewed alongside him, countered with an articulate defense of Magisterial teachings on life. The layman was correcting the priest, and, to many of those schooled in the breadth of Church teachings on the culture of life, the priest was closer to the views of the prevailing culture than those of the Magisterium.
Among Martin's statements that caused offense were his response to whether Obama deserved the honorary degree from Notre Dame:
I mean, I think first of all, if anyone deserves a degree in law, it’s this constitutional law scholar. I think that needs to be kept in mind. But also, I think the pro-life world is a lot broader than simply abortion. I don’t think you can just sweep the death penalty, torture -- things like that under the carpet. The pro-life world is really what Cardinal Bernardin called ‘a consistent ethic of life.’ I think, unfortunately, for a lot of people in the pro-life movement, life begins at conception, but seems to end there. I mean, it just cannot be about simply abortion, and I really lament the fact that -- that some of the bishops have turned the Gospel of Jesus Christ into simply abortion. And so, I think we need to look at a broader perspective here.
When Arroyo argued that Obama represented a "pro-abortion policy," Martin responded:
I don’t think you can call President Obama pro-abortion. I mean, someone who talked about convening a task force between pro-life and pro-choice people is certainly not someone who is pro-abortion. I don’t know anyone who’s pro-abortion, and I think that label is really very misleading.
I am among those who believe Father Martin is in the wrong on this issue, but that is not my purpose in calling attention to his words. The Jesuit had an opportunity to articulate Catholic teaching in the media spotlight and he blew it. His misstep, however, regardless of whether it reflects deep-seated dissent or simple ignorance, has since been overshadowed and, to my mind, eclipsed, by the unpardonable behavior of numerous people who should know better.
Since the controversy broke, Martin has engaged in dialogue with Olson and several other pro-life bloggers, and, while not offering a complete retraction, has accepted correction on some points. He has also made it clear that he is "unabashedly pro-life." Throughout, he has conducted himself with the utmost civility.
The same cannot be said of many blog commenters and others who have vilified Martin with visible glee, as though they had been saving all their vitriol against Catholic Obama supporters—and particularly against Jesuits—for this very occasion.
One commenter on Amy Welborn's blog accused the priest of denying the Resurrection. An Insight Scoop reader questioned his vocation, while another asked "Is he on crack?"
Having corresponded with Martin since he guested on this blog last year, I wrote to him to offer background on Obama's record—which is not just pro-abortion, but pro-infanticide—and to ask if he had anything to say about the response to his comments.
He wrote back:
Where, I wonder, does charity fit into all of this?
For me, I respect all of my Catholic brothers and sisters and assume that they are trying to live out their faith lives as best they can. And I know that they are following their consciences in making the best decisions that they can as Christians. So why are we tearing one another apart in the pro-life movement? I am unabashedly pro-life: that is, I believe in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. Yet I have a quite (and perhaps quietly) different way of working towards that goal.
That difference seems to have earned me enmity among some in the pro-life movement. Critiques about the prudence of a certain strategy call into question my reverence for life, my vocation as a priest, my commitment to my vows as a Jesuit, my fidelity to the church, my Christian beliefs, and led one email correspondent to call me a "murderer," another a "liar," another a "baby-killer," and another "deceitful."
For me, the most helpful way forward come from St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. "[L]et it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it." In other words to give people the benefit of the doubt. Or as Pope Benedict XVI said, "Encounters with others need to be marked by tolerance..." Even, it should be underlined, when those "others" are on the same side, in the church, Catholics all, united in the faith.
Calling for charity is not, as some have charged, "selling out" or "watering down" or "avoiding the issue." It is the foundation of the Christian message and one of the Christian virtues that we set aside at our peril--literally.
In other words, while we're being Catholic we shouldn't forget about being Christian.
While I agree with his warnings against forgetting charity, Father Martin neglects to say is what I believe is really the issue here: He is being used as a scapegoat for the failure of Catholic pro-lifers to convince 53 percent of U.S. Catholics to vote against Obama. In particular, as Archbishop Burke has admitted with regard to the the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' voting guide, there were massive missteps of catechesis in the last presidential election, all the way down from the highest levels of the American Church. Despite the efforts of many pro-lifers to make Obama's abortion extremism known—and, to their credit, they did get through to a slim majority of Mass-attending Catholics—the message did not reach the wider masses, let alone priests such as Father Martin.
Since his CNN interview, Father Martin has admitted to blogger Edward Mechmann that perhaps he is "just naive" in his belief that no one thinks it is "a good thing" for a woman to have an abortion. But then he adds,
In general, though, when Obama says that he wants to "reduce abortions" I think it's good for the church to take him at his word. At least this is a place of common ground--the desire to reduce abortions. It's a start for both sides to come together to work towards the reduction of abortions.
Naivete aside, Father Martin has a point here that is worth considering—if pro-lifers (and I include myself) can overcome their visceral reaction against the vagaries of the Obamaspeak he defends.
Based on his unyielding support of Planned Parenthood, I don't believe Obama wants to reduce abortions by pro-life means such as promoting marriage and aiding pregnant women. I believe that, when he says "reduce abortions," he means "promote contraception, sterilization, and 'comprehensive [e.g. pornographic] sex education.'" Certainly, that is what Planned Parenthood and their allies hear when he says that.
Behind his rose-colored glasses, however, Father Martin's point is that pro-lifers should take Obama at his word and hold him to his promise, putting pressure on him to reduce abortions in ways that don't contradict the sanctity of life and the dignity of the human person. That is in fact a point with which some major pro-life organizations agree—otherwise they would not have taken opportunities to meet with White House staff to discuss the issue. The Church likewise, from the Pope with his congratulatory telegram, to Cardinal George with his meeting with the President, has demonstrated her desire to work with Obama through whatever doors he opens to dialogue. He is, after all, the only President we have, and it is, to my mind, utterly foolish to think that the next 44 months will be any better if we stay in our own pro-life echo chamber and adopt a barricade mentality.
Father Martin writes to me that the e-mails he received to his CNN appearance were "overwhelmingly, almost embarrassingly positive." Again, what does that say about the impact the pro-life movement has on the average Catholic? Remember, the priest did not speak in favor of abortion. Rather, he mistakenly characterized Obama as not being pro-abortion. His argument was from the position not of an abortion supporter, but rather of a pro-lifer unwilling to see wrongdoing or base motives on the parts of the President and Notre Dame.
There are millions of Catholics like him, who consider themselves pro-life (as does the majority of the American populace in recent polls), but are charmed by President Obama and believe him when he claims to seek to reduce abortion. They are the ones we should be targeting—not with vitriol and abuse, but with love and truth. It's time to get out of the comboxes, get into the pews and out at the water coolers, and leave the echo chamber behind.
UPDATE: Mike Potrema, literary editor of National Review, says:"Get Over Notre Dame...and Look at the Big Picture
Dawn Eden is Author of, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On ~ Visit her Website / Visit her Blog
Posted by Moms For Life at 11:43 PM
"I Am Personally Responsible for over 75,000 Abortions"
*This video was made during the campaign to ban abortion in South Dakota. Bernard Nathanson repented of his ways and has became Catholic.*
Catholic Colleges & Universities Loyal to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church
- Aquinas College (TN)
- Ave Maria (FL)
- Belmont Abbey College (NC)
- Benedictan College (KS)
- Campion College (Sydney, Australia)
- Catholic Distance University
- Christendom College (VA)
- College of Our Lady of Corpus Christi (TX)
- College of St. Thomas More (TX)
- Dominican House of Studies (Washington, D.C.)
- Franciscan University of Steubenville (OH)
- Holy Apostles Seminary and College (CT)
- John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family (Washington, D.C.)
- Magdalen College (NH)
- Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College (VA)
- Saint Joseph's College of Maine (ME)
- Southern Catholic College (GA)
- St. Augustine Institute (CO)
- St. Gregory's University (OK)
- Thomas Aquinas College (CA)
- Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (LA)
- University of Sacramento (CA)
- Wyoming Catholic College (WY)
Randall Terry, founder Operation Rescue, addresses the assassination of George Tiller. Mr. Terry urges the pro-life movement to not surrender words and actions under the heavy opposition from child killers and the Obama administration.
- Women for Faith and Family
- One More Soul ~ Spreading the Truth about the Blessings of Children & the Harms of Contraception
- Pope Paul VI Institute ~ Authentically Catholic Medical Institute for Fertility Problems
- The Alexander House ~ For Rebuilding & Strengthening Marriages
- Edith Stein Foundation ~ Medical Information on Contraception & Fertility Issues
- Retrouvaille ~ For Troubled Marriages
- Couple to Couple League ~ Natural Family Planning
- Pope Paul VI: Humane Vitae
Abortion ~ Facts and Information
- Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing. It is therapy for the soul.
- Hope After Abortion ~ The Catholic Church's post-abortion ministry
- Silent No More Awareness ~ An effort to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men, and families
- Feminists For Life
- Abortion Facts
- Overpopulation Myths
- Abortion and the Black Community: BlackGenocide.org
- Second Look Project ~ Encourages those who are "pro-choice" to take a second look at their position on abortion
- The Elliot Institute ~ The leader in research regarding the after effects of abortion on women and men
- Priests For Life
Pregnancy Help & Hotlines
Help for Addictions
- Government, Law, & Political Responsibility. Click HERE to contact White House, U.S. Senate, House of Reps, Supreme Court, etc. See also Suggestions for Effective Letter Writing
- FOCA FACT Sheet & In-Depth Info to help EDUCATE those around you about this radical law that will increase the number of abortions and make it even more UNSAFE for WOMEN.
- Federal Legislative Action Center: Contact your STATE Reps. HERE. ~ Plus much MORE to help INFORM us in this VITAL fight against FOCA ~ We must ACT NOW!!!
- Spiritually Adopt a Pre-born Baby Today! Click HERE to learn more.
- Begin Planned Parenthood Fraud Investigation in Your State! Click HERE for Details.
Go On Retreat!
- Casa Maria Convent & Retreat House ~ Located 1 mile from EWTN, The Sisters of the Eternal Word's apostolate is prayer, catechesis, and retreats. They invite zealous and excellent retreat masters to share with you their experience and knowledge of our holy Catholic Faith. Casa Maria is blessed with devout priests who celebrate the Liturgy with great reverence. They encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love of our Blessed Mother, and they draw upon the rich musical heritage of the Church.
- Sisters for Life ~ Villa Maria Guadalupe ~ The retreat house hosts Evenings of Recollection, educational seminars on life issues and retreats for everyone (themes include Theology of the Body, Young Adult Retreats, Post-Abortion Healing, and retreats on the Dignity and Vocation of Women).
Books for Children
More Recommended Reading
- Abortion: Yes or No? by John L. Grady, M.D.
- Changed ~ Making Sense of Your Own or a Loved One's Abortion Experience, by Michaelene Fredenburg
- Ending Abortion Not Just Fighting It, by Fr. Frank A. Pavone, M.E.V.
- Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), by Pope John Paul II
- God Is Love, An Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI
- Humane Vitae: A Challenge to Love, by Pope Paul VI
- Is the Fetus Human? by Eric Pastuszek
- Led by Faith, by Immaculee Ilibigiza
- Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibigiza
- Living the Gospel of Life ~ the pastoral statement issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops
- Noise, by Teresa Tomeo
- Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hope for the World by Dan Lynch
- Render Unto Caesar, by Charles J. Chaput
- The Way to Love, by Anthony De Mello
- Won By Love, by Norma McCorvey