Monday, August 3, 2009
By Father Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
I recently became upset when Newsweek's "Without A Doubt" feature published an article by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend entitled, "Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does."
She commends President Obama's "pragmatic approach to divisive policy" and his "social justice agenda." Meanwhile, she claims that the positions of the pope, the bishops and the pro-life activists do not. In fact, Townsend asserts that the Chicago community organizer president could teach the pope a lot about a Catholic approach to politics and the ability to listen to other people's points of view with empathy. Townsend continues her rant against the Church's teachings on various issues regarding human sexuality - contraception, abortion, homosexual unions and women priests, decrying the Church's unwillingness to listen to other points of view while ignoring the various documents on these issues which were written with an intent compassion for the people to whom they were addressed. Townsend shows no indication that she has listened to the Church's teachings on these topics, though the documents are easily acquired in print or on the Internet.
I recognize the community organizer approach that Townsend commends in this piece. I learned Sol Alinsky style of community organizing as a novice in Chicago when President Obama was a little boy living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Mr. Tom Gaudette, an associate of Sol Alinsky, trained a number of us Jesuits. I was the youngest man in the group, and I was certainly not well developed in the practice of organizing, but I tried my best in COUP - the acronym for Community of United People - on Chicago's near West Side. Most of the folks were African Americans trying to get their public housing projects brought up to city codes; I especially made contact with the Mexican community near Racine and Taylor streets, a line of housing between Italian residents and the public housing projects. I was particularly drawn to work with a street gang, which saw a lot of gang fights in the year I worked there. In fact, I eventually had to leave the area after having seen a friend of mine killed: they made him kneel down and shot him through the head; they merely beat me up.
Despite the trauma, I never forgot the lessons I learned about Alinsky's community organizing. The key to starting an organization was to find an issue that united the people. The issue should be small enough to win a victory, but large enough to matter to the folks. Second, after choosing the issue we had to identify an enemy the community could recognize as the personification of the issue. Usually this was some politician or businessman. Third, an action had to be designed by which the people could attack the enemy and force his or her hand on the issue, thereby giving the folks a victory. That would motivate them to take on bigger and more important issues, while the leaders among the people could emerge. This was a means of bringing power to the people.
Townsend certainly understands these tactics, as does President Obama. Notice how she has focused on issues of human sexuality, since these concern the most intimate areas of any person's life. People feel these issues quite strongly, so it would be popular to take them on. Second, she identifies the enemies who personify the problem: the Pope, the bishops and the pro-life activists. She develops the strategy of making popular popes - John Paul II, who motivated Paul VI to promulgate Humani Vitae, which continued the age old Christian rejection of artificial birth control and abortion, and Benedict XVI, whom she portrays as a man sheltered within the Roman Curia who is more concerned with papal power than with love of the people. Her approach reminds me of the battle cries after Humani Vitae: "I don't want the pope in my bedroom." My response is: "You flatter yourself; he does not want to be in there, either. But the pope will insist that God is Lord of the sexual realm, including everyone's bedroom."
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, President Barack Hussein Obama, and a number of others will arise to make the pope and bishops into our enemies. This will be especially important as the politicians begin pushing the end of life and the prevention of life as money saving programs in the health care proposals. Already Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed three hundred million dollars for condoms as a part of this congress' first stimulus bill - a rather odd idea for a bill focused on stimulating the economy. However, her reason was to prevent births as a money saver for the states. That is one of the ways she sees the birth of children. There will be many more proposals for taxpayer funding of abortions and euthanasia, since early infancy and end of life are the most expensive periods in regard to health care. The proposed health care bill in the House of Representatives will require the elderly to consult with their doctors every five years about alternatives to long term care. The doctors may be required to inform the elderly about assisted suicide, or at least the need to refrain from long term, expensive procedures. "Grandma may just need to take a pain pill," President Obama told us in a town meeting recently.
Of course, Kennedy Townsend and Obama want to make the pope and bishops into our enemies. I, however, ask why? Do the politicians fear the Magisterium's authority to teach us the holiness of human sexuality, the sacredness of Matrimony, or the sanctity of the right to life which comes from God our Creator and never from the state? Do they fear the goodness of our popes or the deep joy in Jesus Christ which radiates from their eyes, attracting many people to the Catholic Church? Do they fear a solid Catholic critique of their proposals to use death of the unborn and elderly or the prevention of new life as a solution to their inability to pay for all of the medical care they have promised but cannot deliver without eliminating the most vulnerable people who might need care?
Let us not fall for the Alinsky tricks of letting community organizers set up our enemies. These organizers try to stay in the background, manipulating the folks to go after an enemy. We Catholics will do well to stand shoulder to shoulder with our pope and bishops as we move forward in history to promote life and love, all the way to heaven. Those who sow division between us and our leaders will march to their own chosen destinations.
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J.
Posted by Moms For Life at 10:12 AM
"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