Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Catholic Politician Feels The Pro Life Sword

School’s commencement pick of Sen. Casey ‘sad and disappointing,’ Bishop Martino says
Scranton, Pa., May 5, 2009 / 06:27 am (CNA).-

Bishop of Scranton Joseph F. Martino has called Sen. Bob Casey, Jr.’s role as commencement speaker at King’s College is “sad and disappointing” because the allegedly pro-life Democrat cannot “muster the courage” to oppose “the pro-abortion agenda” in Washington. King’s College, a Catholic institution in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, said the Senator will receive an honorary doctorate.

President of King’s College Father Thomas O’Hara, C.S.C., commented on the selection of Sen. Casey in a March 31 statement:

“From the time that Senator Casey taught fifth grade in a Philadelphia inner city school after graduating from college, he has been a great advocate of improving the quality of education.
“He is keenly aware of the issues important to the people he represents and provides great support to Northeast Pennsylvania on a federal level akin to state level support that his father obtained. The Caseys are a shining example of a family of faith who have dedicated their lives to public service. Throughout his career, Bob Casey has been guided by the legacy of his father’s principle that ‘all public service is a trust, given in faith and accepted in honor.’”

The Diocese of Scranton commented on Sen. Casey’s appearance in a May 1 statement.
The statement noted Sen. Casey’s vote to confirm Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, which it called “an affront to all who value the sanctity of life.” It also described the governor as “a committed advocate of abortion.”

“It is the Bishop’s position that his vote on April 28 demonstrates that Sen. Casey is a reliable vote for President Barack Obama’s aggressive pro-abortion agenda,” the diocesan statement continued.

The statement then quoted Bishop Martino.

“Sen. Casey’s appearance at King’s graduation ceremony is sad and disappointing in view of his recent alignment with anti-life forces in the Senate and the highest offices of our government,” Bishop Martino said. “I do not believe he has the moral stature to stand before the graduates of a Catholic college to address them about their futures and the challenges they will face when on the most important issue of the day—the sanctity of human life—he cannot muster the courage to oppose the pro-abortion agenda which is currently being promoted in Washington.” (This is quite the statement. Might just as well have called Senator Casey a political prostitute.)

The bishop did note that the college’s decision to invite the Senator was made prior to his votes to confirm Gov. Sebelius and to rescind the Mexico City Policy, which allows taxpayer funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions overseas.

Before Senator Casey’s actions, Bishop Martino said, he had no objection to the invitation.
However, he said it is now “truly unfortunate” that the Catholic institution will appear to provide a forum for “a politician who is steadily distancing himself from pro-life principles and, sadly, from his father’s legacy as a statesman who championed the rights of the unborn.”

Sen. Casey’s father Gov. Bob Casey, Sr. was a pro-life Democratic governor of Pennsylvania. He signed several abortion restrictions into law, a move which led to the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He is believed to have been denied a speaking role at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because of his pro-life views.

Bishop Martino said he will continue to challenge Sen. Casey “whenever he fails to cast a vote or advance a position that will protect the most vulnerable in our society.” (The trouble with this is that Senator Casey was elected to represent all the people of his state, not just the unborn and one bishop.)

CNA contacted King’s College and was told it had no comment on Bishop Martino’s statement.
Sen. Casey is scheduled to be commencement speaker at King’s College on May 17.


I posted the above because it's just one of a number of articles making the rounds on the 'official' Catholic news sites. Deal Hudson has an op/ed piece on his blog in which he makes it sound as if every bishop and 'real' Catholic in the land is appalled with Notre Dame. Unfortunately for Deal and his political party, sixty bishops is about 25% of the total number of our bishops and that coincides with the 25 or so percent of Catholics who actually are angry with Notre Dame, and that figure is also very close to the percentage of Americans who self identify as Republicans.

So that vast majority is really only one quarter of the Catholic population and episcopacy. The truth is, according to a recent PEW survey, almost twice as many Catholics haven't even heard of the Notre Dame controversy as those who oppose Notre Dame.

The reality is that the Notre Dame controversy is really a tempest in a conservative teapot. Bishop Martino's castigating of Senator Casey for catching the Sebelius disease is more of the same, but then not unexpected from a man who seems to have caught 'limelight' disease.

What I've found more interesting is the utter silence from these pro life stalwarts on the torture practices of the Bush regime. InsideCatholic.com has this bizarre piece written by David Carlin in support of the use of torture. It more or less makes the case for citizens to turn a blind eye to politicians who 'cut legal corners' for state security reasons. I was sort of speechless by the time I got to the end of the article. However, another blogger from Vox Nova was not speechless, and this person completely skewers the tortured logic in Carlin's article. Following the Vox Nova link is worth the read.

While reading on the Vox Nova website I found another statement which I wish I personally had written. This is from an article discussing the politicizing of American Catholicism and how weird this whole thing is to Catholics who don't live in the US. The author ends the piece with a warning about the mixing of Evangelical political thinking with pro life Catholicism:

"It’s high time for an emperor-has-no-clothes moment: the American Catholic Church is deviating from the global Catholic church in this area because the American Catholic church is increasingly aping the tactics and outlook of the politicized evangelical movement – an alliance forged two decades ago by Neuhaus and others. It is a movement based on a stark “us versus them” mentality, a dualistic mentality based on cultural Calvinism and a whiff of Gnosticism, a mentality directly translated into partisan rigidity, and where theological orthodoxy is confused with political loyalty. We are now reaping the fruit of this trend, and the fruit is rotten."

The fruit is indeed rotten. One of those signs of this rot is when Deal Hudson, who was the architect behind this mixing of pro life Catholics and Evangelicals, writes an article which conflates the minority view of Notre Dame into notions of a full scale Catholic revolt. The facts just don't support this notion. The facts seem to indicate that the only people Hudson is reaching are the already in the 'party' crowd. He certainly doesn't seem to have reached anyone in the Vatican which I guess makes Hudson's crowd more Catholic than the Vatican.

That's the problem with the political Evangelization of American Catholicism, it's more Catholic than the Vatican, just like protestant Evangelicals are convinced they are more 'saved' than mainline protestants and all Catholics. It really and truly is 'us' against everyone else.

My issue with this is that the 'us' folks truly think they should be able to dictate morality to everyone else, leading us by our moral noses, not to their promised land, but to a position where we give them all the power they want. We found out how well that worked under President Bush. The Republicans took Catholic pro life proponents to the cleaners while giving us sanctioned torture and illegal war as a moral principle, based not in Christian values, but in state security.

Pope Benedict is going to run into the same mentality this weekend in Israel. A mentality that seems to say state security is the only barometer on which nations need base their morality. It's not surprising that one of the biggest American supporters of the Israeli government is the Evangelical movement. For them this issue of Palestine is not about Jews, it's about the nation state of Israel and how it's existence signals the beginning of the final confrontation described in Revelations. Israel must prevail or Revelations is wrong. Keep this in mind when Benedict is in Israel and Palestine, because the political issues aren't just between Muslims and Jews, they also include Evangelical Christians whose theology is based in the Rapture, not Jesus.

In the meantime the real hot spot for me is in Pakistan. This is serious. Unlike Iran, Pakistan actually has nuclear weapons. The sudden upsurge in regional violence from the Taliban is a real security threat. This is the war we should have brought to a conclusion. I only hope the fall out from that mistake isn't greater than the world is willing to pay. The Bush legacy is bad enough without the destabilization of Pakistan courtesy of the Taliban.


  1. From the man who said that it is ok to be on the board of school of the americas, who said the school of the americas does not teach torture techniques, the man who ...

    I would say that his condemnation is in effect a glowing recommendation of Sen Caseys character.

    It is also proof that if the USCCB be says it is right and good, it really isnt. If they say it is wrong and bad. It really isnt.

  2. Colleen, the Pro-life movement only proves it is a rotten fruit and is more an example of disease and poison of the faith. As I was growing up we would often hear of the "silent majority" among the people in the nation who were not heard and against war and killing. Too often we hear of Bishops like Martino wanting to be in the limelight and supposedly pro-life. Martino represents the Pharisees in the Church, and the evangelicals and Republicans remind me of the Romans. They are in bed together and are a poisonous combination.

    How long must we suffer with witnessing ignorance from the Church's leadership from people like Martino? How long before they are put in their place? How long before they come to the light of Christ? How long before the Church's Bishops remain as ostriches to what is happening in the American Catholic Church? How long will they remain silent?

    It hurts to witness their failure and their falling from grace. It hurts to see them wage this war against people. When will they see? When will they hear? When will they love? When will they?

    I pray for divine intervention against the preference for wickedness and pride in partisan politics instead of focusing on teaching and preaching the Gospels. Martino is not acting as a priest in persona Christi. He is acting as a person abusing his authority and position to further a political agenda against anyone who has a different opinion than him in dealing with problems, which abortion is just one.

    When will this characteristic display of ignorance end?

  3. I just finished reading David Carlin's article. It is interesting that the Romans came into my mind before reading David Carlin's article.

    I had to laugh at what Mr. Carlin had to say to stoop so low to bring up as an example the Roman's way of law from before the time of Christ and to use that as justification for torture in this day and age.

    Does Carlin know what year this is by any chance? Did he ever hear of the Nuremberg trials? Does he realize that our soldiers are put in danger of being tortured if we sanction torture? Has Carlin read the reports that refute that torture really divulges information that would help us?

    Apparently he has not.

    Not Christian at all to promote torture and then deny it is torture. But it sure sounds Roman and Carlin would prefer we act as Romans. The Roman way is preferable to the teachings of Jesus Christ?

    Amazing and utterly ignorant. No wonder he defends the ignorant such a Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush. They helped to bring the downfall of this country morally and economically by their policies. Carlin needs to address his lack of vision and perspective.

  4. Until I read your commentary I was unaware that Martino had anything to do with the School of the Americas - much less of his claim that they do not teach torture techniques (LIE!).

    But as that is a virtual Opus Dei operation, one should not be surprised. Martino (an obvious Opus shill) has become more & more shrill in his rantings over the past year.

    A quick look at his record as bishop shows that he is just another strumpet loudly proclaiming the "company line". What is scary is not just WHAT he is saying/doing, but the increasingly hyper tone & attitude he projects.

  5. Annonymous, actually it's Bishop Morlino of Madison Wi who sits on the board of the SOA.

    Kind of a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other. It's easy to mix them up and the names don't help.

  6. Butterfly, I found Carlin's piece stupefying. It's not like he's in a position where he would actually have to deal with the ramifications of our torture policy. Easy for him to say.

  7. Thank you for the correction! It is easy enough to mistake the two similar names......much like Serratelli & Salterelli O.o

    ....though I would not have been surprised if the Bishop of Scranton was on the board of SOA & supportive of it;p

  8. While I disagree with Bishop Mertino on this, do you really believe that it's OK for Catholics to stand against the teachings of the Church on abortion? Catholics who defend the killing of unborn children aren't Catholic ata ll.

    Sorry, Butterful, but the pro-life movement isn't "rotten fruit." It's our views that are poisoning our faith. It's unfortunate that we're forced to choose between two political parties that have positions opposed to our faith... but NO OTHER ISSUE compares in gravity with the legally sanctioned murder of a million innocent humans every year in this country.

  9. Mike, thanks for commenting. As to whether or not I stand against the Church's teaching on abortion depends on what teaching you are talking about.

    I believe the taking of a viable baby is immoral. Like millions of other Catholics, I think the Church's refusal to even consider any concept other than a full human person with full human rights exists at the moment of conception is untenable.

    I think Aquinas still has it correct, up until quickening the morality is based in notions of potential human life, after quickening, or viability, it's a whole different ballgame.

    I have no doubt what so ever that third trimester abortions could have been legally restricted had a more modertate reasonable approach been used. As it stands now, there will never be any restrictions on any form of abortion for fear the pro lifers will keep trying to move the law to their absolute position.

    That's the real loss.