It concerns me that the American Life League (whose founder & president is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life) is unable to say whether Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Gregory, Archbishop Kurtz, or Bishop Lori are following Canon 915 in their present (arch)dioceses.
When Cardinal Rigali came to Philadelphia, many anticipated strong pro life leadership. The same is certainly true wth today's anticipated announcement that Archbishop Chaput will be our next archbishop. While it's also true that Archbishop Chaput's Render Unto Casesar was packed with history and theology, as well as very readable, I found its discussion of the situation of pro-abortion politicians who present themselves for Holy Communion to be very disappointing.
I believe Bishop Lori was with the other Connecticutt bishops in a 9/07 statement which unwittingly did a grave disservice to the cause of life:
- "to administer Plan B pills in Catholic hospitals to victims of rape a pregnancy test to determine that the woman has not conceived is sufficient. An ovulation test will not be required. The administration of Plan B pills in this instance cannot be judged to be the commission of an abortion because of such doubt about how Plan B pills and similar drugs work and because of the current impossibility of knowing from the ovulation test whether a new life is present. To administer Plan B pills without an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act.
- "Since the teaching authority of the Church has not definitively resolved this matter and since there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work, the Catholic Bishops of Connecticut have stated that Catholic hospitals in the State may follow protocols that do not require an ovulation test in the treatment of victims of rape. A pregnancy test approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration suffices. If it becomes clear that Plan B pills would lead to an early chemical abortion in some instances, this matter would have to be reopened."
The Connecticutt bishops statement certainly seemed to disregard the fact that
- "The Catholic Medical Association, the largest professional organization of Catholic physicians in the U.S. is resolutely opposed to the use of the abortifacient morning after pill (also known as ‘emergency contraception’ or its generic name Plan B) in Catholic Hospitals because of its potential to cause abortions....A study by [Pennsylvania's own] Dr. Chris Kahlenborn in 2003 found that the pill only works to halt ovulation half the time. Thus fertilization may occur even after the pill is administered, and an abortion would result since in addition to stopping ovulation the pills act to weaken the lining of the uterus making implantation unsustainable. See Dr. Kahlenborn’s study here: http://www.polycarp.org/postfertilization_polycarp_1.htm....
- [As per] "Dr. Kathleen Raviele, the President-Elect of the Catholic Medical Association,.... 'In everything we err on the side of life,'...and thus the administration of the morning after pill in Catholic hospitals is 'not justified.'
- "At its Annual Meeting in 2003, the Catholic Medical Association passed a resolution correcting theologians who have erroneously suggested that it would be legitimate for Catholic hospitals to provide 'emergency contraception' to rape victims."
At the time of the Connecticutt bishops' statement, I believe the Vatican had already spoken clearly on the matter of Plan B (aka, the Morning After Pill). Did the Connecticutt bishops retract or correct their statement after the Vatican's subsequent release of Dignitas Persona (See Section 23)?
I realize that this is just a daydream, but it would be wonderful if Bishop Joseph Martino could come out of retirement and return to his home archdiocese!
- "As Catholics, we should not be surprised by these developments. Forty years ago, Pope Paul VI predicted that widespread use of artificial contraceptives would lead to increased marital infidelity, lessened regard for women, and a general lowering of moral standards especially among the young. Forty years later, social scientists, not necessarily Catholics, attest to the accuracy of his predictions....
- "It is a tragic irony that 'pro-choice' candidates have come to support homicide -- the gravest injustice a society can tolerate -- in the name of 'social justice'....
- "While the Church assists the State in the promotion of a just society, its primary concern is to assist men and women in achieving salvation. For this reason, it is incumbent upon bishops to correct Catholics who are in error regarding these matters. Furthermore, public officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. As I have said before, I will be vigilant on this subject.
- "It is the Church’s role now to be a prophet in our own country, reminding all citizens of what our founders meant when they said that 'all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' The Church’s teaching that all life from conception to natural death should be protected by law is founded on religious belief to be sure, but it is also a profoundly American principle founded on reason. Whenever a society asks its citizens to violate its own foundational principles – as well as their moral consciences – citizens have a right, indeed an obligation, to refuse.
- "In 1941, Bishop Gustave von Galen gave a homily condemning Nazi officials for murdering mentally ill people in his diocese of Muenster, Germany. The bishop said:
- “'"Thou shalt not kill!" God wrote this commandment in the conscience of man long before any penal code laid down the penalty for murder, long before there was any prosecutor or any court to investigate and avenge a murder. Cain, who killed his brother Abel, was a murderer long before there were any states or any courts or law. And he confessed his deed, driven by his accusing conscience: 'My punishment is greater than I can bear. . . and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me the murderer shall slay me' (Genesis 4:13-14).”
- "Should he have opposed the war and remained silent about the murder of the mentally ill? No person of conscience can fail to understand why Bishop von Galen spoke as he did.
- "My dear friends, I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door....
- "Let us pray the Rosary for the strength and fortitude to uphold the truths of our faith and the requirements of our law to all who deny them. And, let us ask Our Lady to bless our nation and the weakest among us" (Respect Life Sunday, 10/3/08)