what if...

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 02, 2005

Suppose an American bishop wrote:

If the person intends to promote the killing of innocent life, s/he would be guilty of such sinful cooperation.... But this seems unlikely as a general rule. Should every Catholic politician who has voted for an unjust law favoring abortion be judged to have this intention? I hope not.

Would you be tempted to write to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and ask for a correction/clarification of that remark?

Correction: In an earlier version of this comment, I included another quotation, which I mistakenly attributed to the same episcopal author. In fact, the bishop in question was quoting from a letter sent by leading Democrats in Congress; the sentiments expressed-- which were clearly at variance with Vatican statements on the same topic-- were not his own. My apologies for that error, and thanks to the alert readers (below) who brought it to my attention.

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 13 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 04, 2005 10:53 PM ET USA

    I would write the CDF. When a Catholic politician votes for an unjust law favoring the slaughter of pre-born babies, HOW is the killing of innocent lives NOT promoted? When Sen. Kennedy votes for every piece of legislation that advocates the murder of babies, is he not intending to promote the killing of innocent lives? What else could be his intent? Oh, yeah, I forgot, multiple intent: kill babies & get re-elected & increase funding for Planned Parenthood & other abortion mills. Silly me.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 10:40 PM ET USA

    "Clarification: ..." The word you're looking for is "correction." You wrote in error, not obscurity. Yes, I know you eventually admit the error, but in my opinion you should've left your original post intact, and then added your *correction.* And your apologies ought to have extended to the "American Bishop." By name. As for what's left of the original post -- no, I wouldn't be at all tempted to write to the CDF, and ask for a correction/clarification of the quoted remark. Talk about irony!

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 9:22 AM ET USA

    Sorry Diogenes, and I think this is the first time I've disagreed with you, but you really distorted Levada's words here. The first quote you mentioned was not said by Levada, but was part of the letter written by 48 pro-abortion "Catholic" Congressman (probably all Democrats). The second quote about formal cooperation correctly lays forth this principle. I don't completely agree with the way Levada framed it or ultimately concluded the issue, but it is not as harmful as your post suggested.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 8:34 AM ET USA

    Before we launch a full-scale feeding frenzy on the good Cardinal-to-be, I suggest that we give him a chance to settle into his new office.

  • Posted by: Eleazar - Aug. 03, 2005 8:02 AM ET USA

    As a soccer ref, I've always had trouble judging intent...but I can always SEE the EFFECT. Apropos abortion, the politician may not have the "intention" of "the killing of innocent life," but the effect of a pro-abort vote is the end of another innocent life. I’d throw the red card.

  • Posted by: parochus - Aug. 03, 2005 5:29 AM ET USA

    Methinks this comment was written by Diogenes' evil twin.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Aug. 02, 2005 9:33 PM ET USA

    Though I have concerns about the app't to the CDF, I don't think this statement taken out of context is as troublesome as is being proposed. But, even if the politician does NOT have the "intention" of "the killing of innocent life," we CAN and SHOULD judge him/her of being unfit for office. Regardless of intent, support of abortion is always a grave evil and a person who "intends" to advance the culture of life would not vote for one who, even if unwittingly, promotes the culture of death.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Aug. 02, 2005 8:12 PM ET USA

    dittos to what has already been said. I am concerned that new prefect is not the carbon copy of the previous one. Few can play at that level, but I am fairly sure that he will be Catholic.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2005 7:09 PM ET USA

    As a Californian (will you destroy California, Lord if I can find 20 righteous men here?), I will go with Uncle D here. I am more concerned about the appointment of Abp Levads than I am about Judge Roberts. The most important appointment of the Summer is neither of those but who will be the new Archbishop in Sodom and Gomorrah by the Bay. That will tell the tale. I couldnt believe who got to be Pope so can I still pray for a Fessio appointment in SF. Let me dream, Lord. It can't hurt.

  • Posted by: Eusebuis1 - Aug. 02, 2005 6:16 PM ET USA

    I was amused and saddened. Cardinal Keeler crititcizes Senate Majority Leader Frist’s statement on Embryonic Stem-Cell Research but narry a word about his own female Senator -- a Democrat -- who's want a committment from Judge Rogers not to go against Roe v Wade or anything else that would save the lives of the millions unborn babies killed by abortion. I guess he feels "unconfortable" like Cardinal McCarrick about this issue. Is it Politics or worse?

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2005 5:45 PM ET USA

    Suppose a Catholic politician were to secure a compromise on a bill by a pro-abortion legislator, thus reducing abortion funding or restricting license to kill babies. Such a bill still becomes an unjust law favoring abortion. Should the politician be judged to have the intention to promote abortion? Is he guilty of sinful cooperation? Obviously not. Abp Levada is a careful theologian and here he gets it just right. Trust the Holy Father and give Levada a chance

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2005 5:27 PM ET USA

    Diogenes -- that's the kind of "journalism" we've come to expect from the other side. For shame! You know better, and are therefore held to a higher standard! In this selfsame letter, Levada writes, "There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not with regard to abortion and euthanasia." Your biliousness estranges from the righteousness of our cause.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 02, 2005 4:20 PM ET USA

    The full statement being quoted appears at http://www.usccb.org/bishops/reflections.shtml This is taken from his paragraph on whether pro-death Catholic politicians "formally cooperate" with the act of child-murder. Formal cooperation is a technical term in Catholic moral theology, which requires that the actor doing something to assist the wrongdoer share the wrongdoers wrongful intent. While it is pollyanna-ish, the paragraph itself is not objectionable. Chill out just a little, please.