May 8, 2006

"A pro-life issue, just as abortion is"

With each issue of The Tidings, it is hard to know where to start in pointing out the problems. The editorial in this week's issue (click on the title of this post to see it) has problems, and commenter/tipster Mark suggests blogging about it.

The editorial says, "So yes, immigration reform is a pro-life issue, just as abortion is. Both are social justice issues; both are civil rights issues..."

Now, it is nice to hear The Tidings admit that aborting babies bears upon social justice and civil rights. And The Tidings also rightly acknowledges that "abortion, as George Weigel has said, repeatedly and accurately, is the single greatest civil rights issues of our time."

The trouble lies in The Tidings's formulation, "just as abortion is." Lo siento (I am sorry), but abortion mega-death stands alone in seriousness among all other issues -- and in the solemn duty it imposes upon each and all of us to start doing something to stop it.

Nothing else compares to abortion and its toll in babies' lives. After all, Pope Benedict XVI, along with Pope John Paul II before him, has told us that no issue compares in moral gravity with the abortions of millions of babies all around us. The Popes have also told us that the first duty of government is to stop abortions -- not to save the whales, hug trees, etc.

So please, let the Tidings stop trying to link other issues to abortion, and vice versa. We, the Church, need to give far greater attention to fighting abortion than to any other issue.

And if, in The Tidings's own words, abortion is "the single greatest civil rights issue of our time," then how soon can we expect Cardinal Mahony to give more, or even as much, effort to it as he has to "immigration reform?"

Where is the Cardinal's Ash Wednesday announcement to the clergy to break the law in order to save preborn babies? Where is the Cardinal's forming of large labor and pressure group coalitions to bring hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demand justice, rights, support and protection for babies in the womb? Where is the Cardinal's flying to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., to lobby politicians to start saving preborn babies?

The truth is, no one except pro-life activists treats abortion as the #1 issue or even as an issue as important as any number of "liberal" causes. Pro-lifers have a wry joke that to "liberal" Catholics, every issue you can think of is a pro-life one -- except abortion.

So it is great to see The Tidings editorialize that abortion is "the single greatest civil rights issue"; but now let us see The Tidings, and Cardinal Mahony, back up those WORDS with comparable meaningful DEEDS.


Blogger Jared said...

I've said it before; I'll say it again.

Abortion is clear-cut. It is always evil. It is brutal murder, slaughter of the innocent, gravely sinful and--in a society with just laws--criminal.

This immigration issue is not so clear-cut. We definitely have a problem. However, people of good faith can (and do) disagree as to how to solve the problem. The cardinals' stance on this would make it appear that the Church has spoken infallibly as to what the solution needs to be.

Lastly, near as I can tell, even if we deported every one of the illegal immigrants (and I'm not saying that we can or should do that), that would not be a violation of the Catechism's take on this issue.

The Catechism states: "Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions ...."

11:31 AM  
Anonymous DAve said...

Right again Q and J-

Here's a site I just found that clarifies some things in a way i hadn't thought of:

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Let's be honest, Quintero. The intense activism against abortion has done nothing to cultivate clear moral thinking in the Church. In fact, it has obfuscated it. I hold no candle for abortion nor for its advocates. Nevertheless, the phrase "pro-life" (like its sister phrase, "pro-choice") is nothing but propaganda designed to generate emotional activism, not clear thinking.

We also have to blame the late Pope on this, as well. By including capital punishment for murder in Evangelium vitae, he engaged single-handedly in intellectual revisionism on that issue, let alone caused so much confusion among Catholics concerning it.

The search for a "seamless garment of life" ignores the fact that ethics are in fact situational. Morals are not situational, certainly, but the application of morals (i.e., ethics) is. Compare Exodus 20 with Exodus 21-23. Exodus 20 introduces the 10 commandments as the ultimate moral baseline; Exodus 21-23 demonstrates how that baseline is to be applied in daily life.

We have become a Church that worships Life in, of and by itself instead of the Author of Life. By any other name, it's still idolatry -- only in this case, the idolatry of language and activist fashion.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...


In the early days of "Operation Rescue", we were told that several, if not all, of Mahony's Auxiliaries wanted to take part, and Mahphony ordered them not to!

Did you read that his buddy, the same buddy who is a 33rd Degree Mason, the leading internet pornographer (according to the L.A. Times), Rupert Murdoch is hosting a fundraiser for Hilary Rodham Clinton!

By the way, Murdoch is featured on the Rogmahal Honor Wall (go to to our Website at: to see this), and Mahony recently obtained a Papal Knighthood for him!(Shame on the Vatican for that)!

Kenneth Fisher

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Zelda said...

The problem with the Church in L.A. is that its leader isn't Catholic. Let us pray that God will send us very soon a shepherd who is actually Catholic.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Joseph,

Well, if someone, say, becomes a Director of Religious Education and spends all his time teaching kids the Faith, would you say he worships the Catechism and not the Holy Spirit Who inspired it?

The hundreds of thousands of babies who are alive today because of prayerful pro-life activists, and their hundreds of thousands of moms whom pro-life activists have saved from the abortionists, would surely say that pro-lifers worship and serve the Author of Life.

It is, precisely, clear thinking and love of God and neighbor that have inspired pro-life activists and that continue to do so.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Ken,

Thanks as always for your input. Yes, we have known about the Murdoch situation for some time and it is beyond appalling.

Years ago, a bishop I will not name and whose archdiocese I will not name said to me, "My hands are tied" (about pro-life activism).

10:17 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Jared,

Right you are about abortion being clear-cut! Wish everyone saw things the same way.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Dave,

Thanks for the link to the reference site. The name is an interesting pun, isn't it!

10:37 PM  
Blogger WOLFTRACKER said...

Once you get a good bishop you have to defend him. We in Kansas City are going through that right now. Imagine, he's being attacked by the "Catholic" press for being pro-life. See

We feel sorry for you in LA, but worry that someday B16 will take our good bishop away and send him to a place like yours that needs him more since you have so many more souls to save.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well, if someone, becomes a Director of Religious Education and spends all his time teaching kids the Faith, would you say he worships the Catechism and not the Holy Spirit Who inspired it?

That depends on how this theoretical person practices his faith in the real world. As St. Paul said, "If I understand all mysteries but don't have love..."

My complaint with "pro-life" rhetoric, Quintero, certainly isn't that its practioners save unborn children. My complaint is that the widespread use of the term in the Church has caused confusion regarding issues that have nothing to do with abortion.

On various Catholic blogs, I've debated capital punishment with people who oppose it. I not only support it, but I also believe that it's the only legitimate punishment for murder, despite what a popular late pope believed -- and I can cite Scripture and Tradition to prove my point.

I don't want to engage in that discussion here; I just want to show that Catholics ranging from bishops to priests to laity (including a popular late pope) become confused when trying to adopt a "seamless garment" of "pro-life" policies toward issues that have nothing to do with abortion -- and that many Catholics encourage this confusion.

For example, Mark Shea wrote a piece for Catholic Exchange in which he essentially equated Terri Sciavo with Michael Morales, a convicted murder. The fact that Sciavo was an innocent party and Morales was far from one was a distiction lost on one of Catholic blogdom's more popular exponents of the faith.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Joseph,

Pro-life activists had zero to do with the creation of the "seamless garment." The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin came up with it, or popularized it.

Pro-lifers have always said the "seamless garment" takes Catholics' focus away from abortion, shifts it to other, lesser issues and gives Catholics an "out" by which they think they can vote for pro-aborts.

Also known as the "seamy garment," the "crazy quilt" and the "wet blanket," Cardinal Bernardin's invention has never been adopted or spread by pro-life activists.

What is more, in his later years Cardinal Bernardin admitted that abortion is the number one issue. Sadly, "non-pro-life" Catholics do not acknowledge that he said that.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...


How about "the seamless rag"! That is what I call it.


10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Quintero, I'm not referring to the "pro-life" activists on the ground (such as in Operation Rescue and similar groups). I'm referring to a lot of Church intellectuals and bishops (exactly like Bernardin).

Remember one thing: When it came to abortion, JPII was the ultimate "pro-life" activist, as it were. Yet his encyclical Evangelium vitae has done nothing but introduce confusion and revisionism concerning capital punishment.

See this 2004 article from Seattle Catholic:

Words mean things. When individuals refer to themselves as "pro-life" (regardless of the cause they support), they should expect others to interpret that phrase in a way that might not have been originally intended. That's exactly what's happened in our Church.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Joseph,

Pro-life activists cannot help it if other people steal their name and subvert it.

A good name for the anti-abortion cause is "the right to life movement." Our own Bishop John Ward coined that term years ago.

Pope John Paul II did not 100% rule out the death penalty.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Technically (and only technically), JPII might not have ruled out the death penalty in Evangelium vitae. Nevertheless, he made his intentions crystal clear through his personal activism (such as writing Pres. Bush to ask for clemency for Timothy McVeigh).

Again, I'm not blaming Operation Rescue or other activists who fight abortion. I'm blaming those Catholics who confuse simplistic phraseology for sophisticiated thought.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Joseph,

My view is that the invention of the "seamy garment" was a sophisticated effort by "liberals" to mislead some Catholics, confuse others and muddy the waters about abortion as the top priority.

9:43 PM  

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