Pro-Life

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There is no equivalence

At the beginning of the month Archbishop Cupich wrote a column in response to the undercover videos regarding Planned Parenthood and Stem Express. His column started out fine and dissolved to weak-tea moral equivalence. While commerce in the remains of defenseless children is particularly repulsive, we should be no less appalled by the indifference toward […]

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Rhetorical context

It seems hard to believe that the undercover videos coming from the Center for Medical Progress could keep getting worse. Still the fourth video is worse. What struck me most was the language they used. In public you hear Planned Parenthood and supporters of abortion use euphemisms for the unborn child. Product of conception Blob of […]

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A Party of Sir Robins

Yesterday I saw news that there won’t be a vote today on a 20-week abortion ban. Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist gives some background in her post Why Everyone Should Be Terrified By The GOP’s Abortion Bill Debacle, Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing abortion on demand throughout pregnancy. The pro-life […]

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Why Torture Is NEVER Acceptable

The facts about the USA using torture on terrorists is now becoming news and as expected, there are many arguing the practice of using torture is not only needed, but morally good.

Be that as it may, the Catholic Church is very clear – torture is never acceptable. We hear the counter argument – terrorists have a bomb and we might be able to find out where it is before they kill a lot of people AND we know they are evil and have killed before! But, we are not supposed to act like they do and we don’t determine if something is morally ok by the end alone. Evil means can not be justified by good ends, and when we talk about torture – the good ends (getting information which might save lives) never can justify evil means (torture).

Torture – as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:

2297 Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.

It goes on to say:

2298 In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

Benedict XVI – says this about torture:

Public authorities must be ever vigilant in this task, eschewing any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners. In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances”

The Pope was quoting the Compendium of Social Doctrine when he gave the quote above. Here is what the fuller quote says, in context:

In carrying out investigations, the regulation against the use of torture, even in the case of serious crimes, must be strictly observed: “Christ’s disciple refuses every recourse to such methods, which nothing could justify and in which the dignity of man is as much debased in his torturer as in the torturer’s victim”. International juridical instruments concerning human rights correctly indicate a prohibition against torture as a principle which cannot be contravened under any circumstances.

Now, I know that there are several Catholic writers, theologians and others who blur the distinctions between what constitutes torture and what doesn’t. Violence (moral or physical) is the key here, as the Catechism defines torture. This is a moral absolute and the game of “what if” doesn’t do justice to the situation, because we cannot justify the means by the ends. If we are truly pro-life, then we must be so in all cases, not just abortion and related issues.

If the means do justify the ends, then we have become consequentialists and our basing our morality off of the theory that is founded on utilitarianism and relativism. This is dangerous water to be treading in. What kind of people have we become when we sink to the level of torture? Is this what America ought to condone? Are we not better than this?

Maybe one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century can bring it home for us, when he says:

“Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” – G.K. Chesterton

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Aggie Catholic Deacon Wins Fight Against Contraception Mandate!

Deacon Greg Hall is an Aggie Catholic and a member of our Leadership Council here at St. Mary’s. He also happens to be the hero who figured out how to save the Chilean miners who were trapped in a mine in 2010. His company filed suit against the Obama Administration and was granted an immediate permanent injunction. The press release is below:

November 26, 2014
St. Joseph, Minnesota

The U.S District Court for the District of Minnesota issued a permanent injunction in the case of Rev. Mr. (Deacon) Gregory E. Hall and American Mfg Company v. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al. This is the first Minnesota federal decision that grants a permanent injunction to a for-profit company that challenged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated insurance coverage for abortifacients, sterilization, birth control, and related counseling.

In April 2013, Deacon Hall and the company obtained a preliminary injunction that remained in place until the permanent injunction was issued. On June 30, 2014, the United States Supreme Court, in the matter of Hobby Lobby Stores, held that small closely held companies may assert rights under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA). In light of the Hobby Lobby decision, the Department of Justice stipulated to the order that prohibits the HHS from enforcing the mandate insurance coverage against Deacon Hall and AMC.

Deacon Hall is the sole owner of AMC, which is located in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and currently has less than 50 employees. The company manufactures pumps and equipment used world-wide in the drilling and mining industries.

Deacon Hall is an ordained deacon for the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. Hall commenced his lawsuit to prevent the federal government from forcing the company’s group health insurance plan to provide cost-free coverage for products and services that violate his deeply held religious beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church. The permanent injunction will allow AMC to continue to provide health insurance without the threat of penalties for non-compliance.

In early 2013, Deacon Hall was among the early parties to challenge the government’s federal requirements. There are now over 100 lawsuits nationwide, and the courts are beginning to issue permanent injunctions. Deacon Hall’s case is unique in being the only one brought by an ordained minister who owns and manages a secular company. The other parties challenging the government are religious entities, such as the Archdiocese of Washington, religious-affiliated entities, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, and lay business persons with seriously held religious beliefs, such Hobby Lobby Stores.

Deacon Hall responds: “I hope that the results that we were able to achieve will encourage others to follow the dictates of their religious beliefs and stand up and assert their fundamental and legal rights.”

The case is Rev. Mr. (Deacon) Gregory E. Hall, et al, V. Sylvia M. Burwell, et al., Case No. 13-CV-00295 (JRT/LIB). The Order was signed by U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim. Deacon Hall was represented by Erick Kaardal with Mohrman, Kaardal and Erickson, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and by Thomas E. Mathews with Hughes Mathews Greer, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

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