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January 10, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. How can so many Catholics justify their support for the pro-abortion Democratic Party? I believe many are confused and have accepted Democratic propaganda that Republicans are somehow less compassionate to the poor. Nobody seems to question how promoting abortion is consistent with charity and compassion. This confusion dates back at least 40 years or so, to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his “seamless garment.” However, I do not write to debate how best to help those around the world who are less fortunate.
There should be no debate that Christ calls us to an individual, personal obligation toward “the least of our brethren.” Throughout history, Christian communities have organized themselves to provide more help than individuals can provide. Think of how many hospitals were established by Catholics and other denominations. Such help is given freely. However, I do not believe there is any obligation for government to play Robin Hood and redistribute wealth. Not only is wealth taken with the threat of force, but such government redistribution engenders feelings of entitlement in the recipients and does not “teach them to fish,” to quote a cliché.
In my opinion, Catholics and Christians are under no obligation to support ever-increasing government social welfare programs. They are obligated to support the efforts of their churches to help the less fortunate, as well as to do what they can personally as opportunities present themselves. They could contribute freely to support government programs if they believe such programs would be the most effective way to help. It is a legitimate function of our government to protect the weak against the strong, including unborn children, infants, and those near the end of life. What do you think? — R.J.S., via e-mail.
A. We think it is the function of government to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of all its citizens, born and unborn, since, as the Declaration of Independence states, “To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Those who would extend the power of government beyond protecting these basic rights violate the principles expressed in the Declaration.
They also violate the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which says that “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good” (Catechism, n. 1883).
The Catechism also says that “the principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order” (n. 1885).
We would live in a much freer society today if our politicians, especially Democrats, but even some Republicans, would follow the principle of subsidiarity, and the Declaration of Independence.

Q. (1) Can the candles of the Advent wreath substitute for the two candles that are ordinarily present on the altar for Holy Mass? In a nearby parish, for example, the only candle lit during the First Sunday of Advent Mass was the candle of the wreath and, on the second Sunday, the two candles of the wreath. (2) Can a layperson reach into the tabernacle, take out the consecrated Host, and place it in the monstrance for Adoration, or must this be done by a priest or a deacon? — W.C., New York.
A. (1) No, of course not. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that “the altar is to be covered with at least one white cloth. In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles, at least two in any celebration, or even four or six, especially for a Sunday Mass or a Holy Day of Obligation, or if the Diocesan Bishop celebrates, then seven candlesticks with lighted candles” (n. 117).
(2) The Roman Ritual says that “the ordinary minister for exposition of the Eucharist is a priest or deacon.” It goes on to say, however, that “in the absence of a priest or deacon or if they are lawfully impeded, the following persons may publicly expose and later repose the Holy Eucharist for the adoration of the faithful:
a) an acolyte or special minister of Communion;
b) a member of a religious community or of a lay association of men or women which is devoted to Eucharistic adoration, upon appointment by the local Ordinary.
Such ministers may open the tabernacle and also, if suitable, place the ciborium on the altar or place the Host in the monstrance. At the end of the period of adoration, they replace the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. It is not lawful, however, for them to give the blessing with the Sacrament.”

Q. While attending a peaceful pro-life mixed gathering at an abortion clinic, a fellow Prayer Warrior addressed all present about the terrible crime of abortion and its consequences to the parents, families, society, medical profession, and, of course, the baby. He then mentioned that masturbation and contraception would be good alternatives to abortion. This is not the message of God or the Catholic Church. Wouldn’t this misinformation give bad example and do more spiritual harm than good? — S.J., via e-mail.
A. It sure would, even if it were true, but this man’s statements are not true. We don’t know what masturbation, which the Church has always considered a grave sin, has to do with abortion, but we do know that there is a strong connection between contraception and abortion. When contraception becomes more widespread, so does abortion because, in the words of Pope St. John Paul II, they are “fruits of the same tree.” In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (n. 13), the Holy Father explained:
“It is frequently asserted that contraception, if made safe and available to all, is the most effective remedy against abortion. The Catholic Church is then accused of actually promoting abortion because she obstinately continues to teach the moral unlawfulness of contraception. When looked at carefully, this objection is clearly unfounded. It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the ‘contraceptive mentality’ — which is very different from responsible parenthood lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act — are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived.”
The Pope continued by saying that “the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view, contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, while the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment, ‘You shall not kill.’”
Despite these differences, however, the Pontiff said that “contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. . . . The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.” He said that “the close connection which exists in mentality between the practice of contraception and that of abortion is becoming increasingly obvious. It is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices, and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of a new human being.”

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How can the University of Notre Dame claim to be a Catholic college and hire pro-abortion Pete Buttigieg as a faculty fellow?

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Catholic Replies

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