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March 10, 2023 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Over the years, we have been asked many times about the accuracy of the claim that former Communist Bella Dodd had placed over one thousand fellow Communists in Catholic seminaries. We were never able to authenticate that claim. But now there is a new book, The Devil and Bella Dodd, by Paul Kengor and Mary Nicholas, which says that the claim is true. The authors cite several persons, including Sherry Finn, Johnine and Paul Leininger, and Alice Von Hildebrand, who said that they heard Mrs. Dodd make that statement in a public talk.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Kengor, who has spent most of his adult life studying Communism, said that he and his co-author “were able to confirm that Bella Dodd truly said that she had been tasked by the Communist Party to infiltrate seminaries with over a thousand Communists. There are sloppy, unsubstantiated claims attributed to her all over the Internet. I feel we’ve provided a crucial service in this book by documenting the fact that she really did say that. We quote several eyewitnesses, two of whom signed sworn affidavits (and just died, one of them in June) and another who is still alive and lives in California. That’s just some of the evidence.”
He said that “we also walk through the feasibility of Bella and the Party believing that they actually could infiltrate the Catholic Church. There’s no question they would have tried. They had penetrated all the mainline Protestant denominations. Bella even placed a thousand Communist Party members among the 10,000 teachers in the teachers’ union in New York alone (she admitted that in sworn testimony), plus numerous other groups for which she was the master organizer in the infiltration. By the 1960s, there were close to 60,000 priests in the United States. For Bella, the prospect of placing merely a thousand Communists in Catholic seminaries would have seemed a cinch. So, we know that she tried it. The only question is to what extent this infiltration might have succeeded. We walk through that as well.”
Asked about reports that Bishop Fulton Sheen, who brought Mrs. Dodd back to the Catholic Faith, had advised her not to make public the names of any of the priests, or of four cardinals of the Catholic Church who were allegedly Communists, Kengor said that “Bishop Sheen didn’t want the scandal. Instead, he told Bella Dodd what Pope Pius XI had told him: The best way that you can fight the ‘Satanic scourge’ of Communism…is to speak out publicly against Communism and teach the people of the Church, the country, the culture, and the world about this evil. That was exactly what she proceeded to do, and she did so literally and more powerfully than any woman in the history of the Church.”

Q. My local city council has unanimously approved (11-0) a proclamation stating that it is committed to protecting a “pregnant person’s” right to access “the full range of reproductive health care options.” It said that “everyone has a fundamental right to bodily autonomy, including transgender and gender diverse communities.” The proclamation went on to attack crisis pregnancy centers on the alleged grounds that they target “prospective abortion patients with misleading advertising, deceptive practices, and false medical claims” and that they “do not provide abortion care or abortion referrals, contraception, or other reproductive health care, despite what they may advertise.” How can I respond to this proclamation? — F.A., Massachusetts.
A. You don’t have to be an expert on abortion to notice that the City Council has made some “false medical claims” of their own. For example, they talk about “pregnant persons” as if anyone but a woman could become pregnant. They describe abortion as “health care” when the result of an abortion is a dead baby. What kind of “health care” kills the patient? And what about the “bodily autonomy” of the baby, who is an entirely separate person from the mother, with its own DNA and often a different blood type?
We assume that the City Council members consider themselves to be “pro-choice,” so why would they deny a woman the right to choose to keep her baby rather than kill it? Instead of rushing her into an abortion factory, which will charge her hundreds of dollars to get rid of her child, why not let her go to a free crisis pregnancy center so she can make an informed choice about her pregnancy? But they don’t make abortion referrals, says the Council.
Of course they don’t; they’re in the business of saving the child and helping the mother. It would be like asking a Jewish synagogue to refer interested parties to a Holocaust denying organization.
Birthright of Framingham, a crisis pregnancy center at 79A Main Street, offers “love, friendship, and support to women who are pregnant.” Its focus is on “loving the mother, reminding her that there is hope, and assuring her she is not alone.” They provide information about pregnancy, childbirth, prenatal care, parenting skills, childcare, financial resources, professional counseling, legal assistance, and housing. By the way, has any member of the City Council visited Birthright to see for themselves how the organization cares for women?
On the other hand, women don’t get this loving care at Planned Parenthood, which in 2021 raked in $1.7 billion while performing 383,460 abortions.
Finally, is the City Council aware that thousands of women profoundly regret their abortion, even women who got pregnant from rape? That many of them felt pressured to get the abortion and would not have done so if someone had advised them against it? Wouldn’t it be more pro-woman to give them a clear choice about how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy? Are those who don’t want women to have all the facts implying that they’re not capable of making an informed choice?
Shame on the City Council for their callous disregard for innocent babies and their troubled mothers and for pushing them into the bloodstained hands of the money-grubbing abortion industry!

Q. Some years ago, I heard a priest say at a Diocesan Catechetical Conference that “our conscience is formed by our life experiences, the Church, TV, movies, and society.” He said that “if the Church says Y, but your conscience says X, you must do X. . . . We must take possession of our conscience and follow it.” It seems to me today that the laity and Church leadership have accepted this concept of conscience. An obvious example is our current president, a practicing Catholic and a militant pro-abortionist, who is considered to be in good standing by his bishop and even the Holy Father. Must I assume that our conscience may be formed by our life experiences, and not by the Church? — D.M., via e-mail.
A. Of course not. Conscience is a practical judgment of human reason concerning the moral goodness or evil of a concrete act that one is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already performed. While we are always obliged to follow faithfully what our conscience tells us, our conscience may not be correct due to the shortcomings of our intellect, varying degrees of knowledge, freedom, and understanding concerning the morality of a certain act, and too much reliance on life experiences and the false opinions of our modern culture.
So before following our conscience, we must make sure that it is correctly formed. We can do this by listening to the Magisterium of the Church founded by Jesus. In the words of Vatican II:
“In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that truth which is Christ, and at the same time with her authority to declare and confirm the principles of the moral order which derive from human nature itself” (Declaration on Religious Freedom, n. 14).
However, we must beware of self-delusion, said Pope St. John Paul II on December 8, 1990, in claiming “that one has a right to act according to conscience, but without at the same time acknowledging the duty to conform one’s conscience to the truth and to the law which God has written on our hearts.” He was echoing the U.S. Bishops in their 1976 letter on the moral life (To Live in Christ Jesus). The bishops said that “our judgments are human and can be mistaken; we may be blinded by the power of sin in our lives or misled by the strength of our desires.”
They added that “we must do everything in our power to see to it that our judgments of conscience are informed and in accord with the moral order of which God is creator. Common sense requires that conscientious people be open and humble, ready to learn from the experience and insight of others, willing to acknowledge prejudices and even change their judgments in light of better instruction.”

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Today . . .

Kamala Harris Heads to Arizona to Promote Abortions Up to Birth

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

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