WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following open letter from the head of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, to Senator Joseph Biden was published in major newspapers on Friday, September 19, 2008, including USA Today, the Washington Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN
Dear Senator Biden:
I write to you today as a fellow Catholic layman, on a subject that has become a major topic of concern in this year's presidential campaign.
The bishops who have taken public issue with your remarks on the Church's historical position on abortion are far from alone. Senator Obama stressed your Catholic identity repeatedly when he introduced you as his running mate, and so your statements carry considerable weight, whether they are correct or not. You now have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about Catholic teaching.
On NBC's Meet the Press, you appealed to the 13th Century writings of St. Thomas Aquinas to cast doubt on the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.
There are several problems with this.
First, Aquinas obviously had only a medieval understanding of biology, and thus could only speculate about how an unborn child develops in the womb. I doubt that there is any other area of public policy where you would appeal to a 13th Century knowledge of biology as the basis for modern law.
Second, Aquinas' theological view is in any case entirely consistent with the long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that abortion is a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.
This teaching dates all the way back to the Didache, written in the second century. It is found in the writings of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and Aquinas, and was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which described abortion as "an unspeakable crime" and held that the right to life must be protected from the "moment of conception." This consistent teaching was restated most recently last month in the response of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Statements that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent teaching on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women facing crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion decision.
Neither should a discussion about a medieval understanding of the first few days or weeks of life be allowed to draw attention away from the remaining portion of an unborn child's life. In those months, even ancient and medieval doctors agreed that a child is developing in the womb.
And as you are well aware, Roe v. Wade allows for abortion at any point during a pregnancy.
Finally, your unwillingness to bring your Catholic moral views into the public policy arena on this issue alone is troubling.
There were several remarkable ironies in your first appearance as Senator Obama's running mate on the steps of the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois.
His selection as the first black American to be the nominee of a major party for president of the United States owes an incalculable debt to two movements that were led by people whose religious convictions motivated them to confront the moral evils of their day - the abolitionist movement of the 19th Century, and the civil rights movement of the 20th Century.
Your rally in Springfield took place just a mile or so from the tomb of Abraham Lincoln, who in April 1859 wrote these words in a letter to Henry Pierce:
"This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."
Lincoln fought slavery in the name of "a just God" without embarrassment or apology. He confronted an America in which black Americans were not considered "persons" under the law, and were thus not entitled to fundamental Constitutional rights. Today, children of all races who are fully viable and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as "persons" because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly support. Lincoln's reasoning regarding slavery applies with equal force to children who are minutes, hours or days away from birth.
The American founders began our great national quest for liberty by declaring that we are all "created equal." It took nearly a century to transform that bold statement into the letter of the law, and another century still to make it a reality. The founders believed that we are "endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights," and that first among these is "life."
You have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard- won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them.
On behalf of the 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States, I appeal to you, as a Catholic who acknowledges that life begins at conception, to resolve to protect this unalienable right. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.
Carl A. Anderson
SOURCE Knights of Columbus
© 2008 U.S. Newswire
Issues & Ideas, Wednesday, September 10, 2008, p. A20
'I Am Sarah, Watch Me Act'
Barbara Kay National Post
How I wish I'd been the proverbial fly on the wall watching the changing expressions on Barack Obama's face as Sarah Palin delivered her already-legendary speech at the Republican convention last Wednesday.
I imagine his pre-speech expression as alert, but relaxed paternalism, like a chief surgeon set to supervise a lowly resident's clumsy initial attempt at an appendectomy. Then puzzlement as the surgeon realizes that he's to be the patient, and finally horror as, strapped to the table and, before a nation of fascinated onlookers, he is subjected to ... a palinoscopy!
Oh, she got through to him all right. For eight months critics haven't really laid more than glancing blows on Obama, because they were jabbing away at his exterior. Sarah got him right in the gut.
Humour is permitted entry to dark cavities closed to straight criticism, so Palin used steady-handed wit as her probe. As every comedian and experienced public speaker knows, failed on-stage humour is first cousin to death. Factor in the supreme importance of the occasion, an audience of 39 million voters, the greedy gaze of slavering media hyenas and the enormous additional risk of "dissing" an African-American saint: What we witnessed on that Minnesota stage, my friends, was an awesome demonstration of raw courage.
Palin's mockery tickled Obama's worrisome polyps of swollen self-regard (the "styrofoam pillars"), his history of words over action ("two memoirs, but no major bills"), his curious pattern of risk avoidance (unlike community organizers, mayors have "actual responsibilities") and his tendency to solipsism(presidential journeys are not "voyages of personal discovery").
Peggy Noonan, doyenne of American political-trends commentary, was galvanized by Palin's performance: "It is starting to look to me like a nation-defining election ... This campaign is about to become: epic," she wrote in the weekend Wall Street Journal.
I agree. But win or lose the election, Sarah Palin has already altered the cultural landscape of America, possibly of the Western world. In years to come, social archeologists will mark her speech as the official beginning of an end to the gender wars, and, one hopes, a return to trust and collaboration between the sexes.
Because Palin proved you don't need the Sisterhood to pierce the glass ceiling. In her single calculated comment about women, she said, "This is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity."
Got that? It wasn't Gloria Steinem that put me on this podium. It was my made-in-small-town-America traditional social values combined with old-fashioned patriotism and Alaska-instilled pioneerism.
Palin isn't "redefin[ing] the feminist ideal," as Jonathan Kay put it yesterday in his column's misguided paean to Palin as a kind of multi-function iFeminist for the postmodern woman. Ideologybased behaviour of any kind is irrelevant to Palin, and millions of other small-town women -- and always was. Love of family, community, country -- not conspiracy theories -- is what guides their political compass.
The ultimate American individual, Palin wasn't ever committed to any collectivity but America itself. She was never "I am Woman, hear me roar." She was always, "I am Sarah, watch me act." Palin represents what would have happened to American women without a feminist revolution. For legal and social equity for women was bound to arise organically through political and cultural reform, as more and more women entered university and the work force, a process well underway before feminism became an organized movement.
In a free society a cat may look at a king. Feminists thundering disdain at Palin's lack of experience (as a surrogate for their panic over her indifference to feminism) would do well to remember the trajectory of their own movement's cat that looked at the patriarchy.
Betty Friedan, author of The Feminist Mystique, the 1963 book that kicked off the modern feminist movement, was no Adam Smith or Karl Marx. She was a political nobody, a bored, disgruntled housewife who mistook her own tiny world of white, urban, middle-class, university-educated peers as representative of all American women.
In fact, Friedan's true acolytes always were, and remain, "dormitory feminists," a small, but noisily aggrieved iceberg calved from the real female masses Palin so brilliantly champions.
What were Friedan's credentials for changing the world? Friedan studied psychology at Smith College, dabbled in journalism, flirted with communism(it shows in feminism's Marxist stripes), mothered three children and gave domestically violent tit for tat to her husband in a failed marriage before writing her famous book. Some resume.
The "methodology" behind her "research" consists of her interpretation of a 1957 questionnaire she sent to former Smith College classmates. Friedan claimed that 60% of her respondents "could not honestly say" they found homemaking "totally fulfilling." From this she concluded that the home was a "comfortable concentration camp" for mothers, all of whom (even if they mightn't admit it) suffered from "the problem that has no name."
And yet she emerged from her utter political obscurity and academic amateurism as the matriarch of an enormously consequential movement. Following the book's landslide success -- one of its direct offshoots was the disruption of the Miss America pageant Mr. Kay details in his column-- Friedan became the guiding force for the National Women's Political Caucus and the National Abortion Rights Action Council (NARAL). Her reign had more impact on American life than the work of any 50 vice-presidents combined.
So feminists, enough with the hypocrisy. Show some respect for Sarah Palin, who is far more credentialed to advance America's interests than Friedan was for yours. (Note to Jonathan: There was no need even to think of waking up your daughters and "dragging them to the TV" for inspiration from Sarah Palin, as she'd probably be the first to tell you. Their own mother's achievements, and, more important, the reliable presence and loving encouragement of a strong father are the best predictors for women's self-confidence and worldly success. So relax.)
It may cause some "discomfort," the medical parlance for pain, but if, as I believe, we have just seen the curtain begin to fall on the sexually adversarial, anti-family wing of the feminist movement, Sarah Palin's -- er-- rear-guard invasion of Obama and, by extension, the feminism-marinated liberal establishment, will already have performed wonders for America's cultural health.
2008 National Post
Thursday, September 4, 2008, p. n/a
Knights Sponsor Chicago Conference on Abortion's Effects on Men
Panel of experts to address more than 150 participants on this important issue
CHICAGO, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus and the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Evangelization are co-sponsoring a national conference to focus on the effects of abortion on men whose children have been aborted in Chicago on Sept. 8 and 9.Featuring an international panel of speakers and participants, the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, IL.The Milwaukee-based National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation, headed by Vicki Thorn, is organizing the conference, which seeks to bring to light what Thorn describes as the "invisible" issue in our society and even in the Church: the profound effect that abortion has on fathers whose children are aborted."As an organization of lay men that has a strong history and commitment to life, we think it is very important to highlight the issues faced by those fathers whose children are aborted," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "There are three victims of every abortion, the child and both of his or her parents, and it is our hope that this conference will be the beginning of a ministry within the Church to these fathers, who grieve the death of their unborn child in isolation and silence."Thorn has been working nationally and internationally -- primarily with women -- who have had abortions since 1984 through the Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Project Rachel, the Catholic Church's post-abortion healing ministry.
Experts, including several therapists -- as well as several fathers who have lost children to abortion -- will cover topics including men's healing process after abortion; abortion's effects on men's spirituality and mental health; fatherhood and abortion; and why men who have been involved in abortion come for help.More than 150 attendees have already registered from as far away as Nigeria and Poland.
The conference has been heavily advertised in print and on television in the Chicago area. The commercial can be viewed at www.kofc.org/abortionAnderson and Thorn believe the "Reclaiming Fatherhood" conference could help men deal with their difficult post-abortion reality the way Project Rachel -- the Catholic post-abortion healing ministry Thorn founded -- has helped women who have undergone abortions deal with their emotional and spiritual scars.In 2007, the Knights and the Archdiocese of San Francisco co- sponsored a similar conference -- also organized by the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. That conference was the first of its kind in the United States to deal with effects of abortion on men. More than 175 people from nine countries attended the San Francisco Reclaiming Fatherhood conference.
Details of the conference and speakers are available at www.kofc.org/abortion
SOURCE Knights of Columbus
2008 U.S. Newswire