US Catholics and Abortion – What is Compromise?

  Rich Giesman, May 31, 2009

Webster defines compromise as “a settlement of differences reached by mutual concessions.”  Based on Webster, compromise doesn’t exist without concessions. To compromise on some issues can make allies of mortal enemies, but depending on the concessions, a degrading or complete loss of one's principles or values is possible.  Considering compromises in one’s faith values or Christian beliefs, that loss of principles may involve the selling of one's own soul.  Therefore, analyzing and understanding exactly what concessions are involved is imperative. During an examination of conscience we may ask ourselves, “Is a moral principle or commandment being watered down, trivialized, or eliminated?”  “Am I negatively affecting the life, health or property of another?”  “Am I justifying my conclusion or action based on my personal judgment of a good end which is produced via evil means?”       

Of course, life is full of compromises; they are a necessary part of our social, economic, health, family and religious life. But some compromises result in a good, others in an evil. One type of evil compromise is produced when we affect the lives of others by conceding that which does not fall under our authority.  For example, given that all life belongs to God, as human beings we clearly lack the authority to put the lives of others on the bargaining table – for any reason.  Yet today we find some, even leaders of the Catholic Church in the US, who masquerade as servants of God while making evil compromises.  They compromise the lives of the unborn in exchange for political friendships and favors, avoiding the risk of criticism, or reducing or avoiding their family’s, friend’s, or associate’s guilt feelings resulting from their involvement in abortion.  The most obvious compromises of the faith involve “Catholic” pro-abortion politicians and other high-profile “Catholics.”  Rarely are these compromises public, but the winks, nods and deals between the participants are undeniable.  Our obligation, as Christian faithful, is to expose them (Eph 5:11, Canon Law 212-3).  Like Pope Paul VI we must say, “I did not betray the truth.”

One example of evil compromise was recently made public in the Wall Street Journal.  It amounted to trading the lives of millions of unborn babies for political votes and dollars.  Pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians and Jesuit clergy were in bed together on the deal.  “In the early ‘70s, US Democratic politicians first figured out that the powerful abortion lobby could fill their campaign coffers (and attract new liberal voters). They also began to realize that, despite the Catholic Church's teachings to the contrary, its bishops and priests had ended their public role of responding negatively to those who promoted a pro-abortion agenda. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., in the summer of 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a “clear conscience.” It was their consensus that Catholic politicians might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under the condition that voting against the bill would lead to greater perils to social peace and order.”   I never did find what the Jesuits considered “greater perils.”   Didn’t the Jesuits realize what Jesus meant when He said, “No servant can serve two masters. . .You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13)?   

Let’s not act surprised at the above news.  We actually find compromises in the faith all around us almost every day.  Serious compromises in Catholic teaching by “Catholic” clergy, university professors, politicians and laity are frequent and many cause human lives to be conceded – by the millions – in addition to scandal, and loss of souls.  Jesus warned us about scandalizing others and disregarding His commandments (Mat 5:19, 18:6).

Because of these compromises, the unborn, our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, are persecuted by evil abortionists, pro-abortion lawmakers and now a pro-abortion, pro-infanticide president.  For a moment, think about this persecution.  Pre-born babies are interrupted in their warm and supposedly safe home, their limbs are torn from their little bodies, their blood splattered within their mother’s womb, their little head crushed, their lifeless body separated from their mother and then thrown into the trash and burned. Clearly abortion is a self-inflicted cancer which attacks society from within. 

Those in favor of this terrorist treatment feel that pro-lifers should compromise their values and seek “common ground.”  Would those same proponents seek “common ground” by trivializing slavery, physical abuse of women and children or terrorist torture?  I think not. They don’t seem to recognize that each and every aborted baby represents a failure of the human race to extend love and life to one of its own.  Attempts to dialog and compromise between pro-aborts and faithful Catholics can only result in further trivializing the grotesque killings of innocent unborn babies.  The implication is that their lives are bargaining chips and that kind of thinking is a major scandal in the Catholic community.  In a sense, even when we describe this act by a politically correct word, we water down or trivialize the evil associated with killing a human being, and we, to some degree, scandalize others.  Using abstract words like euthanasia or abortion compromises what is actually the intentional killing of a family member and makes it sound so much less evil - almost acceptable.   

When King Herod wanted to marry his brother’s wife, Herodias, did John the Baptist compromise and concede his beliefs?  Did Elijah seek “common ground” with King Ahab or did the parents of the Holy Innocents “dialog” with King Herod concerning their murdered babies?  During Jesus’ temptation in the desert, did He ask to compromise or find “common ground” with Satan?  On the contrary, Jesus condemned those who compromise – the lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) – and those who corrupt the faith, calling them vipers, hypocrites, fools, serpents, blind guides, and false prophets.  Babies are made in the image and likeness of God and are therefore holy.  Jesus taught us not to “give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine " (Mat 7:6).   He also cautioned us not to mistreat children saying, “Do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father" (Mat 18:10).  

Jesus exhorted the faithful not to follow the example of those whose deeds do not conform to their teaching, and who sit on the chair of Moses.  “Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice” (Mat 23:2-3).   The Catholic Church has produced a number of documents which provide guidance for the clergy and laity concerning abortion, euthanasia and other non-negotiable issues. Excerpts of six of them have been included in the appendix for your convenience.  They are, 1) Living the Gospel of Life, A Challenge to American Catholics, 2) Catholics in Political Life, 3) Canon Law 915,  4)Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion, and 5) Canon Law  212-1.  They will be referred to in the following sections, 6) Dogmatic Constitution of the Church – Lumen Gentium.  
Cardinal Egan Compromises the Faith
Cardinal Egan laughs it up with pro-abortion, pro-infanticide presidential candidate, Obama, by attending the Al Smith Dinner. - September 2008.  See Catholic Teaching #2 & #5 in the Appendix.

Cardinal McCarrick Compromises the Faith 
In Cardinal McCarrick’s address to the Canadian Conference of Bishops, he spun, danced and even misquoted the Holy Father in order to twist the Church’s teaching into his own compromised position.

Some of us take the position that while it is essential to ask a Catholic politician to be faithful to the cause of human life, his or her responsibility does not end there. (The compromise begins.) The defense of human dignity is also a priority for us.”  So Cardinal McCarrick, going against the USCCB document Living the Gospel of Life, A Challenge to American Catholic paragraph  23, has raised human dignity to the level of human life itself.   Then using a quote by Cardinal Avery Dulles, he listed why the Church is “reluctant” to discipline pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians, even when “their positions are morally indefensible.”  The Cardinal, even though he didn’t defend the politicians, was very willing to give them a pass, thereby putting many more unborn babies’ lives in the grasp of the abortionists.  He sacrificed these lives on the altar of compromise in exchange for the support of Catholic education and the care of the poor. He traded the lives of the unborn to avoid the 1) bishops being “accused” of trying to coerce the politician’s conscience, 2) bishops being accused of trying to meddle in the political process, and 3) fear of “alienating judges, legislators and public administrators.”  And I thought Cardinals wore RED as a sign of willingness to shed their blood for the faith.,eng/    See Catholic Teaching #1, #4, #5 and #6 in the Appendix.
 Cardinal George – CHICAGO, MAY 22, 2009 (  “A government that wants to reduce the tragic number of abortions in our society will also work to ensure that no one is forced to support or participate in abortion, whether through directly providing or referring for abortions or being forced to subsidize them with their tax dollars”.  (With all due respect, Cardinal George, “In your dreams.”)

US Bishops Compromise Canon 915 (See Catholic Teaching #3, #5 and #6 in the Appendix.)
At the latest count, only 16 of the 220+ US bishops fully support Canon law 915.  Most refuse to abide by the requirement not to admit pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist – a clear scandal!

Archbishop Wuerl - Refuses to deny communion to pro-abortion speaker Pelosi. He insists Canon 915 is not to be used as Pope Benedict and Archbishop Burke have insisted.  Another clear scandal and compromise - 


Bishop W. Francis Malooly has expanded on his previous comments that he will not deny communion to Vice-President Joe Biden because of his pro-abortion position. Editor  December 7, 2008

“Catholic” Universities and Professors Compromise the Faith
One of the most widespread abortion compromising behaviors in the Church today is within the so-called “Catholic” universities and colleges.  The Newman Society provides a report which identifies Catholic colleges and universities which maintain Catholic principles. Of the 225 “Catholic” institutions of higher learning in the US the Newman Society finds it can only recommend 21 of them. 

Notre Dame – Previously The Flagship “Catholic” University – Compromises the Faith

Of course we have all heard of the major compromise and disobedient behavior of the Notre Dame Board and its President, Fr. John Jenkins, by inviting Barrack Obama to speak and receive an honorary degree at the 2009 commencement exercises (  Why doesn’t Bishop D’Arcy take away the priestly faculties of Fr. Jenkins and Notre Dame’s other unfaithful priests?   See Catholic Teaching #2 and #5 in the Appendix.

Many other so-called “Catholic” universities have committed similar violations. These are but a very few: pro-abortion Senator Hillary Clinton was invited to St. Mary’s University, San Antonio Archdiocese, February 2008; pro-infanticide president Obama was invited to Georgetown University where they even covered “HIS,” a symbol of the name of Jesus Christ, for his talk - April, 2009; Erie diocese Bishop Trautman, former USCCB President, said he was “disappointed” that the Mercyhurst Catholic College hosted Senator Hillary Clinton – April, 2008; the Catholic University of San Francisco's student health plan covers abortion – December 2008. See Catholic Teaching #2 and #5 in the Appendix.

Catholic University Professors Compromise the Faith

M. Cathleen Kaveny, a Professor of Law and Theology at the University of Notre Dame and one of the three high profile self-described pro-life Catholics who supported Barack Obama for president, has made the case in an article published by the Jesuit weekly magazine “America,” that abortion is indeed an intrinsic evil, but that it is still okay to vote for pro-abortion candidates, since “intrinsic evil,” may not be “grave” enough. Kaveny has joined Professors Douglas W. Kmiec and Nicholas P. Cafardi in trying to make a Catholic case for Barack Obama, despite his 100 percent pro-abortion record. Washington DC, Oct 19, 2008 / 02:00 pm (CNA)   Pray tell professors, what is it that the Church defines as more grave than abortion?     See Catholic Teaching #1 and #5 in the Appendix.

Our obligation, as Catholics, is to expose life-threatening compromises in the faith (Eph 5:11, Canon Law 212-3).  We must not betray the truth.

Richard Giesman
May 31, 2009
Catholic Teaching
# 1    US Bishops' document Living the Gospel of Life, A Challenge to American Catholics
In conformance to the Magisterium’s teachings, the US bishops said the following in their document, Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholic. (emphases added)
#23 – “…Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing and health care.  Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates of the weak and marginalized in all these areas.  Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life. But being right in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life.  Indeed, the failure to protect and defend human life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.  If we understand the human person as the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit,’ the living house of God, then these latter issues (racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing and health care) fall logically into place as the crossbeams and the walls of that house.  All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right – the right to life.  Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.”

# 2 Excerpt from the US Bishops’ Document Catholics in Political Life

  • Catholics need to act in support of these principles and policies in public life. It is the particular vocation of the laity to transform the world. We have to encourage this vocation and do more to bring all believers to this mission.  . . .
  • The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

 # 3  Canon Law 915  
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”  Note: 
It is the minister’s responsibility not to allow the violator to receive the Eucharist.

 # 4  Abortion is Not Like War and Capitol Punishment – Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote about the relative moral importance of the issues of war, poverty, capital punishment, and abortion, in his famous letter to the American bishops during the 2004 campaign:
 Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion - General Principles,
“Not all moral issues have the same weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

 # 5  Canon Law  212-1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

# 6 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Vatican Council II - LUMEN GENTIUM, Chapter III     
On the Hierarchical Structure of the Church and in Particular on the Episcopate
Section 22 Excerpt –   “But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head.

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