That being the case, I thought it appropriate to share with readers something I read in the parish bulletin of the same Cathedral Parish of St Francis Xavier, in the middle of last month.
First, some background: Father Dean Marin, the Assistant Administrator of the Cathedral and Archdiocesan Promoter of Vocations is on extended study leave for 12 months from August 2008, principally in Chicago, Illinois.
In the parish newsletter of 16 November 2008 Father Matthew Newman, who was ordained in July 2008 and to whom has fallen a large proportion of the administrative duties of the parish in Fr Marin’s absence, published an e-mail from Fr Marin. I will transcribe the e-mail in full, because the newsletter of 16 November is mysteriously missing from the Cathedral’s newsletter page. Apparently there was no Sunday in between 9 November 2008 and 23 November 2008. Here is the message, with my emphasis.
Greetings and best wishes to everyone in the Cathedral Parish from Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago. I trust all is well in the parish.
It’s nearly two weeks since we arrived back in Chicago from Israel. We have completed the Bible Study Programme with 5 days of a “Re-entry Programme” designed to help us reflect on the whole experience. Since then I’ve begun my second course, the Institute for Religious Formation Programme, also here at CTU. We have lectures here each weekday as we look at all that’s involved in forming men and women for priesthood and religious life. These studies will be very helpful for me in my ongoing work as Vocations Director.
You may have picked up that President Elect Barack Obama is from Chicago and that he held his victory rally at Grant Park in the city. He actually lives just a few blocks away from CTU in the Hyde Park Suburb. The locals that I’ve met are thrilled at his election and are placing a lot of hope in him from the future.
Well that’s about all for now. It’s starting to get cold here in Chicago and I’m bracing myself for the first snowfall.
You remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Senator Obama, Death's Candidate
The most serious problem that obedient Catholics have with President-Elect Obama is his support for abortion, and indeed, infanticide. In the case of infanticide, as a State Senator for Illinois, Obama voted against an act that would hospitals to supply the necessities of life to babies who survived a botched late-term abortion (the Infants Born Alive Protection Act), not once, not twice, but three times. The practice in some Chicago hospitals was to take the child and leave it in a store-room to die.
He has also promised to sign, as a matter of absolute priority, the so-called Freedom of Choice Act which would remove almost all limits to abortion, enshrine state-funded abortion as a civil right, and force Catholic doctors to act against their consciences in procuring, or referring for, abortion.
Now, some of the US Bishops (admittedly a very small number) had the courage to come out and say, with varying degrees of forcefulness, that Catholics could not in good conscience vote for Senator Obama. Notable examples include:
- Archbishop Burke (now of the Apostolic Signatura) -”Democrats risk becoming a Party of Death”
- Bishop Finn – “Woe to those particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their “choice” of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience.…”
- Cardinal Stafford - Barack Obama is “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform”
That’s just four examples. There are more which readers can locate using the search engine of their choice if they suspect me of “pulling their legs”. However, for believing Catholics, this stuff is hardly rocket science.
There’s also this piece about Chicago's Auxiliary Bishop Garcia-Stiller offering an open-air Mass sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League, directly in front of President Elect Obama’s “transition headquarters”.
Indeed, some Church leaders have ruled that to vote for Senator Obama is a mortal sin:
- Bishop Finn - “Consider your Eternal Salvation”
- Fr Newman of Greenville SC “Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ’s Church and under the judgment of divine law.”. Obama voters, he concluded, should not receive Holy Communion until they had received sacramental absolution therefor.
Now, Father Marin’s statement on Senator Obama was needs to be seen in the context of a somewhat breezy e-mail, discussing his personal news and the weather in the windy city. Lest there be any doubt, Father Marin is a very nice man, who has a very open and cheerful personality. There is nothing in his e-mail that directly and explicitly contradicts Church teaching.
That being said, two things immediately struck me about his paragraph dealing with Senator Obama:
- Father Marin’s general tone of breathless excitement, including at his present proximity to the President Elect’s house, and
- the fact that Father Marin saw fit to report on the locals’ being “thrilled”, and his parroting of Obama’s “hope” slogan without even hinting at the ethical issues imposed by the citizens of the US electing King Herod on a promise to slaughter more innocents.
Quite frankly, for e priest of Father Marin’s standing to make such a statement demonstrates that he is, if nothing else, astonishingly clueless.
It is Obama's promise of increased slaughter, increased infanticide that is the elephant in the room as far as Fr Marin’s statement is concerned. How can a Catholic priest, a Catholic in good standing, or any person of goodwill fail to mention it when recounting the excitement of the locals?
The first and properly theological meaning of scandal is to do or omit something which leads others into error or sin. Priests, in this writer’s humble opinion, need to exercise extreme care in uttering words that suggest, explicitly or implicitly, that support for the grave and intrinsic evil of abortion is free of eschatological consequences.
That is the problem with Father Marin’s statement.
Father Marin is the Vocations Director in the Archdiocese of Adelaide.
I wonder when he last read, or encouraged a prospective seminarian to read, St Alphonsus de Ligouri’s Dignity and Duties of the Priest.
Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas, 2008