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viewpoint

Women deserve better

| Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Monday, former state senator Wendy Davis gave a talk entitled “Rise Up: From Single Mother to Harvard Law.” While in public office, Davis achieved notoriety after her 11-hour filibuster against comprehensive pro-life legislation in Texas. She supplemented her political advocacy with personal testimony about her own two abortions, including the fact that, guided by faith and prayer, she made the “right decision” to abort after learning of her daughter’s severe disability. Describing abortion access as “sacred,” she stated that she supports no limits to its access.

In sum, Davis held, and made clear last night that she continues to hold, a public, unrepentant and unmitigated position utterly antithetical to the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, the value of people with disabilities and the intrinsic dignity of all women. Yet, on the very day that the Church celebrates Our Lady’s freely-given choice to cooperate in the profound mystery of the Incarnation, some University administrators found it fitting to present. Davis as an inspiring example of female success. Though the event’s promotional material has curiously disappeared from the Notre Dame website, it touted Davis as a “modern-day Texas heroine” who stood against “devastating legislation seeking to limit women’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.”

I could use this space to lament the scandal engendered by the decision to host such a talk on a Catholic campus. As we say in the law, however, sometimes “the thing speaks for itself.” Instead, I want to speak to the passionate and eager women who attended last night’s talk, women genuinely seeking to understand how best to do good in the world. I want to tell you something that perhaps no one has yet had the courage to state bluntly and unapologetically: The message presented by Wendy Davis is an odious, pernicious lie, and you deserve better.

For, underneath the seductive language about power and progress lies the central principle of Davis’ message — namely, that our ability to conceive and bear children renders us inherently unequal to men. We can only achieve equality by resorting to technology (and, where necessary, violence) to mimic as best we can the masculine human experience. It says that our worth is measured by the level to which we conform to the male paradigm. Left unchecked, our natural femininity waits like an omnipresent, shadowy specter, ever threatening, as Davis phrased it last night, to “derail our dreams.”

This approach radically misunderstands the source of our dignity and equality and remains ultimately unfulfilling to the women attempting to force themselves into the masculine mold. And I believe, ladies, that deep down you agree. I believe you realize it in those instances when, despite your best efforts, your “no-strings-attached” relationship has once again made tears spring to your eyes. I believe you know it as you vent frustration that your contraception regimen has continued to mess with your weight, your mood, your appetite or your skin. I believe you feel it in those moments late at night after the texts have stopped and the music has ended when that still, soft voice begins to whisper once more, asking whether you will ever know what it means to have a peaceful mind and a contented heart.

I am here to tell you that you will realize your freedom not by denying part of what makes you essentially a woman, but instead by embracing your womanhood, allowing it to blossom into its full potential. Scripture teaches us that “God created mankind in his own image; … male and female he created them.” This “image” enables us to reason, reflect and enter into interpersonal relationships. Since we are the only creatures that innately possess these faculties, this “image” also endows each person with intrinsic dignity and equality. As Pope John Paul II stressed in his “Letter to Women,” this understanding does not ignore the very real social and economic inequalities faced by women. Yet, the Church’s view correctly recognizes that any viable solution to these problems must root itself in the central tenet that each woman is good simply by virtue of her existence. Women do not require intervention alterations to their nature to achieve equality; they claimed that equality as their birthright at the very moment of their creation.

The Church provides myriad examples of women living out these teachings, further undermining Davis’ claims that authentic freedom, equality and success remain unattainable without abortion and contraception access. What about Helen Alvaré, wife, mother, Cornell Law School graduate, author, professor and advocate for the weak and vulnerable? Or Mary Ann Glendon, former ambassador to the Holy See, member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, wife, mother and Harvard Law School professor? Or Reggie Littlejohn, wife, mother, Yale Law school graduate and tireless advocate against women’s rights abuses in China? These represent just a few of the many bold, powerful, high-achieving, feisty women who change the world while joyfully living in accordance with the Church’s moral doctrines.

So this is my challenge to you, women of Notre Dame: Critically question the dominant cultural narrative that being born a woman means being handicapped by a fertility problem that you must “rise up” against. Listen to that still, soft voice the next time she speaks to your innermost heart and entertain, even for a moment, the radical belief that, by virtue of your very creation, you are enough. Ask God to reveal your fundamental uniqueness and irreplaceability to you. Pray that He shows you what it means to be truly free and gives you the strength to pursue it with all your heart. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Gary

    Thank you! Students like you give me hope for the future of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame.

  • Annette Magjuka

    There are also Catholics who believe that making a society that actually supports life from birth through death is the way to be “pro-life.” Voting against healthcare for all, subsidized housing, family leave, a living wage, etc. all factor into a woman’s decision. But it is HER decision. She should consider all the church says. She should consider what her doctors say. She should consider what her husband or significant other says. But in the end, SHE has to decide. And if she decides to terminate a pregnancy, it should not be a death sentence. Abortion should be legal and safe. All Catholics agree that abortion is tragic. Why don’t we all work on the things that conspire to make a pregnant woman feel desperate? No money, no support, no childcare, no family leave, no sick days or family days, crappy health insurance, no living wage–let’s tackle these things first. If we do this, there will be far fewer abortions. Win-win.

    • CMSGRET

      “And if she decides to terminate a pregnancy, it should not be a death sentence.”

      But it is a death sentence. Only not for her.

    • vermicelli

      The vast, vast majority of abortions are elective, lifestyle choices and not an attempt to avoid a “death sentence”, whatever that means.

      • RedheadRemarks

        The vast majority of people who get abortions are impoverished and working more than one job, members of minority groups, and single mothers who are stressed for resources, finances, and support systems that would enable them to provide for children, meet their physical and emotional needs. The majority of women are in desperate situations and resort to desperate choices that they otherwise would not choose. The media grossly misrepresents the typical circumstances of women who find themselves choosing abortions.

        • vermicelli

          Perhaps, but none of those situations justifies an abortion any more than it would a woman abandoning her 2 year old child. Nothing magical happens to the child when it is born to suddenly makes its life worth protecting..
          If that is the concern, then let us get them the help they need, instead of pointing them toward the abortion clinic door. If abortion supporters spent as much time and energy in supporting women in difficult pregnancies as they did pushing for abortion the world would be a much better place for women.

          • MJ

            “If pro-life supporters spent as much time and energy in supporting women
            in difficult pregnancies as they did fighting abortion the world
            would be a much better place for women.”

            Changed that up, not for you, but as an example. See, it applies in both cases. Abortion is an ugly fact of modern life, and we’re not going to get rid of it by overturning Roe v. Wade. You can make it illegal tomorrow and those with the financial means to have the procedure in a safe, discreet but still illegal manner will still have it, the same way they did before Roe v. Wade. The difference is that those without the means will be driven to the kinds of clinics like Kermit Gosnell’s, which will flourish in the underground. This is the unfortunate reality.

            You are right, vermicelli – let us get them the help they need – before and after birth. That’s how we can end almost all abortions.

          • Annette Magjuka

            yes.

          • Nonsensical

            A cute little strawman, but those kids were killed by mothers hungry for power, if only power over their own child by killing them.

            You will be judged.

          • MJ

            I hope so. Because I’m prepared to stand in judgement with a clear Christian conscience that I faced the reality of the world as it is, not as I wish it were, and tried to find solutions to these questions, informed by faith and reason, as Our Lady’s University taught me.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Hahahaha, hungry for power. Yea, the power to control their own bodies. If you don’t mind giving that power up, where do you live? I need part of your liver to survive.. .don’t worry, it will grow back to normal size.

          • Nonsensical

            Advocating for murder, then organ harvesting.

            Oddly enough abortion entails both of the above. Your slip is noted.

            As I said previously, how far gone are you if you believe a person’s autonomy is only reliant on their murderous desires?

          • Annette Magjuka

            It is not the providers who are pushing for abortion. It is a society where healthcare is insufficient, wages are abysmal, childcare is prohibitive, and rent costs more than half of most incomes. Many who seek abortion see no other option. We should not judge. We should be looking for ways to support.

          • Nonsensical

            Support murder? What would that help?

          • RedheadRemarks

            I don’t support abortion, but I understand that it happens and will continue to happen as long as these oppressive social situations that are out of these women’s power to correct are a reality. It’s simply imperative to make more people understand that women don’t choose abortions because they’re bad people. They do so because they are desperate, and I believe in the end it’s for God to judge them based on their situation.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Again, two year old is NOT A FETUS and does not SOLELY RELY ON A BODY to stay alive. You don’t even know the freaking difference between a birthed, lung breathing human being and a fetal human being. if “life” is all that is needed to take away bodily autonomy, then I should be allowed to take your kidney without your permission.

          • rileyburke

            Reliance on another person is not justification for being killed, even if that reliance is total, as it would be in the case of a baby, a severely disabled person, a person with dementia, etc.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Yes it is, it is committing assault by using my body without permission, like what would happen to a non fetus that used my body without permission.
            A person with dementia or another disability cannot force another person to provide their body against their will. When have you seen that happen?

          • rileyburke

            A parent is required by law to care for their children, and not to kill them. A parent may feel that the child lives in the house without permission, but may not kill the child. No one may kill a person with dementia or a disabled person with impunity. The fetus is developing inside a woman’s body by virtue of nature, or biology – this is how a human being (all mammals, in fact) gets his/her start. The fetus had no say over this fact. The fetus is a human being, and as such, should not be killed because of his or her place of residence. It might be reasonable to discuss the use of a person’s body against their will, where such use is intentional and immoral. This cannot be said of the unborn child.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            No they are not required by law to take care of their children, otherwise adoption and foster services would not be a thing.
            Again, NO ONE is talking about killing birthed humans, you idiot.

          • rileyburke

            Nice ad hominem when you don’t have a good argument. The whole point is that some of us are saying that banning the killing of birthed humans and permitting the killing of unbirthed humans is arbitrary and not based on a valid moral distinction. You think that birthed v. unbirthed is all the difference in the world – but the human victim is the same in each case.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I gotta call it as I see it. There are laws against killing birthed people. So stop bringing that up. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

          • rileyburke

            Duh – we pro-lifers want to change the laws allowing the killing of unbirthed people. That’s the argument.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            So, you can rape me and it would be immoral to kill you? Even if you have my permission, I can take it away for any reason, and I should still suffer rape?

          • rileyburke

            No one should suffer rape, and that is a non sequitur.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            No it is not. This is all about bodily autonomy and consent.

          • rileyburke

            We disagree on the priority given to life vs. autonomy. We also disagree on the concept of “permission” in the case of an innocent fetus. There are many arguments that can be given, but I don’t think we will get anywhere. So, thank you for the discussion.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            You can’t continue it because you don’t have any logical responses…

          • rileyburke

            That’s it; your brilliance has vanquished me for today.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            You can’t give an answer, because yo know it is wrong, and there is no way to justify it. If the fetus (a human being, like the rest of us) can take my body without permission, then I can do it to anyone else.

          • rileyburke

            Nah. You shouldn’t be able to kill the innocent. As Pope John Paul II said of the fetus, a more defenseless entity cannot be imagined, as it lacks even the tiny defense of a newborn having its cry.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I don’t care what your Pope says, he doesn’t make the rules.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Actually, I can kill a birthed human in some cases, like if they were going to take my body without permission, like kidnapping or rape.

          • rileyburke

            Right, in self-defense, or in the defense of another’s life, one can sometimes morally take the life of an “unjust aggressor”. The unborn child is in no way in that category, and that is why fetuses are different.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            A fetus can kill a person, try again…

          • rileyburke

            A fetus cannot and does not kill a person intentionally, as an “unjust aggressor”. I don’t know if the term “unjust aggressor” is new to you, but it is a foundational concept for Catholic moral teaching regarding war and violence. It really makes sense to me, and makes the distinctions that need to be made here.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            If I don’t want the risk of death, why would you make me risk it anyway? You wouldn’t want me to suffer rape, murder or unlawful confinement, so why take my bodily autonomy from me in any other aspect? How much should I suffer to make the quality of life better for someone else?

          • rileyburke

            I don’t think I can find any new ways to say that you shouldn’t kill an innocent human being. As a society, we can find non-violent solutions that value everyone involved.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            No, you put more value on the fetus. You would prefer that women risk their lives to keep a fetus alive, but you are against women aborting a fetus that could potentially kill them.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            So, the death penalty is also wrong?

          • rileyburke

            Yes. Elsewhere on this thread someone explained the moral difference in killing the innocent v. the guilty, but capital punishment can no longer be justified because society has other ways to protect itself.

            Aside from religious objections, scientific advances have also rendered the former justifications for abortions (“we don’t know when life begins”) to be faulty.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I am not sure what science textbooks you were reading, but the egg and sperm are living, so obviously the zygote is living.

        • Nonsensical

          Going by your post, you consider poverty and who your parents are as a reason for extermination.

          Please tell me a neonazi like you doesn’t go to this school.

          • Annette Magjuka

            I graduated in 1978. I was in the third class that had women. And I am so happy that Fr. Ted made this change to ND. Are you an ND student? I am concerned that you would call someone you do not know a neonazi. Your summary of my points is way off base. There is no point trying to converse with you, since you seem to know exactly how you feel. God bless.

          • Nonsensical

            As I said: “Going by your post, you consider poverty and who your parents are as a reason for extermination.”

            Both of those are main excuses the eugenics movement and later the nazis used to justify murder.

            As Chesterton said, “eugenicists are euphemists.” You like muddle-headed euphemisms for murder but a clear definition shines the mirror a bit too close to you.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Eugenics, and who exactly is being affected? Fetuses are not a demographic that stay that way forever. Black people stay black forever, white people stay white forever, males stay males forever. All fetuses become all of the above black, white, male, female, and anything else.
            Which demographic is being attacked?

          • Nonsensical

            Humanity, unless you aren’t aware what babies are.

            “Fetus” is just Latin for offspring.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I don’t care, if I don’t want a baby, I will do everything in my power not to have one. Try and stop me.

          • Nonsensical

            I will assume that means you will be chaste, else you will be purposely trying to receive children only to sacrifice them. There is one other group I know of that does that.

            You have made your choice to the eternal question very clear.

            I would be more blunt but I find how certain words referring to eternity are rather stereotypically blocked by this site. The sickness in their university is well documented by the satire against it apparently.

          • RedheadRemarks

            You’ve grossly misconstrued my statement. I’m simply providing facts, and you’ve chosen to ignore empirical data and instead attack my character. I don’t support abortion, but I understand that it happens and will continue to happen as long as these oppressive social situations that are out of these women’s power to correct are a reality. They do so because they are desperate, and I believe in the end it’s for God to judge them based on their situation.
            Please tell me that a fellow student at this school is at familiar with the basic tenants of Catholic Social Teaching and Christ’s example of mercy for those whom pharisaic individuals condemn in the Gospels.

          • Nonsensical

            Empirical data implies things that are specific and observable. You have given only platitudes and your feelings. Your justifications are “because I said so.”

            Define mercy for me.

          • RedheadRemarks

            I base my observations on quantitative and qualitative data. I refuse to judge others because I understand that it’s not my place to condemn people.
            If you had paid attention in your Fundamentals of Theology or Philosophy classes, you wouldn’t be asking me to define something to which I would think any student at this school should already know.

          • Nonsensical

            You still haven’t provided any data whatsoever.

            Also I ask you to define mercy because you clearly don’t know and I was putting you on the spot.

            You have heard of alinsky tactics, but like all alinsky tactics, they are ultimately pathetic.

          • RedheadRemarks

            Whatever you think I am, at least I and everyone who substantially knows me knows that I’m not Nonsensical.

          • Nonsensical

            That was the longest, most roundabout way you could have use to say “your mum,” considering that’s all you really said there.

            What precisely about all of the above has to do with you supporting murder?

            You honestly think your name dropped saints would be pleased with you?

      • Annette Magjuka

        What I mean is that if a woman decides to have an abortion, it should be legal and safe. She should not put her life in danger to do it. That does not mean that I approve of abortion. As a Catholic, I realize when a woman has an abortion, that maybe I have not done enough, maybe the church has not done enough, maybe the government has not done enough, maybe the community has not done enough so that the woman will not consider having the child. And, vermicelli, you do not have any idea why an individual woman has an abortion. You have no way of knowing that “…the vast, vast majority of abortions are elective, lifestyle choices…”

        • vermicelli

          1. Why should it be legal and safe to harm another human being?

          2. The Guttmacher Institute is a pro-abortion organization that is considered the premier abortion researcher in the U.S. Their research clearly shows that I do know what I am talking about.

          At the link, Table 3 on page 114 documents that over 90% of abortions are chosen for “lifestyle” reasons. Rape and incest, which is always brought up by pro-abortion folks count for less than 1% of abortions. And the much cited health of the mother and/or baby only accounts for 7% of abortions.

          That leaves 92% of abortions that are in essence procured for lifestyle reasons.

          https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            That fetus is harming me by being inside of my body without my permission. it is committing assault.

    • winslow

      Why don’t we all work on the things that conspire to make abortion unnecessary?
      Like chastity for example.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/101185396509765294964/about rebecca

    Wow. Time warp – 1950s. Whoa.

    • mary smith

      Truth remains constant. It has not changed depending on what generation you have lived. Peace…

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        What truth is that…

        • Brendan

          Thanks, Pontius Pilate

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Again… what truth is that?

          • vermicelli

            Life is sacred, from conception to death.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Is that is why no one is complaining that John Boehner got the Laetare even though he supports the death penalty?

          • vermicelli

            Abortion and the death penalty are not morally equivalent.

            Abortion is considered by the Church to be INTRINSICALLY evil and thus is not permissible in any circumstance.

            The Church has never viewed capital punishment as intrinsically evil and has always taught that the death penalty is morally permissible in certain circumstances.

            By comparison, it is NEVER morally permissible to support abortion.

            I should also add the that there are less than 100 executions a year in the US as compared to 1,000,000 abortions a year.

            By any measure, abortion is a much more serious moral concern.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Either all life is precious, or none is.
            I fixed that for ya. Also, how many of those executions involve an innocent birthed human? Plenty…

          • Brendan

            @vermicelli while I agree that the death penalty is not intrinsically evil and abortion is (and the church has backed this up), it is also true that the justifications for the death penalty have been significantly eroded and now apply to an extremely limited number of cases. Now that we can effectively imprison a murderer for life with little chance of escape and little ability to convince others to commit crimes on his/her behalf (i.e. an imprisoned leader of a gang/mafia/terrorist organization), it is difficult to justify most/all of the executions in the United States. You will find that the last few popes and most bishops have argued this point and consider most executions to be gravely wrong. Of course, it is absurd to compare the deaths of tens of millions of innocents to the deaths of a few (mostly) guilty individuals. The death penalty is justified in theory and was justified in practice, but there is no justification now.

        • mary smith

          John 14:6

  • NDaniels

    What a beautiful witness to The Truth of Love!

    “In sum, Davis held, and made clear last night that she continues to hold, a public, unrepentant and unmitigated position utterly antithetical to the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, the value of people with disabilities and the intrinsic dignity of all women. Yet, on the very day that the Church celebrates Our Lady’s freely-given choice to cooperate in the profound mystery of the Incarnation, some University administrators found it fitting to present. Davis as an inspiring example of female success. Though the event’s promotional material has curiously disappeared from the Notre Dame website, it touted Davis as a “modern-day Texas heroine” who stood against “devastating legislation seeking to limit women’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.”

    The above quote speaks for itself; when witnessing to The Truth of Love, we must never be afraid to tell our beloved, “those whom I Love, I rebuke and discipline”.

    In sum, Davis held, and made clear last night that she continues to hold, a public, unrepentant and unmitigated position utterly antithetical to the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, the value of people with disabilities and the intrinsic dignity of all women. Yet, on the very day that the Church celebrates Our Lady’s freely-given choice to cooperate in the profound mystery of the Incarnation, some University administrators found it fitting to present. Davis as an inspiring example of female success. Though the event’s promotional material has curiously disappeared from the Notre Dame website, it touted Davis as a “modern-day Texas heroine” who stood against “devastating legislation seeking to limit women’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.”

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/101185396509765294964/about rebecca

    Okay. To reply specifically:

    “Listen to that still, soft voice the next time she speaks to your innermost heart and entertain, even for a moment, the radical belief that, by virtue of your very creation, you are enough. Ask God to reveal your fundamental uniqueness and irreplaceability to you. Pray that He shows you what it means to be truly free and gives you the strength to pursue it with all your heart. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

    Aside from the multiple interpretations, purposes, and situations such high-minded yet contextless and ultimately ineffectual “empowerment” language could be employed – a mom pep talk before attempting an adventure badge, a high school valedictorian speech, an “O” magazine “ah-ha moment”, a Luna Bar print ad, an appeal to use Catholic moral teaching as the guide in all life decisions – three points:

    1.) “She.” So God is a “she” speaking to me? Interesting “liberal” interpretation…no, overthrow of 2000+ years of the world religion known as Christianity and its many sub-sects, including Catholicism. Or perhaps

    2.) This voice of “she” is my conscience? Which is an interesting proposition. One that Father Richard O’Brien (1936-2015), former Chair of The Department of Theology and Crowley-O’Brien Chair of Theology at Notre Dame, wrote about in his book “Catholicism”: “a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience”, even when conscience is in opposition to Catholic teaching – Catholics “not only may but must follow the dictates of conscience rather than the teachings of the Church.”

    If the voice of my conscience – the one I am supposed to listen to in “those moments late at night after the texts have stopped and the music has ended when that still, soft voice begins to whisper”, those moments of “close and holy darkness” as Dylan Thomas described them in “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” – says a.) it is my decision to decide what to do with and about this “uniqueness”, this biological function that makes me a “truly free” woman in all my “womanhood” {more in a moment} and b.) I will not stand in the way of another person exercising her Constitutional protected right to do the same, then how is this listening “wrong”? Especially when “each woman is good simply by virtue of her existence”?

    Or “each woman is good simply by virtue of her existence” only when she adheres to “Catholic” “moral” “teaching”? What about Presbyterian Women? Methodist Women? United Church of Christ Women? All Christians, each and every one – are they not “good”?

    3.) “Pray that He shows you what it means to be truly free and gives you the strength to pursue it with all your heart.” How does this square with “It says that our worth is measured by the level to which we conform to the male paradigm”? So in everything but the control of that which makes me uniquely a woman, specifically my ability to conceive a child {with, mind you, somewhere along the line, the involvement of some XY of the species}, I am to cede to the Patriarch of all Patriarchs? To force myself into a “masculine mold”?

    “I want to speak to the passionate and eager women who attended last night’s talk, women genuinely seeking to understand how best to do good in the world.” Once again, open-ended, ingratiating language sounds and feels comforting, but in the end, doesn’t this letter undermine itself by asking women to live their lives according to dictums written by men? How is that not conforming to “the male paradigm”?

    • Kurt Nowak

      It is worth noting that Fr. Richard McBrien’s “Catholicism” bears neither an Imprimatur or Nihil Obstat (the Church’s declaration that the book is free of moral or doctrinal error), and that its treatment of conscience contains both moral and doctrinal errors. While the role of conscience is valued in making moral decisions, it must always be at the service of truth. If you have the time, reading Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor.html) might create an engaging dialogue in comparison with Fr. McBrien’s book.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/101185396509765294964/about rebecca

        Just because something’s not on the “official syllabus” due to it not bearing an Imprimatur doesn’t undermine its “truthfulness” or “morality”. See, for example, “The Shepherd of Hermes”, “The Gospel of Thomas”, and other widely read tracts at the time – not only by lay faithful but clergy, and high ranking clergy at that – that were specifically left out of “the canon” because they challenged orthodoxy.

        Which is what it all comes down to, right: who decides what’s orthodoxy, and who decides who & what are or aren’t orthodox?

        Regarding “Veritatis Splendor” {btw, the link doesn’t work}, I know that document, and without boring too many people, here is its troubling issue:

        It does not conceive {word chosen specifically given the larger context our our discussion} of a universe in which morality {and truth, freedom, choice, etc.} cannot exist a.) without a God, b.) who is a Christian, specifically Catholic- Christian, God c.) who instills all morality into humanity.

        In other words, without a Catholic-Christian God, a person has no morality, knows not the truth, is not free, will never choose correctly, etc.

        The {ancient} Sumerians, Egyptians, Persians knew not morality?

        That many of the “beliefs”, “moral truths” we hold didn’t come from God but, rather, were born of more mundane, secular realities in order to preserve the survival of the tribe?

        That Natural Family Planning is taught in this Parish during Pre Cana as being a viable option while in this Parish it’s condemned?

        Faith is more than rules and fidelity to those rules & the institution that created them. Otherwise, all you’re left with is kindergarten piety. Which isn’t morality.

        • Stephen Schumacher

          Veritatis splendor teaches (along with the entirety of the Christian tradition) that human beings have the ability to reason. Human minds are naturally endowed with the first principles of reason (such as the law of non-contradiction), which includes, specifically, the first principles of moral reason. These first principles form the basis of conscience, and since all people have them simply by being human, all people, regardless of whether they have received the revelation of the true God, can know the truth of moral matters (at least, basic cases such as murder and robbery).

          Therefore, it is not true that the Church teaches that “The {ancient} Sumerians, Egyptians, Persians knew not morality,” as you contend. Quite the opposite in fact. And this is precisely the point: human conscience knows that murder is wrong. An individual can abuse and malform his conscience to the point that he no longer hears its complaints against murder, but that does not mean that conscience will ever agree that murder is morally acceptable. This is why the Church teaches that conscience is inviolable: because conscience is moral reasoning based on the first principles of morality, which principles God placed in human nature at the beginning.

      • Annette Magjuka

        I think Fr. McBrien was one of the most brilliant theologians who every lived.

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    First of all, this sentence is false
    “Since we are the only creatures that innately possess these faculties,”
    No, many species have complex social and interpersonal relationships with their herd, pride, etc. Many birds have lifelong companions, Elephants can hold rituals for their dead and orcas may have more complex emotions than humans.

    But aside from that, of course we are unequal to men, physically, that is obvious, and isn’t important.
    We are not equal however when our rights to safe and legal abortion are threatened. The last abortion clinic in South Bend closed recently, there is no place in northeastern Indiana to obtain an abortion, and the HB 1337 bill was also passed, making it illegal to obtain an abortion because of genetic disabilities, while there was no mention of any increased funds to help all of these poor disabled children and their parents.

    These laws handicap us because you and others, that are not me, are the one saying we all should just face the consequences and have children, that we can all succeed.
    Wendy Davis chose to terminate a sick fetus, who are you to say she was able to financially and emotionally succeed through that?I do not want children. Do not make that choice for me.

  • Brendan

    This is awesome, Laura! I’m very glad someone was willing to speak up after that travesty yesterday.

  • Jimbo

    What an embarrassment for the University. You honestly believe that “the central principle of Davis’ message [is that] our ability to conceive and bear children renders us inherently unequal to men?” That’s what you got out of her talk? You either didn’t hear what she had to say or you are being willfully obtuse.

    This column makes me sad. What a cramped and distorted view of both Ms. Davis and, more importantly, the Church’s message of mercy, inclusion, love, and tolerance as embodied in ALL the Social Teachings, not just those that appear to square with the GOP’s current political dictates.

    Kudos to the university for bringing diverse and challenging voices to campus, like Ms. Davis’s. Shame on those who, even now, two and a half years after he said them, refuse to acknowledge these words from Pope Francis:

    “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

    We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.”

    I suggest that Ms. Wolk reflect on these words before dashing off another anti-abortion screed that ignores everything else someone like Wendy Davis has to say.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      I agree, this dumb author doesn’t seem to realize that Wendy Davis had a pregnancy that would have killed her, and another in which the fetus might not have survived. What does this author expect Davis to have done??? Hope to survive an ectopic pregnancy, give birth to a child with Dandy Walker syndrome (a brain formation disorder) and Davis would have still become the person she is today?

      • vermicelli

        I do not believe that Wendy Davis restricts her support of abortion rights to cases where the woman’s life is in danger. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she and other abortion advocates did so? We could eliminate 99% of abortions right there.
        Unfortunately, she supports unrestricted abortion on demand which is a much different issue.

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          I would prefer that she does not. Birth control fails and there are not lines of people waiting to take unwanted fetuses from people.

          • Betty Conklin

            Actually, there are lines of people waiting to take unwanted fetuses from people. That’s why people go to China, India, and Russia to adopt.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Then why are there still hundreds of thousands of unwanted children in foster care? Why do you and others care more about fetuses than birthed children?

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Betty why are there so many unwanted children???

    • vermicelli

      Would you make the same comment if the University had brought in a “challenging voice” that supported segregation? I think not.

      • Kerry

        What is the point you are trying to make? Abortion rights are the law of the land, as determined by the Supreme Court, as are the rights of minorities. The Catholic Church is also supposed to be inclusive to all races… Never would have challenged segregation. This comment is completely unfounded and ridiculous. 2 for 2.

        • vermicelli

          Segregation also was once law of the land as determined by the Supreme Court (Plessy vs. Ferguson). Law and morality are two different things.
          Support for abortion is the contemporary equivalent of support in the past for segregation and slavery, and, in the future, support for the former will be looked upon much as support for the latter is today.
          The Church also says we are also supposed to be inclusive of all ages from conception to natural death. Why do you accept one inclusivity, but not the other?

          • Kerry

            In what world is “support for abortion the contemporary equivalent of support in the past for segregation and salvery?” Where in the world did you come up with that opinion. Complete nonsense. Abortion rights have less to do with abortions, as most women never seek an abortion, but have everything to do with equality. Equality of the sexes, and the autonomy to live as you are. How in the world is that different than supporting the inclusion of all races? If the church was really concerned about inclusion and equality, the concern over the female body would not be on the table. Turn your attention instead to improving the lives of those on this earth who are suffering because they were born into dire circumstances.

          • vermicelli

            In a world, where 57 million babies have lost their lives to abortion since 1973 tin the United States alone. How could such a world be of lesser moral concern than the world of segregation and slavery?

            you keep talking about inclusion, but what about the inclusion of the unborn, the most vulnerable and innocent among us?
            The thought that women need to abort their children to be autonomous is very disturbing and is in tremendous opposition to the Christian concept of sacrificial love.

          • Kerry

            I hope you learn to understand what autonomy for women truly means. This argument is still completely insane. Enjoy your Catholicism, seems to be serving you well…

          • Nonsensical

            So you openly admit your definition for “autonomy” is murder.

            What a truly sad creature you have turned yourself into

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            No one says women need to abort, who is saying that? Where is that? They just want the choice.

          • Gail Finke

            No one is saying women have to own slaves. Who is saying that? They jsut want the choice.

          • Betty Conklin

            Excellent point! The status of a human being isn’t arbitrary – to state that some human fetuses aren’t human beings because they are unwanted is exactly the same as saying some people aren’t human beings because some people consider them inferior. Either the unborn are human beings or they aren’t, in which case the “choice” to abort wouldn’t be a source of angst at all.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            No one is talking about whether they are human beings… the argument is whether humans get to use other humans bodies without their permission.
            The answer i no, because we have laws against rape and assault.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Only if those slaves reside solely in her body without her permission.

          • NDaniels

            A son or daughter residing in their mother’s womb is living here on earth. That son or daughter who comes forth from their mother’s womb is the same son or daughter, who, prior to coming forth from the womb, was residing inside their mother’s womb, and has the right to be nurtured and protected from harm.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            You can’t force a woman to provide her body for those reasons.

          • rileyburke

            The reason it’s equivalent is the dehumanizing of the victim. Slaves were considered non-persons just as you’re considering the unborn child to be a non-person. This is how slavery was justified, and how abortion is justified. Otherwise the unborn child would have the right to protection as slaves did once people came to their senses.

            So, you may disagree with the pro-life cause, but the analogy here is valid. And it is on YOU to justify why an unborn child is NOT worthy of the protections other humans enjoy.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            AGAIN for the last freaking time you illiterate or intentionally dense moron. We are talking about beings that have to RESIDE in another person’s BODY. Not birthed people, not slaves, not children, FETUSES. What an idiot.

          • rileyburke

            So you, RandallPoopenmeyer, have opined that beings residing in someone’s body, through no fault or decision of their own, may be killed. Others find that opinion to be an invalid justification, and similar to other genocidal justifications in human history. That’s it. You’re not a moron in my mind, just grasping at straws. But grasp away.

    • vermicelli

      Jesus welcomed with love and mercy those who were open to his message and were open to repentance and reform.
      I do not see those traits in Wendy Davis. I think Jesus would have been more likely to have been found turning over her table.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        Um, wasn’t he murdered by his own dad… so why is abortion so wrong?

        • disqus_zLY0jsDmax

          Begone troll before somebody drops a house on you too. From this statement, and all your previous comments, you are not contributing anything productive to this discourse. If you can’t do that just butt out.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            So, no answer as to why it is ok for god to kill his son but abortion is wrong?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            Because “god” didn’t “kill his son.” You’re setting up a straw man of Christian doctrine.
            We believe in the Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit have one will. There was no “killing his son” going on. Jesus freely offered his life out of love for us.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            But Catholic hospitals won’t euthanize someone who wants to be euthanized?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            Jesus didn’t kill himself either. If someone wants to go off and put himself or herself in the path of ISIS or any other evil-doer as a witness, then that would be applauded. Simply killing yourself or seeking euthanasia is a gesture of despair. Identifying yourself others is a gesture of love and hope.

            And you aren’t doing justice to the Christian belief that Jesus was really human, not a “god” masquerading in human form.

            Jesus did what he did for human reasons. He was a first-century Jewish radical rabbi who fell foul of the Jewish and Roman authorities alike.

            And his act was _also_ God’s redeeming act and the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world, precisely _because_ it was a human act of love and courage.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            All fairytales buddy.

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            And with that scintillating and logical argument, perhaps this conversation has reached its expiration date :)

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Why isn’t our country ruled by your bible? Because it isn’t real…

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            So if we lived in a country that was officially Christian, Christianity would become magically true?

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Why do the greatest minds alive today not believe your nonsense?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            We may have different views on who those are. By my reckoning, the greatest minds of the day believe a lot of different things, and many of them believe in Christianity :)

            But really this has stopped being a discussion. Apparently you have run out of arguments, since you have now moved to generalized insults!

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            And frankly, I think that someone who believes that bodily autonomy is more sacred than life and that we all start out life guilty of rape merely for existing is in a poor position to accuse Christians of believing “nonsense”!

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Bodily autonomy is more important than YOUR need for everyone to reproduce.

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            I have no such need. Abortion happens after reproduction has already occurred.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Again, the natural process is of no concern to me?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            That, I think, is your mistake.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            My mistakes are of no concern to you.

          • disqus_zLY0jsDmax

            I will be happy to answer a question that is relevant and cogent. Please explain first how you have come to see abortion (done at the behest of the mother – the child’s nurturer and erstwhile creator) and the death of Jesus (done at the hands of the Jewish clergy and sanctioned by the Romans neither of which had anything to do with Jesus’s Creator) as a relevant analogy? Are you saying God is cruel so why can’t we be, or that we have the same authority as God or that God didn’t save His “Child” so why should we? Or what? I don’t get it. Have you forgotten that Jesus chose to die? Does the fetus have the same option? Your analogy sounds too much like the example of why Adam got tossed out of the Garden rather than a valid comparison that justifies abortion. However, it could be I am just missing something in your question. Do explain.

    • Gail Finke

      He said “we cannot insist ONLY on issues related to abortion…” and that means that abortion is still wrong. In all cases. Not only is it the deliberate killing of an innocent, it’s the deliberate killing of a child by his or her own mother, inside what is supposed to be the safest place imaginable. No social teachings mean anything if, to pursue them, you ignore the slaughter of 3000 innocent children every day. Wendy Davis stood in front of you telling you that the abortions of her two children were “sacred” — and you think you should listen to anything else she had to say?

  • Kerry

    Fertility is not widely treated as a handicap, it is simply another way women contribute to the world. However, the government, as Wendy Davis beautifully expressed, considers me unable to govern what I do with my own body, and thus regulates me unjustly. Nobody needs to be told how to live his or her life– Catholicism is not a requirement to live a good and moral life. Therefore the church and the government need to grant me my personal autonomy to live as I see fit, just as men are given this same freedom. Thank you for your patronizing account of how it’s best to regulate my body– I’ll add it to my pile and continue to live as I see fit.

    • vermicelli

      The unborn child, however, is NOT the woman’s body. That baby is a separate body (with separate, independent DNA) made in the image of God with all the rights and dignity that each of us possess.

      • Kerry

        So what is the woman then, in this situation? Simply a byproduct? An object devoid of feelings or a voice? How do you protect the lives of those already living? You clearly have considered the “sanctity” of life, but what about quality of life? Women are expected to be entirely selfless in this transaction, giving up their independence to have a child. Does anyone consider this? Or more aptly, does anyone care? Clearly not.

        • Edwin Woodruff Tait

          Neither the woman nor the child is a byproduct.
          When the mother’s life is in danger, “double effect” may well apply.
          Sanctity of life trumps quality of life. To say otherwise is to say that we can kill others to enrich our own lives.
          And to your last point–yes, this has been considered at great length, and many prolife people, especially Catholics and Orthodox, have spoken of the need for society to share the burdens and provide for women and children better than we currently do, so that the mother is not expected to bear the burden alone. If you aren’t aware of this, then maybe you need to learn more about the prolife perspective.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Bodily autonomy trumps sanctity of life.
            No one is talking about killing people that reside out of the womb. Find me legislation in which this is happening.

          • Maria Ramona Del

            “No one is talking about killing people that reside out of the womb”…but if we follow the pro-choice rhetoric, that’s certainly the logical conclusion. “My right to pursue my interests trumps sanctity of life”.

          • Maria Ramona Del

            Incidentally, the “what happens in the privacy of my own womb, even if it involves another person, is my business” echoes the very sinister view of the not-too-recent past where the man said, “what happens in the privacy of my own home, even if it involves another person, is my business”–#domesticviolence

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Again we are talking about bodily autonomy, do you know what that means? Obviously not, get out of here.

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            If you think bodily autonomy trumps sanctity of life, you have a very distorted morality. Let’s pose it this way to society. Let’s make it clear that this is the issue: life vs. autonomy. When they conflict, which wins?

            If American society, as a whole, decides that bodily autonomy trumps sanctity of life, then God have mercy on us all.

            And it’s not true that we only kill people who are in the womb. Our society kills a lot of people, through drone bombings and other imperialistic aggressions abroad, through the death penalty, through police brutality, through endemic gun violence.

            American culture does indeed privilege individual autonomy over human life–witness the right-wing opposition to any form of gun control. It’s all a manifestation of the same basic moral sickness, but right and left each latch on to certain bits of it to defend while (rightly) pointing out the evils of the other side.

          • Betty Conklin

            While I agree with most of your response, I have a real problem with your last paragraph.

            “American culture does indeed privilege individual autonomy over human life–witness the right-wing opposition to any form of gun control. It’s all a manifestation of the same basic moral sickness, but right and left each latch on to certain bits of it to defend while (rightly) pointing out the evils of the other side.”

            Apparently you fail to understand the “right-wing” opposition to any form of gun control, or the purpose of the second amendment, and therefore you impute motives unfairly. The reason some people are against gun control is that it defeats the purpose, which is the right to self-defense and to rise up against an unjust government, as our founding fathers did against unjust England, as well as self-defense.

            Some people are reticent about things like background checks because it creates a registry of individuals with guns, and there is a fear – somewhat justified, in my opinion – that the government could use this registry to confiscate people’s weapons, as the Nazis did in the 1930s. That doesn’t mean they think it is acceptable to shoot someone in a road-rage incident – only that this is a right of the individual to arm and defend himself, and the government has no right to interfere. It is one thing to disagree with that position, but it is quite another to accuse people holding that position of “moral sickness.” Quite reprehensible, in my opinion.

            http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/23/sorry-josh-earnest-but-the-second-amendment-isnt-about-hunting/

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            What I think is reprehensible is the indifference people on your side of the issue show to the death toll every year that arises from American gun culture. Yes, it’s a form of moral sickness, and most people outside the U.S. see this clearly. Americans of a certain political persuasion are blind on this point.

            I don’t want to debate this at length on this thread, but I stand by my statement, and I think you have demonstrated nicely the truth of my claim that people on the right as well as the left put autonomy over life.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            So you don’t like the government telling you that you can’t own an instantly killing death machine, but you want them to tell me what to do with my body?

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            If “life” is all that is needed to trump bodily autonomy, then are you ok with forcing every living being to provide their body against their will to keep a sick person alive? Should w all be forced to provide blood, bone marrow, kidney and part of our livers?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            There is a difference, which many folks today don’t seem to recognize, between doing and not-doing. Actively killing another person to defend my “bodily autonomy” is not the same thing as failing to donate part of my body to keep the person alive. In the case of abortion all that is needed to protect the child’s life (in most cases) is to do nothing and let nature take its course. The child is already inside the mother’s body.

            A better analogy with your “donation” example would be forcing women to serve as surrogate mothers for embryos. I don’t support that, and I know of no prolife person who does.

            But in fact I wouldn’t say that laws requiring blood or even organ donations from anyone who could reasonably make them without serious risk to themselves would be necessarily wrong. I could see this more easily with blood donations than organ donations, and with some organs more than others (I would suspect that operating on the liver is always extremely risky). If I concluded that such laws were wrong, it would certainly not be because of some supposed absolute right of “bodily autonomy.”

            But it’s a good counter-argument–thanks for raising it :)

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Just because a fetus can’t survive without my body, doesn’t mean I am actively killing it.

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            When you cut the fetus in pieces or poison it, yes it does mean that.
            Insofar as “abortion” is simply “removal of the fetus from the mother’s body,” there’s a much bigger case to be made for it. That’s why the Catholic Church recognizes the “principle of double effect.” What is never right is to take an action specifically designed to kill the fetus.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            There are pills that can induce an abortion, which just cause the embryo to detach from the wall and discharge, most of which happen in the first trimester.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            If we do not have the right to our own bodies, then what do we have the right to? Our thoughts? That isn’t enough. If one does have their freedoms taken from them, either as lawful or unlawful prisoner, the last bit of control they would have is over their bodies, when they eat, sleep, even die. Why should we take that away to make the quality of life for someone else better? We are taking away their quality of life for another.

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            Nope. We’re talking about not killing people. Big difference.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I can kill you if you try to rape me, why can’t I kill a fetus that I don’t want in my body?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            Because the rapist is committing an act of deliberate violence. The fetus isn’t.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Yes it is, it is committing assault by being in me without permission. Like rape.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Notice that it is you that says what the fetus is and isn’t doing to someone who isn’t you. Why does my opinion on my body not matter, but yours does? If my opinion doesn’t matter in that case, why does it matter in the case of rape?

          • Edwin Woodruff Tait

            Truth matters. “Opinion” is what you or I think is the truth. Of course your opinion matters–if it’s true, then it has weight and should be accepted, and if it’s false, it’s harming you and others. You are using the word “opinion” in a strange way that I notice many people using it in our society, as if it were a kind of vote or a raw expression of will with no connection to truth.

            The fetus simply exists. You are suggesting that existence is a crime–that all of us started out life as the moral equivalent of rapists. And you really can’t see that that’s a radically disordered way to look at human life? Talk about “original sin”. . . . . :)

          • Bershawn300

            I smell a troll.

          • Betty Conklin

            “Bodily autonomy trumps sanctity of life.” By what authority do you make this statement? Your opinion? The sanctity of life was established by God when He made us in His image. It is the basis of all universal human rights and therefore cannot be abrogated. Furthermore, bodily autonomy is a negative right, not a positive one. For example, the right not to be forced to have an abortion, as in China, would be an example of bodily autonomy – the right not to have medical/physical interventions imposed by government or any other party. The so-called “right” to abortion, is completely arbitrary and is a positive “right”. Positive “rights” lead to the slippery slope where ultimately people have no inherent rights, and abortion itself provides the most direct example. If we have no right to life in our mothers’ wombs, then life is not sacred, and there is really no justification for any rights whatsoever. Indeed, the right to life is the foundation on which all other rights are built – if we have no right to life, then how can we have any other rights? This scenario can only exist if the government is the source of our rights, in which case they are completely at the caprice of the government. Ultimately, the source of our human “rights” matters. If our rights come from God, they are universal and cannot be taken away – our founding fathers believed this and wrote it in the Declaration of Independence stating “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            My authority. My body, my rules.
            And again, Thor made us in his image? I don’t need you to tell me the rights to my body.

          • Therese

            I have to speak up against your profound selfishness. Please, do not ever enter in to a marriage and lie about committing your life to the good of another. At this stage in your life you are totally incapable of such giving.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I don’t want to be a mother, it is selfish of you to think every woman should be. I care about my husband and my family. I don’t want children, neither does he. Soooo, what was your weird rant about committing my life to the good of another?

          • Maria Ramona Del

            “My body, my rules”. Sounds eerily familiar. Wasn’t that the mantra of the White Man until about the 1960’s? “My domicile. My rules”. It was entirely legal for the white man to beat up his wife because, hey, it was his body. Oops. I mean, it was his house. He could do what he wanted. #privacy #righttoautonomy #icanbeatmywifebecausemyhousemyrules.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Um, no, that makes no sense idiot.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        Well, some tumors have different DNA…
        But, the fetus is inside of the woman, making it a party of her body.

        • JFK38

          Well women have a defense that occurs in pregnancy, I can’t think of the exact process right now, but it stops the woman’s body from rejecting the child. You could argue that this is an example of a difference between the woman and the child;however, people will believe what they want to believe.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Um, what does that have to do with anything? The body is supposed to have a natural defense against many things, but some people have a defective autoimmune system…

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            O, and almost half of all pregnancies end up in spontaneous abortion or miscarriage, so what was that thing about the body preventing the rejection of the embryo?

        • Betty Conklin

          So a human fetus is like a tumor?

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            I was just replying to the person who thought that it was important that different DNA was had in a fetus.

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        We are made in the image of Thor?

    • Nonsensical

      “Catholicism is not a requirement to live a good and moral life.”

      Yes it is, and going by the rest of your post the problem you have with Catholicism is that it requires you to live a good and moral life.

      Why do you pretend to be Catholic when you worship the devil?

    • rileyburke

      Fertility is indeed treated as a handicap – a very large percentage of Western women are chemically altered. Does this not imply that they were defective in their fertile state? How is it pro-woman when society’s expectation is that women be willing and eager to drastically re-order their body’s functioning so as to never release an ovum?

      • RandallPoopenmeyer

        So you want women to conform to YOUR beliefs instead? I take birth control to manage my horrible and painful periods.

        • rileyburke

          I had been replying to someone who later deleted all her comments. I’m just pointing out that it does not affirm women as they naturally function, to encourage them to alter themselves chemically AS THOUGH fertility were a disordered condition such as the intolerable periods that you experience and are treating. Do you see what I’m saying even if you disagree?

  • Patricia Maurice

    I won’t comment on abortion but I will comment on this author’s statement to, “Critically question the dominant cultural narrative that being born a woman means being handicapped by a fertility problem that you must “rise up” against.”

    Some years ago, I was present at a meeting in which a very senior administrator at the University of Notre Dame recommended that since studies have shown that women who have babies pre-tenure are much less likely to receive tenure, female faculty should put off having a baby until after tenure. He also recommended that although the university has policies for temporarily stopping/prolonging the tenure clock and a semester teaching release for having/adopting a baby, female faculty not take them because it would weaken their resumes. He later denied these statements but other women who had been present in the room confirmed the statements. In a way, I applaud him because he was correct in saying it would be much harder to achieve tenure while also having a baby. That is in fact the case.

    There have been instances in which the university has been very accommodating to female and male faculty, staff, and students wrt to childbirth and family leave. However, the policies are unevenly followed and there have been–and continue to be– some pointed failures. I have been approached by a number of senior women at the university in recent years with serious concerns about the university’s behavior with respect to tenure and childbirth/childrearing. It seems like too often at Notre Dame, if you want to have a baby and get tenure, you have to over-excel in everything above and beyond colleagues who don’t have children. The problem is that these amazing women can eventually wind up getting worn out and sick.

    Notre Dame has fought the Obama administration over what seems a very reasonable accommodation with respect to birth control and Obamacare. Yet, it could be far more supportive of women–and men– with respect to childbirth and family responsibilities.

    I’d like to challenge Laura Wolk and other young men and women at Notre Dame to push the university to truly live up to its name “Notre Dame” by actively working to become THE MOST PROGRESSIVE AND SUPPORTIVE INSTITUTION IN THE COUNTRY AND THE WORLD with respect to childbirth and child rearing. Instead of saying ‘this woman got less done because she had a baby,’ tenure committees at all levels should say, ‘wow, look at how much she got done while also having a baby. And, she is actively demonstrating the family values we care about as an institution.’ Rather than allowing US News and World Report and other secular ranking groups to say what makes for a great faculty member and university, Notre Dame should use its own metrics and female faculty with children should be seen as a real benefit/plus in demonstrating our values. Ms Wolk, please put your eloquence to good use in demanding that the university be truly supportive– not just occasionally but always– of women in their all-important role as mothers. I agree with you completely that Women Deserve Better. That applies especially to Notre Dame because Our Lady deserves the very best. You can make a real difference by fighting for women to be truly and UNIFORMLY supported at the university. Thank you and God bless.
    –a retired faculty member who cares deeply about the university and women

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/101185396509765294964/about rebecca

      Thank You Patricia. That rhetorical “moral” paradox of female faculty being “damned it they do, damned if they don’t” in regards to children and tenuring was quite prevalent. And now, certainly not as open, still exists.

      So true, too is “It seems like too often at Notre Dame, if you want to have a baby and get tenure, you have to over-excel in everything above and beyond colleagues who don’t have children. The problem is that these amazing women can eventually wind up getting worn out and sick.” Or, in terms of rankings, metrics, and reputation in the larger universe of major research universities, these amazing women simply go elsewhere. Contributing to the brain drain of young and mid-level faculty, especially that of women.

      So true, too about fighting the Obama Administration when the University was consulted on, and depending on the reporting agreed to, the birth control accommodation. Which several other Catholic institutions signed off on.

      All little puzzling, win viewed from the outside. From the inside, when you step into the shadow of the Dome, very disconcerting.

      • Patricia Maurice

        Yes, you are right. The university’s problems with respect to women have indeed caused a brain drain especially in STEM. And, they make it harder to attract excellent faculty in the first place. I should have mentioned that. Thank you.

  • Johnny Whichard

    God bless you!

  • vermicelli

    From a diocesan Facebook page:

    “Rachel’s Vineyard is a safe place to renew, build, and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential, and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release, and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal, and healing.
    For more information on the ministry of Rachel’s Vineyard, visit http://www.rachelsvineyard.org. “

  • hig

    Good grief…What century do you live in??

    • vermicelli

      Apparently not a century where responsibility for one’s actions is valued.

  • http://benjaminstudebaker.com Benjamin Studebaker

    The author has clearly internalized a set of gender norms (which is why they feel so intuitive to her on a gut level–they are an internalized intuition, not something she has justified through normative moral argument). Asserting your intuitions over and over is not an argument. The whole point of argument is that your opponent doesn’t share your intuitions–the gut feelings you have are not theirs because the norms you have internalized are not theirs.

    • msb29

      This is not an argument based on repeating intuitive gender norms over and over – because it would stand even if there were no such thing as gender norms at all. The author’s point is, apparently, too simple for some readers: a society that promotes authentic female empowerment is a society that accommodates its structures and institutions to the unadulterated, innate fertility of healthy female persons, rather than employing technological means to accommodate women to its preexisting structures and institutions. Whether those technological means have the effect of transmuting femaleness into approximations of a normative pseudomasculinity, or a least-common-denominator of asexual humanoids, or utterly sterile robots, is ultimately immaterial to argument that it is anti-woman. To argue otherwise is to advocate a foreign and synthetic ideal of womanhood over and against the lived experience of actually-existing females.

      • http://benjaminstudebaker.com Benjamin Studebaker

        The “natural” vs “synthetic” dichotomy is a false dichotomy. All people are a natural part of the universe and all technologies conceived by people are a natural part of the universe. The argument “humans made it therefore it is bad” is arbitrary, and you are only making it because you’ve internalized a set of norms that have biased you toward invalid modes of argument.

        • msb29

          First of all, I am not suggesting that there cannot be synthetic goods. Of course there can. But when you make this about norms instead of goods, you are insisting that a synthetic good has the capacity not only to contribute to human flourishing but to alter the very understanding of what flourishing is supposed to look like. The question I ask is, “at what point is human flourishing no longer recognizably human?” Apparently for you the answer is never, because we thought of it.
          Second, we can distinguish the mere fact that “healthy, unmedicated adult human females are fertile” from the norm “healthy adult human females ought not medicate away their fertility.” This classic “is-ought” relation is the real point of contention between us, not the “natural vs synthetic” dichotomy. In essence, advocating a “humanity ought” divorced from what “humanity is” constitutes transhumanism. You can call my position deeply sexist, in the literal sense that it requires that the sexes as they actually are be an operable concept; I could just as well call your position deeply asexist, in that, theoretically, it furnishes no philosophical basis for not abolishing men and women altogether in favor of some abjectly indifferent self-consciousness. It is hardly a convincing line of argument to assert that such indifference constitutes flourishing by simply howling “bias” every time nature intrudes upon said self-consciousness.

          • http://benjaminstudebaker.com Benjamin Studebaker

            When you say that human flourishing is “supposed to look like” something without presenting sound normative arguments for why that something is the best way to understand human flourishing, that’s just asserting a set of norms. The fact that certain biological facts have led us to understand our flourishing in certain ways is not a normative argument for those understandings or for those biological facts. You cannot assert that some conceptions of flourishing advanced by humans are inhuman–the conceptions come from humans and consequently are entirely human. There is nothing inhuman about transhumanism. If humans are the kind of beings that make transhumanism possible, then transhumanism is part of being human. If transhumanism is part of human actualization, then transhumanism may be good. You need to give me a set of normative reasons for why your conception of flourishing must be the right one, by showing me how alternative conceptions lead to repugnant conclusions that I cannot accept. I am not a subjectivist and I am perfectly willing to accept objective normative moral arguments along the lines of what Derek Parfit accepts in On What Matters–it is possible for you to give me reasons for why your norms are better than my norms. But the arguments you and the OP are making are completely non-normative and don’t have persuasive force. If you’re a moral naturalist, we’re not going to have much to say to each other.

          • msb29

            I’m not sure I possess the ability to estimate what you would find unacceptably repugnant, but it sounds like a fun way to spend a Friday evening, so here goes nothing: If there were an objective moral argument for the best way to understand human flourishing, it would be impossible for a synthetic, subjective good to improve upon that understanding. Wendy Davis advocates such a revision. The author presents a contradictory understanding. By your standard, both of their “conceptions come from humans and consequently are entirely human.” In order for one to be normative, the other must be false. Now Wendy Davis’ position, whether or not she would admit it, boils down to the idea that success (i.e. flourishing) should be measured in terms of preexisting, male-biased institutions (e.g. Harvard Law), and that abortion, providing as it does a crucial workaround for women to accommodate themselves to that metric, must be protected. The author’s position, though couched in language that alternates between sentimentality and appeals to authority, is essentially that human institutions as they presently exist, being themselves a highly imperfect “work in progress,” are not objectively the optimal metric for human flourishing, and therefore proposes the project of challenging the received institutional order to better align itself to female nature. Now if, at some point in the indeterminate future we reached a quasi-utopian state in which our societal order was perfectly consonant with the dictates of our nature, and we found that there was still yet room for improvement on the basis of beyond natural or transhuman norms, fine and dandy. But it is an abuse of humanity to propose such norms as a means of circumventing the inadequacies of our present state at the expense of genuine equality.

          • http://benjaminstudebaker.com Benjamin Studebaker

            Synthetic goods unlock new abilities to put extant moral principles into practice–they do not change the principles. If we’re utilitarians, the new abilities we gain as a result of technology may allow us to experience happiness in new ways, but they do not change the fact that happiness is what human flourishing entails for utilitarians. The same would be true if we were Kantians–new abilities create a new terrain wherein we would act upon the same deontological mandates. The same principles are applied in a new arena. So if we have technology that allows a woman to avoid or abort a pregnancy, that technology is not changing the principles, it is creating different conditions under which the same principles apply. There may be some women for whom happiness means not having children, and for those women it might be in their interest to employ these new technologies, fully in line with pre-existing moral theories with rather ancient philosophical pedigrees. The mere fact that our physical form is one way or another does not in itself imply anything about how we ought to live our lives or what makes any particular person happy. The presupposition that it is an offense to change the biological conditions but not an offense to change the sociological conditions, or that changing the latter is intrinsically preferable to changing the former, seems very arbitrary to me. A more interesting argument would be to claim that the principles that permit abortion or birth control would also permit other things that seem to contradict the consequentialist objectives or the deontological mandates. That would be a wholly normative argument rather than an attempt to derive “ought” statements from “is” statements.

  • LawProf61

    The Gender Studies flier said this: “She skyrocketed to near celebrity status after her historic 13 hour filibuster in the Texas Senate to stop a legislative effort that would have dramatically reduced women’s access to healthcare services in her state.” That is so oblique as to be dishonest. “Healthcare services”? It was abortion.

    Here’s what the bill that Wendy Davis opposed said (from “The Week”):

    “The bill up for debate, Senate Bill 5 (SB5), would ban all abortions after 20 weeks, require that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and mandate that all abortion clinics meet the standards of hospitals or similar-grade surgical centers — conditions that critics say would close all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics”

    I believe it was this law (some version of which passed, despite Davis’ filibuster attempts), which was appealed to the Supreme Court, and for which oral arguments were heard earlier this month. According to The Catholic Thing contributor George Marlin, who was there, Justice Stephen Breyer dismissed the law’s benefits as “irrelevant,” since only approximately 200 “botched abortions” take place every year in Texas. (The number of women hospitalized in Texas each year from botched abortions is apparently between 200 and 1000.)

    This is not only dishonest, but utterly disingenuous. If several hundred women were being hospitalized each year from tooth extractions, plastic surgery, or Lasik procedures, these same activist groups would be up in arms, demanding that the Texas legislature do something about it. Furthermore, no one is asking why doctors who perform abortions *don’t* have admitting privileges at at least one local hospitals or why abortion clinics cannot be at least as clean and as safe as other outpatient surgicenters.

    If anyone wonders why imprisoned abortionist Kermit Gosnell could continue to operate, despite inspections that revealed the filth and depraved conditions of his “clinic,” this is your answer – because so-called “women’s rights activists” do not give a damn about the safety or cleanliness of abortion clinics, or the credentials of those who perform the abortions – as long as someone will do them. This is not hyperbole. Here is an excerpt from the magazine The Atlantic – by no means a “conservative” publication (reciting from the grand jury report that indicted Gosnell):

    “Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did…

    The first line of defense was the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department’s job is to audit hospitals and outpatient medical facilities, like Gosnell’s, to make sure that they follow the rules and provide safe care. The department had contact with the Women’s Medical Society dating back to 1979, when it first issued approval to open an abortion clinic. It did not conduct another site review until 1989, ten years later. Numerous violations were already apparent, but Gosnell got a pass when he promised to fix them. Site reviews in 1992 and 1993 also noted various violations, but again failed to ensure they were corrected.

    But at least the department had been doing something up to that point, however ineffectual. After 1993, even that pro form a effort came to an end. Not because of administrative ennui, although there had been plenty. Instead, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, TO STOP INSPECTING ABORTION CLINICS AT ALL…. The only exception to this live-and-let-die policy was supposed to be for complaints dumped directly on the department’s doorstep. Those, at least, would be investigated. Except that there were complaints about Gosnell, repeatedly. Several different attorneys, representing women injured by Gosnell, contacted the department. A doctor from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia hand-delivered a complaint, advising the department that numerous patients he had referred for abortions came back from Gosnell with the same venereal disease. The medical examiner of Delaware County informed the department that Gosnell had performed an illegal abortion on a 14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby. And the department received official notice that a woman named Karnamaya Mongar had died at Gosnell’s hands.

    Yet not one of these alarm bells — not even Mrs. Mongar’s death — prompted the department to look at Gosnell or the Women’s Medical Society… But even this total abdication by the Department of Health might not have been fatal. Another agency with authority in the health field, the Pennsylvania Department of State, could have stopped Gosnell single-handedly.

    The Department of State, through its Board of Medicine, licenses and oversees individual physicians… Almost a decade ago, a former employee of Gosnell presented the Board of Medicine with a complaint that laid out the whole scope of his operation: the unclean, unsterile conditions; the unlicensed workers; the unsupervised sedation; the underage abortion patients; even the over-prescribing of pain pills with high resale value on the street. The department assigned an investigator, whose investigation consisted primarily of an offsite interview with Gosnell. The investigator never inspected the facility, questioned other employees, or reviewed any records. Department attorneys chose to accept this incomplete investigation, and dismissed the complaint as unconfirmed.

    Shortly thereafter the department received an even more disturbing report — about a woman, years before Karnamaya Mongar, who died of sepsis after Gosnell perforated her uterus. The woman was 22 years old. A civil suit against Gosnell was settled for almost a million dollars, and the insurance company forwarded the information to the department. That report should have been all the confirmation needed for the complaint from the former employee that was already in the department’s possession. Instead, the department attorneys dismissed this complaint too… The same thing happened at least twice more: the department received complaints about lawsuits against Gosnell, but dismissed them as meaningless…

    Philadelphia health department employees regularly visited the Women’s Medical Society to retrieve blood samples for testing purposes, but never noticed, or more likely never bothered to report, that anything was amiss. Another employee inspected the clinic in response to a complaint that dead fetuses were being stored in paper bags in the employees’ lunch refrigerator. The inspection confirmed numerous violations… But no follow-up was ever done… A health department representative also came to the clinic as part of a citywide vaccination program. She promptly discovered that Gosnell was scamming the program; she was the only employee, city or state, who actually tried to do something about the appalling things she saw there. By asking questions and poking around, she was able to file detailed reports identifying many of the most egregious elements of Gosnell’s practice. It should have been enough to stop him. But instead her reports went into a black hole, weeks before Karnamaya Mongar walked into the Woman’s Medical Society.

    …And it wasn’t just government agencies that did nothing. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and its subsidiary, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, are in the same neighborhood as Gosnell’s office. State law requires hospitals to report complications from abortions. A decade ago, a Gosnell patient died at HUP after a botched abortion, and the hospital apparently filed the necessary report. But the victims kept coming in. At least three other Gosnell patients were brought to Penn facilities for emergency surgery; emergency room personnel said they have treated many others as well. And at least one additional woman was hospitalized there after Gosnell had begun a flagrantly illegal abortion of a 29-week-old fetus. Yet, other than the one initial report, Penn could find not a single case in which it complied with its legal duty to alert authorities to the danger. Not even when a second woman turned up virtually dead…

    So too with the National Abortion Federation.

    NAF is an association of abortion providers that upholds the strictest health and legal standards for its members. Gosnell, bizarrely, applied for admission shortly after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. Despite his various efforts to fool her, the evaluator from NAF readily noted that records were not properly kept, that risks were not explained, that patients were not monitored, that equipment was not available, that anesthesia was misused. It was the worst abortion clinic she had ever inspected. Of course, she rejected Gosnell’s application. She just never told anyone in authority about all the horrible, dangerous things she had seen.”

    THAT is what happens when the state does not truly regulate and monitor abortion clinics. And it is those “activists” who purport to represent “women’s issues” who have the audacity to argue that bills which would raise standards of care are part of the “war on women.”

    Wendy Davis is among those who has opposed these standards – instead of insisting that the state’s 42 abortion clinics actually meet them.

    Some heroine.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      Actually, dental procedures have a higher rate of complications than abortions… so I can’t take the rest of your comment seriously when you have a lie in the first part of it.
      “San Francisco said
      that complications from abortions only happen 2.1% of the time, with
      most being minor. Wisdom teeth surgery, on the other hand, results in
      complications 7% of the time.”
      O and don’t forget about the dentist
      that purposely infected patients with HIV, and the 14 month old that
      died while at the dentist.
      Also, no the “activists” wouldn’t care about dental, lasik or plastic surgery procedures, because they are specifically anti abortion groups.
      The Right to Life is the only group that said anything about the abortion clinic closing in South Bend.
      Abortions are safer than most outpatient surgeries. My wisdom tooth extraction did not take place in an ambulatory surgical center… it was in an office. All of these antiabortion laws are about stopping abortion, NOT about women’s health and safety.
      In Wendy’s case, both of her abortions were medically necessary.

  • NDaniels

    “Formal cooperation involves actually intending an evil purpose, regardless of the extent of physical participation in executing the act, e.g., advising, counseling, promoting, or condoning an evil act – all constitute formal cooperation.”

  • anne

    Brilliant and powerful! Thank you Laura.

  • Nonsensical

    This student here seems to be a wonderful exception at this long-lost university.

    Unfortunately, an exception that proves the rule going by the comments here.

  • Dan Wynne

    Thank you so much Laura. No wonder so many people are confused about this issue when Notre Dame presents this woman on the Feast of the Annunciation.

  • JFK38

    She could be trying to justify the killings, it’s very sad. I would never allow someone to kill my child it would be a miserable thing.

  • Diana Horn

    beautiful

  • NDaniels
  • rileyburke

    This is such a good analogy for the opposite of how you’re using it. When you drive a car you are willingly assuming the RISK of an accident. This risk is inherent in normal everyday driving.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      Yes, but no one is trying to stop you from getting your broken arm fixed. They don’t say you should suffer the consequences because you knew what they could be.

      • rileyburke

        Randall – your arguments are petering out. Now you’re comparing an abortion to fixing a broken arm. No one dies in the latter scenario, so the analogy fails.

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          So you can use and abuse my body and inconvenience me as much as you want as long as it saves someone’s life?

          • rileyburke

            We’re just talking past each other as you continue to view the unborn child (and all people by extension) as monstrous moochers who bullied their way into a womb and refuse to leave. It’s a premise that falls before it can be built upon. I am done here.

          • RandallPoopenmeyer

            Then goodbye and stay the eff out of my uterus.

      • Bershawn300

        I think it is safe to say that this is a troll attempt. Very little ‘reasoning’ or discussing, more just incendiary nonsense.

  • Tripper

    There are no Virgin Mary’s on Earth now. Once we hit the age of 11 or so, we pretty much know what causes someone to get pregnant. Pregnancy is easily avoided. Every woman has complete “control” of her fertility.

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    Personal responsibility means that my body is my responsibility, not yours.

  • Nonsensical

    I would assume you stay chaste because you want more than lowering yourself to the level of a beast like the “father of lies” wants of you to fulfill his prejudice against you.

    “The very fury with which people go on seeking pleasure is a proof that they have not found it.”

    And you never will find it, all you will find is misery, then later your destruction and death. Each and every ounce of pride and act of murder against your own children will widen the sin until you are all the way down.

    The school does not make rules, God does. But God only asks one question, and I unfortunately believe you have already answered it. It’s not too late to change though.

    • RandallPoopenmeyer

      I am happier than I have ever been. I don’t need you to tell me how to be happy. I don’t need your fake god making rules for me. I didn’t know Thor cared that much!

      • Nonsensical

        Here’s Fulton Sheen:
        “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance: tolerance of right and wrong,
        truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is
        overrun with the broadminded. The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his
        bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind, any more than he can make up for lost time, is called
        tolerant and broadminded. A bigoted man is one who refuses to accept a reason for anything; a broadminded man is
        one who will accept anything for a reason—providing it is not a good reason. It is true that there is a demand for
        precision, exactness, and definiteness, but it is only for precision in scientific measurement, not in logic. The
        breakdown that has produced this unnatural broadmindedness is mental, not moral. The evidence for this statement
        is threefold: the tendency to settle issues not by arguments but by words, the unqualified willingness to accept the”
        authority of anyone on the subject of religion, and, lastly, the love of novelty.

        Voltaire boasted that if he could find but ten wicked words a day he could crush the “infamy” of Christianity. He
        found the ten words daily, and even a daily dozen, but he never found an argument, and so the words went the way
        of all words and the thing, Christianity, survived. Today, no one advances even a poor argument to prove that there
        is no God, but they are legion who think they have sealed up the heavens when they used the word
        “anthropomorphism.” This word is just a sample of the catalogue of names which serve as the excuse for those who
        are too lazy to think. One moment’s reflection would tell them that one can no more get rid of God by calling Him
        “anthropomorphic” than he can get rid of a sore throat by calling it “streptococci.” As regards the use of the term
        “anthropomorphism,” I cannot see that its use in theology is less justified than the use in physics of the term
        “organism,” which the new physicists are so fond of employing. Certain words like “reactionary” or “medieval” are
        tagged on the Catholic Church and used with that same disrespect with which a man may sneer at a woman’s age.
        Mothers do not cease to be mothers because their sons grow up, and the Mother Church of the Christian world,
        which began not in Boston but in Jerusalem, is not to be dispossessed of her glorious title simply because her sons
        leave home. Some day they may be glad to return and their return will be the truest “homecoming” the world has
        ever seen.

        Not only does the substitution of words for argument betray the existence of this false tolerance, but also the
        readiness of many minds to accept as an authority in any field an individual who becomes a famous authority in one
        particular field. The assumption behind journalistic religion is that because a man is clever in inventing automobiles,
        he is thereby clever in treating the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity; that a professor who is an
        authority on the mathematical interpretation of atomic phenomena is thereby an authority on the interpretation of
        marriage; and that am an who knows something about illumination can throw light on the subject of immortality, or
        perhaps even put out the lights on immortality. There is a limit to the transfer of training, and no one who paints
        beautiful pictures with his right hand can, in a day and at the suggestion of a reporter, paint an equally good one
        with his left hand. The science of religion has a right to be heard scientifically through its qualified spokesmen, just as
        the science of physics or astronomy has a right to be heard through its qualified spokesmen. Religion is a science
        despite the fact that some would make it only a sentiment.”

        “The giggling giddiness of novelty, the sentimental restlessness of a mind unhinged, and the unnatural fear of a good
        dose of hard thinking, all conjoin to produce a group of sophomoric latitudinarians who think there is no difference
        between God as Cause and God as a ʺmental projectionʺ; who equate Christ and Buddha, St. Paul and John Dewey,
        and then enlarge their broad‐mindedness into a sweeping synthesis that says not only that one Christian sect is just
        as good as another, but even that one world‐religion is just as good as another. The great god ʺProgressʺ is then
        enthroned on the altars of fashion, and as the hectic worshipers are asked, ʺProgress towards what?ʺ The tolerant
        answer comes back, ʺMore progress.ʺ All the while sane men are wondering how there can be progress without
        direction and how there can be direction without a fixed point. And because they speak of a ʺfixed point,ʺ they are
        said to be behind the times, when really they are beyond the times mentally and spiritually.”

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          I am not reading that word wall buddy. Either you prove god exists, or leave me alone.

          • Nonsensical

            There is 2000 years of material to get through.

            You scream that you will not read anything that isn’t short enough to fit in a twitter message. The reality is that you just want to ignore the truth.

            You then demand I prove God to you. What would God ever have to prove? You have thousands of years of materials if you want to learn about God and His Church. But you don’t want to learn, you want to ignore and make a scene like a sloppy little girl.

            “If some of us who are blessed with its sacred privileges believed the same things about the Church that her slanderers believe, if we knew her only through the words of traitors or third‐rate lies of dishonest historians, if we understood her only through those who were never cradled in her sacred associations, we would perhaps hate the Church just as much as they do. The bitterest enemies of the Church, those who accuse her of being unpatriotic, as Christ was accused of being before Pilate; of being unworldly, as Christ was accused of being before Herod; of being too dogmatic, as Christ was accused of being before Caiaphas; or being too undogmatic, as Christ was accused of being Annas; of being possessed by the devil, as Christ was accused of being before the Pharisees — these do not really hate the Church. They cannot hate the Church any more than they can hate Christ; they hate only that which they mistakenly believe to be the Catholic Church, and their hate is but their vain attempt to ignore. Charity, then, must be shown to persons, and particularly to those outside the fold who by charity must be led back, that there may be one fold and one Shepherd.

            Thus far tolerance, but no farther. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability. The government must be intolerant about malicious propaganda, and during the World War it made an index of forbidden books to defend national stability, as the Church, who is in constant warfare with error, made her index of forbidden books to defend the permanency of Christʹs life in the souls of men. The government during the war was intolerant about the national heretics who refused to accept her principles concerning the necessity of democratic institutions, and took physical means to enforce such principles. The soldiers who went to war were intolerant about the principles they were fighting for, in the same way that a gardener must be intolerant about the weeds that grow in his garden. The Supreme Court of the United States is intolerant about any private interpretation of the first principle of the Constitution that every man is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the particular citizen who would interpret ʺlibertyʺ in even such a small way as meaning the privilege to ʺgoʺ on a red traffic‐light, would find himself very soon in a cell where there were no lights, not even the yellow — the color of the timid souls who know not whether to stop or go. Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in their laboratories, and as all of us are intolerant of a particularly broad‐minded, ʺtolerant,ʺ and good‐natured grocer who, in making our bills, adds seven and ten to make twenty.”

        • RandallPoopenmeyer

          Why would I care about Fulton Sheen?

          • Nonsensical

            You would if you cared about the truth. Read what I said.

  • Nonsensical

    Truly this campus has plunged millions of souls deep, deep into the void if that word makes your posts go into a moderation queue. The place will not be pretty on the last day.

    I’ll edit my post for the sake of you reading it:

    “[that word] is complete separation from God.
    Depending on what you define reality as, you are correct. If you define reality as things you can imagine, interact with, etc. Things made of being, time, space, and matter.

    If that’s the case, then yes, [that word] isn’t “real” in the sense that matter, time, space, being don’t exist there because all four are creations of God and only possible connected to God. In fact existence isn’t even in [that word] as that is also a creation of God and cannot exist separated from Him.

    So, yes, [that word] isn’t “real” in the sense you see our world and think and imagine. But that is because [that word] is true nothingness, and you won’t be “real” anymore if you send yourself there either.”

  • Monica Gorman

    Thank you very much for writing this, Laura. :)

  • RandallPoopenmeyer

    So what are the purpose of feet and mouths? To talk and walk. So get off of you computer, sell your car and start walking to work and talking to your friends face to face. Once you start using your body as naturally as you can, then maybe I will take your suggestions into consideration.

  • FacuArgue

    This is an amazing piece. Wow. Hands up. Drop the mic! =D

  • Bershawn300

    Well, I’m a relatively new Catholic, so this is a fine mess to come in on. Notre Dame should just change it’s name to Indiana Episcopalian and call it a day. Meanwhile, the Bishops must be prayed for…the school must be prayed for. Feminism is a scourge on humanity. Yes, I said it. P.S. Saying this as a woman.

  • Bershawn300

    Is there some other way children are coming into existence that I’m unaware of? Your analogy is faulty. Additionally, I find it telling that you compare a child with having a car wreck. Says more about the mindset and less about the reality of life in the womb.