Saturday, April 28, 2007

Why Did State Senate "Breach the Wall"?

In the wake of this week's 32-3 state Senate vote forcing Catholic hospitals to facilitate chemical abortions on its premises, the CT Catholic Conference has e-mailed an alert on the legislature's "breaching the wall" between church and state. We're not crazy about the "wall" metaphor, which is not in the Constitution and is frequently put in the service of all manner of secularist mischief. But for once, it seems apt. Archbishop Mansell and Bishop Lori get to the heart of the issue in their letter to the legislature:
"The Catholic Bishops of Connecticut are responsible for establishing and
determining what moral guidelines Catholic institutions should follow; not the
ConnecticutGeneral Assembly."
So why did the Senate breach the wall? Because of the more permissive policies of the dioceses in our neighboring states:

Waterbury Sen. Sam S.F. Caligiuri, R-16th District, said the compromises
reached in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota swayed his vote.

"Unfortunately, the Catholic conference in Connecticut hasn't reached that
conclusion. It remains to be seen whether it will. But because of that, it has
become clear to me that we aren't talking about Catholic teaching as an
institution, but rather a conflict between a compelling state interest and the
opinion of some Catholics in Connecticut about what Catholic teaching ought to
be providing for," he said.

Even with there being a different Catholic hospital policy elsewhere, surely the teaching authority of the Catholic bishops of Connecticut carries more weight than a mere "opinion of some Catholics in Connecticut about what Catholic teaching ought to be"? From whom did Caligiuri get such a subjective view of the Bishops' authority?

Oops. Looks like he may have got it from the Church's own point man on Plan B, St. Francis Hospital general counsel Barry Feldman:

Feldman also responded to the arguments that Catholic bishops in New York,
New Jersey and Minnesota agreed to compromises on emergency contraception for
rape victims.

"You're talking about religious beliefs and not facts. The bishops of New
York have religious beliefs that they interpret in one way, and the bishops in
Connecticut view the moral analysis differently," he said.

"Religious beliefs and not facts"? What the--? He also gave this quote to another paper:

A spokesman for the Connecticut Catholic Conference, Barry Feldman, said
the church’s bishops in this state "see things differently" concerning this
issue from their counterparts in those other states. He said that, because the
pope has not taken a position on this issue, bishops in different states are
able to decide what position to take for their dioceses.

"When it comes to religious beliefs and moral values, no position is
right or wrong
," said Feldman. (emphasis added)

The charitable assumption here is that the papers are either misquoting Feldman or taking him out of context. But given the difficult position neighboring dioceses have put our state's Bishops in, public statements that are or can be made to sound like relativism ought to be avoided. At least more than the otherwise-odius "wall of separation."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Informational Forum on Parental Notification

Bob Muckle and his crew over at Connecticut Right to Life Corporation are still using snail mail to send their "action alerts" - but I won't pick, because I love those guys - plus, they do more than I do on right to life in Connecticut - plus, plus, our opponents do enough picking for all of us. (completely unbelievable!! - Bob, you are storing treasure in Heaven, please continue your good work for all of us.)

Anyway, THIS Friday at 10am, room 2-C at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford there is going to be an Informational Forum on Parental Notification. It has been forever since the Connecticut legislature has had an opportunity to hear from pro-lifers. The , I assume, has also notified persons***who somehow find their website and complete the "Grassroots Action Center" questionnaire and check-off that they would like to receive information regarding pro-life issues*** about the forum and have, as usual, provided an awsome summary of the issue. (Be sure to check out Archbishop Mansell's Statement on the Earned Income Tax Credit - what is that thing anyway??)

Let legislators know that yes, we, the "great unwashed" are still out here, and no, we are not going away. We care about mothers and their pre-born children, we care about the great genocide happening right here in Connecticut. Stand up for the truth. CRLC has asked us not to bring any stickers, posters, signs, t-shirts, buttons, etc - to the informational hearing - sigh. Try to get there before 10AM so that you can get good seats and BE COUNTED!! News reporters traditionally snap a picture and count heads at the beginning of an event - then they dash to their next assignment. So, be there early to be counted so that others across the State will appreciate, what they already know deep in their hearts, that abortion is wrong, and that other reasonable people also think it is wrong.

Monday, April 23, 2007

State Catholic Wins Blog Award

Congratulations to Suzanne Temple, winner of the best new homeschool blog award.

Blessed Among Men is one of a number of great local Catholic blogs that we've linked to in our blog roll and we encourage you to visit it regularly. Suzanne's blog is a window into some of the great things Connecticut's Catholic homeschool moms are up to.

Catholic homeschooling in our state is a phenomenon in itself. There are about a half dozen groups of families--large families, at least by modern standards--that we know of. We're creating a separate tab just for them and will try to keep you informed of the happenings in that wonderful universe--events you won't hear about in your diocesan newspapers.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Courant Not at Fault in Foley Scandal

Is the Courant guilty of anti-Catholic bias in its reporting on the Fr. Foley scandal? No. Others disagree, though. Courant reader representative Karen Hunter has been running their letters on her blog:

A Southington reader wrote, "Please cancel the balance of our subscription
to The Courant. Your obvious anti-Catholic bias, evidenced by five days of
headline articles referencing Father Foley, has become too disturbing. You even
included some shameless piling-on by a non-Catholic clergyman and at least one

The letters on Hunter's blog raise good points about anti-Catholic bias at the Courant more generally, the amount of attention given to the Foley matter and some aspects of the scandal that were downplayed or ignored. But is that the same thing as saying the Courant is guilty of anti-Catholic bias in its reporting of the Foley scandal?

Again, I have to say no. What is "too disturbing" about the Foley scandal is that the facts reported by the Courant are true--not that the Courant reported it. George Weigel published The Courage to Be Catholic at the height of the scandals that came to light in 2002--and what he said then holds true now:

"[T]he Church owes the press a debt of gratitude. Because of the press,
some sexual predators have been arrested and jailed. Because of the press, the
authorities were able to locate predators like Paul Shanley and former Dallas
priest Rudy Kos before they could do any more damage to young minds and souls;
in both instances, Church leaders had failed to protect either the Church or
society. Because of the press, the Catholic Church has been forced to recognize
that it is in more trouble than its leaders and lay people might have imagined."
Weigel continues, "If God could work through the Assyrians in the Old Testament,
God can certainly work through the New York Times and the Boston Globe today,
whether the Times or the Globe realize what's happening or not."

Again, this is not to excuse those pro-abortion media personalities or pro gay "marriage" legislators who are milking the Foley scandal for all it's worth in order to further whatever axes they have to grind against the Church (see Don Pesci on "undifferentiated condemnation"). The simple fact is that the Courant broke a story that is true. And--to borrow Weigel--if God could work through the Assyrians in the Old Testament, God can certainly work through the Hartford Courant today, whether the Courant--and even some of the Church's well-meaning defenders--realize what's happening or not.

Catholics Protest War at Groton Sub Base

Photo above clipped from the Easter edition of the Sunday Republican.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

125 Years of Catholic Brotherhood

Never let it be said that the Connecticut General Assembly is all bad. 125 years ago last week, for instance, it chartered the Knights of Columbus, which has grown into the largest and most sucessful order of Catholic laymen in the world. The K of C, still headquartered here in the Constitution state, held a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Mary's Church in New Haven on March 29, the anniversary of its founding. Catholic Yalie blogger Stephen was there:
Archbishop Mansell spoke without notes for a great deal of time. The
history of the Knights was recounted with stunning accuracy, including many
dates and names. The congregation was reminded that the anti-Catholic forces
battled by the first Knights are still at work today. The example of the
Pro-Life cause was given, especially the extreme villification of the Catholic
hospitals in Connecticut, which are resisting the Plan B abortofacient. His
Excellency once again amazed the congregation by reciting from memory a list
longer than follows here...
Congratulations to the Knights and their families. Servant of God Fr. Michael J. McGivney, pray for us!

Fr. Looney's Good Friday Confess-a-thon

A day late with this story, but it's worth bookmarking for next year. Kudos to Fr. Joe Looney for making the front page of the Courant's Good Friday edition:
Call it a confess-athon. The Rev. Joseph Looney of St. Margaret's Church in
Waterbury is hosting a 12-hour call for confessions today at his
parish. Frustrated with the declining number of Catholics who confess their sins
before a priest, Looney advertised a "Notice to All Sinners" in a local
newspaper this week...

The Rev. John Gatzak, director of communications for the Archdiocese of
Hartford, said the Catholic Church has seen a decline in the number of
confessions in the past two decades. Gatzak attributes the decline to society's
aversion to admitting our faults and failings."Confession is a painful
experience to look within yourself and say `what is wrong with me?'" Gatzak
said. "We would rather look at what is `right with me.'"

This is true also of certain approaches to Christianity--Catholic and otherwise--that are popular with the public right now. Good on Fathers Looney and Gatzak for reminding the whole state of a message we need to hear--especially on Good Friday. And good on the Courant for running it.

Catholic League Defends Family Institute of Connecticut

"So labeling people as intrinsically evil and objectively disordered is a
respectful thing in your view?"

--Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven) in attempted attack on Catholic

LifeSite News is reporting on misrepresentations of Catholicism made by state legislators during a badgering line of questioning endured by the Family Institute's Brian Brown at the recent gay "marriage" hearing:

Representative Michael Lawlor, a proponent of homosexual 'marriage'
repeatedly asserted falsely that Brown, a Catholic, believed homosexual people
were intrinsically evil. Lawlor, joined by Senator Edwin Gomes continued
this line of attack even after Brown repeatedly insisted that he agreed with the
Catholic Church's position that homosexual acts, and not homosexual persons are
intrinsically evil.

Brown presented an admirable defense of his faith and his stand in favour
of the traditional family based on rational argument. Nonetheless, the
repeated and discourteous attacks by Lawlor and Gomes drew criticism from the
Catholic League.

Read the Catholic League's letter to state lawmakers here. See their transcript of the offending questions here. See the Air Maria video here. The Lifesite article also has contact info for anyone wishing to write to the legislators in question and to the speaker of the house.