Sunday, January 27, 2008

Catholic Laymen in the Public Square # 1 of 2

Catholic Laymen in the Public Square – Part 1 of 2
A Catholic Response to the “Call for Civility”
Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008

The following is a document signed by 96 influential and faithful Catholics that explicitly criticize a statement released last November, 2007 that call for greater “civility” among Catholics in political discourse. The signers believe that the November statement would have the effect of silencing the pro-life movement and silencing criticism of pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

l. All men and women of good will value civility, but civility is not the highest --- or the only --- civic virtue. Rather, justice is. As Pope Benedict XVI reminds us in Deus Caritas Est, “Justice is both the aim and the intrinsic criterion of all politics.
2. If Catholic politicians advocated segregation or --- even worse ---slavery, would there be a call for civility towards them?

3. If Catholic politicians said they did not believe in just war principles but rather in aggressive wars of conquest, would there be a call to be civil toward them?

4. If Catholic politicians said the poor are poor because of their bad behavior and we are not obliged to help them in any way, wouldn’t we say they are heartless and even un-Christian?

5. We know the answer to these questions. There would be a justified public and not a very civil call for their removal from public life. Moreover, there would be a public and justified call for the Catholic hierarchy to do something about them. And leading the public cry would be many who have signed the “Call for Civility.”

6. Same ask for civility now for one reason, abortion. John Paul the Great called abortion the greatest civil rights issue of our time and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops recently called it the number one political issue of our time. Embryo-destructive research and homosexual marriage follow right behind, though numerous Catholic politicians also oppose the fundamental teachings of the Church on these issues.

7. The lack of public civility comes not from pro-lifers but from those Catholic politicians who support the right to kill innocent life in the womb and those who support defining man-woman marriage out of existence. But, some want to treat these politicians differently because they agree with them on important but purely prudential questions like health care, and the minimum wage.

8. These are old and tired arguments that have been criticized by successive Popes and by the Conference of Catholic Bishops by putting unequal problems on the same moral plane. Though not all of its signers intend it, we believe the effect of the “Call for Civility” would be to silence the pro-life and pro-family movements. We oppose this effort root and branch. (# 8 of 10, to be continued tomorrow on the blog.)
George H. Kubeck, Duplicate or into Spanish.

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