It has been a particularly busy time of travel, events and family activities. We are in my favorite time of the year – the holiday season. It’s because it leads up to the most important event in human history – the birth of Jesus Christ. The season evokes thoughts of those closest to us – our family. As St.
It has been a particularly busy time of travel, events and family activities. We are in my favorite time of the year – the holiday season. It’s because it leads up to the most important event in human history – the birth of Jesus Christ. The season evokes thoughts of those closest to us – our family. As St. John Paul II said, “As the family goes so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
The older one gets the more you realize that life’s challenges all bring you back to the relationship we have with our family. Every family, in fact every person, has difficult times in one’s life made tolerable by the knowledge there are family members who care about you and want to help you overcome obstacles to peace and joy in your life.
We recently completed the 7th Annual St. John Paul II Life Center Gala enjoyed by the nearly 700 persons in attendance. The evening featured recognition of Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and wife, Celeste, as recipients of the Dignity in Life Award for their work on religious freedom and protection of the dignity of the human person.
Keynote speaker, radio host and author Jennifer Fulwiler shared her journey from atheism to Catholicism. The event also allowed display of the new, state-of-the-art sonogram machine and featured the announcement that the Austin-based St. John Paul II LIfe Center has now served more than 1,000 abortion-minded women, of which 97% have chosen life for her child.
We started Thanksgiving a week early when most of the Von Dohlen side of the family came to our Austin home. Really enjoyed having all who came and missed those unable to attend. On Thursday, we celebrated with most of Pat’s family in New York City, starting with Logan Elisabeth dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Let’s return now to my November Catholic Business Journal article and of the importance of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor.
As explained by Archbishop Chaput, “The Splendor of Truth was written to encourage a renewal in Catholic moral theology and a return to its classical Catholic roots. Veritatis Splendor grounds itself in a few simple convictions. Briefly put: Truth exists, whether we like it or not. We don’t create truth; we find it, and we have no power to change it to our tastes. The truth may not make us comfortable, but it does make us free. And knowing and living the truth ennobles our lives. It is the only path to lasting happiness.”
“To understand what has created much of the confusion that exists amongst the laity as to how respected leaders within the clergy have differing positions on issues that seemed straight forward and solid in the moral guidance provided by the Church,” read Archbishop Chaput’s in-depth evaluation of Splendor of Truth.”
“Vatican II occurred with many seeking to deepen the life-giving power of moral truth and those seeking a break from oppressive moral commandments of the past and to cede territory to our unfettered freedom. But in practice the latter exchanged the rigorist minimalist legalism for a new legalism with a laxist progressive bent. Thus, freeing the individual to exercise his ‘liberty of conscience’,” writes Archbishop Chaput.
The Archbishop continues: “In Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II reoriented moral thought back toward the classical Catholic tradition of a morality of virtue leading to happiness. Veritatis Splendor remains so important today because of the false rivalry between moral truth on one hand and freedom and fulfillment on the other.”
Has the Vatican II minority position within the Catholic clergy continued? How has this freedom to exercise the “liberty of conscience” been demonstrated by certain clergy? What impact have their actions had on the Catholic community? What impact on American society as a whole?
The best illustration I can give is to use the work of Terry Beatley and excerpts from her book, What If We’ve Been Wrong?
Author Terry Beatley keeps her promise to America’s formerly dubbed “Abortion King,” Dr. Bernard Nathanson, to tell the truth about his founding of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League, originally named the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws). Dr. Nathanson was a medical doctor who claimed personal responsibility for more than 75,000 abortions before his remarkable awakening to the truth about abortion, and, much later, his conversion to the Faith.
After his awakening, Dr. Nathanson became one of the foremost pro-life speakers and advocates in the nation, giving clear and inspiring talks about the years of his own self-deception, the founding of NARAL and his influential involvement in its founding, the money trail, and the truth about abortion and the horrific industry that has grown around it.
Following is language found from a 1965 Planned Parenthood brochure: “An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it”. (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 133).
My, how things have changed compared to what Planned Parenthood now stands for.
“In July 1968, Pope Paul VI released an encyclical Humanae Vitae which exploded like an atomic bomb. Today it could be the most prophetic document written in the 20th century. Written for Catholics and ‘to all men (and women) of good will on the regulation of birth,’ he titled it Humanae Vitae, which in English means Of Human Life. He warned of four societal consequences if cultures became closed to the gift of life by their acceptance of widespread birth regulation.
“(1) Pope Paul VI cautioned that the use of contraceptives would place a ‘dangerous weapon…in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.’ In other words, governments would get involved in healthcare – population control in particular – without any moral constraints.
“(2) he also cautioned that birth regulation would ‘lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality,’
“(3) he forewarned that ‘the man’ would lose respect for ‘the woman’ and ‘no longer (care) for her physical and psychological equilibrium’ and would come to ‘the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.’ Pope Paul emphasized that the Church’s historical teaching on contraception was designed to protect the good of conjugal love and protect against treating each other as objects of pleasure.
“(4) His final warning was that contraception would lead man to think that he had unlimited dominion over his own body – in other words, the age of hedonism, impurity, euthanasia, mad science – where one’s faith is criminalized and freedom of conscience is a crime.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 130)
Patrick Madrid, quoted in Beatley’s book What if We’ve Been Wrong?, page 129,noted: “There was an intentional, systematic, concerted effort on the part of a group of dissenting Catholic theologians (including Fr. Richard McCormick, Fr. Charles Curran, Fr. Joseph Fuchs. Fr. Robert Drinan, and Fr. John Courtney Murray), who spent a good deal of time with the Kennedys in the mid 1960s, employing bogus moral theology arguments to convince them they could ‘accept and promote abortion with a clear conscience’… Once this was accomplished, these same Judas priests undertook to literally coach the Kennedys on what to say and how to vote in favor of abortion in their public lives. Given the Kennedys’ enormous influence over American politics, it was diabolically logical for those dissenting Catholic theologians to have targeted this renowned and respected Catholic family for ‘conversion’.”
Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., founder of NARAL said, “the Catholic church helped us in NARAL…we used them with great effect.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 127).
NARAL developed a strategy for using the Catholic Church as the unwilling instrument to achieve NARAL’s goals.
“Dr. Nathanson entered the public arena with the argument of ‘choice,’ intentionally shifting attention from the reality of what that choice does to a baby to focus solely on what they touted as ‘women’s healthcare’.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 103)
NARAL’s “Catholic Strategy”
“NARAL’s ‘Catholic Strategy,’ which was eventually used nationwide, included (1) blaming the Catholic Church hierarchy every time a woman died from complications due to an illegal abortion, (2) they supported the few Catholic candidates who were open to abortion law repeal or modification, 3) NARAL emphasized in the media the pro-choice Catholic minority opinion, which made Catholic support appear vastly larger than it actually was, (4) they devised a tactic called the ‘Catholic Straddle’ ‘to separate religious conviction from legislative judgment’.
“This four-part strategy became NARAL’s ultimate conquest and triumph over a significant portion of the Catholic vote to favor – without remorse, guilt or shame – pro-choice candidates. This is the way Dr. Nathanson described to me that the ‘Catholic Strategy’ has been ‘the most brilliant political strategy of all time. Rightly so. NARAL has never released the political stronghold it has held on many Catholic voters since the early 1970s – despite the death tally, loss of parental rights, black genocide, and a culture of increasing violence’.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg. 135)
“The Catholic Straddle, ‘Abortion is personally abhorrent but everyone must be free to make their own choice’.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 138)
“Catholic politicians – and their loyal Catholic voters – became powerful pawns in a well-orchestrated crusade to decriminalize killing unborn babies under the banner of ‘women’s healthcare, reproductive rights and choice’ propaganda. NARAL’s ‘Catholic Strategy’ with its ‘Straddle’ component has ensnared American politics and completely separated the Christ follower from legislative judgement.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 138)
“Whether they knew it or not, Christians were championing the hedonistic dogma of Margaret Sanger and Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Both were atheists who felt accountable to no higher power than themselves and who institutionalized their practice of promiscuity and sexual deviancy in America. Lawrence Lader and Dr. Nathanson simply capitalized on Christians; gullibility, and the most vulnerable people – preborn children and their mothers – would suffer the violent consequences of secular humanism. This world view would soon inundate America, leaving millions of angry and wounded people and families in its path.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 139)
“Dr, Nathanson would later write, It was, in a sense, the self-fulfilling prophecy; knowing that the Catholic Church would vigorously oppose abortion, we laced the campaign with generous dollops of anti-Catholicism, and once the monster was lured out of the cave in response to the abortion challenge and the nakedly biased line, we could make the Catholic Church the point man of the opposition. The more vigorously the church opposed, the stronger the appeal of the anti-Catholic line became to the liberal media, to the northeastern political establishment, to the leftist elements of the Protestant Church, and to Catholic intellectuals themselves.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 135)
“Bernard N, Nathanson, M.D., The Abortion Papers, “The ‘modern’ Kennedy Catholics needed little persuasion from us.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 153)
I like the emphasis on TRUTH. Unfortunately, modern progressives do not accept that there are absolute truths. They think the church and science are at odds and that the church does not embrace science.
Quite the contrary, the church works with science. St. John Paul II said, “Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.”
Very few people know the facts set forth in this article.
Archbishop Chaput and Terry Beatley have greatly helped to clear up my confusion on matters relating to a minority within the Catholic Church and to understand the diabolical efforts to open the floodgates to abortion.
In the words of President Ronald Reagan, “Our nation cannot continue down the path of abortion, so radically at odds with our history, our heritage, and our concepts of justice. This sacred legacy, and the well-being and the future of our country, demand that protection of innocents must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and defended throughout our land.” (What If We’ve Been Wrong?, pg 125)
There is much lack of knowledge on the part of the public at large about the abortion industry. Secular society and the liberal media keep saying things over and over and finally the public believes it is so. Abortion is NOT women’s healthcare.
During this Christmas season, let us focus on the wonder of human life, the blessings that family bring to our lives, and the joy because Jesus is the reason for the season.
- Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
Timothy Von Dohlen is the founder and president of the John Paul II Life Center and Vitae Clinic in Austin, Texas. (www.jpiilifecenter.org) For a more robust bio, click here: www.catholicbusinessjournal.biz/content/tim-von-dohlen. He may be reached at Timothy@CatholicBusinessJournal.biz
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