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Archbishop Chaput Gives Vatican Dose of “Humble Realism” on Barack Obama and Notre Dame Scandal

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By Peter J. Smith

ROME, October 6, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has given Vatican prelates a gentle dose of "humble realism" about President Barack Obama and the Notre Dame scandal - in order to help them appreciate better the American bishops' grave pastoral concerns over a President whose lofty words diverge sharply from his actions on abortion and other issues.

In a July essay "Politics, Morality, and Original Sin," published in the international Catholic journal 30 Days, Cardinal Georges Cottier, a Swiss theologian and former member of John Paul II's papal household, appeared to downplay the pastoral concerns of the American Bishops over President Barack Obama giving the commencement address to the University of Notre Dame's Class of 2009 and receiving an award.

Cottier instead suggested that Obama's words in his Notre Dame address offered "positive indications" of a desire to find "common ground" on the issue of abortion, and that "his words move in the direction of reducing the evil" by seeking to make "the number of abortions as small as possible."

However, Chaput's delicate rebuttal, "Politics, Morality, and a President: an American View" published Tuesday in the Italian daily, Il Foglio, and made available through the Catholic News Agency, responds to Cottier and makes the case that President Obama's own actions tell the truth far better than his words before an audience.

While praising Cottier for "his generous spirit," Chaput indicated that Cottier may have been overgenerous, since the US President's stance on abortion and other "vital bioethical issues" compromises the teachings and demands of Catholic social justice to their core.

"Regrettably and unintentionally, Cardinal Cottier's articulate essay undervalues the gravity of what happened at Notre Dame," writes Chaput. "It also overvalues the consonance of President Obama's thinking with Catholic teaching."

"There is no 'social justice' if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed.  Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights," said Chaput, addressing those in "religious circles" who see Obama as sympathetic to Catholic social teaching.

"The real source of Catholic frustration with President Obama's appearance at Notre Dame was his overt, negative public voting and speaking record on abortion and other problematic issues," said Chaput.

Chaput said that the Notre Dame scandal erupted largely due to the fact that the university went out of its way to honor the President, violating guidelines put forth by the bishops in the 2004 document "Catholics in Political Life." Those guidelines urged Catholic institutions like Notre Dame "to refrain from honoring public officials who disagreed with Church teaching on grave matters." Instead of abiding by the guidelines, Notre Dame threw the counsel of the American bishops to the wind, made the President the "centerpiece of its graduation events" and then bestowed on him an honorary doctorate of laws, "despite his deeply troubling views on abortion law and related social issues."

Chaput explained that that such public honor from Notre Dame exacerbated the conflict into a full-fledged, enduring scandal, far beyond anything that might have occurred had the President merely been invited to give "a lecture or public address."

The firestorm that ensued, Chaput stressed, "was not finally about partisan politics."

"It was about serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness - triggered by Mr. Obama's views - which Cardinal Cottier, writing from outside the American context, may have misunderstood."

Chaput made clear that Vatican officials and Church clerics outside the US might want to respect first the pastoral concerns of the American bishops and local ordinaries, before coming to conclusions at odds with the gravity of the actual circumstances.

"When Notre Dame's local bishop vigorously disagrees with the appearance of any speaker, and some 80 other bishops and 300,000 laypeople around the country publicly support the local bishop, then reasonable people must infer that a real problem exists with the speaker - or at least with his appearance at the disputed event," concluded Chaput.

"Reasonable people might further choose to defer to the judgment of those Catholic pastors closest to the controversy."

Chaput's defense has prompted expressions of gratitude from some of those American Catholics, already distressed that much of the commentary on the Notre Dame scandal issuing from Vatican circles - including L'Osservatore Romano - has tended in effect (if not in intention) to undermine the stance taken by the American bishops and laity, by mitigating those concerns and giving the impression that the American response was an overreaction.

"We are grateful to Archbishop Chaput for explaining to the world why faithful American Catholics were so outraged at Notre Dame for honoring President Barack Obama last May," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. "The more than 367,000 faithful Catholics who signed The Cardinal Newman Society petition opposing that honor held diverse political views, but they joined together as witnesses to 'serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness,' as Archbishop Chaput explains."


Read Archbishop Chaput's full essay "Politics, Morality, and a President: an American View."

Read related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Cardinal Who Contradicted Church Teaching on Condoms Praises Obama's 'Realism' On Abortion 

Notre Dame's Bishop D'Arcy Rebukes and Challenges Catholic University Over Obama Scandal 

Notre Dame Pro-Life Efforts a "Mockery" While Pro-Life Protesters Continue to Face Charges: ND Law Prof 

Catholic Notre Dame University to Give Obama Honorary Degree on May 17, Against USCCB Policy 



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‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’

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An ultrasound of the five different compartments, each with its own baby, inside Kim's womb.

AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life. 

“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September. 

“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote. 

Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds. 

The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again. 

After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test. 

“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.

The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five. 

“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”

“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.

Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.” 

“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”

“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.” 

“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.” 

“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born. 

The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well. 



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UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react

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GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads. 

The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution. 

“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters. 

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.

“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.

But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it. 

The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”

Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.

“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms. 

“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added. 

Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born. 

“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.

“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.



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Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’

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DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.

“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.

"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions since the 1973 court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states, according to National Right to Life.

That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.

“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."

Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.

All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.

Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.

On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”

Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.

At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.

But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.



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