MR. BIDEN AND THE MATTER OF SCANDAL

The following is from Archbishop Emeritus Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. He writes a critique that has been desperately needed for every Catholic to read.

Readers may recall that during the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry led the Democratic ticket. As a Catholic, Kerry held certain policy views that conflicted with the moral beliefs of his Church. This led to internal tensions among U.S. bishops about how to handle the matter of Holy Communion for Catholic public officials who publicly and persistently diverge from Catholic teaching on issues like abortion. At the time, Washington’s then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, along with Pittsburgh’s Bishop Donald Wuerl, had very different views from my own regarding how to proceed.  

I believed then, and believe now, that publicly denying Communion to public officials is not always wise or the best pastoral course. Doing so in a loud and forceful manner may cause more harm than good by inviting the official to bask in the media glow of victimhood. What I opposed in 2004, however, was any seeming indifference to the issue, any hint in a national bishops’ statement or policy that would give bishops permission to turn their heads away from the gravity of a very serious issue. At the time, fortunately, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith resolved any confusion about correct practice in these matters with its July 2004 memorandum to then-Cardinal McCarrick, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles. It includes the following passage:

5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

To my knowledge, that statement remains in effect. And it reflects longstanding Catholic sacramental discipline based on the Word of God.

The implications for the present moment are clear. Public figures who identify as “Catholic” give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional. And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege. Thus it’s also worth revisiting the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the evil—and the grave damage—of scandal:

2284.  Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

2286.  Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”  This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

Those bishops who publicly indicate in advance that they will undertake their own dialogue with President-elect Joseph Biden and allow him Communion effectively undermine the work of the task force established at the November bishops’ conference meeting to deal precisely with this and related issues. This gives scandal to their brother bishops and priests, and to the many Catholics who struggle to stay faithful to Church teaching. It does damage to the bishops’ conference, to the meaning of collegiality, and to the fruitfulness of the conference’s advocacy work with the incoming administration.

It seems that several critical principles are at stake here:

  • Each local bishop is responsible before God for the care of souls and the integrity of the sacraments within the Church—within the whole Church, but especially within his local diocese
  • Each local bishop also has an obligation to conform the discipline in his diocese to Catholic teaching and to make that teaching clear to the people within his diocese. This includes the teaching on the importance of receiving Communion worthily. 
  • While each local bishop has some freedom to determine how best to apply the discipline of the sacraments in his diocese, guided by prudence, no bishop can presume to ignore basic moral and sacramental principles.

When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a serious disservice to their brother bishops and their people. The reason is obvious. By his actions during the course of his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. To his credit, he has championed many causes and issues that do serve the common good. However, many of his actions and words have also supported or smoothed the way for grave moral evils in our public life that have resulted in the destruction of millions of innocent lives. Mr. Biden has said that he will continue to advance those same policies as president, and thus should not receive Holy Communion. His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.  

This is not a “political” matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue. This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. Moreover, there is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man’s salvation. At minimum, every bishop has the duty of privately discussing these vital moral issues and the destructive effect of receiving Communion unworthily with public figures who act contrary to Church teaching. Reception of Communion is not a right but a gift and privilege; and on the subject of “rights,” the believing community has a priority right to the integrity of its belief and practice.

In the year ahead, a great many people will be watching our nation’s Catholic leadership. They will be led, for good or for ill, by the witness of America’s bishops.

Archbishop Chaput has a forthcoming book due in March called Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living that you can pre-order now.

Please Join Us to Share Christmas Hope at Our Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling in Northeast Philly on Dec 19th

 
 

NE Philly Christmas Caroling

 

In the Christmas story, hope enters the world through the birth of a child, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.  Join us as we share this Christmas hope where it’s needed most: at the Planned Parenthood located on Comly Road in Northeast Philly on Saturday, December 19th. Caroling will begin at 9:30 am followed by a Christmas Rosary.  

We hope everyone from Northeast Philly and Lower Bucks County will come and join us for this annual event.  Let’s bring that hope and mercy where it’s most needed, outside the Comly Road Planned Parenthood.

Please dress warmly and invite your family and friends to join you.  CDC guidelines will be followed.  

 
NEPhilly Flyer 

Here’s Which Coronavirus Vaccines are Developed Using Cells From Aborted Babies

The potential that the much anticipated vaccines would use cells from aborted babies poses weighty moral problems for many Americans who object to abortion.

Life News published an informative article authored by Mary Margaret Olohan who writes for Daily Caller.

The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute has released information on which coronavirus vaccines have been made using cells obtained from aborted babies.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) released a new chart Thursday examining whether eight leading COVID vaccines were either produced or tested using cells obtained through abortions. The institute’s analysis found that most of the vaccine candidates did not use cell lines derived from abortions in their production, though several used abortion-derived cell lines in laboratory testing.

The potential that the much anticipated vaccines would use cells from aborted babies poses weighty moral problems for many Americans who object to abortion.

Religious leaders such as Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas said earlier this year that he would refuse the vaccine if “we use body parts of aborted children,” saying, “I will not kill children to live.”

“Unfortunately, some vaccine developers have unnecessarily put American families in a difficult position by choosing to use controversial human fetal cell lines in production or testing, or by a lack of transparency,” CLI said in a statement. “Many developers already opt to use animal cell lines, non-fetal human cells, yeast, or chicken eggs instead.”

“We urge all developers to avail themselves of these options going forward,” the institute’s statement continued. “Doing so will reduce vaccine hesitancy for those who oppose the use of fetal cell lines, thereby increasing the public health impact of the vaccine.”

CLI evaluated vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Sanofi/GSK, Inovio, and Merck.

Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson use abortion-derived cell lines in development, production, and lab testing, the analysis found.

Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, and Inovio use abortion-derived cells in some tests but do not use abortion-derived cells in other tests, the analysis found. These four do not use abortion-derived cell lines in development or production of the vaccine, the analysis found.

The analysis could not determine whether Sanofi/GSK and Merck used the abortion-derived cell lines in lab testing, but noted that Sanofi/GSK and Merck do not use abortion-derived cell lines in development or production of the vaccine.

Life News article continues

Peace in the Womb Caroling 2020 Across America

If you haven’t attended a Christmas Caroling event before I urge you to do so this year.  And if there is none scheduled near you, please consider volunteering to organize one at an abortion mill in your area.  All the information you need is in the message below from the Pro-Life Action League.  

One of our most beloved activities of the year, the Pro-Life Action League’s “Peace in the Womb” Caroling Day brings the Christmas message of peace and joy to the darkness of the abortion clinic. Join other pro-lifers at abortion facilities across the country as we sing our favorite carols reminding abortion-bound mothers that the salvation of the world came through an unplanned pregnancy!

Can’t find a caroling day near you? We’ve got all the resources you need to host your own “Peace in the Womb” Christmas caroling event!

If you’ll be hosting a caroling day in your local area, please send us the details here, and we will include them on this page. Check back to this event page as Christmas draws nearer for a list of Caroling days across the country!

Join Us for Our Annual Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling in Warminster, Pa on December 18th

 

Every year pro-lifers across the nation bring the joy and hope of Christmas to the darkness of abortion facilities with a Christmas Caroling day.

 

Some gather around a large empty Christmas crèche  symbolizing both the hopeful anticipation of a child’s birth and the emptiness left behind by abortion and sing carols about the Christ child. Babies have been SAVED from abortion when their mothers heard these carols and were moved by the thought of how Mary said “YES” to be the mother of Jesus.

In Warminster, Pennsylvania,  ‘Peace in the Womb Christmas Caroling’ will be held on Friday, December 18th beginning at 9:30 am in front of Planned Parenthood.  We hope everyone from Bucks County will come and join us for this annual event.

 

A Christmas Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed following our Caroling. Please dress warmly and invite your family and friends to join you.  CDC guidlines will be followed.

 

This event is sponsored locally by the Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition and  nationally by the Pro-Life Action League.  

 
Warminster Flyer 

Cardinal Wilton Gregory’s Travesty

The following is from Judie Brown of American Life League

Wilton Gregory, of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, was recently hailed by the media for becoming America’s first black Catholic cardinal. His elevation to the post of cardinal came as a shock to many of us, but then again, we are living in strange times.

Gregory, for those unaware, is a controversial prelate whose actions have distressed some of us and caused us to wonder just what is wrong with many of the current batch of Catholic bishops in our nation. Though called to be our shepherds, many of them have become slaves to political correctness—a term most recently referred to as wokeness.

This is in direct contrast to the role of a shepherd in the Roman Catholic Church. As a shepherd, a man should strive “to build up in communion the one and only Body of Christ until it reaches full maturity.”

But Gregory has taken a different path. He has devoted himself to honoring wayward Catholics, including folks like Nancy Pelosi and former disgraced cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Gregory has defended Black Lives Matter, insulted President Donald Trump and his wife, and most recently declared that he will not deny the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic Joseph Biden.

In a recent interview, Gregory defended his decision regarding Biden, saying:

“The kind of relationship that I hope we will have is a conversational relationship where we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church, knowing full well that there are some areas where we won’t agree,” the cardinal-designate said. “They are areas where the church’s position is very clear,” particularly its opposition to the president-elect’s support for legal abortion.

In deciding when to collaborate and when to criticize, he said, “I hope that I don’t highlight one over the other.”

Frankly, these words reveal the Cardinal’s problem with truth in a way that is mind-numbing. Clearly Gregory is all about relationship building, even when it means denying the truth that Biden spits in the face of Christ when he arrogantly receives the body of Christ while continuing to defend the murder of millions of our fellow brothers and sisters prior to birth.

Abortion is not debatable. Perhaps the Cardinal needs to revisit Catholic teaching as stated in the Catechism: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

What is there about this teaching that has escaped the Cardinal’s mind?

Perhaps Gregory should attempt to comprehend these words in order to remind himself of the reasons why Biden’s 47-year public support for killing the preborn is a sin:

Abortion isn’t about reproductive rights. It isn’t about healthcare. It is about people. Those people have bodies. And those bodies go somewhere after they have been poisoned, dismembered and suctioned into bloody slurry. Where do they go? Philosophers have asked through the ages: Where do we go after we die? With abortion, the question we need to ask is similar: Where do they go after we kill them?

Indeed!

While some ask how Catholics will respond to this latest Wilton Gregory fiasco, I ask how God will respond. Where does the soul of a man or woman who willfully supports this killing go after death?

As we reflect on this latest Cardinal Wilton Gregory travesty, we pray for all those who will be misled and duped by his words and actions.

Bishops, after all, are human beings, capable of error. But they are also successors to the Apostles. As successors, they

have the responsibility of preaching the Gospel, administering the sacraments, and guiding Christ’s flock. The Bishop is the principal teacher in the faith community. As such, he must be devoted to preaching the Gospel constantly. That preaching aims at illuminating to the faithful what they must believe and put into practice, while steering them away from every error that is life-threatening to the spirit. The Bishop’s teaching is called to embody a powerful proclamation of the reasons for hope.

Cardinal Gregory, are you listening?

Please Join BCPLC on Friday, December 4th for our Monthly 1st Friday Life Chain

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The Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition invites all pro-lifer prayer warriors to join us for our monthly First Friday Life Chain on Friday, December 4th at the Warminster Planned Parenthood at 610 Louis Drive.

The Life Chain begins at 9:30 am and ends at 10:30 am.  We will stand and pray directly across the street facing Planned Parenthood on Louis Drive. While we will be  following social distancing guidelines,  masks are optional.

We hope many will join with us to pray for an end to abortion at this facility as well as other facilities in Southeast Pennsylvania and across the country.  Signs will be provided for this event.

Please read the Code of Conduct for our Life Chain below.

1 — Be humble but be bold as you stand today against the greatest injustice our nation has ever faced.
2 — In the spirit of Christian love, commit to being peaceful, prayerful, and polite, in word and deed. Any misconduct from passersby should be met with silence, which will convey your inner peace.
3 — Do not respond to motorists. Please stay silent and prayerful and your
response to any situation will be proper. Do not wave or gesture. Do not
frown or smile in response to motorists. Our mission is to pray and stand
against abortion—with the solemnity our mission deserves.
4 — Help others. Watch for mothers (and dads) who need help with children, and assist the elderly with chairs and other needs.
5 — Pick up any trash near you before leaving your area.
6 — Drive carefully, and park legally. Buddy-up, if possible, to minimize
traffic woes. Use crosswalks, and do not hold up traffic. Watch your small
children at all times. During the Chain, stand back from the street and do
not extend your sign over the curb. Give immediate passage to other
pedestrians. Only small children should eat during the LIFE CHAIN.
7 — Thank you for being a strong public witness for Christ and for being an
exemplary citizen in our local area.

(Published by Please Let Me Live, distributed by LifeChain.Net, 2002.)

The Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition is an organization that believes in the sanctity of life from the moment of conception to natural death.  We provide financial and material support to area crisis pregnancy care centers that endorse the sanctity of life.  To expand our mission, we provide information and education to the community.  Follow us on Facebook using this link.  

December to Do List

The final month of the year. The malls are hustling and bustling with people getting gifts for everyone on their list. However, you can give them your time through your presence.

Here are some things you can do during December to spread the pro-life message through Christmas Cheer

  1. Donate food, maternity items, and even coats to the marginalized
    • Organize an Homeless outreach in your community
    • Keep in mind pregnancy centers in your area if you purchase extra baby food and supplies

2. Organize or take part in a Christmas Caroling Event

3. Take part in Sidewalk Servants. They are in desperate need of hours to be filled.

4. Give an unused toy to the Toys for Tot initiative near you

5. Send a card to someone you know who is going through bereavement, hard time, or just need a friend.

6. Participate in weekly vigils. Learn more and where to go here.

7. Coordinate a Christmas party, if applicable, for moms in need

8. Take part in #GivingTuesday on December 1st for local groups in the greater Philadelphia area.

9. Take part in the Immaculate Conception Novena. It starts on November 29th.

Congratulations to Voices for Life’s Mickey Kelly

Mickey KellyEvery year pro-life warriors in SE Pennsylvania look forward to the annual Stand Up for Life Banquet hosted by the Pro-life Union of Greater Philadelphia. It is a chance to socialize with friends, to network with pro-life organizations in our area, to hear from fabulous keynote speakers and to congratulate those who are receiving awards for their commitment to the pro-life movement.

This year’s ‘Stand Up for Life’ banquet was a virtual event because of the restrictions posed by the coronavirus. Pro-Lifers are always being stretched beyond our comfort zone to get out the pro-life message and this year was no exception.  Despite the challenges, the Pro-Life Union put on a very professional event.

Keynote speaker for this event was Matt Walsh.  Matt as most know is a writer, public speaker and author who tackles tough subjects including opining on the evils of abortion.

The awards were given at the end of the banquet, one to Voices for Life’s very own Mickey Kelly for his faithful commitment to being a public witness outside of the two abortion mills in center city Philadelphia. Mickey has been involved with the pro-life movement since 2008 and has prayed outside of abortion facilities for over a decade. Mickey joined Voices for Life blog in 2017. He credits his involvement with the Knights of Columbus for his commitment to the pro-life movement and he hopes to inspire more men to step up and defend life.  Mickey is also the President of the St. Raymond Nonnatus Foundation which helps families in crisis.  Tonight Mickey will be interviewed live on Facebook  on the show, Journeys in Faith with Anne DeSantis.  Show begins at 8:30 pm tonight.

We are Voices for Life are proud of Mickey and grateful for his many posts on our blog. You can view the video of last week’s event below.  And if you’re feeling generous this Giving Tuesday, please consider contributing to the Pro-Life Union to help them continue their work in our area.   Here is a link to their website.

We Need Your Help to Defeat the NJ Reproductive Freedom Act

New Jersey pro-life warriors are urged to join New Jersey Right to Life on Wednesday, December 2nd for a Day of Outrage to help defeat the  Reproductive Freedom Act being pushed by pro-abortionists.  Please see information below from Mare Tasy, Executive Director for New Jersey Right to Life. 

Pro-abortion sponsors of the NJ Reproductive Freedom Act (S3030/A4848) are aggressively pushing for swift passage of the bill.  Since my last email, more Senators and Assembly Members have signed on as co-sponsors.

Our November 11 Protests were a huge success.  We are now planning our next Day of Outrage on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 and ask you to please attend one or more of these protests, if possible. Please share this information with 10 friends and ask them to share it with 10 more friends. Some signs will be provided.  Please also bring your own hand-made signs.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Essex County
 Assemblywoman Mila Jasey’s office (Primary Sponsor of bill)
Location:  511 Valley Street
Maplewood, NJ  07040

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Monmouth County
Senator Vin Gopal and Assemblywoman Joann Downey’s office (Senator Gopal is a co-sponsor and member of the Senate Health Committee and Asw. Downey is a prime sponsor)
Location:  35 West Main Street
Freehold, NJ  07728

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Atlantic County
Assemblyman John Armato and Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (Asw. Armato is on the Assembly Health Committee and Asm. Mazzeo signed on recently
as a co-sponsor)
Location:  2312 New Road, Suite 101 and 102,
Northfield, NJ  08225

Please also contact your State Senator and two Assembly members to oppose the bill. We have updated our Action Alert to reflect all the sponsors of the Act.  You can take action and view all the sponsors by going to the link below:

Action Needed to Oppose the NJ Reproductive Freedom Act (S3030/A4848)

Also call, email and mail letters via postal mail to Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin urging them NOT to post S3030/A4848.
Their address and phone numbers are listed below:

Senator Stephen Sweeney
935 Kings Highway, Ste. 400
West Deptford, NJ  08086
Phone:  856 251-9801
Email:  SenSweeney@njleg.org

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin
569 Rahway Avenue
Woodbridge, NJ  07095
Phone:  (732) 855-7441
Email:  AsmCoughlin@njleg.org