Tuesday, October 21, 2008
BISHOP MARTINO (Scranton) SETS THEM STRAIGHT!!!
Bishop Martino of the Diocese of Scranton gave his flock a lesson in Canon Law when he explained to them at a recent forum that HE is the sole teaching authority in the Diocese for which he is responsible, and that not even the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops can make that claim! Obviously frustrated by the liberties that so many Catholics have wrongly taken with the USCCB's document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," Bishop Martino in essence told those in attendance that the document that they ignored in the forum, but which is the ONLY one they should be discussing is his recent pastoral letter! That AWESOME letter, is perhaps the absolute clearest explanation of how Catholic voters are to be guided in the coming election as regards the issues at stake.
The forum was held at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Honesdale this past Sunday and it centered mainly on abortion. It has been reported that, "The argument and audience . . . erupted when Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino unexpectedly arrived and vehemently expressed his distaste for what was said about the church’s stance on voting for pro-choice candidates and the exclusion of his [pro-life] letter at the forum, which recommends voting against pro-choice candidates for moral reasons."
Prior to Bishop Martino’s arrival, the forum started and included four panelists - local businessman Tom Shepstone, University of Scranton professor William Parente, Sister Margaret Gannon of Marywood University and county commissioner Wendell Kay. The businessman argued that "a vote for Obama will not protect the unborn." He stated that, “the right to life ... is the natural God given right. Rights John McCain respects and Barack Obama does not.”
The Commissioner, although claiming to be pro-life and in disagreement with the Roe v. Wade decision, curiously noted that, “we’re kidding ourselves to think one political candidate or one political party will overturn it." The Commish also felt it necessary to point out that the current Supreme Court Justices were mostly appointed by Republican presidents, yet Roe remains.
The professor from the U. of Scranton (apparently having gone to the College of Biden and Pelosi) not surprisingly screwed up Catholic teaching by claiming that "a vote for Obama is foolish, although not sinful, for Catholics.” Kudos go out to the prof for pointing out that a majority of the Jesuits the U. of Scranton are “ardent Democrats.” Duh! Once again missing the boat, the prof (hopefully not of Theology) claimed that, “I believe in good conscious, good Catholics, will be voting both ways in this election.” Temporarily playing the role of "Captain Obvious," the prof educated those in attendance by stating that, "the election of Obama will bring us liberal justices on the Court.”
The nun (unfortunately the report did not indicate whether she was wearing a habit or not) apparently tried to interpret the USCCB's document referenced above for those in attendance. It was then that the good Bishop Martino stole the show!
The Shepherd of the Diocese of Scranton, in exercising the teaching authority of his Office of Bishop of his Diocese took issue with the USCCB statement. He also very rightly took issue with the grave error that his letter was not mentioned once at the forum. “No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Martino. “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.” “The only relevant document ... is my letter,” he said. “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” Way to go Bishop!!!
On the recent Respect Life Sunday, Bishop Martino had every parish in his Diocese read his pastoral letter in place of the homily. (See full version of his phenomenal letter below - Friday, Oct. 3 post.) In the very first paragraph of his letter, Bishop Martino noted, "Never have we seen such abusive criticism directed toward those who believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death." He began, "laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind." "The life of a human being begins at conception. The Church has long taught this simple truth, and science confirms it." He continued, "the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it."
In his letter, Bishop Martino addressed the tiresome contention that abortion is only one issue among many important issues when deciding how to vote. He stated, "Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that 'pro-choice' candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of 'social justice.'”
As for the argument about war, he wrote in his pastoral letter, "A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases." He also pointed out that, "National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price."
Bishop Timlin reminded all that in his predecessor's letter on Respect Life Sunday 2000, Bishop Timlin wrote, "the taking of innocent human life is so heinous, so horribly evil, and so absolutely opposite to the law of Almighty God that abortion must take precedence over every other issue." He is in good company as his fellow Bishops wrote 10 years earlier that, "The failure to protect life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community."
In wrapping up his pastoral letter, Bishop Martino pleaded as follows, "I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door."
At the forum, Bishop Martino reminded the gathered crowd that, “No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people.” He commented that as a result, he no longer supports the Democratic Party. “This is madness people.” It was reported that following his comments, the vast majority of those in attendance stood on their feet and gave him a rousing ovation, while Judas and his buddies who were angry that the bishop usurped the forum (about a quarter of the audience) fled after the bishop’s comments.
A Diocesan spokesman later noted that, “Certain groups and individuals have used their own erroneous interpretations of Church documents, particularly the U.S. Bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship, to justify their political positions and to contradict the Church’s actual teaching on the centrality of abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.” The spokesman added that Bishop Martino “reminded those in attendance, and by extension all the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, that groups such as Catholic United . . . and other like-minded groups and individuals who make statements about Catholic teaching do not speak with the same authority or authenticity as their bishop.”
The businessman was reported as saying that the forum was “giving cover” to candidates who support abortion and promptly stormed out. The good prof left without notice. One pro-life woman in attendance said abortion is “the greatest civil rights issue of our time.” “I’m a Catholic before I am a Democrat,” She begged others not to be “Catholics of convenience.” Nobody spoke in favor of the pro-abortion position.
(Read the full article here: http://www.wayneindependent.com/news/x270972980/Bishop-stresses-abortion-view-at-political-forum.)