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This article is a little bit vague, but I think this bishop may have a point. I am 100% Pro-Life, but have never prayed in front of an abortion clinic. My wife has, and so have some of my children. But I think this could be an interesting subject. For instance, the two campains seem to be right around the time of November elections and in the Spring during primary season. Of course not true every year, but seem to be built that way. OK, fair enough. But let's face reality here. This is a branch of Social Justice on the Right side of the spectrum. And is being a protestor really being a Catholic? Is that our mission in life? I don't think so. Here is the article. And I person commented that mirrors my sentiments exactly. So after I post the article, I will make another post with this man's reply, as I cannot do better.

I will say this, however, it seems to me that many conservative NO types view this work as the pinnacle of what it means to be a Catholic. There's much more to it and the duties and devotions inherent in a Traditional outlook seem to be replaced by praying at abortion clinics, going to town hall meetings of politicians, etc. I don't think this is necessarliy a channel of Sanctifying Grace.

I thought it may be interesting to discuss as well, in light of the current situation with Father Frank Pavone.

Confusion as Spokane bishop asks priests not to join 40 Days for Life vigils

Quote:by Kathleen Gilbert
Thu Sep 15, 2011 14:09 EST

SPOKANE, Washington, September 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life leaders in Washington state are expressing bewilderment after their Catholic bishop apparently urged diocesan priests and seminarians in a September meeting not to pray outside abortion clinics.

John Weingarten of 40 Days for Life Spokane told LifeSiteNews.com that the instruction from Bishop Blase J. Cupich was potentially devastating for the local group, now only two weeks from launching this year’s fall campaign, as it is composed almost totally of Catholics and normally enjoys the support of local pro-life priests.

“The way we have recruited most of them has been through setting up tables at the back of parishes ... and having various priests promote it,” said Weingarten, who co-directs the campaign with his wife.

40 Days for Life is a campaign of prayer, fasting and perpetual witness outside abortion facilities known for its peaceful approach to ending abortion. The Spokane branch has been active for about four years.

A source present at the meeting where Bishop Cupich gave his instruction told LifeSiteNews.com that the extent of the bishop’s order of non-endorsement was unclear, but that the bishop expressed disapproval of Church representatives joining abortion facility protests. A written statement on the matter is expected from the diocese.

On a blog post on the issue by Catholic commentator Mark Shea, a commenter who identified himself as a Spokane seminarian also stated that “I and my brothers have been instructed by the bishop personally not to continue our Friday rosary outside of Planned Parenthood.”

Weingarten, also a member of the diocesan respect life committee, told LifeSiteNews.com that Cupich said he did not support 40 Days for Life during a committee meeting in late July, noting his disapproval of “picketing” outside abortion facilities. Although members of the committee responded that 40 Days for Life was peaceful and non-demonstrative, according to Weingarten, Cupich “was not moved.”

“We’ve asked the bishop to endorse 40 Days for Life, and if he won’t, to tell us what he’d like us to do,” said Weingarten.

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Director of Communications for the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, said on Tuesday that LSN’s inquiry would be sent to Bishop Cupich, who is travelling this week. Cupich was installed as bishop of Spokane in June of last year.

Weingarten, who said the Spokane group has swelled to as many as 300 participants per campaign, has launched an online petition.

The petition was signed by Abby Johnson, who urged for a return to public prayer witness by the Church in Spokane.

“As a former Planned Parenthood director, I can attest to the power a praying priest has on the women going inside the clinic,” said Johnson, who entered the Catholic Church soon after her pro-life conversion. “Priests are able to reach out to women and men in crisis in a way that no other sidewalk counselor can. It is important that they be present. And really this shouldn’t even be an issue since the sanctity of human life is something that is [not] an option in the Catholic Church…it is something we are commanded to revere.”

Bishops across the world have been known to personally support 40 Days for Life vigils, including campaigns in North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Toronto, and Sydney.

Some commenter to that article named cam42 posted the following:

Quote:Before I go ahead, I will say this with 100% certitude and with complete understanding…I am PRO-LIFE.  To assume otherwise is to be in error of my view on the issues surrounding the unborn.

That being said…this article is VERY vague.  There is nothing speaking to the reasoning of His Excellency.  It would be best to wait for his letter to actually be published.

On the other hand, I will say this.  There is more to being Catholic than being pro-life.  While it is incompatible for a Catholic to be anything else, there is no mandate for a Catholic to participate in the protests.  Perhaps His Excellency would like for his faithful to focus on other Catholic issues.

In this age of subjectivity, there are other issues within the Church which are just as important as the pro-life movement.  This does not mean we don’t pray for the unborn and an end of abortion, but it does mean that perhaps there is a need for the faithful to focus on something other than protesting planned parenthood.  Let me be 100% clear….being pro-life is not just a Catholic issue.  The protesters could very easily find pro-life protesters in other ecclesial communions and various social outlets.

With regard to the unnamed seminarian….perhaps His Excellency would like for you to focus on your fourfold reasons for being in seminary, rather than being an arm for social justice.  Again, a seminarian is preparing to be a priest, not a protester.

The prevailing thought today is that the Church is two-pronged in it’s mission.  To be a social justice arm and to be pro-life.  That is not the mission of the Church.  Those are parts of the Church’s mission, but those are not ends, as it is often portrayed.  The sole end of the Church is the salvation of souls.  End of Story.  Maybe His Excellency wants his flock to focus on that, as opposed to throwing a picket line.

(09-17-2011, 09:10 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]I will say this, however, it seems to me that many conservative NO types view this work as the pinnacle of what it means to be a Catholic. There's much more to it and the duties and devotions inherent in a Traditional outlook seem to be replaced by praying at abortion clinics...I don't think this is necessarliy a channel of Sanctifying Grace.

This same reasoning was used by modernists to destroy many traditional practices.  A holy act is a holy act and discouraging holy acts because there are other holy acts out there is just wrong. 

I agree we should wait for his Excellency's explanation, but I can't think of any good ones. 
(09-17-2011, 09:21 PM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-17-2011, 09:10 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]I will say this, however, it seems to me that many conservative NO types view this work as the pinnacle of what it means to be a Catholic. There's much more to it and the duties and devotions inherent in a Traditional outlook seem to be replaced by praying at abortion clinics...I don't think this is necessarliy a channel of Sanctifying Grace.

This same reasoning was used by modernists to destroy many traditional practices.  A holy act is a holy act and discouraging holy acts because there are other holy acts out there is just wrong. 

I agree we should wait for his Excellency's explanation, but I can't think of any good ones. 

Not so fast. I'm talking about maybe the priests, seminarians, and other religious ought to be spending more time in catechesis and not being an arm of the Republican Party. Sure, there can be a time and place for this kind of activity in which a priest or seminarian goes to help lead the Faithful. But, perhaps it is not necessarily in this context and this particular movement. But, then again I believe that if every Catholic in this country truly understood their Faith, and received our Lord in the Eucharist, worthily and in a state of Grace, this war would be over.

And I believe you when you say the modernists used this kind of tactic to stray from traditional devotions. I'm saying this may be preventing some from rediscovering them or finding them for the first time.

Oh well, must pray Vespers and Compline and get ready for Mass early tomorrow morning. I'm  out of here for the evening.
(09-17-2011, 09:37 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]Not so fast. I'm talking about maybe the priests, seminarians, and other religious ought to be spending more time in catechesis and not being an arm of the Republican Party.

Just because you pray the rosary outside an abortion clinic does not make you an arm of the Republican Party. 
There is more to being Catholic than being pro-life, but praying the Rosary is a very traditional and very Catholic devotion. The Rosary is, in my opinion, among the best non-liturgical prayers because it is combines liturgical formulae (the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be) with focus on the life of Christ. It is ridiculous to discourage others from saying this beautiful prayer for any good intention (which certainly the end of abortion is). Remember, abortion--like all murders--is a heinous crime that calls out to God for vengeance. In these days when that  sin is so accepted by society, Catholics must emphasize its wrongness. 

The only thing that makes me uncomfortable about praying outside abortion clinics is that it could be an occasion to spiritual pride: "And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men."
Well the story is changing.

And praying at the abortion mills is a very loving thing to do.  It is like a being at the bedside of the dying and it is praying for the staff and parents whose souls, without repentance, are in mortal danger.  Mills have been closed and hearts have been converted.

PARTICIPATE IN THE 40 DAYS FOR LIFE!  Please do not hide behind specious excuses for not standing up for life and giving public witness!
-------------
The CWR BlogBishop Cupich: Priests may participate in 40 Days for Life
Clarification of diocesan position
September 16, 2011 06:22 EST
By Catherine Harmon catherine.harmon@catholicworldreport.com
In an effort to dispel rumors that have been circulating around the Internet this week (including here and here), the Diocese of Spokane has released a statement on its policy for clergy participation in pro-life efforts, specifically 40 Days for Life. In response to reports from several Spokane priests that their bishop had ordered them to refrain from praying in front of Planned Parenthood and from participating in 40 Days for Life vigils in particular, an online petition was launched by the coordinators of Spokane’s 40 Days for Life campaign requesting that bishop reverse this position. More than 500 people signed the petition, including prominent pro-life advocate Abby Johnson.
The diocese’s full statement can be read here. An excerpt (emphasis mine):

When visiting with the presbyterate, the Bishop asked the priests to approach respect life issues as teachers, for that is what they are. Teachers create new openings for learning and reduce obstacles. Their intense passion to share the truth leads them to greater patience and prudence and not frustration with and disdain for students who fail to respond appropriately. Their witness to the faith through teaching becomes all the more powerful when the presbyterate works together in unity and solidarity. …

As for the specific question of the priests’ participation in the 40 Days for Life vigils, the Bishop recognizes that a given priest in good conscience may feel the need to participate in the vigils and he should never be forced to go against a good and informed conscience. The Bishop only asked that all priests prayerfully reflect on what he has told them, commit themselves to making teaching effectively their first priority and keep in mind the irreplaceable power of the witness of their unity with each other.

John Weingarten, co-coordinator of 40 Days for Life Spokane, was dissatisfied with the diocesan statement, saying that it isn't clear enough about what exactly priests in the diocese may or may not do.

"We need a clear statement from [Bishop Cupich] that priests and seminarians are free to pray at abortion facilities at any time without being disobedient and there will be no repercussions," Weingarten said. "If he told them they are not to be at these places, but then says they may follow their well-formed consciences, they would be scared to pray at Planned Parenthood."

A clarifying email from the Diocese of Spokane's director of communications stated that yes, priests in Spokane may in good conscience participate in 40 Days for Life vigils without being considered disobedient to their ordinary.

What remains unclear is whether the diocese's official statement is to be taken as a reiteration of Bishop Cupich’s previous comments to his priests—in which case it would seem that not a few of those present misunderstood the bishop’s original message—or if it does in fact constitute an about-face on the question. Either way, it is the case that priests in the diocese may, in fact, participate in 40 Days for Life, if prompted by their consciences to do so.

(09-17-2011, 09:40 PM)Someone1776 Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-17-2011, 09:37 PM)Adam Wayne Wrote: [ -> ]Not so fast. I'm talking about maybe the priests, seminarians, and other religious ought to be spending more time in catechesis and not being an arm of the Republican Party.

Just because you pray the rosary outside an abortion clinic does not make you an arm of the Republican Party. 

True. I suspect Adam Wayne is reacting here to a phenomenon I've observed among the Catholic NO blogosphere, where being pro-life is synonymous with being Republican. If you sympathize with a cause that has the slightest tinge of leftism, such as if, say,  you believe in reducing waste, then you are pro-abortion because you see, wanting to reduce waste is environmentalist - environmentalists think the Earth is overpopulated - environmentalists are willing to kill all babies to save the Earth - therefore, recycling is anti-life. Or, if you venture further into non-GOP territory, and support the idea of the government paying for healthcare, thinking that this is Ok with Catholicism - well, you'd be wrong, because Planned Parenthood is a powerful lobby - politicians are easy prey for lobbyists - if the government shoulders health care, it will inevitably pay for abortion with your tax money - ergo, not agreeing with the Republican stance on health care is pro-abortion. These are both fairly extreme examples but they reflect how many of these people think.

Similarly, one can say that such strident insistence on the pro-life issue will leave a voter more vulnerable to mindlessly chasing the pro-life carrot when a politician dangles it before him, without realizing that it is, in some cases, only a trap.

I would go to the Washington March for Life if I had the chance. However, it is a fact that it turns into a political rally, and that every year it gets worse in that respect. Worse, it also turns into a sort of ecumenical event. Catholics make up most of the pro-life movement, but it is not a uniquely Catholic cause (and it shouldn't be), so representatives from different religions speak at the same event. This is not so bad at the March for Life. The 40 Days for Life is more questionable in this regard as it is about praying. I remember downloading the prayers from the website in a past event, and there were many prayers by Protestant ministers included. This means that those who participate in 40 Days for Life many times will pray something written by a Protestant..

I can see how praying before an abortion clinic may strike someone as distasteful. Yet, in my view it is necessary.
I would also add that different people receive different graces to combat different evils. Nothing wrong with Adam being concerned about the evils of war. Nothing wrong with someone being concerned about the evils of abortion. I do think it's very problematic to discourage people from addressing an evil because there are other evils out there. I have heard priests preach that its pointless to oppose abortion until you ensure all social justice for all the kids on America.

What bullshit. And I am sorry Adam (and I really don't mean to be a jerk here) but you sound like those liberal priests right now. Nothing wrong with opposing war. Nothing wrong with caring about the poor. But to discourage someone from addressing an evil is a very bad.

And I think it's silly to say just because some people have opposed evil in problematic ways is a reason to stop. I doubt many Protestants, Jews, and Muslims are showing up to pray the Rosary at abortion clinics. And despite what a horrible thing liberation theology is that does not mean its bad to be concerned about the poor.
Someone1776, you are reading something in Adam's posts that is simply not there. He is not saying that priests should stop caring about abortion. What he opposes is priests saying stuff like this gem Fr. Pavone wrote: «Sure, it’s distressing to have to endure false suspicions, inaccurate media reports, and disruption to a mission which is at the core of my life... The images of [aborted babies'] mangled bodies accompany me to sleep and greet me when I awake; the cries of their silent voices mingle in my ears with the voices of those who speak to me; their aggrieved rights come to the forefront of my mind when anyone’s “rights” are discussed.»

Abortion is not the only injustice that is happening. It may be the most offensive to God. Nevertheless it is not the only thing, and in any case, stopping abortion and other injustices is not the primary mission of the Church or of her priests.
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