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EDIT: This post will be updated with additional links as articles and commentaries are made available. Be sure to read the commentary by Ed Peters, JD, JCD under my open letter to the US bishops at the bottom of this post.
To US Catholic Bishops:
I wish to express my greatest desires that you receive many graces during this Lenten season. I thank all of you for your service and dedication as successors to the apostles.
I ran across something this morning that left me deeply troubled and would like to share my concern.
My attention was drawn to an article which was published online by the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on February 26, 2009, by Kate Childs Graham, entitled: I am a Pro-Choice Catholic. It is in a high-traffic section of the site, namely - it's blog, under Young Voices. This, in itself, leads me to believe that young people are being exploited by dissident Catholics.
This article, published online by a Catholic newspaper, is an essay by a young woman about her journey from a pro-life position and activity, to a so-called, "pro-choice" position. After giving several reasons for her change of heart, she concludes (emphasis mine in bold):
Finally, I am a prochoice Catholic because my Catholic faith tells me I can be. The Catechism reads, “[Conscience] is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” Even St. Thomas Aquinas said it would be better to be excommunicated than to neglect your individual conscience. So really, I am just following his lead. After years of research, discernment and prayer, my conscience has been well informed. Being a prochoice Catholic does not contradict my faith; rather, in following my well-informed conscience, I am adhering to the central tenet of Catholic teaching -- the primacy of conscience.
First, neither Ms. Graham nor the editors at the National Catholic Reporter apparently understand that conscience must be properly formed with the mind of the Church. Upon a quick review of the article, you will see that there are many areas where the mind of the Church is absent and Her teachings distorted.
It brings into question the suitability of those responsible for it's publication to serve as editors and publishers of any Catholic newspaper. It also calls into question the suitability for the National Catholic Reporter to be sold or distributed in any Catholic diocese, at the parish level, or otherwise. In this instance, and I believe in others, the NCR is being used as an instrument to sow dissent and to undermine the efforts of our shepherds to teach the truths of our Catholic faith.
Second, Ms. Graham's erroneous position on conscience, citing St. Thomas Aquinas, comes months after similar arguments were brought forth by pro-choice Catholic politicians and educators. Is this a fruit of those efforts made publicly visible?
Her letter is a sad manifestation of the state of poor catechesis in the United States. The author deserves our deepest prayers, as do the misguided publishers and staff of the National Catholic Reporter who have brought it to the world online [EDIT: If it disappears, feel free to request a copy through my email address below. I have downloaded it for permanent reference].
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb 13:9). Yet, the National Catholic Reporter, with this publication, will have us believe that Our Lord is ever changing with the world. While Scripture admonishes us to "beware of all sorts of strange teachings", the same newspaper does not promote sound doctrine, but feeds on man's fallen nature for people to follow "their own desires and insatiable curiosity". Authors at the NCR "stopped listening to the truth" and it's readers are feeding heavily on their dissenting arguments (2 Tim 4:3-4).
There is a propensity of certain Catholic newspapers and periodicals, including the NCR, to advance the ideals, wishes and desires of poorly catechized people, in direct conflict with clear and consistent Catholic teaching. Many of these things are nothing more than the pursuit of the very things to which our fallen human nature is attracted. Rather than aiding people in developing virtue to fight the effects of Original Sin these sources enable readers to persist in this misguided pursuit. In the process, they pull in more people every day.
It is my hope that you will read the article in it's entirety, and consider a formal review of some of the leading Catholic newspapers and periodicals in the United States. I am not asking for an exhaustive review of every single publication as this would be impossible. However, we need our bishops to inform us of sources that are advancing teachings which are foreign to our faith. This could easily be made available on the USCCB website.
In the meanwhile, I hope and pray the USCCB will see it prudent to address this particular article given it's status on the world wide web. I am sending a copy of this post to email@example.com. Please consider the volume of Catholic readers who visit the National Catholic Reporter online, as well as the many Catholics who read the print edition.
Be assured of my deepest prayers for all of you. I continue to ask my readers, as I do now in this blogpost, to make a holy hour each week for US Catholic Bishops. May our prayers help you with the many crosses you carry, especially for what lies ahead in our country.
Thank you for taking the time to read my open letter.
Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS
UPDATES with coverage from others:
- H/T to Patrick Madrid: The 5 Most Pathetic Words: I am a Pro-choice Catholic
- Added 01-Mar-09: Young Voices, old canards, and Canon 1369 (Canonist Ed Peters)
- Added 01-Mar-09: Abortion Rhetoric (Jeff Pinyan)
NOTE added 02-Mar-09: Same journalist, Kate Childs Graham also authored this post, published in the National Catholic Reporter in December 2008: Journey of our same-sex holy union.
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!