UNBORN WORD of the day

Bishop Martino leads a new Battlecry for the Unborn: “This is madness people.”
October 23, 2008, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Inspirational Pro-life leaders, Pro-life

El Greco Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple. The episode is described in all four Gospels: St. Matthew (21:12-13), St. Mark (11:15-18), St. Luke (19:45-46), St. John (2:14-17).

There is a scene in the Gospel, one of the most vivid scenes, one that probably scandalized many of the religious and secular leaders but was secretly loved by all of the little ones of the flock. I’m speaking about when Christ went into the Temple and overturned the money changers driving them from the Temple.

Bishop Martino of Scranton did just that last Sunday. He went into one of those Church forums that many of us detest so much where questions of faith and morals are debated. Often at parish events like this Catholics leave not altogether sure what the Church is teaching. At this particular forum some panel members were trying to make the case for it being OK as a Catholic to vote for the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in the history of our country.

And then Bishop Martino overturned their applecart.

“No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people,” he said, noting that he no longer supports the Democratic Party.* “This is madness people.” Bishop Martino also said that he had wanted to persuade Father Martin Boylan, of St. John’s, to cancel the forum.

After his comments, most of the audience stood and clapped loudly.

The forum had handed out literature from the USCCB that was ambiguous.

Here is what Bishop Martino had to say about that:

“No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Bishop 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.” Click here to read his letter.

Some people might take issue with that statement but he is  correct. In 1998 Pope John Paul II issued an : APOSTOLIC LETTER “MOTU PROPRIO” APOSTOLOS SUOS, ON THE THEOLOGICAL AND JURIDICAL NATURE OF EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES (1) 21 May, 1998 Here follows an excerpt:

20. In the Episcopal Conference the Bishops jointly exercise the episcopal ministry for the good of the faithful of the territory of the Conference; but, for that exercise to be legitimate and binding on the individual Bishops, there is needed the intervention of the supreme authority of the Church which, through universal law or particular mandates, entrusts determined questions to the deliberation of the Episcopal Conference. Bishops, whether individually or united in Conference, cannot autonomously limit their own sacred power in favour of the Episcopal Conference, and even less can they do so in favour of one of its parts, whether the permanent council or a commission or the president. This logic is quite explicit in the canonical norm concerning the exercise of the legislative power of the Bishops assembled in the Episcopal Conference: “The Conference of Bishops can issue general decrees only in those cases in which the common law prescribes it, or a special mandate of the Apostolic See, given either motu proprio or at the request of the Conference, determines it”. (77) In other cases “the competence of individual diocesan Bishops remains intact; and neither the Conference nor its president may act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent”. (78)

See also Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 27 and The Code of Canon Law, canon 381.

*I imagine this is the reason that Bishop Martino no longer supports the Democratic Party. From the 2008 Democratic Party Platform: “The Democratic Party stronly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”

6 Comments so far
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Great posting.

If only more Bishops would stand up as Bishop Martino has done in Scranton. It’s about time that the US Church challenged society to wake up to the truth and stop being self serving.

Here is a link to a recent pro-life video directed at the upcoming elections.

The Choice

Please consider forwarding it to others.

God Bless,

Comment by Jon_in_Charlotte

Many Bishops have been speaking out this election. It has been a wonderful thing to see. I do thank God for Bishop Martino.

Great video. Short but to the point – it really makes things clear. Thanks for sharing it.


Comment by unbornwordoftheday

This is an excellent post, Michelle! What a wonderful example of love and faithfulness he is to his flock!

Comment by Jean

Thanks Jean,
I have been learning a lot looking at the great videos that you have been posting. The recent one on Sarah Palin really brought tears to my eyes.

It is really wonderful that so many of our Bishops have been speaking out strongly. Of course, we all have to pray and fast for the unborn and for our country.


Comment by unbornwordoftheday


Thank you for this very informative post. I’m inclined to agree with Bishop Martino on the gravity of abortion as a single issue in this U.S. election. Of course since I’m a Canadian I don’t have a say on a ballot but I’m still very interested in American politics.

In the last two elections, evangelical Protestants overwhelmingly voted Republican, while Catholics were almost evenly split between the two main parties. Catholic Americans, rightfully so, tend to vote on a broader base of social issues, and the Democrats are usually seen as champions of the rights of workers, the poor, of health care, etc…, and have shown themselves to be economically responsible, while the Republicans protect the country and its democracy, are strong on immigration and look after the unborn. In the U.S. (and in Canada for that matter) it’s very difficult to find candidates that adhere faithfully to more than a narrow choice of Catholic teachings, which to me is unfortunate.

To get an idea of the broadness of Catholic social teaching, I recommend a look at the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching that came out during John Paul II’s papacy. We have a duty as Catholics, for the good of the country and of the world, to view the Church’s teachings as comprehensive and not pick and choose, although I fear the partisanship of electoral systems in many Western democracies encourages this kind of ‘cafeteria’ approach to the Faith. It’s one of the downfalls of post-Enlightenment liberalism…Anyway those are just some of my thoughts.

Thanks also for your quotation from Apostolos Suos. This issue of the authority of the local Bishop over a country’s Bishops’ Conference has been much-discussed since Vatican II. See in particular George Weigel’s book on the election of Pope Benedict XVI’s election and the legacy of Pope John Paul II, entitled “God’s Choice”. Let us pray for the unborn and for justice for all human beings. God Bless you,


Comment by canadiancatholicblog

This Sunday every priest at Mass should say something similar to the following: Under pain of grave sin, no Catholic may support or vote for a candidate who supports intrinsic evil. Abortion is intrinsic evil. Therefore, under pain of grave sin no Catholic may support or vote for a candidate who supports abortion.

Comment by Doctor Raj

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