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« Mitt Romney On Abortion, "Gay" Rights & Other Issues: How Much Can He Have Changed? | Main | Dr. James Dobson Says 'No Way' To McCain Candidacy »

Friday, January 12, 2007

Comments

K Reeder

I am Catholic but just the same I wouldn't vote for a Catholic Priest for President...I wouldn't vote for a Protestant Minister for president and I would not vote for a mormon Priest for president. Most people do not realize that almost every mormon male over a certain age is a morman Priest....

Patrick

Thankyou, Thomistic, for the book recommendation. I was not aware of the racist element. I know of some people who have rejected the Catholic Faith in favor of Mormonism. I have never understood it.

HiveRadical

" …the potential for the leadership of the Mormon religion to influence Mr. Romney that can be considered legitimate concerns for Catholic voters."

With JFK's run in mind I find the above funny, in a sick way.

"The fact that Mormonism has an inherently anti-Catholic element to it does not help matters"

Protestantism is also inherently anti-Catholic.

"The Book of Mormon frequently refers to white and delightsome skin, while making clear that dark skinned people are accursed because they are the descendents of Cain. Mormon doctrine holds that dark skinned people fought "less valiantly" in the "spirit war" between Jesus and the devil and their respective followers in the spiritual pre-existence all human beings are believed to have had before life on earth."

This is a strawman construct and interpretation of our doctrine. We do believe that a person's state in this life is tied to degrees of fidelity in the pre-mortal life. But that is not to say that dark skin is an indicator of such a position. Neither is affluence. The dark skin was an initial mark that was tied to Cain's curse, it was not, in and of itself, the curse. Thus there are a great many without the curse, a great many that were more virtuous and valiant in the pre-mortal existance than many white LDS Church members born and raised in Utah. The skin is not the indicator, rather proxcimity to the Gospel provided at the outset in this life. Thus someone of dark skin in the poorest areas of Africa, following our doctrines, could have more unimpeeded access to the blessings of the Gospel and, thus, have been a more valiant member in the previous life.

So please get your portrayals of our beliefs right. I would think a devout Catholic, of all individuals, would know the importance of exactness and context when discussing doctrines that, to others, may appear strange or wrong.

And please please please do not be so shallow as to think the book Inside Mormonism approaches in any real way fairness in 'exposing' our beliefs.

Finally your statements on us not 'really' being pro-life. If a mother's life is in danger and she fails to have an abortion that would have saved her life, she then goes through the pregnancy and BOTH mother and child die then, in the net effect, was the position effectively REALLY pro-life???

Carlos

Even assuming that the info posted by the author of this blog is correct, one must compare Gov. Romney with the other two leading candidates for the GOP nomination: Sen. John McCain and Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Sen. McCain is an intense advocate of spending federal taxpayer funds on embryonic stem cell research, research that is clearly immoral because it results in the death of a human being. Moreover, while he has voted pro-life on abortion matters, I've yet to find a bill in Congress that he sponsored that in some way helped chip away abortion on demand. As for Mayor Giuliani, he is an open supporter of abortion and gay marriage, both of which are contrary to the natural and moral law.

Gov. Romney, on the other hand, actually vetoed a bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature that used state funds for embryonic stem cell research. Moreover, he also lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to allow a vote on a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.

On a side note, the Mormons that I have met are very polite, hard-working, and family oriented. While their systematic theology may seem strange, I believe their moral theology in matters of bioethics and marriage is not too far off from the Catholic position.

Thomistic

Mitt Romney is not a viable candidate for the Presidency. Evangelical Christians, which are a large Republican base, will not vote for a Mormon president.

Rudy Giuliani is not a viable candidate for the Presidency. Evangelical Christians, which are a large Republican base, will not vote for a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage president.

John McCain may be somewhat viable, but would not be my choice at all.

Sam Brownback would be great, but may not be viable, but he would be viable if Hillary was the alternative.

Mitt Romney will never be President. One commercial about the mark of Cain and it'd be all over for him with minorities, and he will not be popular with Evangelicals.

The only way I would vote for him would be if I had no better option, and I don't see that happening. The race is still wide open.

Patrick

HiveRadical wrote:

"This is a strawman construct and interpretation of our doctrine. We do believe that a person's state in this life is tied to degrees of fidelity in the pre-mortal life. But that is not to say that dark skin is an indicator of such a position. Neither is affluence. The dark skin was an initial mark that was tied to Cain's curse, it was not, in and of itself, the curse. Thus there are a great many without the curse, a great many that were more virtuous and valiant in the pre-mortal existance than many white LDS Church members born and raised in Utah. The skin is not the indicator, rather proxcimity to the Gospel provided at the outset in this life. Thus someone of dark skin in the poorest areas of Africa, following our doctrines, could have more unimpeeded access to the blessings of the Gospel and, thus, have been a more valiant member in the previous life."

Wow, thanks for clearing that up ;o)

Thomistic

Mormon moral theology is actually quite different from Catholicism. It is essentially rule oriented. It supports polygamy, allows abortion, allows for reversal of previous doctrinal teaching, and is rooted in non-Biblical documents such as "The Pearl of Great Price".

As far as abortion...

It is never permissible to do evil to bring about a good. St. Paul says that explicitly in the New Testament. One may never directly abort an unborn baby, even to "save" the mother's life.

Carlos

Thomistic, you are incorrect that the current teaching of the LDS allows for polygamy. When Utah came into the Union, that teaching was disallowed by the LDS; only certain fundamentalist LDS sects practice polygamy now.

As for abortion, you are correct that one cannot directly abort to save a mother's life. However, restricting abortion to only those situations where it is necessary to save the mother's life would certainly be a step in the right direction and would be an improvement over our current abortion-on-demand regime.

Moreover, it IS lawful to remove a body part to save a mother's life even if the unfortunate by-product of the surgery would include the death of a baby in utero. For example, in the case of a tubal pregnancy, the fallopian tube may be removed even though by doing so a fertilized and implanted embryo will perish as well. This is because the goal is not to kill but to remove a dangerous part of the body.

Thomistic

Mormon theology is rooted in documents that support polygamy.

I am baffled by how Mormons can support as inspired a doctrine that their current leadership claims to repudiate and still maintain that both Joseph Smith and their current "prophet" are inspired by God, who is Truth itself, can neither deceive not be deceived, and in Whom there is no change or shadow of alteration, but that isn't the primary issue here.

Moral truths don't change, but Mormon theology appears to hold that they can. That is troubling.

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism was a polygamist. Joseph Smith is more important to Mormons that Jesus Christ. His writings are considered to be the inspired Word of God and they endorse polygamy.

Polygamy was lived secretly in the Mormon church from about 1831 to 1852. Polygamy was lived openly from 1852 to 1890 by the Mormon church in Utah. The church made a show of abandoning the practice in order to get statehood. It wasn't until the second manifesto about 20 years later that the church started excommunicating new polygamists. Since that time, the Mormon church has taken a very harsh and intolerant stance against anyone who publicly admits that they practice polygamy, or claims that it should be practiced.

There are about 60,000 polygamists in Utah. Most of them are never charged with a crime, despite the fact that polygamy is against the law. Why is that?

One more thing: Mormon theology requires that multiple wives are a requirement for the eventual godhood aspired to by individual Mormons.

You cite that the Mormon religion only allows direct abortion (something never permitted in Catholic theology) in rare circumstances. Although pro-life people do say that it is good to have laws that restrict abortion and that a law that restricted abortion to circumstances such as those deemed acceptable by current Mormon leadership would be bette than the current situation.

I understand that it would be better to restrict legal, elective abortion to limited circumstances, rather than allow abortion on demand, which is the law of the land under Roe vs. Wade, but direct, elective abortion is always an act of murder and can never be tolerated or endorsed by a Catholic. Mormon theology permits it in certain circumstances.

Moreover, Mormon theology has a history of changing to suit the interests of the State of Utah in the past, especially insofar as wanting to be in line with the powers that be within the U.S. Federal Government. What assurance is there that their already unacceptable stance on direct, elective abortion will not morph into something even less acceptable?

As far as the case you mentioned where surgery is performed to remove tissue with the unintended double effect of the death of a developing baby, that is not an act of direct abortion. If it were, it could never be allowed. One can never do evil, even to bring about a good effect. You can never murder another human being directly and deliberately, even to save another life. Removing an organ or tissue to preserve life with the unintended result of the death of a developing human life is not the same thing as directly taking that life in order to save a life.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia provides four conditions for the application of the principle of double effect:

The act itself must be morally good or at least indifferent.

The agent may not positively will the bad effect but may permit it. If he could attain the good effect without the bad effect he should do so. The bad effect is sometimes said to be indirectly voluntary.

The good effect must flow from the action at least as immediately (in the order of causality, though not necessarily in the order of time) as the bad effect. In other words the good effect must be produced directly by the action, not by the bad effect. Otherwise the agent would be using a bad means to a good end, which is never allowed.

The good effect must be sufficiently desirable to compensate for the allowing of the bad effect” (p. 1021).

The older Catholic Encyclopedia says this about abortion and the principle of double effect:

However, if medical treatment or surgical operation, necessary to save a mother's life, is applied to her organism (though the child's death would, or at least might, follow as a regretted but unavoidable consequence), it should not be maintained that the fetal life is thereby directly attacked. Moralists agree that we are not always prohibited from doing what is lawful in itself, though evil consequences may follow which we do not desire. The good effects of our acts are then directly intended, and the regretted evil consequences are reluctantly permitted to follow because we cannot avoid them. The evil thus permitted is said to be indirectly intended. It is not imputed to us provided four conditions are verified, namely:

That we do not wish the evil effects, but make all reasonable efforts to avoid them;

That the immediate effect be good in itself;

That the evil is not made a means to obtain the good effect; for this would be to do evil that good might come of it -- a procedure never allowed;

That the good effect be as important at least as the evil effect.

All four conditions may be verified in treating or operating on a woman with child. The death of the child is not intended, and every reasonable precaution is taken to save its life; the immediate effect intended, the mother's life, is good -- no harm is done to the child in order to save the mother -- the saving of the mother's life is in itself as good as the saving of the child's life. Of course provision must be made for the child's spiritual as well as for its physical life, and if by the treatment or operation in question the child were to be deprived of Baptism, which it could receive if the operation were not performed, then the evil would be greater than the good consequences of the operation. In this case the operation could not lawfully be performed. Whenever it is possible to baptize an embryonic child before it expires, Christian charity requires that it be done, either before or after delivery; and it may be done by any one, even though he be not a Christian.

Catholic Answers provided an explanation on the subject of abortion ad the principle of double effect here: Abortion and Double Effect

Mormonism currently allows direct, elective abortion. The principle of double effect does not support the notion that abortion is moral in such circumstances, and neither does Catholic theology.

And why not do evil that good may come? -- as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:8)

Pope John Paul II said the following in Veritatis Splendor:

78. The morality of the human act depends primarily and fundamentally on the "object" rationally chosen by the deliberate will, as is borne out by the insightful analysis, still valid today, made by Saint Thomas.126 In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person. The object of the act of willing is in fact a freely chosen kind of behaviour. To the extent that it is in conformity with the order of reason, it is the cause of the goodness of the will; it perfects us morally, and disposes us to recognize our ultimate end in the perfect good, primordial love. By the object of a given moral act, then, one cannot mean a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world. Rather, that object is the proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person. Consequently, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "there are certain specific kinds of behaviour that are always wrong to choose, because choosing them involves a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil".127 And Saint Thomas observes that "it often happens that man acts with a good intention, but without spiritual gain, because he lacks a good will. Let us say that someone robs in order to feed the poor: in this case, even though the intention is good, the uprightness of the will is lacking. Consequently, no evil done with a good intention can be excused. 'There are those who say: And why not do evil that good may come? Their condemnation is just' (Rom 3:8)".128

The reason why a good intention is not itself sufficient, but a correct choice of actions is also needed, is that the human act depends on its object, whether that object is capable or not of being ordered to God, to the One who "alone is good", and thus brings about the perfection of the person. An act is therefore good if its object is in conformity with the good of the person with respect for the goods morally relevant for him. Christian ethics, which pays particular attention to the moral object, does not refuse to consider the inner "teleology" of acting, inasmuch as it is directed to promoting the true good of the person; but it recognizes that it is really pursued only when the essential elements of human nature are respected. The human act, good according to its object, is also capable of being ordered to its ultimate end. That same act then attains its ultimate and decisive perfection when the will actually does order it to God through charity. As the Patron of moral theologians and confessors teaches: "It is not enough to do good works; they need to be done well. For our works to be good and perfect, they must be done for the sole purpose of pleasing God".129

Pax,

Thomistic

ann

HiveRadical:

Nice try on the "dark skin" doctrinal revisionist history. I have read both of Bennett's books (the other is When a Mormon Calls) and found them to be more enlightening than my Mormon neighbors who are quite ignorant of their own teachings or enjoy playing the "we are so persecuted" game when asked respond to particulars.

Romney will not be able to overcome that one.

And really,how often will pro-aborts bring out the tired "both mother and child die" argument? Self-donative love on the part of the mother is the key; she has lain down her life for another. The "other" will happen to be enjoying the face of God in Heaven and praying for her mother's soul.

Patrick

Joseph Smith wrote this in 1836:

"The fact is inconvertible, that the first mention we have of slavery, is found in the Holy Bible, pronounced by a man who was perfect in his generation, and walked with God.

And so far from that prediction being averse from the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument to the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude! "And he said, Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."

. . . The curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan . . . those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the designs of the Lord, will learn when perhaps too late, for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not directed by His Counsel.

The Scripture stands for itself; and I believe that these men were better qualified to teach the will of God, than all the Abolitionists in the world."


Being a Mark Twain fan, I find his book "Roughing It" to be of some interest concerning the Mormon religion. Check out chapters thirteen through sixteen. To be fair, some of Twain's writings were tinged with the anti-Catholic sentiments so prevalent during his day. However, Twain (a cynic and skeptic), was fascinated with St. Joan of Arc. He wrote his last book about her and considered it to be his best and most significant work.

dymphna

I can't vote for Romney. As a good Mormon he probably believes that he's going to be a god one day with his own planet to rule. Call me predjudiced if you wish but I don't want somebody who thinks he's going to be a god to have his finger anywhere near the nuclear button.

public-defender

Mormons do not believe that it is good to get an abortion in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. They believe that the law should not mandate it in those cases. As for LDS doctrine, it is truly beautiful when looked at honestly and diligently. It is a bad idea to look at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints written by someone who left the Church but cannot leave it alone.

James

I think you're completely unhinged here. The best president (or CEO of a company) may not have the best theology! We're not proposing Romney be the next bishop of Orange, although if it were, you'd probably go for it.

I'm sure you'd reject Reagan now because his wife was interested in astrology. The question isn't whether there isn't someone we'd rather have, but who is the best candidate available at election time. Refraining from voting because Mormon's USED to believe what you said about blacks and latinos is ridiculous, and will only ensure that we have Mrs. Clinton. So be it. But you'll walk around bemoaning her election and refuse to accept any responsibility for it. Your puritanism will ensure our getting the worst candidate as president. Which presidential candidate, for goodness sake, is most likely to appoint a Supreme Court Justice more likely to rule against Roe v. Wade? You claim to care so much for this issue, but you'll be helping the exact opposite outcome by this tripe.

I suggest you think long and hard about this. We're very close to a reversal...but your "he's not exactly what we want" is counter-productive. How many Justices will be retiring over the two administrations? 2? 3? 4? 5? Think long and hard, my friend.

And, by the way, what precisely does HE stand for that you don't, politically? Tax cuts? Freedom of religion in the public square? A philosophy of life? What? Address the issues along with his religious issues.

James

Thomistic,

We're not voting for or against Mormonism, but for the best qualified candidate who will be the best president and who will do the most in furthering goodness--or limiting evil. Quoting Mormonism when we have Mr. Romney's history in politics seems...to put it bluntly...a bit foolish.

Patrick

James:

I think most of us would be surprised if Romney were to win the Republican primaries or the presidency. It is obvious that Thomistic began this thread to address the broader issue of how Catholics should respond to the role of the Mormon religion in the national political arena. In this regard, Mormon teachings are fair game.

Billy D

Well this is a Catholic themed blog first, yes? Issues and opinions based on political philosophy are secondary, I believe.
Mr. Romney is a nice man, but sadly an empty suit. His religious beliefs aside, politically he totally vacant. In his tenure in Ma., he did nothing to speak of. (In his defense, a Republican Gov. in Ma. is a lame duck from day one anyway) He has no way to get "the base" to get behind him. He's beaten before he gets started. (Great hair will not get him a nomination)
The very distinct possiblity of a Tancredo/Paul ticket should be something to look at though.

Imprimartin

I think that we should all use Catholic Answer's Voter's Guide to determine whether to vote for Romney. I don't care if he's mormon. But I do care if he's pro-abortion. I don't care if his church (or he himself!) has a racist thing--which I don't think he would ever act on, but I do care if he's for embryonic stem-cell research.

If given a choice of McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, I'd choose Romney, simply because he is the lesser of the evils. I wouldn't even take the whole mormon thing into account. Hopefully, Brownback will be the repub candidate. And I think that most evagelicals would agree with me.

Follow the Voter's Guide.

Martin

Mario Mirarchi

Being that we live in a secular republic, Romney's religious beliefs are relevant to debate only to the extend that they affect his public policy decisions. It appears that Romney's views are dictated by opportunism rather than Mormonism.

Mark

If given a choice between Romney, Giuliani and McCain, I'd choose Romney anyday. Trust me: He's pro-life. True pro-choicers don't take the stance he took on embroyonic stem cell research. He may have said things in the past that were pro-choice, but that would make him a pro-life oppritunist.
As for the Mormon thing, I vote every weekend for my religion with how and where I choose to worship. I'd like to think that in our 200+ years of being a democracy that we've advanced beyond the Iraqi "vote for your ethnic group" position. I'm going to vote for the best person (also taking into account who can win). If that's a Mormon, then it's a Mormon.
As for Mormonism itself, you haven't even touched on 1/10th of the weirdness. How do I know? Cause I used to be one. Joseph Smith was a liar, and the Mormon apologists on this board need to do their research. They can start by reading into the full circumstances surrounding "The Book of Abraham." Turns out an Egyptian papyri that Brother Joseph claimed to be from the lost "Book of Abraham", was really just one of thousands of funerary texts from the Egyptian "Book of the Dead." Every single Egyptologists in the world will laugh you out of the room if you such a claim. Of course, Brother Joseph thought he would get away with it, since nobody could decipher hieroglyphics in his time.
But nooooooo Mormons, you keep believing in your eternal, possibly plural marriages, regardless of what Christ said in Matthew 22:30.

Randy

For those of you who attack "Mormonism" above, I commend you on your righteous know-it-all spin. You do a fine job. In fact, it is right up there with great scholarly works such as Mr Bennett's "Inside Mormonism." I am personally fascinated by his Catholic-to-Mormon-to-Catholic Flip Flop Story. It was just so genuine. It seems easy to find loads of books by disaffected ex-LDS who find it their new mission (or career) in life to start a web site, blog, or even write the definitive book on the subject of LDS Doctrine. One question, where are all the books and Tell-All's of other denominations written those who convert to the LDS church? Surely it's not just those ex-Mormons who "used to be one" that are writing books or blogging on their former religion.
Regarding Romney running for national office, what is that you really fear? Maybe if you can articulate THAT instead of a rambling, disconnected discourse of partial truths out of context, this site just might get interesting.

zeek kropf

I usually skip these kind of volleys because I am not interested in debating religion but politics. I belong to the "Mormon" church, and dont mind theological fencing in a differnt format with more informed participants, But I would like to support the recent website I saw that was designed to stop anti-catholic attacks, Because a fool who who atatck thecatholics or methodists will one day attack me.

When someone is voting I feel they need to look at the whole picture. First of all, I am Catholic. This whole world is not about separation of churches. God want us to all be together and love him together. Church separates us but we love the same God and know that Jesus died for us on the cross. Mitt Romney is the most honest candidate running. Romney has a relationship with Jesus Christ OUR LORD AND ALSO HIS. If Mitt Romney were to become our president I truly believe that he would keep his religion separated. But I also believe that he is conditioned and that he will make ALL OF DECISIONS BASED ON GOD WITH GOD LEADING HIM TO MAKE THEM. Would God not want us to vote for someone who is a different religion but is trying to do good for all of people. Mitt Romney follows his religion and believes in his religion. Do we want a Catholic president who states he believes in his religion but his actions show otherwise. Mitt Romney has stated that he does not believe in abortion but Mitt Romney is also not God and therefore cannot judge. People need to look at the whole picture instead of just a little spectacle. If God makes the decision than Mitt Romney will be President. If man makes the decision I truly believe we are going toward the end of the world. Mitt Romney believes his religion just like we believe ours. But I myself love God more than I love my religion and I have a relationship with him thru thick and thin. If I gave up my religion God would follow me wherever I go but the people in the congregation I would be long forgotton. I believe Mitt has that same relationship with GOD. It speaks so in his actions by looking at everything he has done in his personal life and also business. REMEMBER DON'T JUDGE. The Catholic church teaches us that voting for the wrong reasons will determine our salvation when it is time for us to be judged. Are you voting for the right reason. I certainly don't think this site is a legitamate Catholic site either because a true Catholic would not have posted such terrible things.

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