We join Catholic bloggers in this joint statement.

November 14, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama,

As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.

Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another

One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.

One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.

Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”

As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.

There is much we can do together. There is much that we can do to help women who find themselves in difficult situations so they will not see abortion as their only option. There is much which we can do to help eliminate those unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortion.

One of your campaign promises is of grave concern to many pro-life citizens. On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when speaking of the current right of women in America to have abortions, you said, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) might well undermine your engagement of pro-life Americans on the question of abortion. It might hamper any effort on your part to work with us to limit late-term abortions. We believe FOCA does more than allow for choice. It may force the choice of a woman upon others, and make them morally complicit in such choice. One concern is that it would force doctors and hospitals which would otherwise choose not to perform abortions to do so, even if it went against their sacred beliefs. Such a law would undermine choice, and might begin the process by which abortion is enforced as a preferred option, instead of being one possible choice for a doctor to practice.

It is because of such concern we write. We urge you to engage us, and to dialogue with us, and to do so before you consider signing this legislation. Let us reason together and search out the implications of FOCA. Let us carefully review it and search for contradictions of those positions which we hold in common.
If FOCA can be postponed for the present, and serious dialogue begun with us, as well as with those who disagree with us, you will demonstrate that your administration will indeed be one that rises above partisanship, and will be one of change. This might well be the first step toward resolving an issue which tears at the fabric of our churches, our political process, our families, our very society, and that causes so much hardship and heartache in pregnant women.

Likewise, you have also recently stated you might over-ride some of President G.W. Bush’s executive orders. This is also a concern to us. We believe doing so without having a dialogue with the American people would undermine the political environment you would like to establish. Among those issues which concern us are those which would use taxpayer money to support actions we find to be morally questionable, such as embryonic stem cell research, or to fund international organizations that would counsel women to have an abortion (this would make abortion to be more than a mere choice, but an encouraged activity).

Consider, sir, your general promise to the American people and set aside particular promises to a part of your constituency. This would indicate that you plan to reject politics as usual. This would indeed be a change we need.


Deal W. Hudson
Christopher Blosser
Marjorie Campbell
Mark J. Coughlan
Rev. James A. Nowack
Craig D. Baker
Susan DeBoisblanc
Megan Stout
Joshua D. Brumfield
Ashley M. Brumfield
Michael J. Iafrate
Natalie Navarro
Matthew Talbot
Paul Mitchell
Todd Flowerday
Henry C Karlson III
Darren Belajac
Adam P Verslype
Josiah Neeley
Michael J. Deem
Katerina M. Deem
Natalie Mixa
Henry Newman
Anthony M. Annett
Mickey Jackson
Veronica Greenwell
Thomas Greenwell PhD
Robert C. Koerpel
Nate Wildermuth

New, Online Signatures:
William Simon
Deacon Keith Fournier
Mary Ruebelmann-Benavides
Jesus Benavides
Steve Dillard
Toby Danna
William Eunice
Mark Shea
Fr. Phil Bloom
Christopher Gant
Robert King, OP.
Peter Halabu
Kelly Clark
Eric Giunta
Mark Gordon
Linda Schuldt
Michael Mlekoday
Bryan McLaughlin
Victoria Hoffman
Jonathan Jones
Jim Janknegt
Marcel LeJeune
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
Ken Hallenius III
Zach Gietl
Megan Bless
Kathy Myers
Timothy M. Mason
Kevin Koster
John Anthony D’Arpino
Brian Desmarais
Mary C. Borneman
Sylwia Matlosz
Stephen Lewis
Susan Boedefeld
David Turner
Fr. Loren W. Gonzales
Barbara Emge
Adam Mateo Fierro
Matthew Hardesty
Mark DeFrancisis
Heather Barrett
Sally Hultgren
Esther C. Gefroh
Brian Murphy
Joe A. Potillor, Jr.
Daniel H. Conway
Andrea Brown
Allan Hebert
Brandon Charles Markey
Chris Altieri
Nick van Zee
Chad Toney
Michael Enright
Susan Windley-Daoust
Lisa Pieson
Lisa Commerford
Erica Ford
David Nickol
John Elfering
Paul Zummo
Alena Chovanec
Brian T. Coughlin
Darren Krakowski
Anthony F. Miller
Joe Schriner
Clayton Emmer
Thomas L. McDonald
Justin Nickelsen
Joseph S. Arena
Nicholas J. Hardesty
Jean M. Heimann
Susan Murphy
Terri Peterson
Eric McIntosh

Cross-posted at:
DealWHudson (Theocon)
Inside Catholic
The Hopeful Populist
Catholic Anarchy
American Catholic
Gift of Self
Adam V’s Blog
Thoughts of a Regular Guy
Against the Grain
Defending My Bean Field
Bound and Free
Suicide of the West
Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate
Southern Appeal
Full Circle
One Nation Under God
Dyspeptic Mutterings
The Cranky Conservative
Astonished, Yet at Home!
Laughter and Humility
Catholic and Enjoying It
The Catholic Liberal
Ad Saeculum
The Lady in the Pew
Pansy and Peony
Confessions of a Liberal Traditionalist
James B. Janknegt’s Weblog
Aggie Catholics
What Does the Prayer Really Say
100% of Your RDA of Ken
Yellow Blog Journalism
The Black Biretta
The Rockin’ Traddy
The Holy Cookie
Overheard in the Sacristy
The School of Mary
The Practicing Catholic
A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
Verbum Veritatis
This Old Church: Behind Enemy Lines
Catholic Mountain
The Lazy Disciple
The Weight of Glory
PhatCatholic Apologetics
Tom S.F.O.
Catholic Fire
Catholic Father

Media Coverage (if you find more, let me know):

Catholic News Agency
Catholic Online

On Teaching

CF: St. Thomas, De Veritate, Q. 11, (the 'De Magistro'), a. 1

1. St. Thomas points out that a man acquires science because of the certain seeds of knowledge that are in him. These are the first concepts and first principles. These seeds contain in their power all other actual and more particular knowledges. Whence from this potency, knowledge is led into act in a man.

2. However, St. Thomas compares this acquisition of knowledge to a doctor and health. In this comparison, the acquisition of knowledge, or learning, happens in two ways.

2.a. First, the way that health is regained naturally by the body, i.e. by it "healing itself." This St. Thomas compares the way of teaching oneself or the inventio of knowledge.

2.b. Second, the way that a doctor using the medical arts assists the body in healing itself. This is the way a man teaches another man, by reducing the potential knowledge in him to act by leading the learner along the way of inventio in the best route possible. This way is called disciplina.

3. Whence, it seems to me, given that "teaching" most properly said is in the second way (2.b), that the reduction of potential knowledge to actual knowledge in the learner is what all other analogous, metaphorical, and corrupt uses of the term "teach" are ordered towards this meaning.

3.b. Thus teaching has this respect to truth, that it leads a mind from potency to act with respect to the intellect's object of truth.

4. Two corollaries can be drawn regarding the "ethical realm" of teaching and learning. The first corollary uses this proper sense of teaching with respect to the ethics of disciplina; the second uses this proper sense with respect to inventio.

5. First corollary. Premise: to know propositional truth is the proper (natural) operation,proper good, and hence perfection, of the human intellect. Whence anything opposed to this is unnatural, bad, and an imperfection. A teacher, when using his authority in his office as teaching with respect to a student, in proposing something for them to learn, must pay attention to this standard. This is especially true when he, in his pedagogical method, invokes the authority of another, e.g., "As Aristotle says," or even the strongest example of quotation, claiming that someone is actually "teaching" and hence claiming a true reduction of potential knowledge to actual knowledge, and so a teacher might say "As 'so-and-so' teaches." In this way a teacher is to be compared to a doctor, who (as Mr. Berquist teaches often in Junior philosophy) makes the best murderer, because he knows the human body insofar as it is a composite and corruptible whole, and hence knows best how to decompose it and reduce it to perfect corruption. Just as a doctor would abuse his art and commit an evil by harming or killing his patient, so a teacher commits an evil (to varying degrees) if he harms the intellects of his learners by ignorance or falsity. "Teaching" must be measured against its proper sense, and if it fails this standard, the proposed disciplina is somewhere between folly and ignorance (the use of authority in place of true knowledge, or lack of knowledge and recourse to a sort of boasting) and dogmatism or pernicious lies. This is the gamut between sophistry and ideological tyranny, the organon of the dictator.

6. Second corollary. Same premise. Whence, in the way of inventio, a man must evaluate all sources of 'disciplina' professing to lead him on the way of learning or the way of discovery against this standard. This allows for an ordering of the uses of "teaching" when attributed to someone by way of authority, i.e., it indicates degrees among the proper use of "teach" while respecting the fact that (again, as Mr. Berquist is fond of pointing out) it is very hard to be all wrong. Whence, "As Descartes teaches," or "As Kant teaches," or "As Plato teaches," or "As Aristotle teaches," or "As St. Thomas teaches," or "As Jesus teaching in the Gospels," are all statements that require a certain order and judgment (taken in the sense of the second act of the intellect, with the mutatis mutandis for the Faith and grace). This evaluation takes the form of, in one's own via inventionis, of finding and following a master from whom to accept a via disciplinae.

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