Archbishop Carlson Draws the Line, Says he is Outraged
ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement in response to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passing Board Bill 203:
The passage of Board Bill 203 by the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen is a terrible moment for a city with such a proud history. A history that includes the Dred Scott case which determined the legality of personal freedom. As a city resident and the leader of the oldest organized religion in the region, I am outraged that the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen has now enshrined into law an ordinance which creates a “sanctuary” for the despicable practice of abortion. In other words, the laws of the City of St. Louis now actively protect and promote the killing of unborn children, children who, like those who denied Dred Scott his humanity, will be denied their humanity and very existence.
By approving Board Bill 203, the City of St. Louis has chosen to continue down a path of promoting death, repression, resentment, division, and selfishness instead of promoting life, unity, charity, freedom, and goodness. This horrible piece of legislation will now force city residents to be unwilling participants in the abortion business by requiring business owners and individuals to tacitly approve any “reproductive health” decisions made by their employees or tenants.
As Catholics, we know that all life is a gift from God and our parents, and must be protected at any cost. Sadly, legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed by the Supreme Court in 1973. Now, some of our St. Louis politicians have made a protected class out of “reproductive health,” which is merely a politically correct euphemism for abortion. If these politicians are concerned about women and children, I challenge them to state so directly and stop hiding behind cheap rhetoric.
Let me be perfectly clear: the Archdiocese of St. Louis and its affiliated agencies and ministries will not comply with Board Bill 203. We will take legal action to defend our religious liberty, and the constitutionally-protected right of religious liberty of businesses, individuals, and other non-faith-based organizations who will be hampered as this oppressive law is imposed upon them.
As I have followed the debate about Board Bill 203 in the Board of Aldermen, one critical point has been overlooked: the lives of the babies in their mother’s wombs that are in peril. The passage of this vile bill has been mistakenly heralded as a success for women by misguided organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. The passage of this bill is not a milestone of our city’s success. It is, rather, a marker of our city’s embrace of the culture of death.
It is my hope and prayer that the City of St. Louis will someday soon rediscover the greatness that awaits if we would simply act in the interest of supporting life, in all its forms, from conception until natural death; to this vision I am committed. I welcome anyone, from any faith background, color, creed, or nationality, to join me in supporting, promoting, and protecting children, women, families, and life itself. In this invitation, I echo the words of Pope St. John Paul II: “Life will be victorious!”
Statement of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Regarding Proposed City of St. Louis Ordinance Relating to Abortion
ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, issued the following statement in regards to a proposed ordinance in the City of St. Louis:
Archbishop Robert Carlson
The Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis is considering an ordinance (Board Bill 203) that attacks the most deeply held moral and religious convictions of the people of this great city. This proposed ordinance seeks to make St. Louis a sanctuary city for abortion, an act that kills innocent unborn children. This is not what our city should stand for; rather, St. Louis should be a sanctuary for life and compassion, especially compassion for mothers and their developing children.
Board Bill 203 is vague and ambiguous but could have terrible consequences for religious institutions. For example, a Catholic school or Catholic Charities agency could be fined by the City of St. Louis for not employing persons who publicly promote practices such as abortion. In addition, our Catholic institutions could be fined for not including coverage for abortion in their insurance plans.
Board Bill 203 could also allow the City of St. Louis to fine landlords and others who do not want to rent to or be associated with the abortion industry. This proposed ordinance, therefore, would force the people of St. Louis to be complicit in the profound evil of abortion. This would be a flagrant violation of religious liberty and individual rights of conscience.
I urge the citizens of St. Louis to oppose Board Bill 203. Protection and care for human life at all stages of development from conception until natural death is a fundamental moral value shared by Catholics as well as many other people of faith. City ordinances should respect all people, including women facing unplanned pregnancies, unborn children, and people who desire to live their lives in accordance with their religious convictions.
We Will Not Comply
As the shepherd of the faithful Catholics of this region, let me be clear that the Archdiocese of St. Louis cannot and will not comply with any ordinance like Board Bill 203 that attempts to force the Church and others to become unwilling participants in the abortion business. There is no room for compromise on such a matter. This is a matter of fundamental religious and moral beliefs.
Rather than aiding and abetting the abortion industry, the archdiocese, through its various ministries and programs, will continue to extend both spiritual and material assistance to all those in need, especially the poor and those women facing crisis pregnancies who feel they have no one else to turn to for help—both during their pregnancies as well as after their child is born.
I urge the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to defeat Board Bill 203. I appeal to the humanity and the love of all freedom-loving citizens of St. Louis to make their voices heard in defense of human life.
Archbishop Carlson’s Diocese “Disbanding the
Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts”
Jennifer Brinker | [email protected] | twitter: @jenniferbrinker: St. Louis Review
A new Catholic Committee for Girls Formation is being charged with ministry to all girls in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced the new committee in a Feb. 18 letter to priests, scout leaders and the faithful of the archdiocese. The letter reiterated the ongoing concerns with the values and policies of Girl Scouts USA, which he said are “becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.”
“While continuing to serve our Catholic girls involved in various scouting programs, this committee will also reflect our ongoing commitment to educating and forming all young women,” he wrote.
Archbishop Carlson appointed Barb Hussey and Katie Cannavan as co-chairs of the new committee. Hussey, a member of St. Gerard Majella Parish in Kirkwood, was chairperson of the recently disbanded Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts. For years, she has promoted nearly a dozen faith-formation award programs offered to youths in the archdiocese. Cannavan is coordinator of American Heritage Girls troop MO1776 at St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville.
“I’m looking forward to a sense of cohesiveness and moving forward for the good of the girls,” said Hussey. The faith-formation programs, which teach youths about the Blessed Mother, the saints, the Holy Spirit and the Rosary, among other topics, are open to all youths, regardless of affiliation with a scouting organization.
“They come together and sit at the table, and they don’t know who has what affiliation,” Hussey said. “They just know that they share the same faith.”
Prior to getting involved in American Heritage Girls, a Christian-based scouting organization, Cannavan didn’t know much about the faith-formation programs available to girls in the archdiocese. Now she’s looking forward to promoting them.
Cannavan said her troop at St. Joseph has refocused its efforts this year to require her girls to complete at least one faith-formation program. “It really is about building a new generation of Catholics, in leadership and in faith. (The programs) are there to serve as a resource and link the Church together.”
In the letter, the archbishop asked parishes to evaluate the effectiveness of Girl Scout troops in promoting the Catholic faith and forming young women of virtue. Specifically, he asked pastors to meet with troop leaders and review the concerns and discuss implementing alternative options for girls’ formation.
Catholic Youth Apostolate executive director Brian Miller explained the apostolate remains committed to its ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of its programs.
“This is all about good youth ministry,” said Miller. “In the same way that we have evaluated Girl Scouts’ effectiveness to form our young Catholic girls as women of virtue, we should be evaluating the effectiveness of all of our programs and whether they are accomplishing the mission: to bring the message of the Gospel to young people.”
• To learn more about the archdiocese’s ongoing concerns with Girl Scouts, visit www.archstl.org/scouting. (Excellent Source.)
• The Archdiocese of St. Louis supports alternative scouting organizations, including American Heritage Girls(Christian) (www.americanheritagegirls.org) and Little Flower Girls Club (Catholic) (www.beholdpublications.com), both of which were founded with the intention of placing the scouting experience within a Christian context. In 2012, American Heritage Girls launched a National Catholic Committee to support growth and spiritual development of its Catholic troops. (Visit www.stlouisreview.com/Tuy)
Read Archbishop Carlson’s letter
Archbishop Robert Carlson: “Mr. President, We Cannot Comply With This Mandate”
“Mr President: restore our religious freedom!”
“Brothers and sisters: we must be prepared to suffer for our convictions.”
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Will You Stand With Me?
Archbishop Robert Carlson –(edited for length) Missouri Life News: My brothers and sisters, we stand here today because of an alarming and serious matter that strikes at our fundamental right to religious freedom. The federal government – which was formed to be ‚of the people, by the people, and for the people‛ – has decided to tell some of those people that we are free to hold our faith, but we will be required to deny it in practice. We are here to let the government know that we will render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we will NOT render unto Caesar what belongs to God!
In late January, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that almost all employers — including Catholic employers – would be forced to offer their employees health coverage that includes contraception, sterilization and potentially abortion-inducing drugs. This is in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Catholic faith.
Recognizing this as a grave threat to religious liberty, many people spoke out against the Mandate.
In response to this reaction, President Obama’s Administration announced a so-called ‚compromise‛ in early February. Now, instead of the Catholic Church being required to pay for contraception, sterilization and potentially abortion-inducing drugs, the insurance companies will be required to provide those services free of charge.
We need to say loud and clear: Mr. President, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs aren’t free. Someone has to pay for them. If the insurance company has to provide them, the cost will be passed on to the consumer one way or another – that’s how the economy works!
In other words, the so-called ‚compromise‛ didn’t change anything. Catholic employers – and the Catholic Church itself – will still be forced to pay for things that directly contradict our faith. Apparently we are free to believe, but not free to put our beliefs into practice. In other words, we have freedom of worship, but not freedom of religion.
Our ecumenical brothers and sisters are standing with us today as co- sponsors of this event, and I welcome them – the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God USA. Their witness today says loud and clear: this is not about contraception. This is about religious liberty. Today, the government is telling the Catholic Church how to define its mission; the government is telling us which of our ministries are or are not ‚religious;‛ the government is telling us what teachings we can and cannot act on. Our ecumenical brothers and sisters know that if the government can tell the Catholic Church those things today, then it might be their heads on the chopping block tomorrow. They are here so that we can say together as one body: we will render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but we will NOT render unto Caesar what belongs to God!
Most often the sacrifice required of us has been the ‘white martyrdom’ of a life that is faithful to the Gospel rather than faithful to the culture. But the time has come when we must be prepared for extraordinary sacrifices as well. And that’s precisely what Jesus himself promised us and told us to expect:
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them:, Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. (Mk 8:34; Mt 16:24; Lk 9: 23)
I am convinced that taking up the cross is the way to life. I am convinced that ‘before the cross there is no defense.’ I am convinced that Jesus won victory on the cross, and that he will win victory in us if we take up our cross and follow him.
Will you stand with me and say ‚Jesus, I will take up my cross and follow You‛?
Will you stand with me and say: Mr. President, we cannot comply with this Mandate. We WILL render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar; but we will NOT render unto Caesar what belongs to God. Mr President: restore our religious freedom!
Brothers and sisters: we must be prepared to suffer for our convictions.
But our faith tells us – and history shows us – that suffering will make our witness grow stronger. With that conviction, let us recall the words of EITHER Saint Paul to the Romans OR St. Peter:
I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when His glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you… whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name. (1 Peter 4: 12-16)
“Those Who Treat Life As An Inconvenience Or Burden Are Only Dehumanizing Themselves.”
CNA-Taking as his theme the statement of Pope Benedict XVI, that “every child brings us God’s smile,” Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis wrote on Wednesday that the defense of all members of humanity, from conception to natural death, is ultimately rooted in joy and gratitude for God’s gift of life.
God, the archbishop taught, is “not cold or uncaring,” but “loving and joyful,” creating the universe and every human person for the sake of love. Archbishop Carlson expressed his thoughts in the St. Louis Review, in anticipation of this year’s Respect Life Sunday on October 3.
“At just 11 weeks in the womb,” he observed, “an unborn child smiles. Skeptics say this is simply an involuntary contraction of face muscles. People of faith know better. We believe that this unborn child has already begun his or her lifelong journey as a child of God.”
“Because we are confident that every child brings us God’s smile, we believe that the smiling child in his or her mother’s womb is telling us something important.”
The same goodness of God, the archbishop pointed out, could be seen throughout nature. “Out of God’s goodness comes all of creation – with its natural wonders, its breathtaking loveliness, and its marvelous diversity,” he enthused. “Minerals, plants, animals and human beings all come into existence because of the goodness of God.”
“Our human sinfulness,” the archbishop taught, causes us to “turn the smile (God) gave us into a frown or a scowl or even bitter tears. But that is not the way God made us.” Rather, he explained, we are meant to love and protect one another, understanding that “life is a precious gift to be treasured and nurtured and shared.”
Life’s beginning and end, he said, both illustrate this truth vividly. “The innocence of the unborn child, and the vulnerability of those who are unable to care for themselves because of sickness or old age, remind us that we are responsible for supporting and caring for each other.”
The prelate warned that those who treat persons as an inconvenience or burden, are in reality only dehumanizing themselves.
“How we care for an unexpected child, a parent suffering from cognitive impairment or an infant with a disability does not reflect the degree of their humanity, but our own,” he stated. “We are as dependent on them as they are on us.”
“Every child, at every age of development, brings us God’s smile and invites us to smile in return,” he continued, “to be grateful and loving and generous in sharing God’s wonderful gift of life with others.”
Evoking Christ’s central precept to “love one another as I have loved you,” Archbishop Carlson frankly described both the rigor and the beauty of a true respect for life. “There are be no compromise with the standard Jesus set and continually calls us to,” he affirmed. “The measure of love is to love without measure!”
Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s President-Elect Was Refused the Nomination After Questions About His Open Dissent Concerning His Living Relationship
By Jesse Bogan and Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post Dispatch (edited for length)- A board member of a Catholic nonprofit organization who was told he could not become board president because he is gay is trying to rally support to modify the group’s rules.
Jeffrey Goldone, who has been a vice president on the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis board of directors for five years, was nominated for president in May. He accepted the nomination but was dropped from the running several weeks later.
“I was told that I could not run for president because my living relationship goes against Catholic moral teaching,” which could bring ‘shame and embarrassment” to the society, Goldone wrote in a Aug. 2 letter addressed to “fellow Vincentians.”
Goldone has been in a relationship with his partner for 20 years.
“We are truly blessed by God to have each other and to have Jesus Christ in our lives. How could we be the source of ‘shame and embarrassment?’ ” he wrote.
“We believe that active gay men and women bring a multitude of talents and abilities to our society that are to be shared with all, especially those who are in need,” Goldone states.
The petition quotes the rules as saying, “Vincentians oppose discrimination of all kinds and work to change the attitudes of those who view the weak or those who are different with prejudice, fear or scorn, attitudes which gravely wound the dignity of others.”
On the other hand, a section of the rules states that the “Society recognizes the right and duty of the diocesan bishop to confirm that none of its activities is contrary to Catholic faith or morals.”
Goldone, when contacted by the Post-Dispatch, said the rules are “in conflict with each other, and I want them to be within agreement of each other.”
Goldone took his concerns to Carlson and met with him.
Archbishop Robert Carlson
Ronald Guz, the outgoing board president, said the organization didn’t make the decision, but rather “the Catholic church did” in its teachings.
Archbishop Carlson, in a statement to the Post-Dispatch, said: “The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has a regulation that members running for president live a life according to church teaching. I clarified what church teaching is in the matter of homosexuality.”
The catechism of the Roman Catholic Church labels homosexual acts as “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” because they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis is part of a lay organization that spans 140 countries. Its national headquarters is in St. Louis. The organization is affiliated with the Congregation of the Mission, a Catholic order founded by St. Vincent de Paul and commonly called the Vincentians.
Goldstone points out that he has volunteered countless hours and helped raise money for the last several years. His petition argues that it is “inexcusable” that he was allowed to serve as vice president and in other roles, yet be denied the chance to serve as board president because of his lifestyle.
“If the organization is truly a Christian organization, it must not discriminate against anyone,” the petition says.
Can you please take a second and leave a comment? Did Archbishop Carlson do the right thing?
The Fifth Commandment Demands Otherwise.
Archbshop Robert Carlson-God’s law in the Old Testament is clear and unambiguous: You shall not kill. Jesus is even more demanding: Every one who is angry is liable to judgment.
Sins against the Fifth Commandment are easy to commit. Any time we think, speak or act out of anger or hatred or jealousy or revenge, we abuse God’s commandment that we respect His most precious gift, the gift of life — especially human life.
Human life is sacred because, from its beginning until its natural end, it involves the creative action of God. The Fifth Commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. God alone is the Lord of life. No one has the right to end arbitrarily what God has begun, and sustained, through the gift of His love.
In the account of Abel’s murder by Cain (Genesis 4:8-12), Scripture reveals the presence of anger and envy in humankind, consequences of original sin, from the beginning of recorded history. God declares this as wicked, and He asks the question to be answered over the ages: “What have you done?” Today this question is asked not only of those who kill someone, but also of those responsible for violence, anger, hatred and vengeance in any form.
It is a shame that there are so many violent words expressed between members of the same family day in and day out. Anger and intolerance are also pervasive in our Church and in society. Such attitudes are destructive and sinful. They are of the Evil One and not of God.
The Fifth Commandment does not stop someone from self defense, because someone who defends his or her own life is not guilty of murder. Legitimate defense can be not only a right but also a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or the security of a nation. We risk our lives to protect ourselves and others because we value human life and freedom so dearly. They are gifts from God that we are bound to cherish and defend.
Since the first century, the Church has addressed the moral evil of abortion and the killing of a defenseless baby in the womb. People who are casual about the sin of abortion and who choose to view it as a political issue rather than the serious moral issue that it is are guilty of violating the Fifth Commandment. You cannot be “pro-choice” (pro-abortion) and remain a Catholic in good standing. That’s why the Church asks those who maintain this position not to receive holy Communion. We are not being mean or judgmental, we are simply acknowledging the fact that such a stance is objectively and seriously sinful and is radically inconsistent with the Christian way of life.
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said, “God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and human life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” (“Gaudium et Spes,” No. 51.3). That’s why formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life (see canons 1398,1314, and 1323-1324).
The Fifth Commandment also directs us to work for justice and peace — avoiding war whenever possible — and to limit the use of capital punishment to the most extreme (and rare) circumstances required to protect human life. Only God has the right to take the life of another human being. When we take that action into our own hands — in self-defense or in defense of others — we had better be sure that all other options have been exhausted!
In addition, euthanasia or deliberately taking of the life of someone who is sick, dying, disabled or mentally ill is morally unacceptable. The Church calls for the ordinary care owed to a sick person, but medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous or extraordinary are not necessary. If you are unsure about the moral implications of health care procedures that are being proposed for someone you love, contact your pastor or the archdiocese’s Respect Life Apostolate. They will be happy to help you consider approaches that are in accordance with our Church’s teaching about care for those who are sick or dying.
Taking proper care of our health, respecting others and showing respect for the dead are all matters covered by the Fifth Commandment’s demand that we reverence God’s most precious gift — human life.