The gray haired men in Rome

By Tom Quiner

My liberal Catholic friend intoned,

“Thou shalt not kill.”

“I don’t want a bunch of gray-haired men in Rome telling women what to do with their bodies.”

She speaks for million of Catholic and non-Catholic women. For that matter, she speaks for millions of Catholic and non-Catholic men.

Let’s talk about her statement.

Let’s start with those gray-haired men in Rome, specifically, the Pope. Why does the Pope tell men and women everywhere not to abort their children? Because it violates the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The Catholic Church believes that human life begins at conception. What kind of Church would they be if they told parents it is their choice on whether or not to kill their child? They wouldn’t be a Church any longer. They would be evil because of their refusal to make a moral judgement on an issue of life and death.

Suppose my friend doesn’t believe human life begins at conception? I think it’s fair to ask, then, when does human life begin?

One month?

Three months?

Six months?

At birth?


None of these markers sufficiently measure our humanity. But I could at least understand (but still reject) my friend’s view if she was willing to call for limits on abortion at, let’s say, viability … or even three months. But she doesn’t. She thinks it is up to the woman to decide right up to the moment of birth.

This is the view of Barack Obama and the entire power structure of the Democratic Party. That is who my friend listens to, not the Pope.

Interestingly, the president wants to tell Catholic Churches what they can and cannot believe by imposing the HHS Mandate on them. This requires Catholic organizations to buy insurance coverage for employees that violates their religious conscience.

My friend has no problem with that, and, in fact agrees with Mr. Obama.

So she doesn’t really have a problem with telling someone what to do as long as it is what she wants.

The Obama administration has a history of trying to tell churches what do, even whom they can hire. Fortunately, the Supreme Court disagreed with Mr. Obama and shot him down in a rare, unanimous court decision: Hosanna Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A final thought: my friend doesn’t want the Pope telling her or any woman what they can do with their bodies. But my friend has no problem with what a woman does to her daughter’s pre-born body. This little girl’s body can be cut, dismembered, suctioned, and disposed of without a peep. Her daughter has no say on what happens to her body.

Her dreams can be ground into dust.

Her body won’t even be dignified with a tombstone.

She will never even have a name. Imagine that.

How come the Pope can’t tell my friend it’s wrong to kill, but she can tell her neighbor it’s okay?




  1. Lisa Bourne on November 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Your friend as described is not Catholic.

    • quinersdiner on November 28, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      You open up an interesting avenue of discussion. I agree with your premise, that Catholicism is defined by its timeless beliefs, by its Pope and Magesterium, that a rejection of any of these is a rejection of Catholicism. However, there are many who are best defined as “Cultural Catholics.” They may have been raised Catholic, they may believe many, even most, but not all Catholic precepts. For a long time, I fell into another category of a “Cafeteria Catholic” who would pick and choose which precepts, which principles, which disciplines to embrace. I was the arbiter of these issues, not the Church. Here is the challenge, Lisa. I have grown in my Catholicism and become more fully Catholic. It took me a long time. We want to bring along people (like me) to embrace the full beauty and Truth of Catholicism. It is a two-way street. Catholics need to learn their faith; our Bishops, priests, and schools need to do more to help us understand our faith and how it relates to our place in the world. My sense is that the American Church took their eye off the ball for a whole bunch of years, and we’re paying the price today. I’m seeing some course corrections, but it will take time. The Church’s mission is to win souls for Christ. What do we do with our brothers and sisters sitting in the pews next to us who are Cultural Catholics or Cafeteria Catholics? Each has a soul of incalculable value to Christ. We want to win them back, to draw them nearer to the flame of Truth and Light. It is truly a challenge when they so publicly reject key Catholic principles. I don’t have the answer except to be a broken record and keep repeating the Truth of the Church (hopefully with a loving heart) and remember that I’m not alone. Sometimes I have to work on the loving heart part;-)

  2. Lisa Bourne on November 30, 2012 at 8:36 am

    You can invite, inform and educate, and you should, as that’s our call. They have the free will to accept, embrace, reject or ignore. If you’ve done your best on the former, all that’s left is to pray; because once the teaching of God’s Church has been made available, following through is on them.

    • quinersdiner on November 30, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Very good point. On these critical moral issues as defined by our Church, that is all we can do. I need that reminder that the Holy Spirit is with us, and to keep Him in the middle of the conversation.