Brother Dan Doesn’t Like the March for Life

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Most Catholic pro-lifers know the truth, and lament it, that if all Catholics in this country fought against abortion, the days of legalized abortion in these United States could be measured in months.  Alas, that is not the case.  Half the Catholics in this country routinely give their votes to the political party that is pledged to keep abortion legal, and many of these same Catholics routinely work against the pro-life movement.  Curious how that segment of Catholics was observing the March for Life, I wandered over to the National Catholic Reporter and read a post, read it here, which gave paeans of praise to a post, go here to read it and the comments,  by a Franciscan Brother, Daniel P. Horan, at his website, Dating God, explaining why he does not support the March for Life.  It so perfectly embodies the mindset among Catholics that has enabled abortion to remain legal for the past four decades that I decided it was worthy of a fisk.

There are indeed numerous reasons to withhold support for the so-called “March for Life.” I wish here to highlight three of the reasons that I have serious reservations about the annual ‘pilgrimage’ to Washington, DC, that draws thousands of well-meaning people, the young and the old alike.

Ah, come on Brother Dan, the use of the term “so-called” as an adjective to modify something that one does not approve of is so cliché.  You can certainly do better than that!

 Ah, but before I go further, I feel as though I need to qualify that last sentence. While the generational divide is usually traversed by a diverse representation of different ages and from idealistic youth and young adults to the more narrowly focused and opinion-concretized geriatric crowd, there is very little racial and ethnic diversity represented.

People on the left are as obsessed as any Ku Kluxer with skin color.  Intellectual diversity however, never seems to be of much concern to them.

Anticipating the likely unhappy responses in what will appear in the comment section below, I suppose it is necessary to acknowledge that there are indeed African-American, Latino/a and Asian women and men who arrive for the events of the annual pilgrimage.

Yeah, Brother Dan lots of ’em, a fact that you would know if you bothered attending the March.

However, their numbers reflect that category into which they are so blindly corralled in this country – a minority. The sea of protesters (and that is what they are) is overwhelmingly white and that is not an insignificant dimension of the event.  

Once again the obsession with race.  The marchers Brother Dan want to save all the unborn, no matter what their skin color.

Among the various reasons one might chose to omit him or herself from participation, I wish to highlight three: (a) the event’s moniker is incomplete at best and disingenuous at worst, (b) the mode of protest has proven ineffective, and, following the second point, (c) the ‘march’ and its related events is a self-serving exercise in self-righteousness, self-congratulatory grandstanding and disinterest in the most pressing matters of human rights and dignity in our world today.  

If stopping the slaying of the most innocent and defenseless among is not the most pressing matter of human rights and dignity in the world today, I wonder what is?  I am sure Brother Dan will enlighten us!

 To begin, I have no problem with people of faith taking a public stance against abortion.

Big of you Brother Dan!

You will never find me supporting abortion legislation nor encouraging those with and for whom I minister as a Roman Catholic cleric to support abortion.

Just casting aspersions from the side lines against those fighting against this manifest evil. 

I believe it is a legitimate issue against which, as a Christian and Roman Catholic, I feel should be a thematic feature of social transformation.

“A thematic feature of social transformation”, whatever the heck that is supposed to mean.

 However, it is not, at all, the most important issue, nor is it the single issue upon which Catholics – or anyone – should focus in an exclusive manner. 

Why not?  Most great evils in this world have been removed due to a single-minded focus upon a particular evil for a time.  The crusade against slavery in this country comes immediately to mind.

  Abortion belongs to a series of social sins of a systemic degree that include capital punishment, war and violence, limitation of social services for the least among us, economic inequality, abject poverty and other threats to the dignity of human persons in our culture and globalized world.

Ah, the “seamless garment” in all its threadbare glory.  The Pope disagrees with you brother.  Here is an excerpt from a letter he wrote as Cardinal Ratzinger.

Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.  For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the  application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not  for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy  Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war,  and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may  still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse  to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among  Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with  regard to abortion and euthanasia.

 Some will claim (likely in the comment section below) that abortion is more egregious than those other things because of the s0-called innocence of the fetuses whose life is prematurely ended.

“So-called innocence” of the fetuses?  Brother, if the unborn are not innocent then there is no such thing as innocence.

Yet, innocence is a construct that has theological and ethical implications and characteristics that have been explored on this website as well as on the excellent WIT: Women in Theology website. I will not rehearse those discussions here.  

Just as well Brother Dan.

 Instead, what is necessary is to recognize the shortcomings of what is too often uncritically lauded among certain sectors of the Catholic and more broad Christian communities as the “pro-life” event par excellence. In fact, it is a striking showing of support for anti-abortion protests, but offers little (with very few, and always marginal, exceptions) by way of a truly Catholic (and catholic, as in universal) pro-life demonstration.

“Seamless garment” this is your cue!

 Such an event would include a much broader representation of the issues that also threaten life and human dignity.   And so I offer this rather non-exhaustive reflection on three points I think need to be considered with regard to assessing the (so-called) “March for Life” each January in Washington, DC.  

“So-called” again.  Really Brother, your reliance on that cliché is juvenile.

 A. The Disingenuousness of its Title   While those who trek to the nation’s capital to stand in the chilly January air are undoubtedly sincere in their conviction, I wonder about the provenance of the march and its title. The march is presented as a positive effort (hence the preposition “for”), yet it really is a protest against something.

Indeed Brother Dan, they are protesting the killing of some 50 million of our brothers and sisters in the womb over the past four decades.

Ostensibly, it is a protest against a United States Supreme Court ruling thirty-nine years ago that grants women the right to procure safe, regulated and legal medical abortions.  

Brother Dan has pro-abort-speak down pat.  There is very little regulation in regard to abortion Brother, and more than a few women have died while receiving a “safe” abortion.  Of course the abortion is never safe for the target of the abortion.

To claim that the march’s focus has anything to do with other matters of justice, human dignity or social justice is contradicted by the endless parade of ecclesiastical and civil politicians that speak at the Vigil Mass the night before and then at the march itself. The focus is very clear: Roe vs. Wade and its overturning.  

Never pretended otherwise Brother.

I might be more apt to support an anti-abortion rally or march against the Roe vs. Wade decision if such an event was given its proper title and promotion.

I sincerely doubt that Brother, judging from this post.

 Instead, moral agency is replaced by pre-emptive and divisive rhetorical deployment in the way that those who gather in the streets of the District of Columbia bearing placards featuring inhumane depictions of aborted fetuses and other such means of attention-seeking present themselves as the “good” (they are, of course, “for life”), and anyone who does not march alongside them, joining the rabble of discontented churchgoers is therefore “bad.” 

“Inhumane depictions”?  Brother, the reality is much, much worse.  “Rabble of discontented churchgoers?”  You know, one of the most striking features of most anti-anti-abortion Catholics that I have encountered is what thorough-going snobs they are.  “You seriously expect me to march with those blue-collar K of Cs and the blue-hair ladies who pray the rosary before Mass?”

  In other words, someone such as myself, an honest and outspoken critic of this particular event, is cast as “bad” or “pro-abortion” by way of omission and my particular absence from the group.

Not at all Brother.  This post establishes that point, not your absence from the March.

Likewise, anyone who finds the means by which this organized and self-congratulatory annual event questionable or disingenuous, those who chose not to partake in the happenings of the march, are similarly considered – if tacitly – “bad.”

No Brother, unless they write a post like this.

Call me what you will, but I’ll call the march what it is: an anti-abortion rally under the guise of a “pro-life event.”  

Shock and horror!  Being against abortion Brother is being pro-life.

B. Lack of Desired Effect and Absence of Purpose   I am the first to argue the one’s ethical telos shouldn’t always be “success” or “accomplishment” according to the standards of the world (in line with the Pauline epistolary). In the case of nonviolence, for example, “success” is often cited as the most justified reason for war and military action. Pacifists will argue that such an end – “success” – is not a category that Christians should appropriate. However, when someone does claim a specific goal as the desired end of an effort, then I think it is fair to evaluate one’s actions based on that aim.   When asked what they want, why they gather and why they march, those assembled today for the (so-called) “March for Life” will readily reply: “to overturn Roe vs. Wade,” by which they mean “to make abortion illegal in the United States.”  


 For nearly forty years people have been doing the exact same thing with no progress of which to speak.

Quite untrue Brother, as the lamentations on pro-abort websites indicate.  The progress is too slow, but progress we are making, no thanks to you or people like you.

 That classic definition of insanity comes to mind: doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result.

By that definition Brother, then Christianity has been insane since the Crucifixion since sin is still plentiful on this planet.

It would appear clear that the method currently in anti-abortion-protest-vogue is not working.

No Brother that is incorrect.  New methods are also being brought into play each year.  I am sure that you are a big fan of Lila Rose and Live Action for instance and their Planned Parenthood stings.

 If anything the number of abortions have increased in the US (most notably and strikingly during the previously esteemed “champion” of the pro-life movement, President George W. Bush).

Ah now we see what really gripes you, eh Brother?  Damn Republicans!  Actually Brother the number of abortions have been going down for years.

 And yes they continue to persist under a Democratic presidential administration too.   Which sheds light on my point: what is the purpose of this march? Is it a political rally? Is it a Republican effort? Is it a Democratic effort? Or is it a Religious effort?

It is a rally Brother to remind people that the pro-life cause will keep fighting until legal protection is once again afforded to God’s children in the womb.

 If it is the latter, then perhaps some serious prayer and discernment is needed so that something can be done in an effort to effect the goal desired by those well-meaning women and men who take time away from families and jobs to march around the streets of DC and sight-see at the Basilica and National Mall.   I don’t care for events that do not have any chance of effecting the goal set out for the effort.   Try something new if you are really serious about reducing or ending abortions.   Perhaps caring for young adults who become pregnant, taking care of unwed mothers, offering good school systems for the children who are carried to term and brought into this world – all of these would be good places to begin.  

All being done already Brother, as I think you would know if you were part of the pro-life movement.  If you are ever in Dwight, Illinois stop by my law office and I will take you to the crisis pregnancy center staffed by volunteers, mostly evangelical women.  I have been honored to be the Chairman of the Board of the Center for the past ten years.  They took part in a local pro-life march on Sunday.

Perhaps those, mostly white, marchers would do well to consider the racial, gender, ethnic, socio-cultural and economic issues that undergird the abortion questions in this country.

Leftists never fail to always return to their hobby horses!

 It is never, never as simple as “good” versus “bad,” “pro-life” versus “pro-death,” and so on. 

It certainly is in the case of whether an unborn child should be legally killed Brother.

  Perhaps I would be more sympathetic to the movement to parade through the streets of Washington, DC, in protest of a forty-year-old Supreme Court decision if I was more convinced of the sincerity of the protesters to do what it is they claim they want, which, if they are truly Christians, demands so very much more of them than getting on a bus for a two-day road trip each January. 

Brother Dan, you have bought the pro-abort propaganda about the pro-life movement hook, line and sinker haven’t you?

  C. An Exercise in Self-Congratulatory Fanfare   This leads me to my final reservation of this post, a point of reflection on which I will conclude these thoughts. While the presenting focus of the (so-called) “March for Life” is the abortion legislation of the United States, what actually takes place seems far less issue-focused and far more an exercise in self-congratulatory fanfare.  

Brother Dan that is perhaps the silliest observation that you make.  No one gains any “prestige points” in our society by being a pro-life activist.  Quite the reverse is the case in regard to the powers that be, including, frequently, within the Catholic Church.

 I have heard numerous people, even those who avidly support the march, lament that the Vigil Mass has become more a “Who’s Who” of a sector of the American Catholic Church than it has the Eucharistic celebration it alleges to be.

No one has ever claimed Brother Dan that the March for Life is a celebration of the Eucharist.   The Vigil Mass of course is all about the Eucharist, as all masses are.   The allegation that it is not is simply bizarre.

What amounts to a veritable “party convention,” with its requisite and seemingly endless congratulatory introductions and “thank yous” to all the US churchmen, the event takes on a sense of the spectacle over and against the sense of the sacred it might otherwise elicit.  

No Brother Dan, the fellowship reminds pro-lifers that they are not alone.  Considering how the pro-life movement is treated routinely in the mainstream media, it is a useful morale boost.  Besides, most of the participants are young people, and they, thank God, have the enthusiasm of youth.

 What strikes me as most egregious in this whole extravaganza is the simplistic distillation of an incredibly complex moral and political issue into the binary “good vs. evil” construction.

Brother Dan, on the question of whether it should be legal to slay the unborn, the terms of good vs. evil are entirely accurate.

It is not that simple.

You couldn’t be more wrong Brother.

Furthermore, as stated above, anything in the Catholic tradition that claims to be “pro-life” – person or event – must also include those other important issues of life and dignity, issues that most of these marchers would otherwise prefer to forget: war, poverty, torture, capital punishment, economic inequality, and the like. 

In short, you can’t be pro-life unless you adopt this laundry list of my issues.

  It is sad that a boutique, albeit legitimate, issue in the Catholic moral tradition has been made to be the singular and defining catholicity litmus test for so many.

The Church has vehemently opposed abortion since the Crucifixion Brother.  There is nothing “boutique” about this teaching.

Who is in and who is out is rarely determined by one’s profession of faith and baptism (that is, by the way, what makes someone a Christian), but where they fall in the pseudo-reality of binary moral categories: “pro-life or not?” which always really means: “anti-abortion” – if only nominally, because no one marching who knows anything about the political system in the US actually thinks a president or a congressman or a supreme court justice can overturn such a contentious and constitutionally protected law – “or not?”  

Brother, if Catholics like yourself did not expend a fair amount of effort in giving aid and comfort to pro-aborts, Roe would only be a bad memory now.

 I look forward to the day when we do assemble thousands of young people and old people alike to march through the streets of the nation’s capital in order to support a movement for life and for human dignity.

You missed a golden opportunity to do so this weekend Brother.

But until the annual January event really addresses the matter of what it means to be for life (literally, “pro-life”), I cannot support it.   I will pray though, as I often do, for all those issues of life and human dignity that get left by the roadside as the marchers in DC parade to the Capitol, their Jerusalem. Perhaps, just maybe, a single Samaritan or even a few might be among the crowd and stop to pick up the ignored and forgotten and left-for-dead issues that continue to threaten life and human dignity in our world.

Brother Dan, the issues that so exercise you, obviously a great deal more than the lack of legal protection for the unborn concerns you, will always have their advocates.  However, absolutely no issue today is more important than stopping abortion.  It is the paramount civil rights issue of our day and I hope that you, and other Catholics on the left, will someday see that.

More to explorer

PopeWatch: BitterWinter

The aptly name online magazine BitterWitter is a good source for the ongoing persecution of Catholics in Red China:   Some in

Google is Evil

    This does not surprise me at all:   In the leaked discussion thread, a Google site reliability engineer hinted at


  1. Is Br. Hogan monastic?

    He certainly doesn’t seem to be afflicted by the realities of an active participation in this issue. Has he not heard of The Gabriel Project? The litany of links on the right of this page is broad enough that anybody who wishes can have as much useful information as could be digested.

    There are many of us in the Church who believe that all life is sacred – that euthanasia, war and capital punishment are also contrary to the teachings of Christ (a dead enemy cannot enjoy Christian fellowship with you, and a dead man can’t reconcile) – but we do not keep this as sine qua non for being anti-abortion; I personally bristle at Br. Hogan’s assertions.

    In any event, I hope somebody at the See sees his screed and gently reminds him of his commitment under Holy Orders to render unto God what is God’s and forget the rest.

  2. The tax collector analogy came to mind as I was reading his post Dale. My guess is that what he wrote probably passes for common wisdom in his circles which is a depressing insight into the state of too much of the Catholic Church in this country.

  3. One of the more annoying rejoinders I have heard used against those who are pro-life is the assertion is that unless you are anti-everything-else listed in the seamless garment perspective you are a hypocrite, or else motivated by some deep seated anger against women. Even if you hold that all of the other issues usually listed in the seamless garment perspective carry equal moral weight, the last time I looked there are only 24 hours in a day, and most of us have lives that require us to work, care for children and family, and address other such minor diversions. Most people pick and choose their battles, and to suggest that one must devote equal amounts of time and energy to all these causes to maintain some sort of moral eqipoise is absurd.

  4. Thank you for posting this, it is eye-opening. Man does he sound angry – can’t he just pop in Brother Sun and Sister Moon and chill out?

    Seriously though, does anyone know to which province Horan belongs? I’d like to know how they consider his viewpoints. While we live in a democracy, there is, or at least was, a discipline in religious orders when it came to statements like his in public forums. I apologize for coming across as naive about Franciscans. The Franciscans I know are Pro-Life (albeit they fixate on physical poverty over spiritual poverty, ironically) and would never hold forth in such a manner.

    I will strongly reconsider financial support of the Franciscans, which I have done in the past.

  5. This type of story is one of the reasons that I have many protestant brothers and sisters questioning my faith and whether it is truly Christian. They wonder why clerics or clergy are allowed to make such statements publicly and are not censured or punished (may be a poor choice of words). I do not have a decent reply when they are making such a valid point. I pray that all those Catholics that are not following the church teachings reconsider and learn there faith and following its beliefs.

  6. All I can wonder is when the last time Brother Dan was at the March, because he seems significantly out-of-touch with what goes on and the type of person who attends the March for Life.
    If Americans died at the rate of 3,000 daily from any other cause, you can bet we would want to fight that cause! We would vote based on that illness or natural disaster and its relief; we would have banners and posters to fight that reality; we would march. What is wrong with publicly denouncing the murder of literally thousands of our brothers and sisters daily with an annual protest?
    I’m a Salesian Sister of St. John Bosco; I’m pro-life, and I intend to educate the young to speak up in respect for life, especially the life of the unborn.

  7. Br. Dan and Fr. Angelus aren’t about to let something so trivial as the “so-called pro-life movement” stand in the way of their devotion to the Democrat Party (and the praise from the “smart-set” Catholics that accompanies such devotion).

  8. Richard-
    my husband asks me the same thing. Best thing I can answer is that the system is incredibly slow, and it requires that a long list of people do what they ought. (Misbehavior is reported to the cleric’s superior, they either talk to the guy or pass it up, lots of opportunities to repent and reform which means even more delay, lots of work to try to avoid driving out those that have been misled, trying to correct those who have weak or flawed formation without destroying them….)

    Even more depressing, although we don’t know exactly how many women die of abortion complications, I’d lay serious money that it’s more than the kids who die in association drop-side cribs (~13 a year–includes SIDS and jumping out to land on your head, etc) and yet, somehow, one is worthy of being banned and the other needs to be “protected.”

    Thankfully, the pro-death crowd is getting to the point of self-parody and it’s turning off some of those who have been manipulated into supporting it– I know of at least one “it’s a woman’s choice, it’s so tough, I can’t judge” type Catholic who’s now anti-abortion because of the Gosnell abortuary coverage. (Or un-coverage, since so much of the “compassion” argument depends on things being hidden.)

  9. The National Catholic Reporter column mentioned “REASON” no less than five times in its short piece. Everybody else is unreasonable, and only they have the “REASON”, but they would not have “REASON” if their brain had been aborted and their tax dollars used to experiment on their aborted brain.

  10. This past Sunday I taught my 7th grade CCD class all about abortion. I really wish I had this post so I could have read it to the kids. I wouldn’t have used names (so the kids wouldn’t be scandalized by this friar), but would have gone through the dialogue back and forth.

    The number of abortions occuring are staggering.

    I think it’s very important to teach our children early what the pro-abortion arguments are. How they try to confuse with words. So when one of our young impressionable kids hears it they can have that internal dialogue of “I already heard this and I know why it’s wrong” and are not swayed.

    Thank you for this post, I will be using in next year (with appropriate rewording for the age group) or even in a later class if the opportunity arises.

  11. Before I continue reading (I am excruciatingly slow) it is extremely important to realize and accept that the MARCH FOR LIFE is the Constitutional First Amendment right to peaceable assembly to petition the government for redress, and if there were only one person attending, he would be a majority of one. I did so enjoy seeing all those persons expressing their freedom (and mine). and thinking WOW. And although I could not march, I got to see Nellie Gray and Chris Smith and Father Pavone. Thank God. Government does not have authentic authority to define the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, giving food to the hungry, to Terry Schiavo, or to dictate the will of God to God and to the people of God, when the person is constituted by his immortal soul and brought into existence. Government has no legal ability to redefine the human person by withholding the acknowedgement of his conscience. Government is establised to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our constitutional posterity, all future generations. Taxing citizens for obligations not fulfilled is extortion and taxation without representation. At least Brother Dan might have spoken up for some of our money, if not our life. Obama has subsummed all future generations as liabilities.

  12. WK. Aiken: Capital punishment is the temporal punishment due to one found guilty of capital homicide and may be found in Acquinas’ just war theory. Only a person who has been rehabilitated may live. A truly repentant capital one murderer must expire with grief over his crime or his contrition is not perfect and society does not have to accept imperfect contrition or to enable the murderer to commit another homicide which will make society liable for the crime.

  13. Great fisk Don. That was one of the most uncharitable & condescending pieces of writing by a so-called Brother I have ever read! Plus, I made the mistake of reading the comments, ick. But I take heart; what his writing really means is that the March for Life does make a difference and hearts & minds are changing – odd that this bothers so-called Br. Dan.

  14. Thank you Will, Mary, Chris and Lisa for your kind words. We will wage this fight for the protection of innocent life until we prevail, and when we do we can all remember those who lent a hand to help in the struggle. Those who sneered from the sidelines will be forgotten, the usual fate of those who stand idle while a great evil is afoot.

  15. “While the generational divide is usually traversed by a diverse representation of different ages and from idealistic youth and young adults to the more narrowly focused and opinion-concretized geriatric crowd, there is very little racial and ethnic diversity represented. ”

    – ! – idealistic youth: Br., it is good that they exist and haven’t been drowned in misery and evil of opinions. There were many accompanied by parents, teachers, and priests (some of whom are becoming reality’s super heroes and, by example, teaching the Gospel).

    – ! – narrowly focused opinion- concretized geriatric crowd: This red flag of a phrase from a Franciscan brother is abomination. Who passed the law to begin this mess? Can’t resist saying it sort of takes one to know one.

    “I have heard numerous people, even those who avidly support the march, lament that the Vigil Mass has become more a “Who’s Who” of a sector of the American Catholic Church than it has the Eucharistic celebration it alleges to be.”

    – ! – Good thing for the American Catholic Church. Also, is this sentence an invitation to the evil of gossip.

    “Perhaps, just maybe, a single Samaritan or even a few might be among the crowd and stop to pick up the ignored and forgotten and left-for-dead issues that continue to threaten life and human dignity in our world.”

    “Binary” good/evil, “Binary” moral, Boutique issue.

    What could be the in-between of good and evil that you frightfully imply? Maybe, yesterday you missed the chance to see any Samaritans while you were in the boutique. It will be televised Sat. at 2:00.

  16. Someone should tell Brother Dan there might have been more blacks at the March for Life if they hadn’t comprised the 60% of the abortions that have taken place since Roe v. Wade. On another note, how could Brother Dan know about the marchers’ self-congratulatory attitude unless he’d been given Divine permission to sit in judgment of them? Finally someone should tell him that if doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity, he’d probably want to avoid frequent confession.l

  17. “Yet, innocence is a construct that has theological and ethical implications and characteristics that have been explored on this website as well as on the excellent WIT: Women in Theology website. I will not rehearse those discussions here.”

    Here’s a link to WIT. I haven’t checked but I suspect they might look upon the fetus as an unjust aggressor on a woman’s body.

  18. I haven’t checked but I suspect they [Women In Theology] might look upon the fetus as an unjust aggressor on a woman’s body.

    Claiming the pre-born person one brought into existence – into a state of unvolitional bodily engulfment and dependence onto oneself – is an “unjust aggressor” mocks reality. Sure, someone might object that this has left a loophole that doesn’t rule out abortions in cases of rape. But that apparent opening (in the seamless garment?) is closed off by other moral prescriptions, including the obligations of charity.

    Still, someone might ignore charity and appeal to the State that this is a practical matter of the pre-born person being a trespasser. Well, we should not practice using the State’s authority to do harm to anyone presumed innocent. Mustn’t there be due process for a person accused of the crime of trespass? It seems to me a trial is required. And as a practical matter the State must wait until the person accused is competent to stand trial… yes?

  19. I was not able to force myself through all his drivel. Made me nauseous. I simply cannot understand how the slaughter of a defenseless innocent child can be ho-hummed away. I know monumental injustice, intimately, but these are children burned to death or torn to shreds……

  20. “Mustn’t there be due process for a person accused of the crime of trespass?”

    Indeed Michael. I have done many trespass cases and can recall not a one where the Defendant was executed.

  21. My comment was tongue-in-cheek. However not so much for WIT:

    “First, it is for this reason that some moral theologians (including, I think, Cathy Kaveny on the Commonweal blog) have argued that the fetus could be thought of in some situations (such as the Phoenix case) as a materially unjust aggressor. It does not intend to attack the mother’s body in an unjust way, but it nonetheless is doing just that, for reasons out of its control. Thus the fetus would be in the same category as the starving but insane man who lunges at your head with a knife because he is convinced it’s actually a melon that sits atop your shoulders. Killing such a person could be said to constitute self-defense.

    Second, and of more interest to me in this post, is that formal innocence is not usually what we mean when we talk about a fetus being innocent. Rather, we mean innocent in the sentimental way that we call adorable animals and babies innocent (Augustine notwithstanding). We mean they are helpless, pitiable, and not [yet] mean beings who can insult us or harm us–and how could you be so cold-hearted that you’d kill such a creature? This kind of rhetoric automatically juxtaposes the innocent fetus with other kinds of people whom society (and a large portion of the pro-life demographic, judging from voting statistics) does not usually call innocent and finds generally threatening or disgusting: enemy soldiers, death row inmates, and worst of all in this discourse, the women who seek abortions in the first place. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the pro-life movement is often criticized for failing to care about just this kind of life outside the womb.”

  22. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the pro-life movement is often criticized for failing to care about just this kind of life outside the womb.

    Well, of course not. If you can’t win on substance and facts, you have to fight by changing the subject and making stuff up.

  23. ” because of the so-called innocence of the fetuses ”

    whats next brother Dan? Spokesperson for Planned Parenthood?

  24. Are you sure that this “Brother Dan” and God are still dating??? I just wondered if they were perhaps on the verge of breaking up or something…telling post indeed. Thanks, Donald.

  25. Richard,

    Having experienced Brother Dan’s in Chanceries and formation programs in several dioceses, I can say he truly believes he is carrying out God’s work. His type are possessed of a radical ideology formed of the sixties that reduces the Gospel to social issues. They pick from authentic Catholic Social teaching when it meets their needs – even shouting out “its infallible” when needed. Then turning their back upon authentic teaching when it doesn’t suit their ends.

    The “Seamless Garment” is a perfect example. It is used to manipulate others to accept that any opposition to raising the maginal tax rate or any govt. cuts is equal to supporting abortion.

    Of course if you take the thoughts of Brother Dan and Women in Theology such things are not the same. Opposing tax hikes is worse than aborting an “unjust aggressor.”

  26. Phillip,

    Right. They think the Gospel says “You have this World. It’s all you have. You need to make it the best thou canst.” See Orwell’s essay on Gandhi. He knew you choose the worldly or the Spiritual. He does not say one is better. He says they are incompatible. And, he concludes the mildest liberal through the violent revolutionary has opted for the worldly.

    So, what if they kill 45,000,000 unborn, the dems are for making Heaven on Earth. And, that’s what it’s all about.

    And, they believe the rich and tax cuts for the rich steal from the undocumented migrants, poor unionized public school teachers, millionaire Federal bureaucrats, UAW workers of GM, 10,000 ACORN-clones, Willy Horton, and et al.

    And, it is working oh so according to plan: “People are hurting, and badly. The official unemployment rate may have fallen, slightly, but the real unemployment rate — the number of working-age Americans who aren’t working — rose from about 12% before the 2008 crisis, to about 23%, and hasn’t come down. That includes people who have retired early because they can’t find work, spouses who used to earn a second income but have gone back to homemaking because work isn’t available, self-employed people whose businesses have collapsed, young people who live in their parents’ basement because they can’t afford tuition and can’t find work. . . . Roughly one out of eight Americans who presumably want to work, and were working before 2007, can’t find work today.”

  27. His type are possessed of a radical ideology formed of the sixties that reduces the Gospel to social issues. They pick from authentic Catholic Social teaching when it meets their need

    Evidently he was born in 1982, grew up in Utica, N.Y., and got the first leg of his tertiary schooling at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. Radicalism was certainly not something he would have absorbed from his social matrix.

  28. “Radicalism was certainly not something he would have absorbed from his social matrix.”

    What social matrix would that be?

  29. Lots of witty prose in the article and the comments. It’s unfortunate that most of it is scornful. If we could criticize in a more constructive fashion, wouldn’t we be more successful in the anti-abortion effort. We as Catholics should be leaders in this domain instead of following in the footsteps of the vitriolic politicians.

  30. Kyle- the proper response to someone claiming to prove that a tiny baby is not innocent is scorn. The response to a Catholic brother who attacks those who protest the slaughter of the unborn is a great deal stronger than scorn.

    If we could criticize in a more constructive fashion

    If? Not only can we do so, we do— when appropriate, and in ways appropriate. “Constructive criticism” usually means soft words and gentle suggestions. When there’s a Catholic brother using dishonest– though standard– rhetorical tricks to attack those who do the small thing of publicly protesting the slaughter of children, it’s unlikely to be appropriate. When dealing with someone who actually tries to write a justification of the slaughter of a tiny baby because they’re not “really” innocent, it’s unlikely to be appropriate.
    A point-by-point response that offers the scorn due this justification of attacking the defenders of children coming from a Franciscan is more likely to be constructive than honeyed words. He’s clearly heard them before, to no effect.

  31. Bro, sounds guilt-ridden. Maybe because he’s so wrong and his conscience is trying to tell him something. Yes, the poor can be fed but the aborted baby is DEAD. Which should take priority. You can convince people to help the poor but can you bring the DEAD back to life? Should I try to help a woman shot by a gun or give her a sack of flour, Bro.? Seamless garment is a cop out. What judging of peoples movtives who are attending the March. Should we keep bringing it to the light or sit home and run the soup kitchen while 54 million children have been killed in this country alone. How many poor have died in this country? thousands proably. No comparision. Its not a matter of innocence vs. guilty it about LIFE vs. DEATH. You can’t be any poorer than DEAD.

  32. -I find it striking and disturbing that Brother Dan, associated with the Church as he is, not only thinks this way, but writes about it, broadcasting his opinions that DIRECTLY contradict the Church.
    -Brother Dan talks about the lack of racial diversity (implying that white folks are trying to force minorites to have babies) in the Pro-Life March. Think of this another way. “White” folks are protesting abortion that kills a much higher percentage of minority babies than white babies. If the white folks are racist they would think that fewer minority babies is good, would they not? If “white” folks think that fewer minority babies is good, why protest against abortion? Let them kill themselves off!
    -If Brother Dan wants to personally focus on poverty, unemployment, at-risk teens, etc., then great. There are so many areas of human existance that need help. But that does not mean ridicule those who focus on the Pro-Life issues. ALL human life is valuable, Bro. Dan, you cannot take the attitude of ‘let’s fix the people we have before we add more’; Jesus taught that the poor will always be with us, not to say that caring for the poor is useless, but that there are teachings, beliefs and moral standards that are timeless.
    -Commentor Philips’ link to Women in Theology where the writer attacks the concept of innocent life, etc., literally turned my stomach. Comparing pregnancy to an unjust attack on a woman’s body, calling concerns for the innocent lives the same as our sentimental love of cute baby animals, etc. I do not “live in a cave”, but I have never read such things, even with my reading on Nazism and Eugenics – not an emotional exaggeration. O.M.G.

  33. Micha Elyi: Let me add: The person is invited by the marital act and therefore cannot be an “UNJUST aggressor”. In a tubal implantation which might cause death, both the mother and child must be saved, if possible. Otherwise, intent to commit abortion is extrauterine homicide. The contradiction here is that the person whose existence is willed by God cannot be both and at the same time, a non-person and a criminal. The child is innocent until the age of reason counted at seven because of a lack of reason, and then counted as an infant child in a court of law until emancipation. To give informed consent after the age of emancipation to a crime is against the law. In cases of rape, the innocent victim who is doing the will of God and nature’s God cannot be put to death because of the crimes of his parent. Only for his own crimes can a man be put to death. Rapists ought to be put in jail for their rest of their lives. Abortion defies the will of God. Nobody comes into existence but by the will of God.

  34. Br.Dan”…have heard numerous people, even those who avidly support the march, lament that the Vigil Mass has become more a “Who’s Who” of a sector of the American Catholic Church than it has the Eucharistic celebration it alleges to be.”

    Dr. McClarey: No one has ever claimed Brother Dan that the March for Life is a celebration of the Eucharist. That allegation is simply bizarre.
    Brother Dan is calling the Vigil Mass an “alleged” Eucharistic celebration. NOW, Brother Dan has gone too far…(censored by the poster) The devil is jealous.

  35. Pillip: About INNOCENCE. Our Creator (The Declaration of Independence) creates a rational, immortal soul to bring man into existence, as man is comprised of body and rational soul. There is no sin in God. God cannot and does not create sin, therefore, the rational, immortal soul endowed with unalienable rights to life, sovereign personhood and virginity is perfectly innocent at creation and endowment. The human being is an image and likesness of God, our Creator, in perfect moral and legal innocence at the first moment of his existence. The newly begotten child of God has a guardian angel. This guardian Angel is dispossessed of his charge and joins the soul back to God. Planned Parenthood cannot kill a person twice, but I bet they would like to try. Women in Theology? no way. If laymen and non-Catholics of good will can write of freedom….

  36. Art,

    Reading the information from St Bonaventure, it seems it is well affected by the spirit of the 60’s.

    One needs not have been born in the sixties to be affected by the university environment fostered by it.

  37. I left this comment on his blog, which apparently he will not allow to be posted:

    “So another rich, privileged, white man withholds his participation from a diverse, grassroots, protest movement. Sounds like the same old song, just a different singer.”

    I guess he didn’t like the irony.

  38. @Mary De Voe “Art: Born in 1982? Brother Dan sounds like a decrepid old, very old man, whose brain has atrophied. No tongue-in-cheek.”

    Bingo! Br. Dan’s Church of the Hip ’70s is dying. Did you notice that he has two Master’s degrees from the Washington Theological Union. Guess what? WTU is closing this year because of lack of funding, students, and support from the consortium of religious orders that founded it.

  39. Reading the information from St Bonaventure, it seems it is well affected by the spirit of the 60?s.

    Compared to where? They have one facially problematic course of study: Women’s studies. All of their graduate programs bar one are in vocational subjects. They have no anthropology faculty and the race-class-gender obsessives you see elsewhere appear to be almost absent from their faculties of history, sociology, and political science. (I am judging from course descriptions and the titles of presentations given and scholarly articles published). There red flags you see in the course descriptions, personal statements, publication titles, and presentation titles of the education faculty are actually a pale pink. I have little doubt the place could be better than it is, but in the scheme of things there appears to be rather less crud than you would expect in baccalaureate institution.

    The place is located in Olean, a pleasant and unpretentious town of about 18,000. That’s a Republican area. He grew up in Utica, also a place almost free of protest politics. The overwhelming reality in both the Southern Tier and the Mohawk Valley has been a decades long process of adjustment to industrial outmigration. In and around Utica, the one place you encounter leftobabble is the campus of Hamilton College, a place run by and for outsiders.

    One needs not have been born in the sixties to be affected by the university environment fostered by it.

    The guy’s just a sport.

  40. Bingo! Br. Dan’s Church of the Hip ’70s is dying.

    He grew up in the Diocese of Syracuse. The church of the Hip ’70s is fairly unusual if not unknown therabouts. The church of casual violations of liturgical norms and music appropriate to score a TV movie sponsored by Hallmark and inane homilies in which the phrase ‘relationship with God’ occurs again and again is what you gett here (and I would wager what he grew up with). The benefit of growing up in Utica is that the Eastern-rites are close at hand. Those parishes are anything but packed, however.

  41. It’s a good thing Br. Dan’s mother didn’t have the same attitudes that he does, OR he wouldn’t be here!

    His superior should be monitering what he says about any Catholic teachings. Oh yeah, Br. Dan what are you doing for the unborn?

  42. Donald, sorry I have been indisposed for some days. But even before I read all the respondents here, tell me, Donald, is this “Brother Dan” a Roman Catholic?? Because reading the excerpts of his Article is he totally against the Teachings of the Catholic Church on this very very crucial Moral Issue of genocide against our neighbours in their first, and the safest home – their mothers’ wombs. This is a Cardial Sin, a Sacrilege of the First Order. If he is truly a Catholic Brother, his Superior must kick him out YERSTERDAY

  43. “is this “Brother Dan” a Roman Catholic”

    Yes Mary, and a Franciscan. Perhaps Brother Dan might wish to take a moment from perusing the Women In Theology website to read this excerpt from Saint Bonaventure’s life of Saint Francis:

    ” It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Grecio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [St. Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff. Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [St. Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem. A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvellously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep. This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles which afterwards confirmed its truth. For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles. “

  44. Donald, I am aggrieved…..that a Franciscan would support heartless, cruel and vicious mass slaughter of the “Innocents” by “Herod Obama” Administration must be making the Merciful Heart of Jesus pierced with a lance, gush forth Blood and Water all over again on the Cross. “Brother Dan” certainly needs a lot of prayers and the Intercession by our Holy Mother….in fact, I dare say, a Miracle. Because as it is, he is on the road to perdition just like Judas Iscariot

  45. Donald:

    As the Hispanic Services Coordinator (unpaid) at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, I, like you, counsel the women that deal with unplanned pregnancies on a daily basis. I help them deal with the “choices” that confront them, the racism they deal with on a daily basis when they elect to keep their children, and I work with women who suffer the indignities and emotional turmoil that result from having had abortions (freely or not). I support the March for Life and I am dismayed at the attitude of this Franciscan Brother. Thank you for so succinctly debating his insidious remarks and for pointing out what seems the almost obvious for those of us who are in the trenches. We may be winning slowly, but we ARE winning. LIFE will prevail over DEATH.

  46. Bro. Dan, indeed, found a wonderful, and free way to promote his new book. Well done, Bro. Dan…just remember all those you are leading astray.

  47. This is the problem with academia: They take obvious church teachings (i.e. the stand against abortion) and twist them using convoluted phraseology which the average person doesn’t understand (and hence cannot dispute). These academic theologians (for that is what Brother Dan is) rely upon the “openness to dialogue with others” created by Vatican II. That, plus the absolute absurdity created by feminist theologians (i.e. the Women in Theology website) creates an atmosphere in which official Catholic teaching is obscured at best, and actively hindered at worst. Now imagine going to a college influenced by these factors (i.e. St. Bonaventure) and we can see how Brother Dan may have arrived at the conclusions that he has.

    In response to Will: Br. Dan belongs to the Holy Name Province. You can find this site here:

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