Friday, October 31, 2008

Is abortion THE issue?

E.J. Dionne Jr., the Catholic columnist at The Washington Post, writes about how different bishops are responding to that question:
It has become commonplace in American politics: Certain Roman Catholic bishops declare that the faithful should cast their ballots on the basis of a limited number of "nonnegotiable issues," notably opposition to abortion. Conservative Catholics cheer, more liberal Catholics howl. And that is usually the end of the story.

Not this year. Catholics, who are quintessential swing voters and gave narrow but crucial support to President Bush in 2004, are drifting toward Barack Obama. And this time, some church leaders are suggesting that single-issue voting is by no means a Catholic commandment.

In an interview on Monday, Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said his fellow bishops have long insisted that "we're not a one-issue church," a view reflected in their 2007 document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."

"But that's not always what comes out," says Zavala, who is also bishop-president of the Catholic peace group Pax Christi USA. "What I believe, and what the church teaches, is that one abortion is too many. That's why I believe abortion is so important. But in light of this, there are many other issues we need to bring up, other issues we should consider, other issues that touch the reality of our lives."

Those issues, Bishop Zavala said, include racism, torture, genocide, immigration, war and the impact of the economic downturn "on the most vulnerable among us, the elderly, poor children, single mothers."

"We know that neither of the political parties supports everything the church teaches," he added. "We are not going to create a culture of life if we don't talk about all the life issues, beginning with abortion but including all of them."

Zavala was careful to say that he did not want to take issue with any of his fellow bishops. But his view contrasts with that of others in the hierarchy.

Earlier this month, for example, Bishop Joseph Martino of the Scranton (Pa.) Diocese issued a letter warning that "being 'right' on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life." He added: "It is a tragic irony that 'pro-choice' candidates have come to support homicide — the gravest injustice a society can tolerate — in the name of 'social justice.' "

Bishop Zavala's desire to speak out with an alternative view is a sign of how much has changed in four years: Progressive Catholics are now as organized as conservative Catholics were in 2004. At Web sites such as, they are arguing that the abortion question does not trump all other concerns

Albany Catholic suggests you read the entire article, here.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A special Veteran's Day presentation

Capital Repertory Theatre

in collaboration with The American Place Theatre


Tim O’Brien’s

The Things They Carried

Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Capital Repertory Theatre is staging a special evening performance of The American Place Theatre’s production of Tim O’Brien’s masterwork of contemporary literature and Vietnam War remembrance. Adapted in collaboration with the author, this production is a searing 60 minute monologue selected verbatim from the novel that takes the audience through a harrowing journey with its young inductee.

Immediately following the performance, take the opportunity to reflect on the work on stage by staying for a panel discussion with combat veterans:

Ed Bloch, U.S. Marine Corp combat veteran, WWII -- Currently a member of Veterans for Peace, President of the NYS Council of Veterans Organization, Director of the Regional Chapter of the Inter-faith Alliance.

Terry Kindlon, U.S. Army combat veteran, Vietnam War -- Criminal defense lawyer, currently partner in Kindlon, Shanks, and Associates, frequent op-ed contributor on issues of war and peace.

Scott Ritter, U.S. Marine Corp, Intelligence Analyst, Persian Gulf War; U.N. Weapons Inspector -- Internationally recognized speaker on issues of U.S security, foreign policy and the Middle East; author of Waging Peace: the Art of War for the Anti-War Movement.

Tyler Boudreau, U.S. Marine Corp combat veteran, Iraq War -- Author of Packing Inferno: the Unmaking of a Marine and founder of Iraq War Veterans for Iraq Refugees.

Moderator: Mary Darcy, former host and producer of NPR’s nationally syndicated award winning 51%’ -- Currently owner/editor of Alloveralbany. com


To Reserve Your Seats Call The Capital Rep Box Office Today


$20 General Admission / $15 for veterans, subscribers, and students

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Assembly -- Blanchfield and Amadore

The Times Union blog Capital Confidential reports on recents ads involving candidates for the State Assemlby:
Business Review: Stop using our video

The Business Review has posted a story about how it has demanded 105th Assembly Democratic candidate Mark Blanchfield stop using a Review video in Blanchfield’s attack TV and radio ads against Assembly Republican incumbent George Amedore.

The newspaper was contacted earlier in the day about such rumors, but had no comment. The Internet story was posted at 2:24 p.m.

The video, filmed of the Review’s top 40 under 40 business people, shows Amedore talking about his home building business, and his first year in the Assembly. Amedore’s campaign has protested that the clip is unfairly edited to make it sound like Amedore isn’t committed to his elected post. The ad quotes Amedore as saying he doesn’t look at the Assembly position as a job. The rest of the statement, which can be seen on You Tube, shows him adding that he looks at the Assembly seat as serving the community.

“The Business Review owns the exclusive copyright in the 2008 “Forty Under 40” video,” said Business Review Publisher Carolyn Jones in the article. “Our newspaper never granted Mr. Blanchfield permission to use the video for any purpose, including for a commercial for his political campaign.”

“We have demanded that Mr. Blanchfield cease the use of the video immediately,” Jones said in the story.

Commission on Peace and Justice

The Diocesan Commission on Peace and Justice has a blog. (Who knew?)
The blog:
is participating in Blog Action Day, an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion: this year the issue is poverty. Between now and October 15, we will be posting about poverty in our diocese, with material provided by Catholic Charities in its report Poverty in the Diocese of Albany: A Threat to the Common Good." The report, and additional information, is available here.

Albany Catholic hopes you will share the link to the Commission's blog with your friends and parishioners. Of course, if you also choose to share ours, we wouldn't object.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ralph Nader

Lest we be accused of favoring one candidate over another, we note that Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader will be in Albany next Thursday.

Thursday, October 16th
7:30 p.m.
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
The Egg
Empire State Plaza (Albany NY)
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students

More information:


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Registering to vote

Friday, October 10, is the last day to register to vote. The Board of Elections lists the qualifications for voting:

* be a United States citizen;

* be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you file this form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote);

* live at your present address at least 30 days before an election;

* not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction and;

* not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

You can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE to request a voter application.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

NYS Bishops Release Statement on Voting

We received the following from the New York State Catholic Conference:
Catholic Bishops Release Statement on Voting and Political Responsibility

Edward Cardinal Egan and the Catholic Bishops of New York State have issued an appeal to Catholic New Yorkers, urging them to vote in the coming general election. In a statement entitled Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty , the bishops present a list of questions on important issues for voters to consider as they inform their consciences in preparation for entering the voting booth.

In the statement, the bishops warn against voting solely out of party loyalty or self interest. Instead, they wrote, Catholics should be guided by the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church on social issues. While noting that there are many issues of great importance facing the country, the protection of human life rises above all other issues, the bishops said. "The right to life is the right through which all others flow," they wrote. "To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholic should consider them less acceptable for public office."

In the statement, the bishops stressed that voters have an obligation not only to learn the positions of the presidential candidates, but of all of the candidates, including those running for the state legislature. "Many of the most compelling moral issues of the day play out at the state level," they wrote.

The bishops presented questions on issues related to the right to life, parental rights in education, protecting marriage, immigration reform, access to health care, protecting the poor and religious liberty.

Please remember to vote on November 4.

The statement can be read here.