Catholic Phoenix


Link Roundup for Friday

U.S. House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Father John Muir was the first guest on this week's The Bishop's Hour. He and host Michael Dixon talked about love and marriage.

Frequent CP commenter Fr. Reginaldus contributed  Lying to Planned Parenthood, or is it mental reservation? at The New Theological Movement (mental reservation defined at the Catholic Encyclopedia).  Writers on the morality of Lila Rose's undercover video exposé are too prolific and numerous to link to here, Fr. Reginaldus responds to some of them here.

Chuck Colson responds to Nicholas Kristof's recent New York Times column on Bishop Olmstead's decision regarding St. Joseph's hospital in his piece  Calling Good 'Evil' and Evil 'Good' . (thanks, dad)

Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic is the man who brought you The Teleology of Vodka, this week he offers us A Carbonara Based Life*.    Warning to recovering Post-Modernists: Contains at least one gratuitous pop-culture reference.

The Curt Jester reflects on reading Brant Pitre’s book  Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper.

Canadian Judge rules baby's life support to be removed against parents' wishes. via Creative Minority Report.

Senator Arpaio? (poll)

Stacy at Accepting Abundance asked What if Watson Wins Jeopardy? The IBM supercomputer did win at Jeopardy! And while we're referring to "Watson" by his person-like name....

Futurepundit asks: Any Animals Qualify For Personhood Status? in response to the idea that some non-human animals meet the criteria of legal personhood. Maybe that's why the Phoenix Zoo insists on translating Orang-Hutan as "People of The Forest" every chance they get.

Share your links to this week's stories below.

7 comments | Add one of your own.

  1. Reginaldus

    Thank you for linking to my articles! I would mention that the article by Dr. Monica Miller at is well worth a reading (though, I disagree with her conclusions, she seems to be one of the few who are thinking rationally in this debate).
    For what it’s worth, Mark Shea has a couple good articles as well (at the National Catholic Register blog).
    But I would say that the article by Peter Kreeft (at is a great disappointment…in fact, his article is so poorly written that I will no longer be recommending any of his books or articles (on any subject) to anyone in the future! [as it turns out, he is a proportionalist and a consequantialist]
    Nevertheless, for those who want to defend Lila Rose and co., I would strongly recommend reading Dr. Miller’s article at — it is just about the only pro-LiveAction article which is rational and Catholic (though I am convinced it is still wrong). …After reading her article, my response (which is linked in Captoe’s “roundup”) may be helpful…
    Peace. +


  2. Leila

    Fr. R,
    I do understand that lying is intrinsically wrong, and I appreciate all you’ve written on this topic. However, their is one thing that I still can’t reconcile. You stated on your blog comments: “Even if Live Action was using only broad mental reservations, this would still be inappropriate since only agents of the State can lawfully carry out such ‘sting’ operations.”

    I sincerely don’t understand why it’s only “agents of the State” who are morally allowed to act in this manner. Why the distinction? Is that a Church teaching? And I am worried about all the (traditionally Catholic) cops through the history of our nation who have worked undercover again and again. Why did the Church not speak loudly and clearly that this is wrong so that her children would not be in sin?

    I am honestly asking. Thanks!


    1. Reginaldus

      Leila, I don’t want to take over the comments here at Catholic Phoenix, but just a short word … When I speak of “agents of the State”, I am referring to people like the police and spies, etc. Hence, I would want to argue that there are legitimate ways that the police could carry out “sting” operation. [in fact, I think that there are often sins involved, but it is theoretically possible to be done well]
      The distinction that I want to make is between civilians and police.
      Certainly, the whole issue is complicated and there is some room for debate. Peace and blessings. +


      1. Leila

        I’m sure the good folks at CP don’t mind if you comment copiously! :)

        Yes, I understand who agents of the State are, but I’m just wondering why they are legitimate agents in such cases, but private citizens are not. That’s all I was wondering.

        I still hope someone (anyone) can answer my question about why the Church has not spoken about this, regarding undercover work. You may very well be right on this, Fr. R, but I just need it all to make sense to me. That is both my strength and my weakness! :)

        Oh, and I agree that stings can be morally dangerous, but also that they can be done in a morally acceptable way.



        1. Reginaldus

          Very good, I think I understand your question … The reason that agents of the State are able to carry out broad mental reservations more extensively than civilians is that broad mental reservation can cause serious damage to the social order — even though it is not intrinsically evil, it can only be used for a just reason.
          The reason is this: If we all went around speaking in highly ambiguous language, then speech (which is necessary for the good order of society) would become terrible corrupted and confused. Thus, the ordinary citizen ought not to make too “broad” a use of broad mental reservation.

          The case is different, however, with those who are deputed for the good of society to make use of broad mental reservations (e.g. undercover cops).
          There is a comparison with carrying fire-arms…in general, it is destructive to the good order of society for someone to carry a loaded weapon onto school-grounds. However, it is actually conducive to good order for a cop to have a loaded pistol when he is deputed by the State.

          This is my main point: Broad mental reservation can ordinarily only be used when we are unwillingly being forced to answer questions [consider the case of Fr. Miguel Pro who pretended to be a farmer in order to continue his ministry as a priest].
          For a citizen, to go “undercover” and willingly make use of broad mental reservation is something far beyond what is ordinarily allowed — it would be like Fr. Miguel purposely seeking out state officials and telling them “I am a farmer”…
          I want to argue that such activity is destructive of society and, therefore, ought only to be carried out by officers of the State.

          As to why the Church hasn’t spoken about the issue: 1) There is nothing (inherently) wrong with being an undercover police agent — so there is no reason why the Church would speak on that issue. 2) It is quite clear that vigilante civilian activity is ordinarily not approved … so there is no need for the Church to specifically condemn vigilante civilian undercover work.

          I hope that this makes sense. Certainly, it seems that there is room for some diversity of opinion when it comes to undercover police work — and, perhaps, even undercover vigilante work by civilians … so long as we maintain that outright lying is always and everywhere wrong (by it’s nature to be condemned).


  3. Leila

    Fr. R., thank you for taking the time, and yes, now I get what you are saying. I appreciate the nuances you illustrate, and yes, I agree that lying is inherently evil, at all times.