The Gospel Truth

The 54 % Conundrum | October 17, 2010

In the 1920s Bruce Barton was more just an advertising executive.  He was also a man determined to make business into
 something like an object of worship, and the business executive into the truest spiritual descendant of
 Jesus Christ.

In the Man Nobody Knows the two main characteristics Jesus had
 were his blazing convictionand his wonderful power to pick men–exactly the two attributes Barton
 says a successful business executive has to have.

His book sold well, and was also distributed free to 
managers and salesmen in business firms.

Only strong men can lead and Jesus had millions follow him over the years.

According to author Og Mandino St. Paul was the Greatest Salesman in the world.

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Knew how to sell

It is interesting that these two movtivational speakers used Christianitry to emphasize principles of salesmanship—probably because of the great number of faithful and ardent Catholics throughout history.

Can we say that now?

Look at the Church teachings on life.

Thou shalt not kill is the 5th commandment and abortion is directly linked to the killing of innocent beings.

Yet it can’t sell its position, even to its own people.

Just look at the last election—54% of the American voters voted for Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in history.

When he was in the Illinois State House he voted present many times, which was the equivalent of a “no” vote to stop a bill that would have protected the nascent lives of abortion survivors, who were often put into a waste can and sequestered in some closet to die.

Now why is that?

How is it that the Church has failed to sell this most blessed event to its own people?

Are they only cultural Catholic or, what we may call CINOS—Catholics in name only or is there something else going on?

What are the obstacles to the selling of the life of the unborn child?

Many of them are cultural.  Our flawed nature is clearly evident in the culture’s vast saturation with sex.

Thanks to the likes of Alfred Kinsey and Hugh Hefner, sexual frequency and variety seem to be the rule instead of fidelity and quality.

Another cultural obstacle is the narcissist nature of many of our opinion makers who stress the existential importance of making our own decisions, independent of parents, family, church and ethics.

Another important obstacle is the reigning mind set of many in the Catholic Church:

I am talking about Church leaders themselves—many of the actual pro-life leaders, who seem to undermine their own message.

I am basically talking about the principle of the Seamless Garment.

I call it The Shroud of Bernardin.

The metaphor of the seamless garment dates back to John’s Gospel (19:23), where the Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ tunic, which was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.

This principle places the heinous evils of abortion and euthanasia on the same moral plane as war, poverty, the death penalty, immigration, tax cuts (anti), the federal deficit, education, health care, crime and the minimum wage.

The seamless garment appears as a symbol of unity, designed to underscore the Church’s deep concern for all human life, from the moment of conception to natural death.

Cynics would say that the seamless garment had been contrived to shroud Catholic politicians under a protective mantel of ecclesiastical approval.

Charity dictates that the divisiveness of the seamless garments was just one of a host of unintended consequences that spoiled a pious attempt to recognize the sanctity of all human life.

Whether unintentionally or maliciously, the Cardinal’s garment has served as a shroud under which several Catholic politicians have been able to hide for over twenty years.

The seamless garment has trivialized the Church’s opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research by equating it with civil rights, the death penalty, and the minimum wage.

Cardinal Bernardin’s seamless garment has produced anything but unity in the Church on prolife issues.

His metaphor has served to undermine, contradict, and provide a false moral equivalency that has ruptured and seriously damaged the Church’s historical teachings against abortion.

Joseph Bernardin.jpg

His garment undermined pro-life movement

The seamless garment has been effectively used to rip and fray opposition to abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research, the most important threads in the seamless garments.

It has permitted culture of death politicians to advocate a variegated list of anti-life programs that have blatantly contradicted the teachings of the Church on the sanctity of innocent life.

It is the policy that under the rubric of pro-life there are many different issues that are often summarized under the umbrella slogan of from conception to natural death.

Is any word missing from that definition?

Without the word innocent, I believe the motto is worthless!

I also understand it is the mantra for Father Pavone the founder of Priests for Life, who will be following me next time.

I interviewed him on KSIV for Phyllis Schlafly a few years ago and told him that I didn’t see any difference between that and the seamless garments because it seems to include the same broad spectrum of life issues, as does Bernardin’s Garment.

That is precisely the intent of the seamless garment to obscure and literally bury the triad of real life issues and the only ones that should attract your major attention and they are:  abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.

All the others are secondary.

Where are the bishops in all of this?

It is true that in a pluralistic society the Church cannot impose its moral teachings on society as a whole.

But the bishops have an ecclesiastical responsibility of following the three-verb job description of their holy office, which is to teach, govern and sanctify their flocks.

They have a moral responsibility to demand that the Church’s visible members reflect its teachings in the same breath that they proclaim themselves to be good Catholics.

For the bishops to declare that pro-abortion politicians cannot be in the state of grace because of their obstinacy in face of the Church’s teaching and their persistence in scandalizing the rest of the faithful, they are not guilty of excessive vigilance.

They are merely performing their magisterial duty in accordance with Canons 915 and 916.

This reminds me of the Durbin Survey just before the 2004 national elections.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois released a report in early June of 2004 that analyzed the votes of 24 Catholic U.S. Senators on a variety of issues of great interest to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the 108th Congress (2003-2004).

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Took unscientific poll

The issues where divided into three areas: Domestic, International, and Pro-Life.

There was no sliding scale.  Each category was morally equally.

The death of an unborn baby carried as much value as a 50-cent raise in the minimum wage.

This underscores the liberal approach to societal problems and religious integrity.

Not surprisingly, Senator John Kerry, Durbin, and Edward Kennedy all earned scores of just over 60% in accordance with the issues promulgated by the USCCB.

Republican Senators Peter Fitzgerald and Sam Brownback, who have consistently voted against abortion, scored just over 50%.

Santorum was about 53%.

Another stark contrast to modern Catholic politicians is the story of St. Thomas More who defied his king for the love of his Church in the 16th century.

St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers and politicians, refused to approve the Act of Supremacy of King Henry VIII, whereby the king declared himself to be the Head of the Church.

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Church came first

More and Henry had been lifelong friends.But the king’s defiance of Rome because of his celebrated divorce of his first Queen, Catherine of Aragon, so he could marry his pregnant mistress Ann Boleyn, painted More into a deadly corner.

Before his beheading in the Tower of London, in 1535, More modestly proclaimed I am the king’s good servant but God’s first.

How come our society has not produced men in political office of More’s worth and courage?

Where are our prelates and priests who are so dedicated to saving the lives of the unborn?

Or are their hearts still caught within the false promises of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.  That is our conundrum…that is our challenge.



  1. I am just sick. Yesterday in town there was a run for breast cancer awareness. 4,000 showed up. Even our local newspaper was printed in pink to commerate the event. We also had a public rosary rally outdoors on a main street and 60 people showed up. I even wrote an article for the local newspaper which they did not print. I grieve. Pax.

    Comment by Mary B — October 17, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

  2. Mary: Don’t lose heart. The secular culture is quick to support a “popular” cause like breast cancer. It was a Komen run, its 4,000 participants were probably guilty of supporting breast cancer—the jokes on them—because Komen support Planned Parenthood and everyone should know that a woman who aborts her 1st pregnancy is 40% more likely to develop breast cacer in her lifetime—seems counterproductive to me. Bb

    Comment by bbprof — October 17, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  3. I recall when a State Government Attorney General was refused communion by a Eucharistic Minister some time ago.
    He had referred a preposed legislation on abortion to the states Law Reform Commission, which was passed as legal up to 24 weeks gestation.
    The Parish Priest over-ruled the decision and apologised.
    A Catholic polititcian can always resign if any government institutes laws against church teaching or conscience as far as I’m concerned.
    Many of us remain out on a limb for our principles.

    Comment by Lynne Newington — October 18, 2010 @ 12:34 am


    Comment by joseph viola — October 18, 2010 @ 4:38 am

  5. Joe:

    I am not really upset or surprised. I know money is the root of this problem, plus political power and influence. I am a good deal disappointed that so many of the faithful are manning and womanning the picket lines here in St. Louis at the killing centers and all over the country and so many of our leaders turn a deaf ear to us. Bb

    Comment by bbprof — October 18, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  6. I found an interesting article on the death penalty and Christianity that explaines some things I believe people often get wrong. Worth checking out:

    Comment by loukas19 — October 18, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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