My autistic son. I love America.

Today, as I sat in my office, my youngest and autistic son called me on the phone from summer school.  He said, “Hey Dad, I need some money to go to Dairy Queen across from the school.”    He is in summer school and attends with a number of other children who either have some mental or physical (or both) limitation.   His teachers intended to take him and the entire class of students to Dairy Queen.   Like so often what happens, I had given him about $5 earlier in the morning, but he had lost the money!  Nevertheless, I took off from work for a few moments and joined my son at the local Dairy Queen with about 25 other students.   I am always excited to see my son.  He is autistic but he is a joy to be around.   His simplicity of heart and good will is a genuine resting place for me because of my crowded and busy life.

In addition, I rejoiced in seeing how the teachers treated the other students as they lined up to purchase items at the Dairy Queen counter.   With a beautiful face and a wide smile, the counterperson smiled as she attended the obviously handicapped kids.   The children comprehended the universal language of ice cream, milkshakes, soda, and corn dogs.  The teachers treated each student under his or her charge with patience and attention; tending each as if the student was a son or daughter. 

The experience reminded me of the grace with which Our Lord treats each of us, despite our weaknesses, sins, and faults,  or our tendencies or fallibilities; He attends us with grace.  All He asks is our love and obedience in return and adherence to the truth.  His truth.  The good, really good, thing about all of this is that in life, we must seek the truth in charity.  If we ignore the truth, we do so at our own peril.   

On the eve of our national 4th of July weekend and celebration, I am very thankful that I live in America, that my family lives here, and that this land still loves and lives freedom.   I am thankful despite all that has occured and the injustices of people who commit and endorse the killing of kids in the womb, or the elderly or infirm, or the “inconvenience” of those who are weak and need our attention, I still love this country.  I am thankful despite the politics of reprisal and the agenda of politicians driven by ideology and agendas rather than truth and right order.   I still love this country.  I will be singing this weekend.  Somewhere, probably at Church or thereafter, “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner” will be sung and with a heart full, I am thankful for the men and women over the last two centuries who have given their lives, their time,  their energy, and efforts to defend this Nation.   May God grant repose of the faithfully departed veterans, fathers and mothers, and friends that have gone before us.  May God heal our land and bring it to the Truth with charity in peace. 


A Pretzel and The Absolute Right to Abortion.

The blog at First Things gets it right.  In modern America, abortion matters.  Often, it surpasses other rights.  After all, the act of an abortion grants an ugly spiritual power to certain groups in our society and  in the end, it “matters more than anything else.”     Our society is disordered and the logic is twisted into nonsense, when it permits the killing of kids in the womb and justifies it through politics.  In fact, lesser crimes like lying and cheating, and denying the rights of a parent become easy. 

For instance, as First Things reports in its blog about a 15 year-old pregnant girl that attends a public school and goes to the local school medical clinic.  In the case reported, the local school district cooperated with the minor’s abortion without a parent’s consent.  

Ironically, what if the pregnant youth, while being transported to the abortion office, had a headache and requests the school nurse for a pain reliever?    Imagine it for a moment, during transport, while attending the pregnant child, the school nurse calls the mother and asks permission to administer aspirin to the minor child?   That is required by law.  Yet, with great irony, the school nurse is not obligated to inform the mother or obtain the mother’s permission for the girl to commit an abortion.

This is absolute objective nonsense.   Yet, that is the state of the law in some states in America!   When human law abandons the concept that each and every human person has human dignity with the right to make choices and live in dignity, this is the kind of twisted mess that results. 

With further irony, what happens if the provider botches the abortion that requires immediate hospital treatment? The girl will be transported to the local hospital via ambulance and, guess what, absent an emergency the hospital would have to call a parent for permission to medically treat the child!  Also, regardless of what happens at the hospital, who is responsible for the hospital bills and ambulance?  The parents.

Only a pretzel could do better.

Editor-in-Chief, Gian Maria Vian, L’Osservatore Romano, The Vatican: “Obama is not a pro-abortion president.”

Dear Sir:

Your comments that appear in the American news service, Catholic News Agency, were sorrowful.  Unlike Europe’s gradual decline over the last several decades, America still believes in Christ and the Faith.  The culture war is upon us but the war for America’s soul is far from lost.  Your comments that confuse the Faithful is not helpful.  And the Faithful tire of this confusion from the Church.  As the editor in Chief of a grand newspaper,  you could have said something less than “Obama is not a pro-abortion president.”  You pointed out rightly that Mr. Obama approached the issue with some class, but Mr. Obama’s manner and demeanor does not diminish or eliminate his pro-abortion record as a prior state senator or U.S. senator.  Further his record since ascending the U.S. presidency is clearly pro-abortion.  He may want to dialog with respect, but the reality is that his positions are pro-abortion and his position leads to the death of the innocent. 

Your expression otherwise is a deep insult to any person who can simply observe the actions of others.  I am sorry to say, but in my opinion your absolute statement that Mr. Obama is not a pro-abortion president is good old-fashioned scandal and in some ways, treacherous.  The clerics and laity who have stepped up and tried to forge an articulate and respectable pro-life vanguard in America have been betrayed.  Your position on Mr. Obama is profoundly grieving to many Christians.

Report on Notre Dame Rally

ND Response Holds Rally for Thousands on Notre Dame Campus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2009 Media Contact: John Daly, ND Response,, 502.693.5112

ND Response Holds Rally for Thousands on Notre Dame Campus Bishop D’Arcy Calls Seniors “Heroes” For Affirming University’s Catholic Identity and Pro-Life Mission. 

Notre Dame, IN – Approximately 3000 people gathered on the South Quad of the University of Notre Dame’s campus this past Sunday for a Mass, rally, and prayer vigil hosted by the student coalition ND Response. These events, which were planned in reaction to Notre Dame’s conferring of an honorary law degree to President Barack Obama at its Commencement Exercises, were intended to witness to the Catholic identity of the University and its foundationally pro-life mission.

With pro-life supporters and Notre Dame faithful traveling in from places as far away as Mexico, New York, California, and Florida to stand alongside the ND Response students on their graduation day, Sunday’s events not only provided powerful witness to the sanctity of human life but also expressed constructive disappointment at the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama, who has publicly supported abortion and embryo-destructive stem cell research during his tenure in office.

Bishop John M. D’Arcy, who skipped the University’s official graduation ceremony but attended the rally hosted by ND Response students, publicly thanked the coalition’s students for their constructive and respectful witness and called them “heroes.” Bishop D’Arcy’s words at the rally were bolstered by speeches given by a number of Notre Dame alumni, faculty, and students who challenged Notre Dame to both maintain its Catholic character and live up to the pro-life teachings of the Church.

Following Sunday’s rally, nearly 40 graduates who had decided to skip their commencement ceremony gathered in the University’s Grotto for a prayer vigil and to listen to a meditation given by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. These students were joined at this vigil by over 800 people, including their parents, siblings, and families.

The text and video of the speeches and meditations given at Sunday’s rally and prayer vigil are available on the ND Response website, DVDs of the event and ND Response t-shirts will be made available shortly.

Mary Ann Glendon is Not silent.

America’s former Ambassador  Mary Ann Glendon to the Vatican has turned down an invitation to the Commencement at Notre Dame.    In her letter to Notre Dame, she included these words:

“A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.”

See, for the comment.  (Underline added here). 

The phrase, “fundamental principles of justice,” is powerful.  There are those who support abortion either vocally or by silent consent.  These include Catholics who claim to support and work for social justice.   If these Catholics deny this fundamental injustice, then they have no credibility.   None.

Letter to Lay Members of the Order of Preachers regarding Peace & Justice Issues

[The actual final recommendations from the lay members of the Western Dominican Province to the North American Dominican Promoters of Peace & Justice are listed at the bottom of this post.]


John Keenan, O.P.L., J.D.

Lay Promoter

Peace & Justice, Care of Creation

Western Dominican Province

United States of America


April 16, 2009


Chapter Promoters, Peace & Justice Care of Creation

Lay Provincial Representatives

Western Dominican Province


            Re:       North American Peace & Justice Promoters meeting;

                        June 16-18, 2009


Dear Friends:


            Happy Easter!


            The Lay Provincial Council meeting is set for June 19-21, 2009.  The North American Dominican Promoters for Justice and Peace (NADPJP) meeting is for June 16-18, 2009 at Adrian, Michigan.  


            Please carefully review this letter.  Its purpose is to explain steps taken most recently regarding issues for the NADPJP, suggested issues, and asking for your Chapter’s suggestions for issues, comment, and input. 


1.      What happened.


In Sr. Farnan’s and Fr. Dahm’s letter of March 20, 2009, they said:


In April we will send out an official registration form for you and a tentative Agenda.  If you have any suggestions for the Agenda please email Chuck or I  [sic] and we will take this into consideration.  At Present we believe we need to address: Immigration, Nuclear Weapons, Middle East: Iraq and Palestine/Israel, Human Trafficking and Ecological issues.  We will try and use the framework of the Millennium Development Goals.”  (Underline mine).


With that request in mind, I drafted a letter and forwarded it to the Lay Provincial Council executive committee for their consideration.  I was given permission to forward the letter to Sr. Farnan and Fr. Dahm for their consideration. 


2.       The next step.


The earlier letter is not the final submission to Sr. Farnan and Fr. Dahm.  Therefore, please follow this procedure. 

a.       Peace & Justice chapter promoters and LPC representatives should review the issues listed below with your chapter and/or council.  

b.      Forward your comments and suggestions to me by no later than May 10, 2009 to my email address at john[at]  If you wish to discuss via the telephone, email me and give me a good time of day to call and your phone number.  I will call you back.

c.       These will be forwarded to the LPC Executive Committee for their review; after which they will be forwarded to Sr. Farnan and Fr. Dahm.  

d.      That letter will ask that they formally consider the issues of most concern to the lay members of the Western Dominican Province.


3.   Current NADPJP issues.  The 2006 Dominican Call to Justice document includes the following issues: (1) death penalty, (2) disarmament, (3) Iraq, (4) Israel/Palestine, (5) Africa, (6) Columbia, (7) Migration/Immigration, (8) Human Trafficking, (9) United Nations, and (10) Global warming.  You can see the details at the following website:




In addition, the referenced justice Dominican Leadership Conference online page lists other related issues, including the “new cosmology,” the “School of the Americas,” and “global warming.”  Many of these political and philosophical issues do not reflect key Church or moral teachings.  Further, these issues may be supported or opposed in good faith by different men and women of good will exercising prudent judgment.


The Church encourages us individually to be involved in cultural, social, and political associations with other persons of good will.  However, when we come together as Lay Dominicans, we belong to a province and an ecclesial institute of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic.  We do not belong to a political party.  There is a place for political issues and movements.  The Lay Fraternities is not that place.


Indeed, we belong to the Church which is a divine institution.  As Dominicans, we should responsibly review each social and political issue very carefully so that it reflects the moral order, conscience, issues and efforts so dear and close to the Church–not the whim of ideology and political ideas that benefit from currency or fancy.  The Vatican Council II amplifies this point when it states, “Laymen should also know that it is generally the function of their well-formed Christian conscience to see that the divine law is inscribed in the life of the earthly city….”  Guadiam et Spes, No. 43 (Emphasis mine).  See, On Social Justice Issues


Examples.  The Israel/Palestine conflict is a perennial issue, but there are two sides to the question.  Created under international law, Israel has a place in the world and the right to defend itself from aggression and terrorist attacks.  It also has the obligation to act in accord with the moral law and international law. 


            The Palestinians’ right to an independent nation-state should also be recognized.  It seems altogether, however, that many of the Dominicans at the national and international level promote only the Palestinian perspective.  This is very political.  Both sides of this issue, if reviewed carefully, articulate well their respective positions.  Probably both are true and both are exaggerated.  Nevertheless, the rights of both parties and people need to be recognized. 


Another example is the nation of Columbia. 


The United States has interfered with that country and promoted the war against the drug trade.  The Dominican Order has focused on that issue to the exclusion of other important issues that have occurred in Columbia.  While the drug trade and the drug war have harmed many innocent people, two years ago organizations of the United Nations and international pro-abortion groups successfully pressured Columbia and its supreme court to legalize abortion and “reproductive health” rights.  Where were the Dominicans on that issue?  You will not find that discussion on the page. See, Dominican Life USA: Columbia


In addition, Dominican involvement at the United Nations is very important.  As a moral force, in addition to the issues it engages, you will see little, if any, Dominican involvement in ending abortion or focusing on the rights of the child in the womb as well as outside the womb. See, Dominicans at U.N.  


Fundamental to human liberty and to the pursuit of happiness, is the right to life.   As Dominicans, we are part of the moral vanguard, seeking and identifying, as we presently do, the numerous injustices in the world, but we also have the obligation to stand at the U.N.’s gates and remind them that if they cannot stand against the killing of the most innocent among us, then all their pronouncements and declarations are for naught.  This is especially true with the new American administration’s support for abortion ‘rights.’


Another example is “global warming.”  While many people state that the issue of man-caused global warming is fully and finally settled, and that we must take every measure necessary to change it, over the last two years, several world-renowned and honored scientists have come out against the concept of global warming, e.g. see these links, Michael Crichton, U.S. Senate Environment Committee: 650 scientists dissent man-made global warming theory, Global Warming Petition Project, 31,000 scientists reject Global Warming, NASA worldbook, and NASA scientist rejects theory.   The economic harm to the poor and underprivileged has not been seriously calculated if governments impose extreme anti-global warming measures, i.e. the cap in trade law.  See, here.


Another issue of concern is the Earth Charter.   The Earth Charter may be read at this link, Earth Charter in Action; and analyzed here, Catholic Family organization; and more deeply reviewed here, The Earth Charter.  Note also, the analysis on the Earth Charter was done last summer in prior correspondence to the LPC dated July 3, 2008.  To access, click here.


Finally, most importantly, what about protecting innocent human life?  From persons in the womb to disabled and older people, is quality of life the only measure of life?  As Dominicans, we need to stand as Christ did, as a contradiction to the world when protecting human life and in protecting institutions with historical and family significance.   If we want justice, we start with peace.   Abortion makes war on humankind and the world.


5.     Proposed changes and issues at the North American Dominican Promoters of Peace and Justice meeting, and why.


a.       A key change is simply procedural


First, discuss a procedure or organizational structure by which the peace & justice promoters expand representation of the sisters, friars, and lay people, and include a process that encourages a wide-based, grassroots consultation with all members of the Order regarding key issues.


b.     The following items are proposed for inclusion in this year’s list of issues according to the following order of priority:


1.    A call for a pro-life position consistent with the Church’s teaching relative to innocent human life from conception to natural death.


2.   A call to member governments, NGOS, and peoples from the United Nations to end the funding and advocacy of abortion or birth control.


3.  A call to the several states to pass and define the historical legal definition of marriage to be between one man and one woman.


4. A call to refocus the Order’s efforts toward a Christian-based anthropocentric environmental position.   Conservation programs must be based on good science, reasonable, moderate, and effective action, right and good order, and realistic solutions.


5.  A call to decrease excessive governmental intrusion and regulation in the health care marketplace. 


6.  A call to ease the tax burden on the American middle class.


The first few of these proposals consider the Church’s positions on key religious and social issues, including pro-life efforts, abortion, and marriage.  These concerns deserve a priority.  The “greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion.” [Mother Teresa, February 4, 1994’].  If the Dominican peace and justice movement is about true peace, then it should tackle the pro-life issue with a compelling priority.  Society desperately needs a softened heart.  If society cannot see an unborn person as innocent and defenseless, then are we—as Christians—doing any good elsewhere? 


The last two proposed issues are provided for several reasons. 


First, it is to propose differing, yet reasonable, points-of-view. There are men and women of good will who—in good faith—believe differently.  Some issues are debatable and should be thoroughly discussed before the Order endorses peace and justice initiatives.


Second, the Order of Preachers is not the proper forum for discussing many political issues.  Frankly, the better place for many initiatives is political and social institutions.   While the Church and ecclesial institutes may provide a proper moral guide, they should not engage in and make final decisions with regard to subjects where people of good will and good judgment differ on problems seeking effective solutions. 


For instance, some people have cited universal health care as a “right.”  While most people agree with such a sentiment initially, there are realities that need to be considered.


The first reality is that government-driven health care leads to long waiting periods and limited services.   Second, people want a choice.  Third, often times, when government intrudes, it creates more problems than solutions.  Is that not why this discussion should be held in a a political forum and not in an ecclesial one? 


Many people believe that human freedom is paramount to ending poverty worldwide, that the marketplace is best suited to provide the goods and services needed by people in the world.  Economic freedom enables men and women to protect and provide for themselves and their families.  Government is a partner in this effort, not the universal solution for social, economic, and other problems.  That is another example of why this discussion should deal with key issues involving our Faith. 


Conservation and the environment are legitimate issues and need focus.  On the other hand, where radical environmentalism acts with religious fervor, it places humankind below creation in the order of the cosmos.   In my home state, Idaho, this extreme position has closed forests to timber harvesting.   A dozen small Idaho towns have lost timber mills and tens of thousands of sustainable jobs that provide for workers and families.  Without conservation efforts to cull the forest and its undergrowth, the forest becomes fodder for intense and hot summer fires covering thousands of acres.


Third, there are solutions to social problems that need little, if any, government funding or action. 


As an example, the American middle class is the most charitable class of people the world has ever known.  


Following Christ’s admonition to provide charity for the poor and underprivileged, the American people give generously domestically and to foreign peoples when disaster and emergencies strike.   Rather than relying on taxpayer monies, in record amounts the American people readily give their personal time, energy, and intelligence, as well as money, to those in need.  If the American middle class is deprived of its wealth through excessive taxation, then many social justice and peace efforts around the world will be deprived of key capital. .


Finally, thank you for taking the time to read and study this letter.  Once I receive your Chapter’s contribution, I will present it to the LPC Executive Committee and forward them to the committee organizing the NADPJP set for June 16-18, 2009. 


Happy Easter.   

                                                                        Sincerely in St. Dominic,




                                                                        John Keenan, O.P.L., J.D.




These are the final and actual recommendations from the lay people of the Western Dominican Province forwarded to Sr. Durstyne Farnan, O.P., of the Adrian Congregation on June 17, 2009, for submission to the North American Dominican Promoters of Peace & Justice meeting:


*That all public and private institutions at the state, national, and international levels seek and promote the legal protection of innocent human beings from conception to natural death from loss of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and, relating to the dignity of each human being and based upon the concept that society may be properly protected from harm, that any person found guilty of any heinous crime should not suffer the death penalty.

*That grounded on the rule of law and the sovereignty of nations, persons immigrating to, or emigrating from, a nation should be treated with respect to, and in compliance with, the rights accorded such persons based upon the inherent dignity of each human being, together with rights established under law, including but not limited to natural, individual, family, religious, and civil rights.



UNICEF Calls for Legal Abortion in Dominican Republic

United Nations “imperialism.”

“…Nils Kastberg, UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, interjected himself, calling on Dominican legislators to consider liberalizing abortion so women would not be forced into “unsafe procedures.” This type of interjection carries the weight of the United Nations behind it and is quite intimidating to smaller countries. That is why it is commendable that the land of St. Dominic [Santo Dominigo] has stood its ground so far against this type of domination.

Justice & Peace eLetter, No. 2, November 2008

Justice & Peace eLetter

Western Dominican Province

Peace & Justice

Vol. I, No. 2, November, 2008




Dear Lay Dominicans & Friends:


The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is named well, as it seeks to set out a complete text about the issues of social justice and peace in the modern world.   One method of tackling such a large subject is to take “small bites” with one subject, chapter, or page at a time. 

In this edition of Justice & Peace eLetter, the first attempt at writing about topics addressed in the Compendium, the article below addresses the subject of the Trinity, our relationship with God and with each other.   God willing, the Compendium will be examined in this forum, Justice & Peace eLetter, one subject at a time over the next three years.

  The second article in this eLetter, along with one attachment, is a brief review of a Saturday October, 23, 2008 justice and peace promoters meeting held in California.   My attendance was not possible.  Regardless, I asked the promoters to include the issue as one of their “call to action” issues.  That request was rejected as explained below.  Please review and write if you have any comments or questions.  John[at sign] 


                         In peace & faith,

                         John Keenan, JD, OPL



 On the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church :


The Love Shared among The Trinity, is the Charity that Christians should Share,

in the Social Action and Goal of Perfecting Society.


Whatever you wish men should do to you, do so to them.  Matthew 7:12.    After our love and duty to God, the social doctrine of the Catholic Church begins here, the GOLDEN RULE.    The Golden Rule applies from the dark cavernous caves beneath the earth to the heights of lofty buildings and magnificent mountains and everything in between.  It can be carried about like a well-remembered proverb that has penetrated the heart and soul, when considering the dignity and hope that each human person brings to you and the realization that each human encounter is no coincidence. 

The purpose here is to commence a series of thought-provoking articles and dialog about the Church’s social doctrine among members of the lay chapters of the Order of Preachers that may impact their lives, families, and communities.   It is also an effort to develop and form consciences in a distinctly Catholic worldview about peace and justice, based on the Holy Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church,[1] among other core sources.

It commences with the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue as otherwise known, that forms a bond and fidelity to the One True God.  The Ten Commandments teaches “us the true humanity of man.  They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person.”[2]   The Ten Commandments “describe universal human rights.”[3]  It deals with the reality that the members of humankind not only have a relationship with the Lord, our God, but with each other.   As Our Lord said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:37-39.  See, also, Deuteronomy 6:5[4]

The expression of this love for God and other persons was initially expressed in the Old Testament, where it states “you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need,”[5]  Deuteronomy 15:7-8.  See, also, Leviticus 19:33-34.  As the Compendium articulates well, the regular jubilee year (every 50 years) was established for the “social and economic life of the people of Israel.”  Compendium p. 12.   Fields lied fallow, debts were cancelled, and there was a general release of persons and goods.  Compendium, p. 12.  The purpose of these laws was not only the founding cornerstone of Israel but its social and economic life as well, and it dealt with economic poverty and social injustices of the Nation of Israel.  Compendium, p. 13.   The early Prophets of God articulated and preached a type of justice and solidarity, qualities “which reside in the Lord’s heart” which we should nourish in ourselves, “[t]hen God’s will articulated in the Decalogue given on Sinai, will be able to take root creatively in man’s innermost being.”  Compendium, p. 13.

As so well stated, “[t]he process of internalization gives rise to greater depth and realism in social action, making possible the progressive universalization of attitudes of justice and solidarity, which the people of the Covenant are called to have towards all men and women of every people and nation.”   Compendium, p. 13 (emphasis original).   It is an irrational error to view this statement from a political worldview, because the concept quoted above is voicing a religious perspective that is ageless and Godly. 

This is social action grounded in the love of God, i.e. charity, which can be and should be fulfilled in this world.  It is not political in action, seeking to satisfy the shifting sands of power, worldly desire, and personal fulfillment, but true love of God in action for the care of one’s person, his or her family, neighbor, and for all of humankind, and thereafter to steward and conserve all of creation.

Jesus Christ is the par exemple of and the fulfillment of the Father’s plan of love.  Compendium, p. 14.    That which opens the heart of all persons and gives inspiration from the Holy Spirit, is that love which “inspires Jesus’ ministry among men is the love that [Christ] has experienced in his intimate union with the Father.  Compendium, p. 14 (emphasis original). 

This love between the Divine Persons of the Trinity should be shared by us all, in that “there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine Persons and the union of the children of God in truth and love.”  Compendium, p. 16. 

In the present order of the world, there are those who facially seek social change through various means but for wrong reasons.  Often motivated politically, or for gain whether monetary or prestige, or for the sheer activity involved, these people seek political ends by religious means, thus injecting their own will (as opposed to God’s) and worldly dogma of political correctness.   Our Lord rejected these politically-motivated purposes, for after He fed the five thousand, “Jesus, knowing that [the crowd] intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”  John 6:15.  Consider also the motivations of Judas Iscariot.

Therefore, Christians should be motivated to social action by the Love of God and of neighbor, not for political, social, or other worldly motivations.  This certainly requires a careful examination of conscience after much prayer. 

The next time your receive this newsletter, God willing it will address more on God’s plan of love for humanity as expressed in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.   [John Keenan, JD, OPL, Promoter of Peace and Justice, Lay Dominicans, Western Dominican Province].



On the Dominican Call to Action [SEE ATTACHMENT IN POST BELOW:


The “Justice Elephant” in the promoter ‘kitchen’: incorporating the issue of “abortion” as part of the Dominican Call to Action.


On October 23, 2008, the peace and justice promoters for the Western Dominican Province, including religious congregations, friars, and the lay folk, met in California to discuss the current North American Dominican Call to Action.  [See link,].  Gloria Escalona, OPL attended as the secretary but did not represent the lay people of the Dominican Western Province.    I could not attend.  Regardless, in an effort to represent the lay people of the Order of Preachers in the Western United States, with the consent of the executive committee of the LPC, I submitted a proposal to the peace and justice promoter meeting, to include the issue of abortion as part of the “Call to Action.”


Prior to that meeting, the following text of the request regarding the issue of abortion, was forwarded to all members of the meeting, but addressed to Sr. Stella Goodpasture, OP:


Dear Sr. Goodpasture:

I have attached a copy of a recent newsletter called Idaho Domincana.   I would kindly ask that the promoters at the upcoming meeting would consider the issue of abortion as a vital part of the agenda for promoters.  The attached document includes an article explaining our chapter’s position on this issue.   This is such an important and fundamental issue facing our society today.   The newsletter also explains the pope’s position on preserving and protecting the Native Americans when the European first came to our great land here: to respect their freedom, their right to property, and not to enslave them.  He also admonished them to respect these native people because they were fully able to receive the Gospel.  I pray that the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, be with you this coming meeting and that He may guide you in all good things. 

You have my best wishes and prayers. 

Thanks kindly,

John Keenan, JD, OPL, Peace & Justice Promoter, Lay Members, Western Dominican Province.

A copy of the article addressing the issue of abortion and position taken by the Blessed Margaret Chapter in Boise is set forth here:

The 2008 Election:

The Unborn, First in Public Policy

The Scriptures say, that when we obey Christ and transform our minds to conform to His, that “there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”  Colossians 3:11.  Over history, by development of ideas, and by transformation of minds and hearts by the grace of Him, mankind and the law have also accepted this elevated thinking. 

Before God, as is the goal of modern human law, there is no distinction between groups of people.  In principle, it is “justice for all.”   This is well established in the founding principles and laws of the United States, where it was written:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  (Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).  

This elemental legal cornerstone of the United States of America proves we are a Godly nation at our founding, and are based upon two principles: (1) that no man is above the law, and (2) that there are fundamental laws grounded in the natural law, or that law which is derived by nature.  For instance, any human legislative body cannot repeal the law against murder, assault, battery, robbery, stealing, and lying, among others.  These laws are written into our very beings, and if the state were to allow such infringements, the state’s laws are void because they violate the natural law that is written on our minds and upon our hearts. (Hebrews 10:16)  St. Thomas Aquinas says such governmental enactments are not law, but are a type of violence.  Without just men and women serving in governmental posts and without just laws, tyranny will soon follow.  

Public policy and public laws must be rooted in and guided by the natural law and the concept that no man or woman is above the law.   God has called many people to advocate for good public policy.  These are advocates, jurists, and activists who work in the political arena for the common good, seeking to perfect society through the cooperation of public and private officials and entities.  There is many a laudable goal, when these activists advocate for the homeless, the disenfranchised, the naked, the voiceless, and the poor, among others. 

The foremost principle in our modern social culture is that all such advocates and activists should first advocate justice for unborn persons.  The unborn share in the characteristics of all other disenfranchised groups.  In other words, the unborn persons are naked, voiceless, innocent, unseen, disenfranchised, blind, choice-less, and marginalized.    Based upon present U.S. law as stated by the Nation’s highest Court, the unborn have no rights or guarantees to pursue happiness, to own property, to make love, to have children, or to simply live and breathe.    The unborn children who are aborted will never see the sunset, or be guided by the Scriptures, or see, or feel, or touch those about them.    Innocent of personal sin, the unborn child has made no choices, has not failed or succeeded, or responded to God’s grace or sinned. 

Advocacy for good public policy is not grounded in a proverbial woven cloth, but a priority rooted in justice first for the most innocent and voiceless in our society.   Effective advocacy starts with the rights of the innocent unborn, which fruitfully legitimizes and encourages advocacy for the homeless, the disenfranchised, the disabled, the marginalized, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. 

Under the present law in the United States, the pure power of choice trumps the rights of persons (unborn) granted under the natural law—in other words, God-given rights—and life becomes cheap in all its forms; whether unborn, old, sick, homeless, hungry, blind, poor, voiceless, powerless, or disabled.   When men and women of good will seek legal justice and public policy based upon fundamental rights and not for political purposes, it will result in clarity and priority of purpose for all other advocacy. 

Therefore, as a matter of justice, as a matter of true concern and Godly charity, it is essential that Christian advocates and activists, whether for political, religious, or social purposes, and Christian public officials, concern themselves by prioritizing their effort for life; firstly the unborn, and secondly other persons.  To bring justice to all the disadvantaged, we must first bring it to the most humble and poor first.  In modern America, that is the unborn.

The ‘petition’ asking that the promoters, among other issues, to include the issue of abortion among the “Call to Action” issue and agenda, was considered by the promoters,  In the minutes to the meeting regarding the ‘petition’ the email to Sr. Goodpasture, OP was acknowledged where it states:

“We have all received John Keenan’s email.  We all recognize abortion as contrary to support for all life, and we all support the life of the unborn.  Following discussion, we agreed with Fr. John Morris, that abortion is not the central issue of social justice (although it is an important issue).   In the past the overemphasis by some groups on the issue of abortion to the exclusion of other life issues, has been discussed.  The group assembled decided we would recommend that abortion not be included in the new North American Dominican Call to Action.”

A copy of the minutes of the Western Dominican Promoters of Justice, Peace, and Care of Creation is attached to this document for your review and reference [PLEASE SEE POST BELOW ENTITLED “MINUTES’].   The minutes noted of my desire to present the issue next year at the promoters meeting in Adrian, Michigan.

Of course, it is without hesitation that one should take exception to the idea that “abortion is not the central issue of social justice.”   Whether that statement is correctly attributable to Fr. Morris, charitably such a statement reflects a profound negligence of the understanding and purpose of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.  It cannot stand, “for the absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture… .”  Evangelium Vitae, No. 57 (1995).


Factually, the killing of innocent children whether born or unborn, the old and infirm, are the most fundamental monstrosities of modern life.  Among the issues that the promoters seek, many seek a political ends by religious means, failing the most fundamental of social justice rigors: charity first, second … and last.

We must acknowledge that laws and decrees that permit the commission of abortions are not the only issues of peace and justice, but the shedding of innocent blood is an abhorrence to God.  Psalm 106: 35-40.  Further, with the federal elections behinds us, the president-elect has made a clear record that he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act—proposed legislation that would eliminate any and all state and federal restrictions on abortion (parental choice, informed consent) and mandate public funds be expended in the killing of innocent unborn life.

With hope and prayers, let’s continue to work for true charity, and peace and justice in our society as lay members of the Order of Preachers.  If you wish to discuss this matter, do not hesitate to contact me via my email address at john[at sign]  I pray all goes well with you. 

In peace & faith,

John Keenan, JD, OPL

Promoter, Peace & Justice

Lay Members

Western Dominican Province.




[1] © 2004, Liberia Editrice Vaticana, USCCB Publishing, Washington, D.C. [hereinafter Compendium] [also internet link,].

[2] Compendium, p. 12. (Quoting, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2070). 

[3] Compendium, p. 12.

[4] Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. 

[5] Compendium, p. 12.