Brian R Corbin's Reflections on Religion and Life

Living Your Faith as Citizens and Leaders in Politics, Culture, Society and Business

Payday Lending Issue 5: My opinion


On Election Day, I will be voting yes on Issue 5.  A yes vote supports consumer protection legislation (House Bill 545) recently passed by the Ohio House and Senate. A yes vote means that I agree that the payday lending industry is in need of reform.

The Ohio Catholic Bishops have stated their support for initiatives that protect the working poor and all Ohio consumers from the spiraling indebtedness caused by payday lending.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio believes House Bill 545 responsibly addresses this concern.

Today, many payday borrowers initially seeking one loan to tide them over until their next paycheck find
themselves unable to pay off their payday loan debt.  Instead, they end up taking out loan after loan each pay period, stuck in a debt trap.  The business model by payday lenders appears to encourage this cycle of debt and results in rates of 391% APR.  The legislation passed by the Ohio Legislature would reduce the allowable APR to 28% and make other modifications in the law to protect consumers.

The payday lending industry argues that people use their product and services because they need it.  I believe there must be a better way to provide needed credit than trap vulnerable consumers in a downward cycle of debt.  House Bill 545 is a giant step toward doing just hat.  That is why I am voting yes on Issue 5, and I ask that you do the same.

Filed under: Politics

Prelates say both social and political steps needed to protect life

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholics are required to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies, the chairmen of two committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in an Oct. 21 statement.

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, also urged Catholics to study church teaching on matters pertaining to abortion rather than rely on statements and materials from outside organizations.

The prelates’ statement was released in response to two arguments that have surfaced in the abortion debate during the run-up to the Nov. 4 election.

The first maintains that the Catholic Church should accept the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion as a “permanent fixture of constitutional law” and the only way to reduce abortions is through broader government support for pregnant women. The second holds that the church should focus solely on restoring recognition for unborn children’s human rights and that proposals to provide life-affirming support for pregnant women distract from that effort.

“We want to be clear that neither argument is consistent with Catholic teaching,” the prelates wrote. “Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies.”

In issuing their statement, the bishops signaled both sides of the abortion debate that efforts to protect life must take place both in the social and political realms.

“Providing support for pregnant women so they choose to have their babies is a necessary but not sufficient response to abortion,” they said. “Similarly, reversal of Roe is a necessary but not sufficient condition for restoring an order of justice in our society’s treatment of defenseless human life.

“Both approaches to opposing abortion are essential. By protecting the child’s life to the maximum degree possible, improving life-affirming support for pregnant women and changing the attitudes and prejudices imposed on many women to make them see abortion as an acceptable or necessary solution, we will truly help build a culture of life,” they said.

Overturning the court’s decision would not automatically grant legal protection to the unborn, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy said.

The prelates also cautioned Catholics about the numerous materials that have surfaced recently that attempt to “interpret Catholic teaching” or imply that such resources “represent the teaching of the church.” They affirmed that the year-old “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” document is “the teaching that has been approved” by the bishops to help guide Catholic voters.

They also encouraged Catholics to review documents issued by local bishops and state Catholic conferences for guidance prior to the election.

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Editor’s Note: The full text of the joint statement can be viewed online at

Filed under: Politics, Social Doctrine

Intrinsic evils must never be promoted….what do you think?

In the US Catholic Bishops’ statement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, they write:

“There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called ‘intrinsically evil’ actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. In our nation, ‘abortion and euthanasia have become preeminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others’ (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 5). It is a mistake with grave moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of individual choice. A legal system that violates the basic right to life on the grounds of choice is fundamentally flawed” (paragraph 22).

The Bishops continue to list some other very serious evils in the world:  “Similarly, direct threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as human cloning and destructive research on human embryos, are also intrinsically evil. These must always be opposed. Other direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified” (paragraph 23).  

Please share your thoughts about this very important moral teaching…….

Filed under: Papal Teachings, Politics, Social Doctrine

NY Bishops release statement on review of candidates and moral analysis

Remind Voters Congressional and State Posts Are Key


NEW YORK, OCT. 7, 2008 ( New York prelates are urging citizens to get informed about the platforms of Congressional and state candidates, since they say many moral issues are decided at the state level.


This was one of the points highlighted in a statement released last week called “Our Cherished Right, Our Solemn Duty.”


The prelates first recalled that life issues are the most important criteria when it comes to casting a ballot.


“It is the rare candidate who will agree with the Church on every issue,” they acknowledged. “But […] not every issue is of equal moral gravity. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human person outweighs other concerns where Catholics may use prudential judgment, such as how best to meet the needs of the poor or to increase access to health care for all.


“The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office.”


The New York bishops further recalled that the presidential election is not the only important choice for Catholic voters this November. But, they recognized that informing oneself about other candidates can be more difficult.


“Educating ourselves for the presidential election is somewhat easier than doing so for the congressional or state legislative races, mainly because the candidates’ positions are generally better known,” they wrote. “It is often more difficult to get as good a grasp on the positions of incumbent congressional representatives and state legislators, not to mention their challengers.


“How many of us cannot even name our state senator or assembly member, let alone their electoral opponents? News accounts of positions are harder to come by, and voting records on important issues are often lacking.”


Yet, they affirmed, New York “is facing many critical issues which are of vital concern to faithful Catholics, and it is absolutely necessary for good citizens to pay attention to these races and to vote accordingly for the better candidates.”


“Many of the most compelling moral issues of the day play out at the state level,” the bishops affirmed. They noted issues such as “commonsense restrictions on abortion, whether or not to employ the death penalty, issues related to same-sex ‘marriage’ and civil unions, parental rights in education, programs to serve the poor [and] access to health insurance.”


The prelates urged voters “to learn where all the candidates for every office stand with regard to [critical issues].”

Filed under: Politics, Social Doctrine

Forming Your Conscience: What is a Well Formed Conscience?

The US Catholic Bishops, in their in 2007 Statement, Forming Conscience for Faithful Citizenship, note that the role of the Church is to help persons form their conscience.  This is a long term process.  Election cycles are an important moment for voting.  Such voting requires citizens to have a well formed conscience.

Here is what the Bishops write:

“Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil” (paragraph 17).

The Church’s primary role is to help its members to form their individual conscience and to engage the laity in its work.  

The Bishops outline the proper method of conscience formation: “The formation of conscience includes several elements. First, there is a desire to embrace goodness and truth. For Catholics this begins with a willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right by studying Sacred Scripture and the teaching of the Church as contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also important to examine the facts and background information about various choices. Finally, prayerful reflection is essential to discern the will of God. Catholics must also understand that if they fail to form their consciences they can make erroneous judgments” (paragraph 18).

What do you think?

Filed under: Personal Reflections, Politics, Social Doctrine