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The Catholic Vote and Mr. Romney Print E-mail
By Hadley Arkes   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Editors Note: Today George Marlin continues his electoral analysis at our other site, Complete Catholicism, with a look at the Catholic vote in the crucial swing state of Michigan.  Robert Royal

The news came last Tuesday when I was doing an interview on radio with a faithful reader of The Catholic Thing, Mike Janocik in Louisville, Kentucky. He sprung on me the findings from the National Catholic Election Survey, taken with quite a large sample.   They were the findings that George Marlin would report the very next day in our columns, and so they struck with more of a jolt, taken in for the first time.

Among those who called themselves Catholics, Mr. Obama led Mr. Romney by eight points. I quickly protested: A striking difference will appear as soon as the survey separates the nominal Catholics from the Catholics who regularly attend Mass. But the sample was already arranged in that way, and what it revealed was that Romney led Obama by only one point. 

That, it seemed to me, was breathtaking and unbelievable. Could it be that there really was no “Catholic vote,” because Catholics now mirrored the rest of the country in their voting? I know, of course, the tradition that has held many Catholics in the Democratic Party almost as a “default” position.  

But as I tell people, “We all used to be Democrats.” I grew up a child of the Cook County Democratic Organization. At a pro-life meeting in Detroit many years ago, a speaker debunking the population problem laid before us an imagined scene in which everyone in the world were moved into Texas. And Texas, under those conditions, would be less dense than his hometown of San Francisco.  

When it became my turn I remarked that this account moved me to a recognition of faith: If everyone in the world were moved to Texas, and there was no one anywhere else – not in Europe, in Asia, in Africa – I still believed that there would be. . .400,000 Democratic votes reported from Chicago.

But the Democratic party in which so many of us had grown up is long gone. That party has now made the “right to abortion” and gay rights the central pins on which virtually all of its others interests hinge, along with the power of the public service unions.

The party has brought forth an administration that is perfectly willing to see Catholic institutions close down if they will not fund contraception and abortion in their medical plans. It would see agencies of adoption close if they refuse to place children for adoption with homosexual couples.

In response to the demands of the Democratic caucus in the House, we can expect to see Catholic hospitals faced with the threat of losing tax exemptions, or authorizations to expand, if they will not perform abortions. The assumption of religious freedom, so long settled, so long taken for granted, is now treated as problematic. 

The current administration and its adherents in the country do not show the least expression of shame when they are faced with this record of treating religious freedom as a matter of no consequence. No big deal. And now we are told that most of the people who describe themselves as Catholics share the sense that there is indeed, in this record, nothing of consequence; nothing that would make a difference to their judgment on the government they would preserve in power this November – or displace. 


             If the choice does not matter to Catholics, why not?

George Marlin reflects the reaction of the savvy observers: first the shock at the findings from the surveys, but then the flight to the diagnosis – that Mitt Romney is not “connecting” with middle-class Catholics. Rightly or wrong, many Catholics, worried about their own situations, are not sure, as George Marlin says, that “their working-class values and priorities are [Romney’s].”  

For some of us, the complaint is bizarre, for it is hard to look at the personal lives engaged here and see any notable advantage for Mr. Obama on the measure of “caring.” Nor does he seem exactly comparable to his rival in the private record of ministering to people outside his own family.  

Obamacare has already been holding out the prospect of heavy new taxes and regulations kicking in when employers add a fiftieth employee;  and one finds no flicker of awareness on the part of Mr. Obama that his own policies may be powerfully discouraging employers from the risk of creating new jobs.

But put all of that aside, to the department of conjecture. We are talking now about an administration as hostile to Catholic moral teaching as an administration can be without branding itself explicitly as anti-Catholic.  

The taking of innocent life on a vast scale each year in abortions? No deal breaker, we are to told, for most Catholics.

When we add this up, it becomes a massive moral distraction to point to Mr. Romney’s problems in “connecting” as though he bore the major fault here. The real scandal involves a Catholic population that has somehow not noticed the war on Catholic life taking place, or has decided that it doesn’t matter.  

I once asked a pro-lifer I knew, an Orthodox Jew, just how he made his argument to Jewish audiences. He said, “I ask them, ‘Are you Jewish? If so, why aren’t you respecting Jewish laws on the child in the womb?’” 

Leave aside Mitt Romney. The real question is for Catholics: Where is your own responsibility to face up to what is happening around you, and the responsibilities you bear – if in fact you are Catholic?

Hadley Arkes is the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence at Amherst College and the Director of the Claremont Center for the Jurisprudence of Natural Law in Washington. D.C. His most recent book is Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law.
 
 
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Comments (65)Add Comment
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written by Howard Kainz, September 24, 2012
In the 2008 election, some priests and bishops actually warned that voting for Obama would be a mortal sin. They might have had more success if Obama had actually come out and said explicitly "I am going to personally arrange for the destruction of more than a million unborn babies here and throughout the world." But somehow, bizarrely, even many Catholics have bought into the idea that abortion is just one species of "social justice" -- guaranteeing the right of women to do away with their own offspring
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written by Jack,CT, September 25, 2012
In Ny the "Morning after pill",is handed out by school nurses!We must remember how important this vote is!
The "Non Negotiables" are Life and Marriage.
we need change and the Romney vote is a vote for "LIFE
AND MARRIAGE" I pray for our nation and all Catholics.
Why can "people" hand out "morning after DEATH", but
the same people can not give a tylenol?

The reason is parents are the people to go to in crisis,
(percieved crisis), not the "SCHOOL NURSE".
Pray for our young, i will and we hope we all will.
thanks for a great article.
Jack
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written by Dale Lund, September 25, 2012
"In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it.'"
—Blessed John Paul II
From his encyclical letter, "Evangelium Vitae".

No Catholic will vote for Obama.
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written by Kathy , September 25, 2012
Catholics are also hitching their wagons to Ron Paul these days. It's a disturbing trend. And, it is no closer to the teachings on Catholic morality than any other choice. What most Catholics don't understand is their Faith. Cathechesis from the pulpit is more necessary than ever; until a change in the guard from the old school priest to the younger better catechized and courageous priest occurs, Catholics will vote erroneously.
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written by Manfred, September 25, 2012
"Verily I say unto you, heaven and earth shall not pass away until every jot and tittle has been satisfied." Matthew 5:18 Do you recall that the Blessed Mother promised at Fatima (1917) that if people did not convert and amend their lives, there would be a worse war in the pontificate of Pius XI? You see, for the last fifty years people have lived their lives with the anticipation that there would be NO PENALTY. Sin was out. Hell no longer existed. Everyone was saved! You lay out the problem very well, Dr. Arkes, but you seem baffled because you can't put your finger on the cause of the failure of "catholics" (sic) to vote logically. Obama is serving the same role as Hitler and Stalin and Tojo-he is leading his nation into a terrible time of suffering because it is God's Will that it be allowed to happen. He is merely the agent. Did we ever really think that we could legalize 54 million abortions? That we could legalize a man marrying another man? We forgot why serious people pray-because we understand it is GOD's WORLD and we exist at His discretion. He has always set the rules. They have never been optional. Smell the coffee. It is time to pay the bill and it will be staggering. Thank you for a great article, as usual, Dr. Arkes!
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written by Achilles, September 25, 2012
Dale Lund, I agree with you and up you, no Catholic can vote for obama. I stammer and sputter at the keyboard trying to fathom what has gone so wrong in the American Catholic Church. The devil has done work here he must be very proud of.
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written by Rob, September 25, 2012
This site often seems to hit the panic button only when the GOP is under attack and not GOD....

Obama is dreadful and no Catholic can vote for him. But is Romney much better? He was pro-abortion and pro-sodomy marriage when he thought it helped him politically. When it did not, he abandoned those positions. Ryan might be alright on social issues but, on many economic ones, he is opposing where the Church stands. The Republicans are the lesser of two evils but they are still evil.

Let us be very clear. Many Beltway Catholics who demand a large voice for the Church in the public square pound the drums for the Republicans. But many of us have tuned them out. Why? The likes of Weigel and Novak and the late Father Neuhaus (to his credit, he turned on this issue) demanded a large voice for the Church in the public square but when John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI said that America should not invade Iraq....the Beltway Catholics proved to be God's good servants but the GOP's first. While I sympathize with Dr. Arkes, I remain suspect about this site and the likes of EPPC. The lesser of two evils is still evil and I, for one, will not be doing much celebrating when I cast my vote for a non-Christian like Romney who stands for nothing.
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written by Sue, September 25, 2012
Perhaps Obama catholics are reacting to the hypocrisy of Catholics supporting Romney, whose hairdo might be more appealing but nevertheless supports (or initiates) many of the same soul-destroying practices as Obama - he was father of Obamacare, brags about the test-tube origin of his grandkids, enshrined the gay marriage misery in Massachusetts, for the NDAA, etc. etc.

Note that you rarely hear Romney Catholics say the virtue of voting for Romney - it's always vote against Obama. But if you voted for Romney you'd arguably be violating Faithful Citizenship as well. I can see German Catholics making similar arguments to support Hitler - because he's NOT Stalin/a communist (at a time when there were real threats from Communism in Germany).

My hypothesis is that Obama catholics are not seeing a great distinction between the two candidates/parties, and therefore going with the one that at least has more liberal/hip cachet.
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written by jsmitty, September 25, 2012
Look I understand the hand wringing...I don't want four more years of Obama either...but in a two party system we're left with the GOP...and I'm afraid they've gone off the deep end as a responsible governing party choosing instead the path of becoming an increasingly angry, aging social protest movement. Each cycle I've found it harder and harder to make the case for the GOP program on taxes, economics, spending, foreign policy etc...which leaves me appealing to those for whom abortion trumps all else (who are already voting Republican anyway). Each election cycle I feel more and more taken for granted by a party that no longer represents me on the issues of the day, beyond throwing up candidates who check the right box on abortion out of political expediency.

Dr. Arkes I put to you the same question I put to Randall Smith. How loony does the GOP have to get, how enthralled to a long gone political era and a 30-40 year old agenda, how bad do their candidates and program have to be, how self-contradictory and nutty do their ideas have to sound before we give up on them as a vessel for social change? At what point do we stop wasting our time making these arguments and give up trying to change the country though electoral politics--at least given the party coalitions as they exist now? When do we realize that the GOP is demographically, ideologically, and culturally a sinking ship and adjust the pro-life strategy accordingly? When do we finally admit that the pro-life political strategy developed in the 1970's of throwing as much Catholic support to the GOP as possible has accomplished all the good that it could do and that its time to think about plan B?

I ask you this as a profoundly disgruntled pro-life Catholic Republican who is concerned about the moral, cultural and economic direction of the country. I doubt I'm the only one out there who feels like ditching today's GOP.
..., Low-rated comment [Show]
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written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, September 25, 2012
Sue

Some French Catholics made precisely that argument. Cardinal Baudrillart, Rector of the Catholic Institute in Paris, declared "it is now a crusade against the Soviets: a crusade, pleasing to God,” and encouraged the formation of the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism, along with lay Catholics like Alphonse de Châteaubriant and Ferdinand de Brinon.
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written by Mr. Levy, September 25, 2012
jsmitty, what specific political course do you suggest? Your complaints are phrased generally and without a counter-proposal. I would sincerely like to hear your ideas, as, I am sure, would others.
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written by jsmitty, September 25, 2012
To Mr. Levy..

I would actually like to see a GOP that retains its opposition to abortion and gay marriage but takes due note of the fact that the challenges of the country as a whole are very different than in the 70's. To wit, if we want to prevent abortion part (not all!!) of the solution is for people at the bottom 75% of the income scale to do better economically--and we need to drop the idea that the way to ensure that is to cut taxes for people at the top. We did that in the 80's and already reaped all the benefits that could be expected. We're long past the point of diminishing returns there. One way to raise wages is to cut health care costs which claim an increasingly large portion of wages--but given that the only realistic way to do that is by bringing physician, nursing and pharmaceutical costs more in line with the rest of the world--this is a nonstarter in todays GOP. Another way to do that is by having a little more inflation at least to restore the trajectory we were on prior to 2007--which will ease the burdens of the overly indebted middle and lower classes--but that again is a non starter for today's hardmoney obsessed GOP still fighting the last war against Carter in the 70's. Also there is the general need to reign in the banking sector which increasingly exacts a very large toll of the assets of the rest of the country, in excessively high interest rates, fees, and dubious lending practices..and to reign in higher ed costs as well, which also exact a huge toll on young people...my point is that these are pro-life issues too insofar as many people in America are struggling to form and raise families, still living at home. It doesn't make you a Democrat to say that! We need a GOP that will stand up to entrenched interests and start defending ordinary Americans again. If we want to stop abortion I'm sorry but we do need to think a little of the overall economic welfare of the 22 year old waitress who makes $900 a month and just found out she's pregnant.

As for the Democrats, well, I think pro-lifers should emulate the strategy of the gun lobby and try to elect as many sympathetic Democrats as possible. You might laugh but surveys show that around 35% of Democrats oppose abortion (with opposition higher among blacks and Hispanics)...but why are so few of these represented in higher positions in the party? Because pro-lifers are completely in the back pocket of the GOP and play almost no role in Democratic politics, especially in areas where the there is only one party. We have a real opening here as the DEms grow more Hispanic and there is continued attrition of the Pelosi generation. Make it a 20 year project to build pro-life support in the other party as well and see what we can do.

The main point is that it's silly to expect that we'll achieve major social change only through one political party.

That would be a start.
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written by Howard, September 25, 2012
I find it disingenous that Catholics would vote Romney for religious reasons while ignoring the bishops' condemnation of the Republican budget as violating decades of Catholic social teaching. If you hate Obama, that's fine, but please don't claim the church told you to. If you truly believed Catholic social teaching, you'd be disgusted by Romney's comments about the 47% of Americans who don't pay income tax, including the elderly and disabled.
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written by Other Joe, September 25, 2012
It could be said (and I do) that we are in a moral collapse. When the head of the government comes out in favor of the after-abortion neglect killing of a surviving baby and it does not spark a nationwide, heated debate - front page above the fold - most of our moral framing is down. When the government buys up consequences in return for votes (pregnancy, financial malfeasance, promiscuity, lying, greed, and all the rest) the consequences don't go away, they are stored up. What used to be private consequences are now public and collective. That is why the cost of those deferred debts will have to be paid by all of society. Our current attitudes and our leadership are the blooms on the thorny bush of loveless self-concern. That shrub has been putting down strong roots for fifty years or more. Our moral deficit is bigger than our financial deficit which it enables. Lying is now considered an effective way to insulate policy. Laws are weapons, easily configured in the field to match changing conditions. After coffee comes the bill. I hope everyone is sitting down and holding on to the edge of the table when it comes.
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written by Brian English, September 25, 2012
"enshrined the gay marriage misery in Massachusetts,"

Gay marriage was instituted in Massachusetts by a decision by the state's supreme court. Romney had nothing to do with it.

"For me, a lifelong Catholic, I am appalled at the rhetoric in the above article. Politics is the art of the possible and prudential judgments come into play when we look at candidates."

Well, the fact that you, a lifelong Catholic, are appalled
by Dr. Arkes' "rhetoric" is a perfect example of why we are in the mess we are in. Prudential judgments come into play on issues reasonable Catholics can disagree about. There can be no reasonable disagreement about Obama's position on life issues (there is where you want to look for an example of something that is appalling); and his direct attack on the Church's charitable work through the HHS mandate should automatically disqualify him in the eyes of any lifelong Catholic.

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written by Ib, September 25, 2012
Yes, yes, it's all well and good to bellyache that Romney isn't the perfect GOP candidate. And it's true that many times Romney is promoted simply as the anti-Obama, but that's not the whole story. As Catholic Vote dot org has pointed out Romney is far closer to Roman Catholic positions than any national figure in the Democrat Party, including Obama. Here's a partial list of the issues separating the two:

Obama on life:

Supports Roe v. Wade and affirms, “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.” (Source: White House Press Statement)
As part of his healthcare legislation, almost every health insurance plan will be required to cover sterilizations and contraception–including birth control pills that can cause abortions–with no co-pay. (Source: US Department Health & Human Services)
Overturned a law that prevented the government from giving aid to international family planning groups. Now our government can pay for people’s contraception (including abortifacients) overseas as well. (Source: White House Executive Order)
His campaign boasts that he “stood up to Republicans trying to roll back a woman’s right to choose and defund Planned Parenthood.” He praises Planned Parenthood and refuses to cut government funding ($487 million in 2012) for the organization. Planned Parenthood performs on average 900 abortions per day. (Source: Huffington Post)
In the Senate, he opposed a pro-life bill designed to prevent partial-birth abortions. (Source: IL General Assembly)
Ended a ban on using taxpayer money to fund embryonic stem cell research, which kills human embryos. (Source: White House Executive Order)
Eliminated conscience protections for medical workers who morally object to dispensing the morning-after pill (which is designed to destroy embryos). Recipients of federal money can now discriminate against these workers.(Source: Catholic News Agency)
Promises to veto legislation that would prevent taxpayer funding of abortion.(Source: LifeNews.com)
Obama is endorsed by pro-choice groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood spent $1.4 million on an ad campaign for Obama. (Source: Planned Parenthood)

Romney on life:

Believes abortions should be limited to only cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life. (Source: CBS News)
Supports overturning Roe v. Wade and promises to appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to fair interpretation of the Constitution (Source: Life News)
Supports the Hyde Amendment, which bars using federal tax revenue to pay for abortions (Source: Mitt Romney)
Promises to support efforts to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood (Source: Huffington Post)
Promises to support the Mexico City Policy, which will bar NGOs that receive federal funding from promoting or performing abortions as a method of family planning in other countries. (Source: Mitt Romney)
Promises to advocate for and support legislation that will make it illegal to destroy unborn children who are developmentally capable of feeling pain (Source: Life News)
He says, “If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.” (Source: Mitt Romney)
As governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed girls of any age to obtain emergency contraceptive pills (which are designed to destroy embryos) without parental consent (Source: Mitt Romney)
As governor of Massachusetts, he opposed legislation that would allow the creation of human embryos for the purpose of stem cell research, which would result directly in the destruction of those embryos (Source: Romney at NRLC)

They have also included other areas of concern to Catholic voters, including fiscal responsibility, education and health care. On these issues, on the evidence they've compiled, Mitt Romney comes out on top. Unlike abortion which involves an intrinsic evil which can never be justified, Catholics are free to disagree on which approach is best on education, health care and other entitlement programs.

Most Roman Catholics simply can't fathom the difference between an intrinsic evil which must always be opposed and a case where individuals may make prudential judgments such as entitlements. This is the real reason for the lack of Catholic galvanization against the Democrat Party: baptized Catholics (even a good number of practicing ones) simply don't know their faith and regard the authentic Successors of the Apostles (I.e., the Bishops) as churchy bureaucrats, not divinely guided teachers. Ignorance is one of the largest evils facing the Roman Catholic Church today.
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written by manfred, September 25, 2012
Post Script: Your last paragraph captures it all, Dr. Arkes. Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame has invited Obama (and Romney) AGAIN in order to have a pre-election discussion (or debate if Romney shows).
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written by Beth, September 25, 2012
Paul Lakeland reads The Catholic Thing?! Who knew? Will Cathleen Kaveny and Sean Michael Winters be next?
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written by Honor Schoen Leitzen, September 25, 2012
The comments have strayed far from the topic of the article. The question asked was why so many Catholics are Obama voters, and the answer is that they haven't been properly taught Catholic morals and ethics. In the latter half of the 20th century, the loss of nuns as teachers in our parochial and secondary schools, replaced by lay teachers who often were not formally trained in the faith, was the start of the decline in Catholic moral teaching. Then rising costs for Catholic schools meant more children going to public schools and pitifully inadequate religious ed classes. The result is more than two full generations of ignorance! It is difficult to care strongly about that which you know not. So, if you want Catholics who understand Catholic teaching and morality, then, by God, educate them! Why do you think home schooling is on the rise among conservative Christian and catholic families? What is taught in public schools is disgraceful, and who can afford tuition levels approaching $10k per child in growing families? Fix the broken Catholic school system with orthodox and well-educated teachers, bring costs under control, and immerse students in the beauty of our Faith, and the Obamas of the world won't have a chance. And, we might get a better opponent than Romney--though I will gladly vote for him, because he will be a great improvement over Obama.
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written by Hadley Arkes, September 25, 2012
I want to thank our readers for engaging the argument today, and especially some of our “regulars.” But some of these comments reflect precisely the nature of the problem we find in the state that Catholics seem to be in today. To find Catholics putting on the same plane (a) the killing of the innocent on a massive scale in abortion and (b) cuts in social spending by the government shows a moral understanding utterly askew. I’ve written often in complaining about the corrupting effects of the country-club Republicans; their tendency to run away from any of the questions of moral consequence; the inabilities of the Bushes and the people in their circle to make the critical arguments. I’ve even stamped myself, within the circles of Romney, as a writer not be trusted. For I had been critical of him in the past for not doing enough to counter the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council in Massachusetts on same-sex marriage. On that latter point, I’m persuaded now that I was probably being unjust. But to suggest that Romney should be equated with Hitler or that there is even something faintly unclear about the radical differences that separate Romney from Obama on the gravest moral questions, is to take utter leave of sobriety and betray an obtuseness that is breathtaking.

The writer styled here as “lb” provides a service by collecting the many points of grave difference, if some of our correspondents had failed to notice them. But even “lb” understates the matter: Obama did not oppose in Illinois merely a bill that barred partial-birth abortion. He opposed the Illinois version of our Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act, the bill that sought to preserve the life of the child who survived an abortion. He is the only national Democratic to have taken that position. Edmund Burke warned that refined policy is ever the parent of confusion. I just wonder what lens is being worn by Mr. Lakeland, showing him so many refined shades of gray that he cannot see the most dramatic differences of black and white played out in front of his eyes. To take a line from Henry James, we may wonder whether some of our friends have made themselves victims of perplexities from which a single spark of direction perception might have spared them.
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written by Hieronymus, September 25, 2012
It only shows what huge damage the heresy of "social justice" has done to the Church. Out of the two great commandments of Christ, these pseudo-Catholics have made the second one not only the greatest of the two but often the only one.
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written by Mark, September 26, 2012
It should come as no surprise that Obama is winning the so called "Catholic vote". To put it simply, Catholics haven't been catechized.I'll even go as far as to say many haven't been evangelized. Baptized yes, but that's as far as it goes. How do you expect them to morally reason if they don't have the basic faith formation?

It should be added that the stature of the bishops has been badly eroded, partly due to the sex abuse scandal, but also to the fact that many bishops are too spineless to stand up to Catholic pols who support and defend positions that no Christian, let alone Catholic, could rightly defend. Why don't they apply Canon Law and lower the boom on the Bidens, the Kerrys, the Cuomos, and the Kennedys?

Thirdly, let's drop some blame on the USCCB itself, which is laughingly described by many as the Democratic Party at prayer. The bishops were very quick to support Obama on his healthcare plan, but when they are lied to on the issue of conscience clauses by President Obama, they recoiled in horror, sued the Federal government, and then invited Obama to the Al Smith Dinner?

Talk about mixed messages.
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written by Howard, September 26, 2012
Right now, Obama is either winning the Catholic vote or having an equal share with Romney. If you claim that you are not a true Catholic for voting Democrat, you are insulting half the Catholic faithful, including our vice president. Since Roe vs. Wade, Republicans have used abortion as a wedge issue to win elections, only making cosmetic changes to abortion law once in office. In the Gospels, Jesus never mentions abortion, but he does have a lot to say about how we treat the least among us. I would like to see a credible Catholic scholar defend Romney's remarks on the 47% of people who don't pay income tax, including the elderly and the disabled. If you can't provide it, then why not? Don't forget, Romney and Reagan were pro-choice before running for president.
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written by Achilles, September 26, 2012
Jsmitty, I find your notion that the bottom 75% need more money to not have abortions assinine. More material in the richest country in history is not the solution, it is much nearer the problem. The bottom 75% need real fathers. THen if we isoloate the top 25 percent might I suggest that they too need fathers.
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written by Luci, September 26, 2012
"Now look" -that seems to be every talking head pundit's new phrase and way of being condescending as of late- before they go into their spin cycles- it makes them sound more important- though sounds truly patronizing in nature really. They all do it now as they furiously spin for their side.. but truly, on the topic at hand( which is crucial) I think the truth is that Mark's comments above are right on! MIXED MESSAGES/CONFUSION ABOUNDS

Our whole society and our Catholic society too has become schizo like in The 5 Faces of Eve. And who is the author of confusion? Back in the 1930's a good practicing Catholic or protestant for that matter was almost always more devout than today.They all had sins to deal with but not great divides among moral truths like nowadays (cafeteria style Catholicism,emphasis on prosperity Gospel,etc )- all people have vices to quell- unless you were a born saint but.. Now.. we have this fractured "what kind of Catholic are you?" thing going on due to our depraved society and our financially troubled affluenza American culture.

No wonder other cultures hate us - when average lower midclass people now live with inground swimming pools and little kids have techno gadgets that rival 1950's NASA computers! But they still all mistakenly think they are POOR? All the while True Christian missions like Samaritan's Purse and the Catholic ministries like FOOD FOR THE POOR or just quiet souls or religious orders are doing their mission work for the least among us!

We as a culture anesthetize ourselves with garbage food running on Dunkin instead of the Lord and tv liks an IV while our brother Lazarus is dying outside the door! Who tells them how they can really help social justice instead of watching and participating in reality shows and vocal contests while half the world population is in agony and our next door neighbor may be sick or hungry too! Who says anything of worth from our Roman Catholic pulpits? ArchBishop Dolan is busy and seems passionate - yes but rather confusing too- no St. John Vianney there really when inviting enemies of the faith to Al Smith dinners-just don't get the method or message sent by the madness-is it some undercover plan to engage them and evangelize them- is that it ? What of all the allowing of pro choice and same sex marriage candidates to accept communion in public settings and openly on tv broadcasts-- even accepting them all whenthe POPE came to America! Even gave them medals!!-would be a horrible scandal/excommunication in years past but goes without a rap on hand and leads impressionable astray. as the scripture says "There's a way that "seems" right to men but in the end leads to".. ruin...

All the while we have to listen and have impressionable Catholics and other people exposed and catachized by the false beliefs of the likes of so-called Catholics such as Ted Kennedy, Pelosi and Biden and Sebelios and Cuomo who are according to their records and stances and votes and policies.. anything- but--- except for having been raised in a Catholic environment and liking that. Been there too- a nominal Catholic-- in name only. Really some of these beliefs are like a New sort of Atheism. These attractive pols get their national and international bully pulpits--even chastise the POPE(in writing) in their pride and arrogance but never look in the mirror to ask if THEY could be WRONG? Reminds me of the The Grinch with a heart 2 sizes too small! But they are still our brethren and so we hope and pray they do get it before they lead all down their primrose path! Nancy Pelosi is not anything like a Mother Theresa so there's one litmus test right there!!! In our current culture they probably wouldn't listen to Mother Theresa at all until she had a makeover and sported false eyelashes! Vanity has overtaken integrity. Our politicians are becoming like Marie Antoinette! Let the poor eat cake!!As they get into their limos and Lexus or Mercedes Benz to go to their mansions or out to trendy Dc eateries.
Yet these people are all embraced by the new Democrats even the occupiers who most look dirt poor while most of these career pols only want to further their pied piper trail back to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, it seems. As Santayana said "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." Perhaps Obama is too young to understand WWII but these great warriors are nearing centenarian status soon yet most are still possessing more faith(having lived thru war) patriotism and integrity in their pinkies than most of the liberals in Washington and elsewhere put together.
So that is partly what is wrong-- the secularization and greed- break down of families just plain SELFISHNESS and sin that we all have. God help us and our nation. And congrats to Letterman for his recent Kennedy Center Honors -- deserves it doesnt he? -as his contributions are right up there with Pearl S. Buck and Neil Armstrong and so many other greats.
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written by Karla, September 26, 2012
Howard, you may not agree with Romney's 47% comment, it was not elegantly stated as Romney said, but I believe that is a comment of prudential judgement. It is economics, it is not an intrinsic evil such as abortion or homosexual 'marriage' that Obama supports. If Obama is reelected he will likely nominate more supreme court pro abortion, pro homosexual 'marriag'e Justices that could stop the reversal of roe v wade for decades and Justice Ginsburg has said DOMA will probably go to the supreme court. Republicans passed over 80 pro abortion restrictions last year - it is not a wedge issue, the democrat and republican party have ideological differences on the issue of abortion and republicans are doing something about the abortion issue, not just saying words
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written by Karla, September 26, 2012
I do not trust the Pew poll/ 1st, their result could be skewed if they asked too many registered democrats over republicans and a Politico / George Washington University poll released less than 1 week ago showed Romney winning the Catholic vote 51% to 43% .

Polls are unreliable, each poll has a different result
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@ Achilles

Why do we have to choose between them? Why do you assume I disagree? If fathers i.e. working age men were able to make a better living and had a higher chance of staying gainfully employed that might, ceteris paribus, make family formation and stability easier. But wages have been stagnant and declining especially for men without college degrees. And male participation in the labor force has been declining for some time. This is especially true in areas of the country i.e. middle America and the South that have the highest divorce and illegitimacy rates. Would having more working age males gainfully employed increase marriage rates and lower divorce and illegitimacy rates? I don't know--but it certainly wouldn't hurt. Surely economic trends don't explain everything about family breakdown..granted...but it is one area that public policy could do more to affect.

When are Catholic pro-lifers going to get it through their head that economic issues matter too--both for abortion, social stability and for general human flourishing, and that the usual conservative policy cocktail of income tax cuts and deregulation are not going to guarantee broadly shared prosperity? That's all I'm saying.
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written by Graham Combs, September 26, 2012
I never thought I would see the day when two nuns would speak at a day-long abortion rally -- which is what happened in Charlotte. To my knowledge there was no mention of this at Mass the following Saturday and Sunday. What does it take to outrage Catholics? Canon law is as ineffectual now as it was in the 1960s and 1970s. The lesson my law professors unintentionally taught me is that law is not law unless animated by conscience. But when you believe that a boy is a dog is a pig etc. then the very idea of conscience is, as William F. Buckley used to say, "rendered nugatory."

As for Malcolm Muggeridge. He may have at one time been in danger of slipping into the hysterial rationalism and self-loathing of Lemuel Gulliver, but by the grace of God was pulled back. He simply knew there was not only something better but Something only. Which is why in one of his last interviews with Mr. Buckley he annoyed the founder of National Review by saying Bach compared to what we would hear in Heaven was nothing. I still love Bach but even the highly civilized Germans weren't made noble or courageous by the Mass in B or the Cello Suites. As T.S. Eliot wrote, culture is "pretty thin soup" in the greater scheme of things. Or as Albert Brooks said in his Letter to Americans, "we have Golden Arches but our feet still hurt." Our culture doesn't even aspire to beauty. And we present to God what we think He would like if He were us. Which He hasn't been for 2000 years. A lack of creative imagination that mirrors our exhausted moral imagination.

In my 1950 St. Andrew Daily Missal which I bought for fifty cents at a parish book sale, the Examination of Conscience includes, "Resistance to Grace." Maybe that's the problem.
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written by Achilles, September 26, 2012
Jsmitty, economics and fatherhood are not commensurate, perhaps not even in the asylum of the university. Prosperity comes out of the true family, poverty out of the corrupted. “We are here to colonize heaven, not to make things better on earth.”( R.Knox) But if you remember C.S. Lewis’ lesson on first and second things you can understand that if we focus on money, a second thing, we will lose both first and second things. But if we focus on Fatherhood, a first thing, we will gain both first and second things. Our poverty is moral Jsmitty, we are only seeing the logical following of material poverty as Other Joe said above. Your comments are disordered and I mention this out of charity not spite.
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@Achilles--I really wish you would extract yourself from your half remembered and selectively quoted theological abstractions and would deal for a moment with people who work in the pro-life movement with real flesh and blood people contemplating abortion. People who work at Crisis Pregnancy Centers will tell you for people confronting unplanned pregnancies that yes, access to medical care, the prospect for future employment and overall hope for the future is tremendously important--often decisive. My point is, if we were really interested in building a truly pro-life society (as to the rhetorical and polemical one you have in mind) doing all we could to foster security, upward mobility and family formation--even if it meant more activist government--is something we would advocate.

We in the US have the least generous family and maternity leave policy in the Western world (and the one we do have was only passed over the objections of doctrinaire conservatives)--do you really maintain that maternity leave has no effect on abortion rates?

Do you really maintain that young men who can't find more remunerative employment than as baristas at Starbucks are as practically equipped to be fathers all things being equal as ones who have bright career prospects?? Come on!

Yes...moral virtue is central as well..and takes priority..on the other hand virtue is immensely easier to practice if people found a greater connection than they currently do between doing good and doing well.

I know..I know its much easier to try to explain the world in all its complexity through favorite theology books and classic epics...I did this too for a time--then I graduated college.
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written by Brad Miner, September 26, 2012
@jsmitty: You write: " . . . if we were really interested in building a truly pro-life society" we'd willingly advocate "more activist government". Where on earth do you get the idea, i.e. where is the evidence, that activist government promotes upward mobility? What it actually does is suck the life out of the private sector and freeze the poor in place. It is the antithesis of pro-life, which the current Administration proves daily.
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written by Achilles, September 26, 2012
Jsmitty, fatherless families and families with an emasculated or non present father have girls that inordinately seek attention from men and angry boys. Who on earth, even the apparent earth you inhabit, would ever tell one human that murdering human offspring is even in the remotest perverted way an option, much less a medical need????? You can not serve 2 masters, your ideology is an ape because it sounds like you are trying to intermingle secular theory into your catholic ideas and it doesn’t work. It is not about rights anymore, it is about responsibility- we have squandered the moral capital of our forefathers and your “security” is only illusory. Humans are not commodities, they are not a means to an end.

Jsmitty, you have everything upside down and I would guess it is because you graduated college as you said. That would be quite a trick for me if I returned to a materialist ideology after God has graced with a grain of Faith that has transformed my family. There is no connection between material income and a good father, to assume so is absurd. With no money at all, I love my children the same and perhaps more. What I said about Ronald Knox and CS Lewis is not abstract it is a practical reality. The university educated ilk likes to make up their own definitions and re-label things, we Catholics can not. Putting first things first and second things second is the practical reality behind the good life.
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@ Brad... Frankly the lack of upward mobility in the US is a problem generally apart from govt. programs. Upward mobility is less in the US despite a less generous safety net than most of the rest of the developed world, so there's no easy answer.

But to the point, I happen to think the existence of Medicaid, SCHIP Family and Medical Leave, the EITC, child care tax credits, adoption tax credits and so forth all in their own way represent activist govt...agree? I also think that these programs are part (not the whole!!!) of a public policy that systematically promotes and facilitates child birth, child rearing and family formation. It's very hard to see what would exist without them and how the working poor would do better in their absence. Notice I didn't say AFDC--since I generally agreed with the 90's effort reform welfare, for exactly the reasons you mention. Trouble is in the big picture these programs cost money that today's GOP frankly would rather spend on income tax cuts, bloated military budgets, and sacrosanct programs for the elderly. I don't see this as consistent with a pro-life pro-family agenda, do you?

Do these programs "freeze the poor in place."? I'd say that depends. One of the colossal mistakes of the old AFDC program was that you had to be unemployed to qualify--not surprisingly we got alot more unemployed people on welfare rolls. By allowing (and requiring) people to work and receive direct and indirect subsidies (ie. medicaid, EITC) etc. you promote labor force participation and yes, some of the working poor will rise, simply by working. It's tricky though since programs are still means tested. In other words, once a person starts making more money there is a point in which they lose Medicaid eligibility. Funny that conservatives who speak so eloquently (and excessively) about the damaging effects of high marginal tax rates on high earners, seem to care little about the implicit marginal taxes facing the working poor, who would lose health insurance completely once they break a certain income threshhold. But that's a problem with how these particular programs are designed not with govt. programs in general. I really think a truly holistic pro-life commitment would include taking due note of the overall well being of struggling people at the bottom and middle. I think conservatives in general have gone too far with the notion that "job creators" ie the wealthy are the economic engine of the country, and also that pro-lifers who have provided many of the votes to advance this agenda have been taken for a ride. This is because pro-lifers have so wedded themselves to this fusionist alliance with anti-govt. libertarians developed in the 70's and 80's that they have been completely coopted--and thus sit silently while the GOP keeps pursiung an agenda that does not serve their true interests. There's more to the pro-life cause than court appointments I'm afraid, and I'm wondering when the rest of the pro-life movement will wake up to that. I think it's high time we start questioning the partisan Republican cast of pro-life advocates. I'm not talking (yet) about going to the Democrats...but I think if pro-lifers were a little noisier about these things the GOP would be a better party as a result.

I'd really love to hear what you think though, as someone who have been in conservative circles longer than me.
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written by Brad Miner, September 26, 2012
@jsmitty: You're not in the conservative camp.
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@ Brad....so that's your answer...I'm not a conservative... sorry, are you on the membership committee???

well I voted for Reagan once (first election) and for every GOP candidate since then...I was a due paying member of Heritage Foundation in college, a subscirber to Imprimis, and a reader of CS Lewis. I developed my views in the 80's when it was clear that 70's era liberalism had profoundly damaged the country and that liberals were taking no ownership for that at all...

But today, things are different...we've suffered the worst financial crisis since the 30's along with the worst unemployment, and this after two unwinnable decade long land wars sponsored by the GOP. and the failure before that of the Bush tax cuts to generate broadly shared prosperity.

it is conservative to see some role for a social safety net, since we've had one now for nearly a century and it is clear that nothing could really go in its place; it is conservative to be concerned about the welfare of actual families many of whom have been doing poorly for quite some time ...and conservatism also implies some sort of submission to reality..and that is that programs and policies developed in a very different age (the 70's) are due for an adjustment now.

I'm warning you guys on the right who refuse to change--you're rapidly losing support of people who are every bit as committed to the pro-life cause as you, but are sick to death of the GOP and its refusal to budge on Reagan era assumptions and strategy.

Turn the premises of this article around Brad! Ask yourself a question... What does it say that the most pro-abortion, pro-gay "marriage" President during whose term median income declined by a whopping 5%--what does it say that such a person is poised to be decisively re-elected? At minimum, I'd say that today's GOP stinks to high heaven!!! The sooner you guys realize this and stop wedding the pro-life cause to today's unreformed GOP, the better off we'll be.
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@Achilles

I've had the misfortune to know at least a dozen Catholic couples--oh they read all the right books, took all the right catechism classes, attended the most orthodox universities, lived the pious Catholic life, did the NFP thing, the whole nine yards. Theology was not the problem

And you know what...within 10 years, they all were divorced. What happened you say? In several cases the issue was about money--which is very often the cause of marital problems. Many couples cannot handle the financial strain especially when they seemed to be doing much worse than their parents were and falling further behind. In three cases, the man could not handle the pressure of not being able to provide for the family in the lifestyle to which the wife was accustomed. In two cases, the family fell apart because of medical payments due to unexpected illness and spotty insurance coverage.

Were these failures all about money? No...but part of them were. And even interventions on the part of the Church were not enough to save them.

So my experience in general makes me skeptical of the belief oft expressed on these pages that the key to human flourishing exists solely in the correct catechesis, sacraments and more reading of GK CHesterton.

Life is much more complicated than that. And yes Achilles "material" things and money which are mentioned in the gospels and Acts are an important part of human existence--particularly if you are a person who has far less than what he needs. Catholic thinking is full spectrum and has quite a bit to say about the "material." Think of the money sharing in the Church in Acts and the distributions to the poor and widows. You can scream "materialism" all you want and it won't change that. Hadley Arkes implicitly admitted as much when he contended that Obama would actually be worse than the GOP because of his business regulations.

Frankly, I think alot of your "material free" moralism is little more than a smokescreen to avoid confronting parts of the world that would force you to reexamine your own prejudices. And I say that in charity not spite.
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written by Brad Miner, September 26, 2012
@jsmitty: You've just described yourself as a reed bending in the wind (and no fair quoting Aesop back at me); not as a conservative but as some sort of pragmatist. I'm not on the admissions committee, but how is it you've assumed to yourself the authority to redefine conservatism as some sort of 1950s liberalism?
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
@ Brad.

I guess I'd describe myself as a hybrid between a TR progressive-conservative (with a desire to reform American institutions which plainly are not working well) and a Burkean conservative (with deference to the facts that we have to begin our work within the system as it is, beginning with the country as it is, but with caution because the world and society are complicated and the history of reforms that caused greater problems in the end is long).

I'm not presuming to redefine conservatism except to point out that what most people mean by "conservatism" today is in fact--more or less-- a very definite set of policies, assumptions and electoral strategies conceived in the 70's for a very different set of problems in a country that was demographically and economically quite different than today. I would include the strategy against legalized abortion in that. I think 80's style conservatism had mostly tremendous success--including abortion which is rarer and more restricted than in the 70's. But things have to be updated.

And...along those lines, conservatism existed before Fox News and Reagan and I feel compelled to remind people that there is a tradition of Catholic conservatism much more skeptical of unfettered capitalism (much more sketpticism than GOP orthodoxy allows)--especially of the turbo charged finance capitalism we've had since the 80's..and more skeptical of Bush era military adventurism as well. I should think that the GOP would have learned from the failures of the Bush era and the economic crisis afterward but incredibly they are still pushing the same program as in 2006, 2004... etc. and wondering why their candidates are doing badly.

But the bigger issue for our discussion is that the GOP's gradual implosion is hurting the pro-life cause and I really wish guys like Hadley Arkes would see this. OK?
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written by Brad Miner, September 26, 2012
@jsmitty: With all respect, sir, the eyes of Hadley Arkes are wide open.
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written by jsmitty, September 26, 2012
respectfully Brad I don't think so. The entire thrust of the piece was to blame Catholic voters for defecting from the GOP, with nary a hint that the GOP itself bears a good deal of responsibility for this both for the failures in the Bush administration and the failure to correct those mistakes afterwards.
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written by Achilles, September 26, 2012
Lucacks made reference to that “pestilential habit of misattribution.” You seem to have mastered it. Your analysis of the breakdown of marriage is pestilential silliness. No one has ever divorced because of money. Bad character, selfishness, vicious habits, etc… and you might be on to something, but money? That is almost as silly is saying, “well they both drank water and they just couldn’t handle the water quality and divorced.” And you have missed me completely. My RCIA is to the left of Mao, my catechist training program was feminist and multi-cultural, my parish is apostate and I haven’t read that much, but I have read and understood C.S. Lewis, where clearly you have either not read or not understood. Do you have an argument against the first and second things? Or are you really saying because you met 12 pharisaical Catholics what I have to say doesn’t make sense?

I never said “material free” I said material wealth was a second thing. Basic need, that is a different matter, but it is ludicrous to call abortion services anything like a basic need. It offends goodness, truth and beauty to say such things. I am all for examining my prejudices, if you have something truthful to say about my prejudices I am all ears. What you have said up to now is only your opinion, and not very impressive and your political ideology of ‘social justice’ is contentless.
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written by Mr. Levy, September 27, 2012
jsmitty: I appreciate your obliging me (and others) with further explanation of your views. I agree with your point about imitating the gun lobby's political strategy in supporting pro-life Democrats. I am not sure that I agree with your economic views, but I will think more about them. I take seriously your experiences dealing with those contemplating abortions for economic reasons. Thanks very much.
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written by Mr. Levy, September 27, 2012
jsmitty: By the way, I would have replied earlier, but Yom Kippur required my attention.
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written by Achilles, September 27, 2012
Mr. Levy please, contemplating abortion for economic reasons? The very idea is an affront to decency, not to mention a perversion of reason's duty to expound the law written on our hearts. We contemplate murder for economic issues? Isn't that what a hit man does? And jsmitty wants to put the murderer in the victim's chair? From our shared book Proverbs "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart." Jsmitty will not be wieghing our hearts Mr. Levy, let us at least not forget that.
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written by Sherry M., September 27, 2012
There are three recent articles that might help shed some light on the issues above.

1. At Matthew Warner's blog, at the National Catholic Register, entitled, "What So Many Catholics Miss About Solidarity and Subsidiarity", there is an excellent video that analyzes Paul Ryan's policies vis-a-vis Catholic Social Teaching.

2. A couple of days ago, Romney announced a "Catholics for Romney Coalition", with highly respected Catholic leaders around the country who represent a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise. Romney and Ryan will have lots of help, with checks and balances, from this group. One thing that is imperative is for Romney to be candid about where we are as a country, and the cause and effect of current policies. He needs to spell out, for the American people, what can be done and how.

3. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, in a recent article (which is the first in a series) called, "Faith Should Guide Catholic Voters", addresses Catholic Social Teaching in light of making sound decisions this Fall.

In some ways, the angst that exists among Catholics in so many blogs these days, is not an all bad thing. I think that many Catholics will be hearing what the Church really teaches about social teaching, including "life" issues", for the first time.

We are living in tenuous times where our religious freedom is at stake, along with a "culture of death" direction that has led, and will continue to lead, to significant negative consequences. We really need to hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the upcoming election - not only for our sake but that of our children and grandchildren - and the souls of us all!
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written by SJM, September 27, 2012
A key article which addresses many of the key current issues is by Alice von Hildebrand entitled "Plea to Confused Catholics". She wrote it after having seen EWTN's Raymond Arroyo program "The World Over" where he interviewed Dr. Stephen Schneck, an associate professor at Catholic University of America and co-chair of "Catholics" for Obama.

One of her paragraphs which was particularly pertinent is: "Let me repeat: there is a hierarchy of truths, and there is a hierarchy of moral obligations. All those who intend to vote for a president who clearly justifies not only abortion, but homo sexuality, same sex marriages and self-assisted suicide in the name of "social concerns" are gravely "sinning" against this hierarchy established by God Himself. We SHOULD be "socially concerned", but such concerns are legitimate only to the extent that they respect the natural law. Moreover, they should never "allow" us to violate a moral law with an absolute veto. I am not allowed to kill one person in order to save another person's life."
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written by Sue, September 27, 2012

SJM,

Great article by Alice von H. Her paragraph cited above, however, encompasses BOTH Obama and Romney unfortunately. Abortion - rape/incest at the very least, approved by Romney - check. Homosexuality - look at Mass Resistance's take on Mitt Romney - check. Euthanasia - google "Haleigh Poutre" for a locally grown victim of Romney. Many other pieces of evidence can be cited. Not to mention the fact that these vices are all tidily wrapped together as dreams from Obamacare's father (Romney designed the system that will entrench and embed these vices in our society) - check.

Professor Arkes,

However obtuse I may be, analogizing our situation now to German Catholics in 1932 is not the same thing as "equating Romney to Hitler".

If you look at the real force behind Hitler's puppet ascendency - he was able to gain traction because people were afraid of Communism, and they ignored the other warning signs they should have been paying attention to. I am not saying Romney's Hitler, but he is being influenced by the same syndicate, and we should pay attention to his warning signs. It could be that he's just being placed as a fake opposition clown like McMarshmallow was in 2008 (note Romney's recent claim that "at least Obama never raised taxes" for example), so I'm certainly not claiming an equation, or anywhere-near-complete analogy, with the situation in Germany.


I will tell you what "obtuse" is. Failing to smack down abortion in 1972. Repeating that mistake every year, even feeding the mistake with "rape/incest" exceptions and the like. Crowning it off with (as the USCCB (and your Saint Doerflinger) did), midwifing the birth of Obamacare by granting the Stupak "get out of hell free" amendment for Congressman to pretend they were prolife and still vote for Obamacare. That's beyond obtuse - putting that Stupak figleaf on Obamacare was the (pseudo)Catholic version of taqqiya.

About the economy and life issues:

The child born (or kicked) out-of-wedlock becomes the vassal of the state - it's as simple as that. Life issues are at the heart of economy (a word that derives from the Greek for "household")
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written by Luci, September 27, 2012
Thank God for great minds like Alice Von Hildebrand and for those who still remember the 1930's prewar Germany and WWII because it looks spiritually and eerily similar here and it isnt so much a partisan thing it is much deeper than that- it is a soul thing- on a case by case basis. But we as Catholic voters have to vote for the lesser evil- is that so very hard to discern here when the Dems and Libs had to actually take a historic vote to see if God could be allowed in any way to be part of the Dem Convention? And God ( as Nietzche smiles!) was actually voted DOWN? The preacher Jonathon Edwards with his Sinners In The Hands Of an Angry God and the piercing prophetic voice of truth Venerable Fulton Sheen where are you now??? The smoke had enterd the church long ago Pope Paul said- it is at dangerous levels now choking out even the faithful.
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
Having to choose between 2 evils still makes it an evil. Mormons are not christians, if you believe you become a god after your dead and will live on a planet especially for you and your family, if you believe that Jesus was the brother of lucifer, if you believe that God the Father had intercourse to produce Jesus, you are far from being a christians. Mormonism is a satanic religion. There is no good candidate to choose for. May God help us !!!
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written by Luci, September 27, 2012
Yes Riki I agree there is no great solution.. but the Presidential election and all elections( except maybe when spoiler Ross Perot ran back in 90's in 3 way race) are down to always pitting two faulted individuals against each other so that we must choose but we all want choice number 3!!

Wish we could forfeit this 2012 election with these candidates and ask for a "Mis- election" like a Mis-trial in court! We want a Do-Over!Recall when a chimpanzee was running against Reagan for a time! Maybe we can get him back.

Don't know a whole lot really about Joseph Smith and his founding of the, perhaps to some, a psuedo- Christian faith of Mormonism, but have seen a very evangelical and biblical service broadcast once from BYU in Utah- it looked pretty Christian by all accounts-so much so I mistook it for an evangelical broadcast . But I guess just as we Catholics are so fractured now in following magisterium and our established doctrines.. and our "beliefs" are now so varied- then, so are the Mormons for sure- and who really knows what they as individuals believe?

Romney's life and wife and his family life and work record and service seem to speak volumes though that we can examine and now even his taxes finally- we do know alot about him from early on(Trump is happy that!) and alot about his rather famous father too -he didn't have to dream about him alot as-Romney appears to have been blessed with a very involved Dad who was also wealthy. Not a fan really either way but just find that kind of reassuring in some way but what is it worth?
Donnie Osmond and Mitt Romney and the Duggars and say, some polygamus fool in the Northwest, are not all the same in their Mormon beliefs, I am sure. Surely there are some true Christians among the Mormons as among any denomination. Some of that listing of Mormon's myriad of odd beliefs and practices or "doctrines"sound like as weird a mixture of Unitarianism "beliefs" and Jehovah Witness "theology" or any other fringe group that the Catholic church might deem cultish. But mind you many evangelicals and fundamentalists consider Catholicism a "cult" too! And yet, most of them actually are also unKnowingly using our LECTIONARY schedule of Scripture - correlated and compiled to the Liturgical year by Catholic scholars! Go figure! Thank the Lord we are not judging hearts just casting a ballot.
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
Luci, many of my co-workers are mormon, once you get one mormon in many more follow and they all strive for the higher positions and many get them because of the ones above them are also mormons, they protect each other really well. One day i was asking : how come I never see mormons wearing a Cross. The answer was : O no because this reminds us of his defeat !!! Well duh, what don't you understand about the savior. They always try to convert you to mormonism. I got the books handed over, I took them and read them because I want to know what's in their minds. I throw the books in the trash after reading, what a satanic religion. Joseph Smith by the way was a 33-rd degree freemason. That's why they have those strange secret rituals in their temples. BTW did you see Mrs Romney on the Jay Leno show yesterday I think (I watched the clip on Yahoo) she was dressed in a black leather outfit and miniskirt and high needle heels shoes and no panty hoses. She wanted to prove that mormons are not so called near sighted. Sorry but in our days of age she should show the respect of being a woman by being dressed deftly and NOT provocative.
I can only say : we deserve the leaders for what we are. A people far away from God and it shows in everything, so we will reap what we sow. We are not the judges, the Lord will judge us on how we are so lax. God built the House on the rock of PETER, all the rest is APOSTATE.
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written by Mr. Levy, September 27, 2012
Riki,

I strongly dislike Romney, too, but because he is fundamentally a progressive without the knowledge or courage to promote and defend conservatism. It's too bad that you base your opposition on an over-zealously critical view of Mormonism. Tell me, do you think that Arianism was also a "satanic religion" because its many adherents over the course of centuries did not believe Jesus was the son of G-d, although they otherwise accepted the New Testament? I shudder to think what your view of Jews might be, since we don't even acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, much less as a divine being.
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
NO LUCI there is no such thing as the lesser evil. EVIL IS EVIL. You are acting as a Pontius Pilate.
Why didn't we open are mouths and let the GOP know we the people don't agree withe their choices !!!!!!
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written by Brad Miner, September 27, 2012
@ Riki, Luci, et al.: We're not electing a high priest. P.S. The Duggars aren't Mormon.
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
Mr. Levy, I am a Messianic Jew, my name is Rivka, my husband Shmuel is a Messianic Jew. We lived in Jerusalem and were persecuted horrendously almost murdered by jews and non jews. I love and am proud of my jewish origin. We lived then in Belgium and the persecution continued also for our kids in the schools. The most support and understanding came form the side of the Jews i.e. Chief Rabbi Medalie who in the meantime is with the Lord. I took even care of him as a nurse when he was in the hospital. The jewish patients were always mine. Well let's hope that Rav 'Itschak Kaduri was right. (btw the persecution continues for us even in the USA) Rivka " 'Israel chai" !!!!!!!!
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
כתיבה וחתימה טובה ושנה טובה
Mr. Levy I hope you had a great fast day yesterday at "YOM KIPPUR" We at home observe both the Jewish and the Christians Holy Days.
BTW my husband fought in the" 6 Day war", in the "Yom Kippur War" in the" Lebanon War" in which he was shot but survived baruch HaShem. KOL TOV .
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
Numbers and their Biblical meaning : the number 44 in the Bible stands for "Judgment of the World". Lo and behold obama is the 44th president.
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written by Mr. Levy, September 27, 2012
Riki,

I am very sorry to hear of your persecution. We pray for the safety of Israel.
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written by Riki, September 27, 2012
Mr. Levy you should watch "Gog-U-Magog" at YouTube. I've watched it already 20 times or more. Every Israel lover should watch it. This is the English version, there is also a Hebrew version of it. It's a must see.

Rav Kin from L.A. gives commentary to it in the end.

I wish you and your family a happy, blessed and very spiritual Sukkoth starting Sunday eve.
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written by Luci, September 28, 2012
Thought Duggars were Mormon? Oh. saw another family just like them with just as many kids which was profiled on a morning show in recent years. I dont want to elect a high priest but Gerald Ford and Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan were alot more genuine than what we get now. And Reagan was an actor but these politicians now have so much public relations ploys and make up they take the cake!

Riki I am so sorry for the persecution you and your family have suffered both for your Jewish heritage and for being Messianic Christians. Hardest too is when the innocent children are hurt by it. Jesus and the Apostles were the first to experience being persecuted for being both Jewish and Christian which puts you in the best company.
candiddate- but Pope John Paul II said inone encyclical that when forced to choose like that The Catholic must opt for the lesser of the two and that seems quite obvious brcause the Govt should not really be in the charity business-- individual people, charities and Catholic and Missions etc should be because Jesus said "The poor will always be with us" and we know the Romans at that time were not playing Mother Theresa so
I did not say I wanted to choose to vote for either candidate. I want a new set of candidates. I do not want to be likened to Pontius Pilate or the angry mob but that is where they sort of leave voters this year- to be given a very bad choice to make.
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written by Milton, September 29, 2012
I don't believe Mitt Romney's 2004 pro-life "conversion" was sincere. I believe that it was politically motivated and calculated. It's not that I hate the man or hate members of the Mormon cult, it is just that I am inherently suspicious of politicians to begin with, especially ones that flip-flop as often as Mitt Romney does.

I find it very hard to believe that after spending most of his political career being "personally pro-choice" (and doing such a good job publicly defending "pro-choice") that he suddenly became aware of the "science of life" only in 2004. That's the type of ignorance that strikes me as either grossly incompetent (considering the office he is running for now) or politically motivated. And while he may genuinely not have been educated on the issue up until 2004, I find that hard to believe given his public statements on abortion up until 2004.

I find his "conversion" even harder to swallow given his public actions since 2004, one of the most glaring examples of which was the 2005 flip-flop on the question of whether or not Catholic Hospitals in Massachusetts should be forced to administer the Morning After Pill. This happened AFTER Romney's conversion, it demonstrated his lack of courage and trustworthiness on the issue, and it prefigured the current problems we face with Obamacare

I think C.J. Doyle, the executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, summed up Romney best when he said, "the initial injury to Catholic religious freedom came not from the Obama Administration but from the Romney administration...President Obama's plan certainly constitutes an assault on the constitutional rights of Catholics, but I'm not sure Governor Romney is in a position to assert that, given his own very mixed record on this."

When you look at voting records rather than campaign rhetoric, you quickly come to the conclusion that neither Obama nor Romney is pro-life. Both support a number of intrinsic evils (abortion, homosexual marriage, unjust "preemptive" war, corporate greed, etc.). As a practicing Catholic I don't feel comfortable voting for either of them. Oh, I know a case can be made using "proportionate reasons" and the "lesser of two evils" but there is something not quite right about voting for candidate A because heshe will murder less babies than candidate B. It seems like something Machiavelli would teach rather than something Jesus would subscribe to.
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written by Howard Kainz, September 29, 2012
@Brad Miner: You say "@ Riki, Luci, et al.: We're not electing a high priest. P.S. The Duggars aren't Mormon."
Just a minor correction: Romney is a high priest of the Order of Melchizedek,according to Mormon hierarchical arrangements, and also served as a Bishop. But he'll take the oath on the Bible, and probably do a much better job.
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written by Jason Nota, November 12, 2012
First off I like your blog even though I am not Catholic. I was Catholic up to the age of 18, I'm now 48. It don't surprise me at all about Catholics voting for Obama. The Catholics I know are very secular and care less about abortion. Their greatest loyalty is to their union and who will help their wallet. They are not nominal Catholics either, but Mass every Sunday Catholics.

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