• Subscribe to Crisis

  • Will the Church Split Along Red and Blue Lines?

    by Deal W. Hudson

    An Obama victory on November 4 is far from certain, but the momentum behind his campaign prompts me to wonder: What impact could an Obama administration have on the Catholic Church?
    The Bush victories in 2000 and 2004 brought a flood of commentary on the so-called red and blue states. If Obama wins in 2008, I would not be surprised to see the emergence of a similar division among Catholics.
    Many will finally realize, and admit to, the power of the political Left in their Church. This may lead to a kind of red state, blue state divide among Catholics in the United States. Such a divide could extend to the dioceses, reflecting both regional differences and the leadership of present and past bishops.
    Most Catholics miss the institutionalized dissent, political liberalism, and Democratic Party alignment that exists throughout parts of the Church in this country. It exists in a network that includes parts of the USCCB and extends through chanceries, universities (especially Jesuit), Catholic organizations, and much of the Catholic media.
    This network has become adept at cloaking its dissent, its political intentions, and its disdain for the agenda of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It’s a well-chronicled story that is gaining traction with more Catholics because of events surrounding this election.
    Some evidence of the red-blue separation is anecdotal. I have received many reports of priests touting the virtues of Obama from the pulpit. These are the same parishes where Respect Life Sunday was completely ignored. People are shaking their heads in disbelief; they didn’t realize it was “that bad,” they told me.
    But there have also been public indications of this red/blue tension. This election year, a record number of individual bishops (see the list below) have made public statements in response to Catholic supporters of Sen. Barack Obama. All of them have reminded Catholic voters of the Church’s teaching on when life begins, and the issue’s relevance in politics.
    Although the number of bishops speaking out is remarkable, there are another 200-plus who have said nothing individually. Furthermore, Catholic supporters of Obama are referring to the outspoken bishops as a “rogue group” and are lecturing “one-issue bishops” on the “correct” interpretation of Catholic teaching.
    The aggressive style of Obama Catholics in this election was presaged back in February when a prominent Catholic journalist wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post ending with, “Sounds like I’ll be voting for the Democrat [Obama] — and the bishops be damned.”
    There is no public record of how the bishops responded, but the still-growing list of prelates who have publicly corrected Biden, Pelosi, or defended life in this election suggests they are not cowering.
    Some of these bishops come from blue states like New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois — a fact that might prove my thesis about the coming divide wrong. Yet the Catholic vote in these states has consistently been in support of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. These heavily Catholic states are blue because Catholics have made them so.
    If Catholic voters help to elect Obama, it will be a wake-up call for some in the Church and a cause for celebration to others. The theological and political divide among Catholics, along with regional differences, could be exacerbated. Dioceses may begin to appear more red or blue as a result.
    The following is a list of those bishops who have made public statements about Catholics in politics in this election. Regarding those bishops not on the list, it should be mentioned that the joint statement by Justin Cardinal Rigali, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, Chair of the Committee on Doctrine — as well as the follow-up statement from Cardinal Rigali and Bishop William Murphy — carries the unified voice of all the bishops.
    1. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver
    2. Bishop James Conley, auxiliary of Denver
    3. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
    4. Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities
    5. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine
    6. Edward Cardinal Egan of New York
    7. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo
    8. Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh
    9. Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs
    10. Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio
    11. Bishop Oscar Cantu, auxiliary of San Antonio
    12. Bishop William Murphy of Rockville
    13. Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa
    14. Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas
    15. Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin
    16. Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston
    17. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando
    18. Archbishop John Nienstedt of Saint Paul/Minneapolis
    19. Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, President of the USCCB
    20. Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker
    21. Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse
    22. Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland
    23. Bishop Ralph Nickless of Sioux City
    24. Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco
    25. Bishop Glen Provost of Lake Charles, LA
    26. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn
    27. Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton
    28. Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
    30. Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte
    31. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Raleigh
    32. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS
    33. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MI
    34. Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, WS
    35. Bishop Ronald Gilmore of Dodge City, KS
    36. Bishop Paul Coakley of Salina, KS
    37. Bishop Michael Jackels of Wichita
    38. Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito of Palm Beach
    39. Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth
    40. Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford
    41. Daniel Cardinal Dinardo of Houston
    42. Bishop Joseph Galante of Camden
    43. Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Patterson, NJ
    44. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Harrisburg, PA
    45. Joint Statement by the bishops of New York State (22 bishops)
    (Please let me know if I have left any bishops off this list.)

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

    Subscribe to Crisis

    (It's Free)

    Go to Crisis homepage

    • BDK

      The frame that Catholics supporting Sen. Obama is = to or leads to institutionalized dissent is self-righteous and false.

      Faithful Catholics can and do support Sen. Obama over John McCain for President.

      You may disagree with their choice, but they are no less Faithful or Catholic because of their vote.

    • JC

      Again, as I said in your blog abstract of this article, why do you think this dissent is so secret?
      I have grown up hearing priests–at the pulpit and at the dinner table–railing against “this old Pope” and hoping that, “When this old Pope dies, we’ll get a new, young Pope who will get rid of canon law, and allow priests to marry, and ordain women, and allow birth control!”
      And, when it’s said from the pulpit, the laity applaud.

      If anything, abortion is one of the few issues that *unites* Catholics. All these Obama Catholics are at least claiming to be “pro-life” and adopting some kind of rhetoric that they’re pro-life.

      If anything, they’ve achieved a new level of deception, luring the muddled middle back into their corner.

      The schism–and it is coming–will be over contraception and the liturgy, not abortion. When you hear priests and bishops advocating an American schism–which they do, publicly, from the pulpit–they do so over those issues, not abortion.

    • Todd

      More wishful thinking, Deal. It’s no secret you make a living touting the very divide you predict.

      First, I don’t see the problem with liberals and progressives expressing themselves in church settings. Republicans have no monopoly on pro-life morality, and many of them have downright questionable anti-abortion credentials.

      Second, there is no need for secrecy when it comes to many liberal ideals that are congruent to Catholic social teaching. Most intelligent Catholics (and I wouldn’t necessarily include politicians in this group) are able to make a far more convincing case for what they advocate. One of your listed bishops specifically recruited a pro-life Democrat to head his diocese’s human rights office. The same bishop touts the seamless garment as a favorable approach.

      You have a stretch in positing that political-think will start roosting in parishes and dioceses. Parishes that are competently pastored have long found the value of people working together. That’s not going to change in an election cycle that’s more about a crashing economy and an incompetent and immoral party than any social issues. Six times as many Americans were polling this week that the former was more important than the latter. At this point, thirty-five bishops aren’t going to stem the tide with anything more than thirty-five votes.

      In the long history of Christianity, when True Believers got fed up with the unwashed masses inhabiting their churches, tradition tells us they found their own path: in the deserts, the wilderness, and eventually the monasteries. Nobody started a purge as a way to achieve holiness.

      If any conservative Catholics join you in getting upset about the lack of a political uniformity in the Church, my advice is to be authentically traditional. Nobody ever kicked believers out of church en masse. If you feel the need for purity, that’s a pilgrimage you’ll need to make for yourselves. Meanwhile, I don’t think the Democrats, the Obama supporters, the liberals, the radicals, the progressives, the union people, or anybody else is going anywhere.

    • Mother of Two Sons

      As I see it, this election is critical because it is requiring Americans and American Catholics to weigh in on which train will drive us more closely toward the country we want to see emerge. The Train that continues on the track that holds firm to core American Values and to preserving the RIGHT to LIFE as a tantamount correction that needs to be accomplished once and for all or The Train that has already built tracks embracing tolerance of everything under the sun and a Robin Hood approach to taxation so we can all just get along hoping for the best.

      The 1st train needs to strengthen its PRIDE in the track it is on; stop making excuses because its track equals holding firm to fiscal responsibility and accountabilities. The First Train would emerge as THE TRAIN to be on if it would clearly state its Steadfast Commitment to THE FUNDAMENTALS, protect our Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We as Americans have the freedom to realize any dream imaginable but we must do so individually through hard work and determination. Education is available to everyone and we are free to move around in pursuit of the best paying jobs, the best schools, the best life.

      The 2nd train has supported the Iraq war back when they could remember that Saddam Hussein postured himself as having WMDs and was bent on destroying Israel and the US. They supported the Iraq War until we were there and had to do the difficult real work of Freedom and Homeland Security, assist the “previously enslaved by a dictator” country to transition into a new country with FREEDOMS never experienced by most.

      The second train was/is responsible for pushing for the poor to have their rights to own a home no matter what….and so here we are today ….. Home ownership is earned it is not a right.

      The second train was/is responsible for obtaining the Rights for homosexuals, an immoral to most Americans’ Lifestyle, to push their agendas in Washington; so much so now it is mandated to be taught as a legitimate whatever in our K – 12 schools.

      The second train was/is responsible for obtaining and maintaining the Right of a Woman to kill her unborn child, I’m sorry, the right to choose whether her unborn child will live or suffer death by abortion.

      The second train was/is responsible for dispersing our money, tax-payers money in a way that actually undermines the poor’s ability to succeed on their own two feet without the Train’s feeding tube and continuous data collection on their every step. Once they recieve services from this train, they are tracked, monitored, issued money, which is tracked and monitored until they are able to stand up on their own…. which is never, which this Train fundamentally believes anyway… that the poor are incapable of independence, hence this train’s need, no obligation to further take over the normal life responsibilities until total dependence is acheived and total bankruptcy of a nation occurs.

      The Government is not RICH Uncle SAM, Rich because through taxation he takes from the rich and gives it to the poor….. we as AMERICANS are to take care of the poor through our Churches and Charitable Organizations. The government should be completely stream-lined overseeing that the States are running fiscally sound, and governing the work of highways, homeland security, immigration, and stepping in only when necessary to in fact to ensure that the Rights, as stated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, of her citizens are protected.

      I do hope that McCain can clearly articulate THE TRAIN he has been on and will take command of when he is elected. We don’t need more government to restore our Globally Competitive Advantage; that will be restored by AMERICANS at the grassroots level and in the marketplace! We just need Washington to clean house and get back to the work of government as our Founding Fathers set down.

    • Scott

      First off, dissent in the Church is no secret and never has been. Second, to characterize belief in Church teaching in terms of political “red and blue” or “liberal and conservative” is a legacy of evangelical Protestantism, which regularly identifies faith and politics.

      If you really want to live as a Catholic in the United States, you are going to have to put your faith first and politics second. You cannot keep making them equivalent. The Republican Party is not an arm of the Catholic Church and neither is the Democratic Party. Saying that if Americans elect Obama it will be a “wake-up call” for the Catholic Church is superficial and tendentious. It is polemic. It also makes Catholicism a one-issue faith, much like evangelicalism. And you know this is not the case.

      Neither political party is the solution for truly faithful Catholics. If the US had a true multi-party system, Catholics could more adequately act on their beliefs in the political process. There could even be a Catholic party, like the old Christian Democrats in Europe. But the Catholic Church in the US does not automatically reflect political divisions in this country. That’s simplistic and superficial.

    • RK

      There you go again, Deal, trying to peddle the awful McCain by equating politics to Faith. After watching the recent debate I see how hard it is for you to sell this guy. He’s duller than Dole, has no core beliefs other than increasing U.S. military presence abroad, is clueless about the severe financial crisis, and is much less compelling than his running mate. Your treasured party didn’t give you much to work with this time around. You get points for effort–trying to reduce an election into a morality referendum is straight out of Falwell’s book. Too little too late. Better luck in 2012!

    • Deal Hudson

      Yesterday I got a call from a man in the Mid-West who for many years was close to his bishop there. He can’t understand why his bishop is forbidding literature to be passed out emphasizing the pro-life issues in the coming election. He started asking questions around the dioceses and was shocked to find out, the bishop is a lifelong Democrat who does whatever he can to help Democratic candidates at every level.

      I dealt with this bishop myself in 2000 — of all the bishop who I asked to meet with Gov. Bush he was the only one who refused to even talk about a meeting. Cardinal Mahoney, on the other hand, was very gracious in accepting the meeting. Though all the meetings were off-the-record, Cardinal Mahoney himself made sure a photo was taken with Bush, evidently they hit it off!

      The reaction in the comments above suggest I hit the nerve I expected to hit.

    • R.C.

      Scott:

      You say:

      First off, dissent in the Church is no secret and never has been. Second, to characterize belief in Church teaching in terms of political “red and blue” or “liberal and conservative” is a legacy of evangelical Protestantism, which regularly identifies faith and politics.

      Must you do that? I mean, must you identify something you dislike within the Church as being related to (or caused by or intrinsic to) Protestantism?

      Coming as I do from a Protestant upbringing, I’m naturally more sensitive to this than a cradle Catholic would be. While an Evangelical (for despite my childhood tradition’s origins, I would never have referred to myself as a Protestant; it would beg the question “when have I ever consciously protested anything?”) I lived among committed Christians who regretted and decried the liberalism and the excessive political posturing of their own churches every bit as much as I have since seen within the Catholic world.

      Theological, Practical, and Political (Left-) Liberalism have ever been philosophical allies and close confidantes of Modernism, and that has been the enemy of Christ’s Body on Earth (separated- and non-) for two hundred years now. That, not Protestantism, is where much of the problem originates…don’t you think?

      If one sees this in a more pronounced way among American Protestant Christians, I think it is for two reasons: (a.) There are more of them than Catholics, and (b.) they have no authority which serves to instruct the more wild-eyed preachers to pipe down and stop embarrassing the cause of Christ.

      Thus for every Father Pfleger you get five Protestant equivalents (often aging black civil-rights veterans who go by “Reverend” despite having at most a tenuous connection to any Christian church); and, for every Marxist Jesuit who wants to call the Holy Spirit “she” you get five “Shelby Spong-like” Protestant apostates who want to call the Holy Spirit a myth or a feeling.

      It is a good thing that such problems are less obvious among Catholics; it is not however fair to say that a problem found in two places is the fault of the first place because it is more easily hidden or suppressed in the second.

      Anyway, I agree with what you say overall and I don’t intend this post to be too critical of what was, after all, a tiny phrase in what you said.

      But as I said, my upbringing — which I honor for bringing me as a child to knowledge of Christ and God’s Word even while I honor more greatly the Church who brings me to fuller knowledge of Christ and God’s Word today as an adult — makes me a shade more sensitive to such things.

      Among contemporary evangelical Protestants there are very few Jack Chick style anti-Catholics. Those are a dwindling breed and (justly) viewed with dismissive contempt. But there remain far too many evangelicals who, knowing nothing of Catholics, would casually make a snide remark (“You can’t remember where Amos is in the Bible? What are you, a Catholic? Heh, heh…”) about Catholics’ lack of knowledge of Scripture, or “worship” of Mary, in conversation as a joke.

      Even before I ever considered the possibility “what if Catholics are not merely another denomination of Christians, but somehow more right about Christianity than the other denominations?” my own tendency was to object when fellow evangelicals said such stuff. I thought it was casual bigotry, and unfitting to Christ’s followers, of any stripe.

      Such casual bigotry, in the opposite direction, has been less obvious among Catholics…or at least I’ve observed a bit less of it. (And because of America’s — albeit pretty mild compared to other lands — history of anti-Catholic sentiment, perhaps among Catholics such comments are almost “in self-defense.”)

      Still, I’d like to observe none of it, if possible. It doesn’t do much to heal the schism, that’s for sure.

      Respectfully,

      R.C.

    • Rick

      Deal,
      I think the points that you make are valid. I worked in the Church for several years and will never do so again. I routinely came across people — especially clergy — who despised the pope (JPII), denounced then Cardinal Ratzinger as a Nazi, constantly slandered orthodox laity who petitioned for things like Eucharistic Adoration or the Latin Mass, and ridiculed the pro-life movement constantly. The clergy sexual abuse scandal did not surprise me at all. The clericalism among the liberals who run the Church in America is mind numbing. The Church in America has severe problems. Much of the clergy despises any traditional expression of the Faith and have replaced Faith in Christ with Faith in Socialism. We must pray. Politics is not the answer, although it is an important facet. I thought that after the clergy sexual abuse scandal the Church would clean house. Instead, the same liberals are in power. True, orthodox Catholics have made some inroads. The Catholic Left controls and runs the majority of Catholic institutions in this country from the parish level up to the USCCB.

      The Church in the US is much like the Church was in late Renaissance Italy….corrupt and ready for some reform.

    • Scott

      R.C.,

      What I said is only the truth. Evangelical Protestants have made a practice of identifying religion and nation. That’s not the Catholic way. I’m sorry you’re sensitive about it, but liberalism isn’t the only problem, or even the worst problem here. Liberalism is the usual, easy target, and harping on it convinces many people that they’ve done their job by pointing out the obvious.

      However, there are equally pernicious problems on the other side of the aisle. The current infatuation that Catholics have with evangelical Protestants is only that and it centers around the issue of abortion. Other than that, there is a vast chasm between what Catholics believe and practice and what evangelical Protestants do. The notion that one’s faith can be summarized in a particular political party is absurd on its face, yet that’s right out of the evangelical playbook (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, John Hagee – need I go on?).

      The issue isn’t anti-Catholicism on the part of evangelical Protestants (which you bring up as a red herring) and it’s not biogotry to state a fact about evangelicals and their conflation of faith and political party. The goal is to be Catholic, not an American Catholic. There’s a difference.

    • perryj

      “Faithful Catholics can and do support Sen. Obama over John McCain for President”

      Faithful Catholic’s can not support Sen Obama. He supports the murder of over 1 million children each year. If elected he will put in place judges on the Supreme Court; which, will support abortion for decades. This means a vote for Obama is a vote for the killing of 20 – 30 million children. There is no issue of equal value.

      Globally abortion kills over 40 million people a year. Starvation, water borne diseases and aids kills 13 million people a year globally.

      The war in Iraq killed 4,000 US Soldiers and wounded 30,000. 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed. 27 million Iraqi’s freed. Hussein was shown by Amnesty International to have killed hundred of thousands of lives. Overall hundred of thousands of people have been saved by the war.

      Aids tragically kills 21,000 people a year in the US.

      Breast cancer tragically kills 41,000 woman a year.

      Will you compare the economy to over 1 million children killed each year? Or how about the 20 – 30 million going to be killed in the next several decades. Or how about the murder of children born alive? Will you vote for a man that supports the throwing of a child born alive in a trash can to die. (BAIPA) Or a man that support FOCA the total elimination of all laws that restrict abortion.

      Don’t tell me a person voting for Obama is a good Catholic. He supports murder. There is not a greater evil in this world!

    • Theresa

      I believe in the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As a cradle Catholic, that is all I’ve ever known. And, I don’t expect a billion-plus Catholics spread across the globe to agree lockstep on everything.

      However, I can appreciate how someone coming out of the Protestant tradition, especially fundamentalism, would embrace, or at least be very comfortable with suggesting, the idea of cleansing or splitting apart a congregation. Isn’t that how Protestants have ended up with 30,000+ sects?

      The political divisiveness of red versus blue, Right versus Left, right versus wrong, good versus evil, Conservative versus Liberal, Republican versus Democrat is not Catholic. It’s politics. To superimpose divisive political headings upon groups within the Catholic Church is not Catholic. It’s politics.

      To suggest that the Catholic Church might split apart over politics…well, I’ll leave it to someone else to say what that’s called.

    • Kevin

      With all due respect, Theresa, you’re throwing a lot into the mix with your list!

      To say that “right vs. wrong” and “good vs. evil” is divisive is correct; to say that it’s playing politics to use those terms at all is utter hogwash, and you should know better than to lump those terms in with truly political ones! Christ came to divide good from evil; God judges good and evil, right and wrong; the Church teaches that true evil is real–so real that his name is Satan. The Triune God is real and IS Good, by definition.

      Let’s be careful not to veer into moral relativism here, something that many on the political Left strongly favor, unfortunately, and that we as faithful Catholics must stand against doing with every fiber of our being, for it is a denial of Christ and thus a denial of our Faith.

    • Todd

      “To say that “right vs. wrong” and “good vs. evil” is divisive is correct; to say that it’s playing politics to use those terms at all is utter hogwash …”

      Oh, I don’t think so. Republican presidents like Reagan and later Bush have used these terms freely as part of the political game. And we shouldn’t overlook efforts by conservatives to paint themselves as morally superior to liberals. It’s just not true.

      “Moral relativism” has become sort of a PC-speak for the times when “the discussion is starting to drown my points; I’d better latch onto something quick!”

      Instead of prooftexting Matthew 10:34, perhaps we should consider the bulk of Jesus’ message, especially several chapters of Last Supper discourse in John. Let’s read and consider everything that leads up to and includes Jesus’ prayer for unity among believers and lens the discussion through something traditionally theological, not Karl Rove talking points.

      Speaking politically, it might be that the economic crisis will forge new relatinships among former ideologues, and that the Gingrich-Rove brand of opportunism will be dismissed as a fad, to go the way of polyester leisure suits and rainbow-colored Chevy vans.

      Parishes have already found great fruitfulness in people of all sorts rolling up their sleeves and working together. I suspect Deal and a few other Republicrats could take a lesson from it. More likely, some won’t go without a lot of ruckus on the way out.

    • Guillermo Bustamante

      Rick:

      You did put

    • Deal Hudson

      The problem with Mr. Hudson seems some sort of schizophrenia: he is a good person trying to raise awareness, but too fond of the DC cocktail circuit with the honchos in USCCB-GROSS self-complacency, who refuse to excommunicate the scandalous culprits = Guillermo Bustamante

      I laughed out loud at this one, partly because I do everything I can to avoid spending any evenings in DC, but mostly at the idea that I socialize regularly with “the honchos in USCCB.” Not that I would turn down any invitations, if they were offered, but I haven’t seen any lately, as a matter of fact, I have never seen any, perhaps they went to the wrong address, I don’t know.

      But thanks for the “good person raising awareness” part — yep, I to do just that!

    • RK

      Machiavelli advised the Prince to be seen as a man of Religion. Republicans have refined this counsel in the American style. Demonize the Democrat and suggest that he’s the incarnation of evil. By implication the GOP candidate becomes a virtual saint.
      This caricature of both candidates always falls far short from reality. Good and evil is a black and white issue only in comic books, Rocky movies, and Karl Rove’s brain. Real life is full of shades of gray. Is it any wonder American Catholics are turning their backs to the bankrupt two-party system?

    • Deal Hudson

      After reading this column, a friend sent me the following story. He was at a parish in Westchester County, part of the Archdiocese of New York City.

      “A friendly priest from a nearby parish came up to me and gave me the Voters Guide that was to be handed out at his church next Sunday. The guide is published by the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, and its essential message is that a Catholic is free to vote for a pro-abortion candidate. The priest told me too that he would certainly not pass out any voter guide issued by Fr. Pavone, since someone from the chancery had cautioned him about Pavone’s ‘narrowness.’ If all this is so, it shows ‘how bad’ things really are.”

    • Guillermo Bustamante

      Perhaps not cocktail circuit, but the fact remains: lack of indictment towards the GROSS self-complacency in the USCCB remains.

      The DC Eucharistic scandal, and the fact that PUBLICLY SCANDALOUS murderer lawmakers are not excommunicated, scandalize Catholics overseas, and are the root cause of the widespread USA thinking that is OK to vote for the Infanticide Candidate.

      To be fair, if one of the less confused (or afraid to ruffle feathers), Abp. Cheput calls formal-direct abortion lawmakers Biden:

    • Deal Hudson

      Perhaps not cocktail circuit, but the fact remains: lack of indictment towards the GROSS self-complacency in the USCCB remains.

      Guillermo Bustamante

      You obviously have not read my book Onward Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (Simon & Schuster, 200smilies/cool.gif. If there is a stronger critique of the USCCB, I am not familiar with it.

    • Rose

      It’s called heresy. Liberalism is a sin and & 3/4′s of U.S. Catholics have fallen for the lie. But it’s not just about Liberalism; it is ALL about a re-emergence of Marxism; politics without God. Anything or anyone who takes 1st place in one’s life is an idol…including politics–Blue or Red. There is no such thing as a faithful Catholic who is not orthodox…or who does not follow Christ; the Truth our Peace.

      Christ says that words are cheap: “Why do you give me homage with your lips & then not do what I say.” what keeps us from discerning evil; from discerning Truth; the Christ?? Sin.

      Obama is the front man, the puppet, for the One/New World Order a vote for him will end Democracy as we know it. Ever wonder why he presumes to sit down with Chavez & the President of Iran? He’s their man; his smiles pave their way to world domination.

      Such a shame that Catholics have been given the greatest Treasure; the fullest measure of Christ’s Truth & His Presence & a majority still don’t get it. There is a spirit working here; but it is not the Holy Spirit. God has invited all people to get on His train before it leaves the station forever.
      Humility is the key.

    • William

      Meanwhile, I don’t think the Democrats, the Obama supporters, the liberals, the radicals, the progressives, the union people, or anybody else is going anywhere.
      Written by Todd

      They all might very well be going to Hell, Todd!

    • Danny deBruin

      CS Lewis’ quote in the Screwtape Letters applies to this one. A little advice from Uncle Screwtape to Wormwood:

      “Once you have made the World an End, and faith a means, you have almost won your man…”

    • Ann

      I can’t say anything better than Theresa did in comment 13.

      Each Catholic should examine their conscience, the candidates, make a decision and then carry the responsibility of that decision.

      And by the way, we have what’s called secret ballot in this country. For a good reason, from the hateful comments on this thread.

    • Ann

      By the way someone might want to start using the comment moderation function on this blog.

      When commenters start judging about who is going to Hell or not, your blog is rolling off the tracks into a trainwreck.

    • Ann

      Correction, Theresa’s comment #12, not 13

    • Sam

      Deal,

      Great column, as usual! I’ve noticed this network of dissent within the US Church for quite awhile, and while I don’t know the exact root cause of it, I believe the late Cardinal Bernardin is responsible for much of the confusion from his “seamless garment” ethic which basically elevates health care, welfare, immigration, death penalty, etc to the same level as the abortion, contraception, euthanasia, homosexuality, embryonic stem cell research, etc. The older I get, the more I believe he did this to provide cover for Democrat-leaning Catholics to continue to invoke “personally opposed but…” and “unjust war X is just as bad as abortion” and “safe, legal, and rare abortions” fallacies we’ve been hearing from Obama supporters and pro-abortion politicians.

      That said, I also believe that a Catholic can be a pro-life Democrat. I know they are a rare species these days, but as long as a Catholic remains committed to the truth of Catholic moral teachings on life issues with a well-formed conscience, he can remain free to choose whichever political party and candidate he wants. The key is, he must vote along Catholic instead of purely partisan lines, as must we all — Republican, Democrat, or third party supporter. Admittedly it’s harder to be a pro-life Democrat than a pro-life Republican. one party’s platform and majority of national and local candidate work against your convictions while the other party’s do not. I choose to be a pro-life Catholic Republican. I try to form my conscience according to Church teaching.

    • Portlander

      Archbishop Vlazny of Portland rebuked Oregon’s Catholic governor for hosting a NARAL fundraiser. He even included the governor’s phone number in his press release and urged Oregon Catholics to contact him!

      http://www.archdpdx.org/newsrel/statement-naral.html

    • JC

      Sam,
      I would agree that one can be a pro-life Democrat. I would even say it’s possible to be a “liberal” or “progressive” without being dissident. Unfortunately, as you note, individuals of that sort are few and far between. Most “pro-life Democrats” I’ve known who are really committed to the pro-life cause vote Republican and say they hope for the day they can vote for a Democrat.

      I loved Bob Casey’s autobiography-cum-manifesto _Fighting for Life_. It’s an amazing testimony to his individual faith and works and to his political philosophy.

      To me, Robert Casey (Sr.) embodied the way a Catholic could be truly Catholic and politically liberal.

      For Catholics who lean in that direction, I point to him as their political exemplar the way I would point to Russell Kirk as the exmplar of a conservative Catholic political philosophy.

      But I specify Kirk because I think his explanation of what constiutes “conservatism” (and, by contrast liberalism) at the beginning of _The Conservative Mind_ is definitive.

      Ultimately, I am a conservative not because of abortion but because of several principles I adopt, that are all in keeping with, or at least not contradictory to, Catholic teaching: subsidiarity, original sin, Natural Law, strict constructionism. I believe with Lord Acton that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” so government that tries to “do good” is putting too much power in the hands of a few people. I believe with John Adams that democracy is dangerous because the people will vote for their own most base desires. Those are the philosophical underpinnings of my conservatism.

      By contrast, Bob Casey (Sr., referred to in present tense as an author) is a philosophical liberal: rather than emphasizing original sin, he emphasizes the goodness of man as God’s creature, and he emphasizes hope in human progress. He Believes in Natural Law, but believes that government can promote the good in Natural Law as well as just punish or prevent evil. He believes that government can do good.

      In terms of his practical politics–at the state level, at least–I had no argument with the things Casey did as governor (though, like Mike Huckabee, I’d say, “Look what we can do at the state level! Why do we need the federal government involved?”) In contrast to those Obama supporters who say to have no restrictiosn on abortion and try to “prevent” abortio nwith social services, Casey did *both*. His Abortion Restriction Act made the strictest regulations on abortion (till that time) since _Roe_ (restrictions Obama would overturn in a penstroke) while simultaneously granting the most generous programs of any state to help disadvantaged parents.

    • John Jakubczyk

      Before I address the topic of your post, please recall that our bishop of phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted wrote a booklet four years ago called Catholics in the Public Square. This year he updated the booklet which is available through Basilica Press.

      Bishop Olmsted makes it clear that one cannot vote for a candidate who supports laws that allow for the killing of children in the womb. Since Obama supports laws which permit the killing of children in the womb, one cannot vote for him. This is the same as opposing a candidate who supports laws that would allow for the lynching of Blacks. Bishop Olmsted explains the important of properly forming ones conscience and then goes on to say:

      “…there are other issues, such as abortion or euthanasia, that are always wrong, and do not allow for the correct use of prudential judgment to justify them. It would never be proper for Catholics to be onthe opposite side of these matters.”

      And in answer to the question of whether all political issues are equal, the bishop says, “Absolutely not….when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter.”
      The Bishop continues:

      “If a politician is actively supporting and furthering the culture of death, he is not only causing scandal, he is sinning. Similarly, when a politician performs actions (like voting) that allow for abortion and even promote abortion,…that politician is materially cooperating in grave sin.”

      As for the apologists in the Church who support the liberal agenda, they have been a part of the greater problem in the Church and that is the requirement that the Church focus on holiness. Unless we get down on our knees and ask God for mercy, confessing our sins, how can we be salt to the earth and a light to the world. Unfortunately, since abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world, since the family is strained by the pressures of sin in the world, we all can find this too prosaic and can easily dismiss the importance of the message.

      I would presume in good faith that everyone writing on this post opposes abortion and wants it to end. So why doesn’t it end? Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats and pro-lifers blame everyone, including themselves.

      But it does not end because none of us are willing to put enough energy into seeing that it ends.

      Otherwise we would be of one mind. Democrats and Republicans would reject out of hand any politician who is not pro-life, regardless of party affiliation. We would help at the local level, work at the state level and lobby at the national level for an end to this holocaust. But we haven’t.

      I think the frustration of those who are so upset with the charades being played by Obama supporters is that the stakes are so high and so one seems to appreciate this. We are not just playing politics here. People will die based upon who gets elected. If Obama wins and appoints pro-abortion judges, and the Congress passes FOCA, and the Congress passes universal health coverage including abortion, how many more children will die?

      If McCain is elected, can we hope for pro-life judges? Can we hope for pro-life appointments in the executive branch? Can we hope for more opportunities to save lives? Can we hope to cut the millions of dollars Planned Parenthood gets from the government?

      As for Catholics, especially those in the Northeast who have had their share of pro-abortion Catholics representing them, do you think God is at all concerned with that?

    • Ann

      I think God is not a Democrat OR a Republican.

    • Guillermo Bustamante

      Mr. Hudson:

    • Todd

      “They all might very well be going to Hell, Todd!”

      All? Not likely.

      Hell is usually reserved for sinners, and there’s nothing inherently sinful about being any of the people I listed. Usually, however, there’s more moral danger taking the role of the Great Judge for oneself, even in speculation.

      It’s clear this discussion can’t get out of first gear: the notion that gross political leanings somewhow express morality.

    • Timothy

      Meanwhile, I don’t think the Democrats, the Obama supporters, the liberals, the radicals, the progressives, the union people, or anybody else is going anywhere.
      Written by Todd

      They all might very well be going to Hell, Todd!

      I’ll preface my comments by stating I am going to vote for McCain(holding my nose the whole time!) becasue I can’t vote for an abortion extremist.

      The idea that all these people are going to hell is ridiculous. The Catechism explictly states that worker’s have the right to organize and strike. Also, about half of American Catholics will vote for Obama. Does anyone really think this is a sin worthy of eternal damnation.

    • R.C.

      Ann is correct, God is not a Democrat or a Republican.

      The phrase, taken literally, is true.

      But it’s probably pointless to say. For of course no-one (no, not even Karl Rove…or Nancy Pelosi, perhaps, for the opposite team) ever thought — let alone argued — that He was.

      This is not a criticism of Ann for saying it. The repetition of simple truths can, on occasion, be helpful. So, if anyone wasn’t already clear that God is not a Democrat or Republican, we can rest assured that now, they are.

      But I think some people (Ann may or may not be one of them) who say “God is not Democrat or Republican” are intending to make a broader point.

      That is, they’re asserting that…

      Because God Himself is higher than any earthly category our finite minds can devise…,

      Therefore, no single earthly thing (e.g. the policies of the Republican party, or the policies of the Democratic party) can be more Godly than any other.

      Now that assertion is false, even though the original statement is true when taken literally.

      It is false, because, taken collectively, the policies and philosophy espoused by the Republican party are measurably Godlier than those espoused by the Democratic party.

      This would perhaps be true (albeit by the slimmest of margins) even were the abortion policies of both parties the same. (My view, because I believe economic leftism is destructive to the poor and the “preferential option” matters to me, is that the G.O.P. would still come out ahead even without the abortion issue. An economic leftist would, of course, disagree.)

      But once the abortion issue is raised, all pretense of some kind of moral balance between the two is destroyed. The (qualified, but not very qualified) opposition to abortion in the G.O.P. puts that party way ahead of the Democrats in the “Godliness” competition, whose support for allowing the practice in perpetuity is, I’m sad to say, utterly unqualified. (What might otherwise be a tight competition becomes anything but.)

      This remains true even though both parties are so venal, so rife with vanities and folly, that calling either one “Godly” makes one cough and choke and uncomfortably recall one’s previous meal.

      So, while God is not a Republican or a Democrat, that (literally factual) observation is beside the point. Saying it is like being caught in a public park by a rainstorm, without an umbrella or “mac,” observing the scanty shelter of a largely leafless tree a short ways off to the left, and a large roofed, un-walled pavilion off to the right, and saying, “Well, neither of these is the Ritz Carlton!”

      That much is obvious, but it matters not! At some point, one must choose, and the pavilion is a better shelter than the tree.

      And in political matters, one also must choose, even when we know in advance that God carries the membership card of neither party in His Holy Billfold.

      So we choose. Clubbing those who have chosen — rightly, if the unborn mean anything much — with “Don’t you know God isn’t a Republican?” is reminding them of what they already, with grinding teeth, know. (Witness the lack of enthusiasm for this year’s presidential candidate!)

      So, yeah, an unwalled pavilion sure ain’t the Ritz. But given the choices? As the rain picks up, I’ll dash to the right, to the better approximation of shelter. Choose otherwise if you like…but pardon me if I think you’re all wet.

    • Publius804

      Good article Deal, it seems like you hit a nerve with the Obama fans.

    • Florentius

      Barack Obama is pro-abortion. He received a 100% rating from NARAL, the National Abortion Rights Action League. He has voted in favor of partial birth abortion and has even voted to allow the withholding of medical care from babies born during a botched abortion. If Obama is elected, he will work to repeal the Hyde Amendment which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion.

      John McCain has a solidly (if not completely unblemished) pro-life record. He has voted numerous times to defend life. Sarah Palin is even more pro-life and has actually walked the walk, giving birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome during a time when 90% of such children are aborted.

      Now that you know this, as a Catholic, you can not vote for Obama without committing a mortal sin.

      Make no mistake, this is a serious matter. This is perhaps the most serious matter.

      And do not be fooled. If, knowing all of the above, you try to convince other Catholics to vote for pro-abortion Obama contrary to Church teaching, there will be hell to pay unless you repent.

      I’m praying for all those deceived dissenters out there that they will turn away from the satanic whisperings in their ear this election season.

      For Catholics, it’s a no brainer. Obama = Culture of Death. If you vote for him, you are voting against the Church.

    • Theresa

      I can’t say anything better than Theresa did in comment 13.

      Each Catholic should examine their conscience, the candidates, make a decision and then carry the responsibility of that decision.

      And by the way, we have what’s called secret ballot in this country. For a good reason, from the hateful comments on this thread.

      Ann, thank you for your kind acknowledgement. I truly love Mother Church. It pains me when She is treated as political fodder.

    • blackelkspeaks

      Democrats advance unrestricted abortion, up to and including infanticide. Democrats support total abnegation of parental rights, including denying the right to establish private, Catholic, educational prerogatives by restricting academic vouchers, forcing children to participate in pre-marital sex education, and the denial of the right of parents to be informed about their child’s impending abortion. Democrats advocate euthanasia, including killing the infirm elderly and the unfortunate young lumped into un-protected categories, such as the physically handicapped and Down’s Syndrome. Democrats support human cloning misrepresented as “Stem Cell Research”. Democrats demand the legitimization of sexual abomination, mislabeled as “Gay Rights”, including allowing homosexual marriage and adoption. Democrats actively enable atheistic Marxism in the economic sphere, including advocating theft and sloth among the poor and avarice among the politically well-connected wealthy. Democrats obsess on race, class, and gender to a degree not seen since Nazi Germany’s race consciousness led to the holocaust. And Democrats do everything in their power to denigrate and destroy any Christian, let alone Catholic, attempts to interject Christian moral and ethical principles in the cultural and political arenas.

      Wake up, people! It is not possible for any right-thinking person today to align themselves with the Democrats! Its just not possible!! Democrats are truly the Party of Death!!

    • Natalie Brown

      Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix just introduced a booklet entitled Catholics in the Public Square discussing the “non-negotiable” issues and also put out a video that I was told was played at every parish in the diocese a few Sundays ago. The video urges Catholics in Arizona to vote yes on the Marriage Amendment on the ballot this November.

      Check out the link: http://www.diocesephoenix.org/main.html

    • Mike

      Many of the swing states have a higher percentage of Catholics — OH, PA, MI, WI and MN to name a few (actually, most), and I’ve read that Catholics will probably determine the outcome in those states.

      I will watch with interest to see how people in those states vote.

      I find it difficult to believe a Catholic will vote for a candidate who not only supported abortion on every vote, but also supported killing the babies who lived through an abortion. Doesn’t that trump all other issues.

      Surely McCain will win among Catholics.

      If Obama wins, I think I will be right in concluding that the Catholic Catechism is no longer a guide for how Catholics feel about their faith, and no longer a guide on how to live according to the Church teachings.

      I’m beginning to wonder if most Catholics are cherry picking Catholics, and perhaps we can expect the Catholic Church in America to go the way of the Episcopalian Church.

    • nobody

      Will the Church split? Are you kidding me?

      The largest Christian denomination in the world is fallen away Catholics!

    • Michael Healy, Jr

      The only question is this:

      How soon will liberal-minded Catholics (perhaps including some bishops) apostasize from the One True Faith and start a false church of their own?

    • Cyrille

      No Catholic should be voting for a pro-abortion politician like Obama.

      First and foremost, his extreme pro-death stance is completely against what the Church teaches about the sanctity of life. The Church tells us that abortion is a grave moral issue; this is non-negotiable. Obama has voted repeatedly to let those children who survive botched abortions die.

      If you think you can still call yourself Catholic yet go against the Church you are fooling yourself. Call yourself a hotdog or a vacuum cleaner or whatever else you like, but you are NOT a Catholic.

    • JC

      Well, let’s start with the fact that over 90% of American Catholics use artificial contraception. . . .

      Our Lady of Fatima said that far mroe people go to Hell than people want to admit: and of those who make it to Heaven, the vast majority spend a great deal of time in Purgatory.

      Cardinal Ratzinger said it in his 2004 letter; as Pope Benedict, he said it on his way to Mexico. It is a mortal sin to vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion without a proportionate reason (defined by John Paul II in _Evangelium Vitae_ as two candidates who are equal on abortion, but not on another moral issue). Cdl. Ratzinger specified that war and the death penalty are *not* proportionate issues, yet people have tried to insist they are. Yes, individuals have the “right” to form their own consciences and decide prudentially who they think will be the best candidate.

      However, that “right” bears with it the consequence that their prudential judgement is wrong.

      We cannot know for certain about these things till we are actually judged, which is why, in the sense of “passing sentence,” we are not supposed to judge.

      However, the person did not say that Obama voters are going to Hell. He said that they *might* go to Hell. The past two Popes have made it clear that voting for a pro-abortion politician *without proportionate reason* is mortally sinful. The shell game played by the Catholic Left is to make up “proportionate reasons”, even if those “proportioante reasons” have been specifically eliminated by Papal teachings.

      For example, Cardinal Ratzinger specified in his 2004 letter that war and the death penalty are *not* proportionate reasons. John Paul II said in _Evangelium Vitae_ that “proportionate reasons” apply when both candidates have equal positiosn on abortion, and one must turn to another moral issue.

      People talk about freedom of conscience, one of the most abused theological concepts in the post-Conciliar Church. To them, conscience means, essentially, “I can do whatever I want so long as I can justify it philosophically.” In fact, the Church’s teaching on conscience is that, when one knows that something is wrong, one must not do it. If one cannot know that something is wrong, one is not culpable.

      So let’s say we have President B. President B wants to go to war. He feels he has a just cause. Many Catholics support him. Some vote for him because they want this war. Some develop elaborate arguments establishing his theory of why the war is just.

      The question beccomes when the line crosses from prudential judgement to sophistic justification. So let’s say that Voter J sees the facts as follows: “Dictator H has invaded other countries. We engaged in a just war to repel his invasion of a neighbor. Since then, we’ve been trying to contain him, but he has consistently violated the terms of the cease-fire. The previous administration bombed his country a couple times. The UN says he’s building a weapons program, and, when we were attacked a couple years ago, he applauded the attack and virtually declared war. The war is just.”

      That voter has made a prudential judgement, in accordance with his conscience (which may or may not be well-formed) to support this war.

      There are four possibilities:

      1. The war is unjust; he has knowledge he’s intentionally ignoring or discounting or manipulating to make his judgement so he can justify the war: then he’s guilty of cooperating with an unjust war.

      2. The war is *just*, but Voter J intentionally ignored evidence that indicated it might be unjust; or his primarymotive for supportign the war was revenge or anger. Then he’s *supporting* a just war for sinful reasons.

      3. The war is unjust, but Voter J sincerely believed the things that led to his original judgement. He had no way of knowing the war was unjust beforehand. He’s objectively guilty but not culpable.

      4. He sincerely believed the war to be just, but found evidence later that it wasn’t: he needs to go to Confession.

      5. The war is just, and there’s no problem.

      Point is: we cna’t judge each other’s souls, be we can certainly say, “You are in danger of being complicit in grave evil, and you are putting your soul in danger if you don’t seriously reconsider your position.”

    • Ann

      R.C.

      It is false, because, taken collectively, the policies and philosophy espoused by the Republican party are measurably Godlier than those espoused by the Democratic party.

      In YOUR opinion. In my opinion, no.

    • Ann

      Cyrille, who are YOU to say who is or isn’t a Catholic?

      Seriously, who are you to say that?

    • Ann

      Theresa, thank you for writing it better than I could.

      I see nothing Catholic about this blog, nothing.

      All I see is a bunch of blowhards passing judgement on other people.

    • nobody

      We live in a representative democracy. A single voter can not be held accountable for decisions made by leaders of such governments unless a candidate out right says a vote for me is a vote for unjust war and torture.

      Obama has said a vote for me murders more babies, a vote for me denigrates the nuclear family, a vote for me and I will separate the Christian conscience from politics, vote for me and we will euthanize the old and the sick, vote for me and I we promote cloning, vote for me and I will use fetal stem cells.

      And they are all Catholic non-negotiables.

      CCC 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met:

    • nobody

      Theresa, thank you for writing it better than I could.

      I see nothing Catholic about this blog, nothing.

      All I see is a bunch of blowhards passing judgement on other people.

      LOL Your passing judgement on others supposedly passing judgement.

    • Theresa

      Theresa, thank you for writing it better than I could.

      I see nothing Catholic about this blog, nothing.

      All I see is a bunch of blowhards passing judgement on other people.

      Ann, nothing Catholic indeed! First and foremost, Inside Catholic is a partisan political site poorly disguised as a “Catholic” site. Sadly, it’s often the internet version of hate radio. Every wingnut smear and lie gets repeated and amplified here. You may have noticed than many of the commentors are divinely omniscient, able to look into the very souls of those who disagree with them and consign them to Hell. I expect the Rovean rhetoric to escalate every day until Nov. 4. And the childishness, too. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

      I am so thankful that God is My Judge and not some of the people here!

    • nobody

      [smiley=think]

      Ladies,

      This particular thread is about politics, not theology, as if you didn

    • Sara

      Hi,

      I’d like to comment on so much of the ugliness that has come out in this campaign. I agree with Theresa that it’s sad to see judgmentalism spilling over onto this site. And has anyone else been disturbed by the angry rhetoric that has been coming out during McCain/Palin rallies? People in the crowds have been shouting things like “terrorist” and “traitor” and “kill him” when Obama is mentioned. That disturbs me greatly.

      We can disagree; that’s what this site is for. But we should do so respectfully. And I’m not saying any posters here would be the ones in the mobs calling for Obama to be killed. But the growing negativity and ugliness of this campagain scares me.

    • Scott

      After all, if Deal Hudson is going to define Catholicism in terms of the “red and blue state” paradigm, then what’s important to him is politics, not Catholicism. And there’s nothing particularly Catholic about Hudson’s analysis, which borders on that of your typical evangelical Protestant. It only reflects American categories. There is nothing Catholic about it.

    • Rose

      Theresa, Ann & Sara,

      This feeling of judgmentalism you say that you are experiencing from persons on this blog who are stating truths God has revealed through His Catholic Church (not their own personal opinions)…is your conscience pricking you. If you feel condemned by these statements then do something about it; turn to God, whom you are glad is your Judge. Metanoia–turn about face, eat some humble pie and go meet Jesus in His Tribunal of Mercy; the confessional. Forgiveness of sins, sanctifying grace & God’s judgment are on this side of the grave.

    • R.C.

      Ann:

      In YOUR opinion. In my opinion, no.

      Yes. In my opinion. I’m not sure who else’s opinion I’d give, in a comments-box!

      I’m perfectly aware that not everyone understands the damage done to the poor by leftist economics (e.g. the current C.R.A.-caused home mortgage crisis, the Johnson-era “Great Society” fiasco, the culture of contraception, government-operated schooling, et cetera). That’s why I noted, a few sentences later, that…

      An economic leftist would, of course, disagree.

      Still, the original point of my post holds true even if you’re an economic leftist. For they’re both (being political parties staffed by humans and not by angels) pretty low on the Godliness scale. But even very few economic leftists, I think, could argue that the Democrats, by virtue of their compulsory charity-substitutes, were so much more Godly than the Republicans as to thereby nullify their decision not to defend the lives of million-and-change innocent, defenseless kids annually.

      I mean, really. As moral issues are measured, it’d take something pretty devastating to make up for that. Even if an economic leftist thinks that those of the Austrian school are entirely mistaken in concluding that a good economy and private charity are the best ways to help the poor…does he really believe that a mistake on a topic of economic policy is as bad as all the abortions since Roe?

      No, he won’t think that…unless he thinks abortion isn’t wrong to begin with. But if he acknowledges the human rights of the child, then he’s bound to conclude that no matter how wrong he may think the GOP approach to helping the poor is, it’s nowhere near the crime that abortion is. A person could hold the wrong view on every major economic topic of the last five hundred years, from rights of serfs to mercantilism to Marxism to trade unionism to the minimum wage, and still not quite be as guilty as those who see babies butchered and stand aloof!

      So even if you’re an economic leftist…even if you hold that the GOP is in bad economic error…the significance of that error pales next to the abortion issue.

      Anyhow, Ann, I wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth, or convey any disrespect. I can’t say with certainty what you meant to convey by the “God is not a Republican or Democrat” truism. But I know what some folks seem to mean by it, and it was that argument I intended to refute.

    • R.C.

      Sara:

      You say…

      And has anyone else been disturbed by the angry rhetoric that has been coming out during McCain/Palin rallies? People in the crowds have been shouting things like “terrorist” and “traitor” and “kill him” when Obama is mentioned. That disturbs me greatly.

      Now that would disturb me, too…if I’d heard that it was in any way the truth.

      But I’ve heard nothing of the kind, except from you. I don’t doubt you’re repeating something you’ve heard…but where’d you hear it?

      Obviously I don’t want Obama to win. I’d love it if he lost his Senate seat to a pro-life challenger.

      But “kill him?” Not really the Republican style; that. Where’d you hear that one? I certainly don’t want him dead. I want him to repent and become a champion of life and economic freedom and almsgiving. Or, failing that, to fade to obscurity, in favor of some wiser public figure to capture the imagination of the masses.

      “Traitor” I could believe…coming from the wingnuts; they think Obama was negotiating with the Iraqis to delay the Iraq draw-down until after the election so he could take credit for it. (Later news stories demonstrated there wasn’t much to that.)

      “Terrorist,” I’ve also heard, used to describe Obama’s friend Bill Ayers (not Obama). A fair description, I think (of Ayers), tho’ he’s small-time compared to some of the terrorists we’ve faced more recently.

      Anyhow, while you’re correct to suggest that there are crazies on the right as well as on the left, and that their behavior should give us pause, it’ll take more than a single report to make me worry overmuch.

      When Fred Barnes and Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck are saying such nasty things about Obama and Biden as their counterparts on the left have been saying about McCain and (particularly) Palin, I’ll be more concerned.

    • Ann

      Good point, perhaps we should all take a step back and examine our consciences.

      Since we’re giving out free spiritual direction here’s some:

      People who comment on here saying things like certain groups of people are going to HELL and other people aren’t Catholics but are hot dogs and vacuum cleaners, should examine their conscience also.

    • Ann

      R.C.

      I hear you.

      What I meant by my comment God is not a Republican or a Democrat is simply that.

      I believe that if Jesus was alive today he would not be part of either party.

      Of course, our opinions can differ on that [smiley=happy]

    • Sara

      Hi R.C.,

      A Google news search of “mccain rallies” will turn up multiple reports of the angry crowds. I tried to put in a link but the site wouldn’t let me (apparently too long). But do take a look.

      http://tinyurl.com/4zg5ec
      http://tinyurl.com/4oanbt

      I don’t like negative campaigning on either side. Yes, there are definitely crazies on both the right and the left. But what terrifies me is when these are the kinds of comments being shouted out by the crowds. The candidates, I feel, have a responsibility to staunch that kind of rhetoric, not inflame it. It makes me think of lynch mobs.

      Anyhow, like I said, if you do some Google searching, you’ll get the reports. Several political commentators have also expressed concern about the tone of these crowds. It makes me seriously frightened.

      And in response to Rose: we all need to search our consciences. Please trust that I’ve done that rather than making a snap judgment about me and my views. Thank you.

    • Sara

      Regarding my message above, I’m not sure what that tinyurl link is. Maybe it’s one of the news stories I tried to insert?

    • Brian Saint-Paul

      Regarding my message above, I’m not sure what that tinyurl link is. Maybe it’s one of the news stories I tried to insert?

      Hi Sara,

      I came across the two stories and stuck the links in there myself. Those are the accounts you’re referring to, I believe.

    • Sara

      Hi Brian,

      Those weren’t the stories I was looking at, but they do illustrate some of what worried me about the tone of the rallies. Thanks.

    • Claire

      “When Fred Barnes and Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck are saying such nasty things about Obama and Biden as their counterparts on the left have been saying about McCain and (particularly) Palin, I’ll be more concerned.”

      R.C., the guys you listed are not news sources. No wonder you aren’t aware of what’s actually happening at McCain-Palin rallies.

    • JC

      Ann, you strike me as the kind of person who would answer the question, “Is the Pope Catholic?” with a resounding “No.”

      Yes, this is a Catholic site that deals, in part, with politics–just like Vox Nova and National Catholic Reporter, wcich deal mostly in politics. It would be nice to see some apologetics or spirituality now and then, but Inside Catholic deals with plenty of other topics besides politics: liturgy, culture and arts, Catholic living and parenting, etc. All of these topics are dealt with from “Catholic” perspectives.
      Also, unlike entities like the _National Catholic Reporter_, and even the former _Crisis Magazine_, I’ve found Inside Catholic to be fairly open to diverse viewpoints, so long as they are fundamentally pro-life: traditionalists, libertarians, pro-life Democrats, conservatives, even a charismatic or two, all get their say here.

      Now, you say that his argument is “not Catholic” for categorizing Catholics along political lines: don’t _Commonweal_ and _National Catholic Reporter_ and _America_ and _Vox Nova_ do the same thing???

      The only difference is who’s considered the “real” Catholics.

      Let’s see. . . .

      One group of Catholics say abortion should be the primary issue in politics, “trumping” all others. Among these are three sub-groups:
      a. Those who include contraception with abortion and have a complete, no-compromise, end abortion now position. We can call these the “ALL” and “HLI” pro-lifers. We try to look for the candidate who is most truly in accord with our principles, and we look beyond the two party false dichotomy. Several columnists on _Inside Catholic_ have held this position.
      b. There are those who see abortion as the top issue, but accept a more “incrementalist” strategy, and who in varying degrees tend to support the Republican party more directly, like Dr. Hudson. Call ‘em “NRLC Pro-lifers.”
      c. Then there are the pro-life liberals/Democrats, the “Casey pro-lifers,” who would vote for a pro-life Democrat over anyone else, but will vote for pro-life Republicans out of desperation. My dad is in this category; he still considers himself a “Reagan Democrat.”

      All three groups agree that abortion should be #1 of current political issues: and that is the clear teaching of the Church as expressed by the last two Popes and the highest ranking people in the Vatican. It is also revealed in the fact that most of the bishops appointed by Pope Benedict’s have been very active pro-lifers. We now have several young bishops who pray daily in front of Planned Parenthood. It is also reflected in the promotions and recognition Pope Benedict is giving to bishops like Archbishop Burke.

      On the other hand, there are the Catholics whose general worldview is that condemned in Pius IX’s _Syllabus of Errors_ and in Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on “Americanism.” Their view is that “Catholicism” is essentailly about being “nice” to people, that Jesus was basically this “nice guy” who wanted everyone to be happy. C. S. Lewis talks about people who view God not as their Father but as their benevolent Grandfather in Heaven, a senile old man. Their interpretation of “Catholic social teaching” is for them the top political standard. Usually, their idea of “Catholic social teaching”–indeed, their view of what it means to be “Catholic”–comes more from USCCB documents than papal encyclicals or the Catechism. Very few of them consider contraception a sin, and most will openly say the Popes are “wrong” about it. If a priest or bishop says something that agrees with Rome but disagrees with the USCCB, he is a “rogue.” If the Pope says something that contradicts what the uSCCB says, these Catholics call the Pope “out of touch” and “ultra-conservative.”

    • JC

      What’s scarier? That there are, allegedly, some kooks who scream things about Obama at rallies? gee, arent’ there liberal “kooks” who scream things about McCain and Palin at *their* rallies? I watched a video last night of a pro-life protestor being arrested and screaming for his first amendment rights, and the female, feminist legislator giving a speech in the background called out that “That’s an example of the first amendment going too far.”
      What’s scarier? We *ought* to be scared that
      a. Barack Obama says he’ll *fine* people for *not* getting health insurance.
      b. Barack Obama says he’ll punish parents for not insuring their children.
      c. Barack Obama wants to put limits on how many children a family can have (Hillary Clinton expressed similar goals).
      d. Barack Obama says he wants to set limits on what temperatures people can set their thermostats at.
      e. Barack Obama will pass a “hate speech” act, saying it’s illegal to speak against abortion or homosexuality.

      Recently, a Venezuelan human rights activist compared Obama to Chavez and Castro, and said Obama’s supporters sound just like the Cubans did before Castro took power and just like the Venezuelans did before Castro. And anyone who expressed the fear that Castro or Chavez would be a dictator and take away people’s freedoms was dismissed as a “kook” and a “wingnut”, but that’s exactly what happened.

    • Kathy

      So many have said a split would occur over politics. Politics is NOT the issue to me. The issue is the life of the unborn. It is a MORAL issue. It may look like a polticial issue because it has been the focus of political parties since Rose v. Wade was forced down our throats in 1973. If the Church splits over a MORAL issue….so be it.

    • Kathy

      I meant ROE v Wade.

    • Bob

      All the comments above prove Deal’s point. The Church already is divided – but not into Democrat and Republican.

      The orhodox vs modernist split was hidden for decades and only came into the open in the 1960s. Dissent is the establishment in America. I too have heard the “wait till we get a new pope” line. As someone who has shopped around and church hopped in my youth, I believe it would be more honest to leave than to subvert.

      Most liberal Catholics seem to be closet Episcopalians. Everything they want is already in place in the Episcopal Church, but that communion is falling apart. Yet what would you expect when it was founded by a king who was Catholic at heart but promoted heresy for reasons of state

      Social justice concerns are good but they flow out of orthodox teaching.Too many Americans think abortion is about sex or privacy or being modern. The right to life underlies all other rights. Since you are reading this blog I assume you all have been following the issues at a higher level than most people who only use the Mainstream Media.

    • Bob

      All the comments above prove Deal’s point. The Church already is divided – but not into Democrat and Republican.

      The orhodox vs modernist split was hidden for decades and only came into the open in the 1960s. Dissent is the establishment in America. I too have heard the “wait till we get a new pope” line. As someone who has shopped around and church hopped in my youth, I believe it would be more honest to leave than to subvert.

      Most liberal Catholics seem to be closet Episcopalians. Everything they want is already in place in the Episcopal Church, but that communion is falling apart. Yet what would you expect when it was founded by a king who was Catholic at heart but promoted heresy for reasons of state

      Social justice concerns are good but they flow out of orthodox teaching.Too many Americans think abortion is about sex or privacy or being modern. The right to life underlies all other rights. Since you are reading this blog I assume you all have been following the issues at a higher level than most people who only use the Mainstream Media.

    • Conservative Catholic


      The frame that Catholics supporting Sen. Obama is = to or leads to institutionalized dissent is self-righteous and false.

      Faithful Catholics can and do support Sen. Obama over John McCain for President.

      You may disagree with their choice, but they are no less Faithful or Catholic because of their vote.

      But those same catholics support the same abortion the Obama campaign supports along with the terrorist Bill Ayers, his rascist pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the rascist and antisemite Loius Farakhan, another rascist and antisemite Ramon Al Monsoor, ACORN, and pro-Palestian activist Rashid Colitti, and a weak economy and weak national defense[smiley=evil]

    • Conservative Catholic

      My bad the last part with the smiley face was not your quotes. By the way I miss the old mass.

    • Conservative Catholic

      My bad the last part with the smiley face was not your quotes. By the way I miss the old mass.

      And senator Barack Apollo Obama putting his “messiah hands” on this counry is also involved with Planned Parenthood who aborts minority babies like Hispanic and Afican American babies.

    • Rose

      To Ann & Sara,

      Now why would I spend my time suggesting searching our consciences if I didn’t care about souls? Why would someone bother bringing up Hell? Because Jesus did. In fact He spoke about it in the N.T. Scriptures more than any person or disciple. Why would He do this and not sugarcoat it? Because He suffered & died so no one would have to live without God’s Presence eternally (Hell).

      Even so, many are called & few are chosen; the road to Hell is wide and many follow it while the Holy road is narrow & few enter upon it. If you are one of the few, then great; but Jesus decides, not you. So ask Him. Then whatever the answer, it will be straight from Him & not from one of his co-workers. Many people know about Jesus, but to let Him rule hearts is quite another matter. If He ruled more hearts, our world would be beautiful; full of agape Love & Peace toward all people.

      No one likes to hear that they may be in danger of Hell, but instead of dismissing the idea so flippantly why not listen instead. It can’t hurt. Don’t take offense about Hell; everyone in the human race has inherited the same fate from the sin of Adam & Eve and only apart from Jesus’ salvific act can it become a reality. All the Lord asks is that we cooperate with him by living a Christ-centered life.

      Blog people might be instruments through which God is trying to reach you in new ways…and nothing would even have been said if something wasn’t detected in your views that may be contrary to obtaining eternal Life with Christ. We can’t know all things. Become teachable (humble). Expand your views. You reap the benefits. It’s a win-win invitation. We are all called to be saints and every saint goes through many conversions of heart which entails examining self with the purifying light of Christ…often this is not a comfortable experience, although a necessary lifelong endeavor. We can do all things only through Christ who strengthens us.

      God bless you both.

    • kathy

      How many Catholics think that they give to the poor out of the goodness of their own hearts!?? Where did the disconnect happen that any good that we do comes from the grace of God? I guess when the state became the religion of way too many Catholics that fact was forgotten.

      Also, Bob, I love the reference to Henry VIII! How very true!!!

    • Chrissy G

      Catholics in America come in all political stripes, and working together as Catholics despite those differences is incredibly valuable. I think we can all agree to that. The question is, what are we to do together as Catholics in this nation? Primary among our goals should be ending abortion. Personal conscience formation built upon Catholic catechism cannot fail to produce a total rejection of abortion and of laws and policies that allow it to occur. Yes, Catholics should be free to vote based on their views on the war, the economy, international policy, and the full breadth of political issues– I wish we were. But that freedom is being monopolized- Catholics, and indeed all people of good conscience who recognize the value of unborn life, are being forced to choose between John McCain and a continued (probably increased) epidemic of abortion. In this election, that is the sad reality. We have to fight for such a basic and fundamental moral cause that we don’t get to take sides on the many other issues affecting our country, and I mourn that fact.

      The question now, is how do we as Catholics move on from this sick position of having only one candidate we can in good conscience support, to having two or more candidates who are willing to protect life, between whom we can decide on the basis of other issues? First of all, we have to band together and unequivocally tell the politicians- in statements and with our votes- that if they want any Catholic votes, they’d better protect our interests: human lives. Whatever they think they can do to win Catholic votes- tuition vouchers, “Catholic” nominees, focusing on heavily Catholic areas (like Scranton PA), we need to reject all of these attempts unless they are accompanied by protection for the unborn and the other fundamental life issues. The word is out that Catholics have strong numbers in key swing states. If we turn expectations on their head for this election AND publicly declare that the reason was that we’re pro-life, both parties will get the message. If we turn the tables so that ONLY pro-life candidates can count on any Catholic support, then both parties will start offering us pro-life candidates. And when they do, they’ll find the incredible diversity of opinions that Catholics have on a host of other issues and the many insights we have to offer.

    • LFK

      Our newly installed bishop, Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, wrote a very strong letter entitled “Prudence and Preparing to Vote.” He quoted then Cardinal Ratzinger,”A well-formed conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.” He then draws the conclusion that “Therefore, it is a correct judgement of conscience that one would commit moral evil by voting for a candidate who takes a permissive stand on these intrinsically evil actions when there is a morally acceptable alternative.” Unfortunately, the very next week, our paper carried three columns which said the complete opposite, that there is no issue that trumps any other issue.

    • Darryl

      I’m a stone mason by trade, and I joke that I’m not real smart…I just lift heavy things….

      Well, when it comes to politics a spade is a spade and murder is murder. Any good Catholic knows that this is true. Why try to candy coat it?

      No Catholic can support Sen. Obama…how can they? Any justification is merely a person trying to convince themselves of a lie.

      As for a split in the Church… Satan is real and would love nothing more than a division. Many clerics and lay people try to insinuate their own agendas into parish life and the liturgy…strong pastors will have to fight and so will we.

      I love all Americans, but I DON”T have to love their sins. Being from an older parish I grew up with the Latin Mass and a parish base (and pastor) who were unafraid of letting you know what to vote for; not who. Can’t be any simpler than that….

    • Sheri

      To those people who say you can vote for Obama and still be a good Catholic. I have a question for you. Did you know that Obama voted FOUR times against the Infant born alive protection act? Go to bornalivetruth.org and see the truth about this.

      If a candidate were for reinstating slavery could you vote for them and say “I can’t be a single issue voter.”? There are certain issues that MUST take precedence and protecting human life is THE one. Without the right to life none of our other rights matter!

      People need to wake up and really look at the facts. The blood of all these innocent children will be on all of us but especially on those who refuse to seek the TRUTH! PRAY,PRAY, PRAY for the elections!!