Joe Biden and the Bishops


Joe Biden’s voting record on abortion in the United States Senate is likely to cause heartburn for two groups of people: ardent pro-choicers and Catholic bishops. Biden is a Catholic; and yet for the last ten years, according to the National Right to Life Committee, he has voted the “wrong” way 88.5 percent of the time and the “right” way only 11.5 percent of the time. No wonder the bishops will be unhappy.

Hardcore pro-abortion types will be unhappy too; for not only has Biden fallen short of a 100 percent pro-choice voting record but, worse still, his few defections have had to do with partial-birth abortion. He voted in favor of the PBA ban that is now the law of the land. For those who believe that the right to abortion is a fundamental human right, voting for a PBA ban is a tremendous shortcoming — for if a right is “fundamental,” how can it be curtailed in any circumstances whatever? Biden may be a friend of the pro-choice movement, but he’s not a rock-solid friend. What, pro-choicers will ask, could Obama (who really is rock-solid) have been thinking of when he put such a dubious character on his ticket?
That Obama and Biden differ on PBA could lead to an embarrassing situation if a clever and relentless reporter — somebody like the late Tim Russert — presses Biden on his reasons for voting in favor of the PBA ban. If Biden should say, as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once did, that PBA is tantamount to infanticide, the obvious follow-up question will be: “So you’re accusing Senator Obama of being in favor of infanticide?” Thus Biden will have to avoid using the word “infanticide,” but whatever word he uses, it will still invite the follow-up question: “So you’re accusing Senator Obama of [fill in the blank]?”
But whatever problems the Biden candidacy may pose for Obama or NARAL or Planned Parenthood or the ACLU, it will produce even more problems for the Catholic hierarchy. Given their positive obligation to instruct the faithful on the content of Church teaching and their negative obligation to avoid scandalizing the faithful, how should they respond to the fact that a Catholic who doesn’t take seriously the Church teaching on abortion is running for the second-highest office in the land? Four years ago they faced this question in a more acute form when another pro-choice Catholic, Sen. John Kerry, ran for a still higher office.
During the Kerry campaign in 2004, most of the bishops didn’t acquit themselves very well — with a few notable exceptions, e.g., Archbishops Chaput of Denver and Burke, formerly of St. Louis. Otherwise, the bishops generally contented themselves with an abstract statement that Catholics probably shouldn’t support pro-abortion candidates.
Abstract statements are fine when bishops are talking about adultery; it is enough to say, “Don’t commit adultery.” They don’t have to concretize the principle by saying, “Don’t commit adultery with your next-door neighbor, Mrs. Smith.” But when it comes to voting in America, abstract statements just don’t work very well. If bishops want Catholics to have a clean and well-informed conscience when it comes to the question of whether they should vote for the likes of Joe Biden, they have to say in plain English, “Don’t vote for the Obama/Biden ticket.”
(This is not the same, by the way, as saying, “Vote for John McCain.” There are many ways of not voting for Obama/Biden: You can, of course, vote for McCain; or you can stay home on election day (a very bad idea); or you can vote for a third-party candidate; or you can vote but leave the presidential line blank; or you can write in the name of your mother-in-law.)
I don’t mean that the bishops have to use those precise words. There are other ways of communicating the message, including the one that some bishops have used with other Catholic pro-choice politicians: namely, telling the politician in question not to receive Communion (while at the same time letting the public know that the bishop has made this statement).
Of course, the secularist community will cry foul if the bishops take a step like this regarding Biden: “This is un-American! A violation of the principle of separation of church and state!” Bishops should remind themselves that the secularists are not friends of Christianity; neither are they likely to be converted to friendship as a result of the bishops abstaining from a denunciation of Biden.
A slightly more serious concern is the fact that “nominal” Catholics will echo this protest, just as they echo the words and ideas of the secularists regarding almost everything else. If the bishops take a strong stand against Biden, for some nominal Catholics this will be the final push out the door of the Church; many who have only partially disappeared up till now will disappear for good. But many others will be drawn back toward the Church when they see that Catholicism is not just a tired and withering-away institution, but is a fighting faith led by courageous (or at least non-cowardly) bishops.
But the greatest concern of the bishops should be not with secularists and not with nominal Catholics, but with “real” Catholics, the hardcore faithful. There is a line from Milton’s “Lycidas” that sums up the relationship that has existed for many years now between the faithful and the Catholic bishops: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” For decades the faithful laity have lived in pain while yearning for effective episcopal leadership. They have watched the Church decline in strength. They have patiently borne attempts by “progressives” to water down orthodox Catholicism. They have lived through the appalling sex-abuse scandal. They have seen the Church offer a relatively weak resistance to the abortion movement, leaving the real resistance to Evangelical Protestants.
The Biden candidacy offers the bishops a golden opportunity to give heart to these faithful and orthodox Catholics.



David R. Carlin Jr. is a politician and sociologist who served as a Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate. His books include "Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?: How the Party I Loved Became the Enemy of My Religion" and "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America." Carlin is a current professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island at Newport.

  • Joe

    The real question is will the Bishops stand up and fulfill their duties and obligations regarding the Catholic Faith…..

    If the Bishops do not make it clear that voting for Obama and Biden is no different than being a Catholic who supported the Nazis or any of the other political ideologies in history that have destroyed life, then I think they will stand to answer before the mill-stone….

    This election, like all the others since Roe v. Wade is simple. If you vote for a candidate that supports the murder of humans, the blood of the innocent will be on your soul.

    There is no other way it can be.

    If we are a nation of laws enacted and enforced through elected officials, there can be no other moral responsibility.

    I hope and pray the Bishops and all Christian leadres, speak loudly this election.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Great article, thanks – Recent news gives glow to the golden opportunity you identify here. I suspect that Nancy Pelosi’s breathtaking folly into prime time, nationally televised analysis of Catholic abortion teaching tilted the seesaw maneuvering with the Bishops against the pro-abort Dems

  • Henry M.

    Rovian Republican smears done under the cloak of religious doctrine are still Rovian Republican smears.

  • Julia Perhac

    I remember as a child, the controversy that was aroused at the thought of a Catholic president and how my mother’s heart filled with love for her faith through her support for JFK. At that time, it was non-Catholics who held the candidate suspect. We’ve grown to the point that the Catholic candidate is scrutinized and judged to determine whether they are Catholic enough – by those of shared faith. Progress? [smiley=think]

  • Mutunga Maithya

    As a practicing catholic, I feel under represented in the forthcoming elections because neither candidate fully embraces nor represents my moral values. Both are in favor of same sex unions if not marriage, and they both support one form of abortion if not the other.

    While Obama might appear more extreme than on the surface, McCain is masquerading as a Social Conservative but operating as a Liberal!! Obama is the easiest and most viable candidate to convert to our Conservative and religious way of life. Having severed ties with his Trinity Church, Obama is in the market for a new Church, a new faith.

    Rather than demonizing him, perhaps the Catholic Church should flex her muscles and engage her genius to aggressively recruit Obama to the Church. God paved the way by recruiting Soul, the persecutor and made an example of him by making him the greatest apostle of all. Why can’t we follow suit and recruit Obama to our faith? Rather than demonizing him, why can’t we acknowledge the fact that he is reaching out to us and welcome him on board?

    We trusted Pres. Bush to deliver on abortion and homosexuality but he failed!! The Democrats in Congress blocked whatever feeble attempts he made to appease us: – I have faith in the Republican half of the Congress to hold the Liberal zealots in check lest they choke us with unpalatable legislation.

    Unlike the younger Obama who is easier to mold to our liking, McCain is set in his ways and will not change his views at his old age! If you listen carefully to Obama, then you will realize that it is those on the extreme left, the pro-choice and homosexuals who have more to loose than gain with an Obama presidency. They are not very comfortable with Obama and fear that he will not deliver for them. With a little more coercion, their fears will materialize when Obama converts and decides to err on the side of life and moral values.

    Give Obama a chance.

  • Marjorie Campbell

    Julia Perhac wrote: I remember as a child, the controversy that was aroused at the thought of a Catholic president and how my mother’s heart filled with love for her faith through her support for JFK. At that time, it was non-Catholics who held the candidate suspect. We’ve grown to the point that the Catholic candidate is scrutinized and judged to determine whether they are Catholic enough – by those of shared faith. Progress? [smiley=think]

    Ms. Perhac’s comment hits the Catholic bulls-eye Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden seek. Catholic-in-name-Mr. Biden might, they hope, attract a Catholic-seeking-candidate-vote, regardless his position on issues. Fair enough. The Catholic Brand is substantial and … up for grabs. But Mr. Biden is no JFK – he, for one, supports the government sanctioned killing of the unborn. Deceptively, for Ms. Perhac and others similarly inclined, calling oneself “Catholic”, as does Mr. Biden, does not mean that one actually knows and practices Catholicism and its teachings – which, as our Bishops are proclaiming, mandate that you raise your hand to protect the most innocent, vulnerable life, be it unborn, embryonic or terminally ill. We can only pray that “Catholic” will come, again, to mean “protection of all life”. For now, the brand name has been contaminated – and is no longer reliable as it was for your mother, Ms. Perhac.

  • Ben

    some of the bishops are actually speaking up for their faith. Even Donnie Wuerl, perhaps because he got to be on teevee, took time to call out Pelosi. When he first became archbishop of Washington, he was too busy attending cocktail parties with her to correct her version of the faith.

  • R.C.


    Rovian Republican smears done under the cloak of religious doctrine are still Rovian Republican smears.

    Oh, for heaven’s sake. Hasn’t anyone tired of that old chestnut?

    I mean, is there anything Karl Rove’s ever done that isn’t exactly mirrored in political amorality by, say, James Carville or someone similar on the other side? Yet “Rovian” is apparently the sole negative adjective in the limited vocabularies of those easily-led souls who’ve spent the last six months as Obama’s hagiographers.

    (And Rove arguably resembles a human being; Carville more resembles a rabid Muppet whose fur came off in the washing machine. Though that’s hardly his fault.)

    More importantly, do any or all of the acts of political “strategery” by Rove or Carville or any such imps rise anywhere near the level of evil formally enacted by thirty-five years of pro-choice politicians, singly or collectively?

    After all, the most egregious thing I recall hearing about (apart from the Chicago dead vote) in recent years was when all those Kerry supporters let the air out of several hundred GOP-voters’ tires on election day.

    Stern stuff, that, sure. But against that, measure…what’s the number again? Something like 45 million abortions since Roe was enacted?

    It’s hard to read Church teaching on the subject and not conclude that, assuming that either party even gets to Purgatory, Rove will skip trippingly past Pelosi and enter into the company of the saints some hundreds of years before Nancy is finished with her purgation.

  • Ender

    The selection of a Catholic on the national Democrat ticket carries with it the great risk that at some point the bishops may actually get serious in dealing with Catholic politicians who support abortion. Given Archbishop Burke’s comments about the necessity of withholding communion from Catholics (especially politicians) who publicly support abortion – which came out before Biden’s nomination – the risk factor has been increased.

    I thought the bishops missed the perfect opportunity to make this point in the last election with the presence of John Kerry as the Democrat nominee, but apparently they are to be given another chance to do the right thing. One can only hope that they don’t squander this one as well.

  • EK Pavlat

    Ben wrote: some of the bishops are actually speaking up for their faith. Even Donnie Wuerl, perhaps because he got to be on teevee, took time to call out Pelosi. When he first became archbishop of Washington, he was too busy attending cocktail parties with her to correct her version of the faith.

    On the one hand, I share your frustration andfeel that Canon 915 needs to be interpreted along the lines of Cardinal Burke. On the other hand, Ben, I feel that I should fraternally remind you that Archbishop IS a bishop, a successor to the apostles chosen by Jesus Himself, and his position does entitle him to a certain amount of respect, at very least when discussing him in a public forum.

  • Jeff Arrowood

    I have long held that practicing Catholics cannot give their allegiance to either political party. It always amazes me to hear Catholics fall so easily into political propaganda verbiage and leave their Catholic tradition of moral reasoning behind.

    One such piece of propaganda is the tired old, “You can’t base your vote on one issue.” Even apart from the tremendous importance of abortion, it isn’t a matter of one issue. Pro-abortion politicians embrace an entire worldview that is secularist, materialist, and utilitarian. They are willing to arbitrarily define human personhood to fit their agenda. That’s dangerous on a number of fronts, not just on the abortion “issue.” It is this worldview that is embraced by the Democratic platform, and which Catholics must not support with their votes.

    Republicans are not the perfect Catholic party either, but neither are they the only choice for serious Catholics – and at least the problematic areas in the Republican party are not inherent in their platform.

  • Sam

    [quote=Marjorie Campbell]Great article, thanks – Recent news gives glow to the golden opportunity you identify here. I suspect that Nancy Pelosi’s breathtaking folly into prime time, nationally televised analysis of Catholic abortion teaching tilted the seesaw maneuvering with the Bishops against the pro-abort Dems

  • William

    Politicians who cannot or will not see that abortion is the deliberate taking of innocent human life are unfit for public office–regardless of party affiliation. Catholics who vote for such politicians are either profoundly ignorant or damnably dishonest; and there is no middle ground here. Bishops are the supreme teachers in the Church and it’s time for them to cut out the equivocation.

  • Bob

    I live in Saint Louis, Missouri. It was great having Archbishop Burke here. He angered a lot of people, especially the cafeteria Catholics. But Archbishop Burke always spoke up for true Catholic beliefs.
    The Church needs more people like him. I only hope our next Archbishop is as outspoken and faithful as he was.

  • Mike

    Raymond Arroyo had a great line on Laura Inghram’s radio program today that nails the concept of being Catholic. He said that communion is not a “booby prize” for being Catholic, it is the basis of our faith and it represents the unity of our faith. Pro-death Democrats and Republican Catholics need to be taught the Catechism since they tend to forget the details when in the heat of abortion combat. It will be an interesting next two months when Biden/Pelosi present themselves for communion at their churches. Every video camera in the US will be there to witness it.

    I hope the bishop’s continue to hold the elected officials feet to the fire.

  • perryj

    Give Obama a chance??? What planet are you on. A nurse told him that she was holding a baby in her arms and she had to let it die because of the law. How can any human listen to that testimony and not be moved. Obama is barbaric and cold. He is not only an embarrassment to the United State he is an embarrassment to the race of humanity. The muslims attack us because we are immoral. How do you think his immorality to right to life will play in third world countries.

    I amazed that black people support a candidate that clearly supports their genocide. Black people are 10 percent of the nation yet 30 percent of the abortions. His support of abortion is killing generations of his own people. If he wants to support his race why doesn’t he step forward and tell his own people that he supports their genocide.

    This man votes not only for abortion; but, also the killing of babies born from abortions and the genocide of his own race. How can anyone construe the rationalization of voting for this man. Just because he is glib and pretty? How can a man support the murder of babies and his own race and be called rational.

  • Tony Esolen

    Professor Carlin,

    Thanks for that article. I live three miles from your school — I’d love for us to have lunch some time.

    I’d like to suggest to everybody that abortion is the single non-negotiable item of the Left, because it is that ragged end of the carpet that will unravel the whole thing once you pull on it. The premises of the sexual revolution are materialistic and narcissistic; the welfare state depends upon the chaos that that revolution has caused, and so does feminism. It isn’t that feminists actually want to murder children — most of them, I daresay, would be agreeable to having the children live, if only it could be done without the slightest consequence to the sexual “freedom” of young women and their economic prospects. They don’t actually want to murder the family, either, so long as the family can be defined as a perfectly arbitrary set of people who get along and who buy a lot of goods, especially goods on sale at the Social Service Counter. Abortion also throws into high relief the whole question of man: what we are, and whom we must serve. George MacDonald once said that the saddest words ever spoken were Satan’s, in Hell: “I am my own.” Feminists TEACH those words as the center of their creed.

    The upshot of it is that the Democrats are now a bizarro-world congeries of narcissists, or rather totalitarian “philanthropists” who depend on those narcissists for their existence. The Republicans are the Democrats of my youth, only stupider …

  • Charlene

    The next couple of months will be interesting to see if our Shepards of the Catholic Church in the United States continue to
    stay on the course and do what they were ordained to to. Shepard the flock of Jesus Christ.

    This past week I am have been amazed and very excited by our Shepards………hope the momentum continues………….


    Charlene Edwards

  • April

    It seems that many Catholics are concentrated on the single issue of abortion in an election that will determine who will be president of the United States and who will lead the governing body on ALL matters of policital reform, peace, economy, immigration, foriegn policy, etc. I myself, am most against abortion (as I am 5 and a half months happily pregnant), and I do believe that protecting our innocent is of upmost importance. Do you really think that either candidate would wholeheartedly want their daughter to have an abortion?

    I believe that to vote with tunnel vision and without looking at the complete package is a very dangerous uneducated decision. If we are protecting life, shouldn’t we also protect from the death penalty as well as making guns harder to attain? (there are worse punishments than death for criminals; I don’t mean cruelty either.) If we look at all these issues, neither party can deliver.

    As we’ve seen for decades the abortion issue has become deadlocked in Congress (no matter if the president is Democratic or Republican). It is an issue that all of America will never agree on in a single election. Is not the real issue concerning abortion more readily about educating our children in all schools on the moral, medical, and psychological ramifications of abortion and its long term effects?

    Which candidate is going to wholly support reforms in education to do this? It certainly won’t happen with the “No Child Left Behind Act” where teachers in K-12 are forced to promote memorization and students are increasingly becoming less able to reason (I know this from experience as I am a college professor and have already seen the damage.) I’ve also had to counsel students who wanted to get abortions and in the end, I wish there was more educational support for young women on this topic. Education is power to fuel smarter decisions like reducing and ending abortion.

    I’ve yet to see any commentary from the bishops that puts emphasis on who has the better political platform concerning healthcare, education, and global relations. Are these the issues that just get left behind?

    If we are truely voting Catholic, then that would exclude both candidates because they have contradicting platforms concerning moral issues. It is also irresponsible not to vote. It would be smarter to vote for the candidate who can make the most positive and probable changes concerning economic growth with a strive for global peace. We need a president who can begin to put America back together and create more stable living conditions in this country.

  • Scott

    Reading through these comments really makes me believe that as members of the Catholic Church it is ok to kill innocent citizens of another country if it is in the name of God or Bush. You spend your time and effort trying to stamp out a small population of those who exercise their right to free choice under the constitution. At the same time you turn your backs as members of the church when the most innocent are being abused by the church leaders or people are drowning in a city here in this country while the President and his staff sit on their hands. You applaud the government as it starts an illegitimate war in a sovereign nation yet you will still put guns, abortion and gay marriage at the top of your agenda when it really only affects a minority in the country. You will sell out like rats leaving a sinking ship for the majority of your American comrades just so you can feel good about yourself. You will gladly kill those innocents you don’t know in other countries but you want to take away constitutional rights from those outsiders who are different in the churches eyes. The church will never marry Homosexuals so why do you care so much. Do any of your remember Jesus saying let those who are without sin cast the first stone. I see stones being thrown all over this website. If you live up to the Gospel and worry more about your own house being in order and let the almighty judge those who go against his laws you will all live much happier and fuller lives. Do any of you really know the Gospel or do you just pull out pieces when it suits you. I am a Catholic and have been since I was born. It makes me sick to my stomach when I read this kind of Religious/Political tripe. You are all hypocrites and need to re-evaluate the Gospel before any of you can truly be Christian.

  • L.G.

    Henry M. wrote: Rovian Republican smears done under the cloak of religious doctrine are still Rovian Republican smears.

    I don’t think you read the article Henry. I sensed no attempt at a smear… it was way too tame to be classified as a smear.

  • Scott

    I missed Aprils post before but she said it better than I did. You are really a fool if you vote for a guy who is a good Christian vs. one who traded in and married up to get ahead. One other point, I take a lot of what Bishops say with a grain of salt. If you lived in the Phoenix area where I do and you had to experience a Bishop who got drunk, ran over a pedestrian and then tried to hide it you might have different view regarding the church leaders. The state of the church here in the US is a direct result of Bishops hiding and moving abusive priest around instead of outing them to law enforcement. Having blind faith in public and religious leaders without asking questions is foolish. Voting for one party over another based upon 2 issues that most likely have no effect on the quality of your life is idiotic! [smiley=angry]

    It is not in dispute that while driving home alone on a June evening after officiating at a confirmation Mass Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien struck and killed a carpenter and drove away without stopping. (New York Times)

  • Claire


    Your point about educating young women about abortion, and about the failure of “No Child Left Behind” was interesting, and I think you are right. The title you gave your post got me thinking. It would be great if parents could “choose education”, meaning that the government should make it possible to send children to whatever school the parents want, or home school. Washington DC of all places has had great success with vouchers, and it has even improved the public schools, who have had to improve in order to attract students. Kids are much more likely to learn about abortion in religious schools, or from their parents. Abandoning children to the public schools simply because of their parents’ income is unfair and outdated.

    Also, the Bishops’ Conference released guidelines for voting as a Catholic, and you can vote for a candidate who, for example, has an unrealistic health care plan, or can only make small steps toward outlawing abortion. The only un-Catholic way to vote is for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil. An awful lot of people on these comments love to judge the faith of Catholics who try to make the best (and still meaningful) choice in an imperfect system. It would not be smart to vote for a candidate as you described, because no “probable” changes can be made by someone who will (definitely) not get elected.

  • Tony Esolen

    I too am a college professor. So is Dr. Carlin, the author of this article.

    Here’s what I want the federal government to do about education: NOTHING. President Bush’s education bill was liberal in the old sense of the word: it rested upon a sentimental belief that very smart people in a centralized system can make the world better for everybody by mandating sweetness and light all the way down. April doesn’t like the fact that the bill’s effect was to stress memorization rather than reasoning. Gosh, our schools have taught students neither to have a strong memory nor to reason; it’s been decades since they taught either one. I know I’m whistling in the wind here, but the centralization of our school policies has produced absolutely nothing of any value. If you want a school, East Podunk, you build it, you staff it, you choose the curriculum, you coach the teams, and you fire the incompetents and the moral derelicts.

    Perhaps we ought to ask why it is that homeschoolers, with precious few resources, and without fancy degrees in education, manage to raise children — of course I am speaking generally and not universally — who can read, and think, and write (in a human way, and not like a bureaucrat in training), and who actually possess some of the general knowledge that you’d have expected from a high school graduate even in the days of that corrupter of education, John Dewey.

    To say that the LEFT, of all the political ruffians out there, has anything instructive to tell us about education, is to reveal that what you want out of education is what the Left wants out of it. I’ve been in academe all my adult life, and will say and will dare to be contradicted on it that what the Left wants is political indoctrination. What else could it want, according to its own epistemological assumptions? When you no longer believe in an objective good and evil, or an objective human nature, what’s left, if not political might?

    Put it this way: WHICH ruffians have foisted sex education on kindergarteners? Which ruffians now insist upon the normality of sodomitical relations, and compel students to accept that normality? Which ruffians habitually advise students to reject the authority of their parents and their pastors? Which ruffians habitually run down the great writers and statesmen and artists of our own heritage, as “dead white males”? Teachers in our schools have a marvelously inflated opinion of both their jobs and their capacities. THEY think they can change the world, when all I want them to do — and I’d be deeply grateful to them if they’d condescend to do it — is to teach students how to read, and how to write English (that forgotten language), and how to compute, along with introducing them to the laws of the physical world, the story of mankind and the west, the great works of our tradition, and the characteristics of the globe we live on. If they could manage even some of that I’d be happy.

  • Sandi

    I saw Supreme Court Justice Scalia, a devout Catholic on 60 minutes and he said he would not ever allow abortion to be illegal. He said since the constitution only applies to living persons. He was also appointed by the Republican President Ronald Reagan. Since he is the most conservative judge,how come the conference of Bishops dont ask him to stop taking communion like they do of other Catholic politicians?

  • Vincent

    Regarding the above article concerning the democratic party, and, specifically Joe Biden, a viable Catholic person has to ask himself this question: Is my conscience informed by my own relativistic thinking or by the eternal wisdom from the Lord? If the latter prevails, then there is no choice that a faithful Catholic cannot cast his vote for Obama/Biden. It is that plain and simple; for our Lord Jesus emphatically says, “you know a tree by the fruit it produces”, and the democrats have been under the influence of Satan’s deadly poison now for decades. These two political parties leave a lot to be desired, for sure, but our vote must be influenced by our love for Jesus and his eternal word. Now let us knock off the verbal semantics and dodges by our Bishops and take them task to speak the truth, i.e., a vote for the democrats is a vote for the culture of death. There, was that too difficult to say??????????


    IN THE NEWS TODAY: 10-14-08

    I admire the two Texas Bishops for penning their signature to a document they passionately believe is the proper pastoral choice. They speak to an issue that is dear to me. own But in the process of trying to do good, they came dangerously close to stepping into a Texas-sized pile of dung.

    No Catholic—lay or ordained—should feel morally obligated to vote for any candidate of whom a voter discerns serious moral reservations.

    The Texas bishops—among others—ask: “What moral reservation can outweigh a candidate’s allegiance to pro-choice?” That is a valid question for any Catholic-Christian moralist to ask.

    I have an answer formed in good conscience.

    Suppose an “announced” pro-Life candidate really, truly is, in too many other areas of public morality, a certifiable scandal-in-waiting, if not already a scandal-in-fact?

    Example: I wonder if Joseph McCarthy was pro-Life? Who cares that a man such as he might have been pro-Life to the back of his eyeballs? Not me. I hate abortion, but MEN (or women) like HIM, I never want elected even dog-catcher.

    I wouldn’t vote for a candidate like that even with a GUARANTEE of PERFORMANCE to eliminate procured abortion from the menu of constitutional rights.

    Maybe some people would.

    I respect that.

    But … I also respect the thoughtful opinions of others who wouldn’t vote for a candidate they have serious moral reservations about, even if The Blessed Mother herself personally asked them to do it.

    Once again, in this election year—2008—I have decided to give my vote to the announced pro-Life candidates. I believe these candidates to be sincere in their pro-Life commitment; nothing about these candidates disturbs my conscience sufficiently enough to prevent me from voting for them.

    And … in the end, I could be dead wrong about them. I hope I am not. Yet, if I am wrong, then the error in voting judgment shall be mine and mine alone. No way will I “pass-the-buck” of responsibility for my actions. I just do the best I can with what I have to work with. God bless America!!

  • Bill Gaudry

    I know some “otherwise” wonderful Catholic people that really get infected with “The Ugly Bug” come every Federal Election.
    Gosh … some of the silly things they say. Nobody ever taught them “how” to disagree.

    Guys like me seem to infuriate everybody: I’m not conservative enough for the conservatives, nor am I liberal enough for the liberals.

    A very wise priest told me, some dozen years ago, that if I want my pastoral efforts to bear any fruit, I’d better forget about being “liked” by anybody. ANYBODY. He was right.

    Our goal on this earth is to do GOD’S will and be HIS eyes
    and ears – – – not that God “needs” us as His eyes and ears.
    But I believe God WANTS us to function as if we WERE His eyes and ears. Mysterious, isn’t it?

    Therefore, in an election year, we have to identify with those professional individuals who seem to be equally interested in functioning as God’s eyes and ears. If that’s the kind of people we elect to positions of authority … then …… sinfullness and other societal ugliness will, little by little, become harder for The Devil to sell.

    If I am silly for trying … well …… then I’m silly.