KC Bishops on Moral Responsibility, Voting

A reader alerted me to this:

KC Bishops on Moral Responsibility, Voting
"Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy?"

Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn address that question and more in their Joint Pastoral dedicated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and released today:

Our Moral Responsibility as Catholic Citizens
Joint Pastoral Letter – September 8, 2008
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Dear Friends in Christ,

With the approaching general election this November, we believe this to be an important moment for us to address together the responsibility of Catholics to be well informed and well formed voters.

Except for the election of our next President, the people of Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas will be choosing different candidates for different offices in our two dioceses. Yet the fundamental moral principles that should guide our choices as Catholic voters are the same.

For generations it has been the determination of Catholic Bishops not to endorse political candidates or parties. This approach was initiated by Archbishop John Carroll – the very first Catholic Bishop serving in the United States. It was long before there was an Internal Revenue Service Code, and had nothing to do with a desire to preserve tax-exempt status. Rather the Church in the United States realized early on that it must not tether the credibility of the Church to the uncertain future actions or statements of a particular politician or party. This understanding of the Church’s proper role in society was affirmed in the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word: “The Church, by reason of her role and competence, is not identified with any political community nor bound by its ties to any political system. It is at once the sign and the safeguard of the transcendental dimension of the human person.”(Gaudium et Spes n.76)

A Right to Speak Out on Issues

At the same time, it is important to note that the Catholic Church in the United States has always cherished its right to speak to the moral issues confronting our nation. The Church has understood its responsibility in a democratic society to do its best to form properly the consciences of her members. In continuity with the long history of the efforts of American Bishops to assist Catholics with the proper formation of their consciences, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this past November issued a statement: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. In that document our brother bishops took care to note: “This statement is intended to reflect and complement, not substitute for, the ongoing teachings of bishops in our own dioceses and states.”

It is in this context that we offer the following reflections to assist the Catholic people of Northwestern Missouri and Northeastern Kansas in forming their consciences in preparation for casting their votes this November.

Many Issues: Prudential Judgments

Every Catholic should be concerned about a wide range of issues. We believe in a consistent ethic that evaluates every issue through the prism of its impact on the life and dignity of the human person. Catholics should care about public policies that:
a) promote a just and lasting peace in the world,
b) protect our nation from terrorism and other security threats,
c) welcome and uphold the rights of immigrants,
d) enable health care to be accessible and affordable,
e) manifest a special concern for the poor by attending to their immediate needs and assisting them to gain economic independence,
f) protect the rights of parents to be the primary educators of their children,
g) create business and employment opportunities making it possible for individuals to be able to provide for their own material needs and the needs of their families,
h) reform the criminal justice system by providing better for the needs of the victims of crimes, protecting the innocent, administering justice fairly, striving to rehabilitate inmates, and eliminating the death penalty,
i) foster a proper stewardship of the earth that God has entrusted to our care.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

While the above issues, as well as many others, have important moral dimensions, Catholics may and do disagree about the most effective public policies for responding to them. How these issues are best addressed and what particular candidates are best equipped to address them requires prudential judgments – defined as circumstances in which people can ethically reach different conclusions. Catholics have an obligation to study, reflect and pray over the relative merits of the different policy approaches proposed by candidates. Catholics have a special responsibility to be well informed regarding the guidance given by the Church pertaining to the moral dimensions of these matters. In the end, Catholics in good conscience can disagree in their judgments about many aspects of the best policies and the most effective candidates.

The Priority of Rejecting Intrinsic Evil

There are, however, some issues that always involve doing evil, such as legalized abortion, the promotion of same-sex unions and ‘marriages,’ repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem cell research. A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions. To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified.

Even if we understand the moral dimensions of the full array of social issues and have correctly prioritized those involving intrinsic evils, we still must make prudential judgments in the selection of candidates. In an ideal situation, we may have a choice between two candidates who both oppose public policies that involve intrinsic evils. In such a case, we need to study their approach on all the other issues that involve the promotion of the dignity of the human person and prayerfully choose the best individual.

Limiting Grave Evil

In another circumstance, we may be confronted with a voting choice between two candidates who support abortion, though one may favor some limitations on it, or he or she may oppose public funding for abortion. In such cases, the appropriate judgment would be to select the candidate whose policies regarding this grave evil will do less harm. We have a responsibility to limit evil if it is not possible at the moment to eradicate it completely.

The same principle would be compelling to a conscientious voter who was confronted with two candidates who both supported same-sex unions, but one opposed abortion and destructive embryonic research while the other was permissive in these regards. The voter, who himself or herself opposed these policies, would have insufficient moral justification voting for the more permissive candidate. However, he or she might justify resorting to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection.

In 2004 a group of United States Bishops, acting on behalf of the USCCB and requesting counsel about the responsibilities of Catholic politicians and voters, received a memo from the office of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, which stated: “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.

Time for Catholics to Exercise Moral Leadership

The number of Catholics and the percentage of Catholics in the United States have never been greater. There has never been a moment in our nation’s history when more Catholics served in elective office, presided in our courts or held other positions of power and authority. It would be wrong for us to use our numbers and influence to try to compel others to accept our religious and theological beliefs. However, it would be equally wrong for us to fail to be engaged in the greatest human rights struggle of our time, namely the need to protect the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable.

We need committed Catholics in both major political parties to insist upon respect for the values they share with so many other people of faith and good will regarding the protection of the sanctity of human life, the upholding of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman as the foundation of family life, as well as the protection of religious liberty and conscience rights. It is particularly disturbing to witness the spectacle of Catholics in public life vocally upset with the Church for teaching what it has always taught on these moral issues for 2,000 years, but silent in objecting to the embrace, by either political party, of the cultural trends of the past few decades that are totally inconsistent with our nation’s history of defending the weakest and most vulnerable.

Thank you for taking time to consider these reflections on applying the moral principles that must guide our choices as voters. We are called to be faithful Catholics and loyal Americans. In fact, we can only be good citizens if we allow ourselves to be informed by the unchanging moral principles of our Catholic faith.

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93 Responses to KC Bishops on Moral Responsibility, Voting

  1. The other David says:

    God bless them for taking a firm stand. The 2004 Ratzinger document has been misinterpreted for far too long.

  2. Mark says:

    This is real guidance, and it doesn’t shrink from showing a clear hierarchy of priorities. Both Bishops deserve to be congratulated for having the guts to speak with clarity on the issue of abortion. Their following statement should be repeated often:

    “What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”

    Thank you, Archbishop Naumann, and Bishop Finn!

  3. John says:

    The statement included a lot of important points, but the u-turn it took towards the end was completely irresponsible, in my view. Suddenly, these two bishops, who proclaim a non-partisan agenda and at first take laudable care relative to some statements I’ve seen to point out issues where Obama and Catholics agree (Without using the word “Obama”, which is reasonable given the circumstances), turn around and say “Go vote for McCain!” in not so many words.

    I don’t think their interpretation is what Cardinal Ratzinger intended, and I hope Cardinal Leveda (Cardinal Ratzinger’s successor in his old office) will issue another statement that further clarifies the 2004 statement to exclude these two bishops’ interpretation. It shouldn’t *need* to be clarified, because I thought it was very clear to begin with, but obviously the folks in Kansas City don’t understand it.

  4. lcb says:

    John

    Obama is never mentioned. Why presume it mentions him? Obama doesn’t support genocide, does he?

    If he does then the bishops haven’t been vocal enough. I think you may have a guilty conscience.

    For the record I think this is exactly what ratzinger intended. If there are proportionate reasons for genocide then we must ask: what about all the GOOD that Hitler, Stalin, and mao did?

  5. supertradmom says:

    Thank you for publishing this. I shall copy this and hand it out to my Catholic students. We need more priests to discuss these items in our parishes. Sadly, where I am, most of the priests and nuns are going to vote for a Democratic ticket in the presidential race.

  6. John says:

    lcb:

    Of course Senator Obama doesn’t support genocide.

    This is what I am upset about, specifically, when it comes to this pastoral statement:

    “Could a Catholic in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legalized abortion when there is a choice of another candidate who does not support abortion or any other intrinsically evil policy? Could a voter’s preference for the candidate’s positions on the pursuit of peace, economic policies benefiting the poor, support for universal health care, a more just immigration policy, etc. overcome a candidate’s support for legalized abortion? In such a case, the Catholic voter must ask and answer the question: What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”

    That’s where they essentially say “Go vote for McCain or you’re in mortal sin!”. It’s not, in my view, and the view of many of their fellow bishops who did not go nearly so far, a responsible thing for a bishop to say. It’s at best, a controversial minority interpretation of Catholic teaching. At worst, it’s fairly blatant electioneering. I obviously can’t speak to what is in these men’s hearts or their intention with this, I do hope a clarification is issued that causes them to reconsider this statement and publicly clarify it.

  7. lcb says:

    John

    Does abortion constitute murder?

    Does 45 million intentional murders of a specific class of persons constitute genocide?

    Does obama support such a thing?

    And so we see:

    I. Abortion constitutes genocide
    II. Obama supports abortion
    III. Ergo Obama supports genocide.

    Correct the first sentence of your previous post.

  8. John says:

    lcb:

    I am pro-life and want abortion to be illegal, [?!?] but legalized abortion is not genocide. Genocide is the attempt to complete eradicate a class of people, like Hitler trying to kill all the Jews, or if someone tried to kill all people with dark skin. No one is trying to kill all fetuses. Even the most ardent pro-choice people I\’ve met don\’t want every woman who gets pregnant to abort. Everyone in the mainstream of American politics on either side of the abortion debate wants the human race to continue. I think it\’s important not to throw around inflammatory rhetoric unnecessarily. Things would ideally be discussed factually and with care taken not to make or imply exaggerated claims, in my view.

  9. BobP says:

    “Sadly, where I am, most of the priests and nuns are going to vote for a Democratic ticket in the presidential race.”

    And more sadly, Roe vs Wade came to be law of the land under Republican watch.

  10. Jim Dorchak says:

    It strikes me (anyone else?) that we are at a point in history where the Bishops REALLY need to stand up for life, or the battle will / may be lost.

    THis Letter above is a good start, but here needs to be more, a greater effort, like the old days. and I do not mean where a bunch of Bishops wait for a photo opportunity (ie pelosi), press opportunity and then all begrudgingly chime in.

    The Bishops need to believe in Life and we (our nation) need to believe them and believe in them. The Bishops do not need to be convincing they actually need to believe (For a change) in Life.

    Jim Dorchak

  11. Johnny Domer says:

    “What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”

    That sums it up.

  12. Jim Dorchak says:

    “I am pro-life and want abortion to be illegal, but legalized abortion is not genocide…………………..

    Comment by John — 11 September 2008 @ 6:52 pm”

    John

    Here are the facts. You need to read up on Margaret Sanger and this interview (thanks Colleen Hammond http://colleenhammond.blogspot.com/)

    Interview with Day Gardener of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

    Have you ever wondered how the pro-life cause specifically affects African Americans? Have you ever wondered if someone was speaking out on the impact of abortion on blacks? Organizations like the National Black Pro-Life Union are talking those issues head on.

    DG: ABORTION is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of African American people, killing more blacks than accidents, HIV-AIDS, crime, heart disease, stroke and all other deaths COMBINED!

    DH: Many today are unfamiliar with the racist, eugenicist roots of Planned Parenthood. Do you consider the nation’s largest abortion provider to be a promoter of or predator to the black community?

    DG: Definitely a predator! Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) was the founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). As an activist in the birth-control and population-control movements, she was one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century. She initiated the “Negro Project” in 1939. The objective of the “project” was to infiltrate the black community by presenting birth control as a health option for women. Sanger’s obsession with eugenics and racism was clearly presented in her writings. In a letter to her friend and Nazi sympathizer Dr. Clarence Gamble Sanger stated, “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Notice she said we should ‘HIRE’ the ministers–the very same thing is happening even today. Many black ministers who support the killing efforts of Planned Parenthood still receive money from that organization.

    DH: Why did you go to the recent NAACP conference? What did you and other pro-life leaders hope to accomplish with your recent demonstration?

    DG: Black pro-lifers from all over the country joined me in standing shoulder to shoulder to demand the defunding of Planned Parenthood–the Nation’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood receives 340 million tax payer dollars to continue its baby killing business! We should all be angry that our hard earned money funds this racist organization. We stood together to make our voices heard as we shouted in unison—all across this great nation that the struggle is not yet over! The evil hand of racism is still at work in this country—and living in the bowels of Planned Parenthood.

    Jim Dorchak

  13. David Kastel says:

    Please note that the President does not make the abortion laws. This makes the abortion issue in the presidential race, de jure, irrelevant.

    Oh, and if your going to say “it’s about the Supreme Court” then please note that Senator McCain voted to confirm the satanically pro choice judges Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Ginsburg, David Souter, Steven Breyer to the Supreme Court. (He’s never met a pro-choice judge he didn’t love!) Also, Republican presidents have appointed 7 of the 9 Judges currently on the Supreme Court while claiming to be pro-life and anti-Roe, and guess what? Roe v Wade is not overturned, and it will not be overturned. If it ever were, the national Republican party would lose it as a national issue, since the issue would be returned to the states, as it should be, along with other issues regarding violent crime.

    Cardinal Ratzinger said that voters who vote for pro-choice candidates (because they are pro-choice) shouldn’t present themselves for Communion. Should not the bishops, at the very least, deny Communion to the pro-choice Catholic politicians themselves? (Or is this a case of “Do as I say, and not as I do” ?) If it’s a grave sin to vote for a pro-choice candidate, then the pro-choice candidate must certainly be guilty of at least as grave a sin, and far more public a sin.

  14. John says:

    Jim:

    As you noted, Margaret Sanger died over 40 years ago. Even when she lived I don’t think her feelings were reflective of the attitudes of the mainstream of the legalized abortion movement when it comes to eugenics. Certainly, now any such attitudes are the smallest of smallest of minorities. Pro-choice advocates are generally feminists who are also concerned about civil rights for African-Americans, some sort of attempt at genocide is the furthest thing from their minds. Democratic politicians who favor keeping abortion legal (Which isn’t all of them, there are some pro-life ones like Bob Casey), equally are strong advocates for civil rights for African-Americans, and many of them are African-Americans. I don’t think Barack Obama wants to exterminate his own race, do you? :)

    I think for many folks who are pro-choice on the subject of abortion, their position stems from a genuine, *but misguided*, desire to advocate for woman and minorities. Ultimately, I think a pro-life position fits better with the rest of the Democratic public policy agenda, which generally advocates for the rights of the poor and the oppressed. That’s part of why there is a growing pro-life movement in the party. It’s something that will take time, but I am hopefully that eventually the Democratic Party will move to a position of neutrality on abortion. Being pro-life would fit so well with being pro-universal health care and anti-capital punishment and all of the other pro-life positions the Democratic Party formally endorses.

  15. Brian says:

    “What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”

    “That sums it up.” — Well said Johnny Domer.

    Bishop after Bishop recently issued similar statements. If it weren’t for the fact that so many children are being killed, the rationalizations here in defense of disobeying clearly stated fundamental moral teaching would be laughable.

  16. Paul Haley says:

    A properly formed conscience must give such issues priority even over other matters with important moral dimensions. To vote for a candidate who supports these intrinsic evils because he or she supports these evils is to participate in a grave moral evil. It can never be justified.

    Seems perfectly clear to me and I believe it is the preeminent moral issue of our time.

  17. johnny b says:

    David Kastel,

    You really think Barack Obama will appoint more pro-life judges than John McCain????!!!

    Look who McCain picked for a running-mate!

    The democratic party is not a better path for the pro-life movement to change hearts and overturn R v. Wade

    Evolution from a fish to a human being would be faster.

  18. Jim Dorchak says:

    John

    I am very well read, and well informed about abortion. You need to bone up on Margaret Sanger. She is very straight forward about the (in her words) “Negro Problem”.

    I watched an interview with Margaret Sanger in 1957. You can google it.

    She is very specific. Her writings are very specific. She is very much a marxist.

    If you are not willing to see this or understand this then you are very definitely PISHING.

    Notice John I put my full name on all comments.

    Jim Dorchak

  19. John says:

    Jim:

    It’s the Internet, my friend, if you look around, I think you’ll see that most folks generally don’t use their last names. :) I think that’s perfectly legitimate. It’s also perfectly legitimate to use your full name if you prefer. [Actually, on my blog, I get to decide what is legitimate in this regard.]

    As far as the Margaret Sanger issue goes, I’ll reiterate: I’m not denying that you are accurately depicting her philosophy. I just don’t think it was the philosophy of most pro-choice advocates then, or that it is now, and thus I don’t think that abortion is a question of genocide, even though I am opposed to it for other reasons. Making exaggerated claims like that does damage to the pro-life movement, in my view. [Hard to exaggerate the evil positions of Margaret Sanger and what she promoted.]

  20. supertradmom says:

    For the record, public health systems do not remove abortion and mercy killing, but encourage such. As noted before on this blog, I was told point blank that a Down’s Syndrome child would be a “burden on the state” and that I did not have a right to have a child who would be such a burden. So much for open-minded socialistic health systems. That was in England, where I also witnessed a friend’s brother being starved to death rather than be kept on a feeder. He did not need oxygen, but was in a coma with a feeding tube. Again, he was deemed “a drain on the state”. My friend’s family could do nothing, as they could not afford the very expensive private health option. Socialism only favors the healthy, the strong, and not the weak, which is one of the great lies of modern times. To state that a party would be pro-life because pro-health, is an oxymoron. “Being pro-life would fit so well with being pro-universal health care and anti-capital punishment and all of the other pro-life positions the Democratic Party formally endorses” Both Britain and Canada have pro-universal health care systems and are against capital punishment, but have extremely high rates of murdered babies-abortion.

  21. Aine says:

    David Kastel: Oh, and if your going to say “it’s about the Supreme Court” then please note that Senator McCain voted to confirm the satanically pro choice judges Anthony Kennedy…..

    In the early 1970s, while Fr. Drinan was doing grave mischief in Congress, a prominent Catholic layman was doing similar harm in the far less public setting of the Supreme Court. Although it is difficult to obtain perfectly reliable information about the justices’ deliberations, by all accounts, Associate Justice William J. Brennan was a key player in creating a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. Not only was Brennan a Catholic, he was appointed to the Court in the 1950s by President Eisenhower precisely because he was a Catholic — he filled the so-called “Catholic seat” on the Court. For most of his tenure, he was its only Catholic member.
    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/politics/pg0020.html

    There was a lot of misinformation been spread by people who became their own Magisterium .
    The kind that Malachi Martin called – luciferians.

  22. Andy says:

    That’s where they essentially say “Go vote for McCain or you’re in mortal sin!”. It’s not, in my view, and the view of many of their fellow bishops who did not go nearly so far, a responsible thing for a bishop to say.

    But that’s not what they said. They essentially said that it’s wrong to vote for Obama, or anyone as pro-abortion as he is.

    When are people going to realize that a mandate not to vote for one person does not necessarily mean they have to vote for another?

  23. John says:

    supertradmom:

    You say you were told such and such by someone. But did anyone actively *do something* to prevent you from having the child? Did the UK government fail to provide your child with health care? Today, I’d imagine, you have your son or your daughter and he or she can visit a doctor when necessary.

    Imagine if you were poor in a country that didn’t have a universal health care system. Your child wouldn’t be able to see a doctor at all. You or your child could die of a preventable disease because neither of you could afford preventative care. Sure, they’ll treat you in the ER, but by then it’s often too late, and that can and does cost lives just as surely as abortion does. Universal health care is a pro-life cause.

    But, if you want to stick to the subject of abortion, consider this: Many women make the decision to abort predicated on economic circumstances. That’s not an argument in favor of keeping abortion legal — we should ban it. But whether we are able to ban it or not, there is still going to be an issue with the fact that there is a demand for abortion and if there is a demand, some will be performed no matter what the law is. So, either way, this issue has to also be addressed by persuading women to *want* to keep their babies, and part of doing that is making sure they and their children have food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over their heads, health care, and educational opportunities. Sure, some women would have abortions anyhow, but some would not, and so lives do hang in the balance when we talk about social programs, even when it comes to fetuses, not just the obvious lives of adults and children (which, by the way, people should care about also).

  24. Aine says:

    supertradmom – You saved me time. I fully agree.

  25. John says:

    “When are people going to realize that a mandate not to vote for one person does not necessarily mean they have to vote for another?”

    That’s true in theory, but it is an election year, and, whatever one might like it to be, it’s a two party system that we have in the United States. If these bishops are even a little bit political savvy, then they know exactly what they are saying, and that the consequence of what they are saying will hand some votes that could go to Obama to McCain and help elect him. If there are really completely outside the loop on politics, which I find hard to believe given the intellectual mostly (until toward the end) well-reasoned tone of the letter (indicating intelligence and savvy), they should have probably talked to someone who understands political issues more fully so they would know how people would take what they are saying and adjust their wording accordingly.

    I still find this pastoral statement to have way too much political advocacy in it for someone (McCain) who opposes so many Catholic principles. The bishops should, in my view, be more even-handed.

  26. Aine says:

    John, I was brought up in Socialized health care. Eugenics has been going on for decades over there. As for the last paragraph – we are doing all of those things already. Abortions are used as a contraceptive in the majority of cases.

    Have you ever seen a live “fetus”?

  27. Aine says:

    Obama supports infanticide. Just leave the baby to die.

    Maybe one day it’ll me or even you.

  28. Jordanes says:

    John said: . . . the consequence of what they are saying will hand some votes that could go to Obama to McCain and help elect him . . .

    We can only hope.

    I still find this pastoral statement to have way too much political advocacy in it for someone (McCain) who opposes so many Catholic principles.

    Trouble is, Obama opposes even more.

    The bishops should, in my view, be more even-handed.

    Are they to be blamed that Obama has pledged to do all in his power to support and expand legal abortion and the perversion of the institution of marriage?

  29. Central Valley Catholic says:

    Great to see some American bishops taking a stand. Few in California are brave enough to speak. Here in the diocese of Fresno, we still are waiting for our shepherd to speak on the Biden-Pelosi issue. We also wait for out bishop to address the legislators in the Fresno diocese with a 100 percent NARAL rating. We wait and wait and wait and wait…….

  30. lcb says:

    The bishops take pains to secure the opition of conscientious objection in the ballot box.

    A catholic always has a third option in a two party system- Viva Christo Rey.

    This is not a dem v. Rep argument or a McCain v. Obama argument. It is a moral v. Immoral argument. If a person supports mass genocide then a disciple can not support that person.

    To reduce the Kingdom to secular politics is idolotry. The let to stopping genocide is to actually stop killing people.

    Viva Christo Rey- every country on earth should be foreign to us.

  31. Ernesto Gonzalez Gonzalez says:

    John:

    Is there any way to be even-handed with an intrinsically evil act?

  32. John says:

    Aine:

    Obama does not support infanticide. That’s a misunderstanding based on his support for a bill in the Illinois State Senate many years ago. He did vote against a bill that would have protected infants born alive as the result of botched abortion, but what conservative groups that spread this kind of stuff about him don’t tell is that *it was already illegal in the state of Illinois to let a viable infant die*. It was political grandstanding, and that’s part of why Obama voted against it. He’s is genuinely pro-choice on abortion, no doubt about it, but he is not pro-choice on infanticide. He’s said several times that he favors protecting viable infants born as the result of botched abortions.

    And eugenics is not state policy in the UK as far as I’m aware. If it is, you’ll have to show me proof that they don’t provide healthcare to disabled folks or force women to abort. Neither of those things is true. It’s a scare tactic designed by the right to keep people from voting for folks who’ll make sure we don’t have so many deaths from people lacking health care.

    Finally, I used the term fetus to describe a fetus because that is the term for a human in that stage of development.

    Embryo-fetus-infant-child adult

    That’s just the way it works. It’s not a moral judgment. :) That’s just the proper term when using the English language.

  33. Jim Dorchak says:

    It would be great if the thread was not hi jacked and we got back to the letter from the Bishops.

    About as Catholics how we should follow Church teachings.

    Jim Dorchak

  34. John says:

    Jim:

    I am talking about the letter from the bishops and Church teaching. You’re the one hijacking the thread with personal attacks.

  35. The ultimate way that we’re going to stop abortion is by converting hearts to the Truth, and eliminate the desire to commit a desire to have an abortion.

    Any law that favors abortion is encouraging this act to go on longer.

    The first step to doing such is overturning Roe v. Wade, which of course as all of us know will turn over abortion to the states. The vast majority of the people in the states do have some sort of moral compass which would outlaw abortions in many states.

    To participate in a moral evil is something to be condemned. As I tell my students, I don’t want to be responsible to God for allowing moral evils to occur. This is why I’d never support a moral evil, even if both are. (I’d go 3rd party if that was the case)

    I pray that God spares us here in the US from an Obama presidency.

  36. Hopeful in UK says:

    I moved from the US to the UK because I couldn’t get health care. I’m uninsurable, as are my children, and I couldn’t find a job with health care benefits. Luckily, I was able to move to a country where taking my child to the emergency room isn’t something I have losing my home over.

    I absolutely know women who have had abortions because they felt they couldn’t afford to give birth.

    Socialized medicine does not necessarily mean that you’re going to have State-enforced abortion and euthanasia. An aging population and a shakey economy may exert pressure on people to think in utilitarian terms, regardless of the health care system in place. We have to be vigilent against that in any case.

  37. Laura says:

    Just wonder why so many pro-lifers seem to be so merciless when it comes to people already born? Christ said love everyone, not just babies who are not yet born. We really should love and respect each human being, regardless of age or health. And yes, pro-life people should do everything possible to improve the conditions, where these precious, saved-from-abortion, babies will be born.
    i think socialized medicine is better than no medical care at all, as so many poor people now have it. Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.

  38. Pat says:

    Laura,
    You claim that “pro-lifers” are merciless. What a truly unkind, unjust, and calumnious thing to say. You know nothing about these people but you make slanderous and hurtful statements about them. [Calm down with the drama. Deal with the positions.]

  39. Chris M says:

    “i think socialized medicine is better than no medical care at all, as so many poor people now have it. Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.”

    I think you’re referring to health insurance, not health care. Anyone in the US can walk into an ER and receive medical care without paying. Which is one of the reasons why our system is so screwed up. FWIW, I’m not entirely against socialized medicine per se, I just don’t think our government is competent enough to run it.

    Assuming pro-lifers are anti-socialized medicine is silly. Some are, some aren’t. There are other, probably BETTER ways to fix our healthcare industry so that everyone has affordable access to quality healthcare WITHOUT socializing the whole thing. To call someone who isn’t pro-socialized medicine selfish is just patently wrong.

  40. avecrux says:

    I have done pro-life work for years – many of those years sidewalk counseling with women on their way in for their scheduled abortion. We go specifically to help, not to condemn. Laura is incorrect. It would take me pages and pages to list the amount of help available to women who think abortion is the best option for them – financial, medical, etc. What there is not a lot of help for in the population at large, as supporters of Obama for President have made abundantly clear, is the removal of the stigma for a woman who chooses life and carries to term. (Think Sarah Palin’s 17 year old daughter.) It is not pro-life people who are slinging mud at this young woman on a daily basis! Legal abortion permits the men involved with these young women to put incredible pressure on them. Sometimes, it is a young girl’s parents. They do not want the stigma or the financial responsibility in some cases. Most abortions are a consequence of psychological manipulation by the people around the woman. Most women, if you talk to them, want to choose life. The sad thing is, no amount of money, medical care, help finding work, transportation, etc. we promise that girl can sway her when “the man she loves” will beat her, or leave her or the “parents she loves” will kick her out or refuse to help her through college if she carries the child to term.
    John , your claims about the Born Alive Infant protection act are misleadingly incomplete. I would advise you to learn more from Jill Stanek. As for universal health care – I have seen the good side of it but I have also seen the bad, which is far more sinister.

  41. avecrux says:

    Chris M, I agree with you.
    All my family is in the UK, and they don’t have a lot of money. They are regularly subject to waiting lists for medical procedures – 6 mos. plus. My cousin’s retina detatched while he was waiting for surgery. And the euthanasia as cost cutting does occur, especially with the elderly. Meanwhile, the wealthy get BUPA – a private health plan…

  42. Brian says:

    If Obama dropped his strong advocacy of legalized killing of unborn children, I’m sure the Bishops would have no trouble with Catholics voting for him. [Interesting observation. Perhaps right!]

    The Bishops do not forbid voting for Obama, per se, they forbid voting for a ANY candidate that supports and advocates for abortion.

    Please stop the false politicization of this fundamental Catholic moral teaching.

  43. MJS says:

    Of course, the people in the pews don’t give a hoot what the hierarchy says. Scientific polling has demonstrated this repeatedly. When it comes to choice, Catholic opinion breaks down along the same lines as the general population.

  44. Brian Walden says:

    Laura, You say pro-lifers only care about unborn babies. Just yesterday I read an article about Catholics in Washington State fighting a bill that would legalize assisted suicide. Something tells me that if they care about people at the very beginning of their life and the very end, they also care about the middle.

    The question of whether socialized health care or private health care is better is a social and political question. Arguments can be made for and against either one, but it can’t be said that one is intrinsically good and one is intrinsically evil. And it certainly can’t be said that one is intrinsically selfish and the other isn’t as you claim. If you feel socialized healthcare is what our country needs, please do all you can to support it; but don’t do so by denying the basic right to life to others. There are many morally licit avenues to achieving a new healthcare system and other social and political changes.

  45. David says:

    Johnny B,

    Obama is not going to appoint pro-life judges, nor can we count on McCain to do so. TO vote based on an issue that has offically been removed from the political process via Roe , a case which has been accepted by all branches of the Federal government as the law of the land, including both major parties, and also accepted by all of the state governments is imprudent.

    If President Bush, and the so-called “pro-life” governors had any conception of natural law, they would publicly state that Roe is an act of tyrrany by the Supreme Court and the Federal government, and the President would annouce that he is not going to enforce Roe, and the governors would announce that they are going to begin enforcing their own laws against abortion.

    Getting all fired up to make sure McCain wins this election, so that he might appoint a couple of judges to the Supreme Court, one of the 2 being anti-Roe, so that the pro-Roe decision of the Court will remain 5-4 rather than voting for Obama so that the decision will be 6-3 after he appoints 2 pro-Roe judges is foolish.

    The Republican party has had its chance to overturn Roe, and it chose not to do so.

  46. Brian Mershon says:

    John said: “I just don’t think it was the philosophy of most pro-choice advocates then, or that it is now, and thus I don’t think that abortion is a question of genocide, even though I am opposed to it for other reasons. Making exaggerated claims like that does damage to the pro-life movement, in my view.”

    The idiom “straining a gnat to swallow a camel comes to mind here.”

    Whaddya think, John?

    Are you REALLY concerned about “damage being done to the pro-life movement?” Are you, John?

    Ever prayed peacefully in front of an abortuary John? Watched the cars drive in there? The DINK yuppie Mommies driving in their teenage daughters in their SUVs to solve their problems? Ever recognized the percentage of African Americans driving in there, John? And now increasingly, Hispanics, with rosaries dangling from their rear-view mirrors?

    Have you, John?

    Would you have voted for Hitler, John? If someone cannot understand they are destroying our future as a society by not only allowing, but by publicly pushing and advocating abortion, aside from the obvious moral consequences to that individual, how in the world can that politician be trusted to make decisions for the world’s most powerful nation, John?

  47. Chris M says:

    avecrux,

    It was the numerous stories from folks in the UK (and Canada to a lesser extent) that made me have serious reservations about a national healthcare system. I’m sorry to hear about their suffering, and I hope and pray that we might find a better way forward here by learning from the mistakes made in other countries!

  48. Jordanes says:

    David said: Obama is not going to appoint pro-life judges, nor can we count on McCain to do so.

    If we must choose between someone who won’t appoint pro-life judges and someone who might, the only choice is for the candidate who might. Voting for the pro-abortion candidate, or voting for an obscure third party candidate, or not voting at all, are effectively helping the pro-abortion candidate win the election.

    To vote based on an issue that has offically been removed from the political process via Roe , a case which has been accepted by all branches of the Federal government as the law of the land, including both major parties, and also accepted by all of the state governments is imprudent.

    So it’s foolish to take political action aimed at bringing it back to the political process?

    You talk like you are opposed to abortion, but you are giving advice that will only ensure that abortion stays legal.

    Getting all fired up to make sure McCain wins this election, so that he might appoint a couple of judges to the Supreme Court, one of the 2 being anti-Roe, so that the pro-Roe decision of the Court will remain 5-4 rather than voting for Obama so that the decision will be 6-3 after he appoints 2 pro-Roe judges is foolish.

    No, it’s eminently prudent.

    What do you propose Catholic voters do? Organise an armed rebellion?

    The Republican party has had its chance to overturn Roe, and it chose not to do so.

    We Catholics believe in second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Seventy times seven, David.

  49. RBrown says:

    And more sadly, Roe vs Wade came to be law of the land under Republican watch.
    Comment by BobP

    The two who crafted the decision–Brennan and Blackmun–were Repub nominees, but Nixon had nothing to do with it.

    BTW, the two dissenters were a Repub (Rehnquist) and a Dem (Whizzer White).

    Whatever its history, Roe is now a firm plank in Dem politics.

  50. Brian says:

    If all Catholics voted against candidates that support abortion, the Democrats would drop that position or they wouldn’t get elected and legalized abortion would come to an end. The fault lies with unfaithful Catholics.

  51. TerryC says:

    I just don’t understand what part of intrinsically evil some people cannot understand. Abortion is murder. By supporting abortion Obama is supporting murder. The bishops are speaking up about it, as they should.
    John if you cna’t bring yourself to vote for McCain don’t. Write in a candidate or leave it blank. If you vote for Obama your are supporting someone who materially supports murder (as well as his running mate who does the same.)
    I’ll be up front about it. I wouldn’t vote for Obama if he was the most pro-life candidate in the world. If he was running against a pro-life candidate I would write in a vote rather than vote for him. If you feel the same way about McCain don’t vote for him.

  52. Mark says:

    “i think socialized medicine is better than no medical care at all, as so many poor people now have it. Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.”

    Refusing to give away other people’s money is not being selfish. It’s defending their basic Constitutional rights.

  53. Erika says:

    “The fault lies with unfaithful Catholics.”

    *EXACTLY!* I’m so glad someone finally said it! If *all* Catholics were true to the Church abortion would have long ago ceased to be an issue! If *all* Catholics were true to the Church many of the social evils in our great country (and world) would have been corrected. However, there are *way* too many quote Catholics unquote who believe the Church is a democratic (not the party – the method of government) and turn away from the Church’s teachings. Some issues *are* open for personal judgement calls, but the biggies – abortion, euthanasia, life issues – are completely spelled out by the Church. Open your ears people!

    Another issue I have w/ the Obama ticket is that Biden, a self-proclaimed well-studied Catholic, issued such a blatantly false statement about the Church’s teaching on life. As a Catholic, I find that terribly troublesome. As a person I find it terribly worrisome as well. Why would *anyone* want to promote someone who claims to have studied an issue, yet issues a statement that *has* to go against known (and provable) policy? Not to be a name-caller, but Biden (and Pelosi) are liars when it comes to ‘studied’ Catholic faith and teachings. Why support them? Why should I trust them on *any* other issue?

    Erika

  54. Michael says:

    I haven’t seen anyone talk about the fact that the letter acknowledges that we don’t have to vote for McCain! “However, he or she might justify resorting to a write-in vote or abstaining from voting at all in this case, because of a conscientious objection.” Bishop’s Letter

    “If we must choose between someone who won’t appoint pro-life judges and someone who might, the only choice is for the candidate who might. Voting for the pro-abortion candidate, or voting for an obscure third party candidate, or not voting at all, are effectively helping the pro-abortion candidate win the election.” – Jordanes

    I’m sorry but the Republicans have duped us long enough. They had the chance to remove Roe v Wade by a majority vote in Congress but instead they wanted to keep using the abortion issue for getting elected. We as Catholics have got to abandon the Republican party establishment and unite with other true conservatives.

  55. Peter says:

    I think ‘Hopeful in the UK’ tried to make a sensible point, one that is relevant whereever abortion happens – in the US, the UK, Australia, whereever. And I don’t think either she (or he) or Laura were in any way advocating abortion.
    Of course the circumstances are always complex but the imperative remains to work to provide practical charity so that mothers and children are supported. And I’m sure that does happen.

    Then the thread developed into a debate about whether government funded health care (in the USA) can be a good thing. Forgive me but suggested two questions to me: 1) how much do average American views of social-economic policy owe to protestant antecedents (a theology of prosperity ?); and 2) why are Americans so distrustful of central government, which maybe also relates to 1) (private judgement and rugged individualism).

    From my Australian perspective, it would be scandalous if it really were true that a family could not contemplate attending an emergency room because of the cost. I guess these are debates about models of government but the state and/or its people should be able to ensure a basic level of security.

  56. John6:54 says:

    If Catholics voted as a block only for Pro-Life candidates there would be two Pro-Life candidates running for President right now. As long as John (writings above) & others feel they can in good conscience vote for the Pro-Choice candidates we will continue to have Gores, Kerrys, Kennedys, Obamas, Clintons, Pelosis, & Bidens running for office.

  57. avecrux says:

    Hi Peter.
    Most medical care in the US is provided by Catholic hospitals. I have always gone to Catholic hospitals and they have charity care policies – usually with income restrictions – meaning that your entire bill can be written off if you fall below a certain income level and have no form of insurance – if your income level is higher, there are gradations to the level of discount. Every hospital emergency room I have visited has stated as their policy that no one can be turned away for lack of funds. Also in this country we have “medicaid”. How medicaid is applied varies according to state. One of the reasons my family moved to the state we are living in is because they have a good medicaid program. My husband became ill for a while and once he was well again, his employer did not provide health insurance and we could not get him insurance privately because he has a “pre-existing condition”. Our income level is now above what would normally qualify for medicaid, but this state has a “premium” plan whereby those who cannot get insurance elsewhere can get insurance from the state by paying a premium every month (in our case, $40) and paying a small co-pay for doctor visits ($5) and prescriptions ($2). I think this is really helpful – but ideally, more employers should be providing insurance to their employees.

  58. Gerry Scheid says:

    excerpt from Fr Corapi’s Newsletter:

    Do you suppose that a nation and the people that have democratically elected the leaders of that nation can be pleasing to God if they were guilty of the outrageous crime of genocide? If a nation legally and systematically had murdered 48,000,000 unwanted women over 60 years of age, would that nation be favored, blessed, and protected by God? Alright, change it to men under 30 years of age. Human beings are human beings.

    We have under the specious pretext of law—the law of the highest Court in the land—murdered 48,000,000 innocent human beings through abortion in this country since that dark day Satan donned judicial robes and issued his decision in Roe v. Wade. The nation, and most of the world, is “bewitched” into thinking that this is somehow acceptable because a court of morally blind, if not insane, men said so. Hitler said many things, as did Stalin, and every other individual or institution living apart from God and His unalterable law. They are all gone. The immutable will of God and His truth still stand and always will.

    God Bless You,

    Father John Corapi

  59. “…“A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

    “…What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason….”

    The two paragraphs are not in congruence.

  60. Jordanes says:

    Christopher Mandzok said: When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

    “…What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason….”

    The two paragraphs are not in congruence.

    Yes they are. Just because proportionate reasons that would permit remote material cooperation in the evil of abortion are not present during this election year, that does not mean there cannot be proportionate reasons at all.

  61. Jordanes says:

    Michael said: I’m sorry but the Republicans have duped us long enough. They had the chance to remove Roe v Wade by a majority vote in Congress but instead they wanted to keep using the abortion issue for getting elected.

    And you know that is what all Republicans wanted to do . . . how?

    We as Catholics have got to abandon the Republican party establishment and unite with other true conservatives.

    Sounds nice, and I’ve felt the same way too, but there is just no such prospect on the horizon today. And what are we supposed to do until true conservatives unite and form a viable alternative to the Republicans and Democrats? If a solid conservative party can be established and bump off the Republicans, wonderful. If it ever happens, though, it’s many years in the future. What are we to do in this election, though?

  62. LarryD says:

    “If Obama dropped his strong advocacy of legalized killing of unborn children, I’m sure the Bishops would have no trouble with Catholics voting for him.”

    That’s a huge “if”.

  63. TJM says:

    Quit blaming the Republicans for not getting Roe V Wade overturned. Republican Congresses have passed legislation to protect the unborn many
    times only to have their legislation over-turned by activist judges. Also, Bill Clinton vetoed partial birth abortion, and guess what? It takes a 2/3rds majority to over-ride a presidential veto and the Dems in Congress, including Catholics ones, refused to supply the votes. A constitutional amendment would be even more difficult. I do agree if the Abortion Party (aka Democratic Party) drops its pro-abortion position, the Catholic bishops would probably view parties in a far more neutral manner. Tom

  64. Paul Murnane says:

    #

    Just wonder why so many pro-lifers seem to be so merciless when it comes to people already born? Christ said love everyone, not just babies who are not yet born. We really should love and respect each human being, regardless of age or health. And yes, pro-life people should do everything possible to improve the conditions, where these precious, saved-from-abortion, babies will be born.
    i think socialized medicine is better than no medical care at all, as so many poor people now have it. Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.
    Comment by Laura — 12 September 2008 @ 5:42 am

    Laura,

    if you take the time to research the issue, you’ll find that socialized healthcare is not the only answer, far from it. There are many other alternatives, many of which require a change in current laws and regulations. Senator Kennedy has done his best to block every meaningful reform to our healthcare system in order to achieve his goal of government-run healthcare, which many try to call “universal” healthcare.

  65. Brian Walden says:

    “The Republican party has had its chance to overturn Roe, and it chose not to do so.”

    John, great. Don’t vote for McCain if you think he’s all talk and no action when it comes to defending life. That still doesn’t make it any less immoral to vote for a candidate who has vowed to entrench abortion even deeper into our country. Vote for neither and tell both parties know how unhappy you are.

  66. Jordanes says:

    Laura said: Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.

    And others argue that supporting socialized health care is another form of being very selfish.

  67. RBrown says:

    I’m sorry but the Republicans have duped us long enough. They had the chance to remove Roe v Wade by a majority vote in Congress but instead they wanted to keep using the abortion issue for getting elected.
    Comment by Michael

    Since when can a majority vote in Congress overturn a decision by the Supreme Court?

  68. RBrown says:

    I think socialized medicine is better than no medical care at all, as so many poor people now have it.

    Did you ever hear of Medicaid?

    http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidGenInfo/

    Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.
    Comment by Laura

    That’s what I dislike about liberals. If someone doesn’t buy their dreamy nonsense about govt programs, they immediately say the person is immoral.

  69. Puxa says:

    “…Opposing socialized healthcare is one form of being very selfish.
    Comment by Laura

    That’s what I dislike about liberals. If someone doesn’t buy their dreamy nonsense about govt programs, they immediately say the person is immoral…”

    Comment by RBrown

    Why do many dislike conservatives? Because they twist what you say into a pretzel. Laura used the word, “selfish,” and you twisted to her saying “immoral.”

    Ahh, lipstick on a pig as McCain would say…

  70. ALL: I will permit the discussion to continue, for there are some interesting points being raised.

    But I warmly suggest that you be very respectful of each other.

    Deal with positions, and don’t indulge in personal attacks.

    Since I am on the road, I will be rather draconian in my weeding out of the blog people who create lots of work for me.

    FYI

    o{]:¬)

  71. Jordanes says:

    Puxa said: Laura used the word, “selfish,” and you twisted to her saying “immoral.”

    No word-twisting at all. Selfishness is a moral failing, Puxa.

    Ahh, lipstick on a pig as McCain would say…

    That buzz is about an Obama soundbite, not a McCain one.

  72. Antiquarian says:

    Puxa– “Ahh, lipstick on a pig as McCain would say…”

    Jordanes– “That buzz is about an Obama soundbite, not a McCain one”

    McCain used the phrase earlier in the year in reference to Hilary Clinton’s policy proposals.

  73. magdalen says:

    In the pharmacy/ grocery where I work I see medicaid moms all day long. They seem to be the ones
    that havve the most sick children. They have boyfriends, tatoos, cell phones and get free medical care.
    If they have an abortion, then the ‘meal-ticket’ child would not be there to fund their lifestyle. They live in almost free housing and in these subsidized housing areas, the lot is packed with cars and the lights from TVs are
    blaring in the windows. It is not poverty that drives most women to abortion!!! And now the welfare cards
    come in spanish; you do not even have to be a citizen. I meet spanish speaking people at the hospital
    who get free care. I know a priest who says abortion can be justified because the poor mother has six kids and so on. Baloney. Specious reason to cover an INTRINSIC EVIL.

    As the bishops said, one can NEVER support an intrinisic evil or those who do. The murder of the
    unborn is a crime that cries out to heaven. I will not vote for any pro-death abortion murder politician.
    Period.

    And , as someone counted, if only Catholics had truly lived their faith, we never would have gotten to this point.

    If the democratic nominee is elected, all conscience clauses will be negated. Abortion for any one at any time; the gay agenda will advance and those who dare to oppose these INTRINSIC evils will not be tolerated; they will be punished.
    Our freedomes are eroding here. The first freedom is the right to life.

  74. Jordanes says:

    Antiquarian said: McCain used the phrase earlier in the year in reference to Hilary Clinton’s policy proposals.

    True, and Obama used it this week (which is the only reason we’ve been reminded that McCain used it), so Puxa should have said “as Obama and McCain would say.” The buzz (a sideshow attraction/distraction) isn’t about something McCain said this week, but something Obama said.

  75. TJM says:

    Socialized medicine guarantees that everyone receives substandard care. But that’s beside the point. What’s so disturbing here is that I really how heterodox Catholics have become. And what’s truly disturbing is that apparently political parties and their agendas mean more than the
    Holy Catholic Faith. That being said, I cannot understand how a practicing Catholic would vote for the Abortion Party (aka Democratic Party).
    Tom

  76. Kradcliffe says:

    Magdalen, I’m glad you’re pro-life. But, the first part of your post was one of the ugliest things I’ve ever read.

    I was on Medicaid when my first child was born. The lady at the crisis pregnancy center helped me to fill out the paperwork.

  77. Joe says:

    John,

    I am not sure what to call the killing of babies besides inherently evil, but if it’s not genocide, what do you propose to call the loss of over 25% of all babies conceived? Large scale fratricide?

  78. wsxyz says:

    Far off topic I know, sorry Father Z.

    I just want to point out that universal health care is not the same thing
    as socialized medicine.

    Germany, for example, has a universal health care system that is not government run. There is a governmental component to it, but there are also regulated and fully market-based components.

  79. Peter says:

    TJM said: “Socialized medicine guarantees that everyone receives substandard care”

    = Assertion, perhaps based on a faulty syllogism

    As wsxyz has pointed out these things aren’t causally linked. And abortion, euthanasia, etc aren’t intrinsically linked to the model of health care. They ARE linked to the model of government and social structure in any jurisdiction. How health care will be run will be determined by the values of the society, its health workers, and administrators – the underpinning philosophy of those using the ‘tool’ rather than the character of the tool itself. (Perhaps a classically US example of this is “guns aren’t the causitive agent of murder…”). If there were a ‘Catholic state’ one might conceive of a model of ‘universal’ or safety net health care that had none of the characteristics that other commenters are fulminating against.

    Similarly the post about ‘medicaid mums’ made a lot of assertions that seemed to have more to do with internal US debate about national identity – I was reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan, and I note my previous musing about the influence of the protestant antecedents of US culture.

    The evil of abortion is not the preserve of the poor or the young & unwed, as I’m sure statistics indicate.

  80. tjm says:

    Peter, I think we are talking past each other. I do not believe it is the obligation of the
    State to provide healthcare, nor groceries, nor cars, nor homes to the general public. That is a socialist model and I believe it kills incentive and destroys self-worth and the soul. Now, that being said, I do believe a just society provides for the disabled or the poor. But in America, those type of social programs should only be available for a very small number of people.

    And yes, Peter, true socialized medicine results in rationing, long lines and substandard care. Why do you think wealthy Brits and Canadians opt out of it or come to the States. Tom

  81. Peter says:

    Thanks Tim, maybe we are talking past each other, or looking at different aspects of the same (complex) 3D entity.

    I would dispute that postulating that the State can have obligations to provide for its citizens is coterminus with socialism. In practical terms in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries maybe that has been the case but it needn’t necessarily be so. It doesn’t need to be a dispute between socialism and capitalism/market economy.

    Perhaps some of the thrust of the bishops letter can illustrate – you can choose the best of 2 bad choices (oversimplification but bear with me).
    I’m no socialist. In fact I’m a constitutional monrachist. Australia is still a constitutional monarchy but we have been debating for some years whether to become a republic. The Queen is an Anglican, head of a heretical and schismatic church. However she, and the monarchy are expressly christian (indeed the coronation ceremony is liturgical and shows that the power derives from above). The Republic alternative will be secular, relativist and pluralistic one, funcionally and probably vehemently anti-christian. Thus while the current system is far from perfect, is becoming functionally redundant and demonstrably fails in its christian ideals, the proposed alternative will be far worse.

    apologies to Fr Z for straying so far off the original topic … :-(

  82. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    I would be interested to hear what proportionate reasons are being used by those who are planning to vote for Obama, in light of the Bishops teachings. Please share your logic.

  83. tjm says:

    Unfortunately Fr. Marie-Paul there is no logic other than that war and capital punishment are somehow on par with an intrinsic evil like abortion, conveniently overlooking the fact that with regards to war and capital punishment there may be prudential judgments which justify the former but not the latter. “Social justice” is another alleged justification. However, apparently social justice is only for the breathing, not for infants in the womb, the most defenseless members of society. What is so amazing is that an atheist and feminist in the US, Camille Paglia, in a recent opinion piece on Sarah Palin called abortion what it is – murder. She repeated it, so there is no mistake in what she was saying. Tom

  84. Patrick T says:

    Tom,

    That’s right on.

    There was no proportionate reason to vote for a pro-slavery president in 1860.

    And there is no proportionate reason to vote for a pro-abortion president in 2008.

    There really isn’t anything else to say. The teaching of the Church is clear.

  85. Aine says:

    The mother goes to the doctor to request an abortion; he asks her, “For what reason do you want the abortion?”

    “Mental health. He is driving me crazy.”

    “Which trimester are you in?”

    “Well, he is a little more than seven years old, so that puts it at – uh – the 29th trimester?”

    “I’m sorry, ma’am, I sympathize with your dilemma, but I am unable to perform the abortion for you, due to legal restrictions on performing abortions past the third trimester. I recommend that you lobby your congressman to liberalize the abortion law.”

    I read this somewhere and saved it.

  86. Aine says:

    JILL STANEK:
    […]
    Legislation was presented on the federal level and in various states called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. It stated all live-born babies were guaranteed the same constitutional right to equal protection, whether or not they were wanted.

    BAIPA sailed through the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote. Even Sens. Clinton, Kennedy and Kerry agreed a mother’s right to “choose” stopped at her baby’s delivery.

    The bill also passed overwhelmingly in the House. NARAL went neutral on it. Abortion enthusiasts publicly agreed that fighting BAIPA would appear extreme. President Bush signed BAIPA into law in 2002.

    But in Illinois, the state version of BAIPA repeatedly failed, thanks in large part to then-state Sen. Barack Obama. It only passed in 2005, after Obama left.
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php/index.php?pageId=37080

  87. Peter says:

    Patrick T – I think the comparison between support for abortion and the ante-bellum politics of the USA is spurious and misleading.

    Pop quiz –
    Q what was one of the States to recognise the Confederacy?
    A The Vatican.

    I realise it is a sensitive topic in the USA but I think that a critical look at the history indicates that although slavery became an issue (and a very successful propaganda touchstone) the causes and motivations were not this simple or pure. (and please noone equate this as a comment in support of slavery)

  88. Jordanes says:

    Peter said: I think the comparison between support for abortion and the ante-bellum politics of the USA is spurious and misleading.

    Not at all, the analogy is pretty neat and clean: in both cases we’re talking about laws and courts determining that an entire class of humans are not entitled to the inalienable human rights that the rest of the citizenry enjoys.

    Pop quiz – Q what was one of the States to recognise the Confederacy?
    A The Vatican.

    That would be the same Vatican that had been teaching for some time that the slave trade and the institution of slavery ought to be abolished. Quite a lot of U.S. bishops were supporters of slavery regardless of what the Pope said. Hmm, that sounds a little familiar too.

    Long and the short of it is the Pope’s recognition of the Confederacy was not an endorsement of the Confederacy’s support for chattel slavery, nor was his recognition of the Confederacy an act protected by the promise of infallibility.

    I realise it is a sensitive topic in the USA but I think that a critical look at the history indicates that although slavery became an issue (and a very successful propaganda touchstone) the causes and motivations were not this simple or pure. (and please no one equate this as a comment in support of slavery)

    The reason it “became an issue” is because the Confederacy would never have attempted to break away were it not for the fact that an anti-slavery President had just been elected, thanks to the Democrats splitting into northern and southern factions. Hmm, wonder why the Democrats split.

    Sorry, but the notion that the Civil War was not sparked by and at basis about slavery is itself propaganda and apologetics. Anyway nothing we know about the history of those days weakens the analogy between support for pro-slavery candidates and support for pro-abortion candidates. A head of state’s recognition of a government is not a vote for a candidate to run that government.

  89. Peter says:

    Jordanes, I shall retire from this discussion.
    I oppose and detest both abortion and slavery but I still disagree that this is a useful analogy in the case of abortion.

  90. TJM says:

    Jordanes, thank you for your support. By the way, you know that tired old liberal canard: “War Never Solved Anything” It sure did. It got rid of slavery in the US and fascism and nazism in Europe. Diplomacy would never have ended those situations no matter what well-intentioned liberals believe. Tom

  91. Patrick T says:

    Tom,

    Have you ever seen these posters:

    http://www.protestwarrior.com/signs.php?thumb=1

    They’re hilarious and say exactly what you said.

  92. Fr. Z,
    I found the following quote of St. Thomas Aquinas which I thought was appropriate to answer those who oppose theologians to the Church’s authority. What do you think?
    I attempted a translation on my blog, but thought you might translate it much more ably if you thought it appropriate for your own blog.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Quodlibet II, q. 4 a. 2 co.
    Respondeo.
    Dicendum, quod maximam auctoritatem habet Ecclesiae consuetudo, quae semper est in omnibus aemulanda: quia et ipsa doctrina Catholicorum doctorum ab Ecclesia auctoritatem habet; unde magis est standum consuetudini Ecclesiae quam vel auctoritati Augustini vel Hieronymi, vel cuiuscumque doctoris.

  93. John6:54 says:

    This disgruntled Republican will continue to vote his properly formed conscience for pro-life Republicans until such day as the Democrats pull their head out of the mothers womb and stop supporting the killing of innocent human life.