John Allen’s open letter to Pres.-Elect Obama

My friend Mr. John L Allen, Jr., the nearly ubiquitous former Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and nearly the only reasonable writer for that ultra-lefty dissenting publication has an interesting open letter to President-Elect Obama.

It is worth your time to read.  My emphases and comments.

For the record, nobody from the Obama transition team has solicited my [John Allen is speaking] advice about relations with the Vatican, and I would frankly be surprised if the question were yet on their radar screen. Others, however, are already speculating about how things might shake out; on Wednesday, for example, Reuters moved a story predicting a “tricky” relationship between Rome and the Obama White House because of the abortion issue. As a thought exercise, I decided to pen an open letter to the president-elect about U.S.-Vatican ties over the next four years.

Mr. President-elect:

This letter is a plea to make U.S.-Vatican relations under your administration a priority, because of the enormous good in the world that could be accomplished by exploiting natural areas of common concern.

I’m aware that the stars may not seem especially well-aligned for such collaboration. A small number of Catholic bishops in the United States made statements during the campaign that favored your opponent, which may have left a bitter aftertaste among some of your supporters and advisors. It’s also clear to everyone that, barring a dramatic change of heart on your part, the White House and the Vatican will have deep differences during your term over “life issues” such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

I would urge you, however, not to allow those points to obscure four basic political realities[Mr. Allen often breaks things down into lists, which can be helpful in getting your head around issues.]

[1] First, the Vatican and the United States need each other, whatever their differences may be in a given historical moment. What the United States is in the realm of “hard power,” meaning coercive military and economic might, the Vatican is in terms of “soft power,” meaning the capacity to stir action on the basis of ideas. Religion is a powerful motivating force in human affairs, and the pope has the biggest bully pulpit of any religious leader. It’s simply bad for everyone if these two forces are not on good speaking terms.  ["hard power" and "soft power" … interesting]

[2] Second, it’s smart politics for you not to neglect the Vatican. As you know better than anyone, in some ways your reelection campaign in 2012 has already begun. You won the Catholic vote overall this time, but narrowly lost white Catholics; working cooperatively and respectfully with the Vatican could help you and your party with that group.

[3] Third, the Vatican has a centuries-old diplomatic tradition of dealing with governments that, in one way or another, don’t follow the church’s line on certain matters. Despite those disagreements, Vatican diplomacy typically strives to keep lines of communication open and to seek common ground. In other words, they’ll want to do business with you where they can.

[4] Fourth, the Vatican is eager for good relations with the United States in particular, regardless of which party happens to be in power. The Vatican deeply admires the robust religiosity of America, in contrast with the pervasive secularism of much of Europe. The Vatican also believes that the United States is its most natural ally in promoting religious freedom and human dignity around the world.  [This is undoubtedly the case.]

The potential for collaboration is very real, because there are numerous areas where your policy positions dovetail with the social teaching of the Catholic church and the diplomatic interests of the Vatican. Among the most obvious examples are immigration, economic justice, peace, and environmental protection. In a statement this week congratulating you, Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi also expressed the Vatican’s desire to work together on Iraq, the Holy Land, Christian minorities in the Middle East and Asia, and the fight against poverty and social inequality.

In each area, you will find a clear track record of teaching from recent popes and a strong determination on the part of the Vatican’s diplomatic apparatus to move the ball. [These are concrete points which can be verified.] In fact, many of these topics represent areas in which the Vatican was at odds with the Bush administration and has longed for new American leadership.

Pope Benedict XVI himself has clearly opened the door to a positive working relationship.

The pope sent a telegram on Wednesday calling your election “a historic occasion,” and offering his prayer that God will “support you and the American people, so that through the good will of all, a world of peace, solidarity and justice can be built.” Lombardi likewise expressed hope that you “will be able to match the expectations and the hopes directed towards the new president, effectively serving justice and rights, finding the best ways to promote peace in the world, favoring the growth and dignity of persons with respect for essential human and spiritual values.”  [So… the Vatican has already extended a hand.  What will an Obama White House do?]

You’ll notice that neither the pope nor his spokesperson explicitly mentioned abortion or other areas of disagreement, and certainly their tone suggests that concern for the “life issues” will not exclude cooperation in other areas. On the contrary, the Vatican seems to be doing everything it can to invite it.

May I suggest one more possibility for U.S.-Vatican partnership? I believe there is a historic opportunity for your administration and the Holy See to work together to move the international community, at long last, toward serious engagement on behalf of peace and development in Africa.

You are a hero to much of Africa, giving you a degree of political capital on the continent that no other Western leader could rival. At the same time, 2009 is shaping up as a “Year of Africa” in global Catholicism. [Which many Catholics don’t know, much less American politicians.  Good for Allen for mentioning it.] Over the next 12 months, Pope Benedict XVI will visit Cameroon and Angola; the African bishops will hold their plenary assembly in Rome; and bishops from all over the world will converge on Rome for a “Synod for Africa.” All this suggests the possibility of synergy between the world’s most important political and spiritual leaders — i.e., you and the pope — to promote peace and development for Africa, where the world’s most impoverished and abandoned people are today found.

If you’re interested in forging such a partnership, the first important choice to make is who to send to the Vatican as your ambassador. Ideally, you will turn to someone known to have your ear, who will have real political influence in your administration, and who also knows the Catholic world. What you’re looking for, in other words, is a Democratic equivalent of James Nicholson, President Bush’s first Vatican ambassador. Nicholson had served as the chair of the Republican National Committee, and helped to steer the party’s outreach to Catholic voters. Bush sent a clear signal with that nomination that he was interested in the Vatican, and this is one case where it would behoove you to follow his lead.

Finally, one last piece of unsolicited advice: Mr. President-Elect, whatever else you do, please try to avoid repeating the mistakes of the last Democratic administration with regard to the Vatican[Read this next part closely.]

In his memoirs, former Vatican Ambassador Raymond Flynn tells a depressing story from 1994 illustrating what I mean. During the lead-up to the U.N. conference on population in Cairo in 1994, Pope John Paul II called Flynn to the Vatican on a Saturday morning to personally request a telephone conversation with President Clinton. Flynn relayed the request urgently to the White House that afternoon, and got no response. He called again on Sunday and on Monday, both times with no results. Frustrated, Flynn then got on a plane to Washington on Tuesday. He cooled his heels outside the president’s office that night and most of Wednesday. Finally, he was admitted to the White House’s pre-Cairo war room, where he was told by Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Wirth that “nobody is getting a chance to lobby the president on this one.” Dumbfounded, Flynn explained that the Bishop of Rome is not a lobbyist, and that it would be seen as a profound act of disrespect if the president wouldn’t even get on the phone. After almost a week, Clinton finally agreed to take the pope’s call.

The episode was symptomatic of a basic disinterest within the Clinton team about the Vatican, which at times shaded off into hostility. The result was that the U.S.-Vatican relationship during the Clinton years was more often defined by predictable differences than by imaginative areas of common purpose[Well expressed.]

For what it’s worth, Mr. President-Elect, my advice is to get on the phone if the pope calls. Better yet, initiate the conversation yourself. You might be surprised about where it goes.


Very well written thought exercise. 

I think it is worthwhile making this visible.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Jacob says:

    Hard power and soft power are common terms in international relations. It doesn’t surprise me that Allen would use jargon which Obama or his allies would be familiar with given Obama’s leanings away from a more traditional description of the Pope’s influence.

    The US has the brigades, the Pope has something else entirely.

  2. Ken says:

    What would help is if the Holy Father starts mentioning the abortion word directly to politicans. It is the #1 issue, right? In the pope’s letter of congratulations to President-elect Obama, according to Catholic News Service: “Asked if the pope mentioned any specific issues he was concerned about, Father Lombardi responded, ‘peace, solidarity and justice.'”

    Moreover, the first Catholic vice president of the United States received communion as recently as this past Sunday. The bishop merely made suggestions to Mr. Biden after the fact (i.e. after people complained).

    Sorry, but I think dialogue, talking in code and mere pastoral suggestions has been tried and failed. It’s time to be EXPLICIT. Priests, pastors, bishops, and even the pope. These paper tigers and vague uses of language are not working.

  3. Theresa says:

    My recent thought exercise has been as follows:

    1.) Abortion is the current “Holocaust”: A Holocaust on the Unborn.
    2.) Obama has promised to advance this holocaust, and he is the most aggressive pro-abortion candidate to run for president.
    3.) I would not want to cooperate with the SS…Likewise I do not want to cooperate with Obama. I would think that rather than cooperate with Obama, the Catholic Church should stand as a strong witness against the current Holocaust.
    4.) IF the world ever has a change of heart with respect to abortion, do we want to be accused (as Pope Pius XII, albeit unjustly is accused) of “not doing enough” or “for working with” the evil side. I could not help but to think this as I saw Cardinal Egan laughing together with Obama at the Al Smith Dinner. It was not a pretty picture.
    5.)Furthermore, I think that an Obama presidency actually means very tough times ahead for Catholics, especially Catholic physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and researchers. Conscience clauses will be eradicated, and many of these people may no longer be able to work in the same fashion as they currently do. Rather than extending a hand to someone who is ready to chop it off, I think that we better “gird our loins” for tough battles ahead. For all practical purposes this means that we must be extremely cautious in how we interact with radical pro-abortion politicians.

    Whatever the case may be, we can never compromise our beliefs or principles…We should not try to see how well we can swim with the sharks!

    Just my thought exercise….

  4. tertullian says:

    Mr Allen, the President-elect believes he is the soft power.

  5. John gets almost everything right. The one issue I have is with his categorical breakdown of hard power and soft power. I agree with his general point, and certainly agree with the specific assignments as far as they go. I would say, however, that there are areas in which the United States of America can move through the power of the ideas that constitute American nationhood. I am reminded of Pope Benedict XVI’s address to President Bush (and through him, the whole people) this past April:

    “From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations.”

    With regard to abortion and embryonic stem cell research, specifically, and life issues generally, the Obama administration’s wrong and wrong-headed positions risk making it impossible for many people to rejoice in what is otherwise a quintessentially American success story.

    That said, I think we Catholics ought to follow the Holy See’s lead and cooperate with Obama wherever possible, for the simple reason that it will give him a reason to listen to our case when we state our disagreements.

  6. Theresa says:

    I never thought of promoting socialism as part of the American success story.

  7. ave maria says:

    I am not convinced that the president-elect cares.

  8. Brian says:

    If John Allen accurately characterized the Vatican’s position, I am having difficulty reconciling that position with the sermon posted today His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Finn, Bishop of Kansas City.

  9. Aric says:

    And the Vatican’s dealing with an Obama Administration with a gloved fist will further prove that the absence of an immediate condemnation of Nazi Germany did not make Pius XII “Hitler’s Pope.” Rather, the Vatican’s ability to deal with an Obama Administration that poses greater threat to human life than the Hitler Administration did demonstrates that the Church uses natural means to achieve her goals.

  10. Edward says:

    At what point in the Church’s history did Catholic social teaching begin to encompass the advancement of the socialist state? Is PP VI and PJ II to blame for this? I really would like to know.

    I ask because it seems to me that since the beginning of the modern era, and up through the 1950’s, the Church through its popes, saints, and soon to be saints such as Archbishop Sheen, spoke against the socialist state. While the Church has always warned against the evil excesses of capitalism, it seems to me that saying Obama’s leftist economic policies are in line with Catholic social teaching is debatable. Massively advancing the continuing centralization and concentration of immense economic and social power in the hands of some charlatan politicians and some faceless faraway bureaucrats does not seem like it could ever be a favorable situation for the Catholic family or for building a Catholic culture.

    Long live PB XVI, but I would be lying if I didn’t have some longing for the days when the Church would stand up against a Marxist thug like Barack Obama. And I hope the Church will stand up to him on more grounds than just abortion. The abortion issue takes precedence of course, but Obama’s economic policies will hurt people too. Does the Church no longer consider the right to property a natural right?

  11. Ed Mechmann says:

    It was not true that “a small number of Catholic bishops in the United States made statements during the campaign that favored your opponent”. It was over 100 bishops, and they were trying to instruct the faithful in the essential way that a Catholic forms his conscience. It just so happens that honesty about the evil of abortion favored the opponent of the 100% NARAL candidate. Not that it did much good.

  12. Daum says:

    As a European observer please excuse my seeming impertinence for interfering in your elections, but I feel compelled to accuse the right-wing Catholic lobby for the anti-life ethos so deeply entrenched with the Democratic Party. By getting into bed, so to speak, with the Republicans on abortion, Catholics neglected to use their influence to lobby that party for social justice on issues like immigration, poverty, and the environment, thus causing massive scandal to the greater American populace and weaking their influence on the Democrats. Ambivalence, or even support, of the Republican Party’s unjust anti-immigration stance, risks perpetuating the inhumane and anti-Catholic immigration system in operation. The bulk of these immigrants entering the US are fellow Catholics, and are often informed in their voting decisions, especially on contentious social issues, by their orthodox Catholic faith. Pope Pius XII stated that “the natural law itself, no less than devotion to humanity, urges that ways of migration be opened” to those forced by hunger, unemployment and revolution to leave their homelands. Given the persistent tendency of right-wing Catholics to conform Catholic moral theology to the Republican political platform, I would advise all to be acquainted with those social encyclicals that some Catholics all-too-readily dismiss with indignant embarrassment for no other reason than that uncomfortably contradict the political stances of their new-found allies.

  13. Dear Theresa,

    While I disagree with most of what little I have been able to gather about Obama’s economic program, I am 1) not convinced it deserves to be labeled “socialist” and 2) confident that, if he turns out to be a socialist, he will be spectacularly unsuccessful in implementing his policies.

    I would be glad to enlarge upon my reasons for thinking as I do, though it strikes me that this particular issue may be, if not entirely off-topic, then at least sufficiently complex to warrant separate treatment. The decision is Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s (who does not need me to tell him that), but I would not take us down a rabbit hole.

    If you like, we can discuss the issue you raise via e-mail. Mine is:

  14. Theresa says:


    My husband is from Europe and initially spoke like you..after living here for seven years and seeing the fruits of conservative Republicans and the fruits of liberal Democrats…He now has sympathy with the conservative Republicans.
    You are being impertinent in the face of ignorance.

  15. TJM says:

    Daum, actually President Bush, pushed for immigration policy reform very much in line with Catholic teaching. Unfortunately, members of Congress from both parties killed it. Tom

  16. Maureen says:

    Daum —

    There are plenty of left-wing Catholics in the US. As this election proved.

    There are plenty of left-wing Catholics who care about abortion, though, and the Democratic Party ignores them, too, and has since the early 70’s. As Dorothy Day proves. People of all fiaths on the left wing are perfectly willing to praise her, but not to imitate or be influenced by her.

    The Democratic Party (of the last forty years) basically specializes in collecting the votes of special interest groups, and then doing only what its leadership wants to do, while blaming the Republicans. The more their serfs are downtrodden, the happier their leadership is. Right-wing Democrats usually either submit meekly to this treatment, or leave.

  17. Houghton G. says:

    Daum, what you are doing is known as “blaming the victim.” Please read Mark Stricherz’s book, Why the Democrats Are Blue. The Democrats chose to ally themselves with Death. There was resistance, but the activists that came out of the 1968 rebellion in Chicago shouldered aside the old Catholic party leaders and deliberately, forcefully shoved aside pro-life Catholics in the party.

    Pro-life, lay Catholics “got into bed with the Republicans” to the degree that they did (the bishops never did, until fairly recently when it became crystal clear that the Democrats had become irrevocably the party of Death, Bob Casey Jr. and Douglas Kmiec notwithstanding, and even then it was only a minority of the bishops; most of the bishops are still in bed with the Democrats) because the Republicans did not reject them like the Democrats did.

    Roe v. Wade galvanized Catholic lay people. They organized at the grass-roots level. They were resisted by the dominant forces in the Republican party, which in the early 1970s was a Blue-Blood, Country-Club pro-contraception and pro-abortion party. By hard work and energy, pro-life activists remade the party from the bottom up. Gerald Ford in 1976 narrowly defeated Reagan, who himself was a convert to pro-life, having once signed a legal-abortion bill in California, but by 1980, behind Reagan, the pro-life forces took charge. The pro-abortion blue-blood Republican “moderates” never forgave them and have tried ever since to keep them down even while they welcome their votes and money every four years. The despicable, ruthless sliming of Sarah Palin, already during the campaign and continuing now, is just the latest installment. Secular, fiscal-conservative pro-abortion “moderate” Republicans hold us in utter contempt, but they swallow their bile as much as they have to in order to take advantage of our energy and money.

    Pro-life Catholic (and now Evangelical Protestant) Republicans would gladly go elsewhere if there were anywhere else to go. If enough social conservative Republicans with standing in congress and in statehouses really banded together, it might be possible to wrest control from the “moderates”–using the threat of a third party. But sadly, all too often, ambitious social-conservative politicians quarrel among themselves and they also have love-hate relationships with the secular fiscal-conservative libertarian wing (which hates the “moderates” as much as the social conservatives do but also sneers at the religious motivation of the social conservatives). So it’s a three-way coalition held together tenuously.

    Catholics did not climb into bed with the Republicans. In 1976 the Republicans were the only, absolutely the only, option available to the pro-life movement. And the tenuous coalition accomplished much over the subsequent 30 years.

    Accomplished much. Perhaps not quite enough. Roe v. Wade can probably never be overturned, given what Obama will do to the Supreme Court and the way I expect him to cleverly avoid overreaching, which will permit him to consolidate power, aided by big business and the media.

    It would have helped if the bshops had understood what the stakes were 30 years ago, instead of continuing to be the “Democrat Party at prayer.” They still don’t get it, for the most part. And the losers will be the lay pro-lifers who will be hung out to dry by many of their bishops, as well as the handful of bishops who go to the stake together with their people.

    There’s a lot of history during the last 30 years that you need to consider carefully before making the claim that Catholics climbed insouciantly into bed with the Republicans.

  18. Dear Ed Mechmann,

    John got that exactly right. A large number of bishops made statements regarding the importance of voting with an informed conscience, and taught their faithful the principles of Catholic moral reasoning. A small number went beyond the teaching of principle and passed into concrete application of principle, and an even smaller number either all but endorsed Sen. McCain or declared Obama unworthy of a Catholic’s vote.

  19. Michael J says:

    I am compelled to point out that “urg[ing] that ways of migration be opened” does not mean the same as “throw open wide your borders”. You label the Republican party’s immigration policy as “unjust”, “inhumane” and “anti-Catholic”. I am probably less familliar with the policy than you, so now is your opportunity to educate a “right-wing” Catholic.

    What is the immigration policy and how is it unjust, inhumane and anti-Catholic?

  20. Theresa says:

    Why did the Vatican then feel a need to apologize to the Jews in 1998 for sitting on the sidelines? I am not saying that I necessarily think that this apology was necessary, but the Vatican did do so.

    AND on another level….approximately 54% of American Catholics voted for this aggressively pro-abortion politician (45% of weekly Mass attendees and 61% of irregular Mass attendees) How could this happen? Because much of the Catholic hierarchy did not find their collective spine until it was “too little, too late”. (For 30+ years they combined the intrinsic evil of abortion with other policy issues about which people of good faith can have debates.) Recently some bishops have found great courage, BUT there were still homilies given by priests and inserts in church bulletins that were putting the murder of unborn humans on the same plane as the economy, immigration, ecology, etc.

    Wake up! If there is no right to life, then there is no right to anything. Obama has promised to sign FOCA as his first act as president…God help us all, and may God have mercy on America.

  21. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I am afraid it is you that is arguing from the position of ignorance – ignorance of Catholic Social Teaching. As Duam said, he is getting his political/economic thought from the Church and people that attempted to apply the Church’s principles in a practical way. You are getting your principles from men that reject the Church and the nature of man. Smith, Riccardo, and von Mises were just as wrong about the nature of man as Marx and Engle. With regard to Obama, it is a libel to write that he is a socialist. I did not and do not support Obama, but he is a capitalist from the Keynesian school. You are also are similarly ignorant of Catholic history. The Church and Popes have always dealt with world leaders in the same way that Benedict is dealing with Obama. You may not like that, but considering your ignorance of Church diplomacy, your opinion is worthless. Finally, I hate abortion, and do wish that the Church would be more vocal about it, but they can not be silent on all other social issues, just because you feel that abortion is the most important. You might be willing to sell your soul and Faith to the Republican party over the abortion issue, but you can not expect all other Catholics to do so. The Church in the past has tolerated slave traders/murders. Reprehensible bishops in the American south even owned slaves, none of them were told to stay away from the Sacraments let alone excommunicated. Was this because the Church believed slavery was moral? Of course not, it was because they did not have the support of the members of the Church to get rid of it, so it was tolerated. This is of course worse than a pro-abortion politician. Many pro-abortion politicians are only for the allowing of murder, they are not murders themselves. They have not ordered anyone to murder, unlike Hitler, and unlike Bush (if you consider the Iraq war unjust as the popes did). That said I believe pro-abortion Catholic politicians should be refused the Sacraments, but the Vatican should attempt to work with governments. That is what the Church has always done.

  22. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    You obviously know nothing about Dorothy Day. For example Day was completely against the welfare system, because she knew that it would generate hatred of the poor. She wanted the Church to take care of the poor, not the government. She was completely rooted in the Catholic Social Teachings.

  23. John says:

    1. “…the Vatican and the United States need each other.” That needs to be clarified. The Vatican does not need the US Government, which has just been officially turned over to the culture of death. The Vatican does need the American laity and clergy to pray and speak out in defense of the faith, which is going to come under even more severe attack in the years ahead.
    2. “…it’s smart politics for you not to neglect the Vatican.” Obama being a committed Marxist, will he pursue the Marxist pattern of seeking peaceful coexistence with one face, while with the other stabbing the Church in the back by unleashing abortion and hate crime legislation?
    3. “…Vatican diplomacy typically strives to keep lines of communication open and to seek common ground.” Oh God, not common ground! Get thee behind me, Joseph Bernardin! What common ground can there possibly be between the false Marxist conception of social justice and the Church’s? There is no common ground between lies and truth…though I’m sure the Conciliar practices of “ecumenism” and “dialogue” will prevail.
    4. “The Vatican also believes that the United States is its most natural ally in promoting religious freedom and human dignity around the world.” Exactly what kind of religious freedom and dignity is the Vatican interested in promoting? The false conceptions of those doctrines that issued from Vatican II?

    Whatever relationship develops between Benedict and Obama, I hope it is one that softens the barbaric views of this frightful ghoul of the New World Order.

  24. Theresa says:


    You do not know me, or my educational background with respect to Catholic social teaching. I suspect that I am far more familiar with Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno and the concepts of solidarity and subsidiarty ,and with John Paul II’ Centesimus Annus. Indeed, allow e to quote Centesimus Annus:

    “In recent years the range of such intervention has vastly expanded, to the point of creating a new type of State, the so-called “Welfare State”. This has happened in some countries in order to respond better to many needs and demands, by remedying forms of poverty and deprivation unworthy of the human person. However, excesses and abuses, especially in recent years, have provoked very harsh criticisms of the Welfare State, dubbed the “Social Assistance State”. Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.100

    By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending. In fact, it would appear that needs are best understood and satisfied by people who are closest to them and who act as neighbours to those in need. It should be added that certain kinds of demands often call for a response which is not simply material but which is capable of perceiving the deeper human need. One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    Finally,, I can assure you that I am from an ethnic group which is traditionally Democrat. If Democrats would take a strong and real stance against abortion, then I would have no problem considering them as leaders. I am NOT registered with an particular political party. The point is that Caholics must have as their primary concern the slaughter of the unborn. This is our modern day Holocaust, and we must fight it. Becuase they cannot “see” the victims of this holocaust, many Catholics are coming up excuses to put it on the back burner.

  25. Andreas says:


    I completely agree with you.

  26. Jason Keener says:


    I agree with your comment. The time for dialogue and talking in code about abortion (and other issues) is over. Our priests, bishops, and Holy Father have to begin speaking about difficult issues in a direct and clear manner.

    Moreover, the leaders in the Church don’t seem to understand the crisis in Faith and Liturgy is happening because our Church leaders have been too busy conforming the Church’s doctrine, liturgy, and pastoral practices to the world over the last 40 years. When the Church’s message becomes so politically correct, watered down, and impotent, nobody bothers to listen (as is evidenced by all of the Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate).

    The Church can reclaim her relevance only if She proclaims the truth clearly, fully, and directly. It is better to have a small Church that is actually Catholic than a large Church whose main concern is political correctness.

  27. Daum says:

    I accused right-wing Catholics, not Catholics as a whole, of getting into bed with the Republicans. If the Democrats are ignoring the agitations of their pro-life supporters (which is patently the case), then Catholics should by all means vote Republican. However this does not preclude engaging with the Democrats for a reform in their party’s position on abortion, or indeed working on issues of common concern, such as immigration. In the same manner, voting for the Republicans does not preclude rejecting their excesses, and if Republican Catholics had been more assertive in the Republican Party on issues of immigration, perhaps the amnesty bill for ‘illegal’ immigrants would have been carried.

    I have been in America on several occasions and was greatly struck by the abject poverty of which a substantial proportion of the population are subjected to. Strangely the right-wing Catholics feel perfectly at liberty to ignore the economic plight of so many of their fellow citizens and shamefully have engaged themselves in a unquestioning fraternal alliance with the pro-capitalists. Build political alliances by all means, but don’t do so unquestionably and always consider the welfare of the most vulnerable in society. The way in which some Catholics have unquestionably supported the Republican Party and its die-hard capitalism is a cause for scandal. The anti-immigration stance of many of its elected representatives bears a disturbing resemblance to that party’s visceral opposition to Catholic immigration in the 1920s. WASPish capitalism and Catholic social teaching are inconsonant.

  28. momof8 says:

    A majority of the illegals that are in the US are not what you would call “good” or “devout” Catholics. They , by a huge margin voted for Obama and yet Voted in favor (in HIGHER % numbers) for Proposition 8. So, let me see.. they vote AGAINST gay marriage, but vote FOR a pro-abort?? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense now does it?

    Secondly, if anyone has not been to Mexico.. you will clearly see that they have a bigger problem with the Church laity than we do here! Materialism and secularism has taken over and the churches sit quite empty. Let alone living their faith daily.Perhaps in the more small remote village areas that is not true.

    Did you all know that the mexican gangs in LosAngeles area have Our LAdy of Guadelupe tatooed over their hearts? They must have a profound devotion to her you say.. NO, they do so for protection, so that fellow gangbangers can’t shoot them or stab them in the chest…

    It is up to the Bishops to stand up and take some major action here. The time has come , a new era has begun and they have the power to change the course of history for the United States, especially the Church in the United States. Let us pray that they have the backbone to do it..

    The hour has come and the time is now. Dearest Bishops we SUPPORT you! Do not sit silent!

  29. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    What you posted in no way reflects the thought of the Church in Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno. I am not for the welfare state, so your quote from JP II is irrelevant. Both Democrats and Republicans have equally bad economic theories. You claimed Obama was a socialist, and this is just false. Obama is probably more of a libertarian economist than any other leader in the world currently. Notice I did not say that Obama was a libertarian, only that he is closer to one than… Finally, if you do accept the Catholic Social teachings as given in the Irish constitution (from wikipedia):

    Article 45 outlines a number of broad principles of social and economic policy. Its provisions are, however, intended solely for the guidance of the legislature and cannot be enforced by a court of law. This Article is the remainder of the metaconstitution that preceded it. In the 21st century, the Directive Principles of Social Policy feature little in parliamentary debates. However, no proposals have been made for their repeal or amendment. They require, in summary, that:
    Justice and charity must inform national institutions.
    The free market and private property must be regulated in the interests of the common good.
    The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.
    The state should ensure efficiency in private industry and protect the public against economic exploitation.
    Everyone has the right to an adequate occupation.
    The state must supplement private industry where necessary.
    The state must protect the vulnerable, such as orphans and the aged.
    No one may be forced into an occupation unsuited to their age, sex or strength.

    Then I apologize, however, there is nothing in your posts to make one believe you would accept the principles above, and we know that these principles are rejected by the vast majority of Republicans, Catholic and non-Catholic.

  30. Cosmos says:

    I can’t understand why people fail to connect socialism with the anti-Christian secular-humanistic socialist systems of modern Europe. They go hand-in-hand no matter how much we pretned they do not. It is true that Catholic social teaching is pro-poor, but it is also for subsidiarity, freedom of choice, personal-responsibility, family, work, life, religion, and against the plethora of social issues that inevitably come attached to socialist candidates. There may actually be a reason, which cannot simply be distinguished away through historical contextualization, why so many great Christians were anti-modernist and anti-socialist. We continue to pray the price for our uber-sophisticated views which ignore their warnings. Christians should have a healthy suspicion of any worldly power, but especially when it is held by those hostile to such fundamental issues of life and faith.

  31. Andreas says:

    Christopher Sarsfield:

    There is so much wrong with the above summary that one would have to write a book to explain it all. Suffice it to say that the whole thing smacks of Marxism-communism.

    These statement provide a framework whereby all personal initiatives (and freedom) are being institutionalized. That’s already been tried under Stalin and it didn’t work.

  32. momof8 says:


    Perhaps it is the ILLEGAL Immigration that we worry about more so rather than LEGAL immigration.. we have a HUGE problem with ILLEGAL Immigration…

    If you come to our country for a better life, I have NO problem with that. But do not do it at societies expense. Seek Immigration legally!

    If MExico took care of its own citizens, they would not have to illegally sneak into our country.

    Illegal persons should not have the same rights as citizens but yet they are being handed that with silver spoons. By breaking the law and coming to the US illegaly we must reward them? I dont think thats right or just.

  33. Brian Day says:

    Mr Sarsfield,

    I do not pretend to be an expert in Church social justice theory and practice, so I will not address those points you made to Theresa and others, but I must challenge this statement:

    Then I apologize, however, there is nothing in your posts to make one believe you would accept the principles above, and we know that these principles are rejected by the vast majority of Republicans, Catholic and non-Catholic..

    I don’t know this and I would like you to back up your assertion that “these principles are rejected by the vast majority of Republicans…”
    The few republicans that I know do not fit your description. Sources for your assertion?

  34. Michael J says:

    Once again, What is the immigration policy and how is it unjust, inhumane and anti-Catholic?

  35. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    If you do not like the principles then take it up with the Church. They reflect the teaching of every Pope from Leo XIII to John Paul II. My point and I believe Duam’s is that Catholics like you reject the Church’s clear moral teaching on Economics and Politics. By doing so you undermine any credibility you have as champions of Catholic Social teachings, and are doomed to failure. But I thank you, for being honest enough not to pretend that Catholic Social teaching inspires your political/economic philosophy. There are many Catholics that refuse to be open about it.

  36. Edward says:

    My God. This is the problem with political debates with liberals such as Christopher Sarsfield. They continuously change our understanding of particular terms. If Obama is, economically speaking, the most libertarian of all current leaders in the Western world, then I guess we know why Europe’s economy has been so screwed up for decades. And the idea that any teaching of Pope Pius IX’s would support Obama economic and social policies is preposterous.

    And as for the European getting on Americans about not handling our immigration problem appropriately, what a laugh! That coming from a European. A continent which is being over run by Muslims and in which many of its countries are beginning to see a rise in fascist ideology as a result. The Mexicans and South Americans that are invading our country ILLEGALLY are bringing with them undiagnosed disease and an influx of organized crime. Also, the uncontrolled influx has a draining impact on our social welfare state to the point of contributing to state’s such as California being put on the verge of bankruptcy and the influx has a depressing affect on worker’s wages. And the idea that these Mexicans are just a huge group of faithful Catholics is ridiculous. They are as modernist as any American Catholic and they vote just as poorly.

    The debate on immigration in America is for the most part centered on what to do about the ILLEGAL immigration problem, it is not an issue of xenaphobia or racism or the desire to persecute the poor and prevent them from getting materially what we have. For the most part, contrary to what the American media portrayed, the crux of the recent immigration debate centered on whether Amnesty for 10 million illegals was a good thing to do. To over simplify the issue by stating that the opponents are radical right wing Catholics who have bought into the Republican machine reveals your ingorance on the subject and your own intellectual limitations and/or dishonesty.

  37. Theresa says:

    Mr. Sarsfield,

    Are you even an American? I really do NOT know any Republicans in the US who hold the beliefs that you attribute to them.

    Pulling the Irish constitution into this is a bit off..but sionce we are going off base, I was educated by Irish nuns and still have contact with a few of them. They are big fans of Ronald Reagan and the current George Bush! They are not fans of Obama.

  38. Michael J says:

    Let me get this straight. The Catholic Church’s “clear moral teaching on Economics and Politics” can be found on … wikipedia

  39. Andy says:

    I would say that the Catholic Church should not try to court Obama. “Stay away from him!” that would be my advice.

    What will happen during the next four years will be beyond belief. Don’t let yourself be duped. Obama is NOT the new Messiah. On the contrary.

  40. TJM says:

    Daum, I don’t which America you’re visiting, North or South America. But the “poor” in the United States of North America would be considered middle or upper middle class by much of the world. I’ve been to Europe many, many times and the poverty I saw there was shocking, i.e. the banlieus of Paris for starters with their Muslim underclass, Tom

  41. Brian says:

    As the above discussion shows, there can be reasoned disagreements about moral implications of social policy. Not so with abortion.

    The Democrats support the legality of a “woman’s right to choose” to kill her unborn children and advocate for this “woman’s right” throughout the world. As a result millions and millions of innocent, defenseless, infants have been and will continue to be callously murdered within the warm security of their own mother’s womb.

    The Khmer Rouge starved, excecuted, or tortured-to-death TWO-MILLION Cambodians.
    The Nazis murdered SIX-MILLION Jews in the Holocaust.

    U.S. women have “chosen” to murder FORTY-EIGHT MILLION of their own unborn babies in the past thirty-five years.
    World-wide, approximately FORTY-TWO MILLION unborn children are murdered by their mothers and doctors EVERY YEAR.

    What social issue is there that is proportional to the stark evil of such massive infanticide?

    Many Catholics have numbed their consciences to the horror of this brutality and wrongly consider it just one issue among many.
    Would they feel the same way if their own age, ethnic, or social group was being targetted for legalized murder?

  42. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Yes, I am an American. I was a supply side Republican, up until the time that I started reading the Social Encyclicals of Popes. No I am not a liberal, and I have stated that both the Democrats and the Republicans economic policies are junk.

    I know no Republicans that feel that the laws of the nation and tax code should be used to promote virtue. For example, no one is for a just wage. The Democrats tend to favor a minimum wage, which is a perversion of the just wage. The idea that the minimum wage for a teenager using his money to drink and for gas is the same as a father’s with a family to support is the ape of a just wage. Not only that, but the law does not even allow employers to discriminate for this purpose. For example if I have a position at a company that can pay X amount of dollars, which would support a student, or perhaps a teenager, but would never support a father with a family, by law I can not discriminate against the father, yet if I gave him the job I would be sinning, because I was not paying him enough to support his family. I know of few Republicans that believe in a just wage. I know of of no Republicans on the national level that believe in Catholic teaching on just war (besides Ron Paul). I know of few Republicans that believe the tax codes should be used to encourage parents having children and raising them at home (Alan Keyes is an exception and lambasted the welfare reform of the Clinton administration and republican congress, stating that making moms go to work so their children could be raised in government daycare was not going to solve any problems. But I do know many republicans that believe that government has no right to legislate morality in this way. I know no Republicans that want to change the tax laws, and business regulations to give advantages to small business, as opposed to corporations, to ensure that the productive resources of the country are not consolidated in the hands of a few. I know of few Republicans who believe that man has a right to an occupation, instead of a welfare check. All this could be said of the Democrats as well. Neither is right, and Catholics should stand up and say so, instead of giving unqualified endorsements to the Republicans or Democrats.

  43. Daum says:

    Edward: “And as for the European getting on Americans about not handling our immigration problem appropriately, what a laugh! That coming from a European. A continent which is being over run by Muslims”

    Edward, in my (European) country Muslims constitute less than 1% of the population. We’re hardly being overun, yet we have a much more liberal immigration system (and a higher GDP!) than the United States. And I’ve never met a fascist, at least to my knowledge.


    Benedict XVI:
    The evangelist Matthew narrates that shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph was forced to leave for Egypt by night, taking the child and his mother with him, in order to flee the persecution of king Herod (cf. Mt 2:13-15). Making a comment on this page of the Gospel, my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Pope Pius XII, wrote in 1952: “The family of Nazareth in exile, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, emigrants and taking refuge in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are the model, the example and the support of all emigrants and pilgrims of every age and every country, of all refugees of any condition who, compelled by persecution and need, are forced to abandon their homeland, their beloved relatives, their neighbors, their dear friends, and move to a foreign land” (Exsul familia, AAS 44, 1952, 649).

    Pius XII:
    Toward the end of the 19th century, when the social means of prosperity became available to the poor in a man­ner previously unknown, great waves of people left Europe and moved especially from Italy to America. As usual the Catholic Church devoted special effort and care to the spiritual welfare of these emigrants. … The record of our predecessor Leo XIII provides clear evidence of the Holy See’s diligent solicitude, a solicitude which became more ardent as public officials and private institutions seemed the more dilatory in meeting the new needs. Leo XIII not only upheld vigorously the dignity and rights of the working man but also defended strenuously those emigrants who sought to earn their living abroad.

    We wrote specifically on this subject in a letter of December 24, 1948 to the American Bishops:

    You know indeed how preoccupied we have been and with what anxiety we have followed those who have been forced by revolutions in their own countries, or by unemployment or hunger to leave their homes and live in foreign lands.

    The natural law itself, no less than devotion to humanity, urges that ways of migration be opened to these people. For the Creator of the universe made all good things primarily for the good of all. Since land everywhere offers the possibility of supporting a large number of people, the sovereignty of the State, although it must be respected, cannot be exaggerated to the point that access to this land is, for inadequate or unjustified reasons, denied to needy and decent people from other nations, provided of course, that the public wealth, considered very carefully, does not forbid this.

    In these addresses and in our radio talks, we have condemned severely the ideas of the totalitarian and the imperialistic state, as well as that of exaggerated nationalism.

    We expressed the same view in our Christmas Address of 1948. It is better, we said, to facilitate the migration of families into those countries able to provide them with the essentials of life, than to send foodstuffs at great expense to refugee camps.

    Therefore, when Senators from the United States, who were members of a Committee on Immigration, visited Rome a few years ago, we again urged them to try to administer as liberally as possible the overly restrictive provisions of their immigration laws.

  44. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    Yes they can if you know where to look. I would have posted links to the social encyclicals or the writings of great Catholic thinkers commenting on the Social teachings of the Church, but I thought for sake of brevity, it was easier to give a synopsis of the Irish Constitution on the Social teachings.

  45. Andy says:

    Obama is not a socialist or whatever. Obama is Wall Street’s man!

  46. Kate says:

    Brian, your comment put me to thinking–would all of those believers in a woman\’s right to choose support legislation allowing each woman saddled with a child in the US to use the first 9 months of age 16 to get rid of \”the results of conception\” 16 years ago because that 16-year-old blob of cells was too huge a burden to her mentally, emotionally and financially…?

  47. jarhead462 says:

    Christopher Sarsfield – closer to a libertarian?

    The free market and private property must be regulated in the interests of the common good.[who decides what to regulate, and how much?]

    The state must prevent a destructive concentration of essential commodities in the hands of a few.[sounds like a distribution plan]

    The state should ensure efficiency in private industry and protect the public against economic exploitation.[really? a government (see bureaucracy) is supposed to ensure EFFICIENCY?? laughable!]

    Everyone has the right to an adequate occupation.[a right?? EVERY society has people who do not produce and who do not want to work. who enforces this occupational standard? this is the same as “living wage” garbage..not all jobs are so valuable that they need to pay adequately enough to support someone. this kind of thinking crushes entrepreneurs, because they can not hire someone without having to meet unreasonable salary laws. Minimum wage laws hurt the very people that they are supposed to help]

    The state must supplement private industry where necessary.[ national defense]

    The state must protect the vulnerable, such as orphans and the aged.[and the unborn]

    No one may be forced into an occupation unsuited to their age, sex or strength.[no duh]

    About illegal aliens: both the Republicans and Democrats are very kind to them, as they have not deported them like they should…ILLEGAL ALIENS!- like I said.. both parties seem uninterested in securing our borders, and we allow untold numbers of rapists, murderers, and thugs into this country, and that is being inhumane to the citizens of this nation.

    I’m going to stop now, because i’m ranting, although my ranting gets raves ;)

    Semper Fi!

  48. BobP says:

    Well, at least the Pope and the President-elect agree on the Iraq War. Hey, it’s a start.

  49. tertullian says:

    Daum,As an American I’ve lived and worked for fifty years in Europe, and never met a European. I know many fine English, Italian, French etc. For you to identify yourself as a European, and to use the code words and phrases that you do, convinces me your grasp of American politics is formed by what you read the front page of The Guardian.

  50. Scott W. says:

    Wow. Obama wins and his fans are STILL grousing. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they are feeling cheated after the election that those of us non-Obama voters didn’t get sucked into the earth like the orcs at the end of Return of the King. Well I am sorry, but I guess that’s the way the Barad-dûr crumbles. :)

  51. Edward says:


    The fundamental flaw in your argument (and Sarsfield’s for that matter) and the flaw in your attempt to use the quote’s above to support your argument is that the situations are not the same. America today is not the same America it was circa 1900. And the immigration problem today in America is not the same situation as was the situation the country faced with the influx of Western and Eastern Europeans which occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Again, to assert otherwise shows an inability to actually apply some serious thought to the actual problem America is facing and which America seems unable to solve. The view you are advocating is in essence a push to do away with America’s national borders all together. You may not realize that this is your view, but if you actually understood the problem, then you would realize that that is what some of us are actually fighting against here.

    The idea that a country does not have a right to have a well defined set of borders, or the right to expect other nations to respect those borders, or the right to protect those borders from what is essentially a massive invasion of peoples from the South is not a Catholic teaching, it is a marxist teaching.

    And as for your country, I could really not care less what your GDP is or immigration laws are, neither has any bearing what so ever on what America should do to solve its own problems. We are dealing with an entirely different set of circumstances than you are. And I for one do not even buy the notion that America has anti-liberal immigration laws. On the contrary, our laws are quite liberal, its just that the INS and the regulatory system like all of our bureaucracies here are in need of major reform and streamlining. Also, I highly doubt your country has the type of problem to deal with as we do bordering a country like Mexico which is for the most part mob-ruled and which desires to do nothing to eleviate the suffering of its own people and would prefer to send all of its poor accross the borders to bankrupt our system.

  52. Michael J says:

    How does the current immigration policy (which you’ve yet to define) conflict in principle with the papal statements you cited?

    How can the immigration policy of the United States be less liberal (assuming you mean that in the permissive sense) than your “European” country when, as a percentage of population, the United states has more immigrants than most European Nations?

  53. EJ says:

    “send all of its poor across the borders to bankrupt our system.”

    …it’s that black and white right? I am in full agreement that it is not this country’s responsibility to be overburdened by the failures of corrupt foreign governments, but the majority of illegal immigrants in this country have come here to work, and it is their cheap labor which in part sustains the American economy as it does. Go to your local shopping mall and take a good look at who the janitors are. There are plenty of unemployed American citizens, especially men, who would say “no thanks” to these types of jobs as they cash their unemployment or welfare checks. It’s not my intention to stereotype here, but let’s have some perspective. As Americans we can agree that we must indeed defend our borders – especially in this post 9/11 world, and as Catholic Christians we can surely find a humane and just way to deal with the 12 or so million people who have come here to work.

  54. Daum says:

    “How can the immigration policy of the United States be less liberal (assuming you mean that in the permissive sense) than your “European” country when, as a percentage of population, the United states has more immigrants than most European Nations?”

    First of all, that list shows that my country has a higher percentage of immigrants per total population than yours, so yes, the “immigration policy of the United States [is] less liberal” than here.

    And, in context, I was responding to Edward’s assertion that because Europe is supposedly being “over run with Muslims” I have no right to lecture American Republicans on the subject. As I pointed out, my country has a minute percentage of Muslims, and certainly less than the United States. I referred to the American immigration system (which wasn’t the object of my criticism) for the purpose of highlighting the liberality of our system and that it has a low percentage of Muslims in despite of that.

  55. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    The Catholic Church is clear. If you are the head of a household in Mexico and you can not support your family, not only are you not a criminal if enter the US to work “illegally,” but you are morally bound to do so. The obligation of a man to support his family is greater the obligation of a Mexican not to violate America’s immigration law. For Catholics to support putting said Mexicans in jail is completely unjust. Just as it would be unjust to jail someone who stole food to feed his family.

  56. EDG says:

    Trying to get away from the Republicans-are-evil tone of this thread and away from partisan politics altogether, I would like to say that I suspect that the Vatican is misreading Obama’s election. Abortion is not just an issue; abortion is part and parcel of the whole thing, because Obama’s goal (or that of the people behind him, because in my opinion, he’s not smart enough to do this on his own) is the takeover by the state of all aspects of American life. He has presented “Obama” as a religious figure and people do not feel they are voting for a politician, but joining a movement and becoming one with something or another when they vote for him.

    Go to the silly webpage his people put up, and you will see the multiplicity of government “corps” for this, that and the other thing of which we are all supposed to be members. Young people will have mandatory service in the “Youth Corps,” for example. We have never ever had this as a national goal. FDR tried it but it was basically to create a huge welfare program; Obama wants to do it for purely ideological reasons.

    His view and that of the people using him as a front completely diverges from natural law. He and his promoters see us as entirely property of the state, no longer subject to natural law and having rights thereunder, but subject only to a sort of positive law where the state is empowered to bestow rights – and take them away.

    The real problem with Obama is that he wants to be head of his own religion of the state, and this is where he will come into conflict with the Vatican (I hope). Obama is most similar to the radical socialist Zapatero of Spain, who attacked the Church from day one but has had to tone down his rhetoric a bit because most Spaniards are at least technically Catholic. However, he and the Church have had a very antagonistic relationship, and I think this offer is being made to Obama now by the Vatican in hopes that he will not obsess on the Church the way the Spanish PM has done. I think it’s a nice gesture – but I hope the Vatican is smart enough to have a backup plan.

  57. wsxyz says:

    Daum: … no one is for a just wage …

    A just wage is a wage that pays what the work is fairly worth. A wage of $25/hr for delivering newspapers would be unjust, as would a wage of $2.50/hr.

    Daum: if I have a position … that can pay X amount of dollars, which would … never support a father…, by law I can not discriminate against the father, yet if I gave him the job I would be sinning, because I was not paying him enough to support his family.

    Are Catholic employers required to be the sole means of support for their employees? I hardly think so. Assume you owned a McDonalds and the market wage is $8.50/hr. This is not enough to support a family. Would you sin by hiring an out-of-work father who begs for the opportunity to work? I cannot imagine that is the case. By not hiring the man, you leave him worse off than if you hire him. Hiring him is the right thing to do and maybe you can even afford to pay him a little bit extra – say $9.25/hour – but he still has the obligation to look for another and/or a better job in order to better support his family.

    Daum: I know of few Republicans that believe in a just wage.

    It is not possible to require employers to pay $20/hour if the applicant happens to be a man with a family to support. The only effect such a law would have would be to eliminate all businesses and jobs that currently pay substantially less than $20/hour.

    On the other hand, a modest minimum wage prevents a race for the bottom in bad economic times without wiping out the sectors of the economy that rely on unskilled labor.

    Daum: I know of few Republicans who believe that man has a right to an occupation

    What can it possibly mean that “a man has a right to an occupation?” Should this be interpreted as “a man has a right to a sufficiently-paid job?” That seems unlikely. The whole concept of a “job” is fairly recent. If you mean that “a man has the right to legitimately support himself by means of his physical stamina and native intelligence, and no one has the right to prevent him from doing so.” Then I would agree. This is a right that the state can and should guarantee by eliminating artificial legal obstacles. It is not a right that state can or should guarantee by providing employment.

    Daum: Neither [Republican or Democrat] is right, and Catholics should stand up and say so, instead of giving unqualified endorsements to the Republicans or Democrats.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  58. Daum says:

    Dear “wsxyz”, I never said any of that.

  59. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I am the one that posted that comment. You ask if Catholic employers are to be the sole means of support for their employees? The Church says yes, assuming of course that the man is working full time. From Leo XIII Rerum Novarum:

    45. Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages; nevertheless, there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice….
    46. If a workman’s wages be sufficient to enable him comfortably to support himself, his wife, and his children, he will find it easy, if he be a sensible man, to practice thrift, and he will not fail, by cutting down expenses, to put by some little savings and thus secure a modest source of income. Nature itself would urge him to this. We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.

    With regard to the $20 / hr figure, an employer has a responsibility to all his employees, and he should be allowed not to hire someone to whom he can not pay a just wage.

    With regard to the “right to an occupation,” from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Chapter six:

    “288. Work is a good belonging to all people and must be made available to all who are capable of engaging in it. “Full employment” therefore remains a mandatory objective for every economic system oriented towards justice and the common good. A society in which the right to work is thwarted or systematically denied, and in which economic policies do not allow workers to reach satisfactory levels of employment, “cannot be justified from an ethical point of view, nor can that society attain social peace”.[625] An important role and, consequently, a particular and grave responsibility in this area falls to “indirect employers”,[626] that is, those subjects – persons or institutions of various types – in a position to direct, at the national or international level, policies concerning labour and the economy.”

  60. Mark says:

    The Vatican will have to, in some ways, interact with this new administration for the next four years. It’s an inescapable fact.

    However, prudence, hope, and foresight also suggest that the Vatican’s relationship with the state of Alaska should not be neglected, either.

  61. Belloc says:

    God bless John Allen Jr.

  62. Theresa says:

    Daum and Sarsfield are both grossly ill-informed in my humble opinion. That being said, we still have the freedom to differ in opinion on such issues. The more important issue…the issue on which we must not compromise is the current Holocaust of the Unborn. We must not confuse our priorities.

  63. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I’m guessing that Father posted the article as conjecture on how the Vatican and Obama will interface, so I am commenting on that:

    I hate what I suspect Obama to be.

    The Vatican, as any artful diplomat, must first extend a friendly hand to initiate conversation. To read into the Vatican’s opening of diplomatic discussion as agreement or support of Obama’s evil ideas is unfounded. The Vatican intends to preserve our freedom to practice our Catholic Faith.

    The Vatican may have suspicions as we do, but until there is action from Obama as President, diplomacy demands neutrality.

    Until we observe Obama’s action as President, we really don’t know what he intends or who he is.
    Obama for instance, tells Planned Parenthood of his vigorous plans on FOCA, and later during the debate, tells us that he intends to reduce abortion.
    So far, he appears to be the person that does whatever he can to get elected.
    Obama may demonstrate ineffectiveness as he is naive about government and world complexities, is a big talker and has little relevant experience. Economic challenges could derail focused attention or funds that would frustrate objectives. The dems also suffer from bitterness and infighting, making achievements of certain goals difficult.

    Obama may turn into the ghoul that we fear he is, but until actions materialize, to come out swinging would be counter-productive for the Vatican.

    All of us must wait and watch.

  64. Edward says:

    EJ –

    No, actually, I was saying quite the opposite, the immigration problem in the U.S. is far from black and white and you picked one point out of half a dozen I made to hone in on. I was trying to convey to the European and Sarsfield that the immigration problem in this country is about a lot more than racist republican Catholics. However, your point that Hispanics do the jobs Americans won’t do is worn out and is not completely true. It may be true that Americans will not do the job the illegal immigrant will do for the under the table and non-taxed wage that is paid (hence they might as well go on welfare as it makes better economic sense), but it is not necessarily true that if the immigrant was not there depressing the wage in the first place that the American would not deem it worthy. Also, this whole idea of cheap labor as a justification to the current mess in my opinion is more inhumane and utilitarian than attempting to bring some order back to the immigration system.

    Daum and Sarsfield –

    You both live in a fantasy land where everything is just so simple. You advocate a Utopia which is impossible to achieve and which inevitably destroys any country that attempts to ram it down everyone’s throat with the strong arm of the state. If everything was as easy as having the government provide everyone with a house, a job, an education, and medical care, then point me to the country of 300 million plus souls that was able to pull this off while at the same time absorbing millions of additional poor and uneducated dependents every year. If the immigration problem was so easy to solve, then please point me to the other country presently or throughout history that was able to ensure it continued to exist as it always had while at the same time being literally over run by millions of foreigners who don’t necessary care a thing about the country they are coming to.

    Sarsfield either by your own ignorance, or by some ideological intent, you hand pick certain quotes and try to make them fit your own political views. You refer to a quote as if that alone is the end of the debate and as if the actual facts of a particular situation are irrelevant. It is very true that Catholic social teaching teaches certain definitive things for certain definitive situations (i.e. the refugee situation), but to attempt to expand these papal writings to include an Obama style collectivist ideology is just foolish at best. And to say Obama is a Keynesian when he is a student of Saul Alinsky’s, a believer of Jeremiah Wright and an ally of Bill Ayers is ridiculous. Socialism has evolved from the traditional definition and to try to retort with this notion that just because Obama does not openly advocate the collective ownership of the means of production that he is somehow not a Socialist reveals your own extreme ignorance.

    Bottom line is this, the Catholic Church does not teach that the only just economic system is one under which an extremely large, extremely centralized, extremely powerful, and extremely distant federal government takes half of everything we earn through various forms of taxation just so it can then force me to send my kids to its schools, use its healthcare system, and rely on it for subsistence in my old age. I will gladly help my neighbor and give to the Church, but I most certainly will not willingly hand my property off to the State with the thought that it will spend it better than me.

  65. Maynardus says:

    Daum claimed:

    “…in my (European) country…we have a much more liberal immigration system (and a higher GDP!) than the United States.”

    Really? A higher GDP? In this century? Name the country!

    Or do you mean higher than ONE of the states? (Calif., Texas, and NY have a higher GDP than most countries. Although I do recall from my time in Luxembourg that they were very proud that their GDP was about the same as Rhode Island even though they were only 2/3 the size…

    Or maybe you’re using some unique formula I’ve never heard of?

  66. Edward says:

    To help some form a better understanding of what a democratic country is in the Catholic sense, perhaps I could recommend the following to you:

    Orestes Brownson’s “The American Republic”

  67. Regis says:

    Beginning January 20, 2009, Barack Obama will possess more ‘hard power’ than any other person on Earth. Beginning November 4, 2008, he also wields more ‘soft power’ then perhaps any other individual in human history, as delirious throngs and fawning heads of state the world over have demonstrated. Just wait ’til he starts exercising both on behalf of his Plan …

  68. Craig says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,
    In The Name of Jesus Christ explain what your true purpose is here on this board.

    You stated…”Just as it would be unjust to jail someone who stole food to feed his family.”

    As a Catholic husband and father of 3 children…I would rather beg on my hands and knees for food from my neighbor and pound on his door at all hours…than to EVER break GOD’s LAW.

    Holy Mother Church does not teach her children ‘double negatives’ or that ‘ends justify the means’.

    Your words are vile.

  69. Andreas says:

    We have two completely diverse cosmological visions presented here:

    There are those who believe that God is our benefactor, that first and foremost we must not offend the divine majesty and the rest is left up to God, according to: “seek first the kingdom of God and all else shall be given to you”. Ergo: no abortion, period.

    And there are those who think that man is here to distribute earthly goods through shrewd political action and institutionalized exploits. Ergo: join us for the sake of our utopia and if there are some abortions, so be it. The cause must prevail: personal holiness is secondary. And that, my friends, quickly degenerates into tyranny.

  70. momof8 says:


    To those who have a DIRE need to work in the US because of the hardships they face in their country to provide for their families: There is a SOLUTION… Apply for a WORK VISA!!!! It is the LEGAL and MORAL way to do it without severely harming the “good of society”

    Thousands of Migrant workers do so every year! Many of the folks who illegaly sneak into this country are criminals, not fair minded people looking for a way to provide for their families..

  71. Theresa says:


    I think that you may have just hit the nail on the head….and summed up the prior 70 postings. Thank you.

  72. RichR says:

    If the modern papacy had as much moral authority as the institution used to have, then I think Rome would be taken more seriously. However, after Humanae Vitae Catholics thought they could shun the Bishop of Rome, simply follow their own consciences, and actually remain “loyal” Catholics. The result: the Pope has very little authority in the Church. And so his political clout is minimized both in ecclesiastical matters and in matters of State. If the President of the United States wants to ignore the Pope, who is going to fault him? Most of the American and European Catholics are doing it already.

    If the Catholic Church is ever to rise again as a beacon of hope to the world, it must first convince its own members that the doctrines of Christ as handed down through the Church and the Papacy are the surest ways to Heaven. Once we clean up our own act and take ourselves seriously, then the world will take us seriously.

  73. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I actually I love Orestes Brownson and I would recommend his essay “National Greatness.” With regard to my feelings for Obama, have you not read my posts? The democratic economic policies are Republicanism lite. I have criticized both parties, the only reason I spent more time on the Republicans, was because they were the ones being defended. If I quoted statements out of context from the Church, please show me where, and provide the context. I have never said that I am for a strong centralized government. You are building a strong man and knocking him down. I am for all the Catholic Social Teachings which would include subsidiarity. Perhaps, the reason you are upset is because you are trying to defend a system of economics that is inherently immoral. To give you just one example. Our economy requires unemployment to make it work. If the unemployment rate ever dropped below 4% bad things would start to happen. This has happened in certain regions of the US, in Columbus, OH for example about 10 years ago. Yet the Church as quoted above says that full employment is a mandatory object of any moral economic system. Full employment is not the goal of our system, therefore our system is immoral. But perhaps you could show me how am quoting the Church out of context. Finally, a practical application of the Church’s moral teachings in economics has never been tried. It was not tried and found lacking, it was never tried. The Church has every right to decide the morality of human actions, and the Church has been clear that many economic actions that occur in our economy are immoral. To reject the Church’s teaching in this area is to be a cafeteria Catholic, and be no better than a person that rejects the Church’s teaching on contraception. I do not advocate a Utopia, I advocate an ideal that should be worked toward. You refuse to even acknowledge the ideal, so how can you work towards it?

  74. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    You obviously know nothing about moral theology, or your obligations as a father. From the Summa “Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need?”

    “I answer that, Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man’s needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man’s needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals (Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): “It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man’s ransom and freedom.”

    “Since, however, there are many who are in need, while it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to the aid of those who are in need. Nevertheless, if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another’s property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.”

    Let me explain something that most American Catholics are completely ignorant of, if a person is starving and he comes to your house to beg for food and you give it to him, it is not Charity, it is your duty, as long as you were giving from your excess. If you gave him more than he needed to live, only then would it become charity. Just as if you see someone drowning and you are an excellent swimmer, and it would not risk your well being to save him, you are obligated to do so. In the same way you are obligated to help the poor if you have the means, and fulfilling an obligation is never Charity. Finally, you are obligated to feed your children, for you to refuse to take something in order to do that, if there really was a need, would be a great sin. I do not mean to be harsh on you, but you have gotten your morality from perverts, instead of looking to the Church.

  75. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    If there is time, that is what should be done. However, if the visa is rejected, or if the time to get the Visa would be a burden, your obligation to support your family is greater than your obligation to obey a law. Finally, you know as well as I do that “many” is an exaggeration when describing them as criminals. Most of the 20 million people illegally staying in this country are hard working, law abiding citizens. Unfortunately, many of the champions of the anti-immigration movement, are nothing more than bigots, trying to “protect” our WASP culture. I always find it sad and ironic when an Irish Catholic wishes to become a White Anglo Saxon Protestant, but when it comes to immigration strange things happen.

  76. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I have not seen that “cosmological” view at all. I have seen people that want to take abortion and separate it from the rest of Catholic Social Teaching, because they have no more use for the rest of the Church’s teaching than a protestant has. And a couple of people that want to save babies and end abortion, and promote all the other social teachings of the Church. Only when the entire message is given, will we see any fruit. It is not a question of either or it is a question of both and. As the DOCTRINAL NOTE on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life says:

    “The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good. “

  77. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,

    Are the elements of Catholic social teaching all on the same level playing field?
    Are there any that have moral priority over the others?

    While prudent decisions about just war, poverty, improved race relations, the death penalty, incarceration of the disenfranchised, economic justice, immigration, health care and the like are integral to Catholic social thought, there is no proportion between these issues and the massive slaughter of millions of innocent, beautiful, defenseless infants.

    It is not Catholics who have separated one social issue out from the others, it is the Democratic Party that has done so. It is gravely immoral for a Catholic to support a party or a candidate that advocates for the legalized murder of innocent humans when there is a candidate who does not.

    What Daum wrote above is exactly correct: “if the Democrats are ignoring the agitations of their pro-life supporters (which is patently the case), then Catholics should by all means vote Republican.” Regrettably, if Democrats refuse to drop their support for abortion, then Catholics must either work within the Republican party or work with a third party.

    If you are unable to acknowledge this point, you lack credibility in arguing Catholic social thought.

  78. Iggy says:

    So will it be “Mr Ambassador Pfleger”, or “Father Ambassador Pleger”?

  79. Lindsay says:

    I am not an expert in Catholic social thought, but I did recently read the papal encyclicals related. My conclusion was that it was quite agrarian in nature and echoed the ideas of many conservatives I know. I more closely identify with the Republicans because I don’t believe we, as Americans, should be looking always to a strong, centralized federal government to fix all our woes. Couldn’t social programs and policies be instituted more on a state and even municipal level? Do all of the programs have to be mandated to be in line with Catholic teaching or simply encouraged through incentive? It seems clear that political conservatives can have Catholic social teaching as a goal but just believe in a different means of achieving it. Most of these people don’t love the Republicans or agree with all their policies, but, well, it seems you almost have to choose one party or the other, right?

    I would recommend a good read by Allan Carlson called The American Way. I found it fascinating to see how the Democratic Party abandoned its ideas that were once so firmly rooted in family and family values. So many social policies began in line with Catholic social thought (Social Security was intended primarily as a means of helping mothers stay home with their children in the face of hardship), and then they evolved to something completely different.

    I think that it will be interesting to see if Obama will view it in his personal best interest to work to be on good terms with the Vatican. I’m not really convinced he would do anything that wasn’t in his *personal* best interest, but he has four years to surprise me!

  80. ckdexterhaven says:

    Hi Daum,
    You wrote “Strangely the right-wing Catholics feel perfectly at liberty to ignore the economic plight of so many of their fellow citizens and shamefully have engaged themselves in a unquestioning fraternal alliance with the pro-capitalists.”
    Daum, I am a right wing Catholic. My husband and I own a business, and we, (like other capitalists) create jobs for people. That’s what capitalists do, start businesses, and employ people. The more people who are employed, the less poor people!

    Who says I’m “ignoring” the economic plight of my fellow citizens? Because I’m a Catholic, capitalist, and a Republican, I believe that I should choose where my charity goes. I prefer to give directly to an individual in need, rather than the government do it for me. Because, you know what, Daum? When the government “gives” money, they give it to Planned Parenthood! As a Catholic, it is morally offensive to me that my hard earned money would go to an immoral organization.

    It frosts me to no end, that the Republican party is deemed the ‘party of the rich’. I just got finished working hard on the McCain campaign (as a volunteer). Almost every single person on the local level WAS a volunteer. The Obama campaign raised $600 million in illegal foreign contributions. That $600 million could have fed, clothed and housed a whole lot of poor people around the world. Instead, it funded voter fraud and lawyers.

    I’ll be honest, if I hear the words “social justice” from another Catholic as they try to justify their vote for Obama, I’m going to hurl.

  81. Jordanes says:

    Yes, ckdexterhaven, it’s laughable how after the profligate affluence of the
    Clinton years — his friends and chief supporters weren’t exactly shopping at Dollar General, you know — and Obama’s support from the wealthiest multibazillionaires on the planet, we still hear vapid, mindless repetition of “Republicans are the party of the rich while the Democrats are the party of the ordinary middle-class guy.” Warren Buffet and George Soros are Republicans? With all the money Obama raised to buy the White House, you have to wonder if one reason the economy collapsed is because too many people were giving their money to him instead of spending it on something worthwhile and beneficial.

    Elections are BIG Business.

  82. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I agree about the money going to planned barrenhood. I was appalled that President Bush gave them 2.2 billion dollars over the last eight years, and increased their funding at a greater rate than President Clinton. Some of the money was even used to open an abortion mill in Alaska. Title X needs to be revoked, but tried to find a Catholic Republican running for office willing to say so. I also congratulate you on owning your own business, we need many more like you. Unfortunately, the current system favors big corporate business over the small businessman. Both parties are weak in this area.


    I do not know many Conservatives that have the Catholic Social Teachings as a goal, and when you state what they are, they call the teachings “warmed over socialism.”


    If you are talking about elections, than certainly some Social Teachings count more, but the election is over. I now look forward to all my Conservative Catholic brethren preaching to the full Gospel of Life, especially as it relates to just wage, just war, preferential treatment of the poor – including immigrants, and the concentration of productive wealth into the hands of a few. BTW I certainly did not vote for Obama. I did not vote for McCain either. Both parties are corrupt, and I am sick of leaving the voting booth feeling like I need a shower.

  83. Andreas says:

    Christopher Sarsfield:

    You say:

    It is not a question of ‘either or’ it is a question of ‘both and’.

    Tell that to the aborted baby: “we will both abort you and not abort you”. That’s brilliant. Now I’m starting to understand your logic (or lack of it). Explain that to Christ on the judgment day, when he’ll say: “I was a defenseless baby …”

  84. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    If Christ asks me why I did not “isolate some particular element” of Catholic Social Teaching “to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine,” I will point to the Church, and tell Him that the Church told me not to. I also can not believe that you comprehended so little in my posts, that your comment about “both and” could possibly be made in good faith. As you must know by now I am for defending ALL the Social Teachings, and to pretend that I am at all in favor killing an unborn baby is to commit a grave sin of calumny. And if Christ asks me about His being a defenseless baby, I will point out the times I spent my day praying outside an abortion mill, and the times I have spent as a side walk counselor, trying to convince women not to kill Him. I probably will not point out the times I tried to get President Bush elected (I voted for Bush in 2000) with the result of increasing Planned Barrenhood’s budget. I sincerely hope the conservative Catholics in this country have more to offer our Lord in defense of the unborn on judgment day, than their voting records.

  85. TJM says:

    It appears that Daum and Sarsfield are “state worshippers.” As part of the “cognoscenti” I think they would remember how well being subservient to the state went in the past, i.e. Hitler,Hirohito, Mao, Mussilini, Stalin, etc. Republicans actually believe in true human dignity, independence, freedom, and choice. Unfortunately Democrats have come to believe in dependancy, loss of freedom and choice. If becoming a ward of the state is “social justice”, then I’m not buying. I do have one wish for you European types now that we have a new adminstration in Washington. I pray that President Obama determines it’s much too expensive to stage our troops or armaments in Europe and pulls them out, tres vite. Then you can either defend yourselves from the Muslim/Russian onslaught, or go the way of the dinosaur. It’s your choice. By by, Tom

  86. B Knotts says:


    Actually, I think I sniff “distributism.” I’m afraid this is becoming what Fr. describes as a “rabbit hole.”

  87. Daum says:

    TJM: “I pray that President Obama determines it’s much too expensive to stage our troops or armaments in Europe and pulls them out”

    Well, seeing as your country is broke and heavily in debt, that idea makes some sense. Though it will never happen. America’s troops and missile defence bases are not stationed in Europe for entirely selfless reasons.

    And I do not fear some “Muslim onslaught”. Muslims constitute less than 1% of my nation’s total population. We have always had cordial relations with the Islamic countries, and will continue to have. Like your country, we are heavily reliant on them for natural resources (though to a much lesser extent). But unlike your country, we did not engage in a papally-condemned war against an independent sovereign country that has resulted in widespread hatred for your nation and the decimation of an ancient Christian community in the process.

  88. Raymond says:

    As a devout Catholic who immigrated to the U.S. when I was 13 and have been “Americanized” in many ways, I have to say that I will never be in total agreement with many conservative American Catholics. It seems to me that after decades of living in a predominantly-Protestant country, a strain of Puritanism/Calvinism has seeped through the mindsets of many conservative American Catholics.

    Catholicism is more communitarian than individualistic. In economic policies it seeks a good middle ground between unbriddled capitalism on one hand, and socialism on the other. As a pro-life Democrat, I would definitely feel more at home with the Christian Democrats of Europe and Latin America than with the Republican Party here in the U.S.

    The divided Catholic vote of the recent election, with the Obama victory and (in California, Florida, and Arizona) the successful referenda against gay marriage, clearly illustrates for me that many Catholics are going to be “swing voters” in quite a few more elections. I can only hope and pray that the Democratic Party return to its pro-traditional family roots, pre-1972.

  89. Lucia says:

    There are many nations, but one Church. If you think that fighting over “my country is better than your country” does the Church any good, you are seriously mistaken. No one needs more division. Arguing the issues is one thing. This has become entirely an another.

  90. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,
    I am glad to hear the you did not vote for Obama.

    You say, “certainly some Social Teachings count more, but the election is over.”

    What kind of response was that? While it is true that this year’s election is over, there will be election after election in this country. Is the issue of voting for pro-abortion candidates no longer relevant in your book?

    Of the issues you mention, what social teaching would you say “counts more?” Is there any issue in your list that comes close to the large-scale horror of massive slaughter of innocents?

    Abortion will remain legal as long as morally-impaired Catholics continue to support candidates who favor abortion. Given the massive horror of this evil, the primary educational effort needs to be toward helping the millions of Catholics who vote for candidates who favor abortion to never do so again. I pray that Catholics, especially Bishops, will continue to give this issue the central place it cries out for. Catholics need to be educated well-before election time so that their consciences are informed.

    Other issues are important, but first things first.

    While the Pope may need to practice the kind of diplomacy John Allen wrote about, I pray the Pope makes a strong statement to Obama and the Catholic world.

  91. The potential for collaboration is very real, because there are numerous areas where your policy positions dovetail with the social teaching of the Catholic church and the diplomatic interests of the Vatican. Among the most obvious examples are immigration, economic justice, peace, and environmental protection.

    Well, no, actually. For the issues listed by Mr. Allen, the Church offers a set of principles, not policy prescriptions. Catholics may — and in some case should — reject the prescriptions offered by Obama.

  92. TJM says:

    Daum, the war was not papally condemned. However, if you can find the papal bull or encyclical doing so, please provide the citation. I guess you’re perfectly fine with a regime like Saddam’s that pays bounties to suicide bombers’ families, shreds human beings alive, and conducts rape rooms, and commits eco-terrorism on the Kurds marshlands. In terms of the Muslim onslaught, I wouldn’t get too cocky. The borders in Europe are very, very porous. And with the Europeans fear of fighting for their values or lives, I don’t expect any of you would be around very long without Big Mamma America to protect you. Tom

  93. KaziA says:

    What a depressing letter, in the end it is nothing more than an argument advocating the accommodation of extreme moral evil by the Church in order to satisfy an earthly pride; “See how holy we are, the perfume used to anoint you Lord would better have been used to feed the poor, shame on you.”

    “By any means necessary”, the underlying, disguised slogan of Barack Obama and his campaign is simply the modern translation of “Surely you shall not die…”

  94. Catherine says:

    Did anyone notice the deplorable comments over at Mr. Allen’s piece?

    Ephesians 6:10
    For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.

    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse in thee!

    We’ve got alot of prayer work ahead of us….conversion of hearts -ours first!

  95. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    What I meant is that when selecting a candidate, it is important to give more weight to some issues, ie the life issues. This election and the last was complicated by the fact the some Catholics including the Pope, thought there were two very important life issues involved: abortion, and an unjust war. McCain explicitly rejects the Catholic teaching on a just war, and beyond that seemed likely to attack Iran in another unjust war. This was why in the end I voted third party. But I did seriously consider Obama, and if he had given any crumb to the pro-life movement, I may have voted for him. A president has much more direct authority over military action than he does over abortion. Also I was very mad at Bush for doing nothing for the unborn, and spending all his political clout pursuing war. In the budget he put huge increases in funding for family planning in the US and worse South America and Africa where there are heavily Catholic populations.

    Now that the election is over, I expect serious Catholics to do what the CDF said in the document I quoted above, and start talking about ALL of the Catholic Social teachings. I expect them to promote the Catholic teachings on just war, just wage, preferential treatment for the poor, preferential treatment for small business, the need to decrease the gap between those with great amounts of productive wealth and those with none, the need to protect the family by making the tax code family friendly – ie giving equivalent or more deductions to mothers that stay home as they do for day care so mothers can abandon their families, changing the welfare laws so that marriage is encouraged instead of discouraged, and holding fathers responsible for the care of their children, and not making mothers on welfare go to work, fixing the health care system so that basic health care is affordable for all, etc.

    There is no reason why we can not work at these problems and at the same time campaign for an end to abortion. If more pro-lifers did this, I really believe that abortion would end more quickly. Pro-lifers have put all their eggs in the basket of changing the Supreme Court. With Obama in that looks like a plan that is going no where. We are going to have to have a plan that reduces abortions, while abortion remains legal, and hold Republicans feet the fire, put them back in power and make them remove abortion from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. But if Republican candidates are not willing to promise that, I really do not see a reason to vote them, or call them pro-life. They have had an easy time being pro-life, because they never had to do anything, except go to a rally once in a while. We will see how committed they are once they have to do something.

  96. Daum says:

    TJM, the war was papally condemned in the sense that it was condemned by the Pope. John Paul II very forcefully condemned Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

    As for the insurgents in Iraq. They’re dealing with an occupying army in their country. They have every right to use force against a foreign army which has invaded their country, murdered their leaders, plundered their resources and reduced their nation to economic impotence.

    America’s position as a superpower has ended. America is totally broke, and heavily in debt to China. Its economic architecture has been discredited and its economy is in collapse. The US is far more reliant on Islamic countries for natural resources than we are, thanks to its selfish disregard for energy conservation and efficiency. America remains an object of hatred throughout the world.

  97. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I would say that the Democrats at least share the principles of the Vatican, although I do not like the solutions of the Democrats. The Republicans do not even share the principles. Allen listed four:

    Immigration – the Republicans do not accept the principle that people have a right to migrate to the US to support their families, this is not an absolute right, but it is a right rejected by the Republicans

    economic justice – Republicans do not accept the principles of the Church, ie the goal of full employment, just wage, and need to close the gap between rich and poor

    peace – The Bush doctrine rejects the Catholic teaching on a just war

    Environmental protection – From the Compendium of Social Doctrine:

    “466. Care for the environment represents a challenge for all of humanity. It is a matter of a common and universal duty, that of respecting a common good,[979] destined for all, by preventing anyone from using “with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate — animals, plants, the natural elements — simply as one wishes, according to one’s own economic needs”.

    I doubt you would get many Republicans to sign on to that statement of principle.

    Universal Health Care could also be mentioned, the Republicans are for reform, but the Vatican will accept noting less than universal coverage as the goal

  98. B Knotts says:

    but the Vatican will accept noting less than universal coverage as the goal

    So, your claim then is that it is Catholic doctrine that socialized medicine is required, and any who oppose it are to be anethema?

    Your statement that the Democrats “share the principles of the Vatican” is laughably absurd. The Democrats are pushing the culture of death full speed ahead, while the GOP is at least resisting it half-heartedly.

    Welfare statism is destructive of the human spirit, and is nearly as bad as the rest of the leftist ideology.

  99. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    B Knotts,

    I think you read my post to quickly. I was replying to Rich. Socialized medicine is not required, universal coverage is. The Republican Mitt Romney signed legislation that brought universal coverage to Mass, without socialization. With regard to the Democrats sharing the principles of the Vatican, that is only concerning the four items in the Allen piece, however I did add a fifth – health care. Obviously, if you have read any of my posts you would know that the Democrats do not share the principles of the Church on abortion, ie Culture of Death. Welfare Statism is very bad, I already said this, my point was that the Democrats share the principles of economic justice, the practical application though about how to get there is wrong. See my post again, I was clear in saying I did not like the solutions of the Democrats.

  100. Jordanes says:

    Daum said: TJM, the war was papally condemned in the sense that it was condemned by the Pope. John Paul II very forcefully condemned Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

    He also “forcefully condemned” the United Nations’ liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.

    Well, he firmly opposed war in 1991, and he firmly opposed it in 2003. He never “condemned” it, whether forcefully or otherwise. If he had condemned it, Catholics would have been obliged by the Church to absent themselves as conscientious objectors.

    As for the insurgents in Iraq. They’re dealing with an occupying army in their country.

    The Iraqi army is not an occupying army, nor are Iraqi police officers, nor are Iraqi elders, women, and children — all of whom have been targeted by the “insurgents,” a large number of whom were not and are not Iraqi. They were quite happy to take advantage of Hussein’s overthrow to try to subjugate the Iraqis for their own ends.

    They have every right to use force against a foreign army which has invaded their country, murdered their leaders, plundered their resources and reduced their nation to economic impotence.

    Sorry, I fail to see how little Iraqi children, hundreds if not thousands of whom have been murdered by these “insurgents,” could be described in the terms you use.

    America’s position as a superpower has ended.

    No, not yet.

    America is totally broke, and heavily in debt to China.

    America has been totally broke and heavily in debt to other nations for most of the last century. There hasn’t been a moment in the last 100 years when the U.S. didn’t have a monstrous federal debt, spending much more than it took it, and for most of that time America was a superpower.

    Its economic architecture has been discredited and its economy is in collapse.

    There’s a bit of a hyperbole. Unemployment is up to the highest it’s been since
    1994, when the economy was in pretty good shape overall. The economy is in danger of collapse, but it hasn’t collapsed yet. That won’t happen until after Obama and Congress get a chance to tinker with things.

    The US is far more reliant on Islamic countries for natural resources than we are, thanks to its selfish disregard for energy conservation and efficiency.

    It’s also because we have more people, a bigger economy and more wealth, and have been so interested in “energy conservation and efficiency” that we haven’t been taking advantage of our own oil supplies.

    America remains an object of hatred throughout the world.

    America has been an object of hatred throughout the world for quite a long time. Some of the hate is justified, some of it isn’t. But most Americans aren’t interested in the opinion that other nations have of us, since usually it is an uninformed or bigoted opinion, or is the opinion of nations whose interests clash with ours and who can’t do anything about it because we’re much more powerful than they are, or often enough it’s the opinion of nations known for gross human rights violations.

    Christopher Sarsfield said: Socialized medicine is not required, universal coverage is.

    Socialized medicine is forbidden, and universal coverage can be acceptable. Catholic social doctrine certainly does not mandate the specifics of how a society makes medical care available to those who need it, nor has the Vatican said anything about nations being morally obligated to provide free health insurance to those who can’t afford it.

    Also, I’m not sure that the so-called “Bush doctrine” necessarily clashes with just war — not that it matters, since the “Bush doctrine” has never been operative more than once, if that. But I don’t see a single one of those “principles of the Vatican” that are rejected by the Republicans, though they do define those principles differently than the way Democrats and you apparently define them (for example, there is nothing in Catholic social doctrine about full employment even being a goal — rather, “The poor you will always have with you.” There is no more a requirement or goal for full employment than there is a requirement that humans never or hardly ever get sick or die.) Sure, many Republicans reject those principles, as do many if not most Democrats, but many Republicans don’t object to them at all.

  101. B Knotts says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,

    Fair enough. Suffice it to say that we disagree on whether the Democrats share the principles of economic justice. For instance, look at how they approach education: they not only advocate teaching children in a way that amounts to secular indoctrination, they also see public education as little more than a jobs program for liberal arts majors. That the poor suffer under horrid school conditions, despite unprecedented spending, is treated as unimportant, and any proposed solution that does not enrich teachers’ unions is summarily rejected.

    The Republicans are far from perfect (in fact, I’d say, of late, they resemble the Democrats on more issues than you admit), but they are somewhat less awful, in my opinion.

    Anyhow, they are out of office, and now can regroup, and put forth a new platform, and new proposals for 2010.

  102. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,
    I was strongly opposed to going into Irag in the first place. I, too, did not understand how it could be considered a just war. If we were randomly slaughtering a million innocent Iraqis per year, I would see your point.

    I trust that you know that our current and prior pope cite abortion as the central issue in the culture of death. You say, “This election and the last was complicated by the fact the some Catholics including the Pope, thought there were two very important life issues involved.” The pope did oppose going into Iraq; but did you see anywhere that the Pope said there is proportionality between Iraq and killing our innocent young by the millions. If so, I would ask to you please site that reference.

    Would you have held, your same “seriously consider Obama” position if, instead of legalized murder of the unborn, he similarly advocated murdering millions of elderly as a solution to the health care crisis, or gunning down millions of unemployed poor, disabled, homeless, and crminals in the inner city to solve many of our educational and social problems? I trust not. If he held such a position, what kind of crumb could he have thrown to persuade you that he was better than McCain?

    I do not understand how you can see any proportionality between Iraq and butchering millions of defenseless infants. It seems to me that anyone who would hold such a position has numbed their conscience to the fully human value of everyone of these prescious, tiny humans. I cannot see any other way that someone could so cloud their thinking that they would blur these issues in as if there was any proportionality between them. This is the type of confusion that the Democrats rely on the seduce Catholics to vote for them.

    Catholic social teaching includes the issues you are concerned about, but please clear your thinking about what needs to come first.

  103. mcitl says:

    Grace is “hard” power, harder than any diamond or steel or even the most stubborn of wills.

    The power of men, especially of those who think and act as if God does not exist, need our prayers for their conversion, that their hearts might turn back to God.

    Prayers first, before any letters no matter how well intentioned.

    Pax vobiscum,

  104. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    First the Pope said that there could be proportional reasons to vote for someone who was pro-abortion, if the war could not be what would? With regard to the war, my feeling was and is that just as many abortions will occur under McCain as under Obama. I do not believe that one baby was saved because President Bush was elected. McCain made no promises to the Pro-life movement, not even the promise to select a pro-life judge. President Bush is much more responsible for the deaths in the Iraq war, than Clinton was responsible for the deaths due to abortion during his presidency. Bush ordered murder, Clinton only allowed murder.

    As for your example about the killing of poor or old, I would say the situation was the same – if the country favored the killing of these people, the government only allowed the killing, no matter who won the election the killing would still continue, etc, I would say I would do the same I did with Obama. You see I really believe abortion is murder. I would have no problem fighting a civil war to end abortion, as long as there was a chance at success. But I do not think there is. I believe any methods, and yes I said ANY, which would be moral to defend the life of a born person who was about to murdered, is moral to defend the life of an unborn person. If a foreign power invaded our country and promised to end abortion, I would probably become a traitor.

    As I wrote above, we are going to have to come up with a new strategy to save the unborn. The supreme court ploy was insane. For almost 30 years we pinned all our hopes on that. It is time we came up with a new strategy, and that means saving lives while abortion is legal. I personally will never even consider a candidate pro-life, unless he promises to do something concrete about abortion ie removing abortion from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Can you show me one promise John McCain made to pro-lifers that would have saved a single life?

    Finally, if pro-life candidates would embrace the rest of the social teachings, I think they would have a much easier time getting elected. Even the people who write for National Review admit that social conservatism, and economic liberalism wins elections. If Obama had been pro-life, with the same message on economics, I really believe he would have won by a greater margin. If McCain had had a more sympathetic economic plan, and a voting record to prove his commitment (heck if he would have only opposed the Bail out package), I believe he could have won.

  105. TJM says:

    Daum, news flash for you. Europeans are regarded in contempt by many Americans for their childish, unsophisticated reliance on the Nanny State and ostrichlike attitude to the real, dangerous world around them. I guess you’re hoping to be the last eaten by the crocodile. Not much of a strategy. By the way, you still did not comment on Saddam’s unspeakable evils and your apparent willingness to let them go. I suppose you think Jesus would have cautioned us not to defend the defenseless. You are totally and completely delusional. Tom

  106. RBrown says:

    Mr Sarsfield,

    You wrote of certain rights enumerated by the Vatican (actually, you should have said the Church). To that I can only respond:

    1. I have been a Catholic since 1970. Since then most of my experience in the Church (perhaps as much at 95%) has been an encounter with a concerted effort engineered by priests and bishops to deprive me of my Rights to Catholic Patrimony. Included in that Patrimony is:

    The Right to Priests and Religious who have been well trained in the Catholic Faith.

    The Right to a reformed mass that properly expresses Catholic Eucharistic Doctrine (i.e., the Eucharistic Sacrifice) rather than attempted syncretism with Protestantism (Eucharist as Get Together Meal).

    The Right to liturgical music that is appropriate to the worship of God in His Mysteries.

    The Right to the liturgical language of the Church, Latin.

    The Right to the liturgical song of the Church, Gregorian Chant.

    2. The past couple of years confirmed what I already knew: Priests who were molesting young men were given better treatment by bishops and chancery officials than priests who wanted to say mass in Latin.

    3. Although the Church surely has social doctrine, it seems to me that the Vatican should be spending more energy on those matters that it can control (see above: Patrimony) than on what it cannot.

    4. BTW, I have had an account at the Vatican bank for almost 20 years. It has never paid me one penny in interest. I have a similar account in two different banks in the US–both pay interest. Which do you think is more just?

  107. RBrown says:

    America’s position as a superpower has ended. America is totally broke, and heavily in debt to China. Its economic architecture has been discredited and its economy is in collapse. The US is far more reliant on Islamic countries for natural resources than we are, thanks to its selfish disregard for energy conservation and efficiency. America remains an object of hatred throughout the world.
    Comment by Daum

    Since the end of Soviet dominated Central Europe, I have heard various Europeans predicting the end to the era of the US as superpower. I can only hope. We have poured billions of dollars into the defense of Europe and other parts of the world.

    If fact, I have a good friend who was once Dep Commander of all US forces in Europe. He told me of the visit of a fairly well known member of Congress, who began by asking: “Why do we need so much military presence in Europe. When will these Euro-Weenies start defending their own nations?”

    BTW, Europe actually imports more oil from the Persian Gulf than does the US. In 2006 the US averaged 2.2 million bbl/day imported from the Gulf. In the same year Europe average 2.8 million bbl/day.

    Most of US imported oil comes from Canada and Mexico.

  108. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Brown,

    Thank you for the correction about Vatican and Church, I guess I was typing to quickly. With regard to your first point I could not be in more agreement with you. With regard to point 3, I see no need for the Church to not do both. Grace builds on nature and if the Church is going to bring about the reign of Christ the King, they will have an easier time if the natural order is moving the person in the same direction as the supernatural order. As Cardinal Pie of Poitiers said:

    “If it is true that the work of the apostolate consists in the conversion of individuals and the nations as such do not go to heaven, but souls, one by one, we must not forget, nevertheless that the individual member of society lives under the never ceasing influence of his environment, in which, if we may not say that he is submerged, he is, at least, deeply plunged. If the environment is non-Catholic, it prevents him from embracing the faith, or if he has the faith, it tends to root out of his heart every vestige of belief.”

    And since it is the responsibility of laymen primarily to bring about the practical application of Catholic Social principles, and those principles are already there for all Catholics to read, I do not think it really needs to take up much of the Hierarchy’s time, accept to encourage us to be faithful to those principles.

    As to your final point, why do you feel you deserve interest from the Vatican bank? Are you taking any risk by putting your money there that would justify an interest? For interest to be non usurious there should be some real investment made, and a real risk involved. If you are only leaving your money in the bank for convenience, then there certainly is no need for the bank to pay interest. If you would like to invest your money, and thereby in justice receive interest, you may do so in any number of ways, but there must be risk involved, and you must be willing to lose the money.

  109. TJM says:

    RBrown, thanks much for the facts, but I doubt people like Daum will accept them. They prefer to live in their little fantasy world. Tom

  110. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Brown,

    I think your oil import facts have changed in the last two years. According to this website:

    Top countries we imported from in 2008:

    Saudi Arabia

  111. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,
    A proportioal reason to vote for a pro-abortion candidate would be if the other candidate was also pro-abortion and favored partial-birth abortion and federal funding of abortions. Then you could vote for the the first candidate in an effort to prevent the evil of the second candidate.

    As for Iraq, I can understand your anger about that war and those who got us into it; but there is no proportionality between that war and the massive evil of aborting thousands of innocent babies everyday. If you find where the Pope stated they are proportional, please share the quote. Other tnan that you are speculating; and you are wrong; and you have no right to attribute that error to the Pope.

    You also have no right to give up on the unborn children. They only have us to defend them. No one else will. If Catholics vote for pro-abortion candidates, they share the responsibility for legalized murder.

    During the era of slavery, no doubt anyone who worked against it was seen as fighting for a hopeless cause. During Martin Luther King Jr’s era, many cautioned against stirring up all that wrath and retribution to no end. Forty years later the we have an African American President.

    All it will take to overturn abortion in this country is for Catholics to stop voting for candidates who support abortion and to help Catholics who support such candidates to see the grave error of their ways. Without the Catholic vote, no pro-abortion candidate would be elected. We have to fight this thing. Children are being massacred. It is, by far, the most fundamental social evil of our time.

  112. Andreas says:

    From Pp. John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae:

    “The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”. But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. […] But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.

    The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby’s cries and tears.”

    We are dealing with murder on a massive scale. And a man who approves of it should get my vote? What could possibly prompt me to do so?

  113. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Brian and Andreas,

    Yes if the Catholic vote were united and would only vote for a candidate that held to all the Catholic Social teachings, he would easily get elected. As to the question please answer the following:

    What is a greater sin to command someone to murder, under possible threat of death, or to allow someone to murder without saying that the thing is wrong, but never calling it murder?

    Those are our choices. Bush never stopped a single abortion. He nominated Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court. He said he would only push for abortion restrictions that the country would support. He spoke of changing hearts and minds instead of banning abortion. He increased the budget to Planned Barrenhood, and to family planning agencies throughout the world. Paying lip service to get some votes, does not save the lives of babies. Selling out your vote to people that call themselves “pro-life” but refuse to do anything about it, does not save babies lives. If you want to do something to save the life a baby head out to your local abortion mill and offer to the help the women going in to kill their babies, if you can not do that then at least go to the place and say a rosary. Abortion is going to be legal for at least the next decade, come up with a plan to save some of those babies. It is easy to punch a hole in a voting card, and think you have done something to save babies, but it is just a salve to appease your conscience. I am always amazed at the number of “pro-life” Republicans I meet, that insist abortion is the greatest horror the world has ever seen, yet they have never stood on a sidewalk and tried to convince someone not to kill their baby. I hope this election wakes up Catholics, and they realize that the killing will continue for the next decade and voting for lesser pro-abortion candidate is not enough.

    With regard to proportional reasons, the Church has not said, but it seems more likely that if Candidate A is elected and X number of babies die, and Candidate B is elected and X number of babies die as well as Y number of people in an unjust war, that Candidate A is the lesser of two evils, even if he is pro-abortion. But if you sleep better at night voting for Candidate B, because he says abortion is wrong, unless it is done for rape or incest, or unless it is done by an IUD, or the Pill, or the Morning After Pill, but not wrong enough that he is going to spend any political capital doing something about it, go ahead. But you lying to yourself if you thought you did anything for the unborn. RES NON VERBUM! DEEDS NOT WORDS!

  114. RBrown says:

    I think your oil import facts have changed in the last two years.

    According to this website:
    Top countries we imported from in 2008:
    Saudi Arabia
    Comment by Christopher Sarsfield

    You missed the point. My response concerned oil from the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia (and Iraq) are in the Gulf. You might have noticed that Mexico and Canada are not.

    I’ll respond to your other comments later.

  115. Jordanes says:

    Christopher Sarsfield claimed: Bush never stopped a single abortion.

    Really? Not even one? In all of his policy decisions, in his signing the partial-birth infanticide ban, not a single thing he did was effective to save even one unborn child’s life?

  116. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    No, it did not. As you must know the AMA said the procedure was never medically necessary, because there are other methods to kill the baby at that stage of development without that procedure. Any baby who would have been killed with this procedure, will still be killed, they will only use a different method of execution. Whether they kill the baby with this procedure or another the result is still the same – a dead baby. The law of the land that Bush enforces is the same, any baby can be killed for any reason before the baby is born. So no, this law did not stop any abortions.

  117. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,
    Please! The matter does not come down to a choice of either praying and helping women OR voting against abortion. Clearly, it is both and. I cannot believe that you wrote that nonsence.

    To vote for a pro-abortion candidate (when another candidate opposes abortion) is wrong. This is Church teaching. Catholics have a moral obligation to vote against this evil whenever it is possible to do so.

    I did not advocate for any candidate. I gave an example from Church teaching of a proportional reason, of voting for a lesser evil. Iraq is not proportional. That is not Catholic teaching. That is your own mistaken position. You failed to provide any Church teaching to support that position because you made it up, then falsely attributed your moral falsehood to the Pope.

    I am glad that your deceived conscience woke to the point that you could not vote for Obama. Your thinking, however, remains subjective and lacking in credibility. Your muddled thinking provides justification for the millions of Catholics who voted for a Candidate who will further the cause of abortion. You are contributing to this evil. Please knock it off.

  118. Patick says:

    Mr. Sarsfield,

    Please, do some investigation before spewing. Mr. Bush as one of his first acts, (executive order) reversing a reversal by Pres. Clinton of the Pres. Reagan barring international family-planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion. So called Mexico City policy. (So, US citizens are NOT paying for abortions in these cases, soon to be reversed again by Mr. BO.

    Secondly, the ban on embryonic stem cells, also the appointment of two conservative judges to the Supreme Court undoubtedly saves lives, now and in the future.

    Thirdly, who takes seriously anything the pro abortion AMA says. You are joking here, right?

  119. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,

    As to your disagreement above with Jordanes, the Washington Post is already reporting:

    “Obama has “’signaled’ that he intends to reverse the limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Obama will be able to lift these restrictions by executive order because they were never included in legislation. An executive order that he can sign has already been drafted by opponents of embryonic stem cell limits.

    “Obama is expected to lift a global gag rule barring international family planning groups that receive U.S. aid from counseling women about the availability of abortion.”

  120. Patick says:


    What a depressing letter, in the end it is nothing more than an argument advocating the accommodation of extreme moral evil by the Church in order to satisfy an earthly pride; “See how holy we are, the perfume used to anoint you Lord would better have been used to feed the poor, shame on you.”

    “By any means necessary”, the underlying, disguised slogan of Barack Obama and his campaign is simply the modern translation of “Surely you shall not die…”
    Comment by KaziA — 8 November 2008 @ 4:52 pm

    ___ __ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ __ ___ __ ___ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ _
    Did anyone notice the deplorable comments over at Mr. Allen’s piece?

    Comment by Catherine — 8 November 2008 @ 6:04 pm
    ___ __ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ __ ___ __ ___ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

    I agree, I think the letter of Mr. Allen’s, while it attempts – I am sure in his mind, a good thing — I find it to be sniveling and equivocating. Especially the apologizing for the “few bishops” that (Amazingly, he really says this) ‘supported your opponent.’

    Well, this depicts them as the “fringe” (just a few loons – not the gutsy stand ups) and it is a lie to state that because one is “on record” as denouncing a policy/agenda of a candidate, or even the candidate himself by extension, that this in and of itself constitutes “support” for another, even though the result might be the same. Just unbelievable — what a suck up.

    The Vicar of Christ on earth does not need this kind of recommendation, and I am not saying that one cannot appeal to a politicians sense of self interest, as this obviously does. But this .. well, don’t want to upset anyone.

    Another one of his fishwrap articles talks about the “support” of a Nigerian bishop for Obama. Not newsworthy, and as we see here on this thread, those overseas show a remarkably non nuanced understanding of our politics here in the US (not surprising – and are Am. bishops opining about Nigerian elections,, HuH?? That would be, a little bit dumb, don’t you think?) and how can a foreign bishop “support” as candidate anyway? Absentee ballot, money? This may seem to be a parsing of words, but think about it. These terms are loaded, and betray an agenda, though perhaps a not sooo obvious one. I know, “fair minded – shmair minded.”

    So, I guess this is what passes for journalism nowadays.

  121. Patick says:

    I don’t know all the facts surround the funding of PParenthood vis-a-vis Pres. Bush, but certainly, by PP’s own press releases, they don’t see him as a ally or friend at all.

    Bush’s Attack on Women’s Health Is Bad Medicine

    On August 22, 2008, the Bush administration proposed a regulation to allow providers to withhold critical health care information.

    On September 19, 2008, the New York Times published an op-ed by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America president, Cecile Richards that blasted Bush’s proposed rule.

    The proposed regulation jeopardizes a patient’s right to know her options. This rule would completely disrupt the nation’s health care delivery system at a time when more and more families are uninsured and under economic assault. Here’s why:

    * The HHS proposed regulation is intentionally vague. By leaving the term “abortion” undefined, the regulation creates a dangerous space for ideology and political views to be inserted into medical practices, emergency rooms, and clinics all across the country, and when that happens, women suffer.
    * The proposed regulation complicates the law instead of clarifying the law. The new regulation lets health care providers define abortion, which could threaten broader reproductive health care, including contraception.
    * The fact that HHS took out the definition of abortion that was included in an earlier draft is a red herring because this proposed regulation — even more than the previous leaked version — leaves health care services and information open to personal interpretation and political agendas.
    * This rule will allow anti-choice extremists to receive federal funds for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” — anti-choice facilities whose purpose is to deceive and dissuade women from accessing birth control and abortion information and services.

    This is just one more example of how the Bush administration puts politics in the exam room. Planned Parenthood will not stand by and watch the Bush administration deny quality, affordable health care and accurate information to women.

  122. Christopher Sarsfield says:


    I answered every question you brought up. I asked you one simple question, which you refused to answer, because you know it would undermine your case. My conscience is formed by the Church, you are dealing with pure emotion. Now my argument could be wrong. Maybe it is a greater sin to allow murder, than to order murder, but if you believe that at least have the guts to say so. Your “pro-life” policies have not saved any lives. Keep voting for the Supreme Court solution, I am sure the unborn can wait another 30 years. With regard to proportional reasons, I gave a clear scenario and my thinking about what the lesser evil would be, again you did not respond. My conscience with regard to the unborn is clear. I did not vote for either of the pro-abortion candidates this election cycle. I actually have been at the mills trying to save lives. I will put my time at the abortion mills, against your time in the voting booth choosing the lesser pro-abortion candidate any day.

  123. Brian says:

    Christopher Sarsfield,

    As for your question, “What is a greater sin to command someone to murder, under possible threat of death, or to allow someone to murder without saying that the thing is wrong, but never calling it murder?”

    Here is my answer: The question is whether the war in Iraq is proportional to abortion. The answer is: of course not. You falsely claimed that the Pope said they are proportional. You cannot back that claim up because you are wrong. Please don’t obscure the issue with sophmoric questions. If you wish to understand why they are not proportional, I would be happy to help you with that. Several Bishops recently provided teaching about that issue.

    As to your going to abortion mills and your prayers against abortion and other related actions, they are highly commendable and virtuous. Thank you for doing that. Of course, to protest at abortion mills then to vote for someone who supports legal abortion would be an absurd contradiction. To do so would have been comparable to providing solace to slaves and carrying protest banners outside the plantation, then voting for someone who promised to keep slavery legal because you believed it would always be legal anyway. Consistency requires that it is not “either/or” but “both/and.” Protest, pray, provide support, AND work and vote to make this evil illegal. If Catholics learn to vote with a correctly formed conscience, abortion will become illegal in this country.

    Whether your subjective conscience feels “clear” is not my concern. Objectively speaking, your conscience is gravely in error.

    Thank God, you did not vote for Obama, but you are muddying the waters on the clear moral issues here and providing supposed justifiication for those Catholics who did and will vote for pro-abortion candidates. I am not emotional about how I think about the moral issues here, but I am angry that you are contributing to this evil. Please stop doing that.

    It seems that most everyone on all sides of the issue, except perhaps you, is able to see a clear, dramatic difference between McCain and Obama on the issue of abortion. The records are plainly documented – go to NARAL (0% for McCain; 100% for Obama); Google it; look at their voting records; look at their statements; it’s everywhere. If you are unable to see that clearly documented, factual difference, I do not see the point of continuing an exchange about something that is so well-established.

    You stopped yourself from voting for Obama. Keep working on this thing. I pray it becomes more clear for you.

  124. Jon K says:

    What does peace and justice mean in the face of mass abortions? To me they seem empty words. I shall never understand diplomacy…

    Had this been Hitler Germany, no one would be applauding.

  125. Charivari Rob says:

    Looks like the President-Elect picked up the phone around the 12th.

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