Here is an interesting chart from Beliefnet:
Weekly Churchgoers vs. Occasionals Tuesday November 4, 2008
Juxtapose this with the statement of the dissident "Catholic Democrats" put out today. Edited and with my emphases and comments.
Boston, MA – The Catholic Democrats congratulates Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden on their inspiring election to President and Vice President of the United States. Catholic Democrats has strongly supported the candidacy of Senator Obama and Senator Biden in various ways, including launching the Catholics for Obama Web site.
"The Catholic Democrats, like most other Americans, is thrilled that Senator Obama has been elected to the highest office in the land today, and that Senator Biden will be our first Catholic vice president," said Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of the Catholic Democrats. "We have argued all along that Senators Obama and Biden were the candidates that best reflected our Catholic values of hope, personal responsibility, and care for the common good. We also believe that they best addressed the issues of meeting our energy needs, feeding our families, ensuring access to quality health care, promoting peace and prosperity, and restoring the progress that was made against abortion during the 1990s." [A surreal statement given his support of abortion at every stage… even after live birth. How about FOCA?]
Catholics for Obama, which Catholic Democrats launched in October, includes an endorsement petition, signed by more than 3,000 Catholics [It would be good to file that away.] from across the country, including clergy and women religious; The Catholic Case for Obama book by Catholic Democrats president Dr. Patrick Whelan; the Catholic Questions and Answers on Abortion, an important resource on the issue based on Church teaching and social policy; a policy brief by Dr. Stephen Shneck of Catholic University, regarding progressive tax policy; and a reflection by Professor Douglas Kmiec regarding his endorsement of Senator Obama in February. The endorsement petition will become a statement of support of President-elect Obama for Catholics to advance the message of the common good [the common good] at this historic time.
"Six months ago the pundits were predicting that President-elect Obama would not do well with Catholic voters. [Apparently Pres.-elect Obama did not do well with Catholics who go to church on Sunday.] The fact that Senators Obama and Biden reversed a trend, since 1996, of white ethnic Catholics defecting to the Republican Party [defecting… interesting word choice] in presidential elections is of historic significance," said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "Without the shift of Catholic voters responding to the messages of President-elect Barack Obama, it is unlikely he would be leading our nation come January. While the economy dominated the landscape during the final month, we cannot underestimate the manner in which the themes of his campaign resonated with Catholics who fundamentally care about the common good and who supported his message of reducing abortions in our nation." [Uh huh. That’s the message he gave?]
Too bad they don’t break it down further to Catholics who attend Holy Mass two or more times a week. That would be interesting and I would suggest predictable.
So 45% of weekly attending (and, of course, communicating with a clear conscience) “Catholics” voted for a candidate committed to the FOCA.
O Jerusalem, you have become a harlot.
One of my favorite expressions is: “We have met the enemy and it is us.” It seems these statistics bear this out as Catholics voting for Obama who has promised to end all legal restrictions on abortion (FOCA) is an oxymoron if ever I heard one. There’s a couple of emotions I felt before voting in this election – frustration and fear. Frustration because I knew that Alan Keyes didn’t have a prayer of winning and fear of what would happen to our country if Obama won. Now, the emotion is only fear for our country and what portends for us in the next four years.
So the bishops made no difference whatsoever. So sad. I’m guessing it’s because most of the OF priests made little or no effort to preach about the issue.
It is starting to look like the Freedom of Choice Act may be a pivotal moment for the Church in America. There is a Catholic Vice-President, Catholic Speaker of the House, and numerous Catholic congressman and Senators. If any Catholic votes for this legislation, how can they remain in the Church? I don’t mean just whether one should present himself for Holy Communion. How will bishops react to this? I also think when this day comes it will shed further light on the grave error of those Catholics who supported politicians who advocated this evil. All election season I’ve wondered how a Catholic voter might feel the day after FOCA is signed into law – how they can look in the mirror, how they can present themselves for Holy Communion. I suspect most will think nothing of it, and most will not hear the cries of the unborn children being lead to the slaughter.
The bishops did make a difference, even if only for their own immortal souls. And for any who heard, they can no longer say, “we didn’t know.” And for those of us obedient to the Church but often saddened by and distrustful of Her bishops, it has given us hope and a reason to praise God as we stand among the ruins of our once-great nation.
TJ, I’m an Irish priest in the Philippines and so didn’t have a vote. But I don’t quite understand the implication that priests who celebrate Mass in the Ordinary Form are not enthusiastically pro-life. Many are silent, yes, but many are not. Archbishop Chaput of Denver, for example, could be described as an ‘OF priest’ but has been an exemplary leader and teacher in this area. I would describe myself as an ‘OF priest’, because that is how I celebrate Mass every day, though I would be very happy to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form if the opportunity arose. I often preach about the dignity of life and write more about that than any other issue in my personal blog. I emailed friends in the USA before the election and asked the people here to pray specifically about the pro-life aspect of the election.
I don’t think that your generalization is helpful.
With regard to your assessment that the bishops made no difference, one way to try to find out would be a study of how Catholics voted in the dioceses where the bishops spoke out clearly as compared with dioceses where the bishops were silent. I’m sure some group will eventually do this. A parallel situation that comes to mind is the outspokenness of the Dutch bishops against the Nazis and the consequences of that for the Jews they were trying to defend, and the alleged – I repeat ‘alleged’ – silence of Pope Pius XII. The two situations are not exactly the same but there are similarities.
I am inspired by the American bishops who spoke out clearly. May their tribe increase.
“[Uh huh. That’s that message he gave?]”
It was an (in)famous propagandist from the last century who stated (paraphrased): “It’s easier for the people to believe a big lie than a small one”.
Never discount the ability of propagandists to propagate a big lie to hide their true intentions.
Apparently Pres.-elect Obama did not do well with Catholics who go to church on Sunday.
They went for Obama in greater numbers than they went for Kerry. The “faithful” remnant of weekly Mass-goers (a scant 11% of the total)! I am stunned and heartbroken and ashamed. We have a lot of work to do.
Protestants who don’t go to church weekly voted for Obama proportionately with Catholics who do go to church weekly.
Or, to put this in a YouTube comment sort of way, “LOL SHEPURDS WOLFS R EATIN UR SHEEP!!1!”
What a sad indictment on Catholic teaching down to the street. When regularly attending Catholics, those who believe they follow the precepts of weekly attnedance anyway meet the non-attending Protestants for supporting a pro-abortion candidate, something must change in our own house. The Holy Father stated that the Church must get smaller in order to grow, I think this is evidence of the real Church being much smaller, at least here in the states. too many in the cafeteria line, to few hearing the Bishops (at least more spoke up this time) although too little too late.
What would be interesting is what the split was for Evangelicals and also Southern Baptists. We need fire in the belly and a new-evangelization. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Thanks to those who did what they could remembering that, “Mary, model of Christian love, we know we cannot heal every ill or solve every problem, but with God’s grace, we intend to do what we can.”
As far as the bishops are concerned: in the 2004 election, I believe that only Abp. Burke spoke strongly against pro-abortion politicians, namely John Kerry, and President Bush won the election. In this election cycle, so many bishops spoke up for Life that they can barely be counted, and President-Elect Obama easily won. What is the moral of the story?
It is apparent that this country does not care about protecting the unborn. Two measures that would protect the unborn failed in Colorado and South Dakota and the House and Senate leaned even more so to the Party of Moloch and Priapus. The vote was so close that they weren’t going to call it yet for Prop 8 in California, so it seems that we don’t care about protecting marriage either.
I’m looking to buy some gunny sacks.
Yes, it’s interesting that a greater proportion of Catholics who go to church weekly voted for Obama than did their Protestant counterparts. The same is true of the non-weekly church goers. So Catholics supported Obama in considerably higher numbers than Protestants. Hmmm…. Sounds like the Church hierarchy is more irrelevant than ever.
Well of course the bishops made no difference. It was all too late and frankly, after the pedophilia scandal most Catholics tend to look at anything their bishop says with a jaundiced eye. And then there’s the other thing: The majority of Catholics vote and live like everybody else– with their apetites as the guiding force.
Yes, the Bishops who spoke out made a difference to those who were listening.
Sadly, many Catholics, including all my brothers and parents, ignored the Bishops or thought the economy was more important than LIFE.
We are more than ever, in our little family, in our parish, and in our diocese, strangers in a strange land.
Perhaps the hidden blessing is that unprecedented numbers of bishops spoke up. It’s not their fault if Catholics didn’t listen.
It will certainly have been useful practice for them for the next four years. They will need that courageous experience to hold firm. Pray that the silent bishops, whose intentions we should not presume, learn from their brother bihops.
Catholic Democrats: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
IF the FOCA act is brought up and attempted to be passed, I sincerely hope there will be excommunications. The bishops were incredibly outspoken this election. They need to go further. American Catholics need to see what is acceptable and what is not, in no uncertain terms. Excommunication of those who support FOCA could be a wake-up call for many who proclaim to be Catholic. I pray that bishops have only begun to fight and teach.
The Catholic Democrats should be excommunicated en masse.
The greatest tragedy is:
“Without the shift of Catholic voters responding to the messages of President-elect Barack Obama, it is unlikely he would be leading our nation come January.”
Satan, who hates Christ, was not satisfied just to have Jesus crucified. He wanted God’s chosen people to demand it; he wanted one of Jesus’s own disciples to sell him out.
So, now, Catholics proudly hail their president who demands wide-spread legalized murder of sweet, innocent, unborn infants.
One of the more orthodox Bishops was interviewed the other day and while his personal position seemed clear regarding abortion and voting he was unwilling to articulate that position in the same manner as some of the others, i.e., Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Finn, Bishop Aquila, etc. He felt that Catholics were smart enough to connect the dots. Unfortunately this is evidently not the case and should be a reminder to our Shephards that many are unable or unwilling to “connect the dots.”
These stats say a lot about the what constitutes the Church in the United States. While this could/would never happen, it would be interesting to survey the Catholic bishops of the United States to see how they voted as well.
John said: The Catholic Democrats should be excommunicated en masse.
I may get trashed for being outspoken here; but I am a Catholic Democrat and I voted what my conscience told me to vote. And you wish to excommunicate me for following my conscience?
I wonder how many Catholics voted for Chuck Bladwin?
“The common good” “the common good” “the common good”
You know, if I didn’t know better I would think this group leans toward socialism, or is it a Kant-Utilitarian style of justice/etics? I get confused with these groups.
“We also believe that they best addressed the issues of meeting our energy needs, feeding our families,….”
???!!!! Feeding our families?! Have we really sunk this low when we look toward the government to feed us? instead of us feeding ourselves? So many false catholics voted their bellies and groins in this election that obama won.
Those faithful to Christ must gear up for the upcoming persecution, especially those in the medical field.
I guess this is what the isrealites felt like when they realized that their infidelity had caused God to let them fall into the hands of their enemies.
Fiat Voluntas Tua
Not judging you. We need to vote with well formed consciouses. Hitler acted on his conscious but it obviously was not well formed.
after the pedophilia scandal most Catholics tend to look at anything their bishop says with a jaundiced eye.
American Catholics stopped listening to their Bishops long before the sex abuse scandal. i would argue this dates back to Humanae Vitae and the either explicit or complicit denial of this teaching and the toleration of those dissenting from it. We are now witnessing the fruits of that silence. Sure a few brave Bishops and priests are speaking out but the faithful by and large even among those still going to Mass on Sunday reject this teaching. As Fr. Z said let us pray for our priests and seminarians and that they remain faithful to the authentic teaching of the Church. It is my belief that God is raising up these orthodox priests and Bishops to minister to that smaller group of faithful during the looming cataclysm. The problem is far deeper than can be solved by a change in political parties.
ioannes: He felt that Catholics were smart enough to connect the dots. Unfortunately this is evidently not the case and should be a reminder to our Shephards that many are unable or unwilling to “connect the dots.”
“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” – H. L. Mencken
“The common good”. Minus 50 million.
“Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.”
Chris said: Not judging you. We need to vote with well formed consciouses.
What you are essentially saying is that the only well formed conscience is that of a voter for McCain or one of the third party candidates or no vote at all.
That surely is a judgement…
McCain has a 0% rating from NARAL. Palin walks the talk where pro-life is concerned. Many Catholic bishops spoke out. But… while the Evangelical vote still went to McCain-Palin, the Catholic vote went to Obama-Biden. What happened? What does it say about the state of US Catholics? Why? Why?!?
The Bishops of Dallas/Fort Worth put it well. A vote for a pro-choice candidate (Obama is pro choice, par excellence) is cooperation in the evil of abortion if there is a morally acceptable pro-life candidate. People will say they disagree with him on abortion, but like his other policies. That’s like saying, “I disagree with him on the Final Solution, but he makes the trains run on time.” When a candidate openly says that he intends on his first day of office to sign FOCA; when he stands up at Planned Parenthood and says “Abortion is THE issue in this election,” when he votes against the born alive bill, when even NARAL and PP didn’t go that far, a vote for him is a vote for abortion. This man may have the opportunity to shape the Supreme Court for the next 30 years. He has said he will have a litmus test that judges be pro-abortion. A vote for Obama has made it unlikely that the Supreme Court will not overturn Roe-vs-Wade any time soon (probably in my lifetime.)
What was your proportionate reason for voting for Obama? And what will you say on your judgment day to the 6+ million babies who will be aborted over the next 4 years, and the many more who will be aborted if FOCA passes and pro-abortion Supreme Court justices are appointed as Obama has promised? I’ve never heard an intelligible reason, and most ignore the question completely. Here’s your chance to start working on that speech.
The day after an election when your opponent wins is one of maximum negativity. Maybe what I’ll offer won’t resonate, yet, but give it time…
Our new president’s position is not as strong as is being claimed; he may or may not know it, but the facts are the facts. He looks to have the same Democratic majority Clinton had in 1993; people will say, “but these Democrats are more liberal”–but not in all cases; the Democrats have had great success the last cycle and this, running prolife candidates. In any case, the filibuster remains and the key will be prolifers speaking out and putting pressure on the Senate.
The results Fr. Z cites, which so many of you view so despondently, is rather striking: four years ago, and four years before that, Bush was hailed for his remarkable success getting Catholic votes. Given a really awful climate in which a GOP candidate ran — who wasn’t much of a prolife advocate nor much of a conservative (notice how the GOP was rather morose until Palin was named, then the dam broke?) — I would not have been surprised to see a much bigger tip in Obama’s favor. Instead, he gained only a small amount, among Mass-going Catholics, over Kerry.
A priest in the seminary, who taught Church history, used to observe, “when the culture sneezes, the Church catches a cold.” The solidity of the prolife, and conservative, sentiment in this country, given all that has transpired this year and the last few years, is–to me–very reassuring.
There’s something else, that lurks behind all the pro-aborts’ bluster about the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (which will face a filibuster and which–if we do our jobs–we can and will sustain): the Democrats know they are vulnerable on the prolife issue. They know they have been hurt by their extremism on the issue, and they’ve tried to hedge it as much as they can. They have a tiger by the tail: the extreme pro-aborts have too much control within the party for it to take an abrupt turn.
When I worked in politics, a friend had a saying: “remember, the other side has problems too.” Don’t think for a moment the Democrats are monolithic on this, there will be tensions and pressures, although out of sight of most of us. If they thought they really could just muscle through what they want and that’s it, they wouldn’t waste time on soothing rhetoric for Catholics and Evangelicals they are trying to woo–they wouldn’t try to woo them period. They wouldn’t claim to be all about reducing abortions. It wasn’t that long ago, in political terms, when the Democrats, in fact, did not talk about reducing abortions.
I know how worried so many prolifers are about what President Obama will do, such as executive orders and the FOCA bill; but be of good cheer: if he does as you expect, it will spark intense prolife activity and pressure, and that will come to bear on the vulnerabilities and fault lines I’ve described. This year was an historic day, who can be surprised African-Americans turned out with jubilation to elect the first black president? But he won’t be on the ballot in two years, but members of Congress will. And then, it’ll be our turn. Be patient.
This is so sad! If Catholics voted the way they would supposed to we would have a Pro- Life President elect!
Excellent persepctive Father Fox.
For standing maryanna,
I believe you are sincere in your conscience. No one is saying that a well-formed conscience means one had to vote for McCain. But I think many would agree (and a number of the bishops were saying) that one could not with a well-formed conscience vote for Obama. Do you see the difference? Obama’s support for FOCA and so forth renders him simpliciter, absolutely, unacceptable to a well-formed Catholic conscience. Some Catholics conscientiously went on to conclude they could vote for McCain, others did not believe they could conscientiously vote for either Obama or McCain. Both of the latter positions are consistent with a well-formed Catholic conscience. Voting for Obama is not–that’s what the bishops were trying to say. Some of them said it well, others said it rather tentatively and ineffectively.
Another bright spot: It appears that Proposition 8 in (of all places) California has passed.
Proposition 8 – Eliminates “Right” of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
I do think the bishops need to seriously examine their consciences in the future about the proper use of excommunication.
We have invited Tash, the Calormen God of death, into our land, by electing the outspoken advocate of Death that we elected (the reference is to C. S. Lewis’s Narnia book, The Last Battle). Tash was invited by the demagogic manipulative Ape under the claim that Tash was in fact the good God, Aslan under a different name. Tash turned on those who invited him and consumed them along with those who resisted him. The latter fought bravely to the death even though they knew earthly victory was impossible.
If FOCA is passed and signed, Death will have triumphed legislatively and no appeal to the Courts will be possible because the courts will be packed with Death-advocates for an entire generation to come. Even the slight hope that the opposition party in Congress can filibuster some of the worst judicial appointments is futile, since by a simple majority vote, the Senate can change the cloture rule from 60 to 55 or whatever (what the Republicans planned to do as far as judicial appointments were concerned, until a fellow named McCain torpedoed it–he wanted to preserve the filibuster so Republicans could use it; sorry, John, that presumed that the Democrats would abide by existing cloture thresholds). Even apart from that procedural matter, it’s just plain constitutionally wrong to filibuster judicial appointments, which is why the Republicans should have put an end to it when they had the votes to do so. But McCain knew better.
Christians will be the last defenders of life left standing. It is true that bishops lost the respect they needed to be able to excommunicate dissidents and be heeded–they lost this when they failed to use it in the wake of Humanae Vitae. Attempting to use it now will be shrugged off by the dissidents, and respected only by a minority of Catholics, and turned into a huge propaganda tool by the enemies of the Church–a renewed Inquisition etc.
But the alternative is even worse: the longer the bishops wait to start reclaiming their authority to excommunicate, the smaller will be that tiny minority of Catholics who respect the bishops’ use of excommunication when they finally get around to using it. The sooner they start reclaiming it, the better.
But I fear that only a tiny minority among the bishops even realize how serious things are. I pray that I am proved wrong.
Well said Fr. Fox.
But…first black president? That isn’t completely correct…only half…correct.
For those Catholic dems who voted their conscience…
I KNOW with 40 years of dissent and still the silence on the part of the majority of bishops and clergy and the harping on the superiority of ‘conscience’ that many simply do not understand the TRUE teachings of the Church. The priority of conscience does not allow us to play God and choose what we like to be the ultimate good. In the final analysis, with God as the Author of Life, we must answer to Him why we voted against life even with all the statements of the Holy Church and the Pope and so on.
When I was 19 years between confession, my conscience was not bothering me a bit. satan had it in hand and no twinges got through.
Those who voted to extend the culture of death and the intrinsic evils in the world will have to answer for it.
Fr. Fox wrote: “I know how worried so many prolifers are about what President Obama will do, such as executive orders and the FOCA bill; but be of good cheer: if he does as you expect, it will spark intense prolife activity and pressure, and that will come to bear on the vulnerabilities and fault lines I’ve described.”
I wish I could be as sanguine, Father. Respectfully, as I noted above, it’s vulnerable. Apart from the majority’s ability to change cloture rules by simple majority, the effectiveness of the filibuster depends on party cohesion and the Republicans do not even have a solid 40-vote caucus.
But more than these procedural matters, the real underlying problem is the slow, seemingly (but, please God, not really) inexorable shift from a principled, virtuous electorate able critically to evaluate issues and respond at the polls, to a populace increasingly stupified by bread and circuses politics, media manipulation, and demagoguery. What’s frightening about the Obama victory was the unprecedented fund-raising fraud, unprecedented voter registration fraud, extreme distortion of his own record and that of his opponent’s all without a peep from the news sources from which most Americans draw their information. The disappearance of an independent press (and the pledge to shackle the New Media via the Fairness Doctrine, which, if I am not mistaken, is a regulatory matter for the FCC and thus doesn’t even require Congressional assent; true, Talk Radio and Bloggers can take the FCC to court, but the Democrats filibustered 8 years of judicial appointments so even the lower courts are now as hostile to us if not more hostile than they were under Clinton) has produced a populace that truly can no longer evaluate issues critically.
True, in “flyover country” a hardy, critically aware population persists (but is weakening) because the local filters (church, town, family) that traditionally function to critically evaluate information coming from “outside” still function. But we can expect an attack on the Electoral College from the Culture of Death because if they could produce a situation where the popular vote in the big cities alone determined the outcome of presidential elections, they’d finally be rid of the nasty “flyover rednecks” who get in their way. No, they can’t get rid of the Electoral College by Constitutional Amendment, but the stealth method of legislation state-by-state might be sufficient–only the really small states would avoid this; if enough medium states can be convinced to give away their EC bargaining chip under the guise of “democracy” and respecting the popular vote, the game is over.
So if I read the chart correctly Obama won the “cafeteria” Catholic vote … I know I should be shocked but I still am. I bet you this in Baltimore this is going to give the USCCB a wake up call and have those bishops talk frankly about what the church believes because the Article on faith Citizenship read like a legal brief and I have to say in my parish I only heard a pro-life message once and that was 3 Sundays ago. So there is going to be some soul searching going on.
If the GOP had changed the rules regarding the filibuster as you say, we wouldn’t have it now to use against the misnamed “Freedom of Choice Act.” And don’t be so despondent–the prolife sentiment in this nation is very strong, and it will be heard from. You may think Democratic Senators will prefer to vote for FOCA than to be reelected, but I think not. They don’t have 60 votes to break a filibuster, and there are a good number of Democratic Senators who will be excellent targets for pro-life activism: Pryor of Arkansas, Warner of Virgina, Hagan of North Carolina, Casey of Pennsylvania, and several more.
It is not true, despite the claims, that the filibuster rule could be changed by a majority vote; that proposal would have violated Senate rules, which require such changes to take place when the Senate is organized, and then the changes require more than a majority vote. What is true is that a majority in the Senate could violate its own rules and get away with it, since there is no recourse to the courts due to separation of powers. What was and is misguided is to think you can let that genie out of the bottle — we’re going to wreck the filibuster here, where it suits us, but don’t worry, the filibuster will still be safe, here, because we say so.
And the argument that filibustering judicial nominees violates the Constitution is a stretch; the Constitution says the Senate gives “advice and consent”; if a vote is blocked or simply isn’t scheduled, that is a refusal of consent. By the way, the same applies to ambassadors and treaties, and lots of ambassadors and treaties have been denied floor votes, with no one claiming this violated the Constitution.
I am no fan of McCain, but he was, in my judgment, correct about the filibuster. We will need it now!
Actually, the effectiveness and success of a filibuster depends on public opinion. Unless the Democrats do as they haven’t done for a long time–probably 20 years or so–it isn’t even necessary for the 40 supporters of the filibuster even to show up on the Senate floor and vote! If the vote on cloture–shutting down the filibuster–is 59 to zero, the motion fails and the filibuster is sustained. As long as the Democrats know there are enough Senators available to keep talking, they won’t actually force a talk-a-thon (which is how its shown in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the classic form of the filibuster which never happens anymore).
With respect, your argument requires the Senators to be suicidal: vote for the most radical pro-abortion bill available, knowing it’s political suicide, because…?
What is far more likely to happen is that they will do a little dance: the hardliners who are safe for re-election, or retiring, will lead the charge, and bluster against the filibuster; most Democrats will vote to break the filibuster, but not only will a number vote against, saying while they are all for “choice” they favor something less extreme, and quite out of sight, will be a number of Democrats who, if needed, will be the votes needed to sustain the filibuster, but will never say so, because they won’t want the bill, nor want to say anything against it; they’ll want the best of both worlds.
Then, after one or two cloture votes, the Democratic Majority Leader will complain about the minority being so mean, but he’ll pull back the bill because the nation’s urgent business requires it, and then all bases have been covered. President Obama will express regret, and that’ll be that. Obama is not going to twist arms over this, when he will need every vote he can get for a lot of other stuff. Far more likely is that when Obama comes courting members of Congress — yes, even his own folks! — for votes on a stimulus package or on a tax bill, some of the more vulnerable Democratic reps and Senators will say, “Mr. President, I’m happy to give you my vote, but I need your help: please don’t push that FOCA bill, that’ll kill me in my state or district. Keep talking about it, fine; but I’d rather it didn’t come up for the next two years.”
Ever wonder why, when the GOP had both houses of Congress, so many bills they promised up and down — Bush too — to bring up, never came up? This is one reason why.
If I understand the argument for the “Constitutional” or “nuclear option” in 2005 correctly, the filibuster was to have been eliminated only for judicial filibusters but preserved on other matters. The advocates of the “Constitutional option” believed that it is not a stretch to say that systematically filibustering judicial nominees (or systematically denying floor votes) violates the “advise and consent” clause.
Sure denying floor votes to ambassadors and treaties was done in the past. But systematically denying floor votes and thereby frustrating the electoral mandate for a makeover of the judiciary, which is probably the single most important reason why Bush was elected in 2000, is a violation of the Constitution. What the Democrats were doing went far beyond the occasional procedural methods of pushing back by Congress against a president of a different party.
Something was seriously wrong and if left unaddressed, threatens the separation of powers and disenfranchises the people electing a president. If the “nuclear option” was merely a violation of the organization rules and thus a bad move, then something else needed to be done. McCain claimed that his compromise would release the logjam. If it had accomplished that, I’d give him the credit he deserves.
But did it? Is it not the case that in fact the Democrats succeeded, over all, during the past 8 years, in preventing the Constitutionally mandated ability of a president to shape the judiciary and thus prevented the People from effecting a change in the judiciary by employing their votes for president in 2000?
Unless you propose that the REpublicans play tit for tat and use procedural moves to deny floor votes to the vast majority of Obama’s judicial appointments (and if they did try that, the media uproar would be deafening), it would be just as wrong for Republicans to frustate the electoral will of the people as it was for the Democrats.
So the Democrats will have succeeded in fundamental control over judicial appointments from 1993 to 2012. The effect of the Bush years on the judiciary will be minimal and the Supreme Court may be lost decisively, in part because liberal justices held on hoping for precisely the opportunity the Democrats now have to shape its course for decades.
You offer us hope in the form of the filibuster. I agree totally that the Republicans can and should use it in various legislative matters. It has a proper place in congressional proceedings. But the way it was used between 2000 and 2008 did violate the “advise and consent” intent of the Constitution and McCain’s solution helped only minimally. If you are correct in asserting that the “nuclear option” would have been the Majority violating its own rules, well, then that would have been wrong. But in that case, then the media coverup of the way the Democrats were “stealing” the mandate given by the populace to the president to reshape the judiciary was thoroughly despicable. Public pressure might have been brought to bear on the Democrats, had the people whose votes were being shredded known what was happening.
I am not trying to be pessimistic for the sake of being pessimistic. I genuinely appreciate your effort to cheer us all up. I take your points of correction on procedural matters respectfully. I grant you readily that some hope rests in the filibuster as a tool.
But that is minimal hope because the Republican Senate caucus contains so many “moderate” and pro-choice members. On some issues they will hold together and thwart the Democrats. But will they do so consistently on Life issues?
Everything depends on whether the movement conservatives are able to take real control and leadership of the party now that McCain’s “reach out to moderates” strategy has failed so dramatically. If the moderates would, chastened, admit how much they need the pro-life movement social conservatives and if the latter have real leadership power, your hopeful scenario is possible. I am not sanguine about how the struggle between movement social conservatives and country-club blue-blood Republicans will end up.
Please God, I shall be proved horribly wrong in my lack of optimism.
Hope is not optimism, I know very well. We can all agree to hope. I am not optimistic. I am hopeful.
Congratulations that Norm Coleman made it rather than that AF guy!
What follows may sound harsh, but I’m just diagnosing the stats.
Regarding the grid accompanying this post, and excluding the 3-5% of the remaining population which is Jewish, has it struck anyone else that the non-attending Catholic votes most closely resemble that of our pagan co-citizens?
An earlier post here showed statistically that among Catholic “leaners” the largest
percentage of those leaning toward Obama (i.e., surrogate for “don’t care about abortion”) was among the young, 18-35 year olds from memory.
And where were the greatest gains in voter registration made? Among the “young”.
So, as usual, the young folks are idealistic. That’s good, and hopeful. But, at
least among “Catholic” young folks, they have apparently no Catholic insight into
the practical aspects of the Faith: they and their pagan peers have about the same
“instincts”, and nothing more.
If statistics can serve pastoral work for anything at all, this should be a real
gut-twister. If there is no commitment (and of course there is such a commitment
among the Bishops who have been highlighted on this blog, even Bishop Trautman it
would seem) to handing on the Faith to our children, why should we expect them to
vote differently (or act differently or think differently) than their pagan classmates?
I’m all for evangelizing the culture, but charity begins at home, and these results
are practically an indictment of what passes for Catholic instruction of the young.
If you want to continue this discussion on Senate rules, feel free to come over to my site; this thread is primarily about how Catholics voted and what that means.
Fr. Fox, your latest crossed with mine. I’ll grant you your scenario on FOCA. I agree wholeheartedly on the role of public opinion (and alluded to it in my last comment) safe seats etc. But the judiciary? Will the Republicans dare to do to Obama’s appointments what the Democrats did to Bush’s? Even if they dared, would it be moral? Would it be constitutional?
Even the pool of social conservative judicial appointments is attenuated (not that Obama would choose from among them), because of the impact of the last 16 years. You are right, public opinion is crucial. But that’s the problem. The Democrats frustrated Bush’s appointments and everyone yawned. Those of us prolifers knew what was happening and howled but the media carried the Democrats’ water. That will now be reversed. Should the Republicans use whatever procedural means are available to slow down Obama’s judicial juggernaut, the media will flame.
Yes, you are right that some in Obama’s own party will put the brakes on him because it threatens their reelection. I’m grateful for that. People in “flyover country” do have some impact even in this Democrat majority congress.
But to return to where I started: this election indicates the degree to which media spin and an increasingly manipulable populace are gaining, not losing, dominance. Yes, we have the sorts of prolife leaders in Congress to do what they can to slow the steamroller down. You are right to remind us of that and I don’t disagree.
However I do not think we gained ground, on the ground, in the populace as a whole, for the pro-life cause in this election. I think we lost ground. You are right that it will be up to the congressional leaders you mention to hold the fort.
I’m not disagreeing entirely, merely a good bit less sanguine than you are. And maybe a bit more optimistic, because of your careful argumentation, than I was an hour ago. A bit more. . . .
And then there’s hope, by which we shall be saved.
I would like to ask everyone reading this to consider whether he or she can come to Washington DC on Sept 22 for the Right to Life march.
We can carry signs which say “NO FOCA” and “Filibuster FOCA” as well as the usual prolife signs. I think we should show Obama, right after his inauguration, that we are not going to go away or shut up. Please come to Washington. And if you can take videos, take them and post them on You-tube, since the mass media will give the RTL March 15 seconds even if a million people show up to it.
I’ll be there.
Folks, the Church will survive, but will a nation?
The barbarians are not only at the gate but within the city too! “Yes we can? Yes we did!” A nation just elected Attila the Hun and his side kick. A generation of poorly formed Catholics has voted for the culture of death.
A nation is permitted its greatness and also its decline into corruption and death. 50 million innocent victims stand as witnesses against the USA. On the basis of the evidence, what jury wouldn’t convict?
If you really look at where dissident Catholic politicians are getting their fuel, it is from dissident Catholic theologians and professors. As long as these people have good standing to teach at Catholic institutions, they will be successful at undermining efforts like the one put out by over 120 bishops.
These same dissidents are used by the secular media looking for loop-hole theology.
I made a commentary, Blessed are they who mourn… on this last night as it became clear Obama would come out ahead.
Now, it’s time to make acts of reparation and to pray more fervently that our bishops will not only talk, but take action to end scandalizing of ordinary Catholics.
(My wife and I constantly argue about her receiving in the hand.)
She asked me why so many Catholics voted for B. Hussein Obama.
I told my wife that I suppose 100% of Catholics who received on the tongue voted for McCain.
The same could not be said for those who receive in the hand. I think I am getting through.
My two boys (ages 16 and 10) will say the rosary tonight for B. Hussein Obama and all his “Catholic” supporters tonight. I ask that you encourage other children to do the same.
I will have a nine month old baby in Sept (our first!), but God willing, I’ll do everything I can to make it up there! It’ll be good to meet another Anglican turned Catholic!
It is depressing that so many Catholics would give their vote to a pro-abortion candidate, but it really isn’t that surprising. The Church has done about everything She could to accommodate Herself to the world and to secularism in the last 40 years, and the results of this election are another way we will reap the punishment.
Is it so surprising that Catholics have no qualms voting for Obama when our priests have remained largely silent about hard issues like abortion and artificial contraception in their homilies over the past decades? Is a Catholic vote for Obama so surprising in an environment where our bishops only now have begun to speak out clearly and directly about the evils of voting for a pro-abortion candidate? Is it so surprising that Catholics ignore Church teaching in an environment where the medicinal punishment of excommunication is never handed out, even in the most heinous cases? Is it really so surprising that Catholics ignore the teachings of their Catholic Faith when their primary formation in the Faith has often occurred through stripped down, irreverent, and secularized liturgies?
Catholic leaders have to become more direct and vocal in how they teach basic truths about what it means to be a Catholic. Catholic bishops cannot be afraid to excommunicate people. It does no good to let Catholics remain in their sin and ignorance. Lastly, we all need to pray and fast to bring about the Reign of Christ the King.
Here are the top ten states in regards to percentage Catholic:
1. Rhode Island- 59.5%
2. Massachusetts- 42%
3. New Jersey- 41%
4. New York- 37.1%
5. Connecticut- 36.6%
6. Nevada- 32.3%
7. Illinois- 30.1%
8. Delaware- 29.7%
9. Wisconsin- 29.5%
10. California- 28.6%
Guess who they all elected as President?
JohnE said: What was your proportionate reason for voting for Obama?…I’ve never heard an intelligible reason, and most ignore the question completely. Here’s your chance to start working on that speech.
Sorry, but I would be putting my head on the block for sure, if I even tried to respond to your question. Your mind is already made up that any reason will not be proportionate.
Are you sure PA isn’t about 1/3 Catholic? I think that’s what FOX news indicated last night.
In related news, at my brother’s parish here in NJ, a mother recently removed her
5th grader from CCD, and switched parishes, on the advice from a diocesan priest,
upon hearing the shocking news that not only the CCD teacher,
but even the Pastor of the Parish, were teaching the children about…
now hold your breath…
Susan, et al.:
Do you mean the March for Life in JANUARY? I don’t know about one in September.
50 million aborted innocents: “Why did you vote for someone who said he wanted to ensure our murders remained legal and even wanted to remove what little restrictions were already in place?”
standing maryanna: “SIGH…Sorry, but I would be putting my head on the block for sure, if I even tried to respond to your question. Your mind is already made up that any reason will not be proportionate.”
The USCCB source that Dr. Eric used lists PA as 28.4% Catholic, so excuse me for
any confusion I may have caused.
I believe that PA is #11 (Obama) and LA is #12 (McCain.)
There were only 2 states in the top 15 that didn’t elect Obama.
It is possible, just possible, that some of us have our minds “already made up” about the fact that there was no proportional reason to vote for Obama because there was no proportional reason to vote for Obama.
As Blessed Pope John XXIII taught in Mater et Magistra, “individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution” (219). The legality of abortion is a direct assault on the foundation and purpose of the political community itself. The rule of law and the common good are meaningless concepts if innocent human beings are allowed to be legally murdered.
This teaching is reaffirmed and made even more explicit in Servant of God Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae: “Disregard for the right to life, precisely because it leads to the killing of the person whom society exists to serve, is what most directly conflicts with the possibility of achieving the common good” (72). One cannot truly work towards the common good by ignoring the legality of abortion. The legality of abortion necessarily undermines the common good.
A candidate who runs on a pro-abortion platform essentially states that he will not work towards the purpose of government, i.e. the common good. He renders his administration incapable of benefiting the common good in any way except accidentally. This is because the very nature his administration’s position attacks the common good by enabling the legal attack on the lives of the unborn.
Thus, it would not be true that one is acting to protect an important good in supporting a pro-abortion candidate. And similarly, one cannot say that one is avoiding a worse evil if the candidate one supports has, on the issue that per se undermines the common good, the worst position out of all the candidates. And, since those are the only two ways one could have a proportional reason to vote for Obama, it follow that there is no proportional reason to vote for Obama.
Did I say September? If I was the Susan referred to?
I certainly meant January!
I attended the first Right to Life March in 1974 with my one month old baby in a front pack and my 18 month old in a stroller. I attended the March in 1977 when I was 8 months pregnant with my third. I was HUGE! I got a lot of very pleasant attention.
I admit though, that at that time I lived close by, in Annapolis and so didn’t have a long journey to make to get there. For a long time after I moved to upstate New York, I didn’t attend; I had too many children to bring along, no one to watch them, and not enough money to pay for either busfare or gas to get there. In fact I probably didn’t have a car that would make the trip. I just started going again three years ago. So I know there are people who can’t make it. But if you can, please go.
I think this a time for the Bishops to take more aggressive measures against these “Catholics.” This was such an important election and that can be seen in the statements by many bishops and priests. Father Bart at my parish of St. John Cantius delivered a strong and firm sermon against abortion and Obama. It is appalling to see so many Catholics vote for him…I am sad, disappointed and disgusted.
suppose one believed sincerely that neither candidate would have any resultant effect on the abortion question in America (despite their campaign promises, legislative plans, etc.). In other words, suppose one had sincerely concluded after much thought that candidate’s promises rarely come true, are often just false advertising, and even if sincere were unlikely to change the laws. Suppose exactly the same number of abortions would occur no matter which candidate was elected. Wouldn’t that leave you free to decide your vote on other matters?
I think the short answer is “no”. If you truly believe that McCain’s selection of judges, use of the bully pulpit, and legislative agenda with regard to public funding of abortions would be no better than Obama’s enthusiastic guarantee of a dead child to every pregnant woman who wants one, then you have no choice but to vote for a third party candidate. A Catholic cannot in good conscience vote for a person who will promote an intrinsic evil.
To standing maryanna, to be blunt, you have a misinformed conscience. You support a man who believes killing babies is ok. Your conscience lacks formation, and yes, I am making a judgement , just as I make a judgement on what I am going to wear. That is what a brain is for.
In other words, suppose one had sincerely concluded after much thought that candidate’s promises rarely come true, are often just false advertising, and even if sincere were unlikely to change the laws. Suppose exactly the same number of abortions would occur no matter which candidate was elected. Wouldn’t that leave you free to decide your vote on other matters?
What grounds would one possibly have to do this if one does not trust the candidate’s word? “He’s not telling the truth about abortion, but he is about health care,” for example, strikes me as nonsensical. If you don’t trust the candidate, then how could you ever vote for him?
Moreover, the candidates and their words do not come into existence ex nihilo. Presidential candidates from the two major parties have a political history, a history that is public record. When one has been continually given an approval rating of 0% by NARAL and the other continually given one of 100%, it seems impossible to claim that neither candidate will act in accordance with their stated positions. They already have, and in so doing they have concretely demonstrated that they actually hold the positions they profess.
Finally, our Lord tells us that, “He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater” (Luke 16:10). It is perfectly in keeping with the text to take this statement as a conditional: If one is just in small things, then one will be just in large things. But if this is so, then the following contrapositive statement is also necessarily true: If one is not just in large things, then one will not be just in small things.
Now, someone who supports abortion is not faithful in the largest and most fundamental duty of government. Thus, if one trusts the words of our Lord, it seems that one cannot trust him in smaller things either. This is true regardless of whether or not he can make his will manifest through the political power he wields. He has, by the disposition of his will, has set himself in formal opposition to the common good. And thus he is not–again, by the disposition of his will–formally capable of benefiting the common good. He may do so materially and accidentally, but if so it is not because of his positions but rather contrary to them, and, as such, it is no credit to him. Nor is it credit to those who supported him, at least not unless all candidates were equally as formally opposed to the common good, in which case there could be proportionate reasons to support the candidate who, in one’s prudential judgment, was most likely to materially and accidentally benefit the common good. But that situation did not exist in the 2008 presidential race.
Thank-you. For me it doesn’t seem so black and white. (small unintended pun there). When I peer into the hazy future, say 2012 or 2016, it is my expectation that Roe will still be there, and FOCA is unlikely to pass. That left me feeling free to vote on other issues, which I did.
My conscience, especially when formed around issues off in the future, seems very much hazier and harder to see, and not so nearly sharp-edged as many of you seem to see things. Blessed for you, but a difficult struggle for me.
-Aside: if the poster howard is around, I want to thank you for your beautiful comments to me last month. Jesus is so alive for you, while I feel about to drown. You have had an impact on my journey, and I didn’t remember to thank-you for it until now. No reply necessary.
Oops, how did that happen? I will avoid the dash character.
Aside: if the poster howard is around, I want to thank you for your beautiful comments to me last month. Jesus is so alive for you, while I feel about to drown. You have had an impact on my journey, and I didn’t remember to thankyou for it until now. No reply necessary.
What about putting up the Jewish votes Obama 78% !
When I peer into the hazy future, say 2012 or 2016, it is my expectation that Roe will still be there, and FOCA is unlikely to pass.
All that is completely possible. But it does not seem relevant to me. That is why I mentioned neither overturning Roe nor passing FOCA in my arguments.
What I mean is, even if FOCA can never pass, promising to pass it reaffirms that Obama holds the radically anti-life position that his record demonstrates. Promising to appoint justices that will uphold Roe does the same. It is not simply about whether or not he can live up to his pro-abortion campaign promises. It is about the disposition of his will–as demonstrated by his words and his record–and how such a disposition relates to the common good. And, as I argued, these things demonstrate that the disposition of Obama’s will renders him formally opposed to the common good, no matter what his material and accidental effects of it may end up being.
In other words, even if one could reliably see the future and know that the abortion laws in the United States in 2012 or 2016 would be unchanged under either of the major candidates, one could still not vote for Obama. Because, again, the disposition of his will, as demonstrated by his words and actions, makes him formally opposed to the common good. For, as numerous Popes have reminded us, to be opposed to the protection of the lives of innocent persons is to be, by necessity, opposed to the common good.
ekefant said:Your conscience lacks formation, and yes, I am making a judgement , just as I make a judgement on what I am going to wear. That is what a brain is for.
Would you also like to cast the first stone?
Would you also like to cast the first stone?
What he said certainly doesn\’t have to mean that. It could be like saying, \”Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery\” (John 8:4). It\’s true, even if one is using the truth unjustly to try to condemn or to trap.
Or it might even be like saying, \”Go, and now sin no more\” (John 8:11), since it seems to imply that you should go form your conscience in line with the Church, which is \”the pillar and ground of the truth\” (I Timothy 3:16).
It would also do well to remember that instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinner are spiritual works of mercy, and thus find their origin in charity.
I blew out my knee today. Not good at all. But it looks like I have some spiritual ammunition to launch at this. Reparation and conversion? Would that be putting God to the test? All things are possible, right?
And I read on another website that the Pope and the U S Bishops sent letters of congratulations to Obama. I understand being polite. I also understand that his election will likely result in up to another 1000 abortions a day in addition to the over 3000 per day now. So we congratulate the enemy? Come on Church get real and get practical. There is a solution would only Church leaders LEAD. If all the Bishops, and I mean all, consistently and uniformly spoke out against all of the sinful (oh there’s a word we don’t hear from them often) actions of government and if Priests TAUGHT Catholic beliefs instead of feel good socialism there is a chance the majority of Catholics would vote pro-life next time. Couple a few well deserved excommunications of high profile defiant Catholic politicians with that and the Bishops could actually get the faithful’s attention. We are facing outright persecution of the U S Catholic Church and the Bishops have no idea how to wage battle…in fact the very thought of battle and war sends them to the liquor cabinet. Think I’m kidding? Bet ya within 1 year all schools will have to comply with a federal law requiring teaching of the gay and lesbian agenda. Comply or go to jail–or shut down parochial schools. All hospitals must provide abortion and Plan B or face the same consequences. Any teaching the tennants of our faith which opposes abortion, same sex marriage, etc will become a hate crime.
Sure hope I’m wrong but if I’m right and the Bishops haven’t begun the process of converting the majority of Catholics, who based upon polling data voted cutlure of death rather than respect for life, the battle will be forever lost in this country. U S Church leadership (at least 2/3 of the Bishops) have yet to speak out. They must think this is an academic exercise rather than a real life struggle.
It’s called diplomacy. The Pope is a Head of State in international law. It is also far better to wear a velvet glove over one’s iron hand.
You read that the way I did (I would have highlighted the same,etc.). This is the killer line of the entire story to me: “Without the shift of Catholic voters responding to the messages of President-elect Barack Obama, it is unlikely he would be leading our nation come January.” I personally think this reflects on the bishops of the USA. I even heard from the pulpit on Sunday before voting: “Remember to vote for the common good” Me and my husband looked at each other (oh, we’re part of that “Practicing” RC group ;P) and made the same face that said: “Huh?!” “Vote for the common good.” NOT “vote for the pro-life candidate” or “Vote for life”…People are in this agnostic rebelling society of “reality” (eye roll) TV and “living large”…and this pulls upon people daily as they are out there saturated in it…and when they don’t get “proper teaching” (whose office is that?) or even guidance such as “read this…” or “wake up”, what can you expect? I think it is ignorance and misplaced compassion for the majority (of the pro-abortion Catholics)…and, hatred by others who “pose” to be “Catholic” but to them it means they were probably baptized as an infant but that’s about it ;P. I would not want to be a bishop today…they have a very difficult job because they let the masses go stupid for so long, it’s kind of hard to turn back stampeding wild mustangs. I also think our USA Bishops NEED PRAYER from those who do pray and attend Mass. Satan is having a field day and knows just who he needs to “lull into a sleep” to make his best moves…that would be the Bishops. The masses get confused when told “vote for the common good” and see Biden being treated like celebrity by priests or given communion. They get discouraged and wonder “if they can’t do it, why should I even try?” They need our prayers…because when it comes to their one on one meeting with the Lord, I have a feeling many of them will be in the surprised group who hears: “GO AWAY. I DO NOT KNOW YOU.” “WTF? You don’t know me? I served you my entire life as a bishop.” “Go away. When I was a few growing cells in mothers wombs, you knew me not…when…when…” It’s scary stuff and we need to pray that they have a wake up call. We also need to keep the ignorant ones with misplaced compassion in our prayers that by God’s good grace they’ll hear or read something (support Catholic media!) that will touch them and change them. It’s a battle and we need our combat boots on. No time to sip a beer and watch reality tv.
Anyhow, my 2 cents. :D
Problem is that historically the velvet glove never comes off and the iron hand is never used. Political correctness is what got us where we are today which is not an enviable position from a morality standpoint. I say nothing will be lost by no longer being the nice guy either internally by continuing to avoid a discusssion of sin and its consequences or externally by not taking on the culture of death—not as a bunch of individual catholics (which is what the respect for life program is in many dioceses) but as a united CHURCH led by Bishops with guts. Where I live, yep it’s rural and we cling to our bibles and our guns, velvet gloves aren’t worn much. The horse manure get’s em dirty!
Standing Maryanna, look at what you are doing. Using Sacred Scripture to defend the indefensible.Your conscience is misguided, led by emotion rather than the Catholic Faith. You voted for, and are proud of it, for a man who supports abortion on demand and infanticide. Blood is on your hands and any other person, especially Catholics, who voted for this man. I suspect your pride at this point will not admit you made a mistake, but you committed, in the objective sense, a grave sin. I cannot judge your subjective motive, but the action of supporting this man, is gravely wrong.
Take it from Archbishop Chaput, the lion of American bishops now, there is no proportionate reason. Or would you rather follow Fr Feelgood or a certain law professor?
For this disgrace, I think the Holy See should place us all under an interdict, say for Lent 2009. It’s the romantic in me.
“If my people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.: (2Chron.7:14)
I hope it is not impolite to wonder if there was a difference in the Republican/Democrat split between white and hispanic Catholics? I ask this because I have read elsewhere that the hispanic vote was instrumental in giving Obama his margin of victory.