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Scott P. Richert

Where Do We Go From Here?

By November 6, 2008

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For Catholics, the election of Barack Obama presents certain challenges. His devotion to abortion rights exceeds that of any previous candidate for the presidency. Yet the exit polls indicate that he received a majority of the votes of white Catholics, though not of Catholics who attend Mass weekly.

Since attendance at Sunday Mass is one of the precepts of the Church, weekly Mass-goers are, by definition, more faithful Catholics, and they may well have been more open to instruction from their bishops. During the weeks leading up to the election (according to a post on JimmyAkin.org) "over a third of the U.S. bishops emphasized the exceptional weight of abortion and other fundamental life issues as not just one set of issues among many."

Of course, as I explained in a number of blog posts and articles here, that cut both ways. John McCain has consistently supported embryonic stem-cell research, and he has been inconsistent in his opposition to abortion. And on other issues, such as the war in Iraq, he has gone against the judgment of two successive popes.

In other words, while Obama's stand on abortion should have prevented faithful Catholics from voting for him, McCain's positions might well have convinced such Catholics that they could not vote for him, either. (That was the decision I made, and I voted for a third-party candidate who unequivocally opposed abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and the war in Iraq.)

How did we end up in a situation where neither major-party candidate for president was fully satisfactory from the standpoint of Catholic teaching? And, more importantly, where do we go from here?

A friend of mine from graduate school, Fr. Rob Johansen, offered some penetrating thoughts on these questions in "Our Faustian Bargain: Catholics Caught Between Parties." Published on InsideCatholic.com (now crisismagazine.com) on Election Day, the article was not an attempt to sway the Catholic vote in 2008 but an acknowledgment of the problem and a discussion of how to act in the future.

As Father Johansen notes, "Catholics are identifying and aligning themselves with the candidates and parties in question," rather than demanding that candidates and parties align themselves with the moral truths that the Catholic Church teaches. That means that:

In essence, faithful Catholics are forced to accept whatever bones the major parties and candidates throw us: If we think the Democrats offer more compassionate social policies and the prospect of ending the war in Iraq, we must tolerate their embrace of abortion and same-sex unions. If we think the Republicans offer the best hope of eliminating abortion-on-demand and defending marriage, we have to be willing to tolerate their embrace of "preventive" war and so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Catholics, it would seem, are being forced to make Faustian bargains every time they enter the voting booth.

But if we continue to act this way, from a Catholic standpoint, politics in America will get worse, not better. "The teaching of the Church and of our bishops," Father Johansen writes, "instructs us to take our faith as our starting point and build our politics around that." In order to do that, however, we cannot let any political party count on our votes:

What if Catholic Democrats, tired of having to choose between social policy and defending the right to life, said, "We're going to withhold our votes until the leadership takes our life-issue concerns seriously. When the national party is ready to countenance a legislative initiative that will meaningfully restrict the abortion license, we'll give you our support"?
And what if Catholic Republicans said, "For 30 years you have taken our support for granted on life issues. Unless you seriously rein in foreign adventurism and reject the Guantanamo-and-rendition assaults on human rights, we will withhold our support"? Eventually, political necessity would force them to pay attention (or if they didn't, we'd at least have our integrity).

Father Johansen ends his article by noting that "Catholics make up some 25 percent of the population, but we exercise an influence far smaller than our numbers." If we approached politics in the light of our Catholic Faith, instead of approaching our Faith as Democrats or Republicans, we would be a tremendous force for change in this country.

It's something to think about, especially now that both the White House and Congress will, come January, be firmly in the hands of those who oppose Church teaching on abortion and homosexual marriage. Take a few minutes to read, thoughtfully and prayerfully, Father Johansen's article. Then please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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November 6, 2008 at 9:53 am
(1) NSGill says:

I agree with a lot of what you say, if from a different perspective.
People commonly say “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.” Unfortunately, for too long, there has been no major party candidate who matched my views on essential issues, but that’s hardly a surprise. What is a surprise is that more people don’t feel that way and act upon it.

The two-party system and the parties’ fund raising abilities have put a stranglehold on the U.S. political process. Rather than expecting that the two major parties would ever adopt to positions at odds with what their pundits support, I think third parties are the way to go. Somehow I wish it were possible to hush the being a spoiler or wasted voice.

November 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm
(2) Chris says:

In a two-party system like ours, it is easy to bemoan the lack options that are available especially when one finds him/herself on the extreme side of the debate with no party to fully champion his beliefs. But, such is the genius of the American political system. It was James Madison who relied on the natural tendency of factions to compete amongst one another in order preserve what would be a balance of interest in the country.

Catholics who identify as solid social conservatives may feel disappointment and even worry in the election of a potentially “progressive” candidate. Yet, it ought not to be seen as the end of days, but a restoration of social equilibrium. It makes sense that after nearly a decade of conservative policies, a new candidate will turn America back on a direction that at the very least will point to a centrist position on the spectrum. This may be troublesome news for some of the “traditionally faithful” who perceive church doctrine as being beyond contestation, but with studies reflecting a nation split on many issues, one side cannot be sovereign if we are to preserve what it means to be a free democracy. After all, no part is ever always greater than the whole – a lesson I would like to think can be seen in how Catholics mattered greatly in 2004 and not enough in 2008.

In the last eight years of Bush’s presidency, a nation fell apart. That is perhaps more of a result of the actual man than the conservative policies he advocated. But, at its core, his mistake was that he had forgotten his role as a representative of the entire body opting instead to impose the goals of one side of what had already been a divisive issue. Under Bush, conservatives have made strides in the last decade, and progressives have suffered too many sighs to be enjoyed by any one person. But the bottom line remains that such a shift must happen if we are to maintain a centrist perspective that considers both sides.

And so I respectfully disagree with Mr. Richert when he argues that American politics will get worse not better. For, where there is a bigger picture to contemplate, a shift away from extreme standpoints becomes the first step to healing social divides. I see the changes to come as proof that politics is not as broken as my counterparts would believe.

Beyond affiliation, thanks to all those who voted!

November 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

Chris, our Constitution doesn’t establish a “two-party system.” That has come about through extraconstitutional means. Madison, in speaking of faction in the Federalist, wasn’t operating on the assumption that there would be two parties. And there’s no reason why we as Catholics should operate on that assumption, either.

You’ve made it clear in other comment threads that you are “pro-choice,” which makes your remarks about those “who perceive church doctrine as being beyond contestation” a bit disingenuous. We’re talking about the destruction of unborn human life, something that has been condemned by the Church from the first century A.D.

To claim to be Catholic while ignoring the constant teaching of the Church on this matter is problematic, to say the least.

November 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm
(4) Sheila says:

Sen. McCain has always been anti-abort, his views changed regarding exceptions(rape,incest), his view also have changed about whether to ‘repeal’ roe-v-wade and turn it back to states or make it illegal. His escr is moot considering now they can get p-potent embryonic like cells different ways. Obama on the other hand is so far left that it would set us back to the beginning. 50 million babies have been mutilated or burned, it is the most heinous violation of God’s moral law to hit this planet, IT is Genocide. White catholics cost this election by throwing their vote to an unwinnable candidate or not voting at all. SOME even voted for Obama. There is no excuse, no amount of manipulating Church teaching will suffice. People manipulated Vatican II teachings too. It’s so apparent that american Catholics have not been properly cathecized. We now have in the white house an absolute abortion fanatic rather than a slim possibility of an exception to an abortion law, and someone who stood up and said unequiv. that life begins at conception. It’s a real shame that McCain is not in the white house and Obama is. Thanks white american catholics. Politicians find loop holes too.

November 7, 2008 at 3:17 am
(5) Dell says:

Personally I don’t think Senator McCain would have been any better of a choice but I wont digress.
It seem to just be the nature of politics in this country, the candidate who’s policies more people find less hard to swallow is usually the one who wins.
I think the only way to fully overcome these issues would be to have an officially christian nation, governed by the teachings of the church, which would be kind of hard to do in a country founded as a non-theocracy.
Also it seems no church is willing to take an official stance on political candidates, perhaps out of fear of alienating some of its members as well as possible future leaders of a nation in which it resides?
If we decide to withhold our votes from either party that would just leave elections to be decided by other fractions of society. Maybe the answer isn’t endorsing a particular candidate but when there are one or more candidates who’s policies fully align with the teachings of the church, the church should do something to highlight the fact, making them a less obscure option.

November 7, 2008 at 12:15 pm
(6) Hengruh says:

I don’t fit into any of the camps exactly. I am anti-abortion, but when the life of the mother is at stake, hard choices have to be made. I am anti-murder in ANY case, but when I have a gun, and someone has a knife at my wife’s throat, hard choices have to be made. In both cases, we will face our Maker and only God knows our hearts and the turmoil we face in making hard choices. So I am pro-life and pro-gun, and some would find that confusing. But I am also pro-environment and pro-populist. Where does that leave me? Sure, there is no way one can rationalize the murder of millions of unborn souls. There is also no way to rationalize the rape and pillage of our environment to suit the buying of SUVs for the greedy rich. Because destroying the environment means not only murder of millions of the unborn, it means the murder of millions of people around the globe through drought, pollution, pestilence, and war. So why can’t we have a candidate who will protect the unborn AND the environment? We all have to make hard choices, and will have to account to God for what we chose to do with those choices.

November 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(7) Karen Permillion says:

First of all, attending Mass on a weekly basis, if not daily, does not make one a devout, faithful Catholic (Christian); this is confirmed in Matthew 7:20-22. God created individuals: each with his/her own DNA and perception/interpretation of scripture and church doctrine. God instructs His children to obey, more than tithe or sacrifice. He also instructed the Shepherds to give His word to His people, and the Roman Catholic Church has failed (as a whole) in that respect because the Church does not consistently or collectively promote and provide Christian Education for children and adults, except where the preparation for the sacraments are concerned. So, how can one expect the people of God to obey when they are ignorant of “sound doctrine?”

You state “faithful Catholics” may have been more inclined to listen to their bishops, but what confirmation of God’s word did the bishops provide – or the priests? The bishops and Pope are “men” – human beings – flesh; and, while I do reverence their position in the hierarchy, I desire sound biblical doctrine to support whatever stand I take against or for a candidate, a ballot measure, or church doctrine.

Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being my priest since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” How can we raise a well-educated, primed, Christian and/or Catholic candidate that follows God’s word and is open to the direction of the Holy Spirit, if we fail to educate them to know God’s word?

Fr. Johansen makes valid points and I agree with certain aspects of his ideal, but that ideal has flaws. In my opinion, we must embrace our Catholic faith, first by embracing the Word of God and making it the foundation of our homes. Each week that concept should be taught to the congregations, as well as, how to combat the false gods, which promote: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life – those images streamed to us day after day via various forms of media. Just as we choose to elect a leader to direct this nation, we must choose to elect a leader to direct our lives as stated perfectly in Joshua 24:14-16…”Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. The people answered and said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;”

So, if we approach our faith with the same energy and interest as we do politics, what a tremendous force we would be to the world.

November 7, 2008 at 6:11 pm
(8) Chris says:

Mr. Richert – I never argued that an American two-party system was a constitutional mandate. In referencing Madison, I sought only to recall his ideas that factions would establish a balance among interests in the nation – something I perceive as evident in the upcoming shift from one party to another. Should anyone withhold a vote in protest of this is completely their choice.

Further, I do not believe my thoughts should be discounted simply because I disagree with certain Catholic premises. So to dismiss my comments as “disingenuous” is itself a cyclical argument to wage since one could easily criticize conservative Catholics for lecturing social progressives (if not more so) on their pro-choice arguments.

Finally, I must disagree with you when you say “To claim to be Catholic while ignoring the constant teaching of the Church on this matter is problematic.” On the contrary, I feel this to be a healthy reaction. To do otherwise is perhaps why critics of the Catholic tradition have found it so easy to write off Christians as blind sheep. Though my knowledge on Church history is modest at best, I would dare to argue that it was this same healthy digression that saw an end to many of the Church’s historical mistakes such as monetary indulgences. To his credit, Pope John Paul II was known to publically apologize for mistakes made in the service of the Church on several occasions during his pontificate. The point I wish to make is that even Church doctrine is vulnerable to error and to question it is as much a service to the church as it is follow it.

November 9, 2008 at 10:57 am
(9) chris says:

God is sending us a message with the election by the people—young, old , black, white , Catholic and non-Catholic- of this young man born of a black father and white mother. It is time to heal, to make peace, to restore our belief in this country and to repair our faltering image to the rest of the world. Let us pray for him that God will guide him to do what is best for all the people and religions of this great country.

November 11, 2008 at 4:35 am
(10) Terry Lehane says:

It gets tiresome listening to people belly aching about abortion without offering any real alternative. Let’s face it–we are fast approaching the point when the world will no longer be able to feed her people. So what is YOUR solution? What would the population of China be if she did not have her one child pro-abortion policy? Is the Catholic approach to save all life until it strangles us all?
I don’t like abortion. But how about some solutions attached to all this belly aching! If you can’t improve on what we have, perhaps it is time to stop complaining about it.

November 11, 2008 at 9:20 am
(11) Kim says:

Barack Obama himself said no one is pro-abortion. He is for a woman making her own decision. These women have been given a free will from God. THAT is what rules women’s decisions, not Barck Obama. This country has been a poster child for war, arrogance, and how to ruin friendships and alliances the past 8 years. We can thank God that a man who yearns to promote peace is in office. After all, peace is what Jesus stands for; this country can finally live that Word.

November 11, 2008 at 10:51 am
(12) Sheila says:

It isn’t that our church teachings are faulty, at least not those from our popes, it’s manipulating the teachings to suit ourselves. Popes are not infallible, popes can and do sin, but Church teachings are without error.(the gates of hell shall not prevail) If Catholics don’t realize this basic fact, then no wonder america’s catholics pick and choose. Some bishops and priests do the same thing. Our country has addressed environment for years. We can’t touch a seal, or a seal egg, but there is an all out war on babes in the womb. Obama is now making it very possible to force abortions through the UN, we will most likely have escr. Taxpayers will be forced to fund it, all against our concience. The genocide continues and in greater force than ever before. Human’s are used, researched, killed and thrown away. Of course Obama is pro-abortion. Why else would he say that his daughters shouldn’t be punished with a mistake, instead of saying a baby(his grandchild) would be an unexpected blessing. Bishops and priests in the US have not cathecized properly for a generation. It’s no wonder that catholics allowed the most pro-abort pres. in american history. Women and babies have been helped by crisis pregnancy centers for years. Before the baby is born and after. That is where the funding should have been all this time, instead of helping pp perpetuate the slaughter of millions. There is no reason for any catholic not to know for a fact what the church teaches, not while we still have internet access to the documents themselves. We still pick and choose. Cafeteria catholics, thanks. Obama will sign FOCA(millions more), escr(experiments and cloning), UN forced abortions(national), unFairness doctrine(conservative free speech). We don’t have a pres., we have a pretty talking dictator. Welcome to the USSA. Our Lady of Fatima warned us that Russia’s errors would be spread if we didn’t wake up. We always try to get through life without an ounce of suffering or sacrifice. It isn’t the common people that allow hunger and poverty, it’s governments. The Catholic Church has fed, clothed, educated, helped build and rebuild for over 2000 years. Now we have a dictator wanting to take over, ‘for the good of all.’ That has been tried and failed with Lenon, Stalin, Pol Pot, has not history taught us anything? God have mercy. Obama started his civil military years ago. Have you not seen the Youtube of young people in fatigues singing praise to the mighty one? It’s good to get young people motivated for self improvement and success. But, why didn’t they sing and march with the words for ‘God’ instead of doing it for Obama?

November 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm
(13) sylvia says:

For the first time since converting to Catholicism throught the RCIA, I am ashamed for that article, “where do we fo throm here?”

November 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm
(14) Scott P. Richert says:

Sylvia, would you expand on your comment?

November 11, 2008 at 7:16 pm
(15) Scott P. Richert says:

Kim, “free will” does not mean that all choices that are made are moral. God gave us free will to choose the good, not to choose evil. Those who are in a position to convince people not to choose evil and instead tell them that they are allowed to do so (and even cloak it in terms of “freedom of choice”) are leading people down the road to perdition.

Eve had free will. The choice she made was wrong, and thus sin entered the world. Much of the history of mankind since the Garden of Eden is the history of the misuse of free will.

November 11, 2008 at 9:33 pm
(16) Jim Geiger says:

I do not understand how that Roman Catholic priest or any bishop can preach from the pulpit about any presidential candidate. I am an Episcopal and our faith believes that there is a separation of church and state. I personally believe that if you have the right to preach from the pulpit about a candidate that you should not be tax-free.

November 11, 2008 at 10:12 pm
(17) Scott P. Richert says:

Mr. Geiger, Father Johansen’s article was published on a website; it was not a sermon. Moreover, if you look at the text, you will find that he did not mention any presidential candidates but instead discussed issues of concern to Catholics.

November 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm
(18) Jim Geiger says:

Thank you Mr. Richert for your reply.
I am sorry that you misunderstood my question. I was not referring to Father Johansen’s article. I was asking in general. I have seen McCain signs on Roman Catholic Church property, and as I have stated I belong to the Episcopal Church so I have not heard Obama’s name mentioned from the pulpit. I do have many friends that are Roman and they have told me that on several occasions they where told to vote for McCain.
I do believe that the church’s have every right to teach about abortion and stem cell research, but not in any political view by name or endorse any candidate from the pulpit.

November 11, 2008 at 11:27 pm
(19) Scott P. Richert says:

I apologize for the misunderstanding. The Catholic Church, at the institutional level, follows the election laws of the United States. That does not mean, of course, that an individual priest might not violate them, but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issues very strict instructions to priests about what they may or may not do.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t be quick to draw conclusions from the placement of campaign signs; having worked on local political campaigns, I know that zealous campaign workers often place signs where they think they should go rather than where they have been requested.

As for your friends, were they explicitly told to vote for McCain, or is that the conclusion that they drew from what they were told? I ask that question because of my own experience running this guidesite. A number of readers have claimed in comments that I have said that they must vote for McCain, and yet nothing I’ve written says that (indeed, I didn’t vote for McCain or Obama, so I’d hardly tell others they must do so).

November 11, 2008 at 11:54 pm
(20) Carolyn says:

To Sheila,

Regarding your comment about “picking and choosing” as Catholics: Don’t we, as voters, all have to pick and choose from a variety of issues – not about what to believe on a faith level, but which particular political candidate we more trust or believe. I, for one, did not really trust McCain was going to be able to end abortion by nominating a new supreme court justice. And we might have to vote Republican for another 8 or 12 years before we would see anything done about abortion. Meanwhile, the country is at stake.

If the Republicans care so much about babies, why don’t they vote for infant health iniatives?? Why don’t they provide more employee day care centers? Why don’t they raise wages and create programs to help young men value being fathers and breadwinners?? THAT would truly be prolife!

November 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm
(21) Carolyn says:

Richert: You said “I voted for a third-party candidate who unequivocally opposed abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and the war in Iraq.” Who was this? I sincerely am curious. I never, ever heard Nader talk about abortion at all and I had wondered what his stance was, but presumed he was otherwise…Was it him?

Thank you.

November 13, 2008 at 4:01 pm
(22) Daphne says:

The five non-negotiables of the Catholic moral teaching do not include day care centers, wages or “programs.” Had you considered that those are all issues with which well-intentioned people may not agree? There are negative consequences of government sponsored day care centers and of a higher minimum wage.
I believe it is the responsibility of churches and Christians to help the poor, NOT of the government. Traditionally, they’ve done a much better job, partly because of the added accountability, compassion and the spiritual dimension, which addresses the whole person.
On the other hand, a Catholic, informed and with a well-formed conscience, may NOT vote for a candidate who supports any of the 5 five non-negotiables: abortion, embryonic research, euthanasia, human cloning, and homosexual ‘marriage.’ On these issues, there is no “other side.”

August 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm
(23) Brenda says:

I understand your reason for wanting to abstain from voting for either. It is the lesser of two evils, I wholeheartedly agree with that. Certainly as a Catholic “Mr.” Obama is the last choice. However, my fear in abstaining from voting to make my voice heard, risks “Mr.” Obama being re-elected. And that I cannot take for another 4 years.

August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(24) Joanne S. says:

I am not thrilled with Romney, but the alternative will see the end of the United States as we ever knew it. Obama will not only step up his persecution of the Catholic Church but will destroy the rule of law and separation of powers in the government. He is already doing that.

If you want Obama to finish the job of destroying this nation, Mr. Richert, then go ahead and waste your vote. With two other candidates, I might actually buy into your arguments, but not when one of the candidates is as close to destroying our republic as is Obama.

When the chief executive of the USA decides what laws HE wants to enforce; when he can create “unelected czars” to tell Americans what they can and cannot do or what will be in our healthcare plans; when he can issue marshall law if the election doesn’t go his way; when he can lie repeatedly because his lapdog media won’t telll the truth; when he can destroy states rights by pressuring them to do his bidding rather than the peoples; when he can make treaties with the U.N. that violate our constitution; when he can fund Planned Parenthood and force countries across the world to accept abortion,. then we are in BIG trouble. The loss of jobs, high unemployement, unbearable deficits are just part of his “record,” but it is his arrogance and ego that frighten me the most. Do you really have any idea how evil this man is, Mr. Reichert, or is your head buried in the sand? I wonder if you will feel any responsibility at all when Obama throws us in the dumpster with millions of unborn babies, euthanizes our elderly who are too costly to care for, and drives the church underground.

I’m dumbfounded that this nation is as blind as it is. With writers like you, Mr. Reichert, the blinders will remain.

August 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm
(25) Iri says:

Our integrity… mmm… It seems we are about to lose that as well. In the South, a traditional USA morally stronghold, is crumbling by the minute and us parents are acting scared and without a voice. For example, in less than a week’ span my girls have been exposed to several gay community acts forcing their beliefs on the rest of us. For instance, not only they are attacking the only corporation that stands by their beliefs on heterosexual marriages, but openly and defiantly attack imposing their value system. At this point, they are targeting the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A threatening them with a gay kissing in front of their restaurants. Also, I rented a NR movie last night to view with my 16 year-old daughter who wants to join the military, it was a Soldier’s Story, and was borderline female gay porno. I was shocked and stop the movie midway, for I missed the beginning part which later I found it was an introductory pro gay presentation. I chatted with a Redbox rental representative and she said there was nothing they could do to prevent this How about a a brief description and movie genre, so we can be better informed. In short, we need to demand to be respected in our beliefs. Passive resistance techniques like no voting or supporting another JFK “look alike” would work if done in masses. 25% is a big number in deed.

August 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm
(26) VirtutePerennis says:

The reason Catholics end up with no one to vote for is because they did not participate in democracy at the local levels. No one pays attention until their rights are threatened and by then the choices are few. Only about half of us will vote in the presidential election and less than 20% of registered voters will show up in a local election. So all of you philosophical writers rest your pens and just VOTE!

August 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm
(27) RamonAntonio says:

A state governing action must not be judged as a Catholic principle response or failure because the public position IS NOT OBTAINED BY BEING CATHOLIC OR MORMON. In fact, it shouldn’t. A democracy is not a religious state. A Muslim state is a religious state. That’s why they consider it legal to kill Christians because of their faith in their nations but illegal to kill Muslims in a Christian democratic nation.
So in essence, I don’t think that anyone is or acts more or less Catholic because they publicly oppose this or that candidate or because he or she should guide their vote according to Catholic precepts. I think we must abandon the incorrect stance of “voting as a Catholic’.
Let me be clear, abortion is the worst crime of the modern world and our failure to act against it has dire consequences over mankind as a whole. But that doesn’t mean, in my opinion, that the response is tied to the vote for a given candidate on that sole ground. The response against abortion must be a total and coherent response and that is something that our mother Church hasn’t achieved on this and other issues. The failure is ours for not being able to ensemble a coherent and massive response as Catholics.
To simply think that by rejecting a given candidate for his or her stand against one or a few issues (be them as extreme as abortion) and accepting another because he or she prays over the wounded in a war that he or she initially originated and has buried civilization in an almost world wide religious confrontation amounts to a lack of perspective from us as Catholics.
Jesus stated clearly: To the Caesar that which belongs to the Caesar, and to God that which belongs to God. Based on that PERSONAL decision through prayer and asking for guidance by the Spirit we should cast a vote. Guidance from a Catholic pundit is as valid as guidance by any other pundit.

August 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm
(28) Gary says:

What Catholics should do before voting: Step 1) Do not watch Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, (MS)NBC or any other talking heads program suggesting how you should vote – they all have an agenda and rarely Catholic. Step 2) Read your Catechism specifically 2242. Step 3) Read the Declaration of Independence. Step 4) Read the U. S. Constitution including the Bill of Rights . Step 5) Change your registration from D or R to Independent, Libertarian, or any other party – it sends a message. Step 6) Vote for someone or write someone in; not against someone. Step 7) Most important, pray. Pray for the candidates, the elected, and the integrity of the election (rampant vote fraud).

August 11, 2012 at 8:22 am
(29) Mgw says:

JOANNE S…….what you said, girl!!! Two thumbs up!

August 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm
(30) SMurdolo says:

I feel very strongly about this issue. I will not vote for an administration that doesn’t honor the law. It won’t honor the country’s law and definitely won’t honor God’s natural law. I am with Joanne S (from 8.10.12) on this one. I am praying night and day before the Lord that He will save our land from destruction. He’s corrupting the Supreme Court and the Senate. We the People voted the right people in but the job is not complete. I understand that the Church won’t give us her recommendation but certainly the Lord God doesn’t have to obey man-made laws. I think though Gary’s suggestion of reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church is wonderful.

August 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm
(31) Terry Brown says:

From outside your country I look with some horror at the choice you have. I think one problem is that the Catholic community is becoming one or two issue focussed and failing to see the damage being caused in your country and throughout the world by the greed of the few. Obama has been a disappointment although he still talks a good game but Romney looks a potential disaster for those living in need in the USA and, even more so, for those in the developing countries (or maybe we should say those that were developing).

Realistically I doubt if the number of abortions will change under either candidate but those, world wide, who die premature deaths due to Corporate greed and global warming will rise if you elect Romney so sorry but you have to get out and vote for Obama

September 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm
(32) Herman Figueira says:

What a wonderful opportunity we have for all who are worthy to be called Christians, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to unite in their voting for a third party that reflects purely christian morals and values. That would effectvely put both the Democrats and the Republicans out in the rain, and at the same time, demonstrate a very significant and positive inclination towards unity in the Mystical Body Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. After all is said and done, all God-fearing Christians must ultimately agree, in conscience, that the Catholic Church’s teaching, as expressed on this website, on these issues has to be right!

I urge everyone to prayerfully consider this option.


Herman Figueira.

November 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm
(33) Carol Woosley says:

Withholding our vote would nullify, not strengthen our influence. Groups who have had a small percentage of active voters, such as youth and Hispanics, have had their needs ignored by policy makers. Lately a larger percentage of these groups has been politically active, resulting in favorable policy changes, such as Obama’s pronouncement a few months ago easing immigration regulations for Hispanics. Pouting, non-participation, and other passive aggressive tactics are ineffective in adult circles.

I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestions that we must live a gospel-based faith every moment. Our own actions, have weakened the institutions we give lip service to, such as marriage.

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