A Coalition For Me, But Not For Thee

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

Morning’s Minion over at Vox Nova, recently argued that the pro-life movement should disentangle itself from the Republican party. I think a fairly good argument can be made for this position, although I don’t find it entirely convincing. As anyone familiar with the blogosphere is aware, however, the fact that a good argument can be made for a position does not mean that a good argument currently is being made. Here’s the post:

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28 Responses to A Coalition For Me, But Not For Thee

  • “I must confess that (in certain moods) it occurs to me that the animating force for this particular argument from some quarters may have more to do with concern for the Democratic party than the pro-life movement.”

    Moods is the right word here.

  • The man who spouts opposition to the minimum wage and advocates unrestricted assault weapons possessions has always seemed the best poster boy for the pro-life movement.

    Such a credible spokesperson for the sanctity of life in all its stages.

  • Frankly, as I’ve commented before, the only reason that the minimum wage currently seems insufficient is because we Americans believe that everyone has to own their own home, live away from their families, and subsist without any local support. You’d be amazed what a couple of families sharing a single house can accomplish on minimum wage or even less. It is hard, yes, but it is livable. The Catholic Church calls for a livable wage, not a luxurious one.

    As for guns, it is the epitome of folly to believe that a gun automatically equates with an assault weapon. But I suppose it depends on what you see. When you live in the big city, surrounded by gangstas popping caps in some cracker cop, I’m sure you can’t see guns as anything but murder tools. But when you live in wide open spaces (with bears), and you gun hunting regularly for food (in bear country), a gun is not just handy tool, but a necessity.

    Perhaps, Mark, you’d care to make more that slogan-like comments, maybe provide us with a little meat as to why you would oppose gun rights? Perhaps you’d care to break things down across different gun categories, examine demographics, and point to where, either in the Bible or the Catechism, or some papal encyclical, that states that guns should be forbidden?

  • “You’d be amazed what a couple of families sharing a single house can accomplish on minimum wage or even less. It is hard, yes, but it is livable.”

    This is so preposterous that it doesn’t even deserve a further response.

  • Living simply has its rewards. To many people have fallen for the lie that they have a right to a ‘tv’, an ‘suv’, and starbucks coffee at every corner. We here in America don’t know how good we have it. We live not above our means, but waaay above our means. An unsustainable lifestyle.

    We are seeing the repurcusions of this with the collapse of the Big 3 automakers among many other failures.

  • After the Democrats have been in control of Washington for a few years, I think a great many Americans will be lucky to be earning the minimum wage. The Bush administration has done a poor job obviously in its economic policy, but every bad job-destroying idea possible is just waiting to be enacted by the Democrats. The American people are about to learn a very costly lesson in what happens when the people in charge of Washington really believe they can legislate prosperity by government fiat through more regulation and control over private enterprise. A moderate recession is about to be made much worse.

  • It is so easy to extol the virtues of frugal living by others, as we communicate via our $1000 computers, is it not?

  • Mark, why does it not deserve a response? You do realize, don’t you, that many illegal immigrants that come to the states do exactly what I just mentioned? That fact that there are people who do that makes my statement far from absurd. We Americans would be better off if we weren’t so consumed with such pride that we’d rather have the government mandate high wages so we can earn a “respectable” living instead of banding together to help each other out.

    On a different note, obviously it did deserve a response, because you responded to it. Frankly, Mark, I’d really like to get an actual conversation going instead of trying to deal with endless non-starters. Please, instead of simply trying to shut conversation down, why not take a few minutes and give a reasonable response as to why it is absurd to suggest several families live together to help ends meet?

  • Mark,

    I got my computer at half that price after hunting for the cheapest PC I could find all day. Plus, I need it for work. I saved up for it after holding on to my five year old Toshiba until it was incapable of accomplishing the work I do on it.

    Simple living is one of the treasures I discovered these past few years. I hope the American people won’t have to learn the hard way as I had, but with the Dems in power, like Donald said, they will suffer greatly.

  • It would be such a nice change to have rational discourse with Mark and his friends, but when every argument reduces to “guns are evil, business is evil, money is evil,” there really isn’t much left to say.

    Seriously, are you guys Catholics or animists?

  • Ryan – How many other families have you welcomed into your home?

    Tito – Glad to hear that living simply is something you value. It’s something we seem to have in common. Probably the result of fantastic catechesis, eh?

  • Still trying to unravel MM’s logic. First he notes that Pro-Life Movement hooking up with NRA and U.S. Chamber of Commerce is negative. Then go Obama go who has promised to sign FOCA quick fast and in a hurry. Being slightly befuddled I go wha… This intellectual stretching by Catholic Obamaites makes my own noggin hurt. Don’t plan to think about it further. Things to do, life to lead. Let MM live in DreamWorld. I prefer Reality.

  • Catholic social teaching puts forth as an ideal, just wage that one person’s earning which could support a family, it’s healthy leisure, and a savings for possible unforeseeable difficulties.

    But we have Catholic commentators here saying a lowering of the minimum wage in America, way below CST’s proposal, would be somehow beneficial.

    Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    The ignorance about one’s faith is astounding with those who fashion themselves as lay spokespersons for the Catholic faith.

  • Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    For one, you’re assuming that all minimum wage earners are heads of households. The data don’t bear this out. Is it not reasonable to assume that there should be a wage lower than this ideal, just wage proposed by CST which is in effect a “bridge” to higher wages? Can’t people who are low-skilled for a period of time (recent immigrants, students, etc.) earn a wage that is not supporting a family, etc.? Presumably they’re acquiring skills and experience that will enable them to earn a higher wage later. You can argue no, that there is no reason for a bridge wage for lower-skilled workers, but then be prepared for the consequences of all that unemployment.

    The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with a reasonable minimum wage. It seems reasonable to say that there is a lower limit below which society will not allow workers to work, even voluntarily, because it is scarcely worth their labor. The problem is accurately determining what that minimum should be. It seems that a lot of people interpret it a little too expansively, though, not taking into consideration these other factors. They also don’t seem to take into consideration the fact that a minimum wage set too high would do tremendous injustice and violence to the poor… not exactly a cornerstone of CST, right?

  • On MM’s argument: The reason why it makes sense, to a great extent, for the pro-life movement to ally itself with other conservative causes such as gun rights advocates and business advocates is in order to broaden the number of people who will actively vote pro-life. The idea being: If a business advocate is faced with two candidates who are both considered “pro business” by the Chamber of Commerce, but one of whom is pro-life and the other pro-choice, the business advocate will vote for the pro-lifer out of conservative solidarity and a general idea that that pro-life position makes that candidate “one of us”.

    I suppose the question would be: Is this successful? Does alliance with the “conservative movement” widen the number of people who are open to the pro-life message and who vote pro-life? My impression is that it does — in that I’ve seen a number of essentially secular conservative commentators become increasingly open to the pro-life message over the years.

    However, there is an opposite reaction, I am sure, among many progressives, who will be tempted to reflexively disagree with pro-life views because only “those conservatives” support that kind of thing.

    On Mark’s points:

    I’m not sure if anyone writing here necessarily wants to see the minimum wage abolished — and except in certain straw men I don’t believe that the Chamber of Commerce or any other major conservative organization MM could point to (except maybe some very libertarian ones) advocates that either.

    However, I for one don’t think that raising the minimum wage is very helpful to the poor in the long run, and I’m generally not in favor of raisting it.

    And I don’t think that your claim about CST requiring the US minimum wage, and indeed raising the US minimum wage, holds water when thought about calmly. Here’s why:

    The US is currently the richest country in the world. If you make the US minimum wage, you are far better off than most people in most places in the world. (Not that living minimum wage is great — but that living elsewhere in the world is really lousy.)

    I’d generally be against raising it even further because I’m more in favor of allowing increased immigration, including that of low-skill/no-skill workers, from countries with much lower wages. When we raise the minimum wage, we lower the demand for low-skill labor by increasing productivity, and in order to keep unemployment low, we’re heavily incented to keep low-skilled workers out.

    So I’d generally be much more in favor of keeping the minimum wage low and allowing low-skilled workers (for whom the US minimum would be a vast improvement) in rather than jacking up the minimum wage and leaving the rest of the world to take care of itself.

  • it occurs to me that the animating force for this particular argument from some quarters may have more to do with concern for the Democratic party than the pro-life movement.

    Obviously you’re right. The evidence that MM cares about the pro-life movement (which he never mentions except to ridicule) is zero. The evidence that his number one priority is electing Democrats is abundant; judging from what he writes about, he rarely thinks about anything else. His advice to the pro-life movement here — to join with him in taking a back seat to the “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries” crowd — is clearly an example of the fox advising the hens that they’d be better off sleeping outside.

  • And again, to repeat a point made on Vox Nova but that MM could never even attempt to answer, MM and his ilk have absolutely no standing to complain that pro-lifers are sullying themselves by being part of the Republican political coalition, given that they have proven that they are willing to shill for the Democratic political coalition (which most certainly includes some elements that are actively hostile to Catholic teaching).

    Of course, if MM and his ilk had led the way in abandoning the existing political coalitions in America and forming an independent party that would (by their lights) be consistent with Catholic teaching across the board, that would have been a different matter. But they didn’t do anything of the sort.

  • Mark, I understand the specifications of support of family, healthy leisure, and some savings. I don’t think I’ve seen an exact dollar amount, or a percentage, or any figure that states exactly what that is. And perhaps you should consider healthy leisure. Is leisure anything you have to pay for, it can it simply be the statement that a man shouldn’t have to work 20 hours a day to scrape together a living? If it is something you pay for from your wages, how much money do you need for that? Are we talking plasma TV, or a deck of cards? What is astounding is not ignorance of what various papal encyclicals have said, but the belief that somehow leisure has to be defined as a bunch of activities that all cost a fair amount of money, or that leisure cannot be attained even at minimum wage.

    It kind of goes back to prejudices we have of what leisure is, what it is about, and living frugally.

    Perhaps you’d care to state what CST explicitly states for the minimum wage, perhaps in exact dollar amounts? Hmmm… I think exact dollar amounts don’t actually come into the picture, do they? It comes down to understanding what is reasonable for supporting a family, without working oneself to death, and still having a little left over. There’s a lot of ways to accomplish that other than raising the minimum wage (and I, for one, cannot see how raising the minimum wage helps matters when every time we’ve done so, it has hurt job growth), and a lot of it comes down to lowering leisure expectations.

    Michael, I fail to see how my “failure” to invite families into my apartment has anything to do with the discussion. My wife and I live quite comfortably on $1500 a month from our graduate stipends. We’re fortunate enough to have an opportunity to live above total squalor. But if we had to live off of $800 a month (roughly minimum wage with only one of us working), it would be fiscally prudent to find a place we could share with others so that we can make ends meet. Moreover, it would be a bit more prudent to pick up a second job part time. 60 hours a week still leaves time for leisure, and being responsible by teaming up with someone else (who is probably in just as dire straights) leaves a little money left over in case of emergency.

    So, are we worried that there must be some amount of hypocrisy involved when I say “poor families can band together to help each other out”, but haven’t banded together with some poor family myself? Or have we, instead, lost focus on the point that there are more options available than raising the minimum wage (and depriving even more people of jobs), but that we fail to notice them because of issues of pride?

    Frankly, I like the idea of, say, three or families (friends that know each other well enough so there aren’t issues of abuse) living together, with work hours staggered so that someone is always home for the kids or in case of emergency, and enough parents pooling together to keep the place well maintained. I’d be willing to try it with some of my friends. I’d be a little more cautious when it comes to strangers, because of particular issues.

  • Anyway, MM isn’t making these arguments seriously. By criticizing 1) pro-lifers, 2) Rove, 3) Delay, or any conservative who is out of power and irrelevant, he’s just trying to do anything to avoid talking about Obama’s initial priorities on assuming office.

  • And MM’s lashing out at me (on VN) is a sign that deep down he feels some shame for the way he’s behaving. For heaven’s sake, if I had recommended voting for McCain on the specific grounds that McCain was the better anti-war candidate, and if McCain had announced (right now) that his first plan on taking office was to attack Iran, I hope I’d have the honesty and decency to say, “As a McCain supporter, I’m deeply disappointed and hope that McCain backs down from such a bad decision.”

  • About leisure: Scroll down to the section of this BLS report on leisure activity in the U.S. Some interesting data points there.

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf

  • “Moods is the right word here.”

    Touche. However, unless I am mistaken, hypocrisy is also the right word.

    “The man who spouts opposition to the minimum wage and advocates unrestricted assault weapons possessions has always seemed the best poster boy for the pro-life movement.”

    Well, this raises questions about the common good and proportionality which the other commentators have ably addressed. Is it better for there to be less jobs paying a higher wage, or more jobs paying a lower wage? That, I think, is a complex question without a clear right or wrong answer. Similarly, ‘unrestricted assault weapons possession’ could be very bad depending on what the weapons were used for, but it hardly seems to threaten the common good in the same way as abortion.

    I can understand a principled position (e.g. Policraticus, Henry), holding that voting for either party involves unacceptable compromises. I can even understand (but disagree) with the idea that the Democrats are the lesser of two evils. What I find untenable is MM’s position that Republican pro-lifers must separate from their party because it has unacceptable coalition members, while he remains a card-carrying (or, less charitably, water-carrying) Democrat. IMO, the type of hypocritical partisanship on display in MM’s post is (or should be) embarrassing.

  • Well said. I’d be more impressed with MM’s gag-reflex post (because that’s essentially what it was–NRA bad, Chamber of Commerce bad) if he had something to offer on making the Democrats a more hospitable environment for pro-lifers. Yes, the GOP had Abramoff. And the Dems have George Tiller, lovingly tongue-bathed by Obama surrogate Kathleen Sebelius. Say what you will, but at least Abramoff’s in jail.

  • “Catholic social teaching puts forth as an ideal, just wage that one person’s earning which could support a family, it’s healthy leisure, and a savings for possible unforeseeable difficulties.

    But we have Catholic commentators here saying a lowering of the minimum wage in America, way below CST’s proposal, would be somehow beneficial.

    Please tell me how I am not reasoning well as a Catholic thinker, but others here are?

    The ignorance about one’s faith is astounding with those who fashion themselves as lay spokespersons for the Catholic faith.”

    Mark is absolutely right on this count. As an ideal, we should indeed strive to provide everyone with the opportunity for a life of leisure. Such a lifestyle fosters the kind of contemplation that is vital to both a renewal of civilization and the attainment of individual salvation.

    Having read the Church’s compendium on social doctrine, I too have concerns that associating with organizations such as the NRA, which in all honesty support a few things inconsistent with unabridged Christianity.

    In my personal experience, I have seen a lot of passive-aggressiveness and even flat-out bitterness and rage among both Democrats and Republicans.

    I suspect the reality is that all these warring ideologies we keep hearing from don’t really have the simple solutions to our problems they’re always claiming to have.

    Everybody knows the wheels are coming off the buggy, so to speak, but nobody honestly has the slightest idea why. Sure, some people say it is because we turned away from God. Very well then, why did we turn away, how do we turn back, and how do we prevent our children from making the same mistakes?

  • -It is so easy to extol the virtues of frugal living by others, as we communicate via our $1000 computers, is it not?-

    Please. Even my dirt-poor in-laws in Honduras have a computer. (And it’s better than mine, which kind of pisses me off…)

  • …which kind of ticks me off…

    Remember to sanitize your comments my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

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  • Re Mark DeFrancisis’ remark on co-family living:
    You do realize that multiple generations of a family sharing a house is commonplace throughout much of the world? It can be an extremely practical arrangement not only for fiscal reasons but because there is almost always someone at home (often grandparents) to mind the children if both parents work. I grew up in a multi-gen household, and was half raised by my grandparents.

    For the record, my computer’s a Dell that retailed, if memory serves, at about $300 for the works. Not all Americans are spendthrifts.

General Lee's Greatest Victory

Wednesday, November 12, AD 2008

robert-e-lee-hosrseback

“It’s a warm spring Sunday at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. As the minister is about to present Holy Communion, a tall well-dressed black man sitting in the section reserved for African Americans unexpectedly advances to the communion rail; unexpectedly because this has never happened here before.

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10 Responses to General Lee's Greatest Victory

  • Thanks for bringing a tear to the eye of this old Texan/Virginian transplanted to Ohio.

  • My Dad was always an admirer of Robert E. Lee, and I agree that he was definitely a class act. as we would say. Some years ago, I visited the campus of Washington and Lee University in Virginia, and saw the Lee Family crypt, as well as the General’s office, which was left as it was during his tenure as president of the University. He was, in every sense of the word, a true Southern gentleman. Would that there were many more like him.

  • Donald,

    I remember reading this in Warren Carrol’s History of Christendom about General Lee. Just as Jay I became a bit emotional when I first read this.

    Thanks for posting this today in your column.

  • Beautiful story. As a native Virginian, I’ve always had a particular fondness for Robert E. Lee, although it seems to me that his decision to fight for the South probably led to a longer war. According to Wikipedia, he’s a descendant of St. Thomas More…had not heard that before.

  • A lovely story about one of Virginia’s finest. Lee was no supporter of slavery, and as I recall either never owned slaves or freed them early on.

  • I first read this in a book called Lee: The Last Years. I highly recommend reading this. Most histories end the story of Lee at Appomattox but this book starts there and gives the rest of the story of his life. Fascinating and admirable man.

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  • This is, indeed, a great story–one of my favorites about General Lee. I used this same anecdote in a recent lecture on “The Episcopal Church in North Carolina During the War Between the States.” However, I was a bit taken aback by your gratuitous criticism of President Obama. You had cited his election as proof of America’s racial progress. The sort of off-the-cuff comment–“a calamity for the unborn, and, I believe, for the nation”–detracted from the overall effect of your essay. Whether Obama is a great president or a terrible president has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.

  • “The sort of off-the-cuff comment–”a calamity for the unborn, and, I believe, for the nation”–detracted from the overall effect of your essay. Whether Obama is a great president or a terrible president has nothing to do with Robert E. Lee.”

    I call ’em like I see ’em E.T., both in history and in politics.

Veterans Day 2008

Tuesday, November 11, AD 2008

veterans_day

Lord Jesus, Mighty Warrior and Prince of Peace, through the intercession of St. Michael and Our Lady of Victory, we pray for the protection of our loved ones called to serve in time of war. By Your grace, o Lord, may they be strong and of good courage. And by your grace also, may we at home renounce all fear and anxiety, place our trust fully in your most Merciful Heart, and await in hope. For though we may walk through the shadow of the Valley of death, we shall fear no evil- You are with us.Grant a decisive and just end to this war, lasting peace for all nations, and the safe return home of all our loved ones. AMEN. (CatholicMil.org)

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Narrative of a Defeat: Why the Republicans Lost (It Wasn't Pro-Lifers)

Tuesday, November 11, AD 2008

One of the primary tasks of a historian, as I understand it, is to craft a coherent narrative out of the available facts. These narratives are important, as people are often suspicious to the point of irrationality when presented with information that contradicts their preconceptions. For this reason, I think it is worthwhile to push back on a few of the narratives that have been circulating over the past week about the reasons for the Republican defeat. A number of commentators have suggested that the Republican party’s anti-abortion position is hurting the party with social moderates, and that the party going forward needs to distance itself from pro-lifers.

One way to evaluate this advice is to identify the primary causes of the recent Republican loss. Why did 53% of voters choose Barack Obama, when 51% had voted for George Bush four years ago? It seems to me that the three primary reasons were Iraq, the economy, and the McCain campaign, in that order.

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15 Responses to Narrative of a Defeat: Why the Republicans Lost (It Wasn't Pro-Lifers)

  • Abortion was only mentioned once in all the POTUS debates. I highly doubt as well that the GOP needs to distance itself from Pro-Lifers. What the GOP needs to do is to understand who they are before they put out a weak candidate such as McCain (ie, Dole) again.

  • It’s interesting that Iraq is listed first, in that few people cited it in exit polls, but I think you may have a pretty solid case there. Bush’s approval ratings tanked over the situation in Iraq and rightly or wrongly they never rebounded when the situation there got better against late last year and throughout this one. (That could have a lot to do with the media’s tendency to only cover exciting, and thus bad, news — not the tentatively good news which has been more the norm in Iraq lately.)

    It strikes me as an unfair reason for McCain to lose, in that he championed the surge and counter-insurgency approach (at personal political risk) which eventually brought things to their current relative stability. But life is notoriously unfair, and I think that you’re probably right.

  • Very balanced and well written analysis, John Henry…

    Darwin Catholic,

    People probably saw in John McCain th every poor mindset that got us into the Iraqi War in the 1st place. With Iran on the horizon, he scared many into thoughts of an unnecessary, brashly waged war ofcataclysmic proportions.

  • Would flipflop the order- 1. economy 2. McCain campaign 3. Iraq way way behind the other two. #3 not much of an issue thanks to our guys and gals taking care of business who we honor today with vets from other conflicts. Good point by Prof. Dr. Krauthammer that McCain’s chances melted down with Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch, AIG on that bizarre Sunday night in September. Pocketbook issues will take precedence in any campaign if no other causes scream loud enough. The thought of not even having a pocketbook was enough to send many voters into the arms of the Dollar Store Messiah, the Greater Advocate of Greater Gummint. McC’s campaign was an unholy mess- allowing him to jibber and jabber and say the ca-waziest things on the economy. In truth he was not measurably more coherent than Obama just less willing to find solutions thru Greater Gummint. Hey he coulda gotten shellacked by 20 or more points that’s how bad this financial sector mess coulda gotten. Seems like once again Obama was more lucky than good. In Illinois primary for Senate his Dem opponent dumped out after horrible charges by ex-wife the actress who used to be on a Star Trek show and James Woods’ boss on Shark. Then onto the general election when his opponent was Alan Keyes, imported from MD, who promptly acted like a damn fool. In 08 he gets an opponent who has spent most of his career bucking the party whose support he needed, who wandered in and out of traffic like a motorist who spent too much quality time at the Dew Drop Inn. Luck resembles fossil fuel in that it burns out sooner or later. Come 2010 The Pres-Elect may long for the good ol’ days of the ’08 campaign. Where he had unfair advantages.

  • Gerard E. – I think the financial crisis was the nail in the coffin, but the deeper problem was the political climate was very hostile to Republicans, primarily because of Bush’s unpopularity. Every time Sen. Obama referred to ‘the failed policies of George Bush,’ I think many voters thought of the mistakes that were made about the presence of WMD’s and the botched handling of the war for several years (pre-Surge), along with other secondary problems like Katrina and the unsuccessful attempts at immigration reform. You could be right, however, that the economy would have delivered the election to the Democrats even without the mistakes in Iraq.

    Regarding Obama, it should be acknowledged that he defeated the Clinton’s in the Democratic primary – that took more than luck. The rest of his political career, as you observed, has been remarkably easy.

  • I also agree that the economy and the perceived Bush failures were the cause. Obama will be in for a rude awakening if he believes he got a mandate for his social views on abortion and same sex marriage among many others. The USCCB seems to have gained their voice the preceding few months ever since the Pope’s visit to America.

    Let’s pray for President-elect Obama’s conversion on his road to the inauguration.

  • JH- Iraq was not a mistake. Our guys and gals have done noble work that will be lauded by future writers of books/holograms/other new techno formats. Of course our President-Elect was lauded for admitting that secrecy in certain military ops is a swell idea. Forgetting that President Bush was fried parboiled and scorched by D.C. Dems and their MSM flacks for just such activities. No doubt to preserve the lives of these valiant warriors in harm’s way. Given the growlings of Putin, Chavez, Ahmadingdong, Beijing, there may be a lot more secrecy in the next two years. Unless things go kaboom very loudly. Also, Obama was lucky in that the La Hillary Campaign was among the most dysfunctional that ever was in this great country. Numerous higher-ups in more intense combat with one another for turf, access to Her Hillaryness’ ear, etc. than defeat of Illinois upstart. Leading to the calculated but accurate decision to throw 18 million voters under the proverbial bus. Surprise. They got up, dusted themselves off, and boarded the Obama Express. And one more thing- I hope Slick Willie got serious bank for service above and beyond duty for Obama campaign. Send him to stump for a candidate, any candidate, and watch that poor soul give mournful concession speech.

  • One of the primary tasks of a historian, as I understand it, is to craft a coherent narrative out of the available facts.

    Correct.

    These narratives are important, as people are often suspicious to the point of irrationality when presented with information that contradicts their preconceptions. For this reason, I think it is worthwhile to push back on a few of the narratives that have been circulating over the past week about the reasons for the Republican defeat.

    Ah, but what you’re seeing now isn’t history being written. It’s still journalism. The best a historian could do at this point is to look for context from the past, not offer a serious story as to what happened and why. The real historical narratives won’t be seriously attempted for a generation (more than likely).

  • Mark Windsor,

    Excellent point. But we should remain vigilant and not let the ‘noise’ overshadow the facts and continue telling it as it really is, until such time comes.

  • Interesting analysis, thanks.

  • “Ah, but what you’re seeing now isn’t history being written. It’s still journalism.”

    Mark W. – I agree entirely. My point was simply that narratives are important (whether they be journalistic or historical). Thanks for taking the time to correct the ambiguity – apologies for not being clearer.

  • Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom
    Lead Thou me on
    I do not ask to see the distant scene
    One step (is) enough for me…

  • Mark D.,

    The poet warrior in you has come out! Cool.

    I’d like to take this time to repeat myself that is one cute little sausage dog pic that you have (is it a sausage dog?).

  • “Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom
    Lead Thou me on
    I do not ask to see the distant scene
    One step (is) enough for me…”

    A masterpiece.

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Lest We Forget

Tuesday, November 11, AD 2008

gkcmarines

TO THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR
by G.K.Chesterton

You whom the kings saluted; who refused not
The one great pleasure of ignoble days,
Fame without name and glory without gossip,
Whom no biographer befouls with praise.
Who said of you “Defeated”? In the darkness
The dug-out where the limelight never comes,
Nor the big drum of Barnum’s show can shatter
That vibrant stillness after all the drums.

Though the time comes when every Yankee circus
Can use our soldiers for its sandwich-men,
When those that pay the piper call the tune,
You will not dance. You will not move again.

You will not march for Fatty Arbuckle,
Though he have yet a favourable press,
Tender as San Francisco to St. Francis
Or all the angels of Los Angeles.

They shall not storm the last unfallen fortress,
The lonely castle where uncowed and free,
Dwells the unknown and undefeated warrior
That did alone defeat Publicity.

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4 Responses to Lest We Forget

12 Responses to Dedicated to Douglas Kmiec

Truth and Consequences

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

Cardinal Ratzinger once said in an interview that the Church may have to shrink, but it would be a purer more faithful Church if this were to happen (1).  I’ve been reflecting on these words since Election Day, especially in reference to the many Catholics that voted for the most unabashedly pro-choice (pro-abortion) candidate in memory.  A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized.  Why then are these Catholics still in the Church if they don’t believe even the basic tenets of faith?

Well it’s a complicated issue to tackle and one that I have been muddling through recently.  But first I want to make it clear to my readers that I don’t want a smaller Church.  Though I do want the majority, if not all, Catholics to love their faith and practice it.  Yet we don’t have that in the American Church.  Whose responsibility, and/or blame, should this be assigned to?  How do we respond to this predicament?

I wish I had the answers and unfortunately I have more questions.  Is it our parents that failed to pass along the faith along with the parish priest and school?  Or does it reside with the bishop?  What I do have is some analysis and commentary, and it isn’t pretty.

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65 Responses to Truth and Consequences

  • Catechizing is one of the most important things we can try to do. I can’t describe how amazing it was to actually learn what the Catholic Church was all about, something that had been absent or dormant in my life for 26 years. I was never properly catechized, and for the most part our CCD lessons were either the stereotypical “cut, color, and draw”, or touchy-feely kumbaya sessions, or simple Bible studies. Nothing about what it really means to be of the Catholic Church.

    Then I stumbled across This Rock magazine from Catholic Answers online by accident. I was actually searching for how people came up with the Bible defining the number pi as 3, and one of the first entries I found was an article by Jimmy Akin about being a little too technical in reading parts of the Bible. I was so fascinated by some of the articles that I saw that I started all the way from the beginning and worked my way through every back issue in order. Then, amazed at what my Church was, I bought myself a Catechism and number of other reading materials, most notably Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

    So there’s definitely a problem with catechizing. This is especially so when you have self-proclaimed devout Catholics taking exception to Sarah Palin specifically because she is not pro-choice and not in favor of contraceptive use. This is especially so when you have Catholics who express doubt about original sin and don’t see how that tears apart the faith.

    It is my hope, certainly, that through this blog we can accomplish some amount of catechizing and evangelizing.

  • We definately need to help our fellow Catholics in learning their faith. Since many priests and bishops have been derelict in their duties. At the same time we need to (probably) call out some priests and bishops. Yes, it may see as too critical, but when it is the salvation of souls we’re talking about, we need to step up to the bat.

    Like Katerine said in another column, we may have to be militant like the Macabees to fight off the onslaught of relativism and secularism from within the Church.

  • Maybe if the conservatives (such as many writers here) were not such apologists for the Iraqi War, for example, then American Catholics would not have rejected the Republicans and their ‘values platform’ so handily this year…

    For the record, could I get a score of American Catholic bloggers who were for and against the unjust Iraqi invasion.

  • I was very much in opposition to the war in Iraq.

  • I was against the initial invasion. I’ve been fairly supportive of the U.S. attempts to establish a modicum of stability prior to withdrawal, however. I think you raise a good point – the failures in Iraq explain a large part of the election results this year.

  • A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized.

    Not necessarily. The Catholic vote for Obama can’t so easily be explained as the result of poor catecheses. I’m sure many Obama supporters could pass a test on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and furthermore believe every word of it.

  • “I’m sure many Obama supporters could pass a test on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and furthermore believe every word of it.”

    More’s the pity.

  • “Maybe if the conservatives (such as many writers here) were not such apologists for the Iraqi War, for example, then American Catholics would not have rejected the Republicans and their ‘values platform’ so handily this year…”

    Iraq played no role in the election and that is a shame. Only one in ten voters named it as their chief issue in the exit polls. It was all about the economic meltdown. That and the 600,000,000 spent by Obama are the two chief factors in the outcome of the election.

    I was always in favor of the war, although I regret that the surge was not imlemented in 2005, as urged by McCain, instead of the Spring of 2007. I predict that Obama will keep US troops in Iraq through the 2012 elections, although gradually dreasing the number which is safe enough now since the war appears to have been won.

  • Regrettably, many adults never move beyond the high school mentality of wanting to be in the fashionable crowd. Multiple college degrees, years, and life experiences don’t seem to affect these people. Fashion is a siren song that must be heeded. Obama was fashionable this year. I don’t understand it, but there is no denying it. Faith was a distant second (or third) to fashion. In our affluent society, one can afford to follow any fashion, no matter how insane. It’s sad, but not surpising.

  • I feel it is unfair to place Cardinal Egan and Kmiec in the same breath. You seem to equate them as Obama supporters simply because Cardinal Egan sat next to Obama at that dinner.

    If that is the only evidence you can give, I feel it is slander what you are calling a loyal member of the Magisterium. Cardinal Egan has consistently been on the side of life. He responded sternly to Nancy Pelosi’s remarks on the beginning of life and consistently points out the evils of abortions – even close to the election.
    “It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing– and approving– with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers,’ Cardinal Edward Egan of New York wrote in an Oct. 23 archdiocesan newspaper column defending the humanity of the unborn child. ‘One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th.’” – Oct 28, 2008

    He definitely does not sound like Kmiec there.

    Also how can we judge him for sitting next to Obama at a charity event. He may have been trying to engage Obama in exactly what you describe – a discussion of the concerns of Catholic voters and pro-life issues. We do not know and therefore must err on the side of good will toward the Cardinal.

  • Yes, its a very tricky thing to be ‘calling out’ anyone. Much better to look and work closer to home. In our parishes, and parish schools, and parish families.

    My (homeschooled)daughter was devastated Friday night by a (on-line and public) conversation she had with her ‘Catholic school’ highschool friends. They were clear that they felt their ‘opinion’ on things (they were discussing abortion) was AS VALID as what the Church teaches. They have no concept of Truth. Without this most basic understanding, how can we expect them to ‘be Catholic’. They haven’t got a grip on reality.

    How do children who have never gone to public school, always private Catholic school, end up so abysmally ignorant of who they are and who GOD is?

    Families and schools are ill prepared to teach them correctly. They do not have the tools themselves. It requires strong activity at the parish/priest level, and that kind of activity requires a large amount of supportive prayer…and patience. We must do all that we can, but with kindness and patience.

    I also saw that interview with then Cardinal Ratzinger, and I believe it may be true that our numbers will be fewer but truer. Its part of the suffering that can be offered up for all.

  • Blosser and Burgwald are fans of the Iraq War.

  • Um…thanks for the heads up, Michael. I’m sure they’re happy you made their position clear. However, I would like to hear your opinion about the quality of catechesis in our nation, and whether or not that had much to do with the number of Catholics who supported Obama. I’d also listen to your opinion on the quality of catechesis and the number of Catholics who apologize for the Iraq War. Although, if all you’d have to say about that is quoting the Just War Doctrine and how conditions there weren’t met, I’ll be disappointed. I don’t think it is just a difference of opinion of whether the conditions for a just war were in place that has so divided us on this issue; I think it has to be something deeper, something more fundamental. It might just go down to how well we’ve been catechized. So what are your thoughts in that regard?

  • Kyle,

    >>A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized.

    Not necessarily. The Catholic vote for Obama can’t so easily be explained as the result of poor catecheses. I’m sure many Obama supporters could pass a test on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and furthermore believe every word of it.<<

    I may have used a wide stroke, but catechesis goes to the heart of a well formed Catholic. Now if an Obama supporter could pass a catechesis exam doesn’t mean they necessarily agree with their catechesis instruction. Which I believe is an even worse affront to God since they have the knowledge yet fail in their faith to believe in the teachings of the Church.

  • Daledog,

    >>Regrettably, many adults never move beyond the high school mentality of wanting to be in the fashionable crowd. Multiple college degrees, years, and life experiences don’t seem to affect these people. Fashion is a siren song that must be heeded. Obama was fashionable this year. I don’t understand it, but there is no denying it. Faith was a distant second (or third) to fashion. In our affluent society, one can afford to follow any fashion, no matter how insane. It’s sad, but not surpising.<<

    Sadly I agree on many levels on this. Obama will have to mess up pretty bad to not get re-elected in 2012. Style over substance is the order of the day just like Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Are we going to need to push someone that looks appealing to the eye like say a Mitt Romney?

  • Christine,

    >>Also how can we judge him for sitting next to Obama at a charity event. He may have been trying to engage Obama in exactly what you describe – a discussion of the concerns of Catholic voters and pro-life issues. We do not know and therefore must err on the side of good will toward the Cardinal.<<

    I share your concerns as well. When I was typing this I wasn’t sure on how to address this, but upon further reflection how much are we suppose to comprimise on the lives of innocent unborn children?

    I don’t want to see 4o years from now when Roe v. Wade is overturned explain to my grandchildren why a ‘good’ Cardinal was sitting next to the grim reaper at a Catholic charity event. Reminds me of those Nazi era bishops giving the Hitler salute in pre-World War 2 Germany.

    No, I’m not saying that Cardinal Egan is in the same league as the discredited Doug Kmiec, but I’m tired of begging for crumbs. Compromise is unacceptable and catechesis needs to be improved. Cardinal Egan’s pronouncements would have been unnecessary if most, if not all, bishops were no derelict in their duty to their diocese in catechizing the laity.

    I’m tired and probably done in being ‘grateful’ for a bishop speaking up. Time for action, maybe it’s time to purge the Church of malcontents.

    Just throwing it out there.

    Though, yes Christine, I do recognize the noble efforts of Cardinal Egan speaking up. Just wish there was more.

    Where are the St. Ambrose’s in the USCCB? St. Ambrose was the bishop of Milan that denied Communion to Emperor Theodosius for the slaughter of 3,000 Thesalonians? Even in modern times, the Blessed Pope John XXIII spoke out in Italian politics saying that no Catholic is allowed to vote for the COmmunist party candidates.

    I want THAT!

  • DeFrancisis,

    Straw man argument.

    Michael I.,

    Unnecessary conjecture and not relevant to the column I posted.

  • However, I would like to hear your opinion about the quality of catechesis in our nation, and whether or not that had much to do with the number of Catholics who supported Obama. I’d also listen to your opinion on the quality of catechesis and the number of Catholics who apologize for the Iraq War.

    The quality of catechesis in this nation is hit or miss. There are obvious problems and particular challenges in the united states and other “First World” nations.

    Catechesis certainly has effects on how Catholics think and act politically, including how they vote. I think Tito’s claim that Catholics who voted for Obama are clearly uncatechized is absurd. Some of them certainly are probably poorly catechized and others well catechized. Same would be true for Catholics who voted for McCain. Although I did not vote McCain, I would never make the absurd claim that only uncatechized Catholics would have voted for him.

    Michael I.,

    Unnecessary conjecture and not relevant to the column I posted.</I

    Someone asked the question and I responded.

  • Michael, so your opinion is that poor catechesis is not a determining factor of support for one party or another. (When I say opinion, I only mean that I don’t think there’s any data at the moment to support one way or another, so opinion is the best we have.) Now, I think the general stance some of us here have (and others can correct me) is that a properly catechized Catholic should view abortion as the paramount issue, trumping economics, foreign policy, and so on. Thus comes the viewpoint that anyone who places economics or foreign policy ahead of abortion must not be properly catechized. (I’m saying this bluntly, I know, and I apologize for the outrage that this statement will rightfully draw. Many of us here, though, are certain that this is, indeed, the Church’s teaching.) I know you must disagree. So, what is your opinion of what specifically makes a Catholic well catechized in regards to prioritizing abortion, economics, foreign policy, and so on when voting for a political candidate?

    And Mark DeFrancisis, I was a supporter of the Iraq War when it was being proposed, but over time I’ve wondered about whether or not it was a just cause. I certainly don’t want to see any other preemptive wars, but then, I’m not privy to all the information out there. I think, regardless of justification, that we are morally obliged to make sure we leave Iraq better than we found it, and thus we should be there until that is met. Perhaps you have something useful to contribute as to how you believe a well-catechized Catholic could never accept the Iraqi War as just?

  • “A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized. Why then are these Catholics still in the Church if they don’t believe even the basic tenets of faith?”

    Tito,

    You are an ignoramus and a slanderer.

  • Mark DeFrancisis,

    There’s no need for that type of commentary.

    By the way, I like the pic of your dog.

  • Michael, so your opinion is that poor catechesis is not a determining factor of support for one party or another. (When I say opinion, I only mean that I don’t think there’s any data at the moment to support one way or another, so opinion is the best we have.)

    No, my view, which is not an opinion in this case, but seems indisputable, is that “catechesis” is not necessarily a determining factor. It might be in some cases, it may not be in other cases.

    Now, I think the general stance some of us here have (and others can correct me) is that a properly catechized Catholic should view abortion as the paramount issue, trumping economics, foreign policy, and so on. Thus comes the viewpoint that anyone who places economics or foreign policy ahead of abortion must not be properly catechized. (I’m saying this bluntly, I know, and I apologize for the outrage that this statement will rightfully draw. Many of us here, though, are certain that this is, indeed, the Church’s teaching.) I know you must disagree.

    Yes, I disagree. Life issues are paramount. THIS is what the Church teaches. “Economics” and “foreign policy” are vague terms and you can’t really consider those as “issues” that compare with abortion. Thus, I would say of course “foreign policy” is “not as important” as abortion, but abortion is a specific action, “foreign policy” is not. Now, unjust war is specific, and I would place that on the same level of abortion because both actions are the unjustified taking of human life.

    So, what is your opinion of what specifically makes a Catholic well catechized in regards to prioritizing abortion, economics, foreign policy, and so on when voting for a political candidate?

    A well catechized Catholic knows that issues that directly relate to the taking of human life are the most important. A well catechized Catholic knows that this is hardly limited to the issue of abortion. A well catechized Catholic knows that he or she may not be pro-choice. A well catechized Catholic knows that abortion is not simply another issue along side other life issues and that these issues are intrinsically related as manifestations of a culture of redemptive violence. A well catechized Catholic knows that he or she must oppose abortion because it he or she must oppose all unjustified violence. A well catechized Catholic knows that the Church’s just war teaching must be taken absolutely seriously and that it is more important than the judgment of the president of the united states. A well catechized Catholic knows that he or she does not need to “prioritize” abortion because for Catholics there are no second class human beings. A well catechized Catholic knows that he or she must oppose abortion but knows that there are many valid ways of doing so, and indeed that there must be a variety of tactics going on at once in order to end abortion in any meaningful sense. A well catechized Catholic knows that the Church does not endorse one u.s. political party over another even in the case of clear party platforms on the issue of abortion because Catholic social teaching does not fit either or any of the political parties. A well catechized Catholic knows that blaming the victory of a democratic presidential candidate on “poor catechesis” is utterly stupid and amounts to nothing other than an arrogant scapegoating tactic.

  • Michael I.,

    >>
    A well catechized Catholic knows that blaming the victory of a democratic presidential candidate on “poor catechesis” is utterly stupid and amounts to nothing other than an arrogant scapegoating tactic.
    <<

    I said that those Catholics that voted for Obama were poorly catechized. Unless of course you are making the assumption that the entire American electorate is Catholic which you state clearly in your retort.

    Your comments such as “stupid” and “arrogant scapegoating” doesn’t help advance constructive dialogue here at the American Catholic website.

    I am stating that Catholics that voted for Obama were poorly catechized. Being catechized means understanding and practicing our Catholic faith.

    Here is Merriam-Websters definition:

    “…to instruct systematically especially by questions, answers, and explanations and corrections ; specifically : to give religious instruction in such a manner…”

    Corrections is part of the catechizing process. Thusly, if a Catholic is properly catechized, they have a properly formed conscious and are able to make the appropriate decision to vote as a properly catechized Catholic.

  • I am stating that Catholics that voted for Obama were poorly catechized.

    That view is tremendously stupid and it amounts to nothing more than arrogant scapegoating.

  • Tito,

    How do you think calling anybody who voted for Obama poorly catechized advances constructive dialogue?

    And do not you know that the bishops allowed us to take into consideration the real commitment and ability to effect change that certain purportedly pro- life politicians actually possess?

    Given the track record of the GOP in the past 30 years, many it concluded that their commitment and ability are not very much. Placing this beside their recent war mongering, torture and pro- death penalty stances, many have concluded that Republicans just love to have abortion always around as a perennial wedge issue, as they could not possibly be really committed the the anctity of human life through and through.

    Did you consider, for instance, that John McCain, for instance, told a certain crowd of pro-choice women this year that he was proud of his votes for the Bill Clinton SC appointees?

  • Michael I.,

    Again, with ad hominems.

    Your comments are not advancing the dialogue.

    This is your last warning.

  • Mark DeFrancisis,

    Your argument that 30 years of GOP governance is a straw man argument.

    Again you and Michael I. are not helping with your poor choice of language.

    I am stating my opinion and writing it any other way would devolve into obfuscation.

  • Tito – It’s not an “ad hominem” to say that what you are “arguing” is stupid.

  • Michael I.,

    Could you use another word besides “stupid”. Others may take it the wrong way and think that this website is an echo chamber of name-calling nanobots.

    Like I said, if those that voted for Obama were properly catechized we may not have him as President-Elect.

    Now if you want to take it as an absolute statement that ALL Catholics were poorly catechized that voted for Obama, then I can see how you may view this as impossible (not stupid). But I didn’t say “all”. I just mentioned Catholics by itself. This can imply ‘all’ Catholics, but it can also imply as a general term, ie, most Catholics, etc.

    I don’t want to devolve into near meaningless discussions on what “is” is.

    I can understand to a certain degree that maybe, just maybe, that you may have taken offense to it. But how can I write my opinion without watering down what I believe is a root cause of the problem. That Catholics are poorly catechized in general.

    I myself am still learning what being a Catholic is all about. I was poorly catechized growing up. I’ve heard many, many, such stories as mine…. We went to a Catholic school and came out agnostic… Upon rediscovering my faith I felt cheated out of the great patrimony that is our beautiful and magnificent Catholic faith. But I’m greatful now that I am aware and embrace it and live it the best way I know how.

    Now the flip side of all this is that I don’t mean to imply as well that if we were properly catechized that we would be the perfect robo-Christians. Automatically making all the correct choices in life as we live it. People make mistakes. Sometimes they realize this immediately afterwards, other times after a period of time and reflection.

    I am not condemning those that are poorly catechized. It is not their fault if that is the case. I am not passing on judgement on those that are poorly catechized as well. I am just pointing out that they are poorly catechized.

    I hope that helps.

  • No if you want to take it as an absolute statement that ALL Catholics were poorly catechized that voted for Obama, then I can see how you may view this as impossible (not stupid). But I didn’t say “all”.

    You didn’t use the word “all” but it is undeniable that you implied it:

    A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized.

    In other words, if a Catholic (any Catholic) voted for Obama, it is because he or she was poorly catechized.

    Why then are these Catholics still in the Church if they don’t believe even the basic tenets of faith?

    If you think that the idea that Catholics may not vote for pro-choice politicians is a “basic tenet” of the Catholic faith, maybe you are the one who needs some catechesis.

    You cite no evidence that Catholics in america are poorly catechized, and no evidence that Catholics who voted democrat are poorly catechized. You merely assert that it is the case. Lay out your argument as to why “proper catechesis” would mean voting in this case for John McCain. Otherwise, this post is what I said it is: CENSORED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE BY AMERICAN CATHOLIC

  • Michael I.,

    Do you want anecdotal evidence? Primary or secondary evidence? Field or lab evidence?

    I am stating my opinion in explaining the issues confronting the Church in this electoral year.

    Your many attempts at slander, obfuscation, and other diversionary tactics are not helping your argument.

    Please refrain from such language or we’re going to moderate your comments.

    God bless you Michael.

  • Nice. Censoring my critique of your unfounded ideas under the guise of censoring particular words I have used in my critique. You’re something else.

    Please, any evidence will do. Evidence of your claims, evidence that you think before you write, anything.

    Otherwise, your posts appear quite silly. Is the word “silly” going to be censored too?

  • Michael I.,

    I personally like it when you comment on the American Catholic website. Most of the time you ask good, inquisitive, and self-examining questions. You help promote the dialogue and offer valuable insight from a unique point of view.

    I think you have a lot to offer, especially with that big brain of yours.

    And no, “silly” is not a bad word.

    I love you man.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Tito,

    My love for you grows and deepens with each passing day.

    Now please, provide some evidence for your claim that Catholics who voted for Obama must have been poorly catechized.

    Feel free to use me as an example, since I voted for Obama and you said in this post that I have been poorly catechized.

  • Michael,

    I’m not a fan of the Iraq War. I was (and am) inclined to think that was just, although I’m open to discussion. More definitively, I thought and think that the arguments offered by many of its opponents are very weak (e.g. “Bush lied, people died!”).

    None of this makes me a “fan”.

  • As to the larger discussion, there seems little doubt that many Catholics are poorly catechized and that many of them are not very faithful (e.g. based on Mass attendance). If you look at the exit polling (and other polls), those Catholics who do *not* attend Mass weekly tended to vote for Obama, although not exclusively (clearly Obama didn’t have the corner on poorly catechized Catholics).

    Based on the evidence we have, is it likely that *many* Catholics who voted for Obama *were* poorly catechized? I think so. Does that mean that if a Catholic voted for Obama they must have been poorly catechized? No.

  • More definitively, I thought and think that the arguments offered by many of its opponents are very weak (e.g. “Bush lied, people died!”).

    “Bush lied, people died” is not an argument, but a protest chant. (Admittedly, a weak chant, and not one that has ever come out of my mouth!) However, it is based on reality. The Bush administration fabricated evidence and a connection between 9/11 and Iraq and continues to exploit these fabrications. Wars justified by falsehoods are, by definition, not just. How do these untruths factor into your reflection on whether or not the war is just?

  • If one does not go to Mass, does that mean one has not been properly catechized? Mass attendance means one has been properly catechized? Huh?

  • There may not be a relationship of causation between Mass attendance & degree of catechetical formation, but I think there’s certainly a relationship of correlation… they tend to go together. I don’t know of many well-catechized Catholics who don’t attend Mass regularly, personally or via studies.

    As to the fabrication of evidence, we’ve discussed this before, but without resolution: the contention that Saddam had WMDs was held by the Clinton administration, the UN and numerous European countries (many of whom nonetheless opposed the war). Did they all *lie* no. Were they and the Bush administration all mistaken? Yes. *That* is my objection to the “Bush lied, people died” chant. (I’d like to come to *some* resolution on this before addressing the 9/11-Iraq issue, if that’s okay.)

  • I don’t know of many well-catechized Catholics who don’t attend Mass regularly, personally or via studies.

    That’s strange. I do. I also know countless Catholics who attend Mass regularly who are also poorly catechized.

    I suppose, though, this all depends on what you and I (and silly but undeniably lovable Tito) mean by “properly catechized.” To Tito, a properly catechized Catholic loves america unapologetically and uncritically. To you, it is conceivable that a “properly catechized” Catholic could approve of the war in Iraq. To me, both of these positions represent a crisis of catechesis.

  • I completely agree that many Mass-attending Catholics are poorly catechized. But how can you be well-catechized and not attend Mass? Perhaps it does depend on our definition of catechesis; I think it’s common to see it merely as intellectual knowledge, in which case I’d agree with you. But the ecclesial documents on catechesis indicate that it’s much more than that, that it’s, in essence, discipleship, and I don’t know how someone could intentionally not attend Mass and be considered a well-formed disciple.

    To you, it is conceivable that a “properly catechized” Catholic could approve of the war in Iraq.

    Yes, because there’s a difference between my opinion and definitive Catholic doctrine, and I know they aren’t the same. 🙂

  • BTW, what about the whole “lie” thing?

  • But the ecclesial documents on catechesis indicate that it’s much more than that, that it’s, in essence, discipleship, and I don’t know how someone could intentionally not attend Mass and be considered a well-formed disciple.

    I agree that catechesis is not mere knowledge but discipleship. I do know plenty of people who are well-formed disciples who are not Catholic and so they do not attend Mass. I know several well-formed disciples who were raised Catholic and for one reason or another are not in the habit of going to Mass. There are countless reasons why this might occur: habit, alienation, etc.

    Surely, though, Tito knows people both online and in real life who are good, Mass-attending Catholics who voted for Barack Obama and who he still insists were/are not “properly catechized.” I want to know what he bases this on, and if he is including all of these Catholics that he personally knows when he makes these sweeping claims. Is he really saying that folks like myself, Katerina, MM, etc. have been “poorly catechized”?

  • Michael,

    This is not an attack.. this is a sincere question.

    Are saying that you do not go to Mass, but are properly catechized?

  • Maybe I’m being overly analytical here, but it seems to be that if we take it that A is a person who does not attend mass then either A is uninformed as to the importance of attending the sacrifice of the mass every Sunday according to Catholic doctrine or A is informed but rejects that doctrine. If the former case, then A is certainly not “well catechized”. If the latter, then I suppose whether A is well catechized is a matter of one’s definition of catechesis, as Burgwald pointed out.

    If catechesis is considered information, then perhaps these people are either well informed but reject the doctrine (in which case I suppose one could call them heretics, from a Catholic point of view) or else they are well informed but choose not to follow it even thought they don’t reject it, in which case I suppose a term such as “disobedient” might apply.

    If catechesis is considered to be the combination of information and active discipleship, it would seem impossible to be both well catechized and not regularly attend mass.

  • Bret – I usually go to Mass twice a week.

    Darwin – Don’t worry, you’re not being overly analytical. In fact, I’d say you’re not being thoughtful enough. Clearly the two options you present are not the only two possibilities. I know some people who know they should go to Mass, but they don’t. They are not uninformed, but neither do they reject the Catholic teaching that weekly Mass attendance is important.

  • Many of you also need to expand your understanding of what “discipleship” means.

  • “I know some people who know they should go to Mass, but they don’t. They are not uninformed, but neither do they reject the Catholic teaching that weekly Mass attendance is important.”

    Since we are all being pedantic and analytical here, it’s fair to note that Darwin’s schema took account of this possibility, labeling it ‘disobedient’.

    For what it is worth, my definition of ‘well-catechized’ includes a combination of intellectual instruction in the Faith, as well as the experience of knowing individuals seriously attempting to live it out. Given the choice between one or the other, I would choose the latter.

  • Thanks, John. I read too quickly. I’m not sure “disobedient” would cover all of the people in that category, or would describe their reasons for not going to Mass, but point taken.

    I hope these thoughts and descriptions we are all contributing will assist Tito in amending his stupid silly assertion that Catholics who voted for Obama are poorly catechized. But he seems to be missing. Maybe he’s busy catechizing some democrats?

  • I would not have put things the way that Tito did, but it does strike me that if Catholics were in fact both well catechized and living out their faith, that they probably would have voted fairly heavily against Obama.

    Basically, there are two possible elements here: One may be ignorant of the Church’s teaching about the human dignity of the unborn and that this dignity should be reflected in positive law — or one may reject or disobey that teaching — or one may accept the teaching, but hold beliefs about the issues at play in the last election such that one holds that there was some other proportionate issue to justify voting for Obama.

    I take it that Michael would fall in this final category.

    However, I do agree with Tito that if the Catholics in this country were uniformly well catechized, they would have voted quite heavily against Obama. Although some who take the Church’s teachings about life issues seriously are persuaded that voting for Obama somehow fits with that — most people aren’t.

  • Akrasia and the divided will are mysteries, are they not? I know I have been personally humbled by them.

    Tito,

    I apologize for the unnecessary name-calling. But please, consider the content of our objections.

  • …or one may accept the teaching, but hold beliefs about the issues at play in the last election such that one holds that there was some other proportionate issue to justify voting for Obama.

    I take it that Michael would fall in this final category.

    Yes, except as I have said repeatedly, it does not come down to any one issue.

    Although some who take the Church’s teachings about life issues seriously are persuaded that voting for Obama somehow fits with that — most people aren’t.

    Well, we shouldn’t expect Catholics to get “overly analytical,” now, should we?

  • Mark DeFrancisis & Michael I.,

    I did consider the content of your objections. My analysis stems from personal observations of friends and acquaintances. My previous comments, in addition to Chris Burgwald’s and Darwin’s comments have answered your objections better than I could have articulated them.

    Again, it is not the fault of the Catholic if he or she is poorly catechized.

    Mark, no offense taken. Thanks for your thoughts. I like reading your comments (as well as Michael’s). They challenge me to learn more about our faith (I’m assuming your Catholic).

  • As to ‘obedience’, the guidance of the Bishops who are in communion with the Pope should not be ignored. Unfortunately, many people who consider themselves ‘catechized’, rely too heavily on their own reading of things, and not enough on the Shepherds guidance. This leads them to believe that whatever conclusion they arrive at concerning things like life issues, is JUST AS VALID as what the Church, through the Bishops , is teaching.

    I would not call that well catechized, any way you define ‘catechized’.

  • My analysis stems from personal observations of friends and acquaintances.

    But you did not “analyze” anything.

    Again, it is not the fault of the Catholic if he or she is poorly catechized.

    Again, you have given no evidence that Catholics who voted for Obama are poorly catechized.

    Are you including MM, Katerina, and myself among the “poorly catechized” Catholics you are pointing to, or not?

  • Michael I.,

    The thrust of my column was on the consequences of bishops either standing up for the faith or not.

    Now it can reasonably be assumed that if one is uninformed one can make an incorrect decision. Hence the reason why I brought up proper catechesis.

    Chris Burgwald made an excellent point that church-going Christians voted more for McCain than Obama and the inverse for non-church going Christians. You have cause and effect.

    Now I don’t know about MM and Katerina. For one reason or another I thought MM was voting for Obama and Kat was not voting for either McCain nor Obama. But I don’t understand why you want to bring them into the discussion since it doesn’t advance your point.

  • Chris Burgwald made an excellent point that church-going Christians voted more for McCain than Obama and the inverse for non-church going Christians. You have cause and effect.

    Dr. Burgwald also refrained from drawing the same stupid silly conclusion that you did, saying that he wouldn’t consider it a simple cause and effect.

    Now I don’t know about MM and Katerina. For one reason or another I thought MM was voting for Obama and Kat was not voting for either McCain nor Obama. But I don’t understand why you want to bring them into the discussion since it doesn’t advance your point.

    Last I heard, both of them voted for Obama. As did I. I didn’t mention them in order to advance a point. I am asking you a direct question, which you don’t seem to have the guts to answer: Are you including MM, Katerina, and myself among the “poorly catechized” Catholics you are pointing to, or not?

  • Michael I.,

    You’re over the line and going hebephrenic.

    Stop it.

  • Tito,

    With all due respect, this post is completely over the line, and you have in no place defended your opening claim remotely adequately.

    In fact, your responses are becoming, dare I say, hebephrenic.

  • Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

    From time to time discussions in the combox can get heated and emotions raw. We at American Catholic want to provide a charitable forum for an exchange of ideas that contribute to the advancement of dialogue in a Christian manner. We encourage those, whether Christian or not, to comment and participate in a positive manner the overall dialogue in order to grow more in faith and charity. Sometimes this can be abused so we ask in advance to reconsider and be prudent in what you are typing in the combox. Recoqnize the dignity in the person you are responding to and treat that person as you would want to be treated. Remember there are those that read the comboxes here and witness the give and take.

    Be prudent and think before clicking the ‘Submit Comment’ tab. Because you never know who is reading your comments that they may be close to conversion. So if they witness something contrary to our Christian faith we will push them further away from Christ.

    Thank you all for contributing to this experiment here at American Catholic. Remember, brick by brick will we bring the kingdom of Heaven ever closer to realization.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito Edwards

  • Tito, have you seen what the USCCB is doing? Wasn’t sure if you had heard since it’s pretty recent.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081112/D94D7AHG0.html

    Maybe you can find a St. Ambrose or two here.

  • Christine,

    Yes I did see that.

    I’ve been monitoring the news coming out since yesterday afternoon. I’ve been quite busy and wanted to post a long column on what has been going on last night, but it got to late.

    I’ll be posting something tonight (maybe several) concerning the interesting news coming from the USCCB (maybe other AC contributors might take up this task as well).

    Thanks for the heads up.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

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Thou Shalt Not Run Smear Campaigns

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

So the Republican Party is reeling, trying to find its voice and a clear path forward in the aftermath of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad defeat. While initially we hear that the party will be led by fresh faces, such as Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal, and that forerunners for 2012 will also include Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, this brief noise has been covered over with the deafening sounds of ligaments snapping from too much finger-pointing. These days, if you want to know who is old-guard in the Republican party, you merely need to see who has his index finger splinted and bandaged.

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One Response to Thou Shalt Not Run Smear Campaigns

  • Even if you (I don’t, BTW) assume the smears are true, who ultimately looks worst for their airing?

    The candidate for whom the clothes were bought or the campaign manager who provided a blank check and no parameters for the purchase?

    The candidate who made embarassing civics and geography mistakes or the nomination committee vettors who failed to identify her weaknesses before her selection?

    The candidate who may have acted inappropriately in the company of fellow party members or the campaign staffers who sought to minimize their own failures by airing her pecadilloes to the world?

    Judith Martin used to say, “Miss Manners would be too polite to notice.”
    The finger-pointers only proved their own lack of class, not Sarah Palin’s.

Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

Today, regarding Kmiec (et al.):

But to claim that a candidate who seems primed to begin disbursing taxpayer dollars in support of abortion and embryo-destructive research as soon as he enters the White House somehow represented the better choice for anti-abortion Americans on anti-abortion grounds is an argument that deserves to met, not with engagement, but with contempt.

He echoes my weekend frustration.

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5 Responses to Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Cardinal George Issues Congratulations & Challenge to Obama

Monday, November 10, AD 2008

John Allen provides an encouraging report on Francis Cardinal George’s remarks as USCCB president regarding the election of Senator Obama to the presidency:

Cardinal Francis George, speaking this morning as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said all Americans should “rejoice” that a country which once tolerated slavery has elected an African-American as president – and, in the same breath, he issued a blunt challenge to the new administration on abortion.

“If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons, were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be President of the United States,” George said.

“Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good,” he said.

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3 Responses to Cardinal George Issues Congratulations & Challenge to Obama

3 Responses to The Sane and Sober Hitchens on Obama

  • And this coming from the man who is beside himself with the mention of Sarah Palin…

    Life’s beautiful ironies.

  • “And this coming from the man who is beside himself with the mention of Sarah Palin…”

    Up early are you Mr. DeFrancisis? The next four years will be a long time for you to play the troll. Your time might be better spent coming up with excuses for Obama when his Hope and Change turns into Despair and Corruption.

    As for Palin, none of her supporters ever said anything like this:

  • Pete’s more pessimistic than mineself. Lining up with Don Mac in that a Secular Messiah’s shelf life is somewhat limited. Waiting for two complaints to emerge quickly- 1. why so few people of color in bigshot jobs; 2. why his Messiahship doesn’t extend to any and all human problems. Say my own city of Philadelphia. Where Mayor Michael Nutter- far more qualified for the presidency than the impending occupant- announced new austerity for city budget two days following Pres election. Neighborhood libraries and city pools- closed. Police and fire overtime- severely limited. Displayed his own example with 10 per cent pay cut. And horror of horrors-ended the subsidy for the annual Mummers Parade. To louder wailing and gnashing of teeth than from those who wish their neighborhood libraries to remain open. Round these parts, The Era Of Big Government is over. Reality punched Michael Nutter in the face. It will, in some way, to the Dollar Store Messiah.

Are Pro-Lifers Stuck With the Republican Party?

Sunday, November 9, AD 2008

Every election cycle, the New York Times and similar publications run op-eds or features discussing the ’emerging trend’ (always emerging, never quite emerged) of pro-lifers reconciling themselves to voting for the Democratic party. These articles vary widely in quality, and range from intelligent and provocative (if flawed) to embarrassing, but the most common feature is disenchantment with the current state of the Republican party. I will grant that the case has been easier to make this year given the widespread dissatisfaction with the Republican party (particularly among the chattering classes).

Nevertheless, I think the answer to the title of this post is that, yes, pro-lifers are stuck with, or at least would be best served by, support for the Republican party. Some points for consideration:

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21 Responses to Are Pro-Lifers Stuck With the Republican Party?

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  • John, I agree that in the short-term, we’re stuck with the GOP. But I also think that we need to have a longer term strategy, which might include assimilating the Dems, looking to the possibility of a Christian Democratic party, etc. Guessing that you’d be in agreement, I’d rather have *multiple* options for pro-lifers than just one… better for the cause, but more importantly, better for the goal.

  • Chris, you raise a good point. The last 4-8 years in particular have made the disadvantages of being allied with one party painfully clear. On numerous issues, the initial invasion in Iraq, torture, etc. many pro-lifers have been strongly opposed to the positions taken by the Republican administration. Ideally, there would be a range of political options. Working toward that ideal state creates a bit of a collective action problem because of the outsized influence of the Presidency, made particularly difficult for pro-lifers by the Roe decision.

    Any third party would resign themselves to the political wilderness in Congress and national affairs for the foreseeable future. It may be at some point the wilderness is the best place to be, however I am not sure we are there yet, given that one party is fairly sympathetic to pro-life concerns. I would be open to exploring Christian democratic political options if they were on offer, but in the short-term I see little evidence that the two-party system is losing its hold on the electorate.

  • “Are Pro-Lifers Stuck With the Republican Party?”

    For the foreseeable future yes. The Dems don’t need pro-lifers to win elections and the Republicans can’t win elections without pro-life votes. The third party route is as useful as tossing ballots into a shredder instead of a ballot box. If in the future the Democrats lose enough elections due to pro-lifers voting Republican they may be open to changing the position of their party. Don’t hold your breath. The core value of the Democrat party today is adherence to abortion on demand. Everything else is negotiable, but not that.

  • I think it’s an absolute necessity that we vote for pro-life politicians. So I guess that means we’re stuck with the GOP for now.

    That said, I don’t think politicians are going to bring about the end of abortion in America. I think it’s going to be a grassroots effort on the ground: Crisis pregnancy centers, 40 Days for Life, sidewalk counselors, etc. are going to continue to dry up the business of abortion–particularly in rural America. I think we’ll see this trend continue until abortion facilities are scarce outside of NYC, California, etc.

    As this changes, I think we’re going to see laws changing at the state level (I could be wrong, but I don’t see FOCA passing) in a lot of the traditional red states. Whereas we got abortion in bang-bang fashion with Roe v. Wade, I think abortion will end with a gradual erosion. I expect by the time abortion is outlawed, people who support, provide, and procure it will be few and far between and that the legislation will be, essentially, a formality.

  • any meaningful political changes will only occur on a local basis. that means city council members, that means mayors, and that means state congressional seats.

    it is the only way to change things. which mean we all have to get up off of our collective butts and go talk to people in the real world.

    do we have the energy or initiative for that? I doubt it.

    therefore we got more moderates for the conservative causes and continue to lose power on the federal level.

  • Despite its anti-abortion platform, the GOP has, for me, lost its credibility as a viable instrument for outlawing abortion long term. Republican leaders, particularly in the current administration, have undermined the law itself in their efforts to institute a torture policy through the Office of Legal Council. The problem for the GOP isn’t just the acceptance and even embrace of torture, but the reality that those who undermine the rule of law cannot credibly champion particular just laws. They destroy the foundation on which they build. For this reason I think the pro-life movement shouldn’t stick with the GOP, not with superglue, anyway. To the extent that the GOP undermines the rule of law, it undermines the pro-life cause, even while working to promote it.

    I would still encourage the pro-life movement to work politically for legal protections for the unborn, and this work in practice means working with the two parties, but it should be very careful not to unite itself with either party. Its alliances with political parties should remain fragile, especially as both parties are, to an extent, hostile in their own ways to the movement’s objectives.

  • In my view, if the pro-life movement wants any shot at ending abortion, support cannot come from only one side of the political spectrum. If Barack Obama weren’t such a leftist, out-of-touch liberal with no experience, I would have found it much more difficult to vote for John McCain after the last eight years of George Bush.

    One thing that does concern me — and this isn’t a generalization of all pro-life conservatives because I haven’t met everyone — in my experience with pro-life conservatives, they often demonstrate to me little knowledge of or concern for other issues and that’s very disconcerning. It’s one reason why I never, and may never, join the Republican Party aside from sincere disagreement.

    I’ve spoken about the food shortage crisis that effected third world countries because of the production of ethanol from corn — to some people, this was not only news, but just a terrible, I hate to say it, side-note at best. “Thats horrible,” they would say to me. And thats it.

    You mention the fact that 47 million people don’t have health care insurance and all you get in return is that people are irresponsible and the nation shouldn’t subsidize them. Point well taken, but how do we solve the problem — especially for children and vunerable populations?

    Then you mention that the GOP is running pro-choice candidates, even allowing one to run for the nomination to be at the top of the ticket, or John McCain may want to change the GOP platform on abortion (to be more inclusive) and they’re ready to write a letter to someone and make some phone calls.

    Does anything else matter to them? I oppose abortion, but doesn’t Christ have brothers and sisters effected by other evils as well? I often wonder this. I’m sure this isn’t the case for all conservatives, but in my experience this has frequently been the case. And from what I’ve discussed and read from many pro-life Democrats, they are simply turned off by the *seeming* lack of concern for other issues that garners hardly even a response to some people. And they genuinely fear that a vote for a pro-life Republican will lead to countless policies they don’t agree with and not much progress on abortion. I think their priorities are misplaced, but I sincerely sympathize with them.

    Another point, to many of my friends, Obama is nothing short of the Antichrist, the devil incarnate, and he is going to destroy the world. Such talk I find to be very ignorant and against any sort of ecumenical dialogue. It cuts off all rational discourse and leaves us with a never-ending culture war. Just today I was talking to a friend about abortion. He is pro-choice. He never knew my views. He knows I’m a Democrat and assumed I was pro-choice until he discovered I voted for McCain. In the middle of the conversation he said to me, “Well, you oppose abortion so much right?” I answered in the affirmative. He then asked, “Do you support the death penalty?” I answered, “No, not at all. I think it should be abolished.” He was shocked. He didn’t know what to say. He realized that my opposition to both was very consistent. I began to discuss things such as abortion and breast cancer, when human life began, how society defines personhood based on convenience and on functions (being autonomous, self-aware, conscious, independent) rather than on what something is by nature — human, the right to life as the foundation of all rights, moral objectivity, and so forth. I addressed his concern about the emotional struggle of the woman and I was welcoming to his points and I acknowledged his sincerity and didn’t put him down. You know what? He was very receptive to the pro-life position and asked to talk about it again later. He admitted that he’s possibly very wrong.

    The greatest temptation in politics — particularly on moral issues — is to attack the other side with ad hominem attacks. It works well if you can pass the other side off as the devil and evil. Nevermind the challenge of modernity, the challenge of relativism, and a culture that conditions us to affirm these things. I spent 10 years of my life as an atheist. Why? Because I thought that was facing reality. I was an atheist because I hadn’t heard a *better* case. Thats what I experienced today talking to my friend Jeff.

    The pro-life message transcends party lines and I think one thing the pro-life movement must do to succeed is to look less partisan. Right now it seems you have to be a Republican to support the sanctity of life and that alienates some people. The creative way, in which we do that, without compromising our mission is the question. But the current method, in my view, is not going to win us any victory as quickly as we’d like it nor as quickly as we need it.

  • “One thing that does concern me — and this isn’t a generalization — in my experience with pro-life conservatives, they often demonstrate to me little knowledge of or concern for other issues and that’s very disconcerning.”

    Eric, as someone who is a political junkie, I have found that is not at all unusual in either party. Most people have a very few issues they feel passionate about, and have thought little about other issues. Sometimes I think they are the sane ones. I spend a fair amount of time keeping abreast of a great many issues, and I can easily understand the unwillingness of many of my fellow citizens to do so.

    It is intriguing as to why conservatives generally oppose abortion and liberals generally support it. I think it boils down to three main factors: 1. The Sexual Revolution; 2. Feminism; and 3. Religion. Liberals in this country, since 1968, have generally embraced the Sexual Revolution, championed the most extreme forms of Feminism and tended to look askance at religion. Conservatives, while just as likely to commit sins of the flesh, have generally looked askance at the Sexual Revolution as a threat to the family; generally viewed radical feminism with distaste; and generally regard Religion as the source of moral conduct. It is no accident, as the Marxists say, that conservative Republicans fight against abortion as the destruction of innocent human life, while liberal Democrats champion it as a constitutional right. One can point to liberals who oppose abortion, for example my personal hero Nat Hentoff, and conservatives who champion abortion, the late Barry Goldwater for example, but the philosophical underpinnings of both parties easily explain why the abortion battle has become a partisan issue. I would love for pro-life democrats to change this equation, but I do not see this happening for at least a generation, or after some great national calamity that will demonstrate to all how precious human life is.

  • Eric Brown,

    I’m one of the 47 million uninsured. I’m also one of the dreaded people who puts abortion above every other issue.

    But I’ll put my so-called “right” to medical care that’s been around for less than a century of human history in the back seat to stop the ongoing slaughter of innocents any day.

    Steve

  • I do feel stuck with the GOP. I am pretty upset about it. Believe it or not, I like Obama in many ways. I find his position on abortion deplorable, but I still like a lot about him.

    I just didn’t vote. I couldn’t vote for the Republican party. I think John McCain is a very impressive man, but he had to go and pick a running mate who has no business in the White House except on the guided public tour. And, if he ran a country like he ran his campaign, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have much faith in him being an effective leader.

    Things like the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, and the treatment of US Citizen Anthony Padilla may not outweigh the issue of abortion, but I just can’t bring myself to vote for a party that has eroded basic civil rights and abused so many human rights.

    Finally, as someone with a chronic medical condition who cannot get health insurance, I had to move to another country just to get medical care. I was very lucky to have that opportunity. I’d like to come home, but I can’t until the health care situation is sorted out. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy the right-wing arguments against socialized medicine.

    I know, I know… none of that outweighs abortion. Being told that to vote for Obama in spite of his abortion views was still a mortal sin is why I didn’t vote at all. I’m not sure I believe that it’s true, but I am afraid to argue with a bishop.

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  • Kyle wrote: “To the extent that the GOP undermines the rule of law, it undermines the pro-life cause, even while working to promote it.”

    I agree completely, and that summarizes the feelings of many pro-lifers who have voted Republican. I think the debate was too easily caricatured given the perceived (or real) security threats involved, but the actions of the administration ranged from questionable to appalling. That said, it is important to remember that 1) George Bush will not be running again and this was his decision, 2) torture is not part of the Republican platform. It seems to me that the question is: where do we go from here? I submit that it will be increasingly difficult for Obama apologists to defend his record on pro-life issues, and, in the absence of a third party, we should work to ensure the Republican party will represent pro-life concerns going forward.

    Eric – You raised a number of good points (your response would have made a good separate post). I would echo Donald in observing that many, many voters are ignorant of basic political realities in both parties, and additionally that there is an unfortunate tendency on both sides for insults rather than dialogue.

    katy – I would encourage you to read the bishop’s statement. It certainly does not say that it is a sin (still less a mortal sin) to vote for Obama despite his abortion views. Catholics should not, however, vote for a pro-choice politician with the intention of furthering pro-choice policies.

  • Did you know a record 31 Democratic Party pro-life candidates were elected to Congress?

    According to Democrats for Life of America, five new Democratic pro-lifers were elected, joining 26 pro-life incumbents who were re-elected.

    “This will be only the second time in 30 years that the number of pro-life Democrats increases instead of decreases,” Kristen Day, director of Democrats for Life of America, told Lifenews.com. “The first time we made gains was in 2006 due to the work of pro-life Democrats all over this country advocating on behalf of the pro-life cause.”

    The first task confronting Congressional pro-lifers from both parties in the next Congress? Forging bipartisan alliances across the aisles of the Senate and the House of Representatives to prevent passage of the abortion lobby’s Freedom of Choice (FOCA) legislation.

    The real question is how are we going to support pro-life politican regardless of them being democrats or republicans? We Catholics cannot find home in either party for many reasons but we must work within both affect REAL change.

  • John: I know that the USCCB’s statement said it’s OK to vote in spite of pro-choice stances, but then I’ve read several very strongly-worded statements by individual bishops contradicting that.

    I do agree that it’s not a mortal sin if you genuinely believe that there will be less abortions with Obama in the White House. Whether or not that’s correct is certainly up for debate, but being mistaken does not qualify as being in a state of sin.

  • If you’ve chosen to enter a state of denial over (or intentionally avoided receiving the information regarding) Obama’s record, rhetoric, and campaign promises, then I’d say it’s not possible to ‘genuinely believe’ given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    I’m not saying there aren’t folks who didn’t just ‘genuinely believe’ out of ignorance, but I think it’s probably rarer than I’d hope.

    What really saddens me is the defeat of all the anti-abortion legislation. Makes me think that there will be plenty of GOPers caving in to the abortion lobby to save their jobs (given the trend amongst voters) and the new pro-life Dems won’t rock the boat with the abortionists champion now running the show.

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  • It seems to me that not being a single-issue voter would be pretty useful, in this case.

    Also: how does national healthcare fit into your theology? Or war? George Bush (and McCain) is anti-life on both of those fronts. How can a Catholic vote for the party which supports the death penalty?

    Last, but not least, anyone who thinks that Republicans will over turn Roe v. Wade is fooling themselves. They pull in tons of voters (like you, apparently) who would not otherwise vote for them, just by running this farce up the flag-pole. Not to mention that outlawing abortion wouldn’t stop abortions any more than outlawing liquor stopped drinking. We had illegal abortions in this country, and so many women died that good, thoughtful, caring people, said that a change was needed, and that if something like this was going to happen, it should at least be done safely.

    This whole post is silly. I came here hoping for a thoughtful, intelligent post, weighing the issues, and get a lot of foolishness.

  • I wouldn’t call either George Bush and John McCain “anti-life” on those positions. I happen to disagree with them on all of those fronts, actually. It is debatable whether or not the two wars in the Middle East are justified, it is arguable if universal health care is the most efficient way of providing medical care to all Americans. Lastly, a great number of Democrats support the death penalty including Senators Obama and Clinton.

    Lastly, overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn’t stop abortions, but it would enable many states to outlaw abortion and give people the opportunity to work toward its end in a way they cannot now. I’ll have to find the studies, but I just looked up the abortion rates state by state and surprisingly, the states with almost entirely Democratic regimes have higher abortion rates, particularly New York and California. You’d think all that economic support for women would really have dramatically done away with abortion entirely, while the conservative states in the Bible belt have a notably lower abortion rate and their method has been placing legal restrictions on abortion for the most part.

  • This whole post is silly. I came here hoping for a thoughtful, intelligent post, weighing the issues, and get a lot of foolishness.

    Sorry to disappoint. I had a similar experience reading your response. It seems to me that you either mis-read or misunderstood the post. I’ll risk a response, although I am not sure, based on your tone, whether it will win a hearing.

    George Bush (and McCain) is anti-life on both of those fronts

    The post is not about McCain (still less for Bush). The argument is about what pro-lifers should do going forward.

    how does national healthcare fit it into your theology? Or war?

    If you read the post, I conceded that for many Catholics, both parties are deeply flawed. I suggested that the Republican party may be more open to reform on an issue like healthcare than the Democrats will on abortion. After all, McCain had a plan to improve healthcare this election; Obama offered FOCA and the removal of ‘rare’ language from the Democratic platform to offer pro-lifers. Regarding foreign policy, unless you have a crystal ball into 2010-2012 it’s a little early to compare approaches to foreign policy. Whoever the Republicans nominate, it won’t be McCain or Bush.

    Last, but not least, anyone who thinks that Republicans will over turn Roe v. Wade is fooling themselves.

    Possibly, but we likely have four votes on the Court that would overturn or severely limit Roe. What we know is that Obama has a record of extreme hostility to any abortion restrictions.

    Not to mention that outlawing abortion wouldn’t stop abortions any more than outlawing liquor stopped drinking.

    That’s ridiculous. Abortion restrictions reduce the number of abortions. Does the number ever reach zero? No. Can the number be substantially reduced? Yes. The abortion rate doubled after Roe. Studies have shown that restrictions such as parental consent laws, etc. reduce the number of abortions. Keep in mind, overturning Roe wouldn’t make abortion illegal – it would mean the issue could be addressed legislatively.

    We had illegal abortions in this country, and so many women died that good, thoughtful, caring people, said that a change was needed, and that if something like this was going to happen, it should at least be done safely.

    I recommend reading a history book rather than a NOW pamphlet. If you view abortion as a good, then you are not really the intended audience for the post. In any case, abortion wasn’t illegal everywhere prior to Roe v. Wade; it was left up to the states. Many states had recently relaxed their abortion restriction laws prior to Roe, but some had not. If by ‘good, thoughtful, caring people,’ you mean seven Supreme Court justices, I guess you are entitled to that view. It seems rather uncaring, bad, and less than thoughtful to bar states from trying to protect human life to me, but, again, perspectives differ. Regarding safety, my understanding is that abortion is quite hazardous to one of the two people involved in the procedure.

16 Responses to Let's Get Started!

  • He didn’t support an executive order either… Obama is going to bypass the legislative branch to kill human life….

    yea, now I know I was misinformed about the ONE… no wolf in sheep clothing here.

  • i meant to say that the One is going to support an executive order.

  • Time to organize and fight back against this. Pro-lifers were beaten in a battle last Tuesday, but if the pro-aborts believe they have won the war they are deluded.

  • To use a phrase fron The One/That One, I’m fired up and ready to go!

  • Wow, you can hear crickets in the background.

    Where are Michael I., Mark DeFrancisisis, Radical Catholic Mom, and MZ Forrest now that their ‘pro-life’ candidate is ready to begin the wholesale mass slaughter of humans?

  • Did those who supported Obama somehow not think that things like this (and the Mexico City policy change) would happen, and happen virtually immediately? These are the consequences of an Obama presidency, and they were foreseen, at least by the pro-lifers who opposed Obama’s election.

  • The “Mexico City Policy” denying funding to NGO’s which perform / promote abortion will likely be reversed as well.

    This is hardly a suprise. It was instituted by Reagan, rescinded under Clinton, reaffirmed by Bush Jr., and now will likely be repealed, allowing for taxpayer promotion of abortion overseas.

  • Walter,

    Are you ready to get in their face… to use the language of That One.

  • And in addition to the slaughter, women being exploited as livestock for egg harvesting.

    Some champion of women’s rights.

  • I’m glad to see that our new president — who is ever conscious of a variety of positions, reflective, and inclusive — has mused over the “difficult” issue of embryonic stem cell research and has decided that the best course of “common ground” with pro-life Americans is to make them pay for it.

    We’re off to a very bipartisan start of 4 years of Unity……….

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  • Okay – Obama is our next president, like it or not. Let’s stop whining about and pouting that we lost. Our marching orders are clear: Pray for Obama and our country, work with him where possible to achieve the common good, and fight like a Maccabee when he oversteps his bounds — all the while remembering that November 2010 and 2012 will be here quicker than we think. There is much we have to do.

    What about us supporting at a local level pro-life politicians (democrats and republicans) who are willing to take the abuse from the pro-abortion side? The reason we have few to no strong pro-life politicians on the national scene is because of the lack of local support. Maybe we should be encouraging people to support pro-life PACs to get these candidates some visibility and support. I would love to hear what catholics on doing to to courage pro-life politicans in the cities and states.

    What about praying and fasting for President-elect Obama to have a change of heart (maybe like St. Paul – it is the Year of St. Paul) and courage to stand up to his own party leaders on matters of the sanctity of life (abortion, ESCR, euthanasia and death penalty), of marriage, and of expanding the war in Afghanistan? If he is as reasonable and open to the views of pro-lifers as his Catholic proponents claim him to be, then I’m sure he will appreciate those prayers.

    Let us go into the world and make a difference in our own lives, families, and work. That is the leaven the first century Christians brought to the Roman Empire, with its debauchery and hedonism similar to our modern society, and that changed the world. They put their faith in the concrete reality of Christ’s promises and the example of his life not the promises of any man or the pleasures of the world. We need to do the same!!

  • Katerine,

    I love your enthusiasm.

    “Fight like a Macabee”.

    I’m all the way in on this revolution.

    Maybe we should start with our own churches and purge them of cafeteria Catholics?

  • Thank you, Tito. Yes – praying for and encouraging our priests and bishops to be strong and courageous and being good role models of what the “pro-life” movement can and should be in our own churches is key.

    There is too much to do to waste time being depressed or maudlin or self-righteous. I intended on living my life in obedience to God and each day is filled with choices, many of them having nothing to do with whoever was President.

    I believe our mission as Catholic hasn’t changed–and wouldn’t be any different if McCain had been elected. We have a lot of work ahead of us for the culture of death in all its forms has a strong foot hold in the United States.

  • I dont know why all of you rely on just ‘faith ‘ to decide what is right ffor the human race. i mean come on. if you think about it yeah the whole stem cell thing is sort of wrong but it could save alot of lives. all of those people who have terminal illnesses , think of how they feel. they had no hope whatsoever about living and now they know that they may still have a chance at life. everything happens for a reason and if you want to drag Christ into this then fine. He put us here and created our destiny so what has happened has hapened because He wanted it to. it was bound to happen one way or another.

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10 Responses to Bishops remove discussion of politics and abortion from conference agenda

A Persecuted Church?

Saturday, November 8, AD 2008

st_petertotal

A very liberal friend in California challenged my support of Proposition 8 and homosexual “marriage” by stating that the faithful would still be able to “discriminate” against them in churches. Well, beside the utter ridiculousness of her statement, it looks to me like she was wrong. Los Angeles saw a massive gathering in front of the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. From what I saw in the video tape, there were folks trying to scale the gates surrounding the building. Now from World Net Daily comes proof that the most militant of homosexual rights activists are calling for violence against Christians and destruction of our places of worship. One person quoted in the article stated:

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13 Responses to A Persecuted Church?

  • This reminds me of something….

    Get ready… this is coming…

    If we want to save our country and our Western heritage, we need to start taking a stand… and encourage each other to take stands. We need to preach the Gospel in season and out of season. We need not Be Afraid.

    This is our calling.

  • This is also a fear that I have, and it’s why it’s so baffling that Catholics are voting for their own marginalization. I think these centrist Catholics in mostly red states who voted Obama aren’t aware of the kind of intolerance the Left routinely preaches.

  • My lovely alma mater here in the blue state of California recently ran a story in the school paper about student protests following the passage of Prop. 8. Just to give you a flavor of the kind of thinking behind the protesters, here’s a sample comment to the story (my emphasis added):

    It has been speculated that proposition 8 won because of remarks made by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, to the effect of “We’re going to allow homosexuals to marry whether you like it or not!” After these remarks, made at a time when the measure was losing in the polls, the support for proposition 8 skyrocketed, and the trend was reversed.

    Why? Because of the Culture War. For those of you not versed in this perverse evangelical undertaking, I encourage you to read about it.

    Words such as Newsom’s frighten and infuriate these dolts, and, quick to anger and prone to exaggeration, they lash out. By protesting the results of this election, we are giving them more fodder. And you know what? If we keep doing this, they’re going to keep winning. Our side isn’t good at demagoguery. It’s not our forte. It’s like trying to run a dirty campaign against a Republican–if you stoop to their level, you will lose.

    Tuesday’s decision greatly upset me. But it made me realize something. When it comes down to it, we’re fighting against the Catholic church, AM Talk Radio, and the Evangelical Superpower, manifested in the Moral Majority. We’re not going to win against these organizations, because they have more funding, their members and adherents are more pliable. Not to mention, as far as they’re concerned, it’s our word against God’s. How the hell are we supposed to beat God?

    (snip)

    By democratic process, proposition 8 passed. But the people who voted yes on 8 did so because their church told them to, and the church is disappearing from our weekly lives, as reason takes over. The era of the Moral Majority is fading on its own.

    We must respond to the vitriol of the pundits with reasoned argument–they simply don’t know how to take it. Ask them to leave their Bible and home and talk to them about the real issues involved, from a legal point of view. They won’t know how to take it.

    The way to fight the hydra of brainwashing churches is through reason. It is their weak point, after all.

  • There is certainly reason for concern. We may be headed toward some dark days.

    But let’s never forget that the darker the days, the greater the abundance of Grace. Things looked pretty bad on a Friday afternoon 2,000 years ago, too.

    I’d expected a lot of saints from the coming generations.

  • “The way to fight the hydra of brainwashing churches is through reason. It is their weak point, after all.”

    Tell that to Saint Thomas Aquinas. I wonder if this person has ever heard of him let alone read any of his works? Pretensions of intellectual snobbery are often held by those who have precious little in that area to be snobbish about.

  • Donald,

    That’s precisely why I sigh when I think about all the lost opportunities during my “education” at this university.

  • Steve,

    I too believe in Sunday… but I believe it might be a very long Friday and Saturday…. so the saints might be martyrs.

    And I pray that some will come from my seed.

  • What’s so twisted about this outcry of Prop 8 passing is that homosexuals are not being persecuted.

    They are still free to stick their wee-wee wherever they want and live in whoever’s house.

    This is ridiculous.

    They still have their rights. The state (thankfully) just voted they believe marriage is defined as man and woman…woopy-do. This kind of fuss in the video is ridiculous and we need to remember to keep it simple in debate – no one is losing any rights!

    CA just simply stated that marriage is defined as man and woman. This does not restrict homosexuals as free individuals to engage in this or that activity. Marriage, even from a biological standpoint, is between man and woman. To say otherwise is a lie.

    Nobody is getting persecuted…except the minds of those that persecute themselves with “victimhood”.

  • Let me clarify the last sentence – nobody is being persecuted because of Prop 8…

    Now let’s just hope nut-cases like these in the video don’t hurt Christians, Mormons, or whoever else they might target as an enemy just because they believe the definition of marriage is between man and a woman.

  • But Prop 8 supporters- just wait until next Supreme Court vacancy. Stevens is closer to 90 than 80. Ginsberg is no spring capon. Health problems may befall others. Allow your Messiah to find one successful candidate who will pull Anthony Kennedy in his direction rather than that for those horrible Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas people. No problem.

  • I’ve talked with several of my friends in California, many of whom are Catholic and oppose prop8. For the life of me, I can’t convince many of them about natural law and why it is in the public interest to have laws that protect natural law. Every reason and argument in opposition to prop8 is emotionally driven. And the equating of same-sex marriage to interracial marriage is the most absurd argument of all.

    There are already three challenges to prop 8 in the form of lawsuits that are submitted before the CA supreme court. I half expect the court to overturn prop8 using the same argument it used to overturn prop 22.

  • “Allow your Messiah to find one successful candidate who will pull Anthony Kennedy in his direction rather than that for those horrible Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas people. No problem.”

    My understanding is that the Court is quite happy to leave this issue to the states. After the prolonged and continuing backlash to Roe, I expect the Court will be reluctant over-rule the states on this issue unless and/or until there is broader public support for gay marriage. Additionally, Kennedy generally adopts a type of opinion-poll approach to deciding controversial cases; for example, in Casey he upheld Roe because it was supported by most of the country, but he voted to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban.

  • So i’m thrilled that Prop 8 has been challenged. I am not gay. However I am good friends with those who are. I simply do not understand just what the big deal is all about gay people having the exact same privileges we have now.