Catholicism & politics


#1

I’ve been poking around these threads for a while now, and I’ve run into a common theme here that rather confuses me, and I’m hoping someone can shed some light on this issue for me.

I’m currently in RCIA, and I have a protestant background. I have considered myself politically liberal for my entire adult life. I am pro-life (believe it or not, there is a pretty large contingent of pro-life liberals out there), and that is an important position to me, but most of my primary concerns revolve around issues like ensuring that our social welfare programs are equipped to help everyone who needs them, and I believe firmly in the idea of universal healthcare, an end to our needless wars, etc. It is because of these issues that I was attracted to the Catholic church in the first place, because it tends to emphasize actually caring for the needy and sick and being pro-life towards the born as well as the unborn-- things that a lot of Protestant churches tend to gloss over or ignore altogether.

And yet, I find so many Catholics on these boards bemoaning the re-election of the president, some even going so far as to say that voting for him is a mortal sin! And this seems to be for the SOLE reason that he is pro-choice. I find this utterly baffling. I don’t see how this matters in the slightest-- what is the president going to do about Roe v. Wade, whoever he is? The president cannot overturn a supreme court decision. Ronald Reagan didn’t do it, neither did either President Bush. During the years since Roe v. Wade, we’ve had plenty of years of both conservative legislatures and conservative Supreme Courts, and the decision still stands. So what difference does it really make? A President Romney tenure would certainly have yielded the same result (none!) as far as life goes. And yet, how much worse for the poor, the sick, the elderly would a Romney presidency have been! Do none of his other policies matter in light of a belief that he has almost no power to do anything about?

I am asking for help understanding, because this attitude seems so prevalent here. I am not trying to stir anything up, I am genuinely confused.


#2

[quote="Homebody422, post:1, topic:305377"]
And yet, how much worse for the poor, the sick, the elderly would a Romney presidency have been!

[/quote]

What do you mean?


#3

Romney isn't even pro-life. He's pro-flip-flop-on-the-issues-to-suit-his-needs. However Obama wants babies killed even after they are born. Research BAIPA and Barack's response to it. So I don't know what people are going on about. They voted for evil either way.


#4

[quote="Homebody422, post:1, topic:305377"]
I am pro-life (believe it or not, there is a pretty large contingent of pro-life liberals out there), and that is an important position to me, but most of my primary concerns revolve around issues like ensuring that our social welfare programs are equipped to help everyone who needs them, and I believe firmly in the idea of universal healthcare, an end to our needless wars, etc. It is because of these issues that I was attracted to the Catholic church in the first place, because it tends to emphasize actually caring for the needy and sick and being pro-life towards the born as well as the unborn-- things that a lot of Protestant churches tend to gloss over or ignore altogether.

And yet, I find so many Catholics on these boards bemoaning the re-election of the president, some even going so far as to say that voting for him is a mortal sin! And this seems to be for the SOLE reason that he is pro-choice. I find this utterly baffling. I don't see how this matters in the slightest-- what is the president going to do about Roe v. Wade, whoever he is? The president cannot overturn a supreme court decision. Ronald Reagan didn't do it, neither did either President Bush. During the years since Roe v. Wade, we've had plenty of years of both conservative legislatures and conservative Supreme Courts, and the decision still stands. So what difference does it really make? A President Romney tenure would certainly have yielded the same result (none!) as far as life goes. And yet, how much worse for the poor, the sick, the elderly would a Romney presidency have been! Do none of his other policies matter in light of a belief that he has almost no power to do anything about?

I am asking for help understanding, because this attitude seems so prevalent here. I am not trying to stir anything up, I am genuinely confused.

[/quote]

You're confused because you're not being told the whole story by those who want you to vote like they would vote. Here's what the Pope has to say about it:

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

The rest of the document is here: ewtn.com/library/CURIA/cdfworthycom.htm

I agree with you that taking care of our poor, sick, disabled, and elderly are proportionate reasons. The Bishops listed a number of social issues that we should carefully consider when voting, while they told us that Catholics are not 'sinle issue voters'. That document is located here:

usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf

I feel both candidates want to resolve these issues. I just happen to agree with one's methods over the other's. They are both lacking, and what it boils down to for most people is who they believe is going to cause less damage to our citizens.


#5

I am surprised that when you read all these threads that you didn’t notice the explanations of the effect a president *can *have on the abortion issue: tye most important of which is the power to appoint US Supreme Court justices; and then other actions, such as the Executive Order-based Mexico City policy, which denies federal funds to overseas groups which promote abortion is either in place or not depending on the president.

Obama is so pro-abortion that he repeatedly worked, spoke, and voted against the Illinois Babies Born Alive Act, the final draft of which was based on the federap version *which even NARAL approved. *

This extreme support for abortion on the part of Obama in the minds of many Catholics disqualifies him. One cannot do evil that good may result: the good of [supposedly] helping the poor does not outweigh the evil of Obama’s support for abortion.

That is just one issue. The threads about the differences between the two also explained some of te serious problems with his “support for the poor,” and if you look them up, there are plenty of explanations about the problems with obamacare, some of which are showing up already.


#6

[quote="Homebody422, post:1, topic:305377"]
I've been poking around these threads for a while now, and I've run into a common theme here that rather confuses me, and I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this issue for me.

I'm currently in RCIA, and I have a protestant background. I have considered myself politically liberal for my entire adult life. I am pro-life (believe it or not, there is a pretty large contingent of pro-life liberals out there), and that is an important position to me, but most of my primary concerns revolve around issues like ensuring that our social welfare programs are equipped to help everyone who needs them, and I believe firmly in the idea of universal healthcare, an end to our needless wars, etc. It is because of these issues that I was attracted to the Catholic church in the first place, because it tends to emphasize actually caring for the needy and sick and being pro-life towards the born as well as the unborn-- things that a lot of Protestant churches tend to gloss over or ignore altogether.

[/quote]

Yep. :)

And yet, I find so many Catholics on these boards bemoaning the re-election of the president, some even going so far as to say that voting for him is a mortal sin! And this seems to be for the SOLE reason that he is pro-choice. I find this utterly baffling. I don't see how this matters in the slightest-- what is the president going to do about Roe v. Wade, whoever he is? The president cannot overturn a supreme court decision. Ronald Reagan didn't do it, neither did either President Bush. During the years since Roe v. Wade, we've had plenty of years of both conservative legislatures and conservative Supreme Courts, and the decision still stands. So what difference does it really make? A President Romney tenure would certainly have yielded the same result (none!) as far as life goes. And yet, how much worse for the poor, the sick, the elderly would a Romney presidency have been! Do none of his other policies matter in light of a belief that he has almost no power to do anything about?

I am asking for help understanding, because this attitude seems so prevalent here. I am not trying to stir anything up, I am genuinely confused.

Have you ever heard of the HHS Mandate? It requires Catholic Hospitals and Catholics to provide contraception and abortifacients to employees, something that goes against our consciences. It's not just that he's prochoice; it's that he is shoving his agenda down our throats and by doing so threatening to run Catholic services that help the poor out of business.

The president can choose Supreme Court justices who are prolife though. That will never happen with Obama and likely would've happened with Romney.

Look up Mexico City policy. Romney could stop funding of abortions, and would repeal the Health and Human Services Mandate. That's far better than Obama.

Hope this helps. It's not that everyone is a hardcore US conservative around here, it's just that we value life and the Church helping the poor.


#7

[quote="St_Francis, post:5, topic:305377"]
I am surprised that when you read all these threads that you didn't notice the explanations of the effect a president *can *have on the abortion issue: tye most important of which is the power to appoint US Supreme Court justices; and then other actions, such as the Executive Order-based Mexico City policy, which denies federal funds to overseas groups which promote abortion is either in place or not depending on the president.

Obama is so pro-abortion that he repeatedly worked, spoke, and voted against the Illinois Babies Born Alive Act, the final draft of which was based on the federap version *which even NARAL approved. *

This extreme support for abortion on the part of Obama in the minds of many Catholics disqualifies him. One cannot do evil that good may result: the good of [supposedly] helping the poor does not outweigh the evil of Obama's support for abortion.

That is just one issue. The threads about the differences between the two also explained some of te serious problems with his "support for the poor," and if you look them up, there are plenty of explanations about the problems with obamacare, some of which are showing up already.

[/quote]

So, Catholics should choose the lesser of two evils because we can do a 'little' evil so that good may come from it?

Prior to the election many said that voter's must look beyond all issues for the sake of the one issue. Now, it appears that they were looking at all issues together, while expecting others to go against what their consciences were telling them. It's easy to tell millions they must go for what they find objections in, instead of telling a pro life politician to concede on the other issues for the sake of the important issues, especially if you have preference of their view of the other issues.

We need a clear direction from the Church. Some say there was clarity. Other prominent Catholics have indicated there was confusion, or the instructions given were not very clear.

Election 2012: Most bishops stand by 'Faithful Citizenship'

In 2008, Charles Chaput, then archbishop of Denver, complained in an interview that the document was “not very clear” regarding the necessity of not voting for pro-choice candidates. “We either ought to get rid of it, or say things much clearer,” said Chaput, who now heads the Philadelphia archdiocese.

During the 2008 election season, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., interrupted a parish meeting where “Faithful Citizenship” was being discussed and claimed the document had no standing in his diocese. Martino, who has since retired, issued his own pastoral letter on voting in which he foreclosed the possibility of anyone voting for a pro-choice candidate.

Raymond Burke, archbishop of St. Louis until mid-2008 and now a cardinal leading the Vatican’ chief canonical court, agreed that “Faithful Citizenship” “led to confusion” among Catholics. “While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions,” Burke told an interviewer in 2009.

Archbishop Burke says bishops' document helped Obama campaign

Archbishop Burke argues that the lack of clear moral guidance from the hierarchy was a contributing factor in Obama's victory, because many Catholic voters supported the Democratic candidate.


#8

Contrary to what you read here, there is nothing in the Bible or the Commandments of the Church that demands that you become a card carrying member of the GOP.

Talk to your Priest or your Confessor, that’s what I did and it helped me immensely.


#9

The main problem is tha Catholic teaching tells us we must care for those in need AND that we must not kill innocent unborn babies–not to mention a number of other things. I will first mention the issue for a Catholic who believes what the Government does for the poor is helpful.

Now, historically the DP is generally thought to have been on the side of the poor and those in need. And historically Catholics have been Democrats. Their parents and grandparents were Democrats. Voting for a Republican would be like the worst sort of treason.

When the DP started to add advocacy of licentious freedoms, this fit in with an American progressivist political philosophy and the Church did not immediately respond. Many Catholics were confused by three arguments: the first was the lie that the “fetus” was a mere clump of cells more like an appendix than a baby–put forth by medical experts, this confused those not so trained.

The second argument was based on the lie that many thousands of abortions were happening each year and that many women died from them. Dr Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL, later said that these numbers were pulled out of the air, and other data indicate that the numbers were a small percentage of those that were used.

This second argument was that it would be better to make abortion legal than to have so many women running the risk of death. This argument contained the lie of the many women having abortions and the fact that since the discovery of penecillin the risks had dropped dramatically.

The third argument was that providing government aid would “reduce the [greatly exaggerated] incidence” of abortion better than prohibition. This has not proved to be the case–altho government aid, access to birth control, and education increased greatly during the years after Roe v Wade, so did the rates of abortion.

The way that many Catholics see this is that the evil of abortion is *not *oitweighed by the good provided by government aid.


#10

That’s the confusing points the men of the Church spoke about in reference to the Faithful Citizenship guides…


#11

Catholics aren't Democrat, OR Republican.

Were Christian


#12

On Voting for Pro-Abortion Candidates

A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters

To understand fully the quote from Pope Benedict in post 4 you need to understand what proprtinate reasons. Here are what various Bishops, Priests and lay Catholics have to say

President can nominate supreme court judges who by their voting record and personal views would or would not vote to rescind roe v wade or uphold. Obama, in his 1st term nominated supreme court judges who were in line with his views on abortion and in a 2nd term he could get the opportunity to nominate more pro abortion supreme court judges, and consider these judges have life terms. Obama said roe v wade was in the balance in this election. Romeny said repearly he supported overturning roe v wade. If Romney had been elected he could of nominated pro life supreme court judges and turned the balance on the supreme court from 1 court that would likely uphold Roe v wade to a court that would have enough votes to overturn it, Romney had a pro life agenda and would of passed pro life laws, which would of led to a decreased abortion rate

George Bush supported restricted abortion but he said in the 1st debate in 2000 and later said he would not try to reverse roe v wade. George Bush passed many pro life laws and there was an 8.1% decline in the abortion rate during his presidency. Obama has rescinded all the pro life laws George Bush passed and has rescidned the Mexico city policy which means milions of dollars are going around the world to pro abortion organisations to promote and spread abortion and contraception in various countries, including the Internatonal Planned Parenthood Federation which works in China

The views of a president on marriage and religious liberty are also important. Obama wants to force Catholic and non Catholic employers to pay for sterilisation, contraception and abortifiacients through the hhs mandate, there are 40 lawsuits against this. Obama supports gay ‘marriage’ - Romney was opposed to gay ‘marriage’ and would of rescinded of the hhs mandate


#13

Rence:

Thank you so much for the links! I read through both, and they really helped to clarify a lot. I figured there had to be some actual room for debate on the topic considering just how split the Catholic vote was.


#14

[quote="marty1818, post:2, topic:305377"]
What do you mean?

[/quote]

Pretty much the only thing Romney was consistent on through his whole campaign was his love of the rich and disdain for the poor. He made clear his intentions to gut social programs while providing more tax breaks for "job creators".


#15

I think that this is something we need to recognize, both individually and corporately.

WRT voting, I think that we should see whichever parties are available as, say, platters of food. It is not a buffet, we must choose the entire platter, and we can only choose one. Whichever platter proves to e the most popular is the one which will be served to us for the next four years.

How do we do this? We consider the balance. This one has some attractive but poisonous things on it which relate to mortal sin, but also some organic foods. The other one has some junk food, and we suspect that the vegetables are not very nourishing.

I choose the latter, knowing that some will parrtake of the poison, and knowing that not only can I supplement the poor vegetables, but I can also help others to find good vegetables. But I know I can do very little to counteract the presence ofthe poisonous foods as long as they are presented so attratcively and promoted so well.

Others choose the platter with the poisons, because they believe that the presence of the poisonous food is outweighed by the healthfulness of the organics. They may even believe that they can do more to counteract the attraction of the pousonous foods.


#16

Criminalizing abortion and stopping abortion are two different things. The Church in the US seems to regard them as the same. The problem for the Church is that it seeks to extend Catholic morality in this area to all. It does so because it considers fetuses to be human citizens or members of society in the same way that born people are. It also has a fixed moral view about ends not justifying means. Fine. But most people disagree, and certainly very few politicians are willing to advocate such an unpopular position. If they do, they will struggle to get elected. The Church is then in a position of urging people to choose between candidates based not on agreement with the Church position ( no direct abortions, ever, not even for that poor Indian woman in Ireland) but in the degree to which they disagree. Romney disagreed a bit, Obama disagreed a lot. A more sensible approach in my view for the Church would be to campaign to get individuals to agree with the Church moral position, and not seek to restrict choice by criminalizing abortion. I can see that if all the effort that went into the ‘pro-life’ election campaigns in the US had been directed towards messages and support for women, many babies who were aborted would be alive today. I cannot see that all that political effort made any difference at all, and in fact probably set the cause back.


#17

[quote="St_Francis, post:9, topic:305377"]
The main problem is tha Catholic teaching tells us we must care for those in need AND that we must not kill innocent unborn babies--not to mention a number of other things. I will first mention the issue for a Catholic who believes what the Government does for the poor is helpful.

Now, historically the DP is generally thought to have been on the side of the poor and those in need. And historically Catholics have been Democrats. Their parents and grandparents were Democrats. Voting for a Republican would be like the worst sort of treason.

When the DP started to add advocacy of licentious freedoms, this fit in with an American progressivist political philosophy and the Church did not immediately respond. Many Catholics were confused by three arguments: the first was the lie that the "fetus" was a mere clump of cells more like an appendix than a baby--put forth by medical experts, this confused those not so trained.

The second argument was based on the lie that many thousands of abortions were happening each year and that many women died from them. Dr Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL, later said that these numbers were pulled out of the air, and other data indicate that the numbers were a small percentage of those that were used.

This second argument was that it would be better to make abortion legal than to have so many women running the risk of death. This argument contained the lie of the many women having abortions and the fact that since the discovery of penecillin the risks had dropped dramatically.

The third argument was that providing government aid would "reduce the [greatly exaggerated] incidence" of abortion better than prohibition. This has not proved to be the case--altho government aid, access to birth control, and education increased greatly during the years after Roe v Wade, so did the rates of abortion.

The way that many Catholics see this is that the evil of abortion is *not *oitweighed by the good provided by government aid.

[/quote]

I understand and respect this argument. However, I do tend to agree that government aid is more effective than prohibition for now (the data bears this out, see economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/01/daily-chart-7 among others). But there are a lot of reasons that it is not nearly as effective as it could be. Despite the availability of WIC, food stamps and the like, there are a lot of other things that are unavailable that make an unintended pregnancy a terrifying prospect for a lot of young women (even married ones). First, the fact that paid maternity leave is rather a rare thing in this country, and even if you can afford to take unpaid leave, there is nothing to stop your employer from replacing you in your absence. If you do manage to keep your job and you need childcare, good luck. You may or may not qualify for a child care subsidy, which may or may not cover all of your expenses-- and infant care is VERY expensive, in my state it averages about $14,000/year, or pretty much your whole salary on min. wage. Not to mention the cost of all the pre-natal care you need (which could end up being a lot if you are high risk) and the cost of the birth itself (mine was about $30,000 w/c-section, 4 days in the hospital & associated costs). If you don't have insurance & don't qualify for Medicaid in your state, then it's all out of your pockets. These are just a few of the current problems with giving birth and raising children in this country while poor. It's pretty overwhelming, especially for a very young woman without a lot of family support.

I bring all that up because it's typically dems who want to fix those problems. If having a baby under a certain income bracket didn't seem so impossible to a lot of women, I bet a lot of them would be more willing to have their babies. It is difficult for me to recocile the pro-life rhetoric of conservatives with their unwillingness to spend more money to make choosing life the easier choice. Not to mention the shaming of poor women who do choose to have babies as irresponsible drains on the system, or "welfare queens". Pres. Obama may not be able to fix these problems, but he has talked about it a lot, and at the very least, "Obamacare" DOES provide for young people up to age 26 to stay on their parent's insurance, which is a huge, huge deal, as well as the provision that people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions (which pregnancy is usually considered to be).


#18

[quote="Seeker1961, post:8, topic:305377"]
Contrary to what you read here, there is nothing in the Bible or the Commandments of the Church that demands that you become a card carrying member of the GOP.

[/quote]

Is there something in the Bible or the teachings of the Church which would demand that one become a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party?

Just wondering...


#19

Nope…that’s the point. Our membership in the Church is not connected to political parties, despite what some Catholics would like you to believe.


#20
                     if   it were  only a matter of Catholic morality i might agree with you,but its a matter of a human life.

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