Do you have to be a Republican to be Catholic?

Sorry for this being my first post, I’ve been lurking here for a couple years though (as you’ll notice by the date my account was created.)

One thing I’ve grown concerned about in the past couple years is that it seems like you now have to be an extremely conservative Republican if you’re Catholic. I understand the abortion issue, but I’ve noticed that in these forums in particular there’s not a lot of support for any forms of politics that could be considered “liberal.” I grew up in a very blue-collar Catholic family with very liberal views, in a liberal community.

By “liberal” I should explain: premarital sex, abortion and divorce aren’t ok, but the hallmarks of the faith I grew up with were all about social justice issues of caring for the poor, being against all aspects of the culture of death including death penalty and war, etc. It feels to me like the Catholic culture in this country has taken a hard right from what it was 30 years ago.

I am pro-life, which makes voting sometimes difficult because I believe my faith calls me to be anti-war, anti-death penalty, pro-caring for the poor, pro-caring for the earth, etc. and the pro-life party also seems to be the most pro-war and anti-welfare. I don’t understand why being Catholic has to mean that we agree with all of the Republican platform about climate change, taxes, war, welfare, etc., especially when their stances on those issues often seems opposed to what I read in the Catechism.

I am not intending to fight with anyone here. I am just wondering if there is room here, both on this site and within the Catholic faith, for more liberal views, or if you believe it’s true that you have to be a conservative Republican to be Catholic.

The problem really revolves around the fact that the Bishops and the Pope have been explicit in saying all issues fall below the abortion issue. The Bishops are not conservative by any means trust me, and yet they even are able to realize that abortions is the number one, insurmountable evil we face today. It should be as anathema to vote for a pro-choice candidate as it would be for a pro-man-child sex candidate. If you had a candidate that supported making sexual relationships between adults and children legal you would write them off immediately even if they were a Mother Teresa in every other aspect. This is how the abortion issue should be approached.

What the Bishops would like to see is for the Democratic Party turn pro-life and for this to stop being an issue. If people keep voting for pro-choice Democrats though the issue is never going to go away. Many of the bishops supported Obamacare or at least the idea of it (to the dismay of us on the right) before this whole contraception mandate came about. Many still support Obamacare and just want him to remove the mandate to make it ok.

So you don’t have to be Republican to call yourself a Catholic in communion with the Church, but you do have to be pro-life. We can argue about the role of government in our lives in good faith after we get that issue solved :smiley:

A great part of the problem is that the Democratic party of my youth has now turned itself into the pro-abortion party.

I understand the pro-life issue and why it is considered the most important issue above all others. I am a bit frustrated with the issue because I feel that the Republicans have used abortion as their key issue for decades and haven’t outlawed it even when they had a chance. I feel like as long as a candidate says he’s pro-life, that’s good enough to get people to vote for him even if he never does a thing to make abortion illegal.

However, what I wonder is about what I see here and in my parish. There doesn’t seem to be much acceptance for any other “liberal” viewpoints and if abortion became illegal, most of the Catholics currently voting Republican would continue to do so because of all the other issues. Do you disagree?

In theory, no. In reality, yes. Or Independent.

By rights, I should be a Democrat. I’m a blue-collar guy. I’ll never be filthy rich, and I find it obscene that so many corporate presidents make, oh, $4000/hr while cutting back on benefits, outsourcing jobs, etc etc etc.

But unfortunately, the Democrats are no longer interested in the normal guy. They’re interested in the special interests: gays, abortionists, environmental wackos, PETA, the works.

The Republicans are also not interested in the normal guy, but at least they aren’t trying to take away my guns nor kill babies who only went where they were invited.

honestly, who you vote for wont really change anything about laws regarding abortion. how many years under a prolife president have we had since roe v wade, and what has changed? nothing really. theres not much you can do. theyd basically have to amend the constitution, and that isnt going to happen just to stop abortion.

Dubya cut funding for overseas abortion. Obama reinstated it almost instantly. And a President is not the King - despite the incumbent’s thinking so. Laws are passed by Congress. It doesn’t matter who’s President if Congress doesn’t send him something to sign or if they have enough votes to override a veto. But the President does get to appoint Supreme Court justices.

Yes, who you vote for can make a difference.

Maybe since the 80’s? We missed out on a good shot to get it changed when Obama was put in office. I think Obama has got to appoint 2 Supreme Court justices that almost for sure would have tipped the balance there to be pro-life? That is the most direct way in which we could change the law. If we can get Roe v. Wade overturned then the issue goes back to the states and you only need to vote pro-life in State and local issues unless a presidental nominee threatens to make it a federal issue again. :slight_smile:

You seem to think that the pro-life crowd in the Republican party has a lot of sway and I can tell you up until recently we did not. We have to hold many of our candidates to the coals in order to get them to act. You are correct in that many Republicans just give the pro-life crowd lip service and when they get into office end up just remaining neutral on the subject in general. We have to separate the wheat from the chaff as it goes just like everyone else. Santorum is definitely wheat in my opinion :thumbsup:

However, what I wonder is about what I see here and in my parish. There doesn’t seem to be much acceptance for any other “liberal” viewpoints and if abortion became illegal, most of the Catholics currently voting Republican would continue to do so because of all the other issues. Do you disagree?

That entirely depends on where your at in the country. The Catholic vote nationally is split about 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats. Back 40 or 50 years ago Catholics used to vote 80% for Democrats so Catholics have been moving right as time moves forward. The Bishops may even be more apt to agree with Democrats although that is changing as time progresses.

I don’t think believing abortion is immoral makes people more inclined to think Republican, but I do think believing that contraception is immoral does.

If the two justices Obama had appointed had been pro-life the balance there would have been tipped to a sure pro-life.

the supreme court is not going to overturn roe v wade. no matter how many conservative ones you get in there. those guys are there because they understand constitutional law.

I’m right there with you nowadays. :thumbsup: I grew up in a rather grumpy, libertarianish environment, so we never entirely fit in with the Republicans anyway, but I became more left-leaning economically the more I read of our social teaching…

Lol the opposite of that is exactly what we were all telling ourselves before Roe v. Wade happened. Please keep thinking that so you don’t notice when it gets struck down. If Obama’s latest picks for the Supreme Court had been pro-life we would have it in the bag.

Where I live, the pro-life crowd completely runs the Republican party. The local diocese sponsors talks for women about how we’re supposed to find ways to find our God-given purpose as traditional homemakers. Most of the women who are active in my parish are homeschooling, stay home and very traditional, which is fine for them but it very much leaves me feeling left out. My kids attend public schools, I work full time and my husband does most of the cooking by choice. I feel very much like the churches in my parish (and I’ve visited several, trying to find one where I belong) are promoting an image of womanhood that is very impractical for both my family and my town, considering that it’s a very economically depressed region and many women have to work because their husbands (like mine) earn low incomes. But I digress. My point: where I live, the Catholic church is very, very conservative and, dare I say, retro. I know that this would be a huge plus for many people on these boards but frankly it’s not what I signed up for when I converted.

I don’t think believing abortion is immoral makes people more inclined to think Republican, but I do think believing that contraception is immoral does.

I think that abortion is immoral, and I am opposed to premarital sex and artificial chemical birth control. However, my husband and I both read Humanae Vitae together (I had to skim it, it was heavy reading, but hubby read the whole thing) and we did not see strong reason in there for why barrier methods would not be allowed within marriage.

i wouldnt hold my breath if i were you.

Although I don’t know hazmat, I’m inclined to agree. I think that the Republicans know that millions of people vote for them solely because of the abortion issue, and if abortion is overturned, then they are no longer guaranteed all those votes. Keeping that ability to say they’re “pro-life” is a very powerful bargaining chip, and I think the reason they haven’t tried hard to overturn Roe v. Wade yet is because they don’t want to give up those votes.

However I do have to also say that this tangent kind of ties into my whole point: abortion is truly a very important issue, but it bothers me that it seems to be all we talk about as Catholics. There have to be other issues that we stand for, too.

However I do have to also say that this tangent kind of ties into my whole point: abortion is truly a very important issue, but it bothers me that it seems to be all we talk about as Catholics. There have to be other issues that we stand for, too.

I don’t know but personally, millions of innocent children being ripped apart in the sanctuary of their mothers womb is on the top of my list of issues. If we we can’t get this one right…then we can’t get anything right

Here’s my :twocents:

Catholics are not “obligated” to vote for one party over the other. What they are obligated to do is to vote for whichever cadidate they believe will best govern the country. (this, of course, involves taking into account abortion etc.)

Having said that, I think its true that many catholics lean towards the republicans, not just because of the abortion issue, but because of social morality and political theory. The way I understand the democratic stance is that the government should itself take on all charitable works (before you fight me on this one, yes, that is a bit of an exaggeration). Instead, many catholics believe that the government (especially the federal government) shouldn’t be a charitable organization itself, both because of the principle of subsidiarity, (Catholic social teaching) and because they believe it is better for charity to come from the heart than to be forced upon people through taxes.

Last time I checked Jesus Christ wasn’t for abortion, gay marriage, legalizing drugs or equal rights for animals.

Can’t call yourself an educated Catholic if you voted or will vote for Obama.

Can you please cite the Bible or Catechism sections that specifically mention gay marriage, legalizing drugs or animal rights? I understand what the CCC says about gay marriage, but only why we as Catholics cannot have a gay marriage, not why we have to impose it on non-Catholics as well.

I’m not saying that to be argumentative; I’ve actually been looking for that information for quite some time. I can find what the CCC says about abortion, but not the other issues. I am not aware of any mainstream Democrats who want to legalize drugs or give equal rights to animals; can you tell me who they are so I can research it? If there are mainstream candidates who really take those stances and it’s not just hyperbole, I want to know because that is pretty serious indeed.

I do know what the Bible says about homosexuality. However, it seems like if we want our religious freedom to be respected in terms of the HHS mandate and contraception issue, we should respect the religious freedom of others as well. Although gay marriage will never be valid within our Church, I don’t understand why we have the right to tell non-Catholic same-sex couples that they have to be play by our rules. What the state allows in terms of “marriage” (or civil union) doesn’t require US to recognize those same marriages, any more than we allow divorced couples to remarry without annulment. The state’s rules regarding marriage already are different from our rules about it. We didn’t change our religious views on divorce just because society loosened theirs; why is the gay marriage issue any more threatening?

I disagree with you that no educated Catholic could vote for Obama; even the Pope said otherwise. As I understand the Pope’s stance on the topic, we can vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia IF that is not the reason we are voting for them and if there are other issues that we consider even more gravely evil. Although you may not accept that such issues exist, it doesn’t mean that all Catholics must vote Republican.

I always think I sound preachy when talking about this subject, so I apologize. I think we should do away with the terms liberal and conservative when talking about the Faith. This is because the Church’s teachings transcend these labels. As Catholics we believe that the Church teaches the fullness of reality. I think a more important measure is how much of this reality a Catholic embraces. Of course, this is much harder to pin down, and that is why we naturally come up with labels such as liberal and conservative. The problem applies to the terms Democrat and Rebublican as well. These terms change over time and are really only applicable in the United States. But the Church will stand for all time and is universal in scope.

I don’t really have any advice on how to vote when you have to choose between two imperfect candidates. I simply recommend that people embrace the totality of Church teaching, and in a properly ordered way. Politics is secondary.

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