My remarks will be brief, since this is not a political blog, and I am not a political prognosticator. The American people and process have spoken. But a few remarks based on the election results, things I think of as undeniable facts for the Church, though you are free to offer any rebuttals.

1. The strained relationship between the Catholic Church in the Democratic party will continue and the strain will likely grow. The reasons for this are that the Democratic Party is increasingly aligning itself with positions that are in direct conflict with Catholic teaching. More of this in the following points.

2. Largely unrestricted abortion will continue unabated, as will funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the chief provider of abortion in this country. Possible Supreme Court nominations will also feature pro-choice jurists. Likewise many Circuit and other Federal District Court judges will continue to be appointed who favor largely unrestricted abortion.

3. The homosexual agenda will continue to grow and receive increasing legal recognition and protection. This includes not only gay “marriage” but also, other issues in the Gay agenda such as adoption, and the general insistence that the Gay lifestyle be promoted in schools and other public settings. This will require Church opposition and generally embroil us in many public disputes. This may have continued even with a Romney win, but there will be fewer political hurdles for such agendas and the pace will be quicker.

4. The HHS mandate moves forward, untouched. Our religious liberty is in greater jeopardy. We’ll have to meet the administration in court. And while the legal basis for our grievance seems strong, recent experience in the courts has demonstrated that nothing is certain. Civil disobedience may be in our future.

5. Extreme debt seems likely to pile up. Well this may not be a specific issue the Catholic Church has spoken to, it remains a fact that we spend money we do not have, and this has moral implications. Little change in a very divided Congress, means there will be likely little progress in arresting a runaway debt. This will become an increasing moral problem that the Church will likely have to address at some level. This too draws us into the morass of debates about spending priorities etc. and may divide us as a Church between fiscal conservatives and those who emphasize the Social Doctrine.

Thus, the next years ahead, will likely draw the Church into increasing conflict with the political scene in general, and the Democratic Party specifically.

And while it is not the instinct to the Church to be drawn into one side of the political debate, moral issues are increasingly demanding from us an unambiguous stance, one which draws us into increasing conflict with the Democratic Party on issues which we consider non-negotiable. At the same time, issues that we may share with the Democratic Party, are less doctrinal or certain for us. We face difficult days ahead, and difficult decisions about strategy and how to engage a party in power that is increasingly at odds with our most central tenants.

The Central question for us is, How will the Church be able to articulate her positions, increasingly at odds with the platform of the Democratic party and be able to resist the (unfair) charge that we are merely the Republican Party at prayer. There are difficult days ahead for the Church.

Let us pray for great courage and prudence.

212 Responses

  1. Judith Huddleston says:

    I agree with the post from Robert Francis, As a Catholic the type of post like from Guy Fawkes scares me. Some people on here mentioned Nazis. If the rhetoric continues like some on here and even from some Catholic leaders in this election, we won’t have to worry about Nazi types, we will be destroyed from within. I certainly wasn’t told what political party I had to belong to when I joined the church. The idea that the Rep party is the one that follows the Bible is ludicrous. Their policy of u should be able to keep what u work for only applies to wealthy. When it comes to people like teachers, they say “well, the folks can’t afford to pay ur huge salaries and benefits any more.”. Wealthy teachers? I don’t think so. Then they say “we’re for teachers not unions.”

    Pope John Paul tried to get Bush not to go to war with Iraq but he didn’t listen. I wonder if the person who said Dem politicians should not be allowed communion thinks the same should be true of the person who is in charge of the drone attacks that target weddings? This picking and choosing of what we should believe according to very strict guidelines and that we should basically be punished if we don’t believe that way is scary. I realize we have to believe in basic church doctrines but having someone tell us which ones are more important is wrong. Killing is wrong but last few years church has seemed to decide that only killing by abortion applies.

    All the years I have been part of the church the main theme had been Love and that’s why the Church had been so special. I haven’t heard much about Love lately and if the Church becomes what many on here are suggesting, that there is no room for questioning I want no part of that. The Church used to be a place of peace for me. A spiritual place that gave me hope. The constant pounding of the political rhetoric is taking that away.

  2. Joe says:

    It is my experience that everyone who voted for Obama also rejects one or more of the doctrines of the Church.

  3. carlene says:

    Right Joe. On the hierarchy of teachings, respect for life is of the highest priority and that was the most prominent of beliefs that was denied by Catholic voters. Abortion , even in late term , supported by the President and his Secretary of Health and Human Services. Health care rationing which is a major part of the Obamacare legislation is an open door to Euthanasia. Also, religious freedom is under attack. While not part of Catholic doctrine, it is our constitutional right and it has allowed us to follow doctrine without persecution. That was another important item that Catholic voters did not support. I pray for Cardinal Dolan to win his case.

  4. […] Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington:  My remarks will be brief, since this is not a political blog, and I am not a political […]

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