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Difficult Days Ahead for the Church?

November 6, 2012 212 Comments

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.

Comments (212)

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  1. Post Election Thoughts from the Aspirant | November 7, 2012
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  1. Jan says:

    Monsignor, the entitlement class has the country firmly in it’s grip. The Republic is lost.

    • Liam Ronan says:

      I remember Our Lord’s words spoken on the way to His Crucifixion: ” For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:31)
      We have become the dry tree of Faith in the US. What manner of treatment will the remnant of faithful Catholics now have to endure?
      “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4)
      That time, I fear, is on the very horizon.
      Mary Immaculate save us.

    • Stan Zychowski MD says:

      Now is the time to follow Jesus. A time for “white” martyrs who are NOT afraid to become Saints.
      We have all been ransomed by Jesus at great cost to Him … even President Obama.
      Pray for those who have fallen for the lies of materialism and relativism. Pray that Jesus will save them.

      God’s Will be done … always. Long live Christ the King !

  2. VistaNow says:

    Sad night, because the nation voted their morality

  3. Todd Flowerday says:

    1. I think it’s about as bad as it can get.

    2. It puts the onus on us to be more persuasive. The decision for or against abortion remains with individuals, not government. People could decide against it starting tomorrow, and no law in this nation can force abortion. I think it’s time for a number of political pro-lifers to go local, and try persuasion.

    3. There’s nothing about same-sex unions that is objectively sinful. Unions imply sexual relationships, but if the Church were serious about addressing what it sees as sinful, they would move to criminalize all sexual activity outside of marriage. I suspect they are unwilling to do this. If the issue is, as some Catholics have framed it, about the defense of marriage, it’s time for the bishops and the Knights to pour millions into Marriage Encounter and other movements that actually help sacramental marriages.

    4. We’re going to have to rely on good will here, aren’t we? Will the Obama Administration be magnaminous in victory? On the other hand, maybe it’s time for the Knights to add medical insurance to their portfolio.

    5. We’re going to have to live with it because austerity measures in Europe have been catastrophic and is clearly not the answer for better economics or social peace.

    6. Only if the bishops escalate. A lot of faithful Catholics might suggest they step back from politics, and leave it to lay people. They have enough on their plate to regain our trust.

    7. We need to reassess and get off the anti-gay bandwagon. Catholic conservatives are going to have to welcome liberals to the table, they will have to reject Cardinal George’s pronouncements of euthanasia. If conservatives are going to continue to dictate the public agenda, then they will have any number of faithful liberal Catholics criticizing every major pronouncement that is prudential and unilateral.

    8. Courage and prudence, yes. But also great creativity and persuasion.

    5.

    • You’ve pretty much tipped your hand here Todd. I wonder how you can square most of what you have said with anything that is remotely Catholic? By the way, i do think adultery and fornication should be illegal but guess who would oppose it Todd….

      • Chase says:

        Come to think of it – was fornication even illegal in the old Catholic confessional states?

        But seriously – where is the line to be drawn? Sending young girls who fall into sin and get pregnant to prison?

        • Well, I think the litigation in such matters would probably be more symbolic and might only have “teeth” when and if it came to things like divorce settlements and/or custody matters. So chill Chase and avoid extremism

          • Chase says:

            I wasn’t saying I would *want* to make those things illegal – I was just wondering where the line between “this behavior is bad and should be outlawed” and “this behavior is bad, but not a place for criminal law” is. For example, we obviously want to see abortion outlawed, and there is a case to be made for legal sanctions against adultery (after all, we punish people who shirk other contracts), but the case for criminalizing fornication seems to go further than most Catholic states of the past, and would involve some kind of religious police like they have in Saudi Arabia.

            Is there an actual line about what the law should and should not enforce, or is it simply prudential judgement of the lawmakers to know how far is too far?

          • Ever heard of statutory rape

          • Chase says:

            Yes, but isn’t that fornication between a minor and an adult?

            I’m not trying to cause trouble – I really want to know, and I know Sts Thomas and Augustine addressed the very question. Their answers focused more on the impossibility of controlling all such actions, but I guess I am wondering what kinds of actions would be right to control by law and which wouldn’t. Like it seems that if we could in practice control every single sin legally, we still should not do so, but I don’t know enough to say why we shouldn’t.

          • :-) Boy you’re really worked up about this. Be cool, I am not setting forth the agenda you suppose. It was just said in passing and I would favor some punitive measures for those violate the marriage bed but I do not know how that would work and if it existed at if would likely more become an issue only in divorce proceedings. But Chase I haven’t thought it through and it was only said in passing and is not the point of this post. Chill man, chill….

          • Chase says:

            Msgr., I hope you do not think I was accusing you of wanting to set up some Iranian religious police! Not in the least – I really was just wondering how church tradition decided what parts of Natural Law should or should not be enshrined in positive civil law.

            I think we’re misunderstanding each other!

          • Rob says:

            Chase…Take a look at this article from HPR which I think articulates what you are asking and shows one such example of civil law allowing (that is the key word) something innately sinful.
            http://www.hprweb.com/2012/08/contraception-and-public-policy/

        • Bender says:

          Since our legal tradition comes from England, I do not see how the old Catholic confessional states are relevant, even if you were to specify which countries those are.

          As for Anglo-American law — fornication was (and is) a violation under the criminal common law, which is not “law” enacted by legislatures, but is recognized by courts as being offensive to right reason, as are other common law crimes, such as murder and robbery and larceny and rape and burglary and trespass and adultery and abortion.

      • Todd Flowerday says:

        ” … how you can square …?”

        First, not all of our talking points were moral or religious. And as for those that were, there is, as you asked, the virtue of prudence.

        Second, you’ve fallen into the classic trap of shooting the messenger because you don’t like the message, possibly transgressing CCC 2478 in the bargain. I believe that a Catholic believer can sin and still be a Catholic believer.

        • Betsy says:

          God doesn’t compromise & neither should we.

        • c matt says:

          There is a marked difference between a Catholic believer who sins, and one who no longer believes what is Catholic.

          • Todd Flowerday says:

            My point would be that many Catholics seem oblivious to that difference. Why do you suppose I would say that? What do you think I mean?

        • David Nordmark says:

          Humnae Vitae!!!

          • Betsy says:

            The Sacrament of Reconciliation needs a MAJOR revival!!! Responsibility starts with an honest examination of conscience that leads to the confessional & a commitment positive personal change. The promise of eternal salvation should be all the encouragement we need to RUN into the arms of Our Creator. The only catch is WE HAVE TO DO THE WORK to realize the embrace. DESTINATION JESUS is the ULTIMATE FREEDOM!!!

      • Brenda Isaacs says:

        Adultery and fornication is illegal in the eyes of God, however, we have always had separation of church and state here. That’s why so many people came here. The church can’t dictate the laws of country; it can only dictate the laws of God. If people have God’s laws written in their hearts, it won’t matter what the civil laws say. People of God must answer to a higher authority, and pray for those who are lost. There is a golden opportunity to pray for the lost in this country.

    • so disgusted says:

      “After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.” Valerie Jarrett

      No, good will is not what I am expecting. I feel like the character in Flannery O’Connor’s book, “I’m too mean to be a saint, but I might be a martyr, if they kill me really fast.

      This will be slow and painful. Lord have mercy on us!

  4. Bender says:

    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?

    The charge is absurd if only because the Republican establishment really doesn’t care about those issues. Most of them are wholly incapable of mounting any kind of real defense of life, marriage, family, etc. Even policies on those economic issues they purport to care so much about are weakly presented and defended. A party of worms they are. It is hard to win when one’s opponent is zealous and passionate and you are about as inspiring as a bucket of warm spit.

    • Bender says:

      This really does raise the stakes and place a greater burden on our priests and bishops to say and do what is necessary. Much of that, unless you want to crack your skulls ramming your heads up against brick walls by engaging in public policy trying to influence politicians, is going to have to involve the intense grunt-work of trying to change hearts one person at a time. Rather than a top-down approach, it will need to be a bottom-up approach.

      And that also means that more than our priests and bishops are going to have to get in the game. More of the faithful laity are going to have to step up and start seeking to evangelize and convert their neighbors and co-workers and family members rather than expect politicians to listen to them or for government to be anything other than what it has always been, a greater threat to liberty than a protector of it. No more can lay people sit back and hide in the anonymity of the group, expecting “the Church” to take care of this or that. Instead, it is on each and every one of us individually to do this work.

      It may be that we might never bring public policy into conformance with justice, charity, and truth. We might fight for some improvement here and there, but this great experiment called “America” might have run its course. We have prided ourselves on being “the last best hope of earth,” but that was always a false hope — it is folly to place your hope and trust in man, who is weak and fickle and temporary, rather than in the One who is True and Eternal.

      Perhaps we should have always expected that there would be difficult days ahead for us, that ours would be a long via crucis. Certainly that is the message of Fatima and the Book of Revelation. But we also have the assurance of our Blessed Mother that her Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end.

  5. workingclass artist says:

    Cardinal George said in February that we will lose our schools, our hospitals and our charities in 2 years if HHS is not overturned.

    I am so very sad Msgr. Pope.

  6. Maggie Goff says:

    I’m very sad for our country tonight, and even sadder about all the “Catholics” who voted for Obama, and the mental gymnastics they had to go through to justify it. This is the most morally corrupt administration I’ve ever seen. I am also not looking forward to the economic collapse which will be coming, but oddly I’m not afraid or anxious. Pray ceaselessly. St. Francis de Sales: Be at Peace. Divine Office. The Rosary. St. Michael’s Chaplet. Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy Way of the Cross. The Mass and Eucharist every day. Our Guardian Angels. Etc. And pray especially for our Priests, Bishops, Pope Benedict.

  7. Clinton R. says:

    The days may be upon faithful Catholics to ready ourselves for martyrdom. With radical liberalism now freely running rampant, the distinction between faithful Catholics and “Catholics” in name only will become much more apparent. May Our Lord strengthen us for the trials ahead. +JMJ+

  8. Charles Curtis says:

    Dear Father,

    In all humility, I am not sure that this election means much of anything at all in and of itself. It really only reveals what is inevitable, I think.

    I’d respectfully suggest that culturally pandemic sins such as abortion and homosexuality are not political problems. Keeping Republicans in office, or turning the entire country, every office, over to the Republicans, will not solve the problem, because the problem is essentially spiritual and only incidentally (accidentally) political.

    We have “safe” (for the “mother”) abortion simply because it is possible to have it. Excuse the crude Marxist analysis, but all such useful technology is revolutionary, because it is inescapable. The birth control pill is a technological fact, which is why we have low birth rates, small families. Just as we have long lives because of modern medicine. We use these things, do these things, *because we can,* because the worldly benefits are ineluctable. Like with the alphabet, wheel, printing press, fractional reserve banking, insurance, mechanical loom and plow, social security, penicillin, automobiles, the internet and all that. If we don’t use it, we often inescapably *materially* impoverish ourselves. It’s that simple. Worldly “poverty,” or worldly “wealth.” Worldly “power,” or worldly “servitude.”

    What I’m saying here is that the pro-life cause, as we’ve been fighting it, is basically more or less calvary charging machine guns. Time to get ourselves some tanks..

    The Republicans lost tonight because they – as they are constituted – are hypocrites professing to care about chastity, when what they really care about is money. Money for themselves.

    “Homosexuality” (a 19th century coinage, nonsensical etymologically, because biologically spiritually human sex means babies) is only a political issue (in that we’re “normalizing” it, and stuff like “gay” “marriage” are now appearing on our ballots) because we “normal” people have ceded the semantic (spiritual) ground.

    There is no such thing as “gay sex” and therefore no such thing as “gay marriage.” The real spiritual (and hence political) fight we have as Catholics is against no-fault divorce.

    You want to stop “homos” from marrying? Father, please. Let them all dress up as the Red Queen and do as they damn please. We – Catholics, supposedly sane people – should not participate in their charade.

    Let us order our own houses. If we can, they are irrelevant. They, after all, are us, and if we repent of our sodomy, “gays” and abortion and all that will no longer be problems. We nearly are all sodomites now, condoms pills abortion porn, we are pickled in it all. So then.

    It’s not about elections, but repentance.

    Anyway, I for one am glad Mr. Obama is still our president. He’s charismatic, black (which when I am abroad, as I usually am, is a sweet. When Mr. Bush was president I was continually being told by snotty Europeans how they hated him. Now I get to dish it back at them. The French. Let them insult us when they elect a black or Muslim. For the moment they can shut up and admire us. Because we have a half white man with a Jewish brother and several dozen Muslims in his family as our head of State. Let the masonic horde all venerate him in silence.. Preserving me from the sin of being heinously annoyed at their idiocy..) and he can speak English. He also is scandal free.

    What else do want from Caesar? Seriously? What?

    Are you making politics into religion? Do you really want Romney Messiah?

    Whatever, Father, I am seriously disappointed in you here. Mr. Romney is a “Latter Day Saint.” Whatever Mr. Obama’s other faults he at least isn’t a member of the “Restored Church.” Crypto-Muslim, liberal protestant, radical secular humanist, whatever else, he is at least more or less in keeping with the rest of our enlightened elite. The Mormons are to my mind in some sense a much more absurd and somehow virulent attack on the Church than the countlessly re-proliferasting recapitulations of Voltaire’s old gig that our Founding Fathers’ bequeathed us.

    Don’t tell me the Republic’s threatened because we failed to elected a Mormon, Father. Please.

    I’m tired. I hope you understand me. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you Father. Goodnight..

    • Jan says:

      This is the singular, most ridiculous and nauseating piece of tripe I’ve ever seen on this forum. And what is there to admire about a guy who is hastening the demise of a nation? Unless of course you despise us as much as ‘the president’ does. Look around the world – white nations don’t elect black men to run them.

    • Well Charles, I wondered if I should post this reply since it not only misses the point of the main article but has lots of thinly veiled bigotry but any way, here it is. Jan’s reply may not be the only one, written or unwritten who find your writing here offensive to say the least.

    • Josh says:

      Amen Charles! I’m tired of people using my faith to extend hate. It hurts even more that Bishops are condoning it. What ever happened to caring for the poor? Loving one another? These things are pushing people away from the Church. As much as I am in complete agreement with Catholic canon, I strongly believe that the Church has chosen 2 issues to believe in, and forget the rest. Just because Catholic Institutions will have to cover their employees, who may not be Catholic, for birth control, does not mean their employees need to use it. Let Catholics choose to remain faithful if they so desire to.

      If the Church believes that society should live by every thing they believe in, then that would also mean prohibition should have returned if Romney was elected, as Mormons do not drink alcohol. Obviously, he wouldn’t do that, but it is just as if the United States of American implemented every Catholic belief. We are the United States of America, not the United Catholic States of America. All people have the right to their own beliefs and to make their own decisions.

      • taad says:

        I am a simple person. What Charles wrote simply makes no sense to me what so ever. All I can think is what Our Lady said: “The proud will be confused in their in most thoughts.”

      • Repent and believe the GospeI! says:

        Dear Josh think before you speak:

        What a lame remark: “Just because Catholic Institutions will have to cover their employees, who may not be [a] Catholic, for birth control, does not mean their employees need to use it.”

        FORCING, Catholic employers to pay for this GARBAGE, is EVIL. That’s MATERIAL COOPERATION!!! WE believe in HEAVEN and HELL, and we don’t want to cooperate with EVIL. ARE YOU THIS DENSE?

        Lame remark #2: “All people have the right to their own beliefs and to make their own decisions”
        YEAH, little boy you tell it!. Except for Catholic employers who must reject their own beliefs!!!
        LIBERALS never play fair!!!!
        This is the logic of reprobates!
        This is what happened when the cesspool of immorality enters Josh’s brain!
        I’m sorry that I am harsh on this post Msgr., but 56,000,000 abortions is just too much for me!
        I see Divine Judgement coming around the corner. Before, Obamination Clown took office, evil was at a distant but now evil is messing with the Church. And this is because I never heard priests spoke up against birth control during homilies in my 45 years on earth. Bishops are now talking about it, but it is too little too late!
        Now we are reaping what we sow!
        Ha, the worst president in the history of the U.S, won the reelection! What? How could this happened? I hate to say it – but demons are protecting Obama, and people are just becoming more immoral.
        See, the Devil is not content with reprobates. He wants good people to lose their faith, be persecuted and possibly lose their souls if they don’t persevere! That is his supreme “sticking it” to God. The Devil uses cowardly catholics to “stick it” to God by not speaking up against evils. And now he uses fake catholics like Biden, Pelosi and co. to doubly “stick it” to God. Oh are are we in a mess up big time! How sad when society lost its logic!

      • I Like the Church Fathers says:

        Where there’s a conflict between Church and Country, Church ought to come first.

    • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

      Charles Curtis starts out this rant with ” In all humility.” I don’t get any sense of an once of humility in the bigoted arrogance of his argument. This sounds like something typical from an enlightened intellectual elitist. As you end, we understand you better than you probalbly hoped we would and I for one also became tired of reading you pathos.

  9. Sammy Balpedas says:

    Are the central “tenants” of our faith chancery officials renting office space downtown? (the rest of the article was spot-on)

  10. AnneG says:

    Thanks, Msgr Pope, There are 2 of the 4 sins that cry out to heaven in the Democratic platform, sodomy and harming children. Looks like we will have to pay for the sins of our nation for both.
    Obama Administration magnanimous in victory? “Reward our friends and punish our enemies” by Valerie Jarrett last week.

  11. Vijaya says:

    This too shall pass. In the meantime, we must fight the good fight at every level — home, school, work. The faithful shall gain helps from our friends up high — St. Michael, St. Joseph, Mary our Mother, pray for us.

  12. Steve C says:

    Pray for perseverance! Pray for zeal of the martyrs! We are the CHURCH MILITANT!!! We are hear at this time for a reason. God put us here at this time for a reason. We are all called to be great saints in the time we exist. We will not back down, we will not comply, CREDO!

    “Victories of the Martyrs” by St Alphonsus if they can do it so can we.

    Also, I vote for secession from this disfunctional voluntary union of states but we need to clean up & focus on local & state elections/gov’t where true power resides & STOP looking at Mordor on the Potomaic to rule 300,000,000 people’s lives from coast to coast. We do not have a republic b/c we are out of scale.

    Keep up your great work, Msgr!

    Viva Christo Rey!

  13. Still but a Sprout says:

    A Roman Catholic priest through pristine logic, firm presentation and generous spirit guided me away from suicide. Since that time I have been knocked over by the enormity of talent in the Church’s religious corps. Example got me to AA, example got me back to the sacraments. Can example save a nation? For the first time I am comfortable leaving that up to God. I’ll do what I can without jeopardizing my eternal voyage. If the Nation has a soul then that soul has ONLY the appeal to God left at this point. Its sad so many choose to leave the opportunity to stand closer to God.

  14. Alicia G. Mendiola says:

    In particular here in the Philippines we will still continue to fight against a Bill if becomes a Law will open a ‘slippery road’ to Abortion. With the present unfavorable development in your country, the fight will now be in a greater degree. Planned Parenthood Programs had been here a long time and had been in direct contact with Non-Government Organizations who are pro-choice. Its sad day for America and Our Church.

  15. Crowhill says:

    I was very disappointed at the lame, almost non-existent reaction of the Catholic Church to the same-sex marriage vote in Maryland.

    Where were the commercials? Where were the road signs? Where were the interviews and lectures and public forums? Where were the homilies?

  16. Joe Dirt says:

    For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

  17. Daniel says:

    We musn’t forget the theological virtue of hope. Blessed John XXIII had great wisdom to trust the working of the Holy Spirit, as well as great optimism, which shines forth in his opening address of the Second Vatican Council:

    “In the daily exercise of our pastoral office, we sometimes have to listen, much to our regret, to voices of persons who, though burning with zeal, are not endowed with too much sense of discretion or measure. In these modern times they can see nothing but prevarication and ruin. They say that our era, in comparison with past eras, is getting worse, and they behave as though they had learned nothing from history, which is, none the less, the teacher of life. They behave as though at the time of former Councils everything was a full triumph for the Christian idea and life and for proper religious liberty.

    We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand.

    In the present order of things, Divine Providence is leading us to a new order of human relations which, by men’s own efforts and even beyond their very expectations, are directed toward the fulfilment of God’s superior and inscrutable designs. And everything, even human differences, leads to the greater good of the Church

  18. Lou Donnelly says:

    I was greatly saddened with the result, but it was not unexpected. We as a nation have abandoned God and his laws. Since we spend less time with Him, guess who came in to fill the void. So as a nation we got what we deserve. In the process some of us are distressed.

  19. Scotty says:

    Today is the day for the USCCB – and Cardinal Dolan personally – to both show graciousness to the President on his re-election and to reiterate in the clearest language possible: We Will Not Comply.

  20. Yolanda says:

    “This will require Church opposition and generally embroil us in many public disputes”. Or, the church could focus on the priorities that Christ set: love your neighbor, feed the poor, shelter the homeless …

    • But doesn’t your list include opposition to abortion, i.e. don’t infants in the womb need to be sheltered and fed, are they not poor? Should we not oppose that they be killed? Is that not part of our concern for the poor? Further does promiscuity and the dilution of the meaning of marriage harm children who are best raised by a mother and father living together. IOW your “way out” is not really a way out at all.

    • Jan says:

      Oh.My.Gosh!!!!! What a novel idea! You mean, like. collect money at church to distribute to the poor and needy, maybe send missionaries around the world to help the sick and starving in other places? How about some opening some places where people can get clothing and food right here in the USA!! And do this stuff mostly while they spit on us and do everything they can to destroy our Church? I’m on board!

      Monsignor! Call the bishop! Call the Pope!!!

    • Steve M says:

      Yolanda:
      You are right the Church should focus on the priorities Christ set. I will re-read the Bible a bit today. I thought Christ often found himself at odds with the authorities but I am sure you are right. He was just a very nice man that only taught that we should love our neighbor. It is much easier just to ignore that bit about Loving God with your whole heart being the first and most important commandment. If the government makes a decision that would require us to not do what God has taught us ot be right we can at least feel good about being nice to our neighbor. As you clearly point the way, we should not let this morality stuff get in the way of being nice to people. Christ clearly never corrected anyone or never called anyone a hypocrat, well at least if you ignore those bits of the Bible and Church teaching. The best way as you show is to ignore the hard parts that would make us stand up against any political view point. We should just not worry about abortion or the death penalty or anything too messy. We should just keep writing checks to the food bank so we can feel good about ourselves without letting morality which is very hard ruin our day. Mother Teresa was really doing the right thing by helping the poor and destitute but when she started talking about the horror of abortion she just went way too far. If a mother wants to kill her baby then she should be able to. You are exactly right Yolanda. don’t let any facts or teachings of the Church or even the Truth about what Christ taught get in the way.

  21. Paul says:

    The Catholic Church’s flirtations with liberation theology based social teaching has caused this mess in the Catholic conscience. This is also pervasive in other sects in the faith preventing us from teaching the full truth of the Gospel. This is a painful lesson from God to purge the leaven of this false teaching from our midst.

  22. I Like the Church Fathers says:

    I think it’s useful to remember that the Church has been in a tough spot many times before and not just during the persecutions that ended in the early fourth century.

    For example, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, both Pius VI and his successor, Pius VII, were placed under arrest by Napoleon Bonaparte and were forcibly exiled from Rome. Their offence was not supporting Napoleon in his aim of conquering all Europe. When Pius VI was arrested and died in exile after a long reign, many smug European securalists jubilantly declared that the papacy was finished and that the Church that they hated so much would collapse soon after. Of course, that didn’t happen.

    As was the case over 200 years ago, Catholics need to get through this by praying a lot and remaining uncompromising on the non-negotiable aspects of the Faith, regardless of how bad things get. Although I don’t think that Christian martyrdom will be making a comeback any time soon, I think it would be wise to remember the martyrs’ sacrifices and pray to them now more than ever.

    Saints Stephen, Lawrence, Sixtus II, Agnes, Cecilia, Agatha, Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.

  23. Ken says:

    Perhaps bishops and priests will stop talking in code on abortion and homosexual issues, and their relation to the voting booth in parishes that are known to be moderate and liberal.

    Hispanic Catholics overwhelmingly supported candidates who favor pro-abortion, pro-homosexual behavior issues. Did they hear anything from their bishops and priests that was clear as day on this? Or were the homilies all in code? (“Vote for Jesus! Vote for love!”)

    What was not in code was how wonderful giving in-state college tuition is for illegal immigrants in Maryland. Maybe the energy spent on that issue could instead be spent on more important issues?

    The future of the Catholic vote rests with Hispanics. Time to start focusing on how they hear things and how they act and vote. No more speaking in code, please.

  24. Bill says:

    The catholic bishops and priests in general failed its flock. If I hear vote your conscience one more time I might scream. Catholics need clear language. Abortion and homosexual sex are sins Voting for politicians who support these things is also a sin. Is there any ambiguity in what I just said? If the bishops and priests rallied around that kind of speech we would have a more Godly country.

    • Jamie R says:

      If Catholics need a bishop or priest to tell them directly to vote against abortion and gay marriage, then I have to scream at the state of our Catholic flock. I do not believe that Catholics in a position to hear a bishop or their priest – at Mass, or through the media – vote en mass for anti-Catholic positions. It is the Catholics who are lukewarm in their faith – those who have made their own covenant that allows them to pick and choose, or, in the case of some of our senior Catholic politicians, leave their faith at home. These people will not hear, let alone respond to a bishop’s direct message.

  25. John Treacy says:

    Todd says abortionis a matterof individual choice for those concerned. The Church–and biology–tell us that an unborn child is an early stage human being. This tiny human slated for destruction in ways too horrible to describe or even imagine, has no “choice” at all. He or she is murderd witout friend, without lament. Our hearts have grown so hardened by the extent pof this pitiless slaughter that even people of ostensible good will can call it merely a matter of adult choice, like chocolate or vanilla.God help us!.

    • Todd Flowerday says:

      John, keep in mind that I’m reporting both a factual truth and a moral reality. I don’t approve of immoral behavior, but I notice people engage in it regardless of what I think, believe, or do.

      The truth is that every person has the power to make choices between good and evil, whether it is lawful or not, whether clergy and religious leaders approve or not.

      I’m not going to allow other so-called Catholics to twist my words into some suggestion that I lack morality or virtue because I’m telling the truth about the world as it is, not as others would like it. CCC 2478, my friends. If I say I’m a pro-life Catholic, you are all obliged to take me at my word, no matter how much you dislike me personally.

      • Steve M says:

        Todd:
        We are twisting nothing of what you say. We are simply flecked what you have said back to you in hopes you can see the nonsensical aspects. As far as I can understand, you believe yourself to be a moral person. Because some people act in sinful ways and you don’t control them then there is really nothing wrong with what they have done. They chose it. You have no responsibility to your fellow men to try and help them reach Heaven by trying to create a moral country as long as you have tried to make sure they have food to eat etc.

        Good luck with that. You are

        • Todd Flowerday says:

          Steve, it seems you’re just imagining what you want to read into someone who has a prudentially different approach than yours. You seem to suggest I find nothing wrong in sinful behavior because I don’t parrot the same condemnation you offer.

          I’m afraid you are indeed twisting what I’ve written here. And our blog host seemed to take the lead in a lack of reading comprehension. And still no answers to my direct questions, eh? Do you want to persist in misreading people?

          • Steve M says:

            Todd, I have read so many of your comments on this blog over the past few months. I take you at your word that you are Pro-Life. I am comfortable with what little contact we have that I would not like you personally.

            You are probably right. You have the insight into the truth and the rest of us just refuse to see your vision.

            “3. There’s nothing about same-sex unions that is objectively sinful. Unions imply sexual relationships, but if the Church were serious about addressing what it sees as sinful, they would move to criminalize all sexual activity outside of marriage. I suspect they are unwilling to do this. If the issue is, as some Catholics have framed it, about the defense of marriage, it’s time for the bishops and the Knights to pour millions into Marriage Encounter and other movements that actually help sacramental marriages.”

            You wrote the comments I have pasted here. This is very twisted as compared to the teaching of the Church but I am certain you are comfortable with it. The Church is not advocating for criminalizing “gay marriage” but advocating that this cannot be equated to the biologically natural form of marriage between a man and a woman. Two men or two women cannot conceive children in any natural way. This one is a fact. Evolution has not created an adaptation that enables same sex couples to conceive and give birth without a non-natural intervention. You clearly state that the Bishops should not say a word about ” gay marriage” unless they are demanding laws against adultery and fornication. What a strange bar you set. Either the Church advocates for everything identified as sin to be a crime or they need to be silent. So it makes sense to you that the Bishops should demand a law requiring people to attend Mass on Christmas or stay silent on religious liberty. Liberty gives the right for individuals to attend the church of their choice or not but unless they Church pushes to make it a crime they need to just stay quiet.

            You don’t need my help twisting your logic up. I am saying a Hail Mary for you right after I hit submit.

          • Todd Flowerday says:

            Steve, thanks for the prayers. Truth is, we all need them. And I’m not any different.

            What I see in the movement to expand civil unions or “marriage” to people of the same sex is not so much what is indisputably contrary to Catholic teaching, that people cannot morally have sex outside of marriage. I see the subsidiary aspects that allow two or more people to live together as families, roommates, or whatever, and these have benefits to society.

            I openly ask the question about just what, besides the genital activity that few to nobody seems to be talking about, is wrong with civil arrangements for different combinations of persons. Suppose my aged mother wishes to live with one of her children. Is that an arrangement that is somehow a cultural improvement over a nursing home, or my mother being on public assistance, or some similar thing?

            You speak of evolution, but the fact is that a small percentage of human beings are born with same-sex attraction. If some people are born gay or lesbian, are they not created that way by God? And if so, does not natural law suggest they live life how they are made.

            “You clearly state that the Bishops should not say a word about ” gay marriage” unless they are demanding laws against adultery and fornication.”

            No, I didn’t.

            “Two men or two women cannot conceive children in any natural way. This one is a fact.”

            Also a fact that two elderly people cannot conceive children. But they are permitted to marry. Likewise, my wife and I weren’t able to conceive children. We adopted. But our marriage is as sacramental as that of any other Catholic.

            The bishops are free to speak and teach as they see fit on this or any other issue. But to be persuasive and effective, they are going to have to bring a deeper theological insight to the discussion.

  26. Ray says:

    When the Church employs Canons 915 and 916 I will believe she is serious about her teachings. You can’t have folks claiming to be Catholic running around spewing counter Catholic teachings and nothing happens to them. They tarnish the Church, the Church hierarchy and the rest of us Catholics in the pews by their actions and words. Let’s face it, the Church won’t publicly denounce their actions for fear of dimminishing returns in the collection basket. Until we realize their open castigation is part of the solution and not words but actions, our Church remains part of the problem.

    • Mary says:

      Joe Biden
      Nancy Pelosi
      John Kerry
      A Kennedy, pick one, any one.

      All famous, very public, Catholics who actively work against the Church.
      If the Bishops don’t do anything about these famous, very public, “Catholics”,
      why should the folks sitting in the pews listen?
      I know, we don’t want to be ex-communicating people, it is not very nice and it is poor public relations, but how can you stand there and tell us that we must support life when these very public “Catholics” are not rebuked, are not criticized, and not publicly corrected, are not refused Communion when they actively work against the Church, actively support abortion under all circumstances?
      Wouldn’t it be great if the Church could have its own “Chick-Fil-A” moment?

  27. Lilie Awsumb says:

    Dear Msgr.
    Your article was excellent because it had truth and love. As I pray for our homeland, which is literally going to pot, I will pray that God bless you and your brother priests with all the gifts you need to lead us through this darkness into eternal victory!
    Deus in adjutorium nos intende, Domine ad juvandum nos festina!
    Thank you!

  28. Jamie R says:

    The central question is not how the Church will articulate her positions – it is how WE as the Church live them out in our daily lives and parishes. Too many Catholics are concerned about national events and issues, important though they are, and not enough about issues at their own doorstep.

    How many Catholics attend Mass? Only attend Mass and are no different from their secular neighbors the rest of the week? How many seek to do God’s work at their parish center, at their homeless center, with their kids at the weekend, with their neighbors in an ANC? How many of us pass by a hundred opportunities to live our faith every week? There are so many ways for us to live out our faith every day – in situations under our control, under our influence. We cannot just bemoan the state of the nation – we can pray about it, take political action about it, for sure – but we cannot ignore the work God gives us to do right in front of us.

  29. Susan says:

    Politics is downstream from culture. As disheartening as it is, enough Americans have chosen to embrace Obama’s big government vision. These people have been formed by main stream media and the government educational system. These influences cannot be overcome by (maybe) attending Mass one day a week or by spending a few hours a day under the influence of faithful parents. We will only be able to change this culture by changing the formation of young people and it is going to be a long hard haul. A strong push must be made to discourage public education. Reforms in the Catholic schools must accelerate. Homeschooling encouraged and facilitated Many will reject this, work with the ones that don’t. Proper formation is the key.

  30. Thom says:

    1. If the Democratic Party in general, and Catholic politicians in particular, decades long support for the merciless barbaric slaughter of tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions, of innocent children has not (and let’s be honest) led to any noticeable or measurable breach with the Church, why should it now?

    2. See #1. Again,you could have written these three sentences 5 years ago, or 10, or 20, and also 30 etc. This is not anything new under the sun. Is there some secret number of slaughtered children that the UCCSB is waiting for the U.S. to hit before they “really” put their foot down?

    3. I am quite sure you yourself have read the stories of priests from coast to coast preaching in support of “gay marriage” to the applause of their congregations with apparent impunity. It seems these days that if a woman was denied communion after announcing to the congregation that she was in sexual relationships with multiple lesbian partners and was a full time abortionist who just arrived from a busy day at her clinic, the priest would be immediately removed as well as publicly humiliated by the Cardinal for good measure.

    4. And if that does not work perhaps a strongly worded letter to Katherine Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi warning them of an even strongly worded letter if they persist.

    5. It is not of little consequence that the moral hazard of what will in just a few short years be a $20+ trillion national debt has happened with the Bishops always advocating more and more and endless federal social spending. “We [the Bishops] ask congress to increase spending on_________(name any one of thousands of social programs here). As far as I know, in no document of the Church is there a teaching that in oder to help alleviate the hardships of the poor, government is morally obligated to go into debt and continually spend money it does not have (and at this point can never repay).

    If Catholics are applauding pro “gay marriage” sermons by their priests at the Mass, then perhaps a few Bishops have some explaining to do.

  31. Marcy says:

    I am a new Catholic, and I LOVE my church. Yet, there are +/- 30 million Catholics who do not attend mass. When I taught in a particular Middle school the Principal had a STRONG convicition that every teacher was responsible for the management of their classroom. He would get you help if you didn’t know how to control your class. However you (That is Every Teacher) were not allowed to have a class full of confusion. He would get dismiss a Teacher whose classroom management was bad, and it did not improve. That said, in my 20 years of theaching this was the best school I ever worked at. The Catholic church needs to love it’s on people back into the fold, then everything else will fall inline. How can we influence Country if we can not help our fellow Catholic brother.
    – A 8 month old Catholic’s opinion

    • Steve says:

      Marcy–
      Welcome to the family. I commend you for your courage and perseverance in entering the Church, and be assured of my prayers for you.

      I’m not sure I see the connection between the principal (who sounds like he really respected and supported his teachers–the best way to respect and support the students!) and the 30 million Catholics who don’t attend Mass. Perhaps it’s late, perhaps I’m dim this evening, but I’d appreciate if you could make that connection a little more lucid.

      Again, congratulations, and may your energy and enthusiasm for your faith and love for God spread like wildfire to those around you! God bless you!

  32. Greg says:

    Monsignor Pope,

    Persecution for the Church is not necessarily bad as it will separate the wheat from the chaff. I remember Fr John Hardon saying something to the effect of “In the future only fervent Catholics will last. The rest will be swept away by the Culture of Death.”

    This will happen sooner than you think.

  33. Timothy says:

    Remember that democracy is that form of government which says, “Give us Barabbas.” That’s what that country, that we used to know as America, asked for last night.

  34. RichardC says:

    Life and human nature are non-negotiable.

  35. Keithp says:

    I’m very sad for my country.

    But, the one item that does stand out for me is the opportunity for redemptive suffering. Every time in my life when illness and injury could have overcome me, I had only to look to the crucifix hanging over the front door of my home.

    This is not a time for either whining or monday morning quarterbacking. This is a time for serious prayer and mortification.

    Stout hearts Brothers and Sisters.

    • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

      Thank God we’re not Tibetan Buddhist or we would be adding immolation of the list of things to do.

  36. Craig says:

    I pray that our Church finally, publicly exercises her Authority and stands against the government. No more complying or congratulations to the president. The bishops should say we aren’t paying fines for the HHS mandate demands, nor will we comply. Let them push back. Our leadership is a poor example, overall, compared to the past. May God and Mary guide and protect us all.

  37. taad says:

    This whole election and the exit polls on why people voted the way they did is really bizarre. Our country has a lot of people who think one way, and then vote the exact opposite. All logic is gone. We make smoking illegal, and legalize marijuana? We are all about our health, yet we vote for things that harm our health. We say we want freedom of choice, yet vote someone who is taking freedoms away, like the Religious Freedom, health care choices. We are told we should be able to vote our conscience, yet we put someone in office who will deny people the right to follow their conscience. Large numbers say the economy is bad, and the country is heading the wrong direction, yet we put the same people back in charge to keep on going. Pardon me, but could I get off this ship at the next stop? I think everyone has lost their minds!

  38. Dan Buckley says:

    It is absolutely essential that our bishops not fall into the trap of closing our facilities for helping the needy because of the HHS mandate. Make the government close them! Make them the ones who abandoned the needy, or we risk the accusation of abandoning them because we could not get our own way

    • Steve says:

      It’s still going to happen. The rhetoric will be that we put dogma over our care for and love for the poor. If we really loved the poor, we would have complied and continued the legal battles. Look at how the situation is kept ongoing: Aside from the widely-held opinion that Obamacare is systemically problematic, it does, at least in theory, provide benefits to those in need–the poor, the elderly. Ok, the Church can bear with that. Then you have the HHS mandate–all employers must provide free contraception. Where the hell did that come from? It came from the plan that the religious right would balk at it, and they can get painted as the bad guy for opposing the needed healthcare reform and providing healthcare to the poor and elderly. We’re now the bad guys. We’re not trying to make contraception illegal–we just don’t want to support our providing it. If the left simply removed the little piece about contraception from the whole big package, then there would be no big fight over “religious freedom.” But they’re making an issue of it so they can make us the bad guys. Just like they did with forcing through funding of Planned Parenthood on the stalled budget–conservatives didn’t want it to go through because PP is an abortion factory. Liberals wouldn’t take it out, and then blamed conservatives for blocking the budget, objecting to healthcare funds, and using poor women as a political tool, when it was really the liberals who valued PP funding more than getting the healthcare budget passed. And back on the HHS–why would they make the exception? They WANT us out of hospitals and schools. They’re in a win-win, and we’re screwed (politically speaking).

  39. Wendy says:

    Marcy, very nice. New converts (which I was 7 years ago) have very clear vision.

  40. Nathan says:

    We have to realize we simply don’t live in the same culture that Americans did 50, or even 20, years ago. In fact, the country has been drifting to the left for the last 100 yrs. 50 years ago conservatives opposed no fault divorce and liberals supported it. Now both groups support it, with liberals pushing for gay “marriage” and conservatives opposing it. 50 yrs ago the fight was over the legalization of abortion. Now both parties (neither McCain nor Romney were staunchly pro-life) accept abortion (at least in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother) and fight over things like informed consent and mandatory ultrasounds. The same holds true for economic issues. Conservatives in the 1920’s would consider the Republican Party platform of 2012 to be socialist. As things continue to drift leftward “conservatives” stake out positions on the “right” that would have been leftist a generation or two before. The only solution, as far as I can tell, is to evangelize the culture and radically transform it into a republic dedicated to Christ the King. We need to transform the culture, the politics will follow.

  41. Peter III says:

    It’s time for the Church to take the gloves off. The Church needs to begin excommunicating the “Catholic” politicians who are pro-abortion and pro-gay issues. That will send a clear message where the Church stands. Had prominent “Catholic” politicians been scolded and brought back 20-30 years ago we wouldn’t be in this situation now. The Bishop’s Crosier has a crook on the end to catch and pull back wayward sheep, it’s time they start using it!

  42. Ann B says:

    The church can do a great deal to change the future by reaching out to the many new voters that are recent Latino immigrants and who come from somewhat Catholic backgrounds in many cases, but may not trust the leadership of the church. It is never illegal to participate in parish life, or prayers. If Latino voters were significant in national Democratic election, the bishops need to understand it is THEIR people who are voting democrat. And be glad that sixty percent of CATHOLICS voted for the Republican president. That is a sea change! Be of good courage.

  43. too simplistic and post hoc propter hoc. Remember the kids of the 50s were the ones who threw the revolution.

    • Rick DeLano says:

      Msgr Pope, the Council is not the root of what has befallen it, it is the flowering.

      When the Catholic Church preaches what She has taught always and everywhere, and rejects the modernist triumph of the Council and its implementation, then it will be morning.

      Here’s the wake up call.

      When you hear this preached again, it will be time to evangelize. Until then………

      “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
      “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
      “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

      • Steve says:

        Such a narrow, elitist limitation of God’s love for all His children. I’m not ready to say all Muslims, non-Christian Asians, Native Americans, and people who have left the Church because of the hypocrisy and scandal of Christians are all burning in hell for all eternity because they did not die in full explicit communion with the institutional Church. Two things the Council did do right–they balanced the different models of the Church that existed throughout her history, not just the institutional Church that was built (against her nature) to try to hobble Europe through the middle ages, drawing battle lines among Christians and between Christians and non-Christians–and they backed away from the legalistic (pharisaic) restrictions of God’s love and forgiveness that He was permitted to exercise, mostly coming out of the stormy saga of the Reformation and the Council of Trent. It would be easy of life were as black and white as it once seemed. But God’s reality is not black and white–life is messy, exciting, and always in tension and transition. The reality is it’s going to take at least another 100 years to really unpack Vatican II. The immediate aftermath was very novel and liberal. Now (as far as Church teaching goes) it’s swinging back toward the middle. It’ll pendulum into overly conservative, back to overly liberal, and eventually will settle where it’s supposed to be. That’s how these things tend to go.

  44. Joe says:

    Stand fast Holy Mother Church against the HHS mandate. Close hospitals and schools if we have to. This nation needs a wake up call. Viva Cristo Rey!

  45. DC Catholic says:

    The answer to the culture of death? We need to fill the baby gap:

    “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” GEN 1:28

    Deus vult!

    The future might be more religious than we think:
    http://american.com/archive/2012/may/why-the-future-will-be-more-religious-and-more-conservative-than-you-think

  46. Dan Buckley says:

    It is imperative that the bishops not take the bait and close any of our institutions in the wake of things like the HHS mandate. To do so would allow them to say that we put our beliefs before our love for the poor. Make them close us down! Make them the ones who deprive the poor of assistance. We must not look as if we place our intransigence before our love.

  47. KathrynF says:

    Thank you, Msgr., for laying this out so clearly. We are in the fight of our lives because these democrats are the meanest, most intolerant, self-righteous politicians we have ever seen. They will work quickly to consolidate their power. It will not be long before our tax exemption will be gone and our bishops and priests will be imprisioned. They will work to take over the internet and they will silence the opposition. Perhaps, this is all part of God’s plan to restore the moral authority of the bishops after the sex scandals. Moral authority will return when the bishops go to jail for the truth. I hope they begin to speak loudly, forcefully, and clearly about the sins of the democrat politicians who claim to be Catholic. Public excommunication is in order. This I hope that the words, “Be not afraid.” will ring in the hearts of our leaders.

  48. Tina G says:

    Monsignor, you and I are just about the same age. I got involved in politics locally two years ago, after I had been thinking about what I could do to help this country, AT THE SAME TIME you wrote a blog concerning how to help the poor! It stirred me so strongly, that I tink I can fairly accurately paraphrase what you said. In a nutshell, you stated that you believed that poor should be helped at the lowest form of government/community and that the church should be at the center of this help. Then you ended with “But how?”

    Monsignor, I got involved in politics almost immediately after reading that post and I have prayed for you every evening since. I also took a two-year class that studied all the original documents and writings of the Founders of this country, along with economics, world religions, ets. I went so far as to teach an adult class at church, called God and the Constitution. I knew what I had to do because you spoke out and you did it clearly. I have forwarded numerous of your blogs, whenever they contained anything political.

    Here is the point I am trying to make: Based on the sheer number of responses every time you do write something political and on the past election’s results, there is a very clear need for people to be able to dialogue with their priests and bishops concerning politics. Notice I said ‘dialogue’ and not ‘hear from’ or ‘read a letter from’ their priests and bishops. Catholics have questions and they want answers, and in the silence and/or ambiguity of the priests and bishops, secularists are more than willing fill that void. My own bishop sent out a few letters in the past six months, some read in church and some, like this past Sunday, never mentioned but put in the bulletin. It is going to take more than mass mailing/email to rally the people in the pews.

    I am quite knowledgeable concerning politics and even religious issues, including knowing that voting ones conscience means a WELL FORMED conscience. Well formed in the teachings of the Church. I read the prayer card this weekend; nice prayer and pretty picture on the front and ambiguous writing on the back that, if you did not know better, seemed to put helping the poor on an even scale with abortion. Then stating that people should vote their conscience.

    Father, this country sorely needs clergy like you to speak out. People cannot rally around something they do not understand. They cannot back a doctrine that is presented in ambiguous ways. They cannot avail themselves of a well formed conscience, if our own clergy continue to wince whenever the word ‘politics’ comes up. Please, please, continue to post about the moral teachings of the church. As nice as it is for the laypeople to converse with one another, it seems that people are always much more willing to listen and learn, whenever our clergy speak.

    I pray that God will continue to bless you in all the work you do, in order to put this blog out, and that it will move many people to action. God bless you Father.

  49. Tom Frazzini says:

    I don’t know what you said that can be disputed. I think there is a thing as Devine retribution for nations. Ours will be a beauty.

  50. TaillerHuws says:

    Good points Msgr Pope.

    Explicit fornication and adultery should be outlawed such that if health / legal / government costs are incurred as a result of those acts, the People should not be required to pay for those costs. It should be a personal expenditure.

    The point: the Government should discourage practices which are bad for people…learn a lesson from cigarettes.

    Obama Administration would claim that this is an assault on women. I disagree. An assault on women occurs when no one works to discourage unhealthy sexual habits such that men believe they have a Government-sanctioned / financed right to use women strictly for sexual relations and a right to health / legal care to “clean up” the result of those unhealthy relations or to prevent that unhealthy result by paying for women to ingest poisons for the sake of causing infertility or abortion to occur – an unhealthy practice done for the sake of enabling another unhealthy practice.

    The Obama Administration would be likened to the one who says: “Eat and binge drink. For we have funded vomitoriums where you can purge yourself and return for more engorging and binge drinking. While we do not think it our place to tell you not to engorge your stomachs with unnecessary foods and to binge drink to the point of delirium, we want to be sure you can do it as safely as possible.”

  51. Annette Strachan says:

    Ephesians 6 7:8
    Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women, knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free.

  52. Frank Hermann says:

    It is time for Catholics and other like-minded people (religious or secular) to form their own political party, one that takes what is best from the Democratic and Republican parties. The core philosophy would be respect for human dignity. Hence, the platform would include respect for human life from conception to natural death. This would entail promoting, among other things, (1) laws that restrict abortion yet make provision for the material needs of pregnant women; (2) a wage that is just but competitive; (3) a tax structure that is just and effective at reducing the national debt; (4) attenuation of the death penalty; (5) a de-emphasis on war (while maintaining a strong military and recognizing our nation’s right to defend itself); (6) a recognition of climate change and its adverse effect on humanity; (7) a balanced, realistic immigration policy; (8) the primacy of the family in society; and (9) respect for the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The goal would not be to create a utopia, but to create a viable alternative to the existing political parties. The philosophy underlying the platform can be defended quite well from natural law, so there is no need to cite bible verses and open the party to charges of religious affiliation. Like all new concepts, it would take time to gain momentum, but I think it would appeal to many Americans. Anyone game for drafting a charter? I’m serious.

    • Robertlifelongcatholic says:

      Sounds like a senario right out of Duck Soup. Hail Freedonia. What ever it is, I’m against it!

    • Mr. Patton says:

      As a secular atheist, if you would address the reasons abortions happen instead of attacking the legality of abortion, I think that you would accomplish a great deal and benefit everyone without getting “dirty” in the political process.

      • Jacob S says:

        Yeah, this is no good. Treating the reasons is important of course, but when it comes right down to it there will always be people who want an abortion and, abortion being murder, they shouldn’t be able to get one.

        “Safe, legal, and rare” works for exclamation points and rich deserts, but not murder.

        • Theo says:

          Sorry but it’s not murder. Murder is the ‘unlawful’ killing of a human being.
          Abortion is the legal killing of another human, but it’s not murder.
          Until the law is changed to call it murder, Catholics would be best served to minimize the occurance of legal killing.

          • Hmm…I think God would be a better determiner of what is murder or not. Talk about legal positivism. Man cannot simply do one thing and call it another. Do recall that the Nazi’s called their murder campaign a “final solution.” Calling it that did not mean it was not murder.

          • yan says:

            Does God call it murder? I don’t believe JPII used that word in Evangelium Vitae where he said that the direct killing of the unborn was always a grave sin, or something to that effect.

            Nor has it ever been punished in the same way as murder that I am aware of. Was abortion ever a felony[=capital crime deserving of death, like murder] in the history of Christendom?

            It is not punished as murder in the Old Testament either, to the best of my understanding [though Jimmy Akin wrote an interesting column recently supporting the idea that the OT DID support capital punishment for causing the death of an unborn child when the death was caused by a miscarriage resulting from a fight.]

            So I think the term murder is probably not the best to use in relation to abortion. Does abortion justify capital punishment for the mother, or life imprisonment?

            But perhaps it is murder, but just a special kind of murder that we don’t want to punish in that way?

            I don’t know. But I am for making it illegal, and for punishing doctors and mothers that do it with prison sentences of some kind. I think justice requires that at least.

          • Brian Werner says:

            Read “Abortion Rites, A Social History of Abortion in America” by Marvin Olasky.

            Plenty of documented cases of murder charges, and even executions.

          • yan says:

            Thanks for the tip. I read the first few pages of it online and this is what I found: men that forced women to take abortifacients were accused of murder, and women that committed infanticide were also treated as murderers.

            Even in the state of CA, if a man intentionally causes the death of a fetus it is considered murder. In fact, the legislature changed the definition of murder to include a fetus, but NOT if the woman is having an abortion. Yes, the law is schizophrenic.

            [The case that made the legislature include a fetus in the definition of murder was interesting. A married woman became pregnant out of wedlock, and when her husband discovered this fact, he attempted to kill the unborn child by roughing up his wife. He succeeded, and was charged with murder, and acquitted, because the court decided that the law had not intended to include fetus in the definition of a person.]

            Also today, as in the past, if a woman kills her newborn, she will be charged with murder. So I don’t see any difference yet between then and now.

            I don’t yet see any cases where the woman of her own will took an abortifacient, or had a surgical abortion, and was treated as a murderer. If there are any, I would be very interested to know about them. If you have any page references and quotes it would save me from buying the book….thanks!

          • Brian Werner says:

            Try your library. I found a copy at mine.

          • Jan says:

            Theo, your comment is a shameless trivialization of humanity and the murder of the unborn. Are you 10? I haven’t heard such attempted legalistic b.s. since my little kid last tried it on me. As if you didn’t already know, you have to have a real good reason to take the life of another. Even accidentally killing someone is punishable with prison time.

      • Anne LeBlanc says:

        Abortions happen generally because people have a lifestyle that includes sex whenever and with whomever they choose, with no consequences. When contraceptives fail, the obvious “quick, easy solution” is abortion, used roughly 120,000 times a year in NY State. I can’t remember hearing the word fornication in church in 30 years, but it’s the root of the problem.

      • yan says:

        Why do YOU think abortions happen? You seem to have an opinion about that.

    • Doran Hunter says:

      I’ve been thinking along the same lines. Personally, I agonized over this election because neither party represents anything very close to Catholic social teaching. If you’re for peace, anti death penalty, for a family wage, against unbridled marketplace greed, pro reasonable wealth redistribution (see Caritas in Veritate) and so on, you vote Democratic–but then you get abortion, the HHS mandate, gay marriage, and that whole circus. If you are pro-life and pro-family, you vote Republican–but then here comes Donald Trump, the Koch brothers, neo-Conservative warmongers, Wall Street and Gordon Gecko, and all that. I feel disenfranchised as a Catholic. I’d love to chat about a charter. Couldn’t hurt!

      • derek says:

        It’s not the government’s job to redistribute wealth. Once you establish this truth, you cannot possibly vote Democratic and be Christian at the same time.

        • Doran Hunter says:

          Boy, do I disagree with that! BXVI specifically calls for wealth redistribution in Caritas in Veritatis. And the Republicans have practiced wealth redistribution since Eisenhower. Only Tea Party “Republicans” are really against it. Republicans just prefer to redistribute that wealth to the population via military spending and subsidies to big business, and things like that, versus to education (for example). They certainly have no issue with redistributing our wealth to Israel ($2 billon per year) or to Iraq and Afghanistan! But I get the feeling that you know you spoke too strongly when you said that one cannot possibly vote Democratic and be a Christian simultaneously.

      • Brian Werner says:

        I very much disagree. Peace, family wage, wealth distribution, healthcare, even the death penalty, are subjective and relative to where you stand politically. To varying degrees they are endorsed by either political party. And depending on how you look at it, you can make a strong argument that either side is the better choice for resolving these issues. You’re in very muddy waters here.

        Same with unbridled marketplace greed, but I separate this with disdain. The dems are clearly in the tank when it comes to big money, either their own, or, their specialty….., someone else’s money. Look at the real numbers instead of the sweeping statements made by the MSM. How dare you insinuate that marketplace greed is a Republican specific issue!? Why don’t you quit reading your democrat talking points and at least SEARCH for the truth? You go so far as to reference a fictional Hollywood movie to make your point! If it wasn’t so demented, it would be hilarious. This is a dishonest, extraordinary disconnect from reality.

        Gay marriage is an abomination. It’s clearly stated by God that this is the case. Mainstreaming homosexuality is an ongoing, in-your-face, life-style. To attach marriage to homosexuality is anathema to the morals that hold our culture together. Homosexuality and gay marriage are a slow, unending, cancerous drip that inevitably lead to a society’s death. And next to abortion, they are the pet-project of the Democratic Party.

        Lastly, abortion. The murder of defenseless infants. I recall ancient sketches, showing invading armies marching through town, smashing the skulls of babies and young children against rocks and walls. I see no difference here. It’s heinous, and it’s butchery, and there is no grey area. It’s black and white Doran. Democrats murder the unborn. And of all the many sins I carry to my judgement, this is one, far above all, I don’t care to have. Granted, there is only one unforegiveable sin, but, infanticide? It is beyond shame, and it is repulsive, and it is horrifying. Republicans are complicit, to a degree, due to their inconsistent resistance. This is damning but I believe at least they know the line that’s being crossed. I beg God’s forgiveness for our failure to stop this madness.

        Satan’s demons are running the Democratic party, and they relish the carnage of infants left in their path.
        Doran, for this reason, and this reason only, voting Democrat is tantamount to turning your back on God. Or, do you pray for God’s forgiveness each time you check the Dem box on a ballot?

        • Doran Hunter says:

          Brian, I am absolutely opposed to abortion. That issue was off the table for me in this election, though, because Romney would have done precisely nothing about it if he became president. He allowed for exceptions in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother, which shows me that he was not really serious about the issue. At a recent event in Iowa, he said that there was no legislation regarding abortion that he would be interested in signing into law, and this presumably included the Personhood Amendment. So, he wasn’t a serious pro-life candidate. I could say the same about his positions on the other “non-negotiables,” but I don’t have the time right now. But even consider George Bush, ostensibly a serious pro-lifer. Was there any real progress in the fight against abortion under him. I don’t count the ban on partial birth abortion, since even Joe Biden voted for that!

          All I’m saying is that it’s not as simple as “Republican good, Democrat bad.”

          Do I feel good about voting for Obama? No, I don’t. But since the non-negotiables were in effect off the table for me, I held my nose and voted for the man who I thought held positions consistent with what I care about. We still have open elections in this country, right?

          • Brian Werner says:

            Doran,

            We’re all complicit. Dem Bad, Rep Good? Please don’t go there. If you want to generalize, in some ways Republicans are worse. They don’t deny what God put in their heart; yet, their reaction to this has clearly been unsatisfactory and ineffective. A few years ago you could argue the same for the Democratic Party, but no more. The difference now is, the current democratic leadership not only denies what God put in their hearts, they embrace and need the mortal sin of infanticide. It is a key element of their winning ticket and the power that they wield. There is not a more starkly dividing moral issue anywhere else in our society. But give the Democrats time,…….. as we look back and see our failure to save the lives of infants, we’ll be awash in draconian pro-homosexual legislation.

            You cite odd reasons for not supporting Romney. Think about it……. this battle has been fought, and lost, in the judicial branch. And you don’t seem to recognize this. In the war against abortion, the Holy Grail is the repeal of Roe v Wade. Four more years of Obama? If one, just one constitutional SC justice steps down in the next 4 years, a 2012 vote for Obama seals Roe v Wade for eternity. It will be wishful thinking that someday we can reverse this.

            I’m sorry…., I’m afraid we will all look back and see this for the fork in the road that it truly was. Our means of democratically correcting this appears to have vanished, and whether the Christians in this country have the courage to do anything about it remains to be seen. It hasn’t happened yet. So, “tabling” this issue implies that you can come back to it. Well, you…., we have now lost that option. Tabling today has removed it permanently from our future.

            I am stunned… that since you believe Romney would not fight the good fight,… to your standards,…. your alternative is to unleash a monster on future unborn human beings. Our commander in chief has a hard time bringing himself to fight the enemies of this country. He does not however, have a hard time unleashing murderous legislation on, and has no mercy for, his most vulnerable citizens. Obama cites quite often his desire to keep his “boot on the throat” of his “enemies”, i.e. his fellow Americans. Don’t kid yourself. This includes the tiny throats of babes that he has crushed under his boot. His track record against defenseless infants is stellar and unblemished. An Obama influenced supreme court will no doubt be equally venomous toward the unborn.

            Here’s some imagery for you: Drive Interstate-80 from NYC to San Francisco. Take people, different ages and walks of life…., stand them shoulder to shoulder on the side of the road, 8 deep. 50,000,000 exterminated human beings, robbed of the gift of life that God gave them, while we all enjoyed the chance that God gave us. And as you drive by them at 100 kmh for nearly two days, non-stop, you can extend this apology to them, and to yourself: “I’m sorry. That Romney guy, didn’t quite get it right….., so I give you the madman Obama instead.”

          • Doran Hunter says:

            Well, Brian, I’m going to do something that, as far as I can tell, is not done very often on comments-boards: concede that you have made some important and interesting points. I will think them over, I promise. Still, I think you give too much credit to the current crop of Republicans and their potential to change things.

          • Brian Werner says:

            Doran,

            Yes indeed. And I will humbly do the same.

            I think if you carefully look at my comments, nowhere do I state that the Republicans are our answer out of this mess.

            God Save Us

          • Maria Justicia says:

            How can you trust this man who has changed his mind several times about his position on abortion? He is not pro life, he is just pro-romney, who profited 50 million dollars from his abortion business.

    • Howard Kainz says:

      Actually, there is web-based Christian Democratic party http://cdpunitedstates.webs.com/, and a Christian Democratic Union, and a Christian Democratic Union, http://cdusa.org/ which began in 2007. I’m not aware that they ever ran anyone for office.

    • Gabriel says:

      Frank, you said “The philosophy underlying the platform can be defended quite well from natural law, so there is no need to cite bible verses and open the party to charges of religious affiliation…”

      Why would you not cite bible-verses or be afraid of “charges of religious affiliation”?

      Do you think there is anything wrong with The Word of God?
      Who the Hell would vote for another secular institution? We want the laws of God, not men.

      No Frank, if you are going to start a new party then base it soly on scripture.
      And nothing else.

      • WSquared says:

        Gabriel, Catholicism is a Faith AND Reason tradition.

        While I agree that the Word of God is important and we should not be ashamed of the Gospel, two things:

        1) How, precisely, are you going to address and engage with those who think that the Bible is “a bunch of myths and made-up stories,” and who think that when someone mentions “God,” they necessarily mean Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (if that)? So on two registers, they’re not going to listen. So how do you propose to meet them where they are? Spouting Bible verses at those who don’t want to hear them is refusing to speak their language or convey things in a way that’s intelligible to them. Thankfully, the Catholic tradition also respects reason, which is a God-given gift– but not just any ol’ reason, rather reason coupled with faith. Reason must always be oriented towards right ends, which is why using reason to engage others is hardly a betrayal of Christianity or the Word of God.

        As an example, anyone who has ever been way too cynical for their own good, in stepping back, can tell you that always thinking the worst of everything is to apply one’s reason very narrowly. So really, the Church is not saying, “believe, don’t think!” but to go further when you think and to not misapply that gift of reason. Coming the other way, belief without thinking is naivete at best and foolishness at worst, and understanding unfolds and blossoms gradually, through reason enlightened by grace (correct me if I’m wrong, but this is one of the themes of “Porta Fidei”). It’s not about thinking or not thinking, but what we think *with* and *how* we think. Given the Parable of the Sower, where the Word of God is meant to be pondered so as to better take root in the heart, blind faith and unthinking belief is not an option for Christians, and it’s something that I think atheists and agnostics have good reason to fear or be wary of, as do Catholics. Both faith and reason enlarge the scope of the other while keeping the other from running off the rails, so it’s firing on both cylinders; it challenges us to go broader and deeper.

        If you decouple faith from reason, or address people in a language that they assume to be hostile because you can’t or won’t explain to them what the answer key actually is, why should any non-believer think that you have anything to offer them? And even as a Catholic, perhaps especially, as much as I appreciate Scripture, ponder it, read it, and pray with it (and therefore take it seriously by trying to let it change my life, any struggle notwithstanding), I nonetheless have a very real frustration with any tendency to spout Bible verses and shout “Jesus” or “WWJD?” to the point of incoherence such that such practices betray no deep theological contemplation or curiosity of what any of it even means. Again, Benedict XVI provides a good model for engagement. In his dialogue with Jurgen Habermas, “The Dialectics of Secularization,” then-Cardinal Ratzinger explains the Catholic worldview without much referring to any specific passages of Scripture. He does the same in his trio of interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald, “Salt of the Earth,” “God and the World,” and “Light of the World.” This is also, I suspect, the rationale behind his “courtyard of the Gentiles” idea.

        2) I would challenge you also to ask yourself what the Word of God even is. It seems that enough Catholics, even, and not just “Bible Christians” need reminding that the Catholic Church does not do Sola Scriptura for good reason. Namely, that you can’t have the Canon of Scripture without the Church anyhow, and you can only trust the Canon of Scripture if you trust that the Holy Spirit did not abandon the Church (further, any appeal to the Holy Spirit re proper interpretation of Scripture only begs the question of who the Holy Spirit even is in the first place, which begs the further question of the other two divine persons in the Trinity). So it’s not the Church or Scripture but both or neither.

        Furthermore, there is the question of how one even reads Scripture at all, which is far less simple than many people tend to assume– an issue that was addressed more fully in Pius XII’s encyclical “Divino Afflante Spiritu” (1943), and Pope Benedict’s recent efforts in Jesus of Nazareth (1 & 2). And if Fr. Robert Barron actually has a YouTube video on what the Bible actually is and isn’t (and if the Catechism has to actually spell it out), then we cannot assume that everybody intuitively knows what the Bible is and how to read it, since it isn’t self-interpreting. This may not have featured in any news coverage about the elections, but it’s there in an indirect and important way. And if this election and the American political landscape has taught us anything, one of those lessons should be that there can be a whole lot of recourse to Jesus, but enough people don’t know who He actually is on His own terms, or worse, can’t be bothered. Ross Douthat even wrote a recent book about this. Case in point: some Catholics who support Obama apparently called up some Catholic voters, asking how they could vote for a man who does not believe in Jesus Christ. Well, they had a point, at least superficially, and we likely lost a very real opportunity for evangelization: what do we even *mean* by “belief in Jesus Christ?”

        The Church is the Body of Christ, and we cannot sever the Body from the Head– Christ Himself. The Body of Christ is built up in Communion with Him; this is what the Sacramental Life of the Church is for: to live the life of God.

        It is Christ Himself who is the Word Made Flesh, Who dwelt among us. …which is why I would agree with you that we want the laws of God, not men, though definitely not for the reasons you may think, and it is not as though God and men are necessarily always pitted against each other and in competition with each other (hence one of the reasons why the Church emphasizes the perfect divinity and humanity of Christ). Man at any level, even government and in political parties, is always given the free choice to cooperate with God. There are also differences between something being a secular institution and a secularist one. Secular means that which belongs to the world. Seeing as how Christians have to live in the world, we can’t and don’t avoid what is secular, but engage it. That which is secularist claims that this world is all there is. And there is a whole lot more about God going on, particularly if dealing with the Christian claim that God was made Man, than mere “religious affiliation.”

        So there is nothing at all wrong with the Word of God. But there is a whole lot wrong with not knowing what that means.

    • John says:

      You had me until the “climate change” crap. The global warming fanatics are today’s version of the population bomb fanatics of a couple of decades ago. We now know that the real problem is de-population. There is compelling evidence that our climate cycles are very natural and that the radical “solutions” to climate change adversely impact the poor in the world.

      Just leave that one out and I’m with you.

  53. Nicholas Esposito says:

    I rather like that idea, Frank.

  54. Nate says:

    Thom’s post at 1156am is the most useful post. As he correctly stated, the Church in this country has been in bed with the Left for decades. This election will change nothing. The Church and its hapless leaders are just as corrupt as this administration. We desperately need saints to change the culture – in the Church and society writ large. St. Ignatius pray for us!

  55. Katie says:

    This morning I wrote in my notebook, “The Age of Martyrs has begun in the United States of America:”
    The reason Obama is president; the reason we have abortion, same–sex marriage; garbage on tv and movies; and the other endless list of evils is simply because of Christians. The Bible says that judgement will begin in the family of God. We good, pius, devout,Christians sat on our hands, oblvious to the world around us as well as being a part of that world.We knew abortion, same-sex marriage, the garbage on tv and movies were all against the Will of God but we did noting about it. Abortion has been “legal” in the “Christian” country for almost 40yrs!Each of us who calls himself Christian is at fault because we knew and did nothinng or not enough. We have been told repeatedly that Christians were in th emajority in this country–oh really! Then where were we? Each of has to answer for himself for out sins of omission. We willl be held accountable-the atmosphere is not healthy for Christians worthy of the NAME!

    • Sherry says:

      Katie, I woke up Wednesday morning with that same thought. It’s my fault. The time when we can afford to not take action has passed.

  56. Pastor Paul Willis says:

    To me the answer to all of our problems is simple, read the Word of God and do what it says. After all we are told in James 1:22; “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

  57. Jessica says:

    http://www.networklobby.org/news-media/press-release-election2012

    Network, Sister Simone Campbell’s group’s response to the election, which in my opinion is the correct view. But, while I disagree, thank you for sharing your viewpoint nonetheless, it is something I will consider.

    • Steve M says:

      Jessica:
      I will pray for you. Clearly being nice is very important to you but it would be better to concerned about right and wrong.

  58. Joseph Smith says:

    NO THIRD PARTY!!! That is the absolute wrong path to go; we will NEVER win with that strategy.

  59. Angeline Smith says:

    I have been a life-long Catholic. However, the Church does not make me weep. How soon everyone forgets the Church ENCOURAGED it members to vote for obama in 2008. And while I do not have statistics, I would make a “guess” that every single Nun was told to vote Democrat at that time. And in this election they are also voting the same ticket. Just a few weeks ago, however, the Church in our disocese included a newsletter writing about the candidates and the issues. Isn’t that interesting to see something like this come out a few weeks before the election. Another example of too little too late. However, this is suspect, as is everything connected with the election process.

    Those of us that have lived long enough and/or have studied the history of the Catholic Church knows the Church is VERY political. So say otherwise is not a truthful statement. I’m afraid they will have to take a large share of the responsibility of America being “dissolved”.

    • Cynthia BC says:

      I find it difficult to believe that the Church encouraged parishioners to vote for Obama. The Church very strongly states that someone who actively promotes nearly-unrestricted access to abortion is unqualified for office.

    • Laura Orlando says:

      I do not know where you live or what Diocese you belong to but I am from the South and my Church never encouraged any member to vote for Obama in 2008. I simply voted my beliefs and they definitely are not the same as Obama. I think I would be moving if my church leaders attempted to tell me what to think or do.

    • Beth Anne says:

      The Church did not encourage anyone to vote for Obama. Ever.

      • Joy says:

        In 2008, the bishops put out the original Faithful Citizenship document. It gave Catholics an excuse to vote for Obama. The gist of it was that one could vote for a pro-abort candidate, as long as that wasn’t the reason one was voting for that candidate. Presto, Obama wins the Catholic vote. The document has since been revised, but the horse was already out of the barn, so to speak. We have four more years of penance to do now.

    • Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      A nun called me before the 2008 election trying to make the case for Obama. I was shocked since his record on abortion was as radical as they come. If that was the majority thought and vote within the Catholic church, it appears the church has no leg on which to stand about the current political fights it is enduring.

  60. Tom Amberg says:

    Msgr. Pope-

    Regarding the debt crisis: It is NOW, and HAS BEEN for the past 20-odd years a huge moral problem. Deficit spending is undeniable theft against future generations, violating the #7 of the Ten Commandments.

    However, will it “divide us as a Church between fiscal conservatives and those who emphasize the Social Doctrine”? Well, it WILL if the Bishops don’t break free of their moldy old emphasis of Statism, where the government, with the authority of a gunpoint takes the fruits of our hard work for redistribution. (Of course, well less than half actually makes it to the needy – the state need its super-sized cut. And it comes – as you’re finally half-realizing – with immoral, brutal, and perverting strings attached.)

    For some reason, only now, when the church’s OWN organizations are threatened, are you halfway walking up to the threat. It speaks to the disturbing tendencies of the US Bishops to (as a whole) ALSO be power-loving, two-faced, oft-corrupted, and sometimes even Godless politicians – just ones who wear a crimson mitre, rather than a tie. (Yes, I’m still Catholic – and I’ll tell you, the only way I can make it through the word “apostolic” in the Nicene Creed is to think of the Pope, rather than you guys.)

    May I suggest dusting off your catechism, and looking up the definition of “Subsidiarity”? Of “Tithing”? Or look at the history of Catholic hospitals, run without the government, but instead with moral principals in mind? You follow those principals, and there will not be any crisis in the church – we’ll follow our principals of charity, WITHOUT the strong-arm of the government.

    And while you have that Catechism open, take a look at the section on immigration, and consider that we _already_ have perfectly moral immigration laws that treat LAW-ABIDING immigrants quite well. If you give the illegals who live hear a path to citizenship, and hence a path to voting, we’ll NEVER be able to undo the immorality of strong centralized government – because we know that’s what illegals support. (It gives them the fruits of our labors, in exchange for votes.) If you want to predict a crisis in the Church, that’s the real one, right there.

    • John Owen says:

      Tom,

      While I agree with the substance of your post and I share your frustration, we must never forget that bishops and priests are the annointed servants of God. We are called to humility and obedience in our relations with them. God, alone, has the right to rebuke them. We must pray for their courage and faithfulness.

    • WSquared says:

      Hear, hear, John.

      And while we’re praying for their faithfulness and courage, let’s also pray for ourselves– that we do not forget that God ain’t done with us, and He ain’t done with our bishops and priests, either. We should also pray that we do not forget that our bishops and priests are: any “criticism” (sorry, I just can’t find a better word) that we have of them or for them should always be done in humility, charity, and obedience, not to disregard their authority, but to hold them to it; to encourage them to embrace what has been given to them by God, and to remind them of who they’re supposed to be for us. We need them, and they need to know that we have their backs– not that we approve of the sins of the worst of our clergy, but that we have their backs; that we know what a priest actually *is*.

      To “trust Christ, not men,” is to trust that Christ will make those men into that which He has called them to be. Earthen vessels, and all that, what.

      A lot of the times, it’s trying circumstances that make courageous and faithful men and women, which is why the Church sees crisis as an opportunity for renewal, cleansing, and healing. That doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be hard and difficult and painful, but there it is. And it is gonna be rough.

      • WSquared says:

        Sorry, that should have read, “the worst sins of our clergy” (plus, it’s not as though we should think we’re any better, ourselves…).

  61. David Pair says:

    Sounds like you’ve already got a good start on that charter. Keep it going.

  62. Fred Bledsoe says:

    I very intriguing idea that I like idea very much. It think it could appeal to Hispanics. What about the economic concept of distributism? Maybe you could find some propnents at: http://distributistreview.com/mag/

  63. piotr says:

    Let me give you few words of encouragement in view of this new reality. I have spent first 18 years of my
    life living in a communist country and i can say confidently that what Obama is doing has been tried and does not work in the long run. The communism attempted to imposed every imaginable anti-catholic law that aimed at controlling people’s behaviour in workplaces, schools etc.One place where they had no access to was the family life.The family was the place where all the spiritual, intellectual and cultural opposition took place and flourished.
    There will be tough days ahead but you will prevail.
    Jesus Christ came to change “the heart” of a man rather than imposed the law that would govern it. Political leaders aim at imposing laws and loose in the end.That is the difference between Him and them.
    I would concentrate on building strong families where love reigns free and the word” divorce” is no longer part of the language.
    Obama and his adoring crowds remind me of the “Emperor New Clothes” story.

    • John says:

      Piotr, you have nailed it completely. I’ve just read about Mao’s campaign against the Christians in China. I know that Christianity over there is getting bigger every day, but where’s Mao got to? God bless!

    • WSquared says:

      Thank you, Piotr, and God bless you.

      The challenge that Americans have, though, is not just a government that wants to impose anti-Catholic laws, but a toxic popular culture that in good part enables hearts and minds to find those laws acceptable or “no big deal,” and can break down family sinews if we’re not careful. And in some instances already, the firewall has been breached: it’s difficult to realize that the family is the building block of society when babies are deemed optional in sexual activity, and therefore in a culture that talks a whole heck of a lot about sex, but can’t seem to articulate what it’s actually for. This is a commercialized culture and society, which is something that gave the Founding Fathers some angst, actually– in the 18th Century, people did not see economics as some amoral science or force. They did not decouple morality from economics back then, and it seems that this is as ripe an issue for us now as at any time in the past.

      American popular culture doesn’t need agitprop; it has advertising that delights in conflating license and liberty, and so that can be much harder to pin down. Americans are always poised to combat encroachment on their freedom from government sources, but are far less spiritually or intellectually equipped as yet to engage that which manages to package even harmful things as “freedom” in just the right way. I believe that it was Matthew Warner (if I remember correctly) who astutely pointed out that a lot of politics has also become about marketing. Again, this is not a matter of despair or shunning all media as it is knowing how to engage it intelligently.

      And always, as you say, we must trust in Christ in order to prevail: “I am the vine and you are the branches. Remain in Me, for he who remains in Me will bear much fruit. For without Me, you can do nothing.”

  64. David Gardiner says:

    I’m with Frank Hermann. I’ve been suggesting a third party based on the defense of the inherent dignity of the human person for years. Most people laughed or suggested I was insane. They may think differently these days. Sign me up, Frank. I like your platform.

  65. San Dee says:

    Why are people upset about Catholicism and politics? You speak as if Catholicism was the only religion in this country. Politics and government can make any law they choose…legalize abortion, legalize gay marriage, legalize whatever they want to. YOU don’t have to participate in the acts. YOU were given free will. YOU are not the voice of the country contrary to what you may believe. Saying that all Catholics and their lack of action against this in addition to what’s shown on TV is what’s allowing all of this to go on is just plain ignorance. Who made Catholics the superior religion in the country? We are just as good as Baptists, Lutherans, Protestants and any other religion who believes in God. Catholics alone can not change a country. It’s not about religion!! Last I heard we are all God’s creation and as such are all accepted and loved by our creator whether we are straight, gay or anything else. Everyone deserves to be in a loving and happy relationship. If a gay couple want to adopt a child and give that child a wonderful life full of love and family vs the child being bounced around from one foster home to the next while their issues mount with each move then I’ll take the gay couple raising that child anyday. Grow up people and stop trying to be so righteous. Ours is NOT the only religion out there and everything we say is right or wrong is not the only way. It may be different in other religions which doesn’t make it wrong.

    • Arthur says:

      San Dee,

      As a practicing Catholic informed by Christ’s teachings, I believe the Catholic Church to be the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Jesus gave to the world. So yes, it is unique in that way. Furthermore, the purpose of the state is to seek the common good of all its citizens. What are we on earth for? To know, love, and serve God. While all may not know or even refuse to accept Jesus, we do have the natural reason He has endowed us with to determine on a natural level what is right from wrong, good from evil. This is enough to know that abortion (murder) is wrong, homosexual unions are a perversion, etc. No Catholic in his right mind is advocating a state that coerces people to be saints. States ought to promote the well-being of their citizenry, however. Living the Faith is the culmination of our flourishing. To be a saint and utterly in love with God first and His people (all mankind) is the reason why we exist!

      Righteous? We are all sinners, indeed. The Church is mysteriously made up of sinners and yet remains immaculate because of her redeeming Head and Spouse. She rejects sin, but loves the sinner, wanting them to be free of the bondage of sin and happy in living as the sinner was meant to live.

      Homosexual unions are abhorrent to society not only on a theological level, but on a natural one as well. If you haven’t read this, go and see what an secular person has to say about it:

      http://tech.mit.edu/V124/N5/kolasinski.5c.html

      I suppose the final question is, do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe His words (Scripture), teachings (Tradition), and those whom He has sent to us (i.e., apostles/bishops/the Magesterium)?

      Arthur

    • WSquared says:

      San Dee, the fact that other religions have truth in them is something that the Catholic Church acknowledges.

      But that’s not the same as having the *fullness* of the Truth. In reality, then, the Church can and does recognize truth in other religions or traditions, but is saying, “okay, that’s a good start, and that’s spot on as far as it goes. But go further.” In the words of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, “there are many paths on the Way that claim to be the Way, but they are not the Way.”

      “We are just as good as Baptists, Lutherans, Protestants and any other religion who believes in God. ”

      …and who made them the standard for what anyone means by “good”? Plus, the nature and scope of one’s religion really does depend on what one even means by “God,” now doesn’t it? And the last time I checked, Baptists and Lutherans are Protestants.

      “It’s not about religion!!”

      If part of somebody’s campaign is going to make it about “how can you vote for someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ?” in order to persuade people to vote for their candidate, and if any Catholic politician claims to be Catholic (which has certain logical consequences that follow from the public profession of the Credo at every Sunday Mass), but who thinks that misrepresenting the teaching of the Magisterium in public as part of his or her public relations does not openly contradict what he or she claims to believe in (simply because the theological basis and spiritual logic is non-existent), then pray forgive me and anyone else for concluding that it darn well IS about religion. Dragging religious faith into the public arena and misrepresenting it for the sake of politics is still about religion.

      “Last I heard we are all God’s creation and as such are all accepted and loved by our creator whether we are straight, gay or anything else. Everyone deserves to be in a loving and happy relationship. ”

      And this is indeed what the Catholic Church teaches. So this “isn’t about religion,” huh? Please read the Catechism, and do so thoroughly. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce from what you’ve written that you likely haven’t. And second of all, while it is true that everyone deserves to be in a loving and happy relationship,” I challenge you to define what you mean by “love” and “happiness.”

      “It may be different in other religions which doesn’t make it wrong.”

      But it doesn’t make it right, either.

  66. Greg says:

    I would like to draw your attention to an omission in your first point. You left out a word.

    There is no strained relationship between the Catholic Church and the Democratic party. Indeed, 50% of the Catholic vote went to President Obama.

    Rather, the strained relationship lies between the Democratic party and the Catholic Church hierarchy.

  67. Craig says:

    I agree-we need leadership seen from over the centuries-even when there were too secular clergy. Example: would leadership seen up to the Battle of Lepanto ever be seen now??? Never. We are to “civil”. This mindset is too ingrained. Or leadership seem in the saint missionaries, willing to die when evangelizing. No. That would affect another’s freedom. (Above reply)

  68. Craig says:

    The Church-as I believed a while ago-should have called out the government’s blatant anti-Catholicism, not rally around religious freedom. We lost a great chance to bring people back to Holy Mother Church and (unfortunately) separate the chaff from the wheat.

  69. Georgeo Pulikkathara says:

    Father Pope,

    I agree with your assessment here. I’m with you and with my Catholic Church.

    George

  70. Guy Fawkes says:

    “Civil disobedience may be in our future.” Try a shooting war a la the Spanish Civil War. I consider it a fait accompli that large parts of Catholic doctrine will be declared hate speech punishable by long prison terms. The homosexual agenda will push, successfully, to criminalize any action that is deemed “offensive” to them. Thus, any priest that does not agree to marry two men or two women in a Catholic church will go to jail. Look for mandatory sterilization and abortion; euthanasia of children, disabled and the elderly; torture of detainees to be the law of the land. “Innocent until proven guilty” will be turned on its head. Jury trials will become rare.
    Justice will be meted out by the barrel of the gun (or rocket fired from a Predator drone).

    As others have stated on their blogs, looking to politicians and political parties to lead change in a culture have it backwards. Politics is a lagging indicator, reflecting what is common. To change this culture, we need warriors willing to take it to the evil mongers with truth (and force), using words where necessary.

    Msgr. Pope, now is the time to toughen up your body. Persecution and slavery is at hand. Don’t let the b#^*@!}s break you!

  71. Robert Francis says:

    Father,

    I am a practising, devoted Catholic who places my faith in Christ and his church above all else. I’m disheartened by your attacks on the Democratic party, while ignoring the many, many areas where Republican policy contravenes Catholic teaching and biblical instruction. The list is long, and I won’t go through it all. But a Catholic leader who professes to follow Christ but defends the greed is good, unbridled individualistic, self-centred, Ayn Rand policies of the Republican party has lost Jesus in their heart. It’s shameful, and sad.

    While clamouring for the votes of pro-life people (I am one), the GOP has done very little to actually reduce abortions. No, they’re happy to have the votes of pro-life folks, while doing nothing on the issue. Better that way to keep it around for next time. Instead, in the same way some accuse Catholics who voted Democratic of ignoring abortion to vote in favour of economic policies that favour the least among us, you through your vote for the GOP, support the immorality and godless policies that place the market above all else, while accomplishing nothing on the issues of life…in fact, quite the opposite.

    May you re-find Christ and place him at the centre of your life.

    • You didnt read my article very carefully did you?

    • Jan says:

      God help us – this is why Obama won re-election – the Republicans don’t do enough to stop abortion.

      Let me tell you who should have stopped abortion…the people in this nation – led by the Church – should have risen up in 1972 and torn the country to pieces when abortion was made a ‘privacy right’ by the Supreme Court. Everyone involved in the decision to make abortion political should have been torn apart. Then there might have been just a handful of deaths instead of 55 million and counting. Harsh? Not nearly as harsh as answering to God for promoting the slaughter of His innocents.

      And as far as which politician reads what – how about your boy Obama and his unabashed devotion to Saul Alinsky? Bit of a hypocrite, you are.

  72. Jim says:

    Monsignor, I hope you are ex-communicated. The Church will be better without you and your types. But I also hope you reflect, grow, confess your sins and see the error of your ways.

  73. Scott says:

    I’m an architect turned youth minister and I am completely befuddled when I think about this election. After all the money and energy spent by the USCCB, the demographic percentages were almost identical to 4 years ago. The Church needs to realize a few things if they want to be an effective voice in our culture. 1) 30 years of bad catechesis is not going to be changed through texting campaigns and radio ads. 2) If the same investment of resources into this election campaign on behalf of the USCCB were put into youth ministry at every Catholic parish, the election results 8 years from now would be quite different. The message needs to be driven home to young people with impressionable hearts and minds, not to 30-40 year olds who have already jumped off the Catholic wagon years ago. Think of your diocese and ask yourself what percentage of parishes in that diocese have full-time youth ministers? Out of 89 parishes in mine, we have 4 full-time youth ministers. Where does the Church think future vocations are going to come from? Middle aged men? It’s time for the Church to start doing some serious investment where it all starts.

    • Maureen says:

      Another excellent point. Alinsky thought has now infected the Democratic leadership, personified in the current president. The process started decades ago, though, with a clear realization that socialism had to be spread thru education. There was a strong effort made in the 70s & 80s to put as many extreme left-wingers in colleges as possible. Universities (& even grade schools) are now hotbeds of socialism & virulent anti-religious teaching. It’s time for Catholic money to be spent hiring young, tough-minded Andrew Brietbarts who can take on the Alinsky-ites & counteract them. Set them up on campuses if possible, otherwise across the street. Set up after-school programs where kids in grades 1-12 can come. Make them free, if necessary. Parents are desperate for after-school help. It would be a wonderful service for working parents, plus a chance to re-teach the Catholic message. So many immigrants are nominally Catholic anyway, this would be a great way to reinforce the message with their children. It also counteracts MSM propaganda by showing that the Church does indeed care about the poor.

  74. Maureen says:

    Excellent post, Father. The Catholic Church needs to move forward & not worry about what the media say. Accept that we are going to be assaulted by the MSM–anyone who does not bend to their wishes is demonized. Follow the Chick-Fil-A model: Hold true to your beliefs, speak & live them proudly, & you will thrive. It is “Catholics” like Nancy Pelosi & Joe Biden who do the real harm to our faith. “Priests” & “Nuns” who travel the country, gleefully followed by MSM, badmouthing the Catholic Church but held as representative by the MSM. They need to be repudiated strongly. We need to be publicizing the wonderful work dedicated Religious do on a daily basis. The thousands of priests, nuns, & laypeople who serve in their communities & around the world, dedicating themselves to poverty while serving their fellow man. The Democrats have shown their model–if you do not agree with them 100% you will be persecuted. We are in for a long, difficult time ahead. Sandra Fluke was the warning shot. It is only a matter of time before the lawsuits start, demanding that gay couples be married in Catholic churches, that Catholic healthcare institutions perform abortions or be shut down, that Catholic healthcare providers violate their conscience or be forced out of the profession, that Catholic employers be forced to pay for abortions & birth control. Sadly, that is the socialist model, which the Democrats are now following. The Catholic Church has been driven to virtual nonexistence in socialist Western Europe & is being driven out of Canada. The Church provided most of England’s healthcare in the 1950s–it now provides none. That is the only way a socialist model, & a socialized medicine model, can survive. Start with the largest religious institution, take it out, & smaller institutions will crumble. Sadly, the more liberal Protestant denominations are already so corrupt, they will easily roll over. We need to prepare for the hard times, accept that we will be harassed & persecuted, & pray that we all have the strength to continue. If not, we are doomed to the Europe model–where Catholic (& all Christian) churches are simply architectural wonders to visit, but where virtually no one worships.

  75. Maureen says:

    One other thought: We may also need to be tough, as Christ was in driving the moneychangers out of the temple. In today’s context, that means using the Sandra Fluke model–lawsuits. I propose the MAD (mutually assured destruction) model of the Cold War era. Yes, I know it goes against what we’ve been saying, but think about it. Have lawyers at the ready, prepared to fie lawsuits against Islamic institutions, as soon as Catholic institutions are sued. Let’s be totally honest–Islam gets the kid glove treatment nowdays that no other religion receives. Islam has many of the same tenants Catholicism has–respect for the unborn, opposition to gay marriage. And if you want to trump up a “war on women” be honest about how Islam oppresses women. So make it known that if any gay couple sues, demanding a Catholic wedding; any woman sues, demanding that her abortions be provided by a Catholic institution–that lawsuits will be brought against Islamic mosques & schools across the country, demanding the same thing. That’s the one group Democrats are afraid of, & they’d back down in a hurry. It’s cold & calculating, but may need to be done.

  76. Michael says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    God bless you for your clear and courageous assessment of our challenges as Catholics. I would only suggest one change to point #2. The jurists and those promoting unfettered abortion are not “pro-choice”, they are in fact “pro-abortion”. We must speak the truth! May God have mercy on us and our country.

  77. Esther says:

    I am a cradle catholic. Born and raised a republican.

    I have always wondered why most catholics vote democrat. After reading the above, especially from Robert Francis I now know why. Democrats don’t understand free-market economics. And it appears because you don’t understand it you feel free to demonize it. Education about economics doesn’t come from reading Ayn Rand. I am talking about college level classes on micro and macro economics taught by professors from different economic theories like: austrian economists, keynesians and monitorists.

    Robert you say you are a “practising, devoted catholic” but you hold such hateful views of republicans. Is that christ-like?

    Robert what would your world look like if you gave up your distorted view of republicans and visualized us as caring, giving and generous people? Who would you be as a person if you let go of that stereotype? What would happen in our country if the mantra was “republicans care about the poor, hungry, thirsty. Republicans give generously to causes just like democrats.” That is the truth and that is reality.

    The other truth is that democrats and republicans simply have different theories on how to provide for the poor, but they both want to help.

    • Robert Francis says:

      “democrats and republicans simply have different theories on how to provide for the poor”.

      Correct. Democrats believe in policies that actually help the poor, marginalized and less fortunate, who Christ instructed us to care for, while Republicans believe that tax cuts for the wealthiest people, and the largest, most profitable corporations, along with the removal of any regulation to safeguard workers will provide for the poor. It’s delusional. It has been proven wrong every time it has been tried. And Catholics who support this evil are putting their souls in jeopardy.

      • Jan says:

        This is a bunch of garbage Robert and I think you should now be considered a troll. You are the delusional one.

      • wSquared says:

        Robert, have you ever read “Rerum Novarum”?

        Leo XIII discusses how economic questions such as providing just wages and not putting the emphasis primarily on profit such that people are exploited, is closely tied to respect for the family, the building block of society. It is also why religious freedom matters, because a society and culture that loves God must allow for man to love the Lord with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind, and all his strength. Christ himself does not decouple loving one’s neighbor as one’s self, since this second commandment is like the first, the greatest of the commandments. If economics are meant to serve the people, and to have a preferential option for the poor, how can it really if it does not respect who man truly is, and does not therefore respect his dignity?

        All Catholics should read this encyclical before presuming to pontificate on social justice, particularly if they think that abortion and social justice can be separated out from each other. Catholic social justice cares for the whole person, because man is both matter and spirit. The oft-reviled “Humanae Vitae” is also about far more than birth control, but about respect for human life that also respects God’s designs for it. To say that abortion is merely a single issue is disturbing, to say the least.

        And please, I’ve had just about enough of every man and his dog claiming to be a “practicing and devout Catholic, especially when what it’s usually meant to do is to provide a smokescreen for questionable beliefs or emotional blackmail (like “WWJD?” conveniently trotted out in order to silence the Church on unpopular “hard teachings”) …and especially when any of us who do practice and fail daily should know that we likely fail the St. Francis de Sales litmus test for being devout.

        Being Catholic is never primarily what you or I think, but what Christ teaches us through His Church. And anyone has every right to call himself a “practicing and devout Catholic,” but the rest of us have just as much right to ask him what “Catholicism” he thinks he’s practicing and what he thinks he’s devoted to. Practice and devotion are personal, but they are never private and issues of faith and morals are not subject to private judgment, therefore. So this, that, or the other thing may be what somebody deeply believes, and practice or is devoted to, but if it is not what the Catholic Church teaches, then they’d be hard pressed to call it Catholic.

        So don’t bother telling us about how much you “care about people” as a Democrat or anything else, for that matter, if you won’t even bother to grapple with what a human being actually is.

  78. Jeff says:

    The # 1 challenge for Catholics is to stop thinking in this false dichotomy. The article is written as though we have to side with the Republicans because the democrats are so bad. Uh, no! The Republicans – with support of death penalty, increased military expenditures, lack of concern for the poor, and the denial of what the POPE himself says is a universal right to health care – are no more Catholic than Democrats.

    We are Catholics and we can have a party of our own that is third party, that represents a truly Catholic vision, in the manner of Bobby Kennedy, and can have a significant impact. how many Catholics are in America? And how many vote? Oh, and by the way, how many voted for Obama in this last election– more than voted for Romney (because, oh wait, yeah, in fact, Romney supported abortion rights when he was governor — actions speak louder than words!)

    So stop thinking dichotomously and think outside of the box like true Catholics should.

    For help in starting a third, Catholic party, please visit my blog: subversivethomism.com

  79. Craig says:

    Canada is showing the effects of unnatural unions ten years out; fines, the courts, bigotry crimes, intrusion on private schools. Article on NewAdvent .org

  80. Pastor Keith Simmons says:

    Monsignor,
    While I’m not Roman Catholic, I share your concerns. I’m the minister of a Church of the Brethren in rural Virginia. Our congregation is strongly anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage or covenantal recognition.
    My personal concerns are a possible governmental mandate to Pastors, Priests, Rabbis and other clergy to be forced to perform gay weddings. Jerry Falwell predicted this some twenty years ago, if the move toward “openess” and social correctness which gave approval for such relationships.
    Abortion on demand, in my opinion, should be banned. This practice has just become another sort of birth control. It further casualizes sexuality. This practice overrides Biblical mandates for purity in all parts of our life, but particularly in our sexuality. Terms like fornication and adultery have little meaning to society as a whole.

    Blessings to you in Christ, Pastor Keith

  81. Joseph Concannon says:

    Msgr.

    Great message!

    1 – develop great teachers and spokesmen for the faith community – let the priest be priest…but teach them to be effective communicators….unrelenting communicators…..and out in the public square
    2 – don’t be afraid of who you are. Numbers may drop initially in enrollment, but the message needs to be clear and unambiguous…re: Catholic Universities and other ad hoc “we think we’re catholics” pick your issue/s
    3 – get catholics off the couch and into the political foray….start voter registration drives in high school and teach civic lessons in our schools
    4 – don’t take your eyes off the prize….Hollywood is out there everyday…so guess what….church needs to be as well
    5 – social media, social media and did I mention social media – direct and indirect usage

    Thanks

    Joe
    Former candidate 11th NYS Senate District

  82. John says:

    What I do not understand is why are Catholics so imbedded with the Democratic party which is anything but Catholic, yet refuse to align with the Republican party whose platform is primarily directly from the bible. The bible states do not spend what you do not have, work for a living, respect your authority and obey the laws (as long as they are within conscious), aid the poor so they can get back on their feet and do not bankrupt yourself on the lazy (Proverbs heavily condemns the lazy), defines marriage between a man and a woman, and protects life. This is the Republican platform. My question is the Catholic church has been embedded with the Democratic Party for generations (a party that took God out of their platform), so why are they not switching gears to work with Republicans to promote Catholic views.

  83. carlene says:

    The Catholic Church has long been remiss on dealing with government policy issues which are counter to its teachings. I am of the era that inculcated in its young that we were all created in the image and likeness of God and that we were temples of the Holy Ghost. Respect ourselves and respect others was the only acceptable behavior. We had these values taught to us in church, in school and at home. If we demonstrated behavior not in accordance with the teachings, we were dealt with appropriately. Respect for life was inherent in every lesson whether it was our own life or that of others. Life begins at conception is a teaching of the highest order. Really, what else is there if human life is not respected. In my opinion, the church wrapped itself around the Democratic party because of all its touchy, feely, warm and fuzzy rhetoric. Let me see, feed the hungry, give to the poor, is, typical speech you will hear spoken by democrats; however ,out of the same democrats you hear that killing unborn children is acceptable. For me, there is a total disconnect in that thinking. Why does the Catholic Church support Democrats? We can feed the poor and minister to the downtrodden without identifying with a political party whose leaders create policies which are counter to our most strongly held beliefs. I have just read an article on Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel’s (brother of Rahm Emmanuel, Pres. Obama’s Chief of Staff in first term) method of health care rationing called ” complete lives system”. That system places values on individuals lives according to the person’s value to the state, age, productivity. A person’s eligibility for treatment will be based on the above mentioned characteristics and that person will have the best chance for approval of treatment if they are between 15 yrs and 50 yrs of age. This type of philosophy is another blatant attack on human life. Where is the Church on the rationing of care which will dramatically impact the elderly and the disabled? I heard no mention of this issue during the period before the election. It seems until now the church has been afraid to take on the democrats on these very important issues. I am very heartened by the public stand by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. He is the first member of Church Hierarchy that I can remember calling a political leader out publicly on a specific policy. Pres. Obama deliberately mislead Church leaders on the implementation of Obamacare. Where was the outcry when Pres. Obama spoke at Notre Dame’s graduation? The Church is big enough and strong enough to have stopped that speech. It occurred early in the administration and had national attention. Stopping it would have sent a clear message to Catholics and all Christians. We need to stay on task and find these policies totally unacceptable and be outspoken about it. Pres. Obama is supportive of abortion and Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, supported with significant financial donation a physician who performed late term abortions. She claims to be a Catholic. Will Catholic Physicans and Hospitals provide care for individuals deemed inappropriate for care by the government under Obamacare? The plight of the downtrodden and poor has not improved under democratic policies. Their numbers have increased and the situation for the real poor has worsened. Better late to the party than not at all. I pray everyday for Cardinal Dolan’s success in his case for religious freedom and respect for life.

  84. Steve says:

    October 21, 2012
    Public

    “I am your Jesus, born Incarnate.”

    “I have come to warn and to advise your nation concerning the effects of this upcoming election. You are able, through your vote, to choose the future of your country. In My day, dictatorship was already in place. Freedoms were already suppressed and the people had no voice in the future.”

    “In this election, if you do not choose wisely, you stand to lose your national sovereignty, religious freedom, economic prosperity and national security through a strong defense.”

    “Once again, I point out to you the importance of living in Truth. It is important for every soul to choose Truth, but most especially important for government leaders.”

    “Do not elect a candidate for his outward appearances, charm or promises. Choose according to the barometer of Truth which is the measure of inner character.”

  85. Gil says:

    Why, among these five points, is there no mention whatsoever of the equally severe conflicts between Catholic teaching and the GOP on social justice, health care, unjust war, the death penalty, protection of the environment, etc.? For example, the Catechism teaches:

    1938. “There exist also sinful inequalities that affect millions of men and women. These are in open contradiction of the Gospel: Their equal dignity as persons demands that we strive for fairer and more humane conditions. Excessive economic and social disparity between individuals and peoples of the one human race is a source of scandal and militates against social justice, equity, human dignity, as well as social and international peace.[CS 29 # 3.] ” and

    2426. “The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man.[Cf. GS 64.] ”

    2432 “Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their operations. They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment. ”

    Plainly, the “every man for himself” world of unrestrained “capitalism” advocated by the current GOP (and exemplified by the most recent Republican Presidential candidate) has caused in this nation the greatest disparity in wealth in the history of mankind, and cannot be reconciled with these teachings. Since they are inconvenient in the context of the political stance being advocated, they are simply ignored. The Monsignor’s points sounds akin to a calivinistic view; just oppose abortion and homosexuality and you shall be saved.

    The theology of the Church appears, at least to this layperson, more complex than that.

    • Al says:

      Seems to me there is a hierarchy of values and there are some issues that are more fundamental and non-negotiable than the issues which you listed — in none of which, I believe was the Church given any guarantee about infallibility with respect to her pronouncements.

      Life, religious freedom, marriage, basic moral issues as to what is sin or not (abortion, practicing homosexual lifestyle, persecuting peoplefor practicing their faith) are fundamental and the Church’s teaching, based upon natural law and Revelation, is clear and not negotiable. This is not the same with “social justice, health care, unjust war, the death penalty, protection of the environment”. In each of the latter, there are priniciples which the Church has articulated to assist people in formulating policies, but the Magisterium does not dictate the policy, nor has it been given any specific charism to do so. People can pursue the principles articulated through differing means/policies. Republicans and Democrats (and other parties) propose policies to deal with those issues. Catholics are free to differ with respect to whose policies they find more coherent, consistent with the principles articulated and effective in actually producing the results sought.

      But Catholics cannot claim to be faithful to Church teaching and support abortion, promote or support the suppressing of a Christian’s practice of faith, or call the homosexual lifestyle, morally neutral or even good and something to be celebrated and encouraged. Nor can they support politicians who they know will do any of those things yet claim to be innocent themselves. Nor can they remain true to the teachings of the Church while supporting politicians who support and actively promote policies by which marriage would be redefined or changed to include whatever relationships one wants to include in it.

      Methinks it is you who misunderstand the position of the Monsignor and the teaching of the Church with respect to your favorite issues.

      • Gil says:

        I always find it interesting that those who find adherence to the Church’s teachings on social justice, war, the environment and the death penalty so difficult because it does not comport with their own political viewpoint seem to be the ones who are so quick to claim a “hierarchy of values” justifies their own cafeteria choices.
        Methinks it is you who thoroughly misunderstands both the role of the Magisterium and the duty of obedience.
        Catholics cannot claim to be faithful to Church teaching while only adhering to those teachings that they find convenent and consistent with their personal world view. The positions of neither political party are consistent with Catholic teaching, and those who attempt to justify their own political affiliation by claiming that one is more “Catholic” than the other are only fooling themselves.

    • taad says:

      Talk is cheap Gil. Please point out just where the Dems have improved the lives of people around the world on this social justice thing. Are we still not bombing civilians and taking out people like Osama? I thought our war going to end after the democratic savior arrived? After 50 years of the so called war on poverty, we have more people on government assistance than ever. Poverty is increasing not decreasing. Is this social justice, keeping people on welfare and food stamps? Are not all our major cities dying, after democratic control for 50 years? Just where have the dems had success other than pushing contraception and the immorality caused by it? Was it not Bill Clinton who had Timothy McVey executed? Is that the social justice your talking about? Talk is cheap. As far as health care goes, go check, Ted Kennedy signed and sponsored the bill in the 70’s that gave us the HMO System. And just how are we going to pay for the new system? The treasury secretary said he doesn’t know. Great! What about the people in central America who are in need of medical supplies, and all the US gives is clinics full of contraceptives. Is this social justice? The reality is that they are a joke. Look up the history on these, it’s all true.

  86. Tennille Balzano says:

    I agree with RedRenegade. The best thing about this is it is very cheap and does not put a dent in the budget. It truly pays for itself. I also like that it is smell-free.

  87. carlene says:

    Respect for life must come as a higher priority before concerns about social justice. We must have life first. Persons who support the killing of unborn children and the rationing of health care do not have the first clue about what they call social justice. Real justice cannot exist without unqualified respect for life.

  88. Brian Werner says:

    I am not a Catholic. Lutheran for those that care to know.

    Admittedly, I am no historian of the Catholic Church, but I believe my outside-looking-in perspective to be accurate. I hope I am wrong.

    I would like to understand this: Abortion. Accessory to Murder. Confession. Grace

    Item 2 above. For almost 50 years there has been a genocide ignored by the American public. We are guilty, at minimum, of the heinous sin of apathy, sloth, whatever, that has led to the legal murder of 50,000,000 fellow human beings. Their blood is on all of the hands of those that don’t openly resist this horrible tragedy.

    Even worse, there are those in this country that endorse, or even embrace the act of abortion. The Democratic Party clearly bases a key element of it’s platform on the “right” of a woman to murder her unborn child. ENDORSEMENT. Certain elements of the Democratic Party’s infant hit-squad vigorously, and without hesitation, block any ideology that might educate a woman, or persuade a woman to consider the alternative. EMBRACEMENT. I challenge anyone to refute these two points.

    In this day and age, a vote for a Democrat politician is a vote to knowingly support the murder of infants.

    From what I understand, in the Catholic Church, achieving a state of Grace does involve a human process of congregant to priest confession. Does the Catholic Church instruct it’s priests and members that a vote for a Democrat candidate constitutes an act of accessory to murder? (For that matter, how can ANY Christian in good conscience vote for a Democrat). Can a Catholic that has voted Democrat confess their sins and not acknowledge this FACT, and achieve a state of Grace?

    How dare a Catholic Priest give any Democratic politician communion without their confession of mass infanticide?

    What really strikes me in this article is ” Largely unrestricted abortion will continue unabated” Largely unrestricted? Really? What,……, is 100,000 abortions a year not large enough? 10,000 abortions a year? Well……, I think you hit “largely unrestricted” 40 years ago. Where was the Catholic church then? I have news for you. You had your best chance back then, to instruct your parishes that a vote for any politician who endorsed abortion was a vote for a murderer. And therefore required a confession of accessory to murder. 40 years ago there perhaps was an individual bent to all of this. You could in good conscience vote party irrespective and cleanly rationalize you were not complicit. As long as you knew how your politicians voted. But now? The Democrat Party stands for abortion, period. It’s pretty black and white isn’t it?

    50 Years of this. The world sat by and watched 12 million people murdered in concentration camps for 10 years. 12 million souls in 10 years, and it was acknowledged as such a horrible act that it changed the path that our world followed. The seeds of that human disaster still resonate in our world today: The inception of Israel, and the subsequent tide of Arab hatred and violence reaching across the globe. Yet here there is silence, while we are shamefully aware of 1,000,000 infants a year being murdered.

    What would it take to get our attention? The imagery of piles of torn apart, lanced, and chemically burned babies? Bulldozers pushing tons of infant tissue into pits? Assembly lines of baby carcasses channeled into crematoria? How about pictures of butchers worse than any Josef Mengele, lancing the skulls of partial birth abortion victims, and sucking their brains out through a cannula? All in your back yard.

    Individual, congregant to priest, private confession is one of the most powerful tools your church has to fight this. Why is this not being used against this gross epidemic of infanticide? Am I ignorant? Has this been ignored by your priests? Have they not taken their parishioners to task on this?

  89. Mattb says:

    I think we leave out one VERY important point when we speak about how “Catholics” vote. While the “Catholic” vote was evenly split, or leaning toward Obama…the “Catholics who attend Church Weekly” vote was heavily for Romney. Take that as you will, but I think there’s something important there.

    Until we are able to recognize that there are a vast crowd who “claim” to be Catholic, but have never darkened the door of a church in their life, we will be spinning our wheels.

    We must realize that we have a much smaller church than the statistics show. When we could our ACTUAL weekly attending, practicing members, I believe they’re much more in-line with our Church’s teaching than we give them credit for…

    As for the others, no amount of preaching will convince someone who isn’t there to hear it…

  90. T.K. Knight says:

    Whatever action we Catholics take will certainly be scrutinized by a hate-filled, narcissistic government. IRS “brown shirts” will destroy businesses of those who support the Church. Civil disobedience will result in prosecution and imprisonment. There is literally nothing that this administration is incapable of. I have little hope for any historic response from the American Catholic Church. My parish did not pray for religious freedom after July 4. It refused to pray for our men and women in military service or for the well-being of their families despite repeated requests to do so. We Catholics in this country want comfort,not courage. We want our golf outings, not a demonstration outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic where we might be able to dissuade a young woman from executing her child. If there is charismatic leadership out there then now is the time to step up. The time for a new American Revolution is at hand.

  91. carlene says:

    Bravo! Brian Werner.

  92. Lisa says:

    Half of Catholics voted for sin! Time to stop ignoring the real problem.

  93. Joe DeVet says:

    The Catholic Church in America has had no problem with being the Democratic Party at prayer, as instantiated recently by the USCC (predecessor of the staff portion of the USCCB) which by all accounts voted 80% Democrat. I would not be surprised if the majority of the present staff of USCCB also voted that way even this year. So what’s the problem with appearing to be the Republican Party at prayer?

  94. Gil says:

    In 1993, Pope John Paul II wrote in his address “Priests Do Not Have a Political Mission”:

    “Jesus never wanted to be involved in a political movement, and fled from every attempt to draw him into earthly questions and affairs . . .

    In this light one can better understand what was decided by the 1971 Synod of Bishops regarding the priest’s conduct in political life. He certainly retains the right to have personal political opinions and to exercise his right to vote according to his conscience. As the Synod said: “In circumstances in which there legitimately exist different political, social and economic options, priests like all citizens have a right to make their own personal choices. But since political options are by nature contingent and never in an entirely adequate and perennial way interpret the Gospel, the priest, who is the witness of things to come, must keep a certain distance from any political office or involvement” (Ench. Vat., IV, 1195). In particular, he will keep in mind that a political party can never be identified with the truth of the Gospel, and therefore, unlike the Gospel, it can never become an object of absolute loyalty. Thus the presbyter will take this relativity into account, even when citizens of the Christian faith laudably form parties explicitly inspired by the Gospel. He must strive to shed the light of Christ on other parties and social groups too.”

    So when was this direction withdrawn by the Vatican and since when has it become ok for a priest or Bishop to become a public and visible partisan advocate for a single political party?

    • taad says:

      Gil
      Nice, you want Father ,to shut up on this issue. Why don’t you just come out and say so? And while your at it, be honest that you are okay with abortion, same sex so called marriage, contraception, and the like. Yet you lack the courage to to say what you really believe, and go in the back door when you say this is political. Well, so was the Nazi party political. Yet Pius XII is always attacked by the same liberal media for not speaking out more forcefully. What joke this political ploy is. Just tell him to shut up, that is what you really mean.

  95. nehemiah from Nigeria says:

    the choice is clear;
    when HHS kicks in
    1. close all catholic schools, hospitals and orphanages.
    2. The Hierarchy should focus on parish life, mass and prayer.
    when Catholics start missing their social services they’ll wake up or leave

  96. Deacon Bill Nagle says:

    The problem is not belonging to any political party and promoting their platform, it is people who claim to be Catholics who are CINO’s Catholics in name only and CWAC’s Catholics without a clue. Catholics whose lives are not Christ centered do not live out their lives “in Persona Christi” as members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
    What the Church needs is people whose lives,actions and words lead others to Jesus who become His true disciples. Faith comes from hearing the word of God.The Church needs converted souls to Christ and that comes from hearing the Word of God. May I suggest a book, “The War on the Catholic Church,No prisoners of War, No cowards” its on Amazon/Kindle. God Bless

    • Bender says:

      While they might rightly be an image of Christ, allowing His Light to shine through them, the laity in any event do not and cannot act in persona Christi. That power is reserved to other parts of the Body, namely, the ordained priesthood in the sacraments.

  97. carlene says:

    Right on! Nehemiah of Nigeria. The Church should be apolitical. The priests need to educate people regarding the teachings of the church especially, the hierarchy of values. Once the priority of values is known the choices should be clear. We do not need to be lead to a specific political party. We need to be clear on our values as Catholics. Obviously, that clarity was non-existent for this election. This lack of clarity will now result in a loss of religious freedom and a culture that is even more accepting of abortion and healthcare rationing based on the individual’s value to the govt., age etc. I agree with your remedy and the result of that remedy ; however, i think it will be a long time coming. I am wondering if the Catholic healthcare system is going to provide services to individuals who are denied care by rationing. I pray everyday for the success of Cardinal Dolan in his legal challenge to the Govt.

  98. Deacon Bill Nagle says:

    To Bender please read the Catechism Par 1265 “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creation”, an adopted son of God, who has become a partaker in the divine nature, member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. Par 1267 “Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ”. Par 1269.”Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us.Par 1270″Reborn sons of God,[the baptized]
    must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church”, and participate in the missionary activity of the People of God.Then check out Par 793 “Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble HIM,”until Christ be formed ” in them. Par. 795 Christ and his church make up the “whole Christ”.(Christus totus) The Church is one with Christ.Par 1546 the whole community of believers is as such, priestly.The ….common priesthood of all the faithful participate each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood ofChrist” If you are truly in the Mystical Body of Christ you act in His person.By virtue of Holy Orders one acts “in persona Christi” also, especially as a minister of the sacraments.

    • Bender says:

      No, by virtue of Holy Orders one does not act in persona Christi “also,” rather, ONLY those who have received Holy Orders can act in persona Christi.

      “If you are truly in the Mystical Body of Christ you act in His person.” This is simply false as a matter of fundamental doctrine and it is rather disturbing that you do not know what “in persona Christi” means. It has a very specific meaning and it does NOT mean that one who participates in the common priesthood of all the faithful thereby acts in the person of Christ. Rather, it very specifically and particularly pertains to an ordained priest or an ordained bishop — that is why priests and bishops have the power to confer the sacraments while the laity do not. Were a lay person claiming to act in persona Christi attempt to consecrate bread and wine, it would not then transubstantiate into the Body and Blood of Christ for the very simple reason that lay people cannot and do not have that power to act in the person of Christ. See CCC 1548 et seq. and Can. 1008-09.

      That only those possessed of Holy Orders can act in persona Christi is made clear in Lumen Gentium 10 — “Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist.”

      Not even deacons, although ordained, have the power to act in persona Christi — “Those who are constituted in the order of the episcopate or the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity”. Can. 1009, section 3 (see also Apostolic Letter “Motu Proprio data” Omnium in mentem)

  99. Judith Huddleston says:

    The person who said if her parish told her who to vote for would have to leave her Parish would have to leave ours. I find it interesting that abortion is basically the only type of killing that is mentioned from the pulpit. We have been killing innocents with the last 2 wars which have absolutely nothing to do with protecting America. The wars did not start with Democrats but are being continued by them.

    I find it interesting that this blog attributes debt to the Dem. granted it has risen with them but was started with Geirge Bush with the wars. When u spend billions and billions with no end in sight how can anything change debt wise. The tax cuts also started with Bush. I have heard nothing about that from priest.

    The Msgr asked how they can resist being considered Republicans. One way is to stop criticizing nuns, who are doing what they’ve always done, helping the poor. My kids went to Catholic schools and my son said nuns never mentioned abortion. But they taught the kids so much about Catholic faith. They would not be allowed to teach that way now.

    The Rep say the schools are failing. NCLB started by Bush set schools up for absolute failure. When kids with a 60 IQ are expected to pass standardized tests, what do u expect?

    I am a registered Republican and voted pretty much that way until last 2 elections. Even most hard line conservatives realized after this election that the party has to change its rhetoric or lose more elections.
    They can still believe the same way but message had to be delivered differently. When a party will not denounce someone like Rush Limbaugh for calling a young woman a prostitute and a slut how can they not be accused for having a war against women? So they didn’t like what Sandra Fluke said? All they had to say was “We don’t agree but no one should be called those kind of names”. None would do that.

    It’s fine to have beliefs but the old adage that u get farther with honey than vinegar should be considered by Rep and the church. Constant pounding against abortion to exclusion of all other atrocities gets old. They can keep it up but if they lose all power b/c they refuse to change tactics, not values, iit’s a little absurd.

  100. 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.

  101. Joe says:

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

  102. 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.

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