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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray for great courage and prudence.

212 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

          • 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.

  3. Nicholas Esposito says:

    I rather like that idea, Frank.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.”

  7. 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.

  8. Joseph Smith says:

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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…).

  11. David Pair says:

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

  12. 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/

  13. 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.”

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. Georgeo Pulikkathara says:

    Father Pope,

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

    George

  20. 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!

  21. […] This article by Msgr. Charles Pope in Washington DC clearly states the challenges the church will face in these coming years. Msgr. Pope calls out the Democratic party as our opponent in this war on Christian values and religious freedom, but I don’t think this is entirely fair. I’d go so far to as to say that the Republican party is really not much better in this regard. The Republican party simply sings the songs we Catholics want to hear. Eight years of a Republican administration prior to the current administration did little to change the tide of relativism sweeping our country and there’s really no evidence that a Republican administration this time around would have had much of an impact on the challenges we face in the church today. […]

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.”

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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?

  40. 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…

  41. 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.

  42. carlene says:

    Bravo! Brian Werner.

  43. Lisa says:

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

  44. 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?

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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)

  50. 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.

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