Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

10/31/2008 (7 years ago)

Catholic Online (

If every Catholic who knows the truth concerning the humanity of our first neighbors in the womb votes in a manner consistent with their moral duty Catholics will decide this election.

As we approach what many proclaim is “the most important election of our lifetime” it is possible that Catholics could indeed decide this election.

As we approach what many proclaim is “the most important election of our lifetime” it is possible that Catholics could indeed decide this election.


By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (

10/31/2008 (7 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - An October 29, 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times entitled "The end of the Catholic vote" made quite a stir. Written by Tim Rutten, it made these observations: "It's an article of faith in U.S. politics that, when it comes to the popular vote at least, Catholics determine the winners in our presidential contests. In fact, with the notable exception of George W. Bush eight years ago, no candidate in recent memory has entered the White House without securing a majority of the votes cast by Catholics, who now make up more than a fourth of the U.S. population. Until Ronald Reagan came along and created a new political category -- "Reagan Democrats" -- Catholics also were a reliable constituency in the party of Al Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt. That had been true since the 1840s, when the first great waves of Catholic immigrants essentially were pushed into the Democrats' arms by the anti-immigrant sentiments of the Know Nothings and Whigs, most of whom ended up in the new Republican Party. Much has been made through the years of "the Catholic vote," and its influence in presidential politics in the United States of America."

The political air is filled with talk about the "Catholic vote". It happens every four years. I have spent a great amount of time, prayer, time and energy seeking to mobilize Catholic citizens, no matter what their political affiliation, to vote in a manner consistent with the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church. That wonderful body of teaching offers truths and principles for all men and women which, if actually applied, will assist in building a truly just society for all and serve the real common good. I have done all I can to encourage my fellow Catholics and other Christians to read what the Catholic Bishops have offered in their letters on the implications of our "Faithful Citizenship" on how we vote. I am convinced of the extraordinary potential that a properly catechized and effectively mobilized Catholic constituency could bring to the corroded political and policy landscape of our beloved Nation.

As we approach what many proclaim is "the most important election of our lifetime" it is possible that Catholics could indeed decide this election. However, when I read editorials like the one found in the LA Times I feel I must, like the little boy in the story of the emperor with no clothes, expose the façade. There is no Catholic vote, in the sense of a monolithic bloc of voters. The debate can continue as to whether there ever truly was such a "Catholic vote".I think the patterns were attributable to the demographic realities of the Catholic community in the last part of the last century. It did not reflect the presence of a truly informed and engaged group of faithful Catholic citizens who voted in a manner which was informed by the teaching of the Magisterium (teaching office) of the Catholic Church.

There is a need for a new form of "Catholic Action", an issue focused Catholic movement which follows the clear directives of the Second Vatican Council, the encyclicals of the Popes and the treasury of Catholic Social Teaching compiled in the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic church". However, such a movement does not now exist, at least in the United States of America. Instead there are voices, some using "Catholic" in their organizational name, which are seeking to influence Catholics to vote in certain ways. In some instances, what they are proposing is at odds with the foundational principle of all Catholic Social Teaching, the inviolable dignity of absolutely every human life at every age and stage. Without that principle, the entirety of Catholic Social Teaching unravels and the entire infrastructure of human rights is placed at risk.

Social structures themselves, including their economic components, are to be ordered toward human persons and families, and promote human flourishing and solidarity. The claim that the taking of innocent human life by someone in a more powerful position - whether that life is embryonic, middle aged or elderly, healthy, wealthy or wise - could EVER be called a "right" in any just society is repugnant and absolutely NOT in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic Church. Yet some Catholics in the political debate are now trying to persuade fellow Catholics that it might be acceptable to vote for a candidate who says just that with their errant appeals to "proportionality". There simply is no proportionate reason which can justify voting for this candidate who supports lethal legislation such as the "Freedom of Choice Act" because an alternative choice is on the ballot. Since there is such an alternative choice, it should be made.

The fact that such an aberration of the Moral teaching of the Catholic Church is being espoused by people such as Constitutional Law professor Doug Kmiec who formerly defended the exact opposite of what he now espouses proves how desperate the hour has become. Doug's reasoning is an incorrect presentation of important principles involved in moral decision making and human action in Catholic moral thought. However, rather than accurately explaining what is involved in finding a proportionate reason he now espouses a form of "proportionalism", a theory which has been roundly condemned in Papal encyclicals such as "The Splendor of Truth" and is rejected right within the Catholic Catechism. However, since there is a substantial lack of understanding concerning the true moral teaching of the Catholic Church, his arguments have gained ground. Correcting this will take a lot of work.

The American Bishop's letters have been helpful. However, as this current election has shown, some people (especially lawyers it seems) can take the words of such letters, parse them out of context and then with sophistry lead the faithful to the opposite position of what they plainly state. The number of letters, statements and articles from the Bishops of the United States defending the truth concerning our obligation to vote in a manner which defends all human life show their courage as our moral teachers. They bode well for the future, as we build a new Catholic Action which puts legs on that moral teaching. However, as this election approaches we need an honest self assessment; few Catholics have read the Catholic Catechism or the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church and many are not listening to the Bishops.

Going forward we need a movement which will articulate the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine in a manner which is faithful to the teaching office yet popular and accessible enough to be understood. The political labels of "liberal" and "conservative" must be rejected by this movement because Catholic Social teaching is neither. The movement could influence both major parties and effect real change as a voice for the entirety of the Church's Social teaching. However, it must insist on the first principle, the fundamental human right to life and the dignity of all human persons from conception to natural death in any discussion of solidarity. We do owe a debt to the least of our brethren, including our first neighbors children in the womb.

Now, lets look at the current choice we face when we step into the voting booth on November 4, 2008. When Senator Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech he spoke of what he said was a "fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper that makes this Country work". Sadly, he excludes our littlest neighbors - even though he knows the truth that they are our neighbors. We now reach within the womb to operate upon them if they need it. How then can he support reaching inside that same womb to kill them for any reason and make a serious claim to having a concern about being our brother and sisters keeper? In response to Pastor Rick Warrens' question on the greatest moral failure of America, at the Saddleback Forum, he said it was our failure to follow Matthew 17, "whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me". He then had the audacity to say in response to the question of when human rights attach "that is above my pay grade". He has promised to sign the lethal "Freedom of Choice Act" which will undo every restriction on Abortion!

I have heard the arguments of his supporters. OF COURSE we should reach out to mothers in need and improve the economic and social environment which leads to a mother employing medical executioners to reach into the once safest place on earth and kill her own children. However, the effort of this candidate to use our shortcomings in doing this to then justify the intrinsic evil of the killing of our first neighbors and think that by referring to those intentional killings as a "moral issue" will somehow make it "OK" is absolutely insane. Medical science and the Natural Law confirm what our consciences have told us all along, the child in the womb is a human being. She is our neighbor. Let us be absolutely clear, no truly just and fair society sanctions the killing of neighbors.

Make no mistake; those who say that a Catholic with a truly formed conscience can choose to vote for such a candidate when an alternative is available - who acknowledges the right to life, opposes Roe v Wade and refuses to sign the Freedom of Choice Act - are wrong. When they tell Catholics that such a choice is a proper interpretation of Catholic Moral teaching they must be exposed and opposed. I cannot and will not vote for a candidate who fails to recognize the very ground of all fundamental human rights, the right to life. In this election, that candidate talks a lot about the poor but then selectively hears the cry of only some of them. He stops his ears to the cry of the ones whom Blessed Mother Theresa called the "poorest of the poor", children in the womb.

Every issue of human rights is a "moral issue". All human rights and all true human freedoms are endowments of the Creator. Every true human right is derived from the preeminent foundation of all human rights, the right to life. Every authentic human freedom must be exercised by human persons. Without the first freedom, the freedom to be born alive, there is no real freedom, only a counterfeit. Catholic teachers of constitutional Law are not the moral teachers of our Church. That is particularly obvious when their analysis is so clearly in error. The moral teachers of our Catholic Church are our Bishops, in union with Pope.

Is there a 'Catholic Vote'? Will it Turn this election? Well, as to the first question, not in the way in which there needs to be in the future. No matter who wins the Presidential election of 2008, the very experience of this campaign season has made it clear; it is time to build a new Catholic Action. However, as to the second question, if every Catholic who knows the truth concerning the humanity of our first neighbors in the womb votes in a manner consistent with the moral duty that such a knowledge brings with it - by rejecting the candidate who refuses to recognize their right to life and who will set back efforts to protect them - then Catholics will decide this election. We will all know very soon.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Politics & Policy

'We cannot succumb to fear': U.S. joins France in fight against ISIS Watch

Image of U.S. President Barack obama has decided to join forces with France in eliminating ISIS.


Following a meeting with French President François Hollande, United States President Barack Obama has proclaimed "total solidarity" with France. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama believes the declaration of solidarity, alongside his trip to Paris for ... continue reading

U.S. throws doors open to Syrian refugees - despite identity of Paris terrorist suspect as disguised refugee Watch

Image of It's not yet known how many more additional refugees the U.S. may take in beyond the originally state 10,000. Two senior administration officials say they are seeking ways to take in even more.


Even after it was learned that a key terrorist in the recent attacks in Paris, 25-year-old Ahmed Almuhamed, snuck into France after he was rescued from a sinking shop off the coast of Greece posing as a Syrian refugee, the Obama administration continues to ... continue reading

Supreme Court to hear arguments over Texas abortion clinic ruling Watch

Image of Lawmakers have put major restrictions of abortion since 2010, but none as far-reaching and strict as Texas' HB2.


A measure passed in the State of Texas, HB2 in 2013 has led to the closure of half of that state's abortion clinics. Now, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over the Texas law that has been among the most crucial in the ongoing national dialogue regarding ... continue reading

PUT TERRORISTS IN COLORADO? Law enforcement officials question Guantanamo Bay closure Watch

Image of Obama's Defense Secretary recently said that around half of the remaining 112 prisoners at Gitmo must be locked up


United States President Barack Obama has long promised to close Guantanamo Bay, a holding facility for suspected terrorists at a U.S. naval facility in Cuba. The question, as posed by dozens of law enforcement officials in a letter to the president . where do ... continue reading

What has the United States Government done with $5.9 billion? Watch

Image of American taxpayers gave the United States government $5.9 billion in foreign military financing last how was it distributed?


Each year Americans complain about paying taxes, much of which is distributed to foreign military aid. So where have all the funds gone? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the United States government's Foreign Assistance report, $5.9 billion was directed ... continue reading

You won't believe how Trump and Carson have become a disrupting force in the Republican Party! Watch

Image of Donald Trump and Ben Carson's popularity has other Republican presidential candidates sweating.


Republican presidential hopefuls Ben Carson and Donald Trump have disrupted Republican politicians and have many questioning where the United States is headed should either become the next American President. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Members of the ... continue reading

Fourth Presidential debate asks the hard questions Watch

Image of The Fourth Republican Debate gave presidential candidates several opportunities to shine -but who took advantage of the spotlight?

By Kenya Sinclair (California Network)

The fourth Republican presidential debate took place at the Milwaukee Theater Tuesday night. Candidates were asked the big questions ranging from how they felt about protester demands for a $15 minimum wage to the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants in the ... continue reading

Court halts Obama's executive orders with Obama's own words! What were they? Watch

Image of Obama's own words were used to stop him from changing the law as he pleased.

By David Drudge (California Network)

A federal appeals court has used Obama's own words to halt his growing use of executive orders that allow him to rule by edict. Their decision specifically halts his edict that shields 5 million illegal immigrants from imminent deportation and that he does not have the ... continue reading

Social Security administration hits unbelievably new record in spending - You won't believe the numbers! Watch

Image of This latest figure represents a substantial increase from the $910,394,720,000 the Social Security Administration spent in fiscal 2014.


Hitting a record $944,143,000,000 in fiscal 2015, the Social Security Administration reached an all-time in spending. The inclusive payments for this bureau include payments for Social Security and disability benefits in addition to Supplemental Security Income ... continue reading

Obama's executive order gets blocked and why that's a disaster for thousands of Catholic families Watch

Image of President Barack Obama's plan to protect millions of undocumented immigrants falls flat.


On Monday night, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a lower court did not "abuse its discretion" when it claimed President Barack Obama's controversial executive actions on immigration were unlawful. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obama's executive ... continue reading

All Politics & Policy News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More