Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

10/31/2008 (7 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Ever been depressed? Say goodbye to your Second Amendment Watch

Image of People with mental problems in their past will not be able to purchase firearms anymore.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

If you receive disability for a psychological condition, prepare to be reported to the FBI. In a new bid to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, the Obama administration intends to place everybody with a mental disability into an FBI database. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Obama proposes shocking $1.3 billion for illegal minors entering US Watch

Image of Children illegally cross the border from Mexico into the US (Breitbart Texas Release).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With US President Barack Obama's plans to provide $17,613 for every illegal minor child entering America, the first six months of 2016 has seen a jump of 78 percent in unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican-American border. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Romanian hacker, 'Guccifer' drops two NEW bombshells over Clinton email server Watch

Image of Guccifer has dropped two new revelations about Clinton's email server.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Fox News has interviewed the Romanian hacker, Guccifer, who claims it was easy to hack Hillary Clinton's email server and that others did so as well. Guccifer is being held in an American jail on unrelated hacking charges, but he agreed to speak exclusively to Fox ... continue reading


Too little too late: $75.5 million anti-Trump ads not enough Watch

Image of Who can stop Trump? Apparently, no one (Twitter).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump has several critics, most of whom have invested in a $75.5 million anti-Trump campaign, but the American people have spoken and Donald Trump remains the last standing Republican nominee. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Donald Trump has been criticized ... continue reading


Hoosier Daddy: Trump wins Indiana in a Landslide Watch

Image of With Cruz out of the race, the nomination is in the bag for Trump (starcasm).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Donald Trump beat out Ted Cruz in Indiana's primary, leading Cruz to make a startling announcement and Kasich to drop out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I've said I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory; tonight I'm sorry to say it ... continue reading


ICE gets more money, deports fewer illegals. Where's the money going? Watch

Image of Illegal immigrants cross the border with little risk of repercussion.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Where is the money going? Congress continues to allocate money to get people who don't belong in our country back home, but deportations are dropping according to new numbers. So, where is the money going? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Breitbart News has ... continue reading


New report finds religious freedom on the decline Watch

Image of Coptic Christians are among the most persecuted group in the world, and nobody is attempting to help them.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Religious freedom worldwide is "under serious and sustained assault." This finding is the work of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF). LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A new report which examines religious oppression around ... continue reading


'He deserves what he gets:' Latino youths violently protest Donald Trump in Orange County Watch

Image of Trump protestors broke out in a violent riot during his Orange County rally (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thousands attended Donald Trump's Orange County rally - then broke out in violent protest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Trump rally in Costa Mesa's Orange County Amphitheater was overflowing with supporters. There were several supporters who couldn't fit ... continue reading


New White House rules leave religious groups open to government abuse Watch

Image of Religious groups question the government's new regulations (Shutterstock).

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

The Obama administration's new rule for faith-based partnerships has drawn various reactions: one observer warned they could cause problems for partnering religious groups, while another said the action also strengthens these groups' protections against government ... continue reading


EXCLUSIVE - America, King of Propaganda: U.S. government spends billions to spew LIES to the American people. And guess what you foolish Americans, Congress made it all perfectly legal without your vote Watch

Image of

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Have we won the ground war in Afghanistan? According to the government reports and the media, we sure have. However, this is not what one whistleblower has said, warning as early as 2012 that the American people are being deceived by the government. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

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

  • Arising from Sleep HD Video
  • Bl. Edward Jones: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Pope Francis to EU: 'tear down the walls'
  • Man seeks bizarre RESTRAINING ORDER against God
  • Daily Readings for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Ever been depressed? Say goodbye to your Second Amendment
  • St. Thomas HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 18:9-18
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, 'Be fearless; speak out ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:20-23
20 'In all truth I tell you, you will be weeping and wailing while the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 6th, 2016 Image

Bl. Edward Jones
May 6: Blessed Edward Jones and Anthony Middleton, ... Read More