Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W. Hudson

3/25/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Any earnest Catholic who either runs, or holds political office, deserves both our admiration and our prayers.

If you are pro-life and pro-family expect the biggest challenge to come from Catholics: At least half of those voters who identify themselves as Catholics will be disposed to oppose you. I can't remember all the times I have talked to Catholic candidates who are completely bewildered by the antagonism they have encountered among various parts of the institutional Church, from the parish and chancery to the bishops and their conference.You will lose count of the times that Catholic politicians and activists  will stand Catholic moral teaching on its head.

Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/25/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Catholics, faithful citizenship, catholic vote, Nancy Pelosi, Chris Smith, social justice, social doctrine, compendium of the Social Doctrine, seamless garment, moral teaching, catholics in politics, political participation, activism, Deal W.Hudson


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - Any earnest Catholic who either runs, or holds political office, deserves both our admiration and our prayers. Because a Catholic politician, from day one, faces some long-standing hostilities and deeply rooted prejudices among his prime constituency, the Catholic voter. These volatile crosscurrents, if not surveyed in advance, can drown a candidacy.

A Catholic politician who has practiced the faith for years will know much of this ahead of time but will be surprised at how quickly the point of contact between Catholicism and politics becomes white hot. Knowing and affirming the fundamentals of the Catholic faith has not boded well for candidates entering the fray.

The chronicle of Catholics in Congress over the past fifty years is a sad one. Far more pro-abortion Catholics have served in the House and Senate than pro-life. The positions taken on life issues by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) and Rep. Chris Smith (R, NJ) could not be  more dissimilar.  But it's the model of a Catholic legislator handed down by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, rather than that of the late Rep. Henry Hyde that predominates among our members of Congress.

Catholic politicians need to know their faith, of course, but will be surprised by how their basic principles are challenged both in the election and, even more, in the office itself. There are some practical measures, like those taken by Catholic politician Rep. Chris Smith, to encourage Catholic politicians not to cave in to the pressures of the secular establishment and Catholic "progressives."

1. If you are pro-life and pro-family expect the biggest challenge to come from Catholics: At least half of those voters who identify themselves as Catholics will be disposed to oppose you. I can't remember all the times I have talked to Catholic candidates who are completely bewildered by the antagonism they have encountered among various parts of the institutional Church, from the parish and chancery to the bishops and their conference.

2. You will lose count of the times that Catholic politicians and activists  will stand Catholic moral teaching on its head. Life issues become just one more issue, no more important than prudential matters such as immigration and healthcare policy. The legacy of the "seamless garment" is real and remains a matter of constant vigilance in Catholic voter outreach.We only hope that Pope Francis can help to heal the deep division among Catholics who consider themselves pro-life and those who embrace the moniker of "social justice."

However, for a Catholic politician it's fatal to assume this division can be ignored. Those two ways of self-description are reliable predictors of how Catholics will vote, assuming they are not missing any important information or have been deliberately misinformed.  Pope Francis is teaching by word and example that social justice begins with respect for the unborn and vulnerable lives. May it heal this division in our Church!

3. Some who refer to themselves as "Social justice" (many Catholics who embrace the Social Doctrine take offense at the the co-opting of the term) or "Progressive" Catholics, as they now like to be called, will go to incredible lengths to find fault with pro-life Catholic politicians. They will go even further to invent pro-life credentials for Catholics who are pro-abortion or, as they prefer, "pro-choice."

Under the assumed banner of caring about human life "from birth to death," this "progressive" Catholic crowd will elevate any and all of their political priorities to the pro-life category. For example, if a Catholic member of Congress suggests an entitlement program does not need to be expanded by, say, 5%, the Catholic "progressives" will scream and yell about "abandoning the poor," and the pummeling will begin. It's not just any loss of funding that sounds the alarm, it's the unwillingness to increase entitlement spending year by year.

4. "Progressives," however, are constantly giving Catholic politicians bad advice. They recently led President Obama into the briar patch of denying religious liberty to Catholic institutions by demanding they pay for contraception and sterilization in their health insurance plans. The argument was that most Catholic women use contraception, therefore, Catholics will accept this historical encroachment on religious liberty. The Vatican has made it clear, most recently under Pope Francis, that Obama is seen as hostile to Catholic values.

It never occurred to any of Obama's religious advisers to consider that the Catholic woman who does use contraception may cringe at the thought of the federal government demanding the Catholic Church pay for her birth control pills! A big distinction here, evidently lost on the Obama administration. Not to mention the fact that Catholic tax dollars are now being spent on abortifacient OTC "day after" pills.

5. Pro-life Catholic politicians will get a warm reception from evangelical voters, but that same politician should remember that Catholic voters, for the most part, do not like to be talked to like evangelical voters. What gets a rousing "Amen" among Baptists can cause Catholics' eyes to roll.

Catholic politicians who adopt an evangelical style will win some Catholic support for their "bold" tone, but much more support will quietly edge away in discomfort. It's not complicated, just follow the first rule of rhetoric: Know your audience!

Catholic politicians should avoid the self righteous, moralizing tone of evangelical leaders, unless their goal is a radio talk show.   The commitment to life and marriage should be made clear while extending that concern to those in society who need the maintenance of the government's "safety net."

These are the essential pieces of practical advice needed by a Catholic entering politics. The past two Congressional elections saw a new generation of pro-life, pro-family Catholics elected: these new members of Congress immediately became the target of "progressives" who, for example, attempted to twist their concern for the budget as "anti-life."  Whether or not they survive will depend on how successfully this freshman class responds to the attack, or, even better, inoculates themselves in advance.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor and Movie Critic at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, is heard on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may findeven within the huge cities of the worldopportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Democrats effort to embarrass Republicans backfires when their report is unredacted by reporters using a simple trick in Word Watch

Image of Democrats got caught in their own web when reporters managed to unreedact a portion of Blumenthal's testimony. Their own report shows they paid Blumenthal $200,000 annually, for 'consulting.'

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It pays to know the Clintons. A report released by the Democrats ahead of the Republican report, intended to show Republican misuse of power, has revealed possible corruption. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Democrats wanted to show the Republicans as ... continue reading


American traitor Henry Paulson endorses Clinton for president for the WORST reasons Watch

Image of Henry Paulson has endorsed Hillary Clinton and his the system that enriches him at the expense of you.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Goldman Sachs has endorsed Hillary Clinton because of her globalist credentials. This underscores why Clinton is bad for America. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Globalism is a philosophy that suggests ... continue reading


AP discovers Clinton hid details of 75 meetings with donors while serving as Secretary of State Watch

Image of Clinton has the wrong attitude to be president.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hillary Clinton, Queen of the delete key, has deleted 75 meetings with key donors from record. These meetings were with major donors while she was secretary of state. The federal government turned these details over after the Associated Press sued. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Was Trump's would-be assassin right? Does America need a protector? Watch

Image of Michael Sandford attempted to kill Trump because he felt someone needed to stand for America (Polaris).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mentally handicapped or a vigilante? Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's would-be assassin may have been on to something. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Less than two weeks ago, 19-year-old Michael Sandford attempted to steal a police officer's gun ... continue reading


Tyranny by Obama's hand? 18.7 million immigrants not required to take Oath of Allegiance Watch

Image of Obama allows immigrants to forgo the Oath of Allegiance to defend America (crhphotos).

By David Drudge & Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under Obama, immigrants are now exempted from joining the military in the event of a draft. Until now, legal immigrants have been required to pledge to serve in the military if needed, like any other citizen must do. Now, they no longer have to do so, or even state ... continue reading


Clinton is a criminal or a fool, both of which disqualify her Watch

Image of Hillary Clinton knew the risk, as one email reveals. She took it anyway, and has played dumb ever since.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

By virtue of her own criminality, or at least ignorance, Hillary Clinton should be disqualified from the office of President. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Hillary Clinton withheld several important work-related emails. She was ordered not to delete or ... continue reading


Here are some of the federal agencies that have spent millions on GUNS and AMMO. This will surprise you Watch

Image of Military grade weapons are just one way the IRS helps you to pay your taxes on time. And with those payments, they can buy more weapons.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There are now more armed federal agents and bureaucrats than U.S. Marines, a study has found. A taxpayer watchdog organization has shed new light on the militarization of our nation. According to "Open the Books," a taxpayer watchdog organization, there are over ... continue reading


Did Bernie Sanders win California? Watch

Image of Sanders' rallies packed in tens of thousands of people, while Clinton could barely fill a room. But is this evidence of something strange?

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

Did Bernie Sanders win California? According to many Sanders supporters the answer is yes, and it was stolen away by a corrupt election apparatus bent on suppressing votes for Sanders, and aided by a news media that was quick to call the race for Clinton in the crucial ... continue reading


Trump delivers EPIC takedown of Hillary Clinton, 'She gets rich making you poor' Watch

Image of Sorry Hillary, It's all over except for the crying part.

By David Drudge (California Network)

"All of the money she is raising is blood money," Donald Trump correctly pointed out about Hillary Clinton. Trump intends to regain control of his campaign following a shakeup as he begins to speak to the public about Hillary Clinton's hypocrisy and lust for power at ... continue reading


Obama administration rules California churches MUST pay for elective abortions Watch

Image of In California, churches must provide abortion coverage under the state's bizarre law which classifies ABORTION as a basic health service.

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

The Obama administration has insisted that churches will pay for elective abortions after rejecting a "right of conscience" petition from pro-life groups. The Department of Health and Human Services has ruled that an amendment to the law, known as the Weldon Amendment, ... 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

  • 'Your goodness is a place where I feel protected': Pope Francis ...
  • 'Stop shying away from death': Researchers claim dying patients ...
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • A Prayer for the Departed HD Video
  • St. Peter: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • Fatima Morning Offering HD Video
  • Sister Cecilia Maria's smile stuns

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 12:1-11
1 It was about this time that King Herod started persecuting certain ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 16:13-19
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 29th, 2016 Image

St. Peter
June 29: Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of ... Read More