Morally Coherent Catholic Voters Should Decide the 2012 US Presidential Election
Anyone who thinks the teachers of the Catholic Church are not clear on our duty as Catholics to vote in a manner which is morally coherent has not read Catholic teaching or simply rejects it
One simply cannot be a faithful Catholic and hold what is euphemistically called a "pro-choice" position on abortion or fail to defend true marriage and the family and society founded upon it. The same elite who currently control the Democratic Party - which abandoned its one time support for all the poor, including children in the womb - has now abandoned true marriage and the family and society founded upon it. They will reflect this in their official party platform during their convention in September.
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - I write this article as a private citizen. I still have a right to speak out on such matters, thank God. And this website had enough foresight to organize itself as a "for profit" business. It has avoided the growing hostility toward Christians who speak out.
What I am about to say will make some waves; I hope so. Though said almost every four years, this actually IS, in my opinion, the most important presidential election in my lifetime. What is at stake is the very idea of this Nation and the values upon which it was founded.
On Wednesday, August 8, 2012, in Denver, Colorado, the President of the United States sent an unambiguous signal concerning his complete disrespect for Catholic voters who understand their faith and take it with them into the public square. He was introduced by Sandra Fluke at a campaign event.
Fluke, the former 30 year old Georgetown University Law student (she graduated in the spring) and past President of Law Students for "Reproductive Justice" gave testimony before Congress last March. She bemoaned allegedly having to spend $3,000 a year for contraception. She turned it into a contrived argument in support of compelling all Americans to pay for it through the Affordable Care Act.
Her testimony was an embarrassment to Catholics. Georgetown purports to be a Catholic institution. She is now a surrogate for the Obama reelection campaign. The "Affordable Care Act" mandates, through the implementation regulations of HHS, that Catholic Colleges and other Catholic outreaches dispense contraception, abortion inducing drugs and sterilization under the ruse of providing "health care".
This is a flagrant violation of the Free Exercise Clause found in the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. The one year last minute "safe harbor" offered by the Administration was a convenient way for the administration to table the multitude of lawsuits from Catholic institutions under a legal theory that the constitutional issues are now not "ripe" until 2013.
Fluke gave an interview to the press the day before and spouted the Obama administration's propaganda, "This is a pivotal moment for us. We have a choice between someone who has stood up for women's health and defended our access to affordable healthcare and a candidate that has outright promised to turn back the clock on women's health and women's rights."
Given their numbers, U.S. Catholics can determine the outcome of this election. That is if we act in a manner which is, to use words of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "morally coherent". That phrase was used in an instruction released in 2002 entitled a "Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life".
That teaching document was directed to "the Bishops of the Catholic Church and, in a particular way, to Catholic politicians and all lay members of the faithful called to participate in the political life of democratic societies." The teaching in the instruction also informs the "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" sections pertaining to the political participation of Catholics. (See, e.g. #565-574) Anyone who thinks the teachers of the Catholic Church are not clear on our duty as Catholics to vote in a manner which is morally coherent has not read Catholic teaching or simply rejects it. Here is an excerpt:
"The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible. "There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called 'spiritual life', with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. The branch, engrafted to the vine which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity."
"In fact, every area of the lay faithful's lives, as different as they are, enters into the plan of God, who desires that these very areas be the 'places in time' where the love of Christ is revealed and realized for both the glory of the Father and service of others. Living and acting in conformity with one's own conscience on questions of politics is not slavish acceptance of positions alien to politics or some kind of 'confessionalism', but rather the way in which Christians offer their concrete contribution so that, through political life, society will become more just and more consistent with the dignity of the human person."
Our insistence upon recognizing in the positive or civil law of the Nation the fundamental Human Right to Life is not about engaging in single issue politics. Human rights - such as the Natural Law Right to Life - and human freedoms - such as the freedom to be born - are goods of human persons. When there is no human person to exercise them all the rhetoric extolling them is nothing but empty air and sloganeering.
Nor is our insistence only a matter of our adherence to our "religious" beliefs. It is a response to the truth revealed by the Natural Law and confirmed by medical science. The Child in the womb is our neighbor. It is always and everywhere wrong to take innocent human life. The child in the womb is innocent human life. It is thus wrong to intentionally kill him or her through procured abortion.
The embryonic human person, the child in the womb, the disabled, the needy and the elderly are all members of our human family. We can never condone their intentional killing as some kind of exercise of some "freedom" to choose. It is never a moral choice but a crime, whether the positive law prosecutes it or not.
Our opposition to the judicial manufacture of a "right" to take innocent human life in the womb must never take a back seat to any other concern in the public policy arena. Freedom must be exercised with reference to what is true and good in any just and moral society.
Abortion, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, is only the "cutting edge of the culture of death." Any time human persons are treated as "products" to be used, aborted, discarded, manipulated, enslaved, traded, made a means rather than an end, we find the "culture of death."
We must expose, oppose and replace it. Catholics will be judged the most severely if we fail to act in a morally coherent manner when we exercise our right to vote. The Biblical adage should echo in our ears, "To those, to whom much is given, much more will be required!" (Luke 12:48)
We are living under what Pope Benedict XVI called a "Dictatorship of Relativism" in the West. The culture stumbles, drunken on the false notion of freedom as giving some people a "right" to kill the innocent, divorced from norms to guide the exercise of human choice and govern our behavior.
When there is a wholesale effort to deny the existence of anything objectively true which can be known by all and form the basis of our common life, then there is no real freedom. Instead, we teeter on the brink of anarchy.
On the predominant human rights issues of our age the current controlling National leadership of the Democratic Party has lost its way. I contend that it should not be supported on the National level. I hope that changes. Perhaps a massive loss in November would prompt just such a change. One simply cannot be a faithful Catholic and hold what is euphemistically called a "pro-choice" position on abortion or fail to defend true marriage and the family and society founded upon it.
I, like many Catholic Americans, grew up equating being Catholic with being a Democrat because I thought Democrats cared more about the poor, the working class, the marginalized and those with no voice.
The failure to hear the cry of the child in the womb while mouthing the language of caring for the poor is unbridled hypocrisy. Medical science has confirmed what our conscience has always known, that child in the womb is one of us.
His or her voice cannot be heard because it is muffled in the once hallowed home of the womb and disregarded by political opportunists. Yes, there may be a few truly Pro-Life Democrats. However, after the experience of the Health Care debate, even this former Democrat is beginning to have my doubts.
The same elite who currently control the Democratic Party - which abandoned its one time support for all the poor, including children in the womb - has now abandoned true marriage and the family and society founded upon it. They will reflect this in their official party platform during their convention in September. It is unopposed.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Church explained in 2003, "The Church's teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose."
"No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives."
Catholic Christians insist that there is a Natural Law, "present in the heart of each man and established by reason." This law "is universal in its precepts and its authority extends to all men. It expresses the dignity of the person and determines the basis for his fundamental rights and duties." (Catechism of the Catholic Church# 1956)
It is here that we find the ground for the moral truths which should inform our life together in every truly just and free society. It is here where we also find those fundamental and foundational human rights which we must insist must be recognized by the civil or positive law as rightfully belonging to all men and women.
The Catholic position to the efforts to undermine true marriage through what I call the "Homosexual Equivalency Movement" - the movement which wants to call what can never be a marriage a marriage and then use the Police Power of the State to force all of us to do the same - is also rooted in this Natural Law which binds all men and women.
There is a Cultural Revolution underway in the West with two conflicting visions of the human person, human freedom, human flourishing and marriage and the family founded upon it as the first cell of a truly just society. We must never support efforts to give promiscuous heterosexual or homosexual relationships the same status as monogamous marriage.
Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they create a "right" to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. Government has long regulated marriage for the common good. For example, the ban on polygamy and age requirements were enforced in order to ensure that there was a mature decision at the basis of the Marriage contract. Heterosexual marriage, procreation, and the nurturing of children form the foundation for the family, and the family forms the foundation of civil society.
To "limit" marriage to heterosexual couples is not discriminatory now, nor has it ever been. Homosexual couples cannot bring into existence what marriage intends by its very definition. To now "confer" the benefits that have been conferred in the past only to stable married couples and families to homosexual paramours is bad public policy. To state this is not to be "anti-gay". It is to defend marriage.
Catholics are not one more "interest group" which can be polled, pandered to and bought. Our social obligation is to promote the true common good. We need to promote the truth as taught by the Church no matter what it is labeled in the political parlance of the hour.
Our political participation must be uncompromising in its committment to human life and dignity, marriage and the family, authentic human freedom, and solidarity directed by the application of the principle of subsidiarity. 'Morally Coherent' Catholic Voters can and should decide this Presidential election. Will we rise to the challenge?
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Keywords: Obama, Romney, abortion, gay marriage, true marriage, religious freedom, religious liberty, catholic vote, campaign 2012, social justice, social teaching, morally coherent, faithful citizenship, Keith A Fournier
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